The municipality ranked 84 percent in the state’s Best Practices inventory program, the township commissioners announced at their most recent meeting.
The annual program, launched by the Christie administration years ago, mandates every New Jersey municipality answer a series of questions related to their financial expenditures, transparency, and management.
For instance, one of the questions asks if the municipality has adopted a written vehicle use policy banning personal use of municipal vehicles outside of commuting. Another inquires as to whether or not the municipality has maintained a current website containing past and current budgets and most recent annual financial statements.
If a municipality scores under a certain amount, the state will withhold or limit certain financial aid, an incentive to comply as much as possible. North Bergen has maintained high scores for as long as it has participated in the program, officials said.
“We use this grant for a couple of different things.” – Robert Dowd
The commissioners passed a resolution at the meeting, issuing a proclamation supporting the national “Put The Brakes On Fatalities Day” on Oct. 10. According to the state’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety, 603 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle-related crashes on New Jersey roadways last year. The day calls on individuals to practice safe driving behaviors such as buckling up, obeying posted speed limits, and avoiding aggressive driving.
Grants for new cop armor and pedestrian safety
A resolution also passed at the meeting for an amendment to the town’s 2017 $92 million budget. This will allow the town to include a $9,980 grant from the NJ Department of Law and Public Safety Body Armor Replacement Fund.
“We use this grant for a couple of different things,” said Police Chief Robert Dowd. “We use it to buy vests for the officers, and we also use it to replace vests when they run their life expectancy. Vests actually last a decent amount of time, but when the officer feels he or she would like to have their vest replaced, and it qualifies for replacement, they get issued a new vest.”
The town applies for the grant each and every year. Each officer in town gets their own individual body armor for use, Dowd said.
Another grant the commissioners approved at the meeting will allocate $15,000 to the budget for pedestrian safety improvements around town.
The funds, for the NBPD, will go to local streets to improve conditions such as police presence, according to officials.
Helping a vet
One resolution passed at the Oct. 11 meeting will assist a veteran disabled by his service.
Dennis Michael Bonacci, a U.S. Army veteran who was 100 percent permanently and totally disabled by his duty, will receive a taxation exemption at his dwelling house on 608 Columbia Ave., for as long as he resides there.
The resolution also entitles Bonacci to a $1,415 refund for the 2017 tax year.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org