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Excerpts from the Mayors 2005 Reorganization Remarks
Happy New Year and welcome to our 2005 Reorganization Meeting and my State of the Borough Address. It is the Mayors responsibility to address the residents annually and to give a report on the State of the Borough.
2004 was a very good and productive year for the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights and I am happy to report that the State of the Borough is in fine shape and looking to the year of 2005 for the same success we have experienced in the year 2004.
The reason for 2004 being a successful year is due to not only the hard work and dedication of the Council and all the Borough employees, but to the willingness and unselfishness of all the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights residents who have either served on many of the Volunteer boards or who have supported our efforts to make Hasbrouck Heights the best it can be. As your Mayor I am humbled and thankful to each and everyone of you for your caring and your tireless efforts.
I would like to congratulate Councilman Leonard Introna and Councilwoman Carol Skiba on your election to this council and I look forward to working with you this coming year.
I would also like to personally thank Councilman Garrett Pepe and Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro for their dedication to this borough and wish them well in their future endeavors. I thank you both for all you have done for this fine Borough and I know that all the citizens thank you as well. I ask you to please stay active in our towns future. I also wish you both Gods blessing in the paths that you choose to follow.
Before reading some of the highlights of the year 2004, I would also like to take this time to thank individually Councilman Andy Link, Councilman Justin DiPisa, Councilman Garrett Pepe, and Councilwoman Verrastro for working so diligently with the three "New" guys on the Council: Ron Kistner, Tom Meli and myself and for helping us to accomplish our campaign pledges of a new Soccer Field in Woodland Park, Open Communication Meetings, and improving the Boulevard Business Area in our first year. I would also like to thanks Borough Clerk Ro Sees, CFO/Administrator Mike Kronyak, Borough Attorney Ralph Chandless, Police Chief Mike Colaneri, DPW Superintendent Bob Heck, and Fire Chief Bob Thomasey for all their support. We all know that without good "Team" work, our goals would have been much harder to obtain.
Let me now share with all of you some of the years highlights:
2004 saw the settling in of Borough Hall, Senior Center and Library and the completion and occupancy of the Public Safety Complex. The proposed plans for the parking lot on Central and the Boulevard will hopefully be finalized by the spring. Ordinances adopted provided funding for improvements to Oak Grove Avenue, street resurfacing, acquisition of fire fighting gear and equipment and acquisition of tree trimming and removal equipment totaling over $850,000 with $235,000 in grant funds.
Intergovernmental services continue to be expanded which now include fire and 9-1-1 coverage to Teterboro, 9-1-1 services to Wood-Ridge and shortly to East Rutherford, use of a joint repeater radio system with Wood-Ridge, and a joint assessors office which includes South Hackensack and Rochelle Park.
The Butler Building used to temporarily house fire equipment on Hamilton Avenue was given to the Lyndhurst Police Department and the temporary fire department tent "Hershey Kiss" is in the process of being sold to the Nutley Fire Department. These structures were paid for by the insurance company and the Mayor and Council felt that if they could benefit another town, at no expense to Hasbrouck Heights taxpayers, everyone would benefit.
The following grant applications have been submitted:
Grant applications to the B.C. Open Space Trust Fund include:
Grants totaling $153,637 were either utilized in the 2004 operating budget or have been awarded this year for use in 2005 to pay for services that would otherwise have to be funded by your tax dollars. Also, $235,000 in grants was received for the elevator at the Public Safety Complex and road repaving.
Seeking and securing grants to fund capital projects and help offset operating costs is becoming more difficult every year. Some of the grants received in the past were eliminated and others have been cut back to such an extent that the Borough is no longer eligible. However, that does not stop this Boroughs Administration from applying.
Tax Collections and Tax Rates
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:
Buildings: The move from our temporary structures into the new buildings was coordinated and performed by the Public Works Department. An array of small projects not contained in the original "Blue Prints" had to be undertaken and was completed. Budget planning has taken into consideration vehicle replacement, street repairs, and building improvements as far as five years into the future.
The Recreation Department has had another great year! By implementing multi-generational programs that are the backbone of strong communities. Single day events such as "Town Day" and "Halloween in the Park" to well-organized athletic programs for adults and children, as well as a structured health and wellness programs for our senior citizens. Each program has a purpose, from building character and responsibility through youth sports to allowing volunteers to feel connected to its local government by assisting in many of our recreation programs.
First, Senior Programs benefits
anyone who is 62 years and older who resides anywhere in the United States can come and
participate in our senior center activities. Youth Programs benefit every child male or
female ages 5 17 that reside in Hasbrouck Heights. We are looking into expanding
this so that grade children may be included. Adult Programs benefit anyone 18 an older
that is a resident of Hasbrouck Heights or a former member of our community.
