Excerpts from the Mayor's 2007 Reorganization Remarks
Members of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council, Honored guests, Clergy, Friends and Neighbors
I would like to take this time to wish everyone a Happy New Year and welcome to our 2007 Reorganization meeting and my State of the Borough address. It is the Mayors responsibility to address the residents annually and to give a report of the State of the Borough.
Before I begin I would like to share with everyone here that January 1st. is a very special day for me. 47 years ago when I was just 15 years old I attended a New Years day party, uninvited I may add, and met for the first time a beautiful 15 year old girl. I knew then that that girl was very special to me, so I married her five years latter and she has been there for me all these years and now sits in the audience supporting me. Now, Mary, thank you for being there the last 47 years and thank you for being here now. I love you very much.
I am happy and proud to tell the residents of Hasbrouck Heights that the State of the Borough is in fine shape and looking once again to the coming year to make it even better. This administration has worked very hard to keep our tax rate stable, making major improvements all while not only stabilizing our Boroughs debt but working to lower it as well. I look forward to the challenge of continuing this process so as to keep our very favorable financial ratings.
Once again I can explain the reason for our successful year of 2006 is due to the hard work and dedication of the Council, all the borough employees, and the willingness and unselfishness of 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 that it can be. As your Mayor I am extremely proud, humbled and very thankful to each and every one of you for sharing your time and talents with this beloved Borough.
I would like to congratulate Councilmen Anthony DiNanno and Stephen Altobelli for their election to this council. I look forward to working with both of you this coming year.
I would also like to take this time to personally thank Councilmen Ron Kistner and Tom Meli for their dedication to this Borough and wish them well in their future endeavors. I thank you for all that you have accomplished for this fine Borough and I know that all the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights thank you and wish you well. We will always be indebted to you, and your familys, for the sacrifices that you have made over the years of your incumbency. I ask of you, Ron & Tom, to please stay active in our towns future. I am proud to have served with you on this Council and I am even more proud to have you as a friend. I wish you, and your families, Gods blessing in what ever path that you now choose to follow. Again I thank you.
Before I read to you, the citizens of Hasbrouck of Hasbrouck Heights and our distinguished guests, some of the highlights of the year 2006, I would like to take the time to personally & individually thank, Councilman Justin DiPisa, Councilman Ron Kistner, Councilman Tom Meli, Councilman Leonard Introna, Councilwoman Carol Skiba, and Councilwoman Maryetta Saccomano, Borough Clerk Ro Sees, CFO and Administrator Mike Kronyak, Borough Attorney Ralph Chandless, Police Chief Mike Colaneri, DPW superintendent , Bill Spindler, and Fire Chief Joe Bob Taylor for serving the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights through out the year.
For 2007 it would be encouraging to know that we could work as a "team", together for a greater cause, and as a "team" could accomplish goals, as well as individual dreams, all for the good and betterment of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights.
Now let me share with all of you some of the highlights of the year 2006.
1. We are proud to be honored as the 2006 Community of the Year by both the ARC of New Jersey Bergen/Passaic County Chapter and The ARC of New Jersey state office, being the only New Jersey community thus honored.
2. We made a Presentation of De-fibrillators to H.H. Little League, High School Trainer, H. H. Senior Center, H. H. Soccer Association and H. H. Junior Football League from leftover funds received from the Police Department fundraiser for Joey Peters.
3. We Honored Elsie Paolini and Virginia DiMaria on Womens Equality Day, Aug. 26. (And by the way Elsie will turn 100 on January 10.)
4. We continued the "Boulevard in Bloom" Program and thank the Hasbrouck Heights garden club, DPW and all the volunteers that have assisted in this program.
5. We mourned the deaths of former fire Chief Arthur Knobloch., Retired Lt of police Frank Elsesser and also retired crossing guards, Lillian Dwyer, and Helen Treptow.
6. We accepted with regret the retirement of Marilyn deRussy from the board of health after 31 yrs and Harold Jacobus after 25yrs on the Planning board.
And now let me share with you important highlights from
our various departments
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS FOOD PANTRY
The Hasbrouck Heights Food Pantry continues to well. Over 800 bags of food were distributed to Hasbrouck Heights residents. There are now 21 volunteers who graciously donate their time and talent to insure that this happens. Thank you all very much for all your time and efforts. And a special thank you to Ro Sees who continues to give her "special touch" to help all in need.
A most heartfelt thank you to all who have kept the
shelves stocked throughout the year or made donations for the holidays. Gifts of cash,
Shop-Rite gift cards, grocery items, toiletries, turkeys, gifts for all ages and toys were
donated by many including the local Churches, local organizations, schools, Brownie, Daisy
and Girl Scout Troops, local businesses, and many, many, caring residents. Hasbrouck
Heights is most definitely a "giving" town.
