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Mayor William J. Torre
Annual Message

[Mayor's Corner]

January 1, 2002

Happy New Year and Welcome to our 2002 reorganization meeting and my State of the Borough Address .

It is the Mayor’s responsibility to address the residents annually to give a report on the state of our borough.

Summing up the past years activities in 40 minutes is indeed challenging because Hasbrouck Heights is such an active and thriving community.

First and foremost I want to congratulate Councilman Garrett Pepe and Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro on their reelection and look forward to working with them on the council this year.

2001 was a successful and productive year for the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights. Like any successful entity, it takes a team effort. In our case I thank the Council for their hard work, dedication and commitment in making Hasbrouck Heights a great place to live, work and raise a family.

I also want to especially thank Michael Kronyak, our borough administrator for his tireless efforts in the thorough and efficient running of our borough and his masterful handling of the additional responsibilities stemming from the municipal building fire.

2001 was a very busy year for the mayor and council some of the highlights were:

We opposed Teterboro AP expansion and joined the Teterboro coalition-Councilwoman Verrastro as our liaison to the Coalition has done a great job advocating our boroughs case against the airport.

We opposed Cable rate hikes to The Board of Public Utilities and to Cable Vision directly.

We opposed development of the Curtis Wright tract in Wood Ridge and will continue to do so.

We received an $180,000 grant through the efforts of Assemblywoman Rose Heck for communications upgrades for the Police and Fire departments.

We received anther $150,000 grant from Assemblywoman Rose Heck for a new ambulance which we will receive this spring.

We received $30,000.00 grant from Community Development for barrier free curbs.

We received $670,000.00 Grant for the new library again through the direct efforts of Assemblywoman Rose Heck

We received a $140,000.00 New Jersey State Grant for curb/sidewalk and repaving of Ottawa Avenue from Burton Avenue to Route 17 which is now under construction.

We received a $445,000.00 Leg. Grant from Assemblywoman Rose Heck  for Police/Fire repeater system, pistol range, a new 4-wheel drive vehicle and park improvements.

In addition to providing 911 coverage to Teterboro in 2001, we now to provide 911 coverage to Wood Ridge.

We expanded the Tax Assessors office with South Hackensack to include Rochelle Park. Hasbrouck Heights leads the way in creating joint offices to make government more efficient

A new Litter Vacuum Machine was purchased for use by the DPW to keep Hasbrouck Heights clean.

A new Pumper Truck was purchased to replace a 25 year old truck to be delivered this spring. Many thanks to Commissioner John Wassberg and the truck committee for making this new truck a reality.

Over 3 miles of streets were resurfaced in 2001. - Wood Street, Cleveland Avenue from Terrace to the Boulevard, Kipp Avenue from the Boulevard to Wood Street, Longview Avenue and Collins Avenue from Rt. 46 to Coolidge Avenue. We also received a NJ State Grant for repaving Ottawa Avenue from Rt. 17 to Burton Avenue which will be completed in 2002, Kipp Avenue from the Boulevard to Terrace and Hamilton Avenue from the Boulevard to Terrace.

We have streamlined government by consolidating the Zoning Board of Adjustment into the Planning Board. The Department of Welfare was consolidated into the Bergen County Social Services Agency, These consolidations will eliminate redundancy and save taxpayer dollars. Many thanks to Lee Kulilowski for her many years of service to the residents of Hasbrouck Heights.  I would also like to acknowledge the present and past members of the Welfare Board for their unselfish service to the borough.

The Master Plan being finalized and Boulevard Study will be completed this year.

During 2001, ordinances were passed to permit beer and wine consumption on the Boulevard which we hope will encourage more business on the Boulevard.

Thanksgiving Day Parade was a huge success thanks to Tom Meile, who also started Farmers Market and serves on library Board.

The Municipal Tax Rate in 2001 went down 1.7 cents from prior year. Over the last 7 years taxes rose less than 1%.  More simply put, the municipal taxes on the average house increased $80.00 since 1994!

