Councilman Arvin Amatorio Working with NJDEP to Help Homeowners Near Metzler Brook Make Upgrades to Prevent Flooding
BERGENFIELD, NJ — During last week’s meeting with representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and at Tuesday’s Council meeting, Bergenfield Councilman Arvin Amatorio proposed a plan to empower homeowners who have been impacted by flooding to invest in flood-preparedness. Under NJ laws, Metzler Brook, and the homes on either side of it fall under the jurisdiction of the NJDEP so neither the Borough of Bergenfield nor private homeowners can make renovations to their properties. Councilman Amatorio has spoken with Borough officials and DEP experts, and proposed a solution: ask the DEP to provide a comprehensive list of acceptable home improvements to homes sitting on Metzler Brook and great permits to acceptable flood reduction projects.
“When floods happened in the past, residents have asked me and the Council why they can’t build a dam, protecting barrier, or drainage system on their property. I am proposing cutting through the bureaucratic red tape here, and preventing flood damage, rather than just cleaning up after it’s too late,” said Councilman Arvin Amatorio. “Homeowners who want to build flood barriers or special drainage systems to reduce flood damage to their property should be allowed to do so, and under my proposal or a new ordinance, the Borough of Bergenfield will be an ally in helping residents improve their property values and their quality of life.”
Councilman Amatorio previously discussed this initiative last month with some homeowners who have been affected by previous Metzler Brook floods and were thrilled to hear about the possibility of being allowed to act to improve their properties. Councilman Amatorio cautions that this process will not be completed overnight, but is confident that reducing flood impacts is in everyone’s interests. He is also exploring the possibility of allowing residents to apply for partial tax abatements for flood preparation near Metzler Brook. This will encourage the homeowners to help in alleviating the problem under, of course, the strict guidelines allowed by the Borough and the NJDEP.
“I am extremely pleased that we have the NJDEP’s cooperation, and our representatives from the State Legislature, Sen. Joe Lagana, Assemblyman Chris Tully, and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain are all helping to find a long term solution on this issue,” said Amatorio.
Amatorio currently serves as the Bergenfield Council Finance Committee Chairman, where he has drafted the past two municipal budgets with 0% local tax increases. He has worked to implement shared services agreements with other towns to lower borough expenses and save residents tax dollars, as well as spearhead a Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption for veterans and/or their surviving spouses to obtain municipal property tax relief. He serves on the DPW & Parks, and Police Committees, and works as an Immigration Attorney.