Tubs of Acid, Sign Law, Tax Revaluations Top This Week's News

Here's a look at the past week in Westwood, Washington Township and Hillsdale.

Four containers of hydrochloric acid were dropped around Westwood Friday afternoon, according to Fire Chief Jaymee Hodges.

Leaking acid turned the asphalt yellow at the intersection of Lafayette Avenue, Ridgewood Road and Forest Avenue. The roads were closed as officials cleaned the scene.

Members of the Bergen County HazMat team, along with the Westwood Fire Department, DPW and Police Department responded to the scene. Officials used baking soda to neutralize the acid before removing it to the .

A group of Washington Township business owners seeking to draw more customers are hoping to spruce up their storefronts with eye-catching signs, but a local ordinance mandates most signs must be uniform.

According to Ada Gazzillo of , she and her husband Vincent had planned to write "Trattoria" in red letters after getting permission from the landlord. They later had to take the offending word down because it violated an ordinance limiting all signs in the to one color. The restaurant is currently just labeled "Vincent's."

"I'm frustrated," Gazzillo said. "No one is coming to the strip mall."

Washington Township may be undergoing a property tax revaluation within the next year.

This year, 273 township residents appealed their taxes, according to Tax Assessor Ray Damiano. County officials heard appeals during a hearing July 12, though they expect to take at least 12 weeks before they have decisions.

Township officials discussed the possibility of having a re-evaluation performed during their meeting this week. According to Township Attorney Kenneth Poller, the process will take about a year to complete and needs to be done by October 1 of the year before, so the change won't be able to take effect until 2014 at the earliest.

Shared dispatching is still an option for Westwood and Washington Township to save money, according to local officials.

Washington Township councilmen said at their meeting this week they were still open to investigating a proposal from Westwood Mayor John Birkner that the towns share emergency dispatching services. Birkner in March and sent a proposal to township officials in April, but they had not yet given an official response because they wanted to know more about the capital costs associated with the plan.

According to a letter from Westwood Police Chief Frank Regino to the members of the Westwood Borough Police Committee, a test run with shared dispatching for the two towns "was relatively quiet." Dispatchers fielded about 24 calls during the eight-hour shift, about half of which were about , Regino wrote.

A plan to re-sod may be delayed because the Washington Township Falcons youth football teams will need the field for practice starting next week.

The council voted 4-1 to appropriate funds for the project during their meeting Monday.

Officials had previously said they wanted to ensure the field was because of netting from old sod which sticks up from its surface.

"The field is horrendous," Councilman Glenn Beckmeyer said.

Because the work cannot be performed while the field is in use, township officials set a tentative start date of October 29 for the project, which will be after the end of the season if the teams do not make the playoffs.

Friday at 4 p.m. is the deadline for any interested candidates to apply for a police officer position with the Hillsdale Police Department.

The Hillsdale Council voted to search for a new officer at their last meeting because several officers have recently left for retirement or other positions. Recently, Jeff Angermeyer left the department for a job with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

When opens next year, it will include a fresh set of signs designed to quickly show visitors the way to the emergency room.

The Westwood Planning Board unanimously approved a plan for a set of new signs during their meeting Thursday. Four existing monument signs will remain in the same location, but receive a facelift and another will be added to a different location. One of the existing signs may later be removed or shrunk, as needed.

There will also be two 10-square-foot signs over the front and rear entrances of the hospital and a "primary sign" in front designed to let drivers know the hospital is there.

in Westwood is putting on a new face to improve their visibility in the community.

The Westwood Planning Board unanimously approved a plan from the church to replace their two existing signs with one new one during their meeting Thursday.


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