Surplus or profit from operations generated last year was again approximately $1 million dollars which will be used to offset 2002 taxes.

The insurance settlement on the municipal building fire was settled in excess of 6 million dollars. This was the result of a relentless crusade against our carriers by Boro Administrator Michael Kronyak and the Construction Committee.

The new Municipal Complex moved ahead in 2001.

All property necessary to build the Complex was acquired without condemnation, and most importantly all tenants were relocated without court action as promised. This building should be completed in early 2003 and the Public Safety Complex.

The Police Department was at it’s all time strength in 2001.

There were calls -12,700 calls an increase of almost 10% over the year 2000.

There were 9400 summons issued which was a new record. Drunk driving enforcement- tripled to 143 charged over 3 year period.

The department has implemented may new programs. The Jr. Police Academy under Sgt. Delorenzo & Cronin was expanded this year and has been a huge success with our young residents.

The Bike Marathon held over Memorial Weekend under Chief Colineri. and Captain Castigleone and was a huge success.

The department received AAA Silver Award for Pedestrian Safety and DWI prevention Program

The BADGE Program in the schools was highly successful. Each class being assigned an officer and the officer would be invited to special events to discuss safety and other matters with the class

The DARE program – continued its success with Sgt. Shawn Mullins teaching the core class to the 5th grade

In 2002 we will hire civilian /dispatchers (idea whose time has come) and two new patrolman

Thank you to Commissioners Verrastro and Dipisa and Chief Colineri for keeping the department proactive rather than reactive.

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department had a busy 2001 under Chief Art Knoblock, Assistant Chiefs Taylor and Tommassy

For the year ended November 30th department responded to 636 fire calls and 1,427 ambulance calls.

There were 53 active members in 2001 –39 fire fighters and 14 ambulance auxiliary members- We need new members, please help out and serve your community!

Voters overwhelmingly approve LOSAP (length of service awards) to membership which will give volunteers a pension at the end of their service. They deserve this and much more for their service to our community.

The Oldest Pumper a 1977 Seagrave Pumper is being replaced with a new Pierce Pumper which should arrive here in March. As discussed earlier, the Department will receive a new ambulance from a legislative grant from Assemblywoman Rose Heck

The department will move to temporary Headquarters on Central and the Boulevard after the steel is erected on the municipal complex in order that the Hamilton Ave. location can be demolished to make way for the new public safety complex.

Many thanks to our fire department for their patience and continued professionalism in their duties under these extreme circumstances.

The DPW has done great job cleaning sweeping and plowing our town. Many thanks to Bob Heck, Jim Schnieder and the all the personnel for their hard work over the past year.

In 2001 a new camera for viewing sewers was purchased a cost of $40,000.00 and already, nearly 3 miles of sewer were videoed. This piece of equipment has nearly paid for itself in less than a year of operation.

In 2001 nearly 6 miles of Sewer were cleaned under a new program instituted with the new vacuum truck purchased in 2000.

10 excavations were made to repair approximately 385 feet of sanitary pipe which was broken or leaking.

In 2002 we will continue to repair the sanitary lines to lessen the inflow of ground water into the sanitary lines. Remember we pay money to BCUA and when we lessen the inflow we save money.

In 2002 we plan to conduct a flow study of the entire system to pin point the inflow problems and correct them.

In 2002 we hope to address long time flooding problems below Terrace Avenue.

The Hasbrouck Heights Health department also had a busy year under the guidance of chairman Andy Papparozzi.

The Child Health Conference continues to thrive not only for new borns but also for school age children.

The flu clinic was held again in 2001 and 180 residents were immunized against pneumonia.

Two new software programs have been purchased to supplement and enhance Animal Control Program and Mercantile Program.

We all welcomed new recreation director Rob Brady who has succeeded Danile Scipioni who has undertaken a career as a teacher.

The Summer Program was very successful with almost 200 children enrolled in the 6 week program.

The Wrestling Program was highly successful with a record number of kids registered, many thanks to coach Mike Valente and all the volunteers that make this program a success.

