New face at council meeting
Winter Blast and budget surplus among the topics discussed
by Art Schwartz
Reporter staff writer
Jan 19, 2014 | 4609 views | 0 0 comments | 151 151 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK – Mark Dehnert replaces John Bueckner on the Secaucus town council.
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The Secaucus Town Council welcomed a new member at their Jan. 14 meeting. Mark Dehnert joined the council to fill the seat vacated by Deputy Mayor John Bueckner, who retired from his position last month.

Dehnert will oversee recreation for the town of Secaucus, a position previously held by Bueckner. “John did a great job in recreation and this was an opportunity to continue that,” said Dehnert.

It’s a task that suits Dehnert, given his interest in kids’ athletics. “I’ve been coaching kids probably about 12 or 14 years or so,” he said. “From football to soccer to baseball. And basketball, which I’m still currently doing.”

“The first few weeks I’ve met with various departments, sport managers, and also the Secaucus high school coaches,” Dehnert said, “basically looking for ways to continue the feeder program and training programs utilizing school resources for coaching and training.”

Dehnert hopes to expand programs for kids and “elevate the level of their talents utilizing what we have in town.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “And also to working with the other various committees.”

Winter Blast

With Mayor Michael Gonnelli on vacation, Councilman Gary Jeffas chaired the meeting. He reported that “Winter Blast,” the three-day Secaucus event preceding the Super Bowl, is coming together nicely.

“The committee’s been working extremely hard,” he said. “So I think the town’s going to have a lot to look forward to on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 30th, 31st and February the 1st. There’s going to be entertainment of top caliber.”

Council member Susan Pirro added that the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has been making extensive arrangements for Winter Blast. “They’re busy with plans for security, for traffic problems, for all different things that may arise during the week leading up to the Super Bowl,” she said.
“John [Bueckner] did a great job in recreation and this was an opportunity to continue that.” –Mark Dehnert

“OEM is always looking for volunteers,” Pirro said. “And if there’s anyone out there who would like to join OEM, please do so. We could always use new members.”

Details on Winter Blast are available on the town website at

Budget time

“It’s a new year and in finance that means the auditors start to schedule their times to come in,” reported Councilman Robert Costantino. “They should be coming in within the next 10 days or so to start the process of the annual financial statements, starting the process of formulating the budget.”

Costantino reported that Secaucus collected a significant surplus of construction funds in 2013. “We had another banner year in the construction department,” he said. “Total revenue received, and I believe this is for the entire year now, is $1,655,000. We budgeted in this year’s budget, I believe, $750,000.”

“So it’s close to $900,000 or so that goes toward surplus,” Costantino said. “We look forward to the auditors coming in to certify those numbers.”

Other items

Jeffas also reported that the police department was in the process of acquiring new uniforms. “They’ll be slowly migrating in over the next 18 months as the officers get uniforms,” he said.

And Pirro conveyed thanks from The Philippine Society to everyone who donated to their typhoon relief fund. “So far they’ve collected $9,460,” she said, “which was distributed to five different relief agencies in the Philippines. That is not including proceeds from the restaurant night so I’m sure there will be more money forthcoming and they will be sending it to the Philippines.”

Art Schwartz may be reached at

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