The Municipal Building continues to be well utilized by
many organizations for various meetings and gatherings. Very often every available room is
occupied and we still have more requests for meeting space. This past year the Caucus Room
was used for 61 meetings, the Community Room scheduled 237 events, sometimes two or three
overlapping in one day, Conference Room #1, 31 times, and the Senior Center 99 times. This
was in addition to the regular senior events that occur on a daily basis, and does take
into account the Recreation Center/Community Room nights. Total events added up to 428 for
the year. Very impressive!
The Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department has had another fun-filled successful year! The Department has a wide range of programs and events that reach out and include all of the citizens in our community. Our broad based community programs like "Town Day", "Halloween in the Park" and our Summer Concert Series are geared to all generations and families, to our state recognized youth athletic programs, such as Basketball. Wrestling, Softball, and Track & Field give each member of our town an opportunity to be involved in organized programs and events. The Recreation Department also offers organized adult activities such as Yoga, Basketball, Volleyball, and Flag Football.
Our Recreation Department is also proud of the very well attended Recreation Center, as well as other great family events like "Heights Camp Night" and The Annual Harvest and Pie Baking Festival. They also offer a full calendar of senior events that vary from fun movie days, to a very involved exercise health and wellness schedule. They also offer multigenerational activities, for example Students Assisting Seniors Programs (S.A.S.P.) this is were Rob Brady matchs up students from our High School with local senior citizens to help mow lawns, rake leaves and other odd jobs around the home. The students receive community service hours toward their graduation.
Of course they still offer one of the best and most innovative summer activity camps in the state. This camp gives parents peace of mind that they can go to work or get things done around the house why their child is playing and interacting with other children in the safe controlled setting of our very own Woodland Park. Summer Camp also gives local high school students a place to get the perfect summer job.
Most of these programs could not be done without the help of our very dedicated volunteers, from the coaches for our youth sport teams to the chaperones for our Recreation Center; these volunteers make our community programs the best they can be.
I want to personally thank Rob and all the volunteers for
another "Great" year.
Under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, headed by Lisa Traina, the Library continues to expand its services and meet the needs of the community. There were many challenges this year, as well as a change in directors, but I am confident that through it all, it makes us more committed to giving the best service we can possibly offer. We offer our congratulations and support to our New Library Director Mimi Hui.
Friends of the Library
The Library continues to receive steadfast support from the Friends of the Library, presided over by Susanne Kepsel. The Friends help finance all childrens and young adult programs, and pay for all the refreshments and prizes. They have been diligent in planning their fundraisers throughout the year in order to ensure the success of library activities.
The Friends Endowment Fund, whose mission is to provide for the Childrens Room and to keep the Library on the cutting edge of technology, paid for online scheduling software for the public to register for programs from home and the purchase of a LCD projector this year.
I would like to say that the Library continues to provide the community with outstanding public service. The Library Staff, at the direction of Mimi Hui, I know will continue to work hard to improve the quality of life as they move forward to meet whatever challenges come their way.
I commend the entire Library staff for their
professionalism and continued dedication during a most challenging year.
Health Inspections: 1,318 of various natures, by B.C. Health Specialist
Dog Licenses: 1037 licenses, most issued in 31 years.
Dog License Fees: $9,549.00
Births Recorded: 112 babies born to town residents.
Total deaths Recorded: 942 Deaths
Town Resident Deaths: 108 residents
Marriage Licenses Issued: 53 Applied
Domestic Partnerships: 1 Applied
Certified Transcripts: 6508 issued (Death, Marriage & Birth)
Collected in Fees: $95,218.00
The Forth Annual Health Fair was held in October and was enjoyed by over 110 senior residents. 23 local medical vendors came and help participate in this very information program. The goal of the Health Department is to provide services & information to all of its residents.
The Flu Immunization program took place the end of November. with over 105 senior residents registered.
The Free Health Consultation Program was very successful again this year.
We would like to wish Marilyn deRussy our Registrar & Board of Health Secretary a happy and healthy Retirement. She retired on September 1st of this year after 31 years of dedicated services to the people of Hasbrouck Heights. Her position in the Board of health has been filled by Lori French and I am glad to report it is operating very smoothly... Keep up the good work Lori.
The Building Department Under the direction of Nick Melfi has issued over 900 permits as of this date for 2006.
