The North Bergen Commissioners on Aug. 20 approved an ordinance permitting background checks for volunteers at local nonprofit youth-serving organizations, and approved a contract with the Associated Humane Societies animal shelter in Newark.
Until recently, North Bergen had been using the Hudson County SPCA in Jersey City to pick up and adopt out stray animals, but that shelter was shut a few months ago due to allegedly unsanitary conditions.
Town Administrator Chris Pianese said that after the SPCA was shut, they kept using that shelter’s manager, Hector Carbajales, on an interim basis, until they went out to bid for their current contract.
Pianese said that their new contract with Newark represents a significant financial increase, raising their yearly cost by over $100,000, to $165,562.
Mayor and State Sen. Nicholas Sacco said that they had gone with the Jersey City shelter in the past because of its more reasonable pricing, but that they are now returning to their previous contract because it was necessary to make a change.
“Since they are having problems, we were concerned about the quality of care for the animals that are in need in our community, so we are going to spend more money and go somewhere we hope will not have the same problems of the SPCA,” said Sacco.
Criminal checks for rec workers
The commissioners passed an ordinance that will allow criminal history background checks for employees and volunteers for youth-serving organizations. This includes current and future personnel.
The organizations include those that are funded, whether in whole or part, by the township. Individuals that are involved in the Little League and the Pop Warner Recreation Center will have their backgrounds checked and fingerprints taken.
Pianese said that certain problems will require removal from coaching recreational sports.
“I think that it’s a great thing,” said Sacco. “I think it’s something we should have done a long time ago.”
He continued,” It safeguards us and it’s a proactive thing to do.”
Commissioner of recreation Allen Pascual said that they will be instituting the checks during their fall season and that they have about 400 volunteer coaches to check, while some of them he explained coach for more than one recreation team.
Pascual said that the few of the parents he had spoken to about the future checks had nothing but positive things to say.
The board of commissioners passed a five-year tax abatement agreement for a 30-acre retail center located at 2100 88th St. The center, when built, will host 11 retail stores.
According to Pianese, this was the first time they granted a commercial abatement in more than five years.
An abatement is an agreement between the town and a developer to avoid regular fluctuating property taxes, and instead pay a certain amount to the town each year.
These agreements are meant as incentives to get developers to build in certain areas.
The money from an abatement agreement goes straight to the city, rather than being shared with the county and schools.
EAT II, LLC will end up paying the town $6 million over five years, Pianese said.
“They are saving money on [the company’s] side, but it is also a win for the municipality in that we collect more than we would have in local taxes,” said Pianese.
Resident complains about speeding
George Cruz addressed the council during their public portion, stating that he had a petition from his neighbors in regards to the speeding that occurs on Columbia Avenue, which is in the downtown section of North Bergen by Secaucus Road.
He said that speeders take his street as a shortcut. He asked the council if they would consider installing speed bumps for the safety of the children.
Sacco said that they would try to solve the problem, but probably not with speed bumps.
“Other towns have done them to their detriment,” said Sacco. “You cannot clean snow properly once you put them in, and you are liable for any accidents, and speed bumps are known to cause accidents.”
Sacco said that they could consider putting down road cuts like on the New Jersey Turnpike, and Captain Robert Dowd said that he would be installing radar in the area.
Approves controlled parking An ordinance making the municipal and health department parking lots “controlled” was passed by the board.
Residents will still be able to park in the lots, but only after business hours, said Pianese, who explained that there will eventually be a gate system so that only town worker are allowed in.
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