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Public safety tops Hoboken City Council’s agenda

A direct-hire agreement was also adopted

The Hoboken City Council met virtually on March 17.

The City Council unanimously adopted a new law curtailing e-bikes on sidewalks, in parks, and along the waterfront walkway after residents expressed safety concerns with them being ridden in locations where there are large concentrations of pedestrians.

This came after the city council approved a new agreement with Lyft’s CitiBike which will provide e-bikes as part of its bike-share fleet.

No person will be permitted to ride a low-speed electric bicycle or motorized bicycle on the portion of the waterfront walkway that begins at the north end of Sinatra Park running south to the municipal border, including the promenade adjacent to Blue Eyes Café and the portion of the walkway that begins at the south end of the skateboard park and runs north to the municipal border.

Cyclists cannot ride e-bikes and motorized bikes in public parks or on sidewalks and must dismount and walk them if in these areas.

They can be ridden in bike lanes or on city streets.

According to Police Chief Ken Ferrante, the police department will begin with an education-first approach before enforcing the new law.

“E-bikes at this speed and at this weight on the sidewalk is dangerous and something that won’t be tolerated,” he said.

Body camera’s purchased

The council adopted a resolution approving a contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc., which will provide the police department with body cameras and storage.

According to the resolution, the five-year contract will total $739,370 with the first year costing $252,122 and every year following costing $121,812.

State legislation mandates that on-duty police officers, not including undercover officers or those at a desk, must wear body cameras starting June 1.

The deal includes 140 cameras for every police officer in the department as well as storage.

Ferrante noted that Axon is one of the largest accepted body-worn camera company in the country and that they provided the best package which included unlimited data storage at about $88 a month and free replacements of broken cameras.

He added that other local agencies use the same provider including the North Bergen Police Department and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. This allows the department to share video more easily.

He noted that the state will reimburse municipalities for the body cameras purchased prior to the implementation of the New Jersey Statewide Body Worn Camera Program, but the Attorney General’s Office has not yet released a plan for doing so.

Direct hire agreement adopted

Hoboken entered into the city’s first-ever direct-hire agreement with the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council.

Under the agreement, unanimously approved by the council via resolution, skilled labor from the union will supplement the city’s existing workforce for certain public works projects ensuring living-wage jobs and quality construction work.

The union will prioritize hiring Hoboken residents as a part of the workforce for construction projects.

“Utilizing union labor not only ensures higher quality work on critical construction projects within our City and saves taxpayer dollars, but also provides for living-wages for workers,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “This new program also prioritizes the hiring of skilled labor living in Hoboken, providing our own residents with access to better quality jobs. I thank the Hudson County Building Trades for initiating this program with Hoboken and look forward to a continued partnership as we build a better future for our city.”

“Creating a direct hire program in Hoboken is more than admirable, especially as we continue to emerge from COVID-19,” said Paul Roldan, business manager for Laborers Local 3. “This innovative program means more Hoboken residents will get back to work, and that critical public projects will get done in a way that is both more affordable and efficient.”

All labor used by the city through the Hudson County Building Trades will receive prevailing union wages and benefits.

The city will seek to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hudson County Building Trades to use union labor for nine public works projects in Hoboken including repairs to city buildings, sidewalk repair, masonry, and improvements in city parks.

“This is a great opportunity for hardworking men and women of labor, and I want to thank Mayor Bhalla for making it happen,” said Business Agent for Carpenters Local 253 Thomas Hurley,

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop entered into a direct-hire agreement with the Hudson County Building Trades in August of 2020, which recently used the program to renovate the first floor of City Hall.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

 

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