Permits this year consisted of BUILDING 711
FIRE - 127
ELEVATOR - 0
TOTAL VALUE OF CONSTRUCTION $17,266,683.00
TOTAL PERMIT FEES COLLECTED $ 187,379.00 plus $4,475 in Zoning Compliance fees, and $3,575 in CCO fees.
TOTAL INSPECTIONS by the Building Department were 1,971
Property Maintenance has done numerous inspections to insure compliance was achieved, and when necessary, legal action was taken.
To better serve the community in 2006 some of their accomplishments have been:
Both Nick and Dorothy report all of these steps have made homeowners happier with this department.
It is their goal to continue to keep this department
running efficiently, continue to examine ways to increase revenue and help the residents
of Hasbrouck Heights. I thank you Nick and Dorothy, keep up the good work.
The following is a list of activities the Planning Board participated in during the 2006 Calendar Year:
I would like to thank Chairman Henry P. Dobbelaar, Jr., and the entire Planning Board for their assistance in making the newly created Zoning Board a smooth transition and also for their dedication and expertise in all the matters that have been before the Planning Board this year. I would also like to especially thank Mr. Jacobus, who after serving on the planning board as both a member and Chairman, is retiring this year after 25 years of volunteering his time and talent. I, as well as all the board members will miss him and wish him "Gods grace" in his future endeavors.
Zoning Board of Adjustment held 14 meetings in 2006; heard 20 applications; granted 16 variances and denied 4. The Board worked diligently to keep in mind the protection of the zoning of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights. Their members are comprised of people with various backgrounds and bring to the Zoning Board a wealth of experience and knowledge. It was recommend that I consider the reappointment of the two members whose terms are up this year, since they are valued officials and have completed their required certification. I would whole heartedly agree. As you are aware this is the first year, 2006, of their existence since the Mayor and Council decided it would better serve the residents if the Borough went back to its original two boards; namely, The Planning Board and The Zoning Board of Adjustment.
I have also been told the Board is pleased with the performance of its attorney, Joseph Rotolo, Esq., and the work done by James W. Fordham P.E. of Boswell Engineering.
I want to thank the Zoning board Chairwoman and all the
members for organizing this board so quickly and efficiently and for all you have done to
assist the residents. I believe you have done an outstanding job for your first year and
look forward for all of you to continue with the professionalism and dedication that you
have shown this year.
The Fire Department continued to move forward on many
fronts in 2006.
At the recommendation of the Fire Chiefs the Borough must
give serious consideration to a second full time ambulance driver. This is an area where
our volunteers are maxed out and this addition will help alleviate the burden on them and
enhance the safety of the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights
2006 was a very active and busy year for the Police Department. The Department answered over 10,000 calls for service. Some of the highlights of programs, equipment and activities by the department are:
The Traffic Bureau:
Traffic continues to be one of their toughest challenges. They are constantly looking at ways to improve traffic flow, improve pedestrian safety and manage parking issues.
Triple A of North Jersey has recognized the department with their "Award of Excellence" for their efforts. (One of only a few in North Jersey)
They participated in a nationwide Click It or Ticket, and issued over150 summons.
They reviewed, and recommended, several relocation of bus stops, with some awaiting Bergen County resolutions.
The departments Honor Guard was busy attending many Borough events as well as County and State Police Memorial Services. The members of the Honor Guard volunteer for this assignment.
The DARE Program again did a great job educating the children of all of our schools K-12 on the dangers of drugs, alcohol and violence.
A "Sports world" trip was held in February and was a success.
An 8th grade swim party was held in June at the Swim Club.
The Jr. Class was shown the effects of drinking and driving by utilizing golf carts and goggles that give the effect of being drunk.
A 5th grade parents night was held and well attended.
Community Policing Programs have continued and The Police Department are always looking for ways to improve their relationship with, and be a vibrant part of our community.
A Special Olympics beefsteak, Polar Bear Plunge, and Torch Run with our Department raising over $25,000 and being #2 in the entire state.
The "Citizens Academy" was continued with the theme CSI/Meets Law & Order. This was well attended and all had fun and learned about how police process a crime scene through a criminal trial. Special thanks to the High School Mock Trial Club.
A Jr. Police Academy was held for our 8th graders.
The 8th grade Washington trip was chaperoned and the BADGE program continued.
Our 11th Annual Bike Marathon was held with 200 children participating. This is a total community effort with the Police, Fire, DPW, Board of Ed and business community supporting it.
3 new patrol cars received, 1 paid for by budget; 2 paid for by charging private contractors for police vehicles at traffic post.
The 9-1-1 system was upgraded to receive cellular calls.
