Fulop wants to consolidate two city departments with county
City Council member Steven Fulop (Ward E) announced a plan on Tuesday to introduce resolutions to consolidate two city departments with their counterparts at the county level. Councilwoman Nidia Lopez (Ward C) was also involved in the plan, but said she did not agree with consolidating Cultural Affairs.
Under Fulop’s proposal, the Jersey City Department of Cultural Affairs would be consolidated into the Hudson County Cultural Affairs Department, and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation would be folded into the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation.
According to a joint release issued from Lopez and Fulop, the resolutions would to notify Mayor Jerramiah Healy of the council’s intent to consolidate these two city functions in advance of planning for the next budget year so the Healy administration could take appropriate steps.
“The redundancy of services between the county and city basically mean that Jersey City residents are taxed twice for the delivery of those services,” said Councilman Fulop.
Board Chairman William O’Dea and Freeholder Anthony Romano, both of whom represent parts of Jersey City, have expressed support for consolidating redundant services before cutting essential services, such as police and health services.
“These are tough economic times and I think this is worth exploring,” said O’Dea. “It could help the residents in Jersey City and hopefully the efficiency would be financially beneficial to the county as a whole.”
Fulop and Lopez planned to introduce their resolution at the Wednesday, May 25 City Council meeting.
But Mayor Jerramiah Healy was not moved.
“Once again, Councilman Fulop is illustrating his ignorance of our city’s rich and lengthy history,” he said, noting that artistic and ethnic events are important to the city.
“This measure by Councilman Fulop and Councilwoman Lopez would serve to strip the good people of Jersey City of their culture and identity,” he said, “and would transfer the autonomy of our EDC – an independent non-profit that receives no funding from city property tax dollars – to a county agency that is responsible for several other municipalities. In fact, this proposal would dedicate Jersey City taxpayer dollars to funding arts and economic development in other towns aside from Jersey City. Councilman Fulop has issued a campaign press release in the attempt of gaining political traction, but has instead turned his back on our varied cultural and ethnic groups.”
Fulop is expected to run for mayor in 2013.
Neighbor charged with killing senior citizen
A 69-year-old resident of Gardner Avenue in Jersey City was gunned down outside his apartment door on Sunday night, according to NJ.com. The county prosecutor’s office told the media that the killing happened after a dispute with a 39-year-old neighbor.
NJ.com reported that “Jersey City police followed drops of blood to the apartment of a younger man who was arrested and charged with the homicide, he said. [Prosecutor Edward] DeFazio refused to identify either of the men, citing an ongoing investigation.”
Later in the week, the 39-year-old neighbor was charged with the killing. He was also charged with groping a female police detective after he was brought in for questioning, according to the report.
Honeywell teachers’ institute accepting applications
For the fourth consecutive year in a row, scholarships are available for the annual Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education for middle and high school science and social studies teachers. This year the program is being expanded to include teachers from Hudson County.
The summer institute will take place from Aug. 15 through 19 and brings together classroom instruction with diverse outdoor experiences at sites throughout the Hackensack watershed to better engage and inspire students in the classroom.
The goal of the program is to provide teachers with up-to-date strategies and inspiring lesson plans that take the curriculum from the textbook to a unique, “hands-on” approach to geology, watershed dynamics, and human-ecosystems dependencies. Activities during the program led by environmental educators and naturalists include an exploration through forested and field habitats, an eco-cruise on the Hackensack River and investigation of both freshwater streams and tidal salt marshes.
This year, 28 teachers will receive free tuition for the summer institute, classroom resource materials, a monetary stipend for program completion and 30 hours of professional development credit. The program is aligned with New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards in Science and Social Studies.
Applications are due by June 10, 2011. Teachers who are interested in applying can visit http://www.njaudubon.org/SectionEducation/HoneywellInstituteforEcosystemsEducation.aspx or call (609) 861-1608, ext. 13.
Help for homeowners facing foreclosure
The state’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has announced the New Jersey HomeKeeper program, a federally-funded effort to help homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure due to a layoff or underemployment. Through the program homeowners can receive two-year loans in the amount of $48,000 or less. Loans are in the form of second mortgage loans. Proceeds from the loans may be used to cover overdue mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, or mortgage insurance.
The HomeKeeper initiative is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund.
For more information, visit www.njhomekeeper.gov. Residents can also call the mayor’s office at (201) 330-2005.