The Secaucus Town Council approved at their June 28 meeting a resolution for a $100,000 donation from the Xchange developers for improvements to the firehouse that serves the development.
“It’s to help with the soft costs that will be involved in developing that expansion: engineering, construction management… this will expand [the firehouse] to have two additional large bays,” said Town Administrator David Drumeler.
The Washington Hook and Ladder property currently has one small and one large garage. The town acquired the land next to the firehouse in the late 2000s to eventually expand it. The new additions will also include a training and community room upstairs as well as handicap accessible bathrooms.
“We have a pretty active environmental committee.” – David Drumeler
The project is estimated to cost $1.5 million and is scheduled to be completed within 12-18 months. According to Drumeler, the town has funding for about $1.25 million and will need to make up the difference. The town intends to pay for part of that amount with the Xchange developer’s impact fees.
Also at the meeting, Andrew Colaneri was sworn in as a new member of the Washington Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Department, a sign of a growing company. Engine Company No. 1 officially accepted Joseph Rizzolo as a probationary firefighter.
Planning for Sustainable Jersey certification
The town voted on a number of environmental ordinances to protect the municipal’s water system along with approving resolutions to apply for Sustainable Jersey grants, a statewide initiative that provides certification for municipalities that “want to go green” and improve their quality of life.
Two ordinances were passed to protect municipal water including one that requires town catch basins to have smaller inlets to prevent litter from entering the sewage system and one that requires refuse containers that are outdoors to be covered at all times to prevent the leakage of chemicals into the sewage system.
Both ordinances apply to commercial businesses, not residents, and any business in violation of the Dumpster ordinance will get fined up to $1,000.
For the first time, Secaucus is seeking funding from the state to pursue Sustainable Jersey bronze level certification that will require the town to meet 150 environmentally-friendly action points. According to Drumeler, the town already meets some of the requirements such as having hybrid cars on the municipal fleet, and having an environmental committee. Other possible actions on the state list include measures related to waste management, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gases. The 2011 program will award 31 grants for a total $175,000 at three different levels: three $25,000 grants, eight $10,000 grants and twenty $1,000 grants. Discussions are underway amongst the town’s environmental committee to determine exactly what level funding Secaucus will pursue. Drumeler said the town will go after funding that will “have the most impact and make the most sense for the way Secaucus residents operate.”
Secaucus supports statewide ban on ‘fracking’
Secaucus also passed a resolution to support a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which passed in the State Legislature on June 29. New Jersey’s state legislature is the first in the nation to pass such a bill, which will prevent a controversial gas drilling technique that involves injecting tons of toxic chemicals, water and sand underground in order to break up rock formations and release natural gas.
The Secaucus environmental committee saw this as a worthwhile cause.
“We have a pretty active environmental committee, which recommended that we pass [the resolution] – the mayor and council agreed,” said Drumeler.
While New Jersey does not produce natural gas, opponents fear the Delaware River Basin is at risk, which supplies drinking water to approximately 3 million people in the state. In news reports, environmental groups said fracking contaminates drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will release results of a study evaluating the impact of fracking on drinking water.
Gov. Christie may conditionally veto the bill and call for a five-year moratorium on drilling instead. Various environmental groups have been urging him to support it.
Town plants more trees offering shade
At the Council meeting, Councilman James Clancy reported that 75 shade trees were planted throughout the town in June as part of an effort to beautify the town and thanked residents for their participation.
“We want to keep that suburban look of Secaucus…[The trees] do help and they make the town look a little better,” said Clancy.
Drumeler later added in an interview that planting canopy trees helps to generally cool the community and helps to purify the air. The shady tree effort was made possible with a grant from NJ Transit.
Clancy announced at that meeting that any resident interested in planting a shade tree for the second phase of the effort beginning in the fall can fill out an application and send it to the Division of Public Works – another 75 shade trees will be planted.
FEMA redrawing Secaucus flood lines
The town met with FEMA representatives in June to discuss what Secaucus can do to offset the flooding maps because so many people pay for flood insurance, noted Councilman Clancy.
“They are going to be drawing up a new flood map…but we can not guarantee that people will be taken out of flood zones…a year from now there will be a new map put out for the flood zones,” said Clancy.
Clancy told residents that they can fill out the MT-1 form to dispute their flood zone status by going to the FEMA web site.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.