Ridgewood December 23, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • Page 5 Council approves Schedler purchase, water increase by John Koster The Ridgewood Village Council last week approved the purchase of the Schedler property, and gave the go-ahead to the Ridgewood Water Company’s 21 percent rate increase. Ridgewood Water Company Director Frank Moritz said he had already conferred with Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuren and Glen Rock Borough Administrator Lenora Benjamin about the water rate increase, and that Midland Park and Wyckoff had not commented. “The only appeal process is here,” Moritz said of the Ridgewood Council Chamber. Ridgewood supplies water to the Village of Ridgewood, the Boroughs of Glen Rock and Midland Park, and the Township of Wyckoff. The company also supplies testing services to a number of other communities on a fee-paid basis. The Ridgewood Water Company has administrative offices in Ridgewood, technical offices in Midland Park, and a number of wells in Wyckoff and in Ridgewood. The rate increase is seen as adding about $300 a year to the expenses of the average customer. Boyd Loving and Roger Weigand, the only two citizens who attended the Ridgewood Council meeting on Dec. 14, questioned aspects of the Schedler purchase, though they did not oppose the action. Ridgewood obtained $1 million from Bergen County Open Space to buy the second-growth woodland with a single house for eventual development as a recreation area. Councilman Patrick Mancuso said last week that another $600,000 now appeared probable. The remainder of the $2.7-million purchase price was bonded. Mancuso also thanked the 30 citizen volunteers who helped council members to study and consider the purchase of the Schedler property. Loving noted that Ridgewood had gone about $100,000 over the assessed value of the Schedler property and asked if this was a wise precedent. “I applaud you for adding more open space to the community. I am a user of parks, but I just question whether we did the right thing by paying over assessed value,” Loving said. He noted that the present housing market would not lead to a great deal of competition for the 2.4-acre site. Deputy Mayor Keith Killion, who chaired the meeting, confirmed Loving’s inference that the price had to stay competitive, and referred the question to Village Attorney Matt Rogers, who handled the day-to-day details of the negotiation. Schweinfurth Florist Wishes You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 85 HILLSIDE AVENUE, MIDLAND PARK 201-444-4760 • 201-445-1164 Continuing Our Tradition of Quality and Service Rogers pointed out that there was a difference of about two percent between “assessed valuation” and “fair market price” in Ridgewood at present, and that the actual perceived surplus in payment would have been considerably less than $100,000. Weigand asked if the existing house on the Schedler property might be restored and rented to provide revenue until the land, or some of it, is developed for recreation purposes. “In my opinion it isn’t worth it, but certainly we will discuss it,” Killion said. “My understanding is that the house is in pretty bad shape.” The Schedler property was an estate left by the owner with a first option to Ridgewood to buy the land, after which the land was to be sold to the highest bidder and the money donated to charity. Council members decided to buy the land because of Ridgewood’s need for more recreation fields, and to keep it out of the hands of developers who might put up more cluster housing in an area on the east side of Route 17 not suited for that sort of thing. Killion, in particular, has said with the concurrence of the council that the recreation aspects of the property should not be developed until a safe pedestrian access is provided from the section of Ridgewood around the municipal complex and Ridgewood High School and both of the middle schools. 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