North Bergen 2014 budget released; taxes to increase 2.54 percent
NORTH BERGEN – The 2014 North Bergen budget was announced at the Board of Commissioners meeting on March 26. Township Administrator Christopher Pianese provided a detailed breakdown of the budget and expenditures.
For 2014 the total budget will be $84.4 million. That is an increase of 1.53 percent over the 2013 budget of $83.14 million.
The proposed tax rate will increase by 2.54 percent, resulting in an average homeowner increase of $85.
Pianese pointed out that state aid to North Bergen had decreased from almost $14 million in 2007 to about $7 million a year currently.
Less than a week before the meeting, Moody’s Investor’s affirmed the upgraded Aa3 bond rating for North Bergen due to “prudent management team, strong financial position and market access.”
Copies of the budget presentation are available in PowerPoint format on the town website at http://www.northbergen.org.
Free tax preparation services for senior citizens and disabled residents
North Bergen residents age 55 or over or in possession of proof of disability, with yearly income below $55,000 are eligible for free tax help. Residents must bring identification, Social Security card, tax documents and 2012 tax return. A certified Public Accountant (CPA) will provide free tax preparation services for senior citizens and disabled residents until April 15.
Preparation is by appointment only. Call (201) 364-9022 for an appointment.
Sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the North Bergen Library main branch; Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. in the North Bergen Library Kennedy branch; and Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. in Lawlor Tower, 6121-6131 Grand Ave.
Franciscan Mystery Players presentation on April 6
The Franciscan Mystery Players, a group of young people, will present their version of The Way of the Cross at Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, 7615 Broadway, North Bergen, on April 6 at 4 p.m. The Mystery Play is not a “play” in the common sense, but is in fact a prayerful experience that uses special lighting, a stirring soundtrack, pantomime actions, and inspirational narration to portray the Stations of the Cross in a manner that invites each viewer to contemplate the meaning of the Passion and how it relates today.
Admission is free but a free-will offering as you leave after the performance will be appreciated. Your donation will help the FMP continue their ministry. All are welcome. It is suggested you arrive 15 minutes early.
Three out of four ‘top hospitals’ in NJ are in Hudson County
Inside Jersey magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. released their annual survey of “Top Hospitals” in the state of New Jersey, and among hospitals with 350 beds or fewer, three of the top four hospitals were in Hudson County. Bayonne Medical Center and Jersey City Medical Center were ranked #2 and #3 respectively, with Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen coming in at #4. The prestigious “Top Hospitals in New Jersey” list was tabulated based on votes from 2,076 licensed physicians in the state.
Union City music organization joins national orchestra in concert on March 30
The joint concert, “UCMP and UCHS Present Face the Music,” will benefit Union City Music Project (UCMP), a bilingual non-profit organization serving at-risk children in Union City through afterschool orchestral and vocal instruction and regular performances of UCMP’s children’s orchestra and chorus. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
UCMP’s child musicians, ages 5 to 11 years old, will be joined by 160-member Face the Music, the country's only 18-and-under ensemble solely devoted to music of living composers, and about 20 high school students in the UCHS Jazz Ensemble.
The combined musical ensembles will perform Dean Deng’s new piano concerto, “Soliloquy,” described as a piece in which “orchestra and soloist move through a variety of moods and atmospheres,” as they “share a collection of thoughts with the audience in an intimate, personal setting.”
Since 2012, UCMP has provided free instruments and low-cost afterschool musical instruction at Robert Waters Elementary School to Union City’s low-income public school students from preschool through 5th grade. Besides learning violin, cello, percussion, flute, clarinet and vocals, the UCMP musicians perform throughout the tri-state area in their growing orchestra and chorus.
UCMP is grateful to the Union City Board of Education and UC Mayor / NJ State Senator Brian P. Stack for their support, as well as funders such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Turrell Fund, D’Addario Music Foundation, Target, and Wells Fargo and Oritani Banks.
For more information about the March 30 concert, visit the UCMP website (www.ucmusicproject.org) or call Melina Garcia at (646) 831-7719, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UCHS Theater is at 2500 Kennedy Blvd. in Union City.
Rice-Stack Bill to help clean up foreclosed properties advances
A bill sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Brian Stack to help clean up foreclosed properties by allowing municipalities to penalize creditors that fail to timely remedy code violations was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee last week by a vote of 5-0.
“When a foreclosed home sits vacant within a community, it can become a magnet for criminal activity, and can deteriorate to cause an economic blight on the remaining homes within the community,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “When these abandoned homes fall into disrepair, the creditors who are legally responsible for them should step up, do the right thing, and maintain the home. If they fail to fix the property in a timely manner, municipal officials should have the ability to impose penalties.”
“We’ve seen cases where abandoned foreclosed homes aren’t kept up and as a result create problems that affect the rest of the municipality,” said Senator Stack, D-Hudson. “Not only can these properties drag down home values but they also can create a financial burden on everyone else when towns are forced to conduct maintenance and police patrols of the area. By requiring creditors who initiate the foreclosure proceedings to maintain these homes or face penalties, we’re putting the responsibility for maintenance where it belongs.”
The bill, S288, would authorize municipalities to impose penalties on creditors that fail to timely remedy code violations for residential properties in foreclosure for which the creditor is legally responsible. Under the bill, if the creditor fails to remedy the violation within a 30-day time period from receiving notice, then the municipality would be permitted to impose penalties as outlined for violations of municipal ordinances under current law.
The bill next heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Eight-week hospice training course beginning
Do you want to do volunteer work that really makes a difference in the lives of the terminally ill and their families? Volunteer roles include companionship for the patients, emotional support for patient and family, errands, and telephone reassurance.
This volunteer training program consists of eight classes on eight consecutive Tuesdays. Participants MUST attend all eight classes, beginning April 1 and ending May 20.
Classes take place on Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon or Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hudson Hospice Office, 93 Clerk St. in Jersey City.
For further information call Sister Carol at (201) 433-6225.