Multi-generational events, such as "Town Day" and "Halloween in the
Park" benefit the entire community. Rob Brady, Recreation Director, considers these
events as a chance to showcase what our community offers to its residents families
and friends. The Council and I agree.
Senior Programs: Some of the Senior Programs include:
Health and Wellness
Quality Enjoyment of Living
Ceramics and pottery and Billiards and bridge club
New Recreation Center has been open on weekends since June with theme parties and social nights.
Recration Youth Athletic Programs including wrestling, youth basketball, track and field, softball and traveling softball.
Recreation Youth Activities including Childrens Arts and Crafts, Summer Camp with new trips and theme days added each year, volunteer and employment opportunities as counselors, referees, and scorekeepers and Ping pong tournaments
Adult volunteer coaching program, volleyball, basketball, flag football, tennis table tournament and community chaperone opportunities.
Adult yoga classes
Adult aerobic classes
Adult art club
Adult womens softball team
Multi-generational programs are programs where the youth of our community can assist our senior citizens or where our youth can learn from our adults, it is that interaction between generations that can build strong communities.
Halloween in the Park
Students Assist Seniors Programs (S.A.S.P.)
The Building Department has issued over 900 permits for 2004.
The total value of construction is $10,009,298.
Total Permit Fees Collected is $136,797.
Property Maintenance has done numerous inspections and compliance was done.
The Planning Board has heard 26 applications in 2004. I would like to personally thank Chairman Henry Dobelaar and the members of this board for their commitment and dedication to our Borough. Adding an additional meeting a month when needed has aided applicants.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS:
The lack of Flu vaccine is one that will remain with us for a long time. Despite the lack of vaccine and our order for same cut by 42%, the Borough did receive 180 doses and a total of 178 residents were immunized.
A total of 275 inspections and reinspections of food establishments to insure that wholesome foods are being sold and prepared for the customers.
An annual Dog Canvass was conducted in July with a total of 47 unlicensed dogs found. After follow up, a total of 994 known dogs were licensed under the Rabies Control Act for 2004.
The Health Consultation Program is still growing since the move to the Senior Center. Many new participants have taken advantage of the free program for prevention health measures including blood pressure readings, follow up to doctor visits, diet and weight control.
The Child Health Conference was again active this year with many students requiring the new mandated immunizations for entrance/stay in school.
Two Health Fairs were conducted by the Health Department and both equally successful. Over 200 residents took part in the activities and the Health Fair will be continued with requests for additional medical service presentors.
I sincerely thank Marilyn deRussy, secretary to the Board of Health and registrar, and also to Louis Castellito, president of the Board of Health and the Board of Health members, for implementing these programs which benefit all the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights.
After 45 one half years, Social Services Director Lee Kulakowski has decided to retire.
I and the councilmembers have decided to not appoint another director at this time to save tax dollars. In the interim, Borough Clerk Ro Sees, Administrator Michael Kronyak and Mary Jones, as Chairman of the Local Assistance Board are helping any needy residents who request help.
FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY:
The Free Public Library has just completed its first full year at its new home and what a year it has been! Under the guidance of Michele Reutty, Library Director and Peter J. Gallo, Jr., President of the Board of Trustees, the Library has seen its busiest year ever.
Over 50,000 people entered the Library this past year. Over 88,000 items were checked out! And an average of 500 people a week use our computers.
This year saw the institution of a book discussion for adults, and a Teen Open Mike Night for creative works of art, music and literature.
The Library has hosted many programs sponsored by community organizations. They serve as the meeting place for the Juvenile Conference Committee and the executive boards for many of the clubs. The Womans Club packed their cookie boxes for Veterans here. And BCCLS has sponsored several county-wide programs at our library.
Fundraisers such as "Wine and Other Delights" and "Hasbrouck Heights Night at Macys" have helped the Friends Endowment Fund grow. The Funds mission is to provide expanded childrens services and to keep the Library on the cutting edge of technology.
Our Friends of the Library, headed by Susanne Kepsel, continue to fund all childrens programs, all prizes for the summer reading programs, all refreshments, and this year, have provided a scholarship for Head of Circulation Judith Mascis to attend a supervisors seminar.
Our Assistant Director, Mimi Hui, was named one of the New York Times Librarians of the Year. This award is given for outstanding public service and Ms. Hui absolutely deserves it.
Finally, thanks must be given to Little Ferry Director Ellen Yamrick and three of her employees for helping us staff our new library. They needed a place to stay while their library was being expanded and we needed additional personnel. It was a win-win situation and saved the residents of Hasbrouck Heights tens of thousands of dollars. They will be moving back to Little Ferry in January and we will miss them.
All told, the Library is off to a wonderful start. As Michele Reutty once stated, "if you build it, they will come," I can only say "How right you are!"
The Municipal Court offices moved to the new Public Safety Complex in October and the first court session was held on October 27, 2004 in the new facility.
