Union City and North Bergen spar over fire squad costs
North Bergen has demanded that Union City pay what they say is an overdue contribution to the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) squad – which serves five towns in Hudson County – or face legal action.
The demand has furthered a political rift between the two towns’ mayors, Brian Stack and Nicholas Sacco, two local Democratic rivals.
At issue is $5.7 million plus interest that Union City owes to the NHRFR. Each town must pay several million dollars into the squad’s annual budget.
Lawyers for North Bergen have said that Mayor Stack and Union City’s failure to pay its allocated shares towards the NHRFR’s costs has disrupted the regional company’s business, including limiting its ability to make pension fund contributions, according to a letter released last week.
The letter was sent on Aug. 16 and gives Union City 10 days to pay up or legal action will be taken against them.
“This has been a habitual thing, for many years they’re six months late, they’re 10 months late, then they pay,” said North Bergen Town Spokesperson Phil Swibinski. “It really damages the Regional’s ability to operate. It’s led to close to a million dollars in interest charges by the pension system. North Bergen taxpayers should not subsidize Union City. Union City should get its finances in order, they should pay their bills.”
Union City makes the largest contribution, $18 million a year, of all five member towns in the NHRFR, which also includes North Bergen, Weehawken, Guttenberg and West New York.
“The cost is too high for Union City,” said Mayor Brian Stack last week. “This is definitely politically being done by Mayor Sacco. They didn’t regionalize fire prevention and fire inspection, which are the two most important aspects of fighting fires. This is Sacco playing politics because I don’t adhere to his political plans for the county.”
Stack said he was never contacted by anyone from North Bergen. He wants a reassessment of the NHRFR’s budget formula, which is based on assessed property values.
Stack says the men in the fire department do an outstanding job and this has nothing to do with them.
North Bergen man charged with allegedly sexually abusing sleeping woman on airplane
A North Bergen man faced a hearing in federal court last week after being charged with allegedly sexually abusing a sleeping woman aboard a flight from Phoenix to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Bawer Aksal, 48, was detained upon arrival in Newark on Aug. 21 and arrested by agents of the FBI. He has been charged by complaint with alleged sexual abuse.
Summer Series concert scheduled
Guttenberg’s Summer Concert Series continues on Sunday, Aug. 26, with The Bronx Wanderers, performing a tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The entertainment begins at 5 p.m. with the main event taking place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. between 70th and 71st streets on Boulevard East.
The Summer Concert Series continues through Wednesday, Aug. 29 with a “Latin Concert” featuring Rene De’Leon, who is back by popular demand for the second season.
‘Back to Football’ Nature Walk at New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
Start the fall birding season with a free, NFL-themed “Back to Football” Nature Walk at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m.
The guided, 90-minute walk, sponsored by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) and the Bergen County Audubon Society, has a special National Football League theme and prizes donated by the NFL.
To celebrate the opening game of the 2012 season between the Dallas Cowboys and Super Bowl Champion Giants at nearby MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the NFL is offering a prize to the first person on the walk to see any bird species with the same name as a pro football team: Cardinal, Raven, Falcon, Eagle, Seahawk (osprey), Giant (great) egret and Giant (great) blue heron.
All seven team bird species can be seen in DeKorte Park, the home of the NJMC.
The walk meets inside the one-square mile park’s Meadowlands Environment Center. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in February 2014.
Participants will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To RSVP, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at email@example.com or (201) 230-4983. The Meadowlands Environment Center’s phone number is (201) 777-2431.
‘Safe Kids Day’
“Safe Kids Day” in Guttenberg will be Saturday, Sept. 8. All Guttenberg residents are cordially invited on behalf of Mayor Gerald Drasheff and the Town Council. The event will take place between the hours of 12 and 5 p.m. on Boulevard East (68th to 71st Streets). There will be music, food, demonstrations and a Michael Jackson Impersonator. If it rains, the event will be on Sunday, Sept. 9.