Borough News Room

Borough of Pompton Lakes Achieves Prestigious Silver Level Certification Through Sustainable Jersey

Among 18 Municipalities to Reach Silver

POMPTON LAKES, N.J. — The Borough of Pompton Lakes has earned Silver Certification from Sustainable Jersey for 2020, the organization announced this week. It is one of 55 municipalities across the state that were certified this year, and one of 18 to achieve Silver Certification, according to Sustainable Jersey.

To achieve Silver Certification, a municipality must score at least 350 points. Pompton Lakeslogo-sj-2020 had 370. A total of 457 of New Jersey's 565 municipalities are engaged in the certification program. 

The Borough of Pompton Lakes earned points through specific actions such as communications and public information, local economy and business, pedestrian and bicycle safety, complete streets, safe routes to schools, tree maintenance and planting, flood mitigation activities, and many more. 

Noteworthy projects that put Pompton Lakes over the silver threshold include the adoption of a Complete Streets Policy, which was passed in 2020, buy local outreach and marketing, which is performed by the Pompton Lakes Business Improvement District, and various recycling education and compliance activities, which is managed by the Public Works Department.  Programs like plastic film recycling and prescription drug drop off also helped the Borough reach silver status.  

Towns were certified based on how they performed in areas such as improving energy efficiency, health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies, protecting natural resources and advancing the arts.

"Reaching Silver Certification for Sustainable Jersey is a significant achievement for Pompton Lakes, and the culmination of an effort that began soon after we first reached Bronze level in 2018", said Council President and Green Team Liaison Erik DeLine. "We are 1 of only 64 municipalities in the state who are currently certified at this level. It is a demonstration of our community’s dedication in being a more resilient and sustainable community. It could not have been accomplished without the work and support of our Mayor and Council, the Borough’s Public Information Officer Michael Carelli, the Borough’s Administration and Departments, and the volunteers who serve on our Boards and Committees." 

Sustainable Jersey provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability initiatives. The program culminates in a certification award to municipalities and schools that have documented meeting a set of standards. Sustainable Jersey participants have successfully implemented and documented over 16,500 sustainability actions.

Over $5.6 million in grants have been provided by Sustainable Jersey to towns, school districts and schools for community-based projects that create healthy and sustainable communities in New Jersey.

Meet Elizabeth Brandsness: Pompton Lakes Borough Clerk/Deputy Borough Administrator

Every day, like clockwork, residents arrive at or call her office with numerous questions about a variety of topics,Liz Brandsness - 2021 requests for information, and solutions to problems.

Elizabeth Brandsness is Pompton Lakes’ Borough Clerk and Deputy Borough Administrator, the person you are most likely to see when you arrive at the Borough Hall, and the voice you are most likely to hear greeting you on the telephone. She manages to field the many calls every day and sees to it that the callers are served efficiently and effectively.

She also serves as the secretary for the Mayor and Borough Council by attending all their meetings. Her job there is to reduce the proceedings to the all-important minutes which are then reviewed, approved, and archived according to State law. Creating the minutes and preserving the Borough history is the centerpiece of her job. The Borough Clerk serves as the official record keeper and is the election official. On any given day, she may have contact with county, state, or federal agencies.   

Brandsness also coordinates the popular Borough Calendar and Information Guide. She is responsible for gathering all of the important meeting dates, garbage and recycling collections, and community events, and putting it in an all-inclusive document for the residents. The Borough Calendar keeps the residents informed and is much appreciated by many. 

She came to work for the municipal government of Pompton Lakes in November of 2001, and since then has made her career working here, rising from Clerical Assistant to her current position of Borough Clerk by taking state-mandated courses and passing the state examination in the spring of 2005.  She was appointed to the position of Borough Clerk in May of 2007.  Her position requires she take part in continuing education provided by the State of New Jersey. 

Brandsness was also appointed as the Borough’s Deputy Administrator in 2008, a position which she spends her time coordinating business activities with Borough Administrator Kevin Boyle and assuring documents are processed.   Brandsness also serves as the Community Rating System Coordinator, appointed in 2012, and was instrumental in the Borough achieving a Class 5 accreditation.       

In dealing with the public, she uses her skills to listen, deals with frustration while being respectful, answering questions, disseminating information and pointing visitors and callers in the right direction. She says the interaction and providing assistance to the public is something she enjoys and values.  

Over the years, Brandsness has experienced the impact of technology and, like many government employees, and has had to adapt to new methods of managing the business of this municipality of nearly 12,000 residents. 

“For me, being the Municipal Clerk is not just a job, it is personal. Pompton Lakes is a giving community that unites in good times and difficult times. I have experienced the impact and power of the many volunteers. It is an honor to serve in the community I call home” she says. “That's why so many stay here or long to return. The schools, the recreation programs, and the residents of Pompton Lakes all make it a wonderful place to live in and work for."

This story was written by newsletter correspondent Michael Carelli.

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill Announces Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition 'Drug Free Communities' Grant Award

POMPTON LAKES, NJ -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) announced $340,417 in federal grants for the Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition. The community engagement grants are funded by the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Kids deserve to grow up in an environment that supports good choices, and we are all better off when our youth have the tools and education they need to avoid drugs,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Thank you to the Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition for your important work, and congratulations on earning this federal support.”

The Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition builds and strengthens community collaboration in support of local efforts that foster a drug free lifestyle among youth and create a healthy community. The Coalition will use this grant by implementing programs and campaigns like Sticker Shock, Parents Who Host Lose the Most, Talk. They Hear You., Project Alert, Keep a Clear Mind, and Don't Get Vaped In.

