Council OKs Bonds, Zoning Ordinance


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At tits Monday, August 15, meeting, the Town Council voted to approve four bond ordinances and the zoning ordinance that is the result of Verona’s new master plan.

The vote on the zoning document capped nearly six years of work by the Verona Planning Board, attorney Greg Mascera and Jason Kasler, the land-use consultant who has been working with Verona on the changes. “We are confident that this document will work,” said Mascera. Mayor Frank Sapienza praised all of those who worked on the effort, which often involved going lot by lot across town to examine land use in Verona. “This has been an incredible job by an incredible group of people,” Sapienza said, singling out former Planning Board chairman Steve Janett, current chair Fred Sambataro, and vice-chair Karen Pensiero.

The bond ordinances that were approved cover improvements to the Verona Pool, our sewer and water systems and general capital improvements, and will  result in the issuance of $1,382,000 in debt. The 5% down payment on the debt had already been included in this year’s budget. All but one of the proposed bonds–the $413,000 ordinance for general capital improvements–would be repaid through user fees and not property taxes. In its discussion before the vote, the Council noted that Verona will not be raising water or sewer rates and that the Verona Pool, which has generally raised membership rates every two to three years, had a modest rate increase in 2011.

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The Council also sought to address some of the questions that had been raised by residents over the general capital improvements ordinance, which includes work to the basketball court on the field at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School and maintenance equipment that will be used on school fields. Council members indicated that they felt the expenditures were appropriate because, while the work would be on Board of Education property, town residents use the fields and court extensively.  Town Manager Joe Martin said it is a “smart move” for the town to partner with the BoE on maintenance and projects because it can save taxpayers money. He noted that, while the BoE purchased the materials that are being used in the bathrooms at Laning Avenue School this summer, the town’s Building & Grounds department is doing the renovations. Martin also held out the possibility that some of the equipment that will be purchased under the bond ordinances could be rented out to neighboring towns.

In his report before the ordinances were voted on, Martin said that Verona had recently refinanced $5.6 million in short-term debt, at 0.617%. Four bidders vied for the refinancing, which prompted Martin to note some towns in New Jersey have received no bids at all at their auctions.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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