Mayor Rose Heck
Excerpts from the Mayors Annual Message
January 1, 2010
It is my pleasure to now present the traditional Mayors Year End ReportPolice Department Report
Submitted by Police Chief Michael Colaneri
2009 was a very active and busy year for the Police Department. We answered over 12,000 calls for service, which is the most ever. Listed below are some highlights of programs, equipment and activities by the department that are in addition to our calls for service:
Ptl. Joe Armeli was appointed to the Department in March.
In July, Ptl. Corey Lange was seriously injured while conducting a motor vehicle stop. Ptl. Lange is improving and is working hard to return to duty.
Traffic Bureau: Traffic continues to be one of our toughest challenges. We are constantly looking at ways to improve traffic flow, improve pedestrian safety and manage parking issues. Four-way stops signs have been added on Oak Grove and Franklin; Kipp and Oak Grove; Kipp and Burton; Madison and Burton.
AAA recognized the department with their awards of excellence for our efforts. (One of only a few in North Jersey)
Participated in nationwide Click It or Ticket, over 150 summons issued.
Two DWI checkpoints conduct this year, one in June and one in October with 10 DWI arrest and 58 summons issued.
The Child car seat installation program continued.
Three new police vehicles were purchased. One marked car was paid with funds charged to private contractors for traffic details and one unmarked purchased from insurance proceeds.
New Sign: A Solar Powered School Zone with speed display has been installed on Passaic Avenue. The insurance company of a motorist who struck the old sign paid for this. There was No cost to the Borough.
A sprinkler system was donated for the Police Memorial.
The Department signed up for NIXLE, a free service to notify residents of events, traffic issues and/or emergencies.
2010 we will upgrade the existing CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) and RMS (Records Management System).
Honor Guard: The departments Honor Guard was busy attending many Borough events/parades as well as County and State Police Memorial Services. The members of the Honor Guard volunteer for these assignments.
Space Odyssey trip was held on April 8, 2009 for all 5th and 8th grade students.
8th Grade swim party was held in June at the Swim Club
5th Grade DARE parents night was held on December 2, 2009 with approximately 40 parents attending.
Special Olympics Beefsteak and Torch Run were held with our Department raising over $30,000 and being #4 in the entire state.
Jr. Police Academy was held for our 8th graders who then become Jr. Auxiliary members and assisted at Town Day and other Boro functions.
7th grade camping trip and 8th grade Washington trip were chaperoned and the BADGE program continued.
All second grade students were fingerprinted and photographed.
Internet Safety Program was held in April.
The Walking School Bus continues to be a success. It is in operation every school day.
Personally I would like to add how proud I am of this department and their ability to add new programs as we work to replace retired officers. They have kept us safe even as towns around us are experiencing increased crime rates. Prevention has always been and will always be a mainstay of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Police Department. In 2010 an additional effort will be made to increase pedestrian and traffic safety. A number of programs will be given at the PTAs and Senior Citizens meetings.
My thanks to Chief Colaneri and his department for a job well done.
Court Revenue $229,216.06
Finance Committee Report
Tax Collections and
Budget and Finance Committee
The total Borough Budget increased by $566,519.25 in 2009. This includes all salary increases as well as increases in utilities, fuel and all other expenses as well as an increase in the amount of $135,466.60 for Pension Costs. Debt Service was also increased by $249,906.25. We are taking advantage of the decreased interest rates to apply more funding to retiring debt. The 2009 budget paid off Bonds in the amount of $375,000.00 and Notes in the amount of $725,000.00
State Formula Aid was decreased by $34,912.00 and the budget did not include Extraordinary Aid in the amount of $200,000.00 which was received in 2008. Based on the terms of the program we did not qualify under this program in 2009. Other revenues are affected by the economy such as interest on investments and construction permits and this all needed to be considered by the Finance Committee.
The Pension Deferral was something we were all watching very closely. The deferral would have allowed us to postpone paying up to $548,855.00 of our pension liability. Beginning in 2012 we would need to start funding the deferred liability over the following 15 years with a provision that at any time the Borough could pay off the liability in full. The amount of the deferred liability would fluctuate based on the pension system investment earnings on the deferred amount. This is where the financing costs would become material. The deferral of $548,855.00, would be payable over 15 years plus 8.25% in financing charges. We decided that it is in the best interest of the Borough to pay our liability and avoid the high interest cost in the future.
It seems as though we just finished the 2009 budget and we are now getting ready to review a draft of the 2010 budget.
