Now, the Meadowlands Commission has decided to give some money back in terms of a $100,000 grant to each municipality through its Municipal Assistance Program (MAP).
"We are proud to continue to provide this service to our residents and to make such a significant contribution to their quality of life," said NJMC Chairman and Acting Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman. "This money will help municipalities provide key services to the people of the Meadowlands that would otherwise require a tax hike. It's another way in which we are working toward a vision of regional success."
The MAP grants are part of the $33 million MAGNET (Meadowlands Area Grants for Natural and Economic Transformation) fund. Through MAP, each of the 14 municipalities in the Meadowlands District will receive a set amount toward the purchase of new equipment, programs or improvement work.
According to North Bergen Business Administrator Chris Pianese, North Bergen will use the funds to purchase a new police vehicle, as well as possibly leasing a new garbage truck for the township's Municipal Utilities Authority.
"It's nice to see some relief coming back to us in the form of this grant," Pianese said. "It's a positive thing. Considering we have been a payer to the Meadowlands since it was established and never used to get anything back, it's nice to get something back this time."
Pianese added, "Some of the towns receiving money are strictly receivers and don't pay. We're one of the payers and now, we're getting something in return."
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco echoed Pianese's sentiments.
"Any time you're getting something back, it's always good," Sacco said. "It's always positive and appreciated. It will go to good use and we're hoping to continue our good relationship with the Commission."
NJMC Executive Director Robert Ceberio said that the grant to North Bergen is just a start.
"The Meadowlands Master Plan calls for a better quality of life for our residents and more sustainable communities, not only environmentally and economically, but also from the standpoint of residents' pocketbooks," Ceberio said. "We are seeing another installment in our effort to help municipalities meet the challenge of serving their residents and keep tax rates at a manageable level. It's another way of keeping our commitment to a 360-degree approach to better standards of living for the people of the Meadowlands."
Secaucus plans to use its $100,000 grant toward the reconstruction of the town's athletic facilities, like the refurbishing of Kane Stadium. Jersey City plans to purchase emergency management equipment. Kearny is the only other participating Hudson County town and also plans to put the grant toward use in public safety.