“This grant is very important to our community,” said Pompton Lakes Mayor Michael Serra. “This funding helps us educate and react to drug and alcohol concerns at an early age to help combat future problems with youth substance74445746_2364584187126549_2193273265005264896_o abuse.”

The Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition was created to prevent underage drinking and marijuana use among local youth. This group of local citizens interview, survey, and collect specific information about Pompton Lakes and collaborate with various community groups to foster prevention.

“The Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition is extremely grateful to be awarded continuation with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program,” said Ashley Lucyk, the Pompton Lakes Municipal Alliance Coordinator, who leads the grant. “This next phase of funding will help us to bring new programming to our local youth and community members. This grant allows us to foster drug free lifestyles and create change, and we are thrilled to continue these efforts.”

The DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use. Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local substance use problems.

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.

Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown to be Conducted Locally as Part of Statewide Year End Campaign

Pompton Lakes, N.J. — Law enforcement officials from Pompton Lakes will be cracking down on drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs as part of the annual end of year “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” statewide campaign. 

Beginning December 4, 2020 and continuing through January 1, 2021, local and state law enforcement officials will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

The national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” effort endeavors to raise awareness about tDrive Sober or Get Pulled Overhe dangers of impaired driving through a combination of high-visibility enforcement and public education. During the last five years New Jersey has experienced more than 36,000 alcohol involved crashes resulting in 648 fatalities. This is a critical law enforcement program that can save lives during a time of the year when social gatherings with alcohol increase the risk of impaired driving.

Last year, 22% of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey were alcohol-related. Nationally, 10,511 people died in 2018 in drunk driving crashes. The societal cost associated with these crashes is estimated to be $44 billion annually. 

Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2020 Year End Holiday Crackdown offer the following advice for the holiday season:

  • Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home. 
  • Spend the night where the activity or party is held.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.  
  • Always buckle-up, every ride. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver. 
  • If you are intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive or escort you to your doorstep.
  • Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.

Welcome to Pompton Lakes -- Randy's Homemade Ice Cream

POMPTON LAKES, NJ - August 30, 2020 - Randy's Homemade Ice Cream has officially opened in the heart of Screenshot (19)Downtown, located at 322 Wanaque Avenue, Suite D, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442.

The shop serves premium homemade ice cream, always with their signature animal cracker topping on each cup. 

Randy's offers a variety of fresh, homemade flavors such as mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream, and Madagascar Vanilla. 

Pompton Lakes Mayor Michael Serra welcomed Randy's to Downtown Pompton Lakes. "It is great to see a new business come into town under such difficult times. Myself and all our residents wish him the best of luck. I know I will be in for a cone as soon as I have the chance", said Mayor Serra.  

Councilman and Borough Liaison to the Business Improvement District William Baig commented, "I'd like to welcome Randy's Ice Cream to downtown Pompton Lakes. As a new business in town customers are reporting a business with a great atmosphere and staff and Awesome diary fresh ice cream."  

Business Hours are Tuesday through Friday 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sunday's 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and closed on Monday's. 

Welcome to Pompton Lakes!


Getting Started with Home Composting: Borough of Pompton Lakes Shares Tips and Resources

POMPTON LAKES, NJ — May 23, 2020 – The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day was held on April 22, but the Borough of Pompton Lakes encourages people to celebrate Earth Day every day. 

open-composterAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food scraps and yard waste make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away. Composting has these benefits:

  • It keeps biodegradable materials out of landfills — where they release methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s stronger than carbon dioxide and is a major contributor to climate change. All organic matter eventually decomposes — but in a landfill it does so without oxygen. A head of lettuce, for example, takes 25 years to decompose in a landfill. Composting speeds the process by providing the ideal decomposition environment, reducing waste and methane.
  • It creates nutrient-dense organic material that enriches soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Adding compost to soil helps retain moisture, suppress plant diseases and pests, and grow healthier plants and more nutritious food.

For home composting, the recommended recipe is creating a compost pile with an equal amount of "browns" to "greens."

  • Browns are dead leaves; branches, twigs and other wood material; paper; hay and straw;
  • Greens are pesticide-free fresh grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds

Alternate layers and moisten materials as they are added. The browns provide carbon for your compost, the greens provide nitrogen, and the moisture helps break down the organic matter. Smaller pieces will break down more quickly, so tear or cut up larger pieces. Research different types of compost bins online to see what works for your needs and available space.

What to Compost:

Compostable items include: 

  • Coffee grounds and paper filters;
  • Cotton and Wool Rags;
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint;
  • Eggshells;
  • Fireplace ashes;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Grass clippings;
  • Hair and fur;
  • Hay and straw;
  • Houseplants;
  • Leaves;
  • Nut shells;
  • Sawdust;
  • Shredded newspaper;
  • Tea bags;
  • Wood chips;
  • Yard trimmings

What Not to Compost:

Keep these 8 things out of your compost — for your own health and the health of your plants, and to prevent odor problems and pests:

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs — Release substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash — Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs — Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants — Might infect other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils (whether animal- or vegetable-based) — Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps — Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter) — Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides — Might kill beneficial composting organisms

Learn More:

To learn more about home composting, visit epa.gov/recycle/composting-home or the Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station website. For questions, you can also email the Pompton Lakes Environmental Protection Committee at environmentalcommittee@pomptonlakes-NJ.gov.