Tax Appeal Report
You have requested that I provide a summary update in respect to pending tax appeals in addition to the more specific reports that I periodically issue in regard to all of the pending cases. Since the formation of the Tax Settlement Committee in 1995 and the assignment of all tax appeals to the Borough Attorney, we were able to reduce the number of pending appeals to approximately 25 or 30 cases still pending at the end of any year. Only a few of those cases would date back more than two years. It was our goal to reduce the backlog in order to diminish the potential liability to the Borough and its taxpayers that could result from any possible adverse determinations. We were successful in achieving that goal until we left office in January of 2007.
During that year, the number of pending appeals rose to 54 by year end. That increase was not the result of any unusually large influx of appeals but rather the failure to successfully address any of the appeals except for one. Further, it should be noted that the only appeal during that year was settled by the Borough Appraiser and Tax Assessor rather than the tax attorney who had been additionally engaged to represent the Borough IN 2007.
When we returned to office in 2008, we immediately undertook to reduce that backlog. By the end of that year, 45 of the 54 inherited cases were resolved leaving only 9 remaining. Unfortunately, an unusual number of new cases, 61, were filed in April leaving us with a total of 70 pending cases. Nonetheless, by the disposition of 14 of the new cases, we were left with only 56 cases by the end of the year. In April of 2009, 25 new cases were filed resulting in a total of 81 cases. To date, of those 81 cases, 30 have been successfully disposed of and only 51 remain.
We continue in earnest to reduce the number of pending cases to our pre-2007 level. Since the revaluation in 2006, our ratio remains at a remarkably strong 97.35% despite the current slump in the real estate market. This effectively inhibits the filing of new appeals. Consequently, at the current rate of successful disposal of cases, we should be able to achieve our goal by the end of 2010 thus making up for the lost time incurred by the virtual inaction during 2007.
I will now call upon Councilwoman Sonya Buckman to give the Recreation Department Report for 2009.Recreation Department Report
Submitted By Robert Brady, Director of Recreation
The Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department has had another fun-filled exciting year, thanks to the Hasbrouck Heights Mayor & Council, all of our great volunteers, and of course our many participants in our recreation programs. The goal for our recreation department is and always will be: to include as many participants that we can safely accommodate into every single program that we offer, also to offer the most organized and fulfilling programs to our citizens and their families.
In 2009 our department offered 12 different programs for the children of our community, 6 different programs for the adults in town, and 9 different programs for our senior citizen community. The recreation department also runs the many different community events that the entire family can enjoy, such as Town Day and Halloween in the Park. The Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department does not operate but contributes funds to these other great town organizations: Little League, Junior Football/Cheering, Mens Softball, The Leisure Club, Hasbrouck Heights Soccer Association, Aviator Soccer Club, and Senior Babe Ruth.
This past year the recreation department has given over 1,000 children a safe place to play, run, shoot a basketball, wrestle, or hit a softball with their friends and families watching and cheering them on. While also giving the community the opportunity to enjoy events like Town Day and Halloween in the Park as a family. The recreation department also offers a great working environment for many high school and college age residents: either in our summer camp, recreation center, or our many sporting events.
Director Rob Brady along with the Mayor and Council would like to take this opportunity to thank our many great volunteer coaches and programs advisors that give up so much time from their family to make sure the children and adults in our community have a safe and fun experience in our recreation programs. These volunteers make Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department the best it can be.
Mayor Heck presents the Library Report
The Free Public Library of Hasbrouck Heights celebrated 30 years of resource sharing among 75 member libraries of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS). Marge Hendey, the Hasbrouck Heights Library Director was its first president. Our community has access to over 5.5 million items. Hasbrouck Heights was the very first member library to go online.
Library services include circulating a variety of books and media to our patrons, programs for residents of all ages, and interpersonal services such as reference and referral, material loans, free internet access, notary public services, proctoring exams and computer training classes. We try to anticipate our patrons needs by keeping an eye on current trends and cutting edge technology. We plan for the coming year to expand our collection of DVDs, music CDs, and books-on-CD collection.
Our wildly popular Crafts-to-Share Club draw a dedicated following under the direction of Reference Librarian Melissa Singlevich. The ladies from the Craft-to-Share program have continued to volunteer their time, materials, and talent to knit and crochet blankets, hats and other items to donate to the Hackensack Medical Center. To date, a total of 3,422 hours of donated time was given in 2009.
Established in April, the Library offers a weekly meeting of the Job Search Club for the purpose of networking and further education. It is our latest effort to help our residents. We began a series of seminars and invited guest speakers to assist the participants in various aspects of their job search and polish their interview skills. Our mailing list has over 70 people. Several individuals have gotten jobs and are enrolled in further training. All agree that they have benefited from our efforts.
