A Message from the Mayor

7/08/20 - On May 6 the administration received notification from the WWRSD Business Administrator that the Lightning Detection System was deactivated at the Westwood Regional Middle School due to the ongoing construction at that site. The Washington Township parks and fields were closed at the time of the notification. When I was notified that the system was still deactivated, and not functioning at the Washington Township Schools and Parks,  I contacted the WWRSD Business Administrator. I have also posted the information on the Washington Township  website, had a Swift Reach  message sent to the residents and instructed the DMF to cover the Lightning Detection System signs at the parks and fields. Signs informing park users that the system is not functioning were also ordered. I have been in communication with the WWRSD Business Administrator on a consistent basis. He assured me this afternoon, that the system will be functional again in approximately two weeks.  When the system is operational I will have the signs uncovered, the information updated on the town’s website and have another Swift Reach message sent out.  Please continue to exercise caution when using the parks and fields especially during inclement weather.


7/07/20
As we have been enduring some rather stormy Summer weather, it was brought to my attention late last week by Councilman DeSena and several naturally concerned parents, that the lightning detection system at our fields are not functioning. After researching the reason for the system outage that many residents depend on for its reliability, I found that the main antenna, located at the Westwood Regional Middle School and shared with Westwood and Emerson, will continue to be inoperable for the foreseeable future due to the on-going construction at the school.

At this time we recommend avoiding the parks during inclement weather and if you have a smart phone, download a weather app that provides lightening detection notifications.

Signs will be placed on all lightning detection systems alerting visitors that they are out of order until further notice. I will continue to keep the residents informed as I receive updates from the school district.  

Mayor Peter Calamari


7/03/20
I want to thank the members of the Council for approving the Town Budget Monday night. This ended the need for the temporary budgets we had to operate with due to the delays caused by Covid. We now look forward to continuing moving our town forward by starting the following new and much anticipated Capital Projects:

  • A long awaited new Ladder Truck for our Volunteer Fire Department
  • The 2020 Road Improvement Program
  • New equipment for our DPW so they can continue the great work they have been doing.
  • An Energy Management System for the Library and Town Hall buildings to better control the HVAC and lighting systems in the buildings and automatically turn off when areas of the building when they are not in use, saving Gas and Electric money and use, therefore helping us be environmentally friendly.
  • Speed Limit warning and control devices around the Town.


These continued improvements, combined with our terrific residents, volunteers and professionals will continue to ensure what I have always known and continue to believe, that Washington Township is the best place to live and raise a family and is the envy of the other towns in the Pascack Valley!

Happy Independence Day to all!
Mayor Peter Calamari

6/30/20
The Township is facing building/development applications for a few potential projects along Pascack road. Please click here to view current zoning board applications and check back regularly for updates.

These matters are brought before the planning and zoning boards respectively for different phases and levels of review prior to denial or approval. The boards weigh the applicable zoning ordinances and codes as well as the Township’s master plan in making their decisions. But they also weigh another factor, HEAVILY. And that factor is input from the public.

So please, call in to the meetings and ensure your voices are heard on these projects and applications. Your opinions matter! The boards are mandated to listen to and record public comments on these projects. They can use these comments and the issues raised in making their individual and collective votes and decisions.

The nature and type of comments and opinions that are expressed can range from quality of life, traffic, property value impacts, population density, tax implication, school enrollment, emergency services impacts and many many others.

JFK once said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Now is the time to do something for your Township! Please ensure your voices are heard by the boards with regard to these applications and projects!

This is your town! Help us, to help you, to shape and guide it’s future based on YOUR wants and needs and desires.
*All meeting dates/agendas are posted on their respective pages (Zoning Board & Planing Board) as well as the online calendar.


6/28/2020

Estimated Tax Bills have been printed and mailed and should have begun arriving in residents’ mail during the last few days. As I have stated during several previous Council Meetings, Estimated Tax Bills are another unfortunate reality of the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. All levels of government, including our own local government, have been delayed and been taking extra steps to address finances in light of the ever changing circumstances of this epidemic and the financial impacts it has created. Therefore, definite amounts from both our own and other agencies, that the town collects and disseminates the taxes for, were not available in time for the Town to submit the actual amounts for the next four quarters. The Tax Collector had to create an estimated tax amount based upon their training and education and experience. This is also why there is no detailed distribution breakdown on the Estimated Bills. When the Tax Collector has the true and accurate amounts from all the agencies that receive money from your tax bill, a full detail will be provided like it always is on the actual bills. If the Council approves the budget as is ‪on Monday night‬, a residence valued at $465,000 will see a local municipal increase of $79. Please see page 9 on the accompanying budget document. (See link below)

