An ordinance introduced at the Jan. 14 North Bergen Commissioners meeting will allow the township to prepare for the opening of a mall being built on 91st Street. The property is being developed by Vornado Realty Trust and will include numerous “big box” stores, like BJ’s Wholesale Club, along with various restaurants.
Town Administrator Chris Pianese said the ordinance will allow the township to vacate part of an intersection at 88th Street and Tonnelle Avenue. They will give the land to Vornado. The developer will use it to build a wider, more direct entrance into the mall.
“The state really pushed for this alignment,” said Pianese.
The mall is set to open before the end of 2009, but some of the stores will open earlier.
The ordinance vacating the land will be up for a final vote at the next meeting.
Three state Urban Enterprise Zone grants that the township applied for last year were officially added to the budget during the meeting.
The $4.3 million in funds will be put toward numerous repair projects in the township, said Town Administrator Chris Pianese at the meeting on Jan. 14.
One $1.4 million grant will be put toward replacing all of the traffic signals along Bergenline Avenue, a costly project that the township couldn’t complete without the grant.
“For years we’ve been holding them together with every means possible because they’re old,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “They malfunction. They go out of timing…and this should make a big difference.”
“The traffic lights on Bergenline Avenue have become totally obsolete.” – Chris Pianese
Pianese said that if they didn’t get these funds, replacing the 40- to 50-year-old lights would be too burdensome on taxpayers. He said each light costs upwards of $150,000.
“The traffic lights on Bergenline Avenue have become totally obsolete,” said Pianese. “We can’t get parts [and] when they reset themselves after a power outage, it has to be manually reset. It’s real cumbersome. There are no parts for these lights.”
Pianese said that in the past it could cost $5,000 to just do a “mini repair” on a light.
At two intersections, 75th and 82nd streets, traffic signals will be eliminated. A township study determined they are not needed. Pianese said he is hopeful the lights will be replaced by the end of this year.
Another UEZ grant for $1.7 million will be put toward replacing the sewer system at 91st Street near Tonnelle Avenue. Pianese said that the township has been working for years to complete the work in an area that is prone to flooding.
Due to a new mall being built, the work must be completed before more traffic comes into the area.
With a $1.1 million UEZ grant, the township will begin repairing West Side Avenue. Pianese said the funds will help to begin the process of fixing the road that gets “a lot of wear and tear.”
The North Bergen Commissioners approved three resolutions that allow the North Bergen Parking Authority to provide maintenance and repair work for municipal vehicles in North Bergen, Fairview, and Cliffside Park.
For North Bergen, the hourly labor repair rate will be $60 per hour. Fairview and Cliffside Park will pay $80 per hour.
In adition, the township’s contract with Vision Media Marketing for public relations services was also approved for another year at $60,750. Pianese said this includes a 3 percent raise.
Also, P.R.S. Consultants of Manchester Township was awarded two contracts to conduct alcohol and drug abuse education for township employees. One agreement, from Jan. 15 until Dec. 31 for $11,571, is necessary so the township can fulfill its obligation to the North Bergen Municipal Alliance Committee Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse Grant for 2009.
Another contract for a State Certified Substance Abuse Counselor from P.R.S. Consultants totaled $5,700. The agreement began on Jan. 10 and will run until Dec. 31
The township also received a New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Affordable Housing Grant in the amount of $45,000.
They are also applying for $100,000 from the NJMC Municipal Assistance Program to buy four new marked police cars.
For 2009, North Bergen also received $5,000 from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety to be put toward the “Over the limit, under arrest” D.U.I. crackdowns.
Three individuals were appointed to boards at the last meeting.
Hector Zulueta was reappointed to fill out a five-year term on the North Bergen Parking Authority. Diana Madrid was also appointed to serve for five years.
Janet Sinisi was reappointed to a three year term on the town’s Senior Citizen and Disabled Persons Condominium/Co-operative Conversion Protection Board.