The attendance for the Young Adult Programs continues to grow in leaps and bounds under the care and direction of Reference/Young Adult Librarian Catherine Dodwell. We have innovative and successful cross generational craft programs where teens and adults are in one room as they learn from one another. Other activities offered this past year were learning about stage combat, how to play bridge, and leadership training.
Under the direction of Childrens Librarian Rosalie Nickles, the childrens activities continue to bring in high attendance. There are always wonderful and creative year round programs being sponsored for all age groups. We held our 20th Annual Lego Night with over 150 people in attendance.
One of the most memorable moments took place this summer when the Library held its first Movie Night. Special thanks to all the borough agencies and individuals involved in making it a smashing success. This event was held to promote and to encourage families to spend quality time together. 300 people were in attendance. A wonderful time was had by all. Who couldnt resist staying up till 2 in the morning at their local library when they offered to have four movie screenings, a karaoke area, makeovers by the Parisian Beauty Academy, costumed characters, a long red carpet, a 7 foot Oscar statue, gaming, and a concession stand that offered a number of wonderful treats.
The Library facilities continue to offer a haven for local organizations to meet -- 150 groups used the meeting rooms this year. A total of 2,409 people met at the Library for meetings.
The public can register for various library programs from the comfort of their homes by going to the librarys website http://hasbrouckheights.bccls.org
Friends Of The Library
Through the generous donations of community minded individuals, the Friends Endowment Fund, whose mission is to provide for library programming and to keep the Library on the cutting edge of technology, paid for the following:
In conclusion, the Library continues to provide the community with outstanding public service. The Mayor and Council commends the Library Director, her staff and the Library Board who work so hard to offer quality service. The local public library has a wealth of resources and services to offer and an opportunity for lifetime learning.
Councilman David Gonzalez will present the Fire Dept. Report submitted by Chief Michael Ratkowski on Dec. 11, 2009 and the DPW Year End Report submitted by DPW Supt. Bill Spindler.
Fire Department Report
Fire Department and Ambulance Corps are to be commended for an outstanding year of volunteer work on behalf of all of the people of Hasbrouck Heights..
As of Firematic Year ending 11-30-09:
Equipment Purchased in year 2009:
The Port Authority made a generous contribution of $80,000 towards the purchase of a new ambulance. The bid was received and accepted and the Ambulance will be delivered in 2010.
We are very proud of the work they do and thank them for all of their volunteer work and the hundreds of hours it takes for them to professionally operate and care for all the major equipment that is required for them to perform their duties. They are the best.
Department of Public Works
The Department of Public works is proud to report on the progress of its many various services throughout the Borough:
Building & Grounds
Garbage and Trash
Parks and Playgrounds
Other Town Events
Just a reminder to our residents to help during snow storms
NO PARKING ON STREETS WHEN
NO THROWING SNOW / ICE INTO
Your cooperation in following the above ordinances will greatly increase our ability to clear the roads of snow and ice in a prompt and timely manner.
Thank you for your cooperation for all future snowstorms. Any questions, please call the Department of Public Works at 201-288-1072.
DPW Supt Bill Spindler and Asst.
Supt. Jim Schneider along with the members of their department are to be commended for the
tremendous amount of work they do for the Borough. The work they did during the recent
snow storms gave us clean and safe passage on the streets throughout town. Thank you.
The following year end report was filed by Nicholas Melfi, Construction Official and members of the Building Department and given to the Mayor.
The entire department would like to take this opportunity to compliment the residents of Hasbrouck Heights who continue to take pride in their property and maintain their homes. The residents continued to make upgrades to their property despite the downturn in the economy.
The Building Department has issued 753 permits as of this date for December 8, 2009.
TOTAL VALUE OF CONSTRUCTION $12,345,243.00.
TOTAL PERMIT FEES COLLECTED $263,239.00
TOTAL INSPECTIONS by the Building Department were 1,599.
The Planning Board heard no applications this year.
30 Letters of Denial were written during 2009. 15 of these chose have been heard by the Board of Adjustment. There are 3 that are pending due to items missing from the check list and are planning to be heard in January. There are eight who have chosen to make application at a later date. Four have chosen not to pursue a variance.
Property Maintenance has continued to respond to complaints and insure compliance was achieved. Necessary legal action was taken when required. Although it may seem that there have been more property maintenance issues, the number has remained stable. This department has a difficult time establishing the responsibility for the maintenance of unoccupied homes, but continues to pursue the matter until compliance is achieved.
