Upgrades and new trucks
Critics question town’s need to borrow $3M
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Jan 20, 2013 | 2651 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLARIFICATION -- Township Administrator Chris Pianese explains the $3 million bond ordinance to Larry Wainstein of the North Bergen Concerned Citizens Group.
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Members of a citizens’ group that is opposed to Mayor Nicholas Sacco spoke out at the Jan. 9 commissioners meeting against a $3 million bond ordinance that the commissioners adopted for capital improvements.

The bond issue, an annual measure, will pay for changes to township property, and make various public improvements like adding to or replacing equipment, including computer systems and new vehicles.

Other improvements will affect streets, the sewer system, public parks and buildings, and projects on property owned by the township. Since the ordinance is so broad, Township Administrator Christopher Pianese spoke at the meeting to clarify what the ordinance covers.

Millions for bond

According to Pianese, the bond ordinance is issued yearly. It will require a $159,000 down payment, down from the last issue’s cost of $185,000.

“Annually, we do what we call a multi-purpose ordinance,” Pianese had said at the previous commissioners meeting when the ordinance was introduced. “It’s for streets, sewers, buildings and parks. This is a capital ordinance for all of our capital needs. Capital meaning anything with a five-year life or more. It can [include anything from] a four by four [automobile] which has a 5-year life to putting up a new building which has a 30-year life. It’s an ordinance not funded through the regular budget [which is done through] a capital budget [in order to] pay the bonds over time.”

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“This is a capital ordinance for all of our capital needs.” – Township Administrator Chris Pianese

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North Bergen Concerned Citizens’ Group members Mario Blanch, a local attorney, and Larry Wainstein, a local liquor store owner, sought clarification on what the $3 million bond ordinance will entail.

Wainstein, who made an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to obtain further information on the bond ordinance, complained that he only received a page and a half of vague information.

“It’s the township’s obligation to have all the documents in the clerk’s office,” said Wainstein. “You are authorizing a bond ordinance for over $3 million and all the plans and the reports and recommendations are not available for public inspection. You’re going to spend $3 million and you can’t justify the expenses.”

Blanch said the cost of the ordinance will cripple taxpayers. Pianese replied it would cripple the taxpayers if they put these projects into the general budget.

“Final plans may not be done yet, we’re just putting the money in place to pay for it,” said Pianese.

Township Attorney Herb Klitzner added that when the town has a complete list of what the ordinance will pay for, more detailed information will be available for the public record.

New homes get tax abatement

Also at the meeting, an ordinance was introduced for a 30-year agreement between the township and Urban Renewal, LLC, who want to develop 122 residential units at 1122 53 St.

That means that the developers are seeking a separate agreement to pay annual revenues to the township rather than regular property taxes. These “in lieu of tax” agreements are popular in some towns because they allow the developer to pay money that goes directly to the town budget, rather than being split among county, town, and school taxes. Developers like these agreements because they know what they’ll be paying each year, rather than being subject to fluctuating taxes.

However, some residents find tax abatement agreements controversial because it means the developer pays a lower share of county and school taxes than regular residents do.

Contracts awarded

In other business, Hudson County Animal Enforcement, Inc. of North Bergen was awarded a $145,000 contract for animal control services and an animal control cruelty investigator.

Hugh McGuire, M.A.I. of Jersey City was awarded an $89,500 contract as a professional appraiser to represent the township before the Hudson County Board of Taxation and the State Tax. McGuire will assist the Tax Collector’s office by inspecting all properties where a building permit has been issued, inspect any other property identified by the assessor at $13 per inspection, and provide any other services at $175 per hour.

McEnerney, Brady & Company, LLC of Livingston was awarded an $86,700 contract to perform all services required of the Municipal Auditor.

Boswell McClave Engineering of South Hackensack were awarded a $69,087 contract for professional engineering services.

Funding Group Initiatives, Inc. from Clifton will act as a consultant to assist the township on applications for administration of various county, state and federal opportunities as well as funding sources for a one year contract of $65,400.

All these contracts begin Jan. 1 and end on Dec. 31.

Vision Media Marketing, Inc. was awarded a contract for professional media consulting and relation services starting Jan. 1 for a total of $60,000 in twelve month installments of $5,000. The group, led by Phil and Paul Swibinski, speaks for the township and the schools.

An interlocal agreement was passed with the town of West New York to provide health officer services for $35,000 per year, paid quarterly.

John Lynch, Esq. of Union City was retained as special counsel to provide legal services at the rate of $170 per hour for an amount not to exceed $10,000 which is amended from a resolution passed on April 25, 2012.

An ordinance was adopted and will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2014 controlling and monitoring handicapped parking spaces. There were 148 handicapped spaces renewed and 17 removed.

An ordinance was introduced setting the salary ranges for Public Works Superintendent with a minimum of $75,000 and maximum of $150,000.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at vcruz@hudsonreporter.com

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Erica_J
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February 04, 2013
"Members of a citizens’ group that is opposed to Mayor Nicholas Sacco..."

why is your "reporting" always slanted towards Sacco ?

i.e. why is anyone who questions the township's administration labeled as "politically motivated" ?