Although council's actions caused nothing to officially occur, all members approved a resolution to terminate interest payments on a parking bond.
Ridgewood's five Village Council members passed a resolution to cease interest payments on the North Walnut Street parking lot bond ordinance. The vote was largely symbolic, as inaction would have produced the same result.
Village attorney Matthew Rogers explained the bond interest would automatically expire at the end of January unless council decided to roll over payments.
What the vote did accomplish was to "make people back it on the record," Rogers said.
Originally approved in 2006, the $3 million bond was funded to explore acquiring the former Town Garage property with the possibility of constructing a parking garage on the land and the adjacent, village-owned North Walnut Street lot. After deemed unsuitable for a garage, council has debated canceling the bond.
However, cutting ties isn't that simple.
Council may want to acquire the land for additional spots, as Mayor David Pfund said last night, and that is still an option. If canceled, council would need a month to introduce another ordinance, another month for a public hearing, and several more months before a potential acquisition could be finalized.
Additionally, canceling the bond outright strips funding for necessary remediation on the existing lot.
To cancel the bond, council needs a supermajority vote on an ordinance, Rogers said.
"Whatever the mechanism," Councilman Paul Aronsohn said, "we need to make a decision on the Town Garage property."
Opposing the property acquisition himself, Aronsohn voiced frustrations over the process's lengthy nature.
"We've been talking about this for months, and it has got to end—whether we cancel it or not," he said.
Speaking on parking garages in general, Councilman Patrick Mancuso concurred with Aronsohn's timeframe frustrations: "It bothers me that nothing has been decided," he said. "Let's get this done, once and for all."
If council declines to purchase the property, Deputy Mayor Keith Killion suggested canceling the ordinance and passing another one approving lot remediation.
For now, the town is not paying interest on the bond. Although nothing binding transpired at the special public meeting held in the Caucus Room, Pfund said the discourse helped moved the process forward.