Voters asked to support a $16 million school bond
Weehawken will hold a special election on Jan. 24 asking voters to support a $16 million bond that will upgrade the schools heating and cooling systems as well as provide for increased security mandated by the state.
Board President Richard Barsa said the district will take advantage of a state 38.9 percent pay back program that will reduce the total cost to the district by about $6.5 million.
This will result in about a $40 to $45 increase annually on a home assessed at $200,000, said Mayor Richard Turner.
But Barsa and Turner said some of this would be offset by savings as a result of improvements made to the three school buildings involved.
The district is required by the state to bring up security standards for Roosevelt School, Webster School and Weehawken High School. This will include new camera systems, new safety doors and such.
The work on the schools will do away with a current steam heating system that requires each school to heat the whole school when even one room such as the gym is in use and establish a zoned climate control system that could heat rooms individually. The utility saving as well as the estimated $70,000 in annual repairs to the stream heating could reduce the total tax impact, Barsa said.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert R Zywicki said climate control for summer would allow the district to keep special education students in district and possibly become a host for out of town special students, reducing the $500,000 tuition tab the district currently pays to send students to schools in Bergen County.
The bond would also pay for upgrading the school district’s science labs, allowing it to continue and advance its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
Turner believed that the savings will be able to reduce the overall tax impact more than is projected. “We tend to be conservative in estimating savings,” Barsa said.
Polls open at 2 p.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Imperatore chosen for N.J. Hall of Fame
Arthur Imperatore Sr., founder of the NY Waterway ferry business based in Port Imperial in Weehawken, will be one of 15 prominent New Jerseyans to be inducted in the New Jersey Hall of Fame in May, it was announced Tuesday.
“Induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame is the highest civilian honor that our state can bestow on someone,” John Keegan, chairman emeritus of the Hall’s Foundation Board, said in a prepared statement.
“It’s a celebration of New Jersey and its greatest achievers, and a recognition of role models for our next generation. This is New Jersey’s version of the Academy Awards, so attendees can expect some surprise celebrity appearances.”
NY Waterway ferries also announced recently that its ridership totals in 2016 increased by 5.3 percent over 2015. The companies various Hudson River routes carried 4,604,544 passengers, making this one of the best years in the company’s 30 year history, Imperatore announced.
He said the company plans several new initiatives to further improve service in the coming months.
“As always, we must thank our thousands of loyal customers and the dedicated men and women of NY Waterway, who make our success possible,”Imperatore said. “Every day, we work to earn that loyalty and to welcome new customers who are discovering the better way – the Waterway.
Ridership on routes from Weehawken, Edgewater, Hoboken’14th Street and Belford Middletown to Manhattan, plus two trans-Hudson routes linking upstate New York commuters with Metro North Rail Road stations, was up from 4,374,091 in 2015. The company celebrated its 30th anniversary on Dec. 3, 2016.
Imperatore announced several additional achievements in 2016:
· The Hudson Go Pass, offered in partnership with NJ Transit, is a joint ticket that allows commuters on select NJ Transit buses and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to transfer to a NY Waterway ferry with one through pass, saving time and avoiding delays, for as little as 37 cents more per trip than taking the bus and subway. Hudson Go Pass allows commuters to avoid traffic delays at the Lincoln Tunnel and the congestion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
· Adding 30 new buses, a $6 million investment to create a total fleet of 80 buses serving commuters in New York and New Jersey allowing free, seamless multi-route connections with ferries.
· Launching “The Betsy Ross,” a $5.2 million, 400-passenger ferry, which went into service between Belford-Middletown in Monmouth County and Manhattan. This is the sister ferry to “The Molly Pitcher,” which went into service in 2015.
· $3 million in improvements to existing ferries, with new seating, new floors, fresh paint and other amenities.
· Reuniting the company, NY Waterway agreed to purchase the Billybey Ferry Co., buying 11 ferries and the rights to operate routes in Hoboken and Jersey City, bringing those ferries and routes once again under NY Waterway ownership.
This year, NY Waterway will invest $6 million to re-power and increase capacity on six of its 150-passenger catamarans. When this project is completed, the entire fleet will have the cleanest marine diesel engines available, surpassing all federal and local air emissions standards.
Also spurring the ridership growth is NY Waterway’s popular Your Key To The City™ program, offering leisure packages which include 28 percent off round-trip ferry fares, admission to popular New York City attractions and Broadway shows with discounts of up to 56 percent, and discounted parking at the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal in Weehawken. Info at www.nywaterway.com/MyKey