NB bond rating of Aa3 reaffirmed by Moody’s, results in $50K savings
Citing the township’s “prudent management team” and “large tax base,” Moody’s Investors Service has officially reaffirmed North Bergen’s Aa3 bond rating.
Among the highest of any municipality in Hudson County, the Aa3 rating gives it access to lower interest rates compared to borrowers with weaker ratings, saving taxpayers significantly when bonds are issued for capital projects like street repairs, sewer improvements, vehicle purchases, and other major expenses.
“This bond rating is the result of years of careful financial management, strong budget controls, and solid growth in our ratable base,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “We are very proud to see North Bergen’s fiscal discipline and success continue to be recognized by ratings agencies like Moody’s and are excited to see our taxpayers continue to reap the benefits in substantial savings on interest costs.”
A recent $29 million bond anticipation note sale attracted four responsible bidders, indicating strong interest in the financial community for North Bergen’s bonds, and solid market access. The Aa3 rating resulted in a winning bid from TD Securities at an interest rate of only 0.813 percent. This means that North Bergen’s borrowing cost on the bond anticipation note is only $235,000, a potential savings to taxpayers of approximately $50,000 when compared to interest costs that would have resulted from a less-favorable bond rating.
North Bergen’s Aa3 rating stands in stark contrast to the state’s bond rating, which has been downgraded several times in recent years due to pension underfunding and other issues.
Lower rates for the 2016 season at the pool
Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Hugo Cabrera announced new lower rates for the North Bergen Municipal Pool Complex for the 2016 season. Pool rates have been reduced by 25 percent across the board, allowing for savings of up to $100 per family for the year.
For more information view the flyer on the town website at northbergen.org or contact the Recreation Center at (201) 861-9601.
North Bergen students pack ‘journey bags’ for foster children
Students from Robert Fulton School and Robert Fulton Annex packed nearly 200 “journey bags” with the help of teachers, staff, and parents to aid foster children in the Hudson County area. Journey bags are backpacks consisting of new items the foster kids may need while they are going into placement. The event took place March 22 at the North Bergen Public Library.
“This is an excellent initiative by Robert Fulton and Robert Fulton Annex,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “Programs like these bring the community together and it is always a welcome sight to see young children care for one another and participate in events that elevate the community. I commend the teachers, administrators and particularly the students for the wonderful job they are doing for foster children.”
Ellen Begbie, a 5th grade teacher and a moderator for the Ambassador of Kindness program at Robert Fulton School has been helping her students raise awareness for children in foster communities by fundraising for the journey bags. “Many enter foster care with just the clothes on their backs,” she said. “These bags help foster children know that they are loved and cared for.”
The Ambassador to Kindness program is committed to promoting kindness throughout the school. This year, the moderators decided to take the journey bag project to another level and asked the Robert Fulton Annex to get involved in order to further raise awareness for the worthy cause. The Ambassadors of Kindness and student council members worked hard collecting donations and spreading the word about the project, and raised nearly $3,000 in a short period of time through weekly student collections, events hosted by the Parents and Teachers Organization, and a dress-down day for teachers. In addition, Foresters Financial provided a grant of $2,500 thanks to the assistance of William Messina, a Foresters Financial employee and sympathizer with the cause.
The bags will be collected by the Division of Child Protection & Permanency Hudson County area office and distributed throughout the Hudson County offices as needed.
High Tech student performance highlights solutions to bullying and more
Students from High Tech High School showcased a previously recorded performance called “The High Tech Talk Show: Start the Conversation,” followed by a question and answer session for the Hudson County Social Emotional Consortium on March 23. The show was completely written, directed and performed by High Tech High School students, primarily to highlight the support services available to freshmen students at the school, including board policies on bullying and fostering a positive culture at the high school.
Register for spring programs at the library
The North Bergen Free Public Library’s spring program registration for both the main library and the Kennedy branch will begin on Monday, March 28 at 9 a.m. Programs will begin Monday, April 4. Registration is open to North Bergen and Guttenberg residents. Register in person. Proof of age and residency are required. Registration is limited. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org to view the program listings.