The Department obtained a Live Scan Fingerprint System with digital mug shot camera and a child portable kit ordered and paid for with confiscated funds. These items are anticipated to be received in the beginning 2007. In addition they will be updating their Record Management system, and adding three new laptop computers for their patrol cars.
In addition to all of their normal training, every member of the department was trained in Incident Command, racial profiling, and active shooter response.
All schools were inspected and the report submitted to the NJSP.
I want to personally thank Chief Michael Colaneri and his entire department for their dedication and professionalism that was displayed in all that they do for our town
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
Improvements have been made at several Borough properties this year such as a handicapped ramp at Memorial park and new sidewalks. Lights were installed at the pavilion in Woodland Park that was used in over 50 various events during the spring and summer. To provide safe playing conditions for the Youth Soccer Program, the field was re-sodded. The DPW continues to maintain New Jersey Department of Transportation property because of the lack of a timely response to the unsightliness of these areas by the state.
As a result of donations by Hackensack University Medical Center and Commerce Bank, the Public Works Department received $22,000 worth of supplies to be used on various projects within the Borough.
The Borough continues to meet all DEP Storm water regulations such as street sweeping, leaf removal, catch basin cleaning and marking, and various training and housekeeping procedures. The annual DEP inspection of the DPW facility resulted in total compliance with all regulations. Also, several repairs were made to the storm water handling system along with mapping of the systems that have outflow to Risers Ditch.
The completed maintenance program along Route 17 was successful in finding that a Public Service utility pole had penetrated a main sewer line. Through the efforts of the DPW, Ken Job, Borough Engineer, and PSE&G, the sewer was repaired and the utility company absorbed all expenses. The DPW and Board of Health Department will coordinate inspections at fast food establishments for compliance with grease trap cleaning and maintenance. The DPW regularly maintains the various pumping facilities and main sewer pipes throughout the infrastructure of the town.
An annual list of streets in need of resurfacing has been submitted to the Borough Administrator and Borough Engineer. This year the entire length of Oak Grove Avenue was resurfaced as a result of a state grant. Terrace Avenue was slated for repair by the county but was postponed to sometime in 2007 as they await PSE&G to complete their repairs on that road.
In 2006, the DPW plowed a total of 24 inches of snow as a result of several storms and cleaned up debris from five severe rainstorms including Tropical Storm Ernesto.
The Department of Public Works proudly continues to serve the residents of Hasbrouck Heights.
I thank you Bill Spindler and your entire DPW staff for an
MUNICIPAL BUILDING CAPTIAL IMPROVEMENTS GRANT APPLICATIONS
In August an ordinance was adopted in the amount of $420,000.00 for the construction of a parking lot and pocket park adjacent to the Municipal Building. This scaled back version of the original project will provide for approximately 35 parking spaces and a pocket park, $54,000.00 of the cost will be funded by an Open Space Trust Fund Grant. A parcel of land the size of a building lot will be left undeveloped and for future use.
Other Ordinances have been adopted to provide funding for the following:
Acquisition of Gear and Equipment for the Fire Department in the amount of $50,000.00.
Barrier Free Improvements to Woodland Park in the amount of $215,000.00 with $116,800.00 of the cost being funded by a Community Development Block Grant. The contract has been awarded and construction is scheduled for spring.
Acquisition of Computer Upgrades in the amount of $75,000.00 with $17,800.00 funded by a State Grant for the Enhancement of the Emergency 9-1-1 System...
Improvements to Depken Field to include an Artificial Turf Field, New Running Track and Renovations to the Bleachers in the total amount of $1,625,000.00. The entire amount funded by the proceeds from the sale of borough property adjacent to the Swim Club.
Construction of Parks and the Improvement of Ravine Avenue adjacent to Depken Field in the amount of $335,000.00. $177,500.00 of the total funded by a Bergen County Open Space Grant and the balance coming from available funds and proceeds from the sale of borough property adjacent to the Swim Club.
The 6 lots adjacent to the Swim Club were sold for a total of $1,730,000.00 and the proceeds are being used to fund the Improvements to and around Depken Field. Additionally, the six houses to be constructed on this property should increase total ratable by more than $3,500,000.00
The entire length of Oak Grove Avenue was resurfaced and new curb cuts were installed. The total budget for this project was $325,000.00 with $235,000.00 funded through a State Department of Transportation Grant.
