Local government roundup
Council vets resiliency plans, Mason charged with ELEC violations, Board of Ed may cut short Spring Break
by Dean DeChiaro
Reporter staff writer
Mar 09, 2014 | 2863 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY – A plan by a Dutch design firm to protect Hoboken using a four-part anti-flooding strategy (resist, delay, store, discharge) was presented to the City Council on Wednesday.
COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY – A plan by a Dutch design firm to protect Hoboken using a four-part anti-flooding strategy (resist, delay, store, discharge) was presented to the City Council on Wednesday.

Representatives from the Dutch urban design firm OMA, the New York-based green architecture firm Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn (EEK), and the North Hudson Sewerage Authority all made presentations to the City Council on Wednesday night, briefing the city’s governing body on the ongoing efforts to protect the city from future Hurricane Sandy-type events.

OMA and EEK, who have collaborated with each other and the city to finalize a series of comprehensive plans that Mayor Dawn Zimmer has said will be the hallmark of her second term, showcased the final plans that could be chosen for federal funding by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

OMA’s plan focuses on a four-part strategy (resist, delay, store, and discharge) to protect the city from future storm events, while EEK’s study, undertaken in conjunction with Together North Jersey, mainly focused on ways that the city can use green infrastructure to lessen its ongoing flooding issues.

Fred Pocci, the sewerage authority’s executive director, unveiled plans for a new stormwater flood pump at Eleventh Street and Sinatra Drive.
“You can’t expect to get much done in a few extra days at the end of June.” – Superintendant Mark Toback
Members of the council had some questions regarding the timeline and funding for each project, though they largely seemed enthusiastic about each plan. The council voted unanimously to take out an $11.2 million low-interest loan to cover the cost of the pump.

OMA’s plan, which was one of 10 projects that was chosen to advance to the next stage of HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition, would cost between $200 and $300 million.

The competition, which allows urban planners and scientists from around the globe to pitch ideas to prevent further hurricane damage to urban centers, will dispense up to $4 billion in funding to up to 10 projects around the Tri-State area.

The winners are expected to be announced in April.

Mason charged with ELEC violations

Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason was charged by state election officials on Wednesday with six counts of violating campaign finance laws during her 2011 City Council campaign, according to a report on PolitickerNJ. The charges were filed jointly against Mason and her husband Richard, who served as her campaign treasurer in that election.

According to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Mason allegedly failed to report expenditures related to in-kind contributions worth thousands of dollars by the state deadline. In all, ELEC alleged that Mason’s campaign failed to report a total of $126,199 on time, with the information submitted anywhere between 98 and 276 days late.

The amounts should have been reported on reports that were due beginning in October 2011 and April 2012, but were not revealed first until July 2012.

It wasn’t immediately clear what penalties the Masons face.

Mason, a staunch opponent of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, is one of the top Democratic political donors in the state.

Mason could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Mason did not respond to a phone message and email comment.

Board of Ed. likely to cut Spring Break three days short

To make up for several days of school that were lost due to snow this year, the Board of Education will consider at its meeting this coming Tuesday cutting three days out of Spring Break.

Superintendent Mark Toback confirmed the proposal last week, noting that the board will also consider adding two school days to the end of the year. Those two days would be in addition to the added Spring Break days.

As it stands right now, kids would be off from April 18 (Good Friday) through the following Friday – but the board may instead only grant days off for Good Friday and the following Monday and Tuesday after Easter. Kids would report to school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The additional days in June would likely be Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday the 25th. The scheduled last day of school is that Monday.

No word on whether some of these would be half days or full days.

In a letter to the community two weeks ago, Toback advised parents to the possibility that the board could vote on such a change.

This past week, he noted that many school districts around northern New Jersey are using the same strategy, arguing that it is more beneficial academically.

“You can’t expect to get much done in a few extra days at the end of June,” he said. “The days on Spring Break are prior to the NJASK exams, so they could be useful.”

Tuesday’s meeting (March 11) will be held at 7 p.m. in the board’s meeting room, located in the basement of 1115 Clinton St.

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at deand@hudsonreporter.com

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