I would like to take this time to remind residents that the town collects taxes for the Westwood Regional School District, Bergen County, the Library and the Township of Washington. The portions of the tax bills for 2019 break down as follows:
 

  • Westwood Regional School District: 64%
  • Township of Washington: 23.5%
  • County of Bergen: 11%
  • Library: 1.5%


This means the municipal services that are provided to the residents are paid for with less than 25% of the property taxes we pay.

These services include but are in no way limited to the

  • Police and Fire Department providing round the clock police and fire protection
  • the DMF providing services such as park and building and grounds maintenance and snow and leaf removal
  • the Township Clerks office
  • Tax Collectors Office
  • Administration Office
  • Municipal Court
  • Building Department
  • Code Enforcement
  • Zoning and Planning Boards
  • Recreation Department and several other departments and services.
  • Municipal tax dollars also assist the Washington Township Volunteer Ambulance Corp as well as our very own WCTV cable television network.
  • Capital and infrastructure is also paid for by the municipal portion of the property taxes.


These include:
 

  • Road Paving and Improvement Program,
  • Upcoming new Fire and Ambulance Headquarters Building
  • Town’s portion of the Washington Avenue and Pascack Road Intersection Improvement Project
  • Parks and Recreation facilities improvements as well as many others.


I am proud to assure you that myself and all the Department Heads, working with the Council, provide these services in the most cost conscious and efficient ways as possible.

Savings are sought where appropriate and cost versus benefits are heavily weighed and analyzed and debated to ensure the residents get the best balance. Best practices are followed where applicable and the highest standards of ethics and integrity are always the greatest priority.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions and concerns and ideas. I have always known that the Township’s residents are its greatest assets and make this community the shining star that it is and the best place to live and raise a family!

As always stay safe and have a happy summer!

Click here to view Introduction 2020 Budget Document: 


6/03/20 - Here we are in June. In some ways it seems like time is zipping by and in other ways it feels like it is standing still.  Thankfully, things ARE moving forward, restrictions ARE being cautiously loosened, and the weather is also trying to remember that it is June.  Let us all have faith that better days will come. 
Which brings me to the first item I would like to report on ……  

Parks and Fields
I met with members of the DPW, Police, and the Administrator yesterday. We are working on a plan to safely reopen our parks and fields. The outside timeframe to do so is the end of the month, but hopefully sooner if things fall into place before then.

Coronavirus in Wash Twp.:
As of last night, we have had 98 confirmed cases of Coronavirus among our town residents. Please continue to be mindful as you go about life with less restrictions … and assist your neighbors … and practice appropriate social distancing procedures.

Memorial Day and Parade
I hope you took time to enjoy the Virtual Memorial Day ceremony and parade, which this year also fittingly paid tribute to all the frontline workers. If not, the A block of it is available on WCTV’s YouTube channel.  It was a commendable production brought about by the dedication of our volunteers and the enthusiasm of our residents. I am quite proud of how they made sure that Covid did not stop our veterans from being honored and having a ceremony.
I am appreciative of all their work – particularly during this difficult time. 

Property Taxes
I am pleased to report that tax collections for the last quarter were close to what they normally are during a non-pandemic time.  I can only hope that may be a positive reflection of the overall financial health of twp. residents.   Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the reporting of all necessary amounts from several government agencies will be delayed.  Therefore, this year we will be mailing estimated tax bills for next quarter’s payment.

New Ambulance and Fire Department Building
Concluding a significant amount of work from both organizations and administration, as well as constant communication with the architect - I am happy to report that the bid package should be ready by the end of next week. Many thanks to the members of both the fire and ambulance departments who worked closely together on designing an attractive, efficient space that will serve the town for many years to come.   
 
DPW Services
I am sure everyone will be glad to hear that starting this week, the DPW is back to being fully staffed and has resumed the curbside debris pickup program. They are experiencing higher than usual volume this year. If they do not get to your house on the assigned day, they will get there the following day. We have identified temporary locations for the DPW department to operate from while their building is demolished and the soil underneath it remediated. I expect to have the lease and layouts of the use for the space available to present to the Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
 
Police Promotions
 
It gives me great pleasure to announce the following promotions recommended by Director Giblin and approved by me to take effect Wednesday July 1, 2020:
 
Patrol Officer Vincent Santa is promoted to the rank Corporal.
Special Officer Robert Luscombe is appointed to the rank of Police Officer.
 