The Construction Code Official/Zoning Officer has office hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Property Maintenance Inspector has Office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday. These in the office hours were established to better serve the public. The Construction Code Official has 20 working days to give plan approval on permit applications and it is this departments goal to try to get the applications through the approval process in a much shorter time.
Members of this department were pleased to report the 2009 completion of Sonic on Route 17, the townhouses at 10 Terrace Avenue which are currently being sold, the refit of a store front into a restaurant, and major renovations at the Holiday Inn. All added ratable to the tax base. The big disappointment this year was the stalled Touro University project on Route 17 North. The department looks forward to that beginning again in the near future.
The goal to continue running this department
efficiently and to help the residents of Hasbrouck Heights is of primary importance.
Clerk's and Tax Office Report
Municipal Building Use
The Municipal Building continues to be well utilized by many organizations for various meetings and gatherings. Very often every available room is occupied with requests sometimes overlapping. This past year the Caucus Room was used for 87 events, with 102 in 2008; there were 209 events in the Community Room with 194 in 2008; the Council Chambers was used for 69 meetings, 58 in 2008; and the Senior Center 31 events, 58 in 2008. This was in addition to the regular Senior events that occur on a daily basis, and does not take into account the Recreation Center/Community Room nights. There was a total of seven soccer or junior football registrations held in the hallway, as all rooms were in use. The Borough Clerk= s office keeps a calendar to insure that each event is recorded and there is no double booking.
and Tax Rates
Councilwoman Pamela Link will present the 2009 Health Department Report
Health Department Report
Health Department Services provided for the year 2009
Fees Collected for 2009: $92,248.00
The Board of Health was very successful this year with providing services and information to the residents of Hasbrouck Heights. The Health Dept. published valuable information about "How to Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease", "The Benefits when eating together as a Family" and "The Facts About Norovirus". Along with advising the public about a captured rabid raccoon and informing the public on what precautions to take.
The Board of Health also offers important Health Clinics like the Annual Seasonal Flu Program, which was held on Wednesday, September 23rd. Over 140 residents received their Annual Flu Shot. The Board of Health in conjunction with Mid-Bergen Regional Commission and the cooperation of the HH Public School District was able to offer H1N1 Vaccinations right here in Hasbrouck Heights. The Clinic was held on Monday, November 23rd and over 500 vaccinations were given out.
Another important event is the annual Health Fair, which was held on Saturday, October 17th. This years event had twenty-four vendors and medical personnel offering valuable health screenings, samples, and literature to the many who attended.
This years Senior Wellness Luncheon was held on Thursday, August 20th and was a big success. There were over 100 seniors who enjoyed the complimentary lunch donated by Care One at Wellington. The speaker during the luncheon was Carol Brush, from H.A.R.P. who spoke about skin damage and how to prevent it. Ms. Brush also brought along a Derma Scan machine to show individuals the damage caused by the sun on their skin.
Along with other programs offered like the Child Health Services, the monthly Health Consultations, our first AARP Safe Driver Program, and the Annual Dog Census, The Board of Health is dedicated in improving all our residents health and well being through valuable services and education.
Mayor Rose Heck will present the Food Pantry 2009-Year End Report
Hasbrouck Heights Food Pantry
The Hasbrouck Heights Food Pantry is open on Monday mornings every week for the entire year. The pantry helps over 18 families in need on a weekly basis. This year Borough Clerk, Ro Sees along with myself helped coordinate several local food drives, a holiday gift drive for families in need with children, and also received monetary donations for the purchase of gift cards.
The pantry is operational only because of the generous donations from local church and civic organization as well as youth groups like, the local Boys and Girls Scouts, and many individual generous residents. Also the pantry is thankful to the many volunteers that operate the food pantry on Monday mornings.
In the fall of 2009 the pantry was overwhelmed with the generosity of our residents and local organizations. Each family in need was able to receive a turkey and trimmings for a thanksgiving dinner, as well as holiday presents for children, gift cards for adults and another turkey and trimmings for a holiday dinner.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to work the pantry or to organize a donation please call the Robert Brady at the Recreation Department at (201) 288-4143.
Central Avenue Park
Miers Park and Woodland Park
The improvements at Woodland Park continue. This project will include the rebuilding and extending of the walking path. The asphalt on the basketball courts next to the pavilion will be removed and replaced and a new barrier curb will be installed at the west side to prevent erosion. Curb will be installed and repaired around the pavilion and damaged areas of the asphalt will be repaired. There will also be the addition of a new piece of equipment in the park. A "Strata Stone", which is a 7&1/2 foot tall climbing stone, will be installed in the existing park.
