Press coverage of town news continues to decline as witnessed by the slow demise of the Passaic Valley Today and the diminished local news coverage in the Herald News.
The key point, with respect to the loss of media coverage, is that our elected officials should have an obligation to keep the public informed. This can be accomplished by posting information on the town’s web site and by reinstituting the posting and airing of video recordings of Council meetings on cable TV . The latter has not been done since May 9, 2016. In addition, the township should consider live-streaming Council meetings as many other communities do.
Therefore, in an effort to fill the news media gap and keep the public informed this blog will highlight some of the issues discussed at the July 24th Little Falls Town Council meeting.
I. American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance:
Mayor Damiano announced that the Council’s Transportation Committee will address the issue of the township’s ADA compliance.
ADA compliance was brought to the Council’s attention at its July 10th meetings when a Little Falls resident raised concerns about accessibility for people with disabilities to events and facilities. The resident cited issues at the annual July 4th Street Fair on Main Street and with the Alliance for a Better Community’s summer concerts in Memorial Park, as well as access to the second floor of the Little Falls’ Public Library.
ADA concerns raised during the July 24th Council meeting included:
– The status of the installation of a ramp at Inwood Park that would allow people with disabilities to have barrier free access to the Park’s baseball field and playground.
– Whether there should be a handicap parking space at the Great Notch Firehouse since this location is used for community events and is an election day voting site.
– Whether there should be a designated handicap parking space at the former Great Notch train station which still serves as a NJ Transit bus stop.
– Whether there should be a designated handicap parking space in front of the Civic Center which has a ramp to facilitate entry.
Residents who have ADA concerns should contact the Transportation Committee chair Councilperson Maria Cordonnier.
II. Town Council Committees:
In response to a public comment about whether the public can attend meetings of Council Committees, i.e. the IT Committee, the Wildlife Committee, the Transportation Committee, etc., it was stated that the public can attend these meetings, but only as a non-participant observer.
When questioned about posting all committee meeting dates and committee meeting minutes on the town’s web site the town’s attorney replied that this is not required.
Moving forward, in the interest of transparency and open government,
the public should have access to this information via postings on the town’s web site.
III. Restaurant Ratings:
In response to a public comment regarding the availability of health department inspection reports for Little Falls restaurants, since the reports are no longer posted on the town’s web site, the Council suggested that individuals seeking current restaurant reports/ratings should contact the Town Clerk Cynthia Kraus at 973-256-0170.
IV. Citizen Involvement:
The schedule of upcoming Council meetings is posted on the township’s web site calendar.
At each Council meeting the public has two opportunities to comment with respect to the meeting’s agenda items and with concerns in general.
Little Falls residents are urged to attend Council meetings to express their concerns and to witness their government in action.