Book club for kids meets March 31
The Kennedy branch of the North Bergen Free Public Library is holding a book club for kids in grades 2 through 5 on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. The book is “Soccer on Sunday,” by Mary Pope Osbourne. Visit the Kennedy branch at 2123 Kennedy Blvd. to register and check out your copy. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org.
HackensackUMC Palisades named a ‘Top Hospital in New Jersey’
Inside Jersey magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. have released their annual survey of top hospitals in the state of New Jersey and HackensackUMC Palisades in North Bergen is ranked the #6 hospital in the state among hospitals with 350 beds or fewer. The prestigious “2016 Top Hospitals in New Jersey” list is tabulated based on votes from 2,202 licensed physicians in the state.
“For the third year in a row, we are extremely pleased that the Top Hospitals in New Jersey list acknowledges that HackensackUMC Palisades is a leading provider that delivers high quality medical care for the people of Hudson and southern Bergen Counties,” said Bruce Markowitz, president and CEO of HackensackUMC Palisades. “We applaud our entire medical staff for their tireless efforts in helping us reach these high standards of excellence in patient care. Our physicians, skilled nurses, and devoted staff ensure that each patient receives the very best medical care.”
During the past several years, HackensackUMC Palisades has been recognized throughout New Jersey for consistently improving its hospital facilities, expanding its clinical programs and services, and adding modern technology to address and enhance the changing healthcare needs of its patients. This latest accolade underscores the hospital’s continued improvement in all clinical areas thanks to the quality and efforts of its medical professionals.
Autism awareness event upcoming on April 2
The North Bergen Library’s first autism awareness event is designed to inform families about autism and the resources available to them. The event takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 2 at the main library, 8411 Bergenline Ave.
The event will include an info session, lunch and learn, occupational therapy activities for sensory stimulation, arts and crafts, “superheroes for autism,” and more.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org.
WNY Cuban Lions Club Health Fair Set for April 10
The West New York Cuban Lions Club is once again teaming with HackensackUMC Palisades (formerly Palisades Medical Center) to present their annual Community Health Fair. The event, which is free and open to the general public, will be held on Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Community Hall, 514 52nd St. (between Bergenline Ave. and Kennedy Blvd.) in West New York.
Free health tests, screenings and information will include blood pressure, blood test for diabetes – HgbA1c, eye/vision information, glaucoma screening, heart rate, chiropractor, dental, medication consultation, mental health information, percentage of oxygen in the blood, physical therapy, and sleep disorder information.
Several physicians will be in attendance to answer questions. Attendees will also receive free samples and giveaways. For more information, call Manny Reyes at (201) 424-1201 or Nikki Mederos at (201) 854-5702.
See ‘Point Break’ for free on April 14
The North Bergen Free Public Library is hosting a senior citizen movie matinee at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. Residents are invited to come see “Point Break” at the main library, 8411 Bergenline Ave. Refreshments will be provided for free.
Free Movie of the Month is ‘Tangled’ on April 30
The North Bergen Free Public Library’s movie of the month for April is “Tangled.” All ages are welcome. Admission, drinks, and popcorn are free. The movie will be screened at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at the main library, 8411 Bergenline Ave.
2nd Annual Lupus Walk will be May 1
The Second Annual Hudson County Lupus Walk, including a day of family-friendly activities, will take place May 1 in Lincoln Park, Jersey City, beginning at 8 a.m. Donations for individual walkers are $10 and you can sign up for the walk or simply to donate at daddysunshine.com or at hudsoncountylupusdwalk.org. For more information call (551) 689-0500.
‘Light It Up Blue’ for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2
New Jersey leads the nation with 1 in 42 children diagnosed with autism. Show your support for the autism community by lighting your business blue on April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day.
Each April 2, the international autism community celebrates the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day and kicks off Autism Awareness Month. In honor of this historic day, iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower “Light It Up Blue.” This year, North Bergen is launching a town-wide solicitation of businesses large and small to show support for the autism community.
Your participation in this campaign will help shine a bright light on the growing health crisis of autism, which affects 1 in 68 American children and approximately 70 million people across the globe.
The goal is to show support from all corners of the state for families – your customers, your employees – whose daily lives are affected by autism.
Free health seminar on Zika virus on April 7 at HackensackUMC Palisades
Attend a free seminar on Thursday, April 7, to learn about the many symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available for pregnant women and women of childbearing age. The Zika Virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected aedes species mosquito. On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. The Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas.
