Firefighters respond to one-alarm fire on Hook Road

On Jan. 22 at 11:14 a.m., the Bayonne Fire Department responded to 330 Hook Road for a report of smoke coming from the roof. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered a small, single-story warehouse on the IMTT property, with smoke coming from the roof. A forcible entry team cut a hole in a bay door to gain access, and a fire hose was advanced to extinguish a small fire in a ceiling mounted, oil burner heater. National Fence Rental reportedly leases the warehouse.
Units cleared the scene at 3:32 p.m. IMTT representatives were at the scene.

Council passes $2.29 million bond for tax appeals

To cover the increasing number of tax appeals filed against the city, the council voted at its Jan. 19 meeting to sell $2.29 million in bonds.
Chief Financial Officer Terrence Malloy said, “The vast majority of this is multi-residential with four units or more, or industrial.” He noted that condominiums are included in this bonding ordinance. “We’ve had quite a few condominium tax appeals.”
One, two, and three family residential tax appeals are being paid out of the municipal budget, he said.

Shortage of crossing guards

The city has decided to return to a system that it had abandoned in the 1980s that would allow parking enforcement officers to also work as crossing guards. Although this recommendation had been made in the late 1990s under Mayor Joseph Doria, the idea apparently remained dormant until recently when the city faced a shortage of crossing guards.
At the Jan. 19 meeting, Council President Terrence Ruane said this will not mean the hiring of additional people, nor are salary increases anticipated for any of the employees.
“These are existing positions that are being brought back under the city,” he said.
The positions are for a supervising parking enforcement officer, parking enforcement officer, and traffic control officer.
The city crossing guards/parking enforcement officers would be allowed to act as crossing guards while able to perform duties as parking enforcement.
The objective of this ordinance, Business Administrator Steve Gallo said, is to share services with the Bayonne Parking authority.
In those areas where crossing guards are lacking, police officers are used to fill in, which Gallo said is not cost effective.
The supervising parking enforcement officer and a parking enforcement officer will transfer from the parking authority and come under the auspices of the city.
“We’re creating a new title called traffic control officer that will allow traffic enforcement officers to also act as crossing guards,” he said.

Freeholders seek change in election machine moving contract

Hudson County Freeholders are going to review a contract for the moving of election machines before, during, and after elections. Seeking to get a possible wider range of offers, the freeholders are looking to remove the provision in the contract that requires a bidder to have facilities within 50 miles of Hudson County. Currently, Union City-based Pensa Movers has the contract. The Freeholders are expected to meet with the superintendent of elections at the Jan. 30 meeting to discuss the change in the contract.

Assembly panel approves bill to help UEZ businesses

A measure sponsored by Assembly members Ruben J. Ramos Jr., Matthew Milam, Annette Quijano, Angel Fuentes, Ralph Caputo, and Jason O’Donnell aimed at combating the “credit crunch” was approved by an Assembly panel recently.
The bill (A-3243) would create an incentive for lenders to provide loans to businesses within the state’s Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) by providing tax-free treatment on the interest earned on loans made directly to qualified UEZ businesses for five years.
“I know that businesses in Urban Enterprise Zones, especially those in my district where we have four, have been hit particularly hard by the economy,” said Ramos (D-33rd Dist.). “This is a great incentive to get banks lending to businesses in economically depressed areas until the economy picks up on its own again.”
“Specifically, the bill permits lenders who are subject to the corporation business tax to deduct from their entire net income the amount of net interest received on loan repayments from a qualified UEZ business that is engaged in the active conduct of trade or business within a UEZ. Additionally, the lenders would be permitted to deduct from their gross income an amount equal to the amount of net interest received in the loan repayment.
In order to qualify for the tax deduction: the qualified UEZ business must be located solely within a UEZ; the loan must be solely in connection with activity within the UEZ; and the taxpayer claiming the deduction must not have any equity or other ownership interest in the debtor.
“UEZ businesses are the backbone in many of our struggling, urban communities. Access to credit is vital to their success, and their success is vital to our community,” said O’Donnell (D-31st Dist.).
The measure cleared the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee by a vote of 6-1.

Sires reappointed to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Rep. Albio Sires last week was reappointed as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 112th Congress. As a member of the committee, he will also serve on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, as well as the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. Sires has been a member of the committee since 2008.
“I am excited to continue my work on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This committee will give me the ability to best serve my constituents. The transportation needs in New Jersey and particularly in the 13th Congressional District are great,” said Congressman Sires. “At a time when traffic is getting worse and studies show that congestion cost Americans $115 billion in 2009, it is imperative that Congress pass a long-term comprehensive transportation bill.”
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including aviation, bridges, highways, maritime transportation, mass transit, and railroads. Additionally, the committee has jurisdiction over matters relating to oil spill laws, economic development for economically distressed areas, transportation of hazardous materials, environmental restoration, and projects for flood control.
“I am eager to work with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to provide all Americans with better transportation infrastructure that is safer and provides them with more options,” said Sires. “Transportation touches every facet of our lives, and investing in transportation will create jobs and stimulate the economy.”

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