North Bergen officials noted at their Sept. 24 Board of Commissioners meeting that the town will receive thousands of dollars in “host fees” this year from the numerous garbage collection companies that operate there.
The latest company to execute a recycling agreement with North Bergen is Westside Transload LLC at 43rd Street and West Side Avenue, according to Town Administrator Chris Pianese.
The state now requires companies to pay the town a “host fee” because of the wear and tear that waste removal causes on roads and township patrols. Before companies are permitted to operate in North Bergen, they must agree to the host fee.
The 2008-2009 fiscal budget for North Bergen anticipates approximately $118,000 in revenue from these agreements before the fiscal year ends next June 30.
Pianese said that Westside Transload has agreed to pay the town $1.50 per ton of trash they deal with each day. The company deals with up to 1,231 tons per day.
“This is a win for both sides,” said Pianese. “They’re complying with the statute. The state, as well as the Meadowlands Commission, has worked with us to insure we get the host fee before they opened.”
Pianese said that two other recycling companies, Eagle Recycling of New Jersey and Cardella Trucking Company, also recently signed tonnage agreements. He said the fees are based on tonnage per day. Up to 450 tons is 75 cents per ton, with the fee rising after that.
The newest company, Westside Transload, will also have to install traffic lights at the entrance to its facility, which Pianese said could cost around $100,000 per light. He said this will alleviate the traffic flow of the company’s vehicles and better regulate the amount of speeding on West Side Avenue.
“When they put the lights in, that will automatically help us with the flow of traffic [and will] slow it down,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
New closing time
Also at the meeting, the commissioners unanimously agreed to change the closing time for bars in the town from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m.
No members of the public spoke on the matter during the meeting.
Recently, township officials said they have been overwhelmed with police reports and complaints about bars around closing time.
Bars in surrounding towns close at 2 a.m.
Bonds for big equipment
Also at the meeting, the commissioners approved $2.6M in bonds for vehicles, equipment, and street projects. The total cost of the bonds will be $2.7M.
Sacco said that the town uses bond ordinances because they spread project costs over a period of time.
The largest bond, for township vehicles, will cost the town almost $1.1M over the next five years. Pianese said the town hopes to purchase a new garbage truck and a sewer Jet Vac truck.
He said that the Jet Vac is used to unclog sewer pipes.
“It has saved the town a lot of money by not [having] to contract it out,” said Pianese.
Other bonds will go for street widening, resurfacing, and drainage improvements.
A total of $435,000 will go to the reconstruction, resurfacing and widening of 40th through 91st streets between Dell Avenue and Boulevard East, as well as Sixth through 39th streets between Kennedy Boulevard and Liberty Avenue. The bond for repairing these streets will span 10 years.
These same streets are also listed as being in need of sanitary and storm water storm sewer improvements. $650,000 was appropriated to this project, and the bond will last for 40 years.
Public parks, senior citizen facilities, and other projects were allotted $278,000 over the next 15 years. Township facilities will receive $100,000 to be paid for over 15 years.
Improving and fixing township “machinery” will cost $180,000 over 15 years.
“We’ve always kept the amount of bonds we’ve had low,” said Sacco.
Pianese said the township had $65 million in outstanding debt in 1997, and that in 10 years they were able to lower this to $48M.
“We’ve substantially dropped our outstanding debt in a lot of places,” said Pianese.
Resident speaks about speeding
The only member of the public to speak at the meeting, Clara Conroy, asked the police to crack down on speeding on Kennedy Boulevard.
Conroy said that since she has been living close by 85th Street and Kennedy Boulevard, speeding has been a “nightmare.” She said she had trouble sleeping and that she was witness to numerous accidents.
“Everybody is speeding over there,” said Conroy.
North Bergen Police Chief William Gavin said that he would try to get more patrols at that area, but that “with the traffic situation the way it is now, we really can’t post someone up there 24 hours a day.”
Galvin said that since it is a county road, he would ask of the assistance of Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez to try and get more radar in that area.
Grants for parks, programs
At the meeting, it was announced that North Bergen received $400,000 from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund. The township will match the grant with $215,000 of its own funds in order to improve playgrounds at 43rd, 82nd and 88th streets, said Pianese.
Pianese said that the playgrounds will be compliant with current safety standards.
“It’s important because we’ve always prided ourselves in having good park facilities, and this will enable us to do it without burdening the taxpayers,” said Sacco.
The long running Special Young People of North Bergen recreation program, which serves individuals with disabilities, received $14,000 from a New Jersey Department of Community Affairs grant.
The township will also be receiving $213,000 from the New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone for 2009 to be used in a “Brand Awareness Campaign.” Pianese said the goal is to increase the awareness of consumers and business owners about the UEZ zone in North Bergen, located on Bergenline and Broadway Avenues.
A UEZ is an urban business district that is allowed to charge only 3.5 percent sales tax, an incentive to customers.
“The entire thing [the UEZ designation] wound up being a lot better for the township and the region…than I even thought it was when it was passed in the late 1990s,” said Sacco, who originally pushed for North Bergen to have a UEZ.
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