West Milford Township Council approves $25,000 for Wallisch repairs

West Milford. Efforts to preserve West Milford’s historic buildings and properties are supported by Mayor Michele Dale and the Township of West Milford Council.

| 30 Sep 2020 | 09:35

The Township of West Milford Council recently honored a request by Friends of Wallisch for $25,000 for repairs needed to preserve the Wallisch homestead.

The local officials said there will also be money available for work needed at the West Milford Museum.

The request for the money to do work at the Wallisch property on Lincoln Avenue was made by Ron Perez of Eisenhower Drive, representing the Friends of Wallisch group, at a recent council meeting. He spoke about improvements and future plans at the historic homestead and asked for $25,000 from the Open Space Fund to do needed work.

The township council was provided information in their packets about the amount of money available in the Open Space Account.

Mayor Michele Dale reported that the Heritage Committee had determined that the roof at the West Milford Museum on Macopin Road needs to be replaced within the next two years and the building, originally a church that became the first town hall, needs to be painted.

She said that although no actual quotes are available it is estimated it will cost approximately $40,000 for a new museum roof. Preparation for painting the museum building and the actual painting of it was estimated at about $20,000.

Councilman Warren Gross asked if funds could be accessed from more than one account.

Asked for an opinion, Township Attorney Fred Semrau said money for projects paid for through the Open Space Funding must fit the definition for a project to receive that money.

Dale said there is plenty of money in both accounts to cover both projects. She believes funds from the account should be used proactively to fix and preserve valuables in the township.

Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg made the motion to award to $25,000 to the Friends of Wallisch; Kevin Goodsir seconded the motion and the council approved it.

The Open Space Tax was originally approved by voters in 2000 and was estimated to bring about $150,000 annually at a cost of about $13 to the average taxpayer. That figure, of course changes annually depending on budget figures. It was originally used for land conservation by property acquisition with additional uses added when the law was amended in 2014.