The featured speaker for the seminar is Dr. Gigna Patel of the Palisades Women’s Group. The free event will take place at HackensackUMC Palisades (formerly Palisades Medical Center), 7600 River Road, North Bergen. Check-in is at 6 p.m. and the seminar begins at 6:30. Free food and refreshments will be provided. Parking is free, and free transportation is available from 60th St. and Bergenline Ave. starting at 5:30 p.m. Registration contact: Nikki Mederos (201) 854-5702.
Guttenberg asks residents to sign up for local alerts
The Town of Guttenberg has partnered with Nixle to implement a community notification system to alert residents in real-time for localized emergency situations and relevant community advisories. Nixle Alerts can be sent via text, email, web, and the Nixle mobile app in an instant.
Residents can register by texting their zip code to 888777 from their mobile phones or sign up via the Nixle widget on guttenbergnj.org. Once registered, residents will receive a confirmation text to their mobile device. Residents may also customize their alert settings by going to nixle.com and creating a user profile. The service is secure, reliable, and easy to use.
Food drive to help the needy going on now
Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the North Bergen Emergency Relief Fund are hosting a food drive to benefit local food pantries that have reached out looking for assistance. Please pitch in between March 14 and April 11 to help the township collect as much as possible to help the needy.
Drop-off locations are North Bergen town hall, the NB health department, NB police department, NB library uptown and downtown branches, and Our Lady of Fatima church.
Non-perishable items needed include pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, sauce, beans, vegetables, tuna, spam, cereal, granola bars, cereal bars, soup, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, and oatmeal. For information or questions call (201) 392-0229.
Free income tax preparation available
North Bergen residents age 55 or over, or in possession of proof of disability, with a yearly income below $55,000 are eligible for free income tax preparation. Preparation is by appointment only. Call (551) 262-0843 between Feb. 6 and April 13. Must bring identification, Social Security card, tax documents and 2014 tax return (first-time participants only).
For details on appointment times and locations, visit the town website at northbergen.org.
Hackensack Riverkeeper launches 2016 Eco-Program season
The clean water advocacy group Hackensack Riverkeeper is poised to provide thousands of people with an enjoyable and educational experience of the river, its watershed, and wildlife. Riverkeeper’s eco-cruises, guided paddles, boat rentals, river cleanups, bird-walks, and indoor presentations combine environmental education with public service and fun. The new season begins Earth Day Weekend (April 23-24) with the re-opening of the organization’s Paddling Center at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus and Overpeck Park Kayak Center in Teaneck. The Eco-Program season runs through the end of October.
Forty Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 1 through Oct. 15 aboard the 30-foot research vessels Geraldine Theresa and Robert H. Boyle II, which joined the fleet last year. This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a program donation of $25-$30 per person for adults, or $10 for kids ages 4-12. Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered, including Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands and creeks of the river’s estuary. Charter Eco-Cruises can also be arranged for groups of up to 28 adults for any available date/time from May 2 through Oct. 31. Call Capt. Hugh Carola at (201) 968-0808 x102 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org more info or to book a trip.
Located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, the Paddling Center is open weekends from Saturday, April 23 through Sunday, Oct. 30, weather permitting. It offers the use of canoes and kayaks for a donation of $25 per paddler (two-paddler minimum) for up to four hours for independent exploration. Eleven scheduled guided paddles will be conducted by center staff including nine popular full (and near-full) moon paddles. Program donation is $30 per paddler, or $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private group paddle tours can be arranged by contacting Capt. Hugh Carola at the number above.
River cleanups give people of all ages the opportunity to give back to the environment and their communities. These active conservation events are scheduled at 11 different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April 23 through Nov. 6. Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris. For more information about river cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Caitlin Doran at (201) 968-0808 x105 or e-mail Outreach@HackensackRiverkeeper.org.
Information on all Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Programs, including descriptions and schedules, is available at hackensackriverkeeper.org.
Correction: In last week’s article, “Magenheimer named Gutt public safety director,” we incorrectly stated that Lt. Juan Barrera is the top-ranking cop in Guttenberg. Administrator Officer Lt. Charles Hughes is actually the top-ranking police officer in Guttenberg.