Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Montvale Votes to Disband Its DPW

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Montvale Votes to Disband Its DPW

Article excerpt

MONTVALE -- The Borough Council voted to dissolve its Department of Public Works and hire River Vale's DPW, despite the protests of more than 100 people at a 4 1/2-hour meeting on Tuesday.

In a 3-2 vote, the council approved an ordinance to disband the DPW and contract out to a new Pascack Valley Department of Public Works, led by River Vale, to save about $300,000 over the next four years.

"These are the tough choices," Councilwoman Leah LaMonica said. "Sharing services is the only way to maintain the Montvale we know and want."

The consolidation was recommended in feasibility study by LKM Consulting, which estimated the municipalities would save a combined $800,000 by joining forces. The two towns have not completed a shared-services agreement, but council members predicted the move could go through as soon as October.

River Vale Council members, some of them present on Tuesday night, adopted an ordinance creating the Pascack Valley DPW on July 8. Councilwoman Denise Sieg said the River Vale Township Council was waiting for the Montvale vote to bring the issue to its residents and go forward with negotiations.

"I believe a complete injustice was done to the residents of both boroughs," said Steve Herrmans, a DPW employee and president of the Montvale Public Employees Association. He said he would start a petition against the ordinance.

At the standing-room-only meeting, which went past midnight, council members said that while the choice was difficult, Montvale needed to save money for its roads program and share more services because of the state-mandated 2 percent cap on municipal tax increases.

"Either we have to get more efficient, or we will not be in compliance with the law," Councilman Timothy Lane said.

But not all council members agreed. While Lane, LaMonica and Theresa Cudequest voted yes, Mike Ghassali and Rose Curry were opposed.

Ghassali received a standing ovation when he said the consolidation did not make fiscal sense and that Montvale would have no control over the arrangement. …

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