Restaurants
 
We look forward to our restaurants reopening. We will help them with any special requirements they may need from the municipality.
 
Pride Month
 
June is designated in the US as National Pride Month. It is a time when we recognize the actions that many brave people have taken to eliminate the oppression of LGBTQ people and replace it with the freedom to be themselves … pride.
 
Considering the protests that are currently happening all over the world with the intent of transforming oppression into respect, we stress the need to recognize that we are all better off when we dare to understand each other and share our commonalities rather than fearing our differences.  After reviewing different Proclamations, I think the one we did last year still says the message best. Therefore, I would like to read that one into the record again this year. Click here for the proclamation.
 
In conclusion…. Be safe. Take good care of yourself.  Respect each other.  Help each other.  Seek out positivity. 
We will get through this together.   
As always, I am proud to be your mayor. 

 

5/21/20 - According to the numbers supplied by the county last night in Washington Township, we have had approximately 98 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases. We continue to update the confirmed cases number on the website a couple of times per week. The Town Website and Facebook pages contain a great deal of Covid-19 specific resources and data.
 
Town Hall continues to be closed to non-employees. However, we are waiting for the protective equipment ordered to arrive to ensure the safety to the public and employees. As soon as it arrives and is installed, Town Hall will start a gradual reopening. It will start by appointment only visits. All Town Buildings are currently and will continue to be professionally sanitized every week.
 
I am happy to announce that the Household Bulk Debris program will resume on June 1st. If you see the DPW crew out, please give them a wave to show your appreciation to them.
 
The Library, the Senior Center and all Senior activities, Municipal Court, Spring Rec Sports including the Summer Rec program remain closed. It was a tough decision for all involved after the fantastic year we had in 2019 to cancel the popular Summer Rec program for 2020. We could not adhere to the recommendations put out by the CDC. The program will be back better than ever next year.
 
All township parks and playgrounds are closed or suspended until further notice. I would like nothing better than to reopen them. However, social gatherings and contact sports are still not permitted under the Governors Executive order. The topic also came up in my conference call this week with my fellow Pascack Valley Mayors. Those that have reopened their parks are seeing many out of town people congregating and taking part in organized sports, causing their Police Departments to have to interact with people to break them up. When we are able to reopen the parks to organized sports, I am happy to announce that we will have two new basketball courts at Memorial and Gardner fields. That rehab project will take place in June.
 
The new drop box outside of Town Hall is working very well for depositing all tax payments, fees, correspondence, etc. for the Township departments.  Please do not leave cash in the mailbox. 
 
Just a reminder that the grace period for quarterly property taxes ends June 1st. Any taxes not paid by that date will incur interest from May 1st.
 
Once again, I cannot thank all of our first responders enough, both paid and volunteer, for stepping up during this crisis.
 
A great deal of our local merchants are up and running with revised hours and services. I have spoken to many of them and they appreciate your past, current, and future patronage.  Please give them your support whenever possible.    
 
As always but especially during these times, be safe and kind to each other. 
 


5/1/20 - I have consulted with the Township Police Department and Office of Emergency Management as well as the Mayor of Westwood and Superintendent of the Westwood Regional School District regarding the opening of the town parks. The decision was made to keep the parks closed until further notice. The school properties will remain closed also. The basis for the decision is as follows:

Governor Murphy's Executive Order #133 specifically prohibits and continues the closure of park facilities including picnic areas, playgrounds, exercise stations and equipment, pavilions, restrooms, and other buildings. It further continues the ban in parks of organized or contact activities or sports and gatherings of any kind. The townships parks differ from state and county parks in that, for the most part, they are specifically designed for the types of activities that are still banned by the governors directives. I realize this creates a continued inconvenience on some residents. However, I would like all to know this decision was made by placing the utmost priority on the continued health and safety of the Township of Washington and its residents.



4/14/20 - I apologize that you haven’t heard from me during the past two weeks. I had two deaths in the family during the past two weeks.

