Parking meter, lot, and zone enforcement starts again on Feb. 10
The Bayonne Parking Authority announced that it will resume enforcement of certain parking regulations again on Feb. 10, at which time motorists should resume paying for on-street parking meters and spaces in municipal parking lots. Parking Authority lots have pay stations that enable motorists to pay for particular numbered parking spaces. On the same day, the Parking Authority will also resume enforcement of residential permit parking zones. But the Parking Authority will not enforce alternate side of the street parking for street sweeping until further notice. Street sweeping will not take place until further notice, due to wintry conditions.
Snow plow breaks gas line near Bayonne mall
Just before noon on Feb. 2, the Bayonne Fire Department responded to the Bayonne Crossing mall on Route 440 on the report of a severed gas line at a construction site about 75 feet from the newly opened Longhorn Steakhouse.
"A company snowplow, reportedly operated by Haag Construction, apparently hit the gas line, and was found positioned just above the leak," said Fire Chief Greg Rogers. "The driver reportedly fled the vehicle, for safety sake, after shutting the truck down."
Fire companies cordoned off the area and evacuated about 30 people from the Longhorn Steakhouse as a precaution. PSE&G stopped the gas leak by remotely closing a supply valve at about 12:30 p.m.
Hudson County gets $487,000 for security
The federal Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $487,000 grant through the Urban Areas Security Initiative to the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management for enhancements to its emergency operations center to cover the cost of desktop emergency exercises, for the pay of two years salary for a risk mitigation planner, and to purchase a dual purpose truck. The Board of Freeholders voted to accept the grant in its January meeting.
Bill to increase Port Authority transparency clears committee
Legislation sponsored by senators Sandra Bolden Cunningham and Nicholas Sacco to strengthen transparency laws governing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by requiring the board’s meeting standards be at least as strong as the provisions contained within the “Open Public Meetings Act” was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The bill (S-550) would establish by state law the requirement that the Port Authority adequately provide notice of board meetings to the public and the news media, as well as establish clear guidelines regarding public access to meetings. Specifically, the bill would require the Port Authority to follow the same requirements of the “Open Public Meetings Act” of New Jersey and the “Open Meetings Law” of New York; in the event they conflict, the board would be required to adopt the provisions, which provide for the greatest rights to the public and the media.
“The Port Authority handles billions of dollars of public money, and operates a massive transportation network in two states, consisting of some of the country’s busiest airports, bridges, tunnels and ports,” said Cunningham. “It is critical that permanent policies are in place to ensure that board actions are fully transparent and that decision-makers are held accountable to the residents who support their operations.”
“Providing the public proper access to authority meetings is vital to ensuring that residents are able to monitor how their hard-earned dollars are being spent,” said Senator Sacco, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This bill will ensure that the authority meets strong transparency standards and that these standards are not only part of the bylaws, but established in state law and, therefore, cannot be changed by the board they were created to govern.”
The Port Authority came under fire in 2006 when the media reported major financial and policy decisions were being approved in closed meetings. The authority subsequently took steps to improve access and transparency, adopting new rules as part of its bylaws. However, since the rules are not established in state law, they could be altered by the board.
The bill would require specifically that the Port Authority give notice to the public and the news media of the board’s meetings, and require the board to adopt rules concerning notice to the public and public attendance within six months of the bill’s effective date. The measure clarifies that the right of the public to be present includes the media.
Since the authority is a bi-state agency, the bill would take effect only when the State of New York enacts legislation having an identical effect. The committee approved the legislation by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Hudson County sheriff’s officers increase patrol hours
Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari is expected to announce that patrol shifts for county sheriff's officers will be increased to go around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although their duties generally involve protecting county courts and delivering warrants and other legal notices, the elimination of the county police in 1995 made patrolling county parks and county streets also one of the duties. Previously, these patrols were limited to specific hours, something Schillari is expected to change with the announcement.
Jersey City versus Bayonne in fundraising hockey game
Members of the Bayonne police, fire, and emergency services departments will take on their counterparts in Jersey City for their second annual Hudson County benefit hockey game at the ice rink at Bayonne High School on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 each, and the proceeds will benefit the Officer Mark DiNardo Fund.
Knight of Comedy to be held
HBO and Vh1 comic Jim Florentine will join Gino Bisconte of the Friars Club, Mike Vinn from the Comedy Story, and Bayonne’s own Kevin O’Connor for a fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Saturday, Feb. 26. Cost is $40 per ticket, and proceeds will benefit the Deborah Heart and Lung Center and the Knights of Columbus Scholarship Fund. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m. The show has adult content. Tickets are available at the Knights of Columbus bar at 30th Street and Avenue C, or by leaving a message at (201) 437-9310.