The total budget for the Miers Park/Woodland Park improvements is $250,000.00 with $46,208.00 from a Community Development Block Grant and $80,000.00 from Bergen County Open Space funds. All equipment has been delivered and the contracts have been awarded for the site work and installation. If the weather holds, some of the work will be started in the winter with completion in the spring.
When the Municipal Building was being constructed on the Boulevard we took that opportunity to incorporate the Streetscape Plan in order to improve the block and to demonstrate our commitment to the Boulevard Improvement Project. The same logic was used when the parking lot at the corner of Central Avenue and The Boulevard was being constructed and the Streetscape Plan was again used. This commitment on the part of the Borough helped convince the State that we were serious about the project and were willing to expend funds, other than grant money, on the project.
We now find ourselves 11 years after the first plan was formulated and the first phases of the Boulevard Improvement are almost completed. The Borough was awarded two Department of Transportation Trust Fund grants in the amount of $150,000.00 each for a total of $300,000.00. The Borough put up $50,000.00 for each grant received bringing the total for Phase I and II to $400,000.00.The good news on the project continues with the recent award of $140,000.00 in Department of Transportation Funding towards Phase III of this project.
In an effort to move the project along quickly, Phase I and II were combined and in July of 2009 bids were received for the improvements between Washington Place and Jefferson Avenue. The improvements included the replacing of sidewalks and curbs, with the sidewalk finished in the same design found at the Municipal Building. The area in between sidewalk and curb is finished with pavers and new curb cuts are installed. Decorative lighting will be installed by PSE&G following the style installed at the Municipal Building and Parking Lot. Unfortunately, this project required the removal of 11 trees on the Boulevard. This is always a sensitive topic but it is one that cannot be avoided. In order to complete the improvements the trees needed to be replaced and twelve new trees have been planted to replace the eleven removed.
Hopefully we will be successful in our application for future funding and the improvement plan can continue.
Governors Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
Grants are also sought for the funding of Capital Projects. These grants help us complete large projects, which do not fall within the operating budget, without incurring additional debt. The following projects are either completed or in progress in 2009 as a result of grants received:
Acquisition of a New Senior Citizen Bus 54,194.00
Acquisition of Gear and Equipment for the
As I close these Annual Reports, I especially want to thank the exceptional work done by the Borough Clerk Rose Marie Sees who continues to handle a complex amount of Borough Business in such a friendly and professional manner. The Borough is very lucky to have her. She makes everything so much easier for me and the Council, keeping us regularly informed of all that is happening.
Another invaluable asset to this Borough is our Borough Administrator/Finance Officer Michael Kronyak who has kept us in excellent financial shape through his careful management skills and ability to handle day to day emergencies that arise. Both Mike and Ro are outstanding individuals with special skills and I thank them on behalf of the entire Borough.
My personal gratitude to both Ro and Mike for all of the extra work they did to keep me abreast of everything going on in the Borough on a day to day, up to the minute basis during my stay in the hospital and rehab center. We didnt miss a beat, but it did take a lot of effort on all our parts.
My Thanks to our IT expert Cameron and our Library who set me up with a laptop connection to the Borough. I was at first able to stand and use one finger to open the e-mails, type and send e-mails to Mike and Rose. I used my cell phone as a working source of communication as well. I was unable to make the first meeting in September but thereafter through the kindness of Jay Lustberg and his Ambu Car, was able to get from Wellington Care One to the other meetings via wheelchair and after that a semi-walker into the Council Chambers. The DPW built a ramp from the Caucus Room to the Council Chambers to make my travel easier. Thank you, thank you all for that and so much more.
My thanks to all for their many kindnesses this past year. It would take me forever to recount all of the wonderful ways in which so many people have helped me. So please know that you are all very much appreciated.
We are very fortunate to have department heads, staff and professionals with all the many talents needed to make our Borough so special and responsive to the needs of our residents.
My personal thanks to all of the volunteers who make up the Mayors special Committees and Liaisons for their accomplishments over the past two years. The addition of the Outdoor Malls and our spectacular 2009 Street Fair were two examples of what we all did together.
I welcome the new Council Members to those already seated here, knowing how much work we have done and will continue to do on behalf of our town. We are here to serve the people and we will never forget the faith you have placed in us.
Together all of us will continue to seek Grants, hold special events, and forums, come up with ideas to encourage business in town, increase ratables, add to beautification projects, and clean streets and sidewalk programs; seek ways and means to become more efficient, work on shared services and expand our successful recycling programs. In these times of economic challenges, we must all work together to stretch our dollars and meet the surprises that have come down upon us from the State and County. I promise to personally work diligently with all of you.