As your Mayor and fellow resident, I want to say that I am proud of our town and our citizens’ response to following the guidelines recommended by public health professionals. In Washington Township we have had approximately 72 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases.  Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and do your best to pay your respect to them by continuing to follow the social guidelines and keeping yourself, your family and the public safe. It is working. We will update the confirmed cases number on the website a couple of times per week. The Town Website and Facebook pages contain a great deal of Covid-19 specific resources and data.

Town Hall continues to be closed to non-employees. The staff in Town Hall are working in the office two days a week and remotely three days a week. The building is closed to all employees on Fridays to further provide the building with a 3-day Cooling Off Period.  All Town Buildings are being professionally sanitized every week.

The DMF staff are working staggered hours and shifts. 

I’m pleased to report that the Garden & Grass Collection program began last week as scheduled.  If you are normally scheduled for a Friday pick-up (Zone 5) – your pick-up day will now be on Thursdays. Due to variations in staffing, if the department doesn’t get to your residence on the assigned day, they will get there the next Town Hall business day.

The DMF yard, Household Bulk Debris program, the Library, the Senior Center and all Senior activities, Municipal Court, Spring Rec Sports, all township parks and playgrounds are closed or suspended until further notice. 

There is a new drop box outside of Town Hall for depositing all tax payments, fees, correspondence, etc for the Township departments.  Please do not leave cash in the mailbox. 

Our faithful first-response volunteers continue to impress me with their dedication to serve.  The Fire Department is still currently available 24 / 7 to handle their usual calls and the Ambulance Corp is still in service whenever possible.  If you should find yourself experiencing mild symptoms associated with Covid-19 please contact your healthcare provider First - before calling emergency services.  Medical practices have all necessary arrangements in place to treat you remotely without putting anyone at risk. 

On a happy note, the Easter Bunny was driven around town by the Fire Department this past Saturday April 11. I heard from many residents that it was very uplifting for the children and adults this year.

Many of our local merchants that fall within the Governor’s definition of essential business are up and running with revised hours and services.  They have taken precautions to keep both you and them safe and I’m certain they appreciate your patronage whenever possible.  There is a page on the Town Website listing the current status of many of our merchants. 

Finally, be safe and be kind to each other.  The human spirit always triumphs, and we will get through this.  I wish you all well. 



4/6/20 - This month’s report is all information relevant to the current Covid-19 Pandemic which is affecting our lives in an unprecedented way.  As your mayor and fellow resident, I want to say that I am proud of our town and our citizens’ response to following the guidelines recommended by public health professionals.  The sad news to report is that in Washington Township we have had approximately 51 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases and 5 deaths.  Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and do your best to pay your respect to them by continuing to follow the social guidelines and keeping yourself safe. 

As far as town services, here is the most current information:  The staff in Town Hall are working in the office two days a week and remotely three days a week.  This has been the routine for a couple of weeks now and it seems to be working well for everyone.  It’s keeping our employees safe and the town running effectively. As a reminder, the Town Hall building is closed to non-employees.  There is a new mail/drop box outside for depositing all tax payments, fees, correspondence, etc for the Township.  Please do not leave cash in the mail/drop box. 

All Town Buildings are being professionally sanitized every week. Town Hall is also closed to all employees on Fridays to further provide the building with a 3-day Cooling Off Period. 

Our faithful first-response volunteers continue to impress me with their dedication to serve.  The Fire Department is still currently available 24 / 7 to handle their usual calls and the Ambulance Corp is still in service whenever possible.  If you should find yourself experiencing mild symptoms associated with Covid-19 please contact your healthcare provider First - before calling emergency services.  Medical practices have all necessary arrangements in place to treat you remotely without putting anyone at risk. 

On a happy note, the Easter Bunny will be driven around town by the Fire Department this Saturday April 11 from 11am to 4pm.  While there won’t be any candy given away, there will be lots of distance greetings for people waving from their doorways. 

Onto DMF … The DMF staff are working staggered hours and shifts. It’s that time of year again and I’m pleased to report that the Garden & Grass Collection program began today as scheduled.  No excuses to not spend some quarantine time outside in your own yard getting some exercise and fresh air.   PLEASE NOTE that if you are normally scheduled for a Friday pick-up (Zone 5) – your pick-up day will now be on Thursdays.

Household Bulk Debris program has been POSTPONED until further notice due to staggered shifts and scheduling considerations. 
The DMF yard is closed until further notice. 