During the year 2004, the court processed 9,876 motor vehicle summonses, whereas in 2003, only 5,499 summonses were processed. There was an 80% increase in tickets processed from 2003 to 2004. Revenue for the year 2003 was $257,860; whereas as of the end of November the revenue was already at $358,452, with a projected amount for December of approximately $30,000. This would bring the total revenue for 2004 to approximately $388,500.
Congratulations to Court Administrator Susan Paul who has satisfied all her certification requirements. The Municipal Court Administrator Certification Board will now submit her name to the Supreme Court for review to award her the Certified Municipal Court Administrator status.
Thanks to her and Violations Clerk Craig Ferdinand, the Municipal Court has not missed a beat with these increased numbers.
Total number of fire and emergency calls for 2004 were 481.
Total number of ambulance calls for 2004 were 1,090.
New Equipment for 2004:
New Fire Chiefs 4x4 truck
Turnout gear for Fire - 10 sets
Turnout gear for EMS - 8 sets
Four Minitor IV pagers
To our firemen I say thank you, thank you, thank you from all the citizens for your professionalism, your dedication and the numerous hours of your time that you volunteer to our Borough.
To outgoing Chief Thomasey, it has been a pleasure and honor to work with you as Chief, and to continue to work with you in the years ahead. You are an outstanding volunteer!
In 2004, the Mayor, Police Commissioner Pepe and Deputy Police Commissioner Kistner, along with the entire Council and Chief Colaneri took steps to improve the Police Departments table of organization, moral and its services to this Borough. The members of the Police Department welcomed this effort and responded positively. Here are some of the results:
The Department handled nearly 12,000 calls for service in 2004.
There were over 100 DWI arrests again.
Motor Vehicle summonses were doubled from 5,000 to 10,000 issued, with moving violations up by over 3,000.
Three Chevrolet Impala marked police cars all equipped with new LED overhead lights which have been proven safer and use less power.
A traffic counter was purchased and placed on numerous streets. The counter allows for not only the total volume of cars but will also break down the time frame and speeds. This allows for the department to better assign radar patrols.
A message board/radar trailer was received and placed into service. This allows the Department to relay messages to motorists and advise them of their speed.
Community Service Programs:
2004 saw the Department expand its Community Policing Programs to include the following:
DWI Simulation for high school students utilizing golf carts and the Fatal Vision drunk driving goggles. Students drove without the goggles and then with them showing the effects of drinking and driving.
The 2004 Bicycle Marathon was the biggest and best ever with over 200 youths participating.
Jr. Police Academy community Policing cycle class was held in conjunction with the Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education and Middle Level Teacher Mike Stillman. The Academy was held during the summer with the graduates pledging to come back and help with the new recruits next year.
The Police Department again participated in the Torch Run for Special Olympics and raised over $25,000 for this worthwhile cause. Hasbrouck Heights is No. 2 in the State of New Jersey.
The HHPD hosted a pasta dinner for a local youth who is hearing-impaired.
The kindergarten children were fingerprinted and photographed for their protection with parents receiving a case to hold the photo with room for new photos each year.
The Department again hosted an 8th Grade DARE swim party, chaperoned the 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C., as well as Project Graduation.
A Citizens Academy was held for adults. Topics included terrorism awareness, motor vehicle laws, DWI, and how to make motor vehicle stops.
Lt. Mullins was trained in Gang Awareness and will add this to the DARE lessons.
BADGE Program with an officer assigned to each grade level continued with great success.
The Department formed an Honor Guard and participated in parades, funerals, dedications and the 4th of July ceremony.
HIGHLIGHT OF 2004: The highlight of 2004 had to be moving into their new State of the Art facility. The building, along with the update of radios, 9-1-1 and computers will ensure safety to our residents, businesses, and police offices for many years into the future.
On a sad note, unfortunately the department suffered a great loss in the passing of former Chief Howard R. Baker, Jr. who served the Police Department for almost 43 years, retiring in 1993. His advice, knowledge and friendship will be sorely missed.
To Chief Colaneri and all the officers of the Police Department, I also say thank you for your dedication and commitment to our Borough and citizens.
In closing, I again thank ALL Of YOU who have assisted this Borough in our efforts to be the "best that we can be" by either holding elected office, being a dedicated employee, or dedicated volunteer, or the support you, our citizens, have shown us throughout the year.
I also want to thank my wife, Mary, and all my family for their love and support.
The Council and I wish you a very healthy and Happy New Year and ask that God Bless Hasbrouck Heights and all of its citizens.
I also ask that God Bless America and keep this Borough safe in the year 2005.
May he also protect our family members, friends and countrymen who serve in the Armed Forces and keep them safe until they return home to be with us again. We all know that without our servicemen and women, past, present, and future, we would not be enjoying the freedoms that we so treasure.
you for visiting our hometown. Come back soon!