In January, six newly-elected ward councilmen and women and three Board of Education trustees will take the oath of office before settling into a new year of legislating and policymaking.
Incumbent council members swept the race, successfully defending their seats from independent candidates and the Team Bhalla ticket.
Residents also approved two referendums that appeared on the ballot.
The first asked residents if they want to allow more flexibility on how much of the city’s Open Space Trust Fund could be spent on both land acquisition and development of public parks. The second question asked if residents want to increase the funds in the municipal Open Space Trust Fund to include funds for historic preservation. Now an extra $0.01 per $100 of assessed property value will be added to a property owner’s tax bill to go toward historic preservation.
Currently, property owners pay $.02 per $100 of assessed value to the city’s Open Space Trust Fund as part of their taxes.
Of the 7,176 ballots cast for Question 1, 75.4 percent of those ballots were in favor of more flexibility in spending the fund. Of the 7,052 cast for Question 2, 66.4 percent were in favor of adding funds for historic preservation.
According to unofficial results from the Hudson County Clerks office, a total of 9,073 residents cast their ballots in the council election on Nov. 5, each voting only for their ward representative.
Only the Fifth Ward will be represented by a new face because current Councilman Peter Cunningham did not run for reelection.
In the First Ward, Councilman Michael DeFusco won against Team Bhalla’s Migdalia Pagan Milano with 66.48 percent of the vote, or 960 total votes. Pagan Milano received a total of 481 votes.
In the Second Ward, Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher won against Team Bhalla’s Nora Martinez DeBenedetto with 54.64 percent of the vote or a total of 984 votes. DeBenedetto received a total of 816 votes.
In the Third Ward, Councilman Michael Russo won against independent candidate Ronaldo Bautista with 66.83 percent of the vote or 941 total votes. Bautista received a total of 461 votes.
In the Fourth Ward, Councilman Ruben Ramos won against Lisa Sprengle of Team Bhalla with 66.79 percent of the vote with a total of 921 votes. Sprengle received 454 votes.
The only Team Bhalla candidate to win a seat on the council was Phil Cohen for the Fifth Ward. He beat independent candidates Nicola Maganuco and Timothy Crowell with 52.30 percent of the vote with a total of 886 votes. Maganuco received 363 votes. Crowell received 438 votes.
In the Sixth Ward, Councilwoman Jen Giattino won against Team Bhalla candidate Cristin Cricco-Powell and independent candidate Frank Rosner with 52.64 percent of the vote or a total of 709 votes. Cricco-Powell received 580 votes. Rosner received 58 votes.
Since both Cohen and Giattino won with more than 51 percent of the votes in their wards, it would appear Fifth Ward and Sixth Ward candidates won’t have to compete in a runoff election in December.
Board of Education
Five candidates ran to fill three three-year term seats on the Board of Education. 16,566 residents cast a ballot in the race.
Residents elected incumbents Alex De La Torre and Sheillah Dallara. Each won a three-year term on the school board with 24.34 percent for a total of 4,032 votes, and 20.72 percent for a total of 3,432 votes, respectively.
Joyce Simmons was elected to fill the seat of Jennifer Evans who decided not to run for reelection.
Simmons won the seat with a total of 22.80 percent of the vote or 3,777 votes.