Recreation Youth Basketball league is underway with over 200 girls and boys registered. The game and practice schedule was revamped and new equipment was purchased to revitalize the program.

Senior aerobics was very successful and there are many day trips being organized for area plays and musicals.

Men's flag football league, new in 2001, was highly successful with over 90 men in the program.

Recreation Director Rob Brady has many exiting new ideas for 2002 including posting his schedules on the Web. Good Luck and future success to Rob and the department.

The Hasbrouck Heights Free Public Library under Director Michelle Miullo, Tom Verrastro and the Board of Trustees had a prosperous year as they anxiously wait for their new home.

In 2001 over 90,000 items were circulated which is phenomenal for a library our size.

The summer reading program had a record number of children participating.

New programs were instituted fore teenagers and had great turnouts.

A state aid grant was received in the amount of $11,000 together with a grant to provide electronic books and CD ROMs.

And as previously stated a state grant of almost 700,000.00 was received from (co-written by Mike, Michele and A. Iovino).

A new Web Site was created by Library Paige Brian Lamendola. Patrons can reserve books from home and have access to on line in formation 24-7.

Lastly, two long time trustees resigned to smell the roses, We wish Marcia Imken and Norma Wilke well and thank them for their enormous contribution of their time as trustees. They will be succeed by Lisa Traina and Colleen Lanzo, both who enthusiastically wish to serve. Welcome ladies.

In 2001 the Welfare Dept was consolidated into the Bergen County Board Of Social Services.

Long time director Lee Kulikowski was asked to stay on as as director to administer food pantry. The food pantry will continue, thanks to the overwhelming contributions of our residents, business and organizations.

Lee will be available during her regular office hours to advise persons in need and provide direction and guidance with filing of applications.

Dr. Szanto reports that our Emergency Management procedures worked as planned on 911, with a meeting having been called by me of the Committee (consisting of Ass. Heck, Chief Colineri, Dr. Szanto, Rose Sees, members of the Board of Education) in which a plan was devised and coordinated

Dr. Szanto will continue to improve emergency management as the state has renewed its emphasis on security and preparedness.

Last year the total value of new construction in Hasbrouck Heights was over 5.5 million dollars keeping Building Inspector Terry Naletko very busy. New department secretary, Donna Von Dongen has done a great job in running the department day to day.

Our Planning Board under the direction of Henry Dobbelaar was very bus,y especially with it’s consolidation with the Zoning Board, and has done a great job with the increased schedule.

The Design District Board under the the direction of Doug Lanzo and Ralph Mastroberti, continues to make improvements to Boulevard signage one store at a time. In 2001, this board was integrated into the Planning board to better coordinate applications and has worked well. Thanks to this board for its hard work.

As a result of consolations we work harder but we are more efficient saving tax payer dollars.

Pat Vella, serving his first full term as property maintenance official, visited every merchant and asked for their cooperation to keep their sidewalks clean.

Pat has aggressively pursued private garbage contractors that pick up late or leave a mess and will continue in this area until things are cleaned up. He is working at the North End to have the NJDOT install a fence on the highway to stop litter from polluting our local streets and parks.

Pat was instrumental along with Councilman Wassberg in having Shop Rite install a new fence and fix up their parking lot.

Pat issued 21 summons as a last resort during the year and 19 of them were to absentee landlords. Pat has done a great job and goes above and beyond sometimes working weekends and nights to keep our town clean.

I understand Judge Harry Chandless is away but has done a fine job as a law and order judge over the years.  He is one of the longest sitting municipal judges in the state.  He is admired by the the public, police and his colleagues.

In closing, we have met and exceed our goals for 2001.

Our mission in the year 2002 must be to keep moving forward. The future is full of promise and will serve to unite us. We on this council believe that the best years for our beloved boro of Hasbrouck Heights are yet to come.

Many thanks again to the Council, our borough employees and all the volunteers that serve their community.

God Bless you and God Bless Hasbrouck Heights. HAPPY NEW YEAR.


[Mayor's Corner]

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