Saturday, June 3, 2017

Joint Meeting

   On Thursday the Bogota Borough Council and the Bogota Board of Education held a joint public meeting in the Seniors Center.  This was the first meeting of this kind for the Borough.  The meeting began with Bogota Mayor Chris Kelemen welcoming the Board members and hoped that this will be the first of many. Mayor Kelemen felt that type of public forum will assist the public on how both governing bodies are working to provide the best education of the the Students of Bogota. 
  Next School Board Superintendent  Dr. Vincent Varcadipane gave a presentation to the Council about the projects the Board of Education have approved. The main points were the construction of a useable outdoor space behind the Gymnasium. This will start on 5-June-2017. Next was the reconstitution of Speary Gym. This will take place as soon as possible with a target date of October 2017 for completion.  Dr. Varcadipane said that the cost of this project double in price due to the needed asbestos removal. Other project were the boiler replacement at all three schools, the fixing of the lentil and windows at Bixby, and the creation of a special needs program for the Elementary schools to be housed at Bixby. Dr. Varcadipane then talked about the 2% tax raise for the next school year. he said that this income, along with the Emergency Reserve Account, The school board did not have to seek a bond issue for any of these project. This would save the school budget from having to pay interest on any new loans. 
   After the presentation members from both bodies had a chance to ask question of one another. Board President Charles Severino asked Mayor Kelemen what could be done to speed up the inspection process for work being done to Speary Gym. Both Mayor Kelemen and Borough Administrator Joseph Scarpa agreed to meet with the Board as construction moved forward. Administrator Scarpa inquired to Dr. Varcadipane about looking into a shared service agreement  with the Boards Technology specialist.  Multiply elected official talked about working on a plan to remodel Feigel Field. This including reworking the drainage problem on the Hackensack River side of the field to forming committees to study which would be more cost effective to install an artificial turf field or the regrading and replacement of the current grass field grass.
   Towards the end of the joint meeting a heated discussion between Board Attorney Richard Brovarone and Council Attorney Craig Bossong.  This began when Mr. Brovarone asked the Mayor and Council about being open to the possibility of using funding from the Borough to aid in the expansion, or creation of, additional classroom space  when the River Club project on W. Ft Lee Rd is completed.  The two Attorneys were at odds about the number of School Age Children will enter the district from that project. With the River Club  set to have 42 units of affordable housing, including 3 Three Bedroom units Mr. Brovarone was looking for at least a verbal agreement from the Council to be open to the possibility of aiding the School Board if needed. Mayor Kelemen offered a comment about that possibility which Mr. Brovarone accepted.
   Both Governing bodies expressed an interest in holding more joint meeting with the next taking place at a Board of Education meeting.
   During the regular Council Meeting one citizen asked the Borough to look into the Building practices of the Organization that abutted his property.

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