As is the Library, the Senior Center and all Senior activities, Municipal Court, Spring Rec Sports, All township parks and playgrounds. A reminder to everyone about social distancing yourself from others.  We all understand how trying a time this is and we are all missing our “normal” social contact.  Times like this do bring out the creativity in people and I encourage you to find new ways of interacting with friends and family that don’t violate social distancing recommendations.  Our police department would much rather come by your house to give your child a birthday shout-out than to have to ask you to disperse.  Please take what’s best for everyone into account and we will all get through this. 
 
Local businesses and merchants …….

Many of our local merchants that fall within the Governor’s definition of “essential” business are up and running with revised hours and services.  They have taken precautions to keep both you and them safe and I’m certain they appreciate your patronage whenever possible.  There is a page on the Town Website listing the current status of many of our merchants. 

Speaking of the Town Website – it contains a great deal of Covid-19 specific resources and data.  In addition to what I’ve mentioned, there are links to county and state websites where you can obtain accurate up-to-date information and notices. 

Finally, be safe and be kind.  The human spirit always triumphs, and we will get through this.  I wish you all well. 
 

 
3/25/20 -  I hope everyone is doing well during these trying times. I am proud to report that I have heard from many people since the start of this crisis, and I can say that our residents are truly the best! Many are reaching out to their neighbors in need and offering help in any way possible while maintaining their best CDC practices and keeping social distance. I’ve seen many examples of people helping people on some of the Facebook pages that our Town residents put information out on.
 
I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure the residents that myself and the administrator, as well as the heads of the emergency services, office of emergency management, and all Town employees are in constant communication with one another and our counterparts at the county and state level. All appropriate measures are being implemented to manage the township through this crisis. As of this moment we have 9 confirmed cases and unfortunately 1 fatality in Washington Township. While I am realistic that this number may continue to rise, I will hope and pray with all of you that it will be minimal and that those directly affected will be ok.
 
We will continue to update the Townships information sources. So please consult the townships website and Facebook pages for the most updated information. We are making use of the Swiftreach telephone, text and email service to disseminate more information. If you aren’t signed up for this service, please go to the townships website and sign up. 
 
You can reach out to me any time through my email address with any questions or concerns you may have.
 
Stay safe! Practice social distancing! Stay calm and remember we will get through this together!
 


 

3/13/20 - The safety of our residents is our top priority and a declaration of a National Emergency regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a matter that we are taking very seriously here in Washington Township.

We have been consistently meeting to educate our staff as well as to carefully receive, discuss and implement state mandated instructions.

The current state of emergency and health crisis facing our nation has led us to the following changes which went into effect at 4PM on March 13th and until further notice:

  • The municipal building is closed to the public. However, municipal functions will still be operational and borough employees will be available via phone or email.
  • All Township parks and fields will be closed to organized and non-organized sporting and private events.
  • All Child and Senior Recreation programs are cancelled until further notice.
  • The Township Library will be closed until further notice.
  • Please check with your House of Worship regarding potential cancelling of services.
  • For additional and updated information please visit the Township website at www.twpofwashington.us.


WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR COMMUNITY AND ITS FIRST RESPONDERS FROM THE FURTHER SPREAD OF Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus spreads through contact with respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. You should be using the same prevention methods as you would to avoid a common cold or the flu. The best ways to protect yourself include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Try to keep 6 feet away.
  • Stay home from school or work when you are sick.


Because it is still cold and flu season urgent care centers continue to see a significant number of patients with symptoms like fever, cough and body aches. Right now, if you’re feeling ill, it is still much more likely to be a cold or the flu rather than the coronavirus. As with the flu, most people who get coronavirus only experience mild viral symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle pain or weakness, and fatigue, and will experience a complete recovery.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS

If you are in respiratory distress, call 911. If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms of respiratory infection, call Your primary care physician. Do not call for an emergency transport.

We encourage residents to remain calm, kind and mindful to others in need (check on your elderly neighbors) and use the following resources from the New Jersey and New York Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare and prevent the spread of infection.

NJ Department of Health:
• 24-hour public hotline: 1-800-222-1222
• Website: https://www.nj.gov/health/…/topics/covid2019_resources.shtml

NY Department of Health:
• Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
• Website: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Your cooperation at this time is imperative while we manage to get through this crisis together.

As always, I encourage you to reach out to my office and staff if you have any questions or concerns and remember that kindness and common sense go a long way. I wish all township residents the very best in health, a positive attitude and a strong sense of community as we get through this together!

Sincerely,
Mayor Peter Calamari
mayor@twpofwashington.us