Tuesday's election may have been the last thing on many River Dell residents minds, but nonetheless, many took to the polls for what was largely an uncontested set of ballots. This year only the River Edge council and Oradell seat on the Regional Board of Education were contested. River Edge voters were also asked on a separate ballot question if they would want to renew the Open Space Trust Fund.
The Republican majority was disrupted as challenger Vito Acquafredda reclaimed a seat for the Democrats to create a three-three split as he ousted Council President Paul Cordts by 396 votes. Acquafredda garnered 2,415 votes with Cordts trailing with 2,019.
Acquafredda, who has served on the Regional Board of Education since 2002, will now step down from that position to take the oath of office in January. The Italian immigrant has been a licensed architect in New York (1983) and New Jersey (1994) along with serving as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (1994-2010) and the Planning Board (2012).
Incumbent Anthony Cappola picked up 2,041 votes to retain his seat for the next three years. He was appointed to council in june 2012 to replace Johnny Porco who resigned over the summer. The former educator and published author runs his own entertainment company.
Local businessman Cordts was elected in 2009 and serves on the River Edge Environmental Committeem is the liason to the Department of Public Works and is a member of the Sewer Sub-Committee.
Board of Education
Incumbents Gyuchang Sim, Colin Busteed and Wendy Walker all retain their seats on the elementary school district board of education.
They each received 806, 1,095, and 1,412 votes respectively.
Joeseph Manzelli and Claudia O'Neill ran unopposed for the River Edge seats on the Regional Board of Education. They garnered 1,243 and 1,486 votes each.
After defeating the Open Space Trust Fund ballot question last year, residents had a change of heart and restored the funding. This year, the fund was passed with 1,503 votes with 1,434 in opposition.
The Trust Fund allows for one cent per each $100 of a homeowners taxbill to be set aside for the preserveration of open space in the borough.
The Open Space Trust Fund was voted down last November 1,136 to 1,013 after a portion of the funding had been used for the two prior years to cover the salary and wages of three DPW workers who oversee the maintenace of the parks.
Running unopposed current councilmembers James Koth and Donna Alonso were reelected to their seats by 2,174 and 2,033 votes.
Alonso, the Business Administrator, Alpine School District, will now enter her third term on the governing body. She has served as Chair of the Finance, Administration and Ordinance Committees, has served on the Library and Planning Boards, and has been Council liaison to the Shade Tree, Environmental, Beautification, Historic and Recreation Committees. She has been appointed as Insurance Commissioner for the past six years.
Koth was first elected to the council in the 2009 election. This hometown boy is a product of both the Oradell Public and River Dell school systems as well as volunteering as a third generation firefighter in town.
He is the Vice President of a New York State Public Benefit Corporation with focused responsibility in Manhattan managing the day to day operations of newly created public space and amenities on a formerly industrial waterfront.
On the council level, he is the Committee Chairperson for Police and Emergency Management; Committee member of Library, Insurance and Ordinances, Administration, Regional School Funding, Economic Development, Communications & Technlogy; and liaison to Education and Drug Alliance.
Board of Education
In the contested race for Roger Tashjian's Oradell seat on the Regional Board of Education, Patrick Gallagher beat out opponent Michael Gardner - 1,178 votes to 955.
Gallagher, is a special education teacher in the Bergenfield School district. Raised in the borough he is a volunteer with the River Dell Blackhawks, Oradell Little League and St. Joe's Track.
Gardner served with the Oradell Board of Education for five years, spending three of them as the board’s president. He was then appointed to the Regional BOE in 2010 but then ousted by Paul Barnes during the November election that year. He is the General Manager of Labor Relations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Incumbents Katherine Norian and Christine Robertson will both resume their seats after an uncontested race by votes of 1,016 and 1,106. Former borough attorney Andrew Oddo earned 1,179 votes and will replace Louis Ferrante, who opted to not run this November.
All results are pending the review of provisional and mail-in ballots, which are not expected to be finalized until early next week.
There are 5,784 registered voters in Oradell and 7,001 in River Edge.