By Lisa Martone
The North Arlington Library repairs saga continued at the Oct. 19 council meeting – again, without a resolution.
A bond ordinance to authorize various improvements to the library for $35,000, was voted down by a majority of the council.
The ordinance, which was introduced by Councilman Patrick Roche and second by Councilman Jim Ferriero, was defeated by the remaining council members, minus Mayor Russell Pitman who was absent from the meeting.
Councilman Steve Tanelli voiced his opinion on the issue, stating that the remaining improvements, other than the light bulbs, which have already been replaced, could wait until the money could be budgeted for properly.
“This is not a safety issue, and this is not a need ä it is a want,” Tanelli said. “There is no big problem here and the repairs can wait until the money is budgeted.”
Tanelli called Stephen Higgins, buildings and ground supervisor, before the council, to explain the repairs that have already been made.
“I do agree that the fixtures are outdated and not energy efficient at all, but there is no real need to fix these fixture right now,” Higgins said. “It is just a communication problem. If there are lights, out call me and I will come and fix them.”
Roche spoke up, saying those are not the only problems that need to be addressed – and that the request for funds came from the Library Director Maria Puszkar.
Puszkar said earlier this month that since the fixtures are old, the lights keep going out.
She added that the carpets also need cleaning, and that there are water leaks in the basement.
Tanelli, however, insists the remaining improvements and replacing of fixtures is something that should wait until next years’ buildings and grounds budget is appropriated.
“Meanwhile, the lights will stay out until we make a decision,” Tanelli said. “we can do now is maintain them while we wait for the budget.”
Pitman – who said he missed the meeting because he was caught in traffic – disapproved of the vote, claiming that if the librarian didn’t feel there was an extreme need for repairs, she would not have come to the council in July asking for funds.
“Maybe these people who think the lights are fine do not use the library,” Pitman said. “If it wasn’t something that needed to be done, this would not be an issue. This is going nowhere, and now they want to wait until January for the new budget? It is crazy.”