The following grants were either utilized in the 2006 operating budget or have been awarded this year for use in 2007. Grant Funds are used to pay for services that would otherwise have to be funded by tax dollars:
Municipal Recycling Assistance Program 6,457.84
Governors Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse 11,500.00
Clean Communities Program 9,929.54
Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund 10,839.55
Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund 4,789.79
Recycling Tonnage Grant 4,773.08
Extraordinary Aid 150,000.00
Municipal Homeland Security Aid 70,000.00
Body Armor Fund 2,889.36
Grants are also sought for the funding of
Capital Projects. These grants help us complete large projects, which do not fall within
the operating budget, without incurring additional debt. The following projects are either
completed or in progress in 2006 as a result of grants received:
Acquisition of Police and Fire Gear 45,000.00
Improvements to the Comfort Station in Woodland Park 116,800.00
Improvements to Woodland Park Open Areas 40,000.00
In addition to the above, the Mayor and Council have already applied for grants to fund projects such as:
Improvements to Madison Avenue
Improvements to Division Avenue
Acquisition of Gear and Equipment for the Fire Department
Acquisition of a New Senior Citizen Bus
Tax Collections and Tax Rates
The 2006 Collection rate is on target to meet prior year collection rate of 99.01%. This collection rate has been very consistent and stable over the 10 years and is anticipated to continue to be stable.
Annual Tax Assessor Report
The revaluation has been completed and went into effect for the 2006 tax year. The total ratable for the year 2006 was $1,855,266,800. The Tax Rate was reduced from $3.52 in 2005 to $1.78 in 2006.
The tax collection rate will be close to last years rate which was $99.1023%.
MAYORS CELEBRATION COMMITTE EVENTS
Easter egg Hunt was held at the Athletic Field, a great event! There were 23 celebration members who assisted.
Town-Wide Garage Sale: Fantastic Success with 100 participating.
Childrens 4th of July Patriotic Parade: with a total of 13 committee members assisting.
Halloween Parade. Rained out. All congregated in Senior Center for cookies and juice. 12 members assisting.
Tree Lighting Sunday Dec. 3: 17 committee members assisted. Good time and job well done.
House/Comm. Judging: Assisted by 12 committee members.
I want to thank all the members of this committee for an outstanding year.
ENVIRONMENTAL & TRANSPORTATION COMMITEE
The Environmental and Transportation Commission sponsored its second Annual Environmental Poster Contest. Entries came from all local elementary schools and winning posters were on display at the Library and local banks. The Committee continued its encouragement of recycling and for the second year in a row made arrangement to distribute Leaf Bags and Twine to the residents of Hasbrouck Heights. In the area of Transportation we continue to encourage New Jersey Transit to consider a train station at Williams Avenue between Teterboro and Hasbrouck Heights. NJ Transit was also asked to review the idea of a Jitney to run in the business areas from Rutherford, East Rutherford, Carlstadt, Wood-Ridge, and Hasbrouck Heights into Hackensack and back again. This was first suggested five years ago and NJT shelved it until their Commission with the help of Councilmen Tom Meli and the support of their liaison, Justin DiPisa, re-introduced the possibility to assist residents of those communities to shop within those areas.
I want to thank Rose Heck, chairwomen, and all the members for their hard work this year.
THE COMMUNITY AWARNESS ACCESS FOR ALL
When I was elected Mayor three years ago, one of the first things I promised to do was to establish a working committee for all residents with handicaps and disabilities whether they be visible handicaps or otherwise. I am proud to report that this has become one of the most pro-active and productive committees in our Borough. They meet on the 1st Tuesday of each month in our Senior Center. They established their own by laws. They published their own directory of all available services within our Borough, as well as Bergen County. Designed their own website to inform and update families with disabled members on new legislation and available sources for medical equipment to make their lives easier and more productive. They spear-headed the handicapped accessibility concepts for the Depken Athletic Field long before the project was conceived, as well as the long overdue project to make our bathroom facilities and the open air pavilion, more accessible with no barriers for our children, our seniors, and our athletes at woodland park. Their work and dedication is a tribute to our town and to what can be done by an energetic and exciting group of only twelve people. They will see the changes at Woodland Park before the Spring of this year thanks for a grant we received from the state of New Jersey, As a result a project worth over $200,000 will cost less than 25% because of the hard work done by our CFO Mike Kronyak, our liaison to that Committee, Councilman Justin DiPisa, and the members of this terrific committee. I am proud of their accomplishments and will continue to support them in making Hasbrouck Heights a better place to live for all of our residents.
I now want to personally thank you the members of this audience, and all the citizens of our beloved Hasbrouck Heights for your support, your friendship, and all the prayers, that you have shared with this Mayor and Council during the year of 2006. I will remember you all in mine as well.
And in closing I ask God to Bless You, the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, the Fine State of New Jersey, and all of America, and to bless all the men and women who are serving in our armed forces and who now may be in "harms way"