Field at 1600 Park expected to be open by the fall
After the City Council voted last Friday to authorize a contract to Applied Landscape Technologies for the construction of the 1600 Park Artificial Turf Field for the city, city directors said they hope the soccer field will be open for business in the fall.
1600 Park is located near the northern entrance to the city, between the Willow and Park Avenue bridges.
Hoboken to hold special council meeting on July 13 to address budget
City Business Administrator Arch Liston, in coordination with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, called for a special meeting of the council for July 13 at 7 p.m. to address amendments to the city’s $101 million budget.
Councilwoman Beth Mason, who up until July 1 served as the president of the council aligned against Zimmer, had tried to pass amendments that would lower the tax levy this year by giving back the entire cash surplus of $4.1 million to the taxpayers. The council was told they could not vote to pass the amendments on June 29 because the State Department of Community Affairs had not yet approved the budget, as required by law. The council, under the outgoing anti-Zimmer majority, took a symbolic vote on June 29 anyway to give the surplus back to the taxpayers. A city attorney said the vote had no legal meaning.
Zimmer’s allies took over on July 1 when Councilwoman Jennifer Giattino was sworn in, replacing Nino Giacchi as the 6th Ward councilperson.
The meeting on July 13 will address a resolution to rescind the budget amendment from June 29, and the council will also vote on a new resolution to introduce a budget amendment and set a hearing date on the new amendments.
Zimmer’s allies believe holding on to a five to 10 percent cash surplus is more responsible, as they say it would improve the city’s bond rating and would likely avoid layoffs and spikes in taxes in the future. Zimmer also said she wanted to keep a surplus in case of unexpected expenses, as contract negotiations with the Hoboken Fire Department are expected soon, and it could result in retroactive pay being awarded.
Former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell found guilty in FBI sting
After a day of deliberations, a federal jury reached a decision Wednesday afternoon in the bribery and extortion trial of former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell.
The jury found Elwell guilty of the third charge - acceptance of a corrupt payment - and not guilty of the first two charges, conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion.
Elwell plans to appeal.
Sentencing will be Nov. 15, 2011.
Elwell was among dozens of religious and political leaders snared by the FBI in 2009 in a sting operation in which a developer (who himself was facing fraud charges) met with various politicians and offered campaign donations in exchange for future help with development projects.
In his trial, Elwell said that he did take $10,000 cash from his friend, political associate Ronald Manzo, that came originally from the developer. The developer, Solomon Dwek, had told both men that he wanted to build a hotel in Secaucus.
But Elwell said he saw it as a possible campaign donation rather than any sort of bribe, and that Manzo had asked him to hold onto the money for him.
Manzo pleaded guilty to accepting the money last month and testified against Elwell in the trial.
For more on this story, read this weekend's Secaucus Reporter at hudsonreporter.com.
Hoboken offers more free recycling bins
The city of Hoboken will once again be providing free recycling bins to residents on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on July 11.
Residents may pick up the bins at the Municipal Garage, located on Willow Avenue between Observer Highway and Newark Street from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
There is a one bin per household limit, and residents should bring a proof of address. Multi-unit buildings may collect up to one bin for every five units.
The new recycling bins are being provided as part of the city’s transition to single stream recycling which allows residents to place all recyclables (plastic, glass, aluminum, paper) within the same container, according to a release. Residents should not place recyclables in plastic bags, but rather directly into the bin.
Hoboken resident to enter ‘Hell’s Kitchen’
Brendan Heavey, 31, of Hoboken, is about to enter Hell’s Kitchen.
Heavey is one of 18 contestants on FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen, a reality/competitive cooking show hosted by Gordon Ramsay that puts chefs from around the country through rigorous challenges with the chance to win the head chef position at BLT Steak in New York City.
The series premiere is July 18 from at 8 p.m. on FOX.
Heavey’s “signature dish” is salmon with basil cream sauce, according to a release.
“In the season premiere, Ramsay launches the competition with the signature-dish challenge and is both impressed and disappointed right from the start. Before the dinner service can even begin, one contestant is rushed to the hospital and things go downhill quickly from there until one chef is eliminated from Hell’s Kitchen,” according to a release.
Hoboken has become a breeding ground for reality show stars and for the shows themselves. A report last week said that resident Kris Humphries and fiancée Kim Kardashian may get their own show, too.
New council majority gets down to business
Mayor Dawn Zimmer's allies on the City Council wasted no time getting to business after Councilwoman Jen Giattino was sworn into office a week ago Friday, shifting the council majority back to the mayor and her supporters.
Zimmer now has a majority to work with her up until her first term expires in 2013. Three of her council allies' seats also expire in 2013.
The council voted by a 5-4 margin to terminate an investigation called for by Councilwoman Beth Mason into the use of city email by two mayoral aides. Mason asked for all the emails between the two aides and the local press and bloggers. Mason said she wanted to see if the aides were conducting political work on city time.
A resolution terminated the council's investigation, based on a "lack of factual information," according to new Council President Ravinder Bhalla, the sponsor of the legislation. However, city emails may be obtained through the use of the Open Public Records Act requests.
Councilwoman Carol Marsh was voted as the council's new designee to the city's Planning Board.
The council also voted on a resolution authorizing St. Ann's Church to conduct their annual festival from July 21 through July 26.
The new council majority members also introduced a group of ordinances that could have major impacts on how the city is governed if they are passed for a final vote at the next meeting.
Bhalla and new Council Vice President Peter Cunningham introduced legislation that would target wheeling, or the practice of exceeding individual campaign limits by donating through self-funded Political Action Committees.
The council voted to introduce legislation that would authorize the hiring of Class II police officers, who would supplement the current police force at a cheaper rate, somewhere between $15 - $18 per hour.
Councilman David Mello and Cunningham also introduced an ordinance that would remove the residency requirements for Hoboken city employees.
The ordinances were introduced at the July 1 meeting, and the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed laws in public hearings during the council's July 20 meeting. If the ordinances pass at the July 20 meeting after a public discussion, they will become law (unless they are vetoed by the mayor).