In July, I addressed the council on two important topics. The recently approved housing project by Hartz Mountain at Harmon Meadow and the relaxed summer schedule that the council has adopted for years. Many years ago Hartz built Harmon Cove. Along with a bridge and surrounding streets, which were their responsibility to maintain. However, some years later they reneged on their responsibilities and contended that the upkeep of those roads and bridge belonged to the municipality. The matter eventually ended up in court during the Just administration and the town of Secaucus lost.
Meadowlands Parkway and the bridge have been very costly to maintain and have been an unnecessary burden to the taxpayers. Recently with the help of Vinnie Prieto he was able to get the bridge turned over to the county. You see the state D.O.T. does not reward money to local municipalities for bridges, only county’s. A point I made while addressing the council.
Now we the taxpayers find ourselves in possibly the same situation. Hartz Mountain has approval to build nearly 500 units across from Wall-Mart. They presently own the surrounding streets and the bridge but we have no assurances that history will not repeat itself. Without any conditions placed on them in the approval process, what is to stop them from doing what they did years ago and reneging on their agreement to maintain the road and bridge?
I asked the acting mayor whether these concerns were raised by him during the approval process and he said no! Then the town administrator interjected and stated the he believed that’s its in Hartz Mountains best interest to continue to maintain these roads and the bridge. I also asked what if we don’t have a Secaucus resident in the state assembly speakers seat in ten or twenty years to bail us out? When it comes to protecting the taxpayers. I would think that our elected officials would not rely on what they believe the corporate giants “best interest” might be but rather mandate that they continue to maintain these properties as a contingency of approval and avoid burdening the taxpayers again. Interesting that this discussion was not covered by the press.
What did make the paper was the issue of relaxed schedule that the council has been following in the summer for many years. According to NJAC 40:81-19 certain municipality’s are required to have two council meetings a month. When I asked if this statue applied to our form our government, no one could answer, not even one of the three attorneys who were present. Interesting, don’t you think?