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Village of Ridgewood Council Meeting ; is the Honey Moon Over?

August 4,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, It was a long night and long agenda at last night council meeting. Yes , some readers suspect the Honeymoon  is over. It also seems that after spending in excess of  six hundred thousand dollars on plans, study and test for the Hudson Street garage some council members seem to want to build it somewhere else.  Perhaps the Walnut St lot and the Town Garage property. We wonder if the expense of purchasing  the Town Garage and the environmental  clean up of that property will cost the Village tax payers.
However we can not blame the new council for trying to clean up the mess of the former council after all the “3 amigos” were voted in by residents so the residents are in essence cleaning up the mess they created .And this mess is a very big mess !

The Board of Trustees of the Library are back with force. We now have council members talking about a performing arts center next to  the library. What will be the cost to the taxpayers to build, staff and maintenance for this building. Maybe this new council should complete on thing before moving on to other projects and they should remember that they have a fiduciary responsible  to ALL residence .

As NJPAC’s total expenses grew, so did its state funding. The annual grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts increased from $750,000 in 1999 to a peak of $1.7 million in 2005, before falling back to $1.1 million this year.In contrast, NJPAC’s expenses for artistic programming have remained flat. In 1999, the arts center spent $10.6 million on concerts and other events, and according to its tax returns it recently spent $10.9 million..

22 thoughts on “Village of Ridgewood Council Meeting ; is the Honey Moon Over?

  1. A performing arts center should be a private undertaking, if at all

    There is no way it will break even.

    The library should stick to their mission. Entertainment is not a public sector responsibility.

  2. Will there be a parking utility garage by the library too? Parking is already tight there.

    How can the library even think of. This expenditure and building at a time when there are 4 active development projects?

    I bet the developers think it will attract more outsiders to move to Ridgewood.

    Watch what the developers do in support of this.

  3. Is it really “honeymoon over”? It sounds more like “reality is setting in” as the damage done by the prior Village Council majority to village finances is finally becoming clear (and producing long faces).

  4. Was there any discussion about implementing the court-mandated ordinance allowing Valley to expand as it pleases?

  5. Forget about an arts center. The VH is not an ATM for special interest projects.

    Walnut/Town Garage site was always the best place for a parking project. Central location to CBD & transportation. Ground level + 2 upper levels. Install a traffic light at the dangerous intersection of Franklin/Walnut.

    If the VC wanted to get us out of the parking lot business, it should look into the owners of the Ken Smith & adjacent properties to do parking on the west side of the property & responsible mixed use on the east side.

    As long as the VC is transparent and has no sacred cows to feed, it can be done.

  6. Agree, its not that the honey moon is over – – its that the banality of what was done to the village by Arohnson and his cronies is finally becoming clear.

  7. Performing arts center is not needed and placing it adjacent to the library would be a huge mistake. The driveway between the buildings should never have been removed, and this would ensure that it could never be restored, as I have hoped since they removed it. Why do we allow the library and other entities to go hog wild? As one comment above notes, between the library staff and patrons, village hall staff and visitors, band shell attendees, and sports participants and observers, the lot is often full precisely when such an event would be taking place. Attracting more cars to the same parking lot would be a nightmare, especially as people giving up and leaving all had to circle around and exit via that ridiculous narrow driveway with a 90-degree angle and speed bumps. And nobody could get to the library for a BOOK. FORGET IT!

  8. You missed the biggest news from the meeting – Mayor Knudsen publicly apologized to a resident who was the subject of a very nasty and inappropriate letter to the editor of The Ridgewood News written by Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld.

    Sonenfeld offered no apology herself, however.

    Fire her fat ass now.

  9. The head of the Library Ms. Green has for the last 10 years complained that there is no enough parking for the library. she has suggested that that people using Veterans Field park anywhere but the Library Parking. She even wanted the police intervene. So now the the brain trust at the Library want a performing arts center. They may say that the will raise the money for this by donations but like the turf field we are stuck with all the expenses after it built. It like the gift that keep on giving.

  10. Someone on Facebook alluded to inappropriate behavior by Roberta at the meeting last night.

    Anyone know what happened? Why didn’t she resign when the old council was voted out. Thats what happens in business all the time.

  11. She will never resign from her “dream job” (her words). Big bucks, big power. Resigning would be an admission that she had actively followed Aronsohn’s personal instructions. That’s the truth, but she can’t admit it. And we have no way of knowing whether she has continued to do the same, only receiving his orders other than from the dais. Well, lots of those orders were given out of public view. However, if the council is wise, as several residents asked them to do in the public comments last night, she’ll be gone in a puff of smoke, ideally by Labor Day, no resignation required.

  12. The village manager position is not a political appointee. Under the Faulkner Act, election of new members and “voting out” of old members of the Village Council shouldn’t ordinarily trigger an expectation of a change in upper management. Now, if over the course of time a village manager’s behavior veers away from acting in a transparently non-partisan manner to advance the best interests of the village as a whole, and toward acting in odd, quirky or furtive ways that make it seem as if the interests of specific individuals or companies are being catered to improperly, or, shall we say, inordinately, well then perhaps starting with a clean slate would be advisable for a completely new Village Council majority. Where we fall in that spectrum is a question for the “refurbished” Village Council to deliberate over and decide. Our long municipal nightmare is over. All three members in the troublesome old majority resigned and we have three qualified, thoughtful and wise new members on the council to mull all of this over. Thank heavens for that!

  13. Honestly – it’s all a joke. The village engineer and village manager – openly – in front of the public are defying the mayor and the newly elected council and the council can’t do anything.
    What a shame.

  14. Well 9:21 Mr John Saraceno Jr who is on the Library Board a developer who own property in town. Maybe he would be interested in build a performing arts center/ condos on town.

  15. Several people came down hard on Roberta Sonenfeld, and all had very specific reasons. I hope the council is listening to them. They have to get rid of her.

  16. Mr. Jeff Voigt was certainly very loud and overstepping his boundaries for only having been in three meetings so far. Cool your jets, Jeff. We all voted for you. Now remember you are just one of five.

  17. Paul Aronsohn blew a trumped up fit at our prior VM. Why? Because his formal political affiliation was notoriously out-of-phase with Aronsohn’s. Aronsohn swept out the old and ushered in someone he thought would be beholden to him. But Ridgewood has now moved on, back to a proper non-partisan VC. For anyone currently in village management publicly to defy the new councilmembers and the new mayor seems foolish. Maybe they are dead set on acting ideologically. Maybe they have become partisan hacks. Either way they need to get a clue, and fast.

  18. Saraceno should be pulled off the board. As for not being able to do anything, yes indeed, the village manager is salaried, not elected, and can be replaced. Aronsohn fired Ken Gabbert with no cause in order to bring in his choice, R.S. There is plenty of evidence that she must go.

  19. 6:34pm – So what did the Village Engineer do, openly, to defy the major and newly elected council?

  20. Not one more nickel of tributes to the Performing Arts debate.Done and None.Like nancy Reagan..We the taxpayers JUST SAY NO..IE NO

    even a debate gives such a bad idea credibility VC STAND UP

  21. 6:34pm, I missed it too. What did our prickly village manager do?

  22. Go to Englewood and Morristown see those NJ Pacs..some are attached t
    to legacy town theaters Invariably there is a close in newly bullt parking garage. Largely empty in the day and traffic jammed on pre dinner nites of performances .Another boondoggle,town would end up subsidizing another nice to have around structure in a flood zone with a heavy Risk insurance bill for the taxpayers to back up.Maple barely functions at the library and Kings intersection today.A light mid block would back up that side of town all the way to Ho Ho about a No way Pac in VOR.

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