At noon on Tuesday, Town Hall hosted a swearing-in for Mayor Richard Turner and four Township Council members, who were re-elected in May for four more years. Turner has served as mayor since 1990.
Resident Marie Garibaldi, who is a retired Supreme Court justice, administered the oath of office.
After Turner, Councilman-at-Large Robert Zucconi took the oath of office, followed by 1st Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvesteri Ehret, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Rosemary Lavagnino, and 3rd Ward Councilman Robert J. Sosa.
Turner ran unopposed, as did two of the four council members up for re-election. All of the victors were allied with the mayor.
“I appreciate the support of the community and the council members,” said Turner. “We have a great community. We have hundreds of volunteers and employees who have been dedicated for years. To have the support of the community and my fellow council people is a very gratifying. It’s very humbling and it’s a great honor.”
Turner said he has focused on stabilizing taxes, developing public infrastructure, keeping crime down and keeping “small town spirit” alive. But one facet of the administration that Turner is especially proud of is its school system.
Of Weehawken High School’s graduating class of 66 students, 88 percent of them were accepted into college and they were awarded more than $5.5 million in scholarships and grants.
“We have the best school system in New Jersey,” Turner said proudly.
Aside from the rise the city’s school system, Turner’s administration has also seen a great plummet in the city’s crime rate. Since 1990, the crime rate in Weehawken has declined by 80 percent and is currently is at its lowest since 1971, he said.
What they’ll do
To help keep crime rates down, the police department will induct two new officers next week and soon will be installing surveillance in public locations like the Jefferson Street stairs in order to insure safety and to help combat vandalism.
“Anything we can do to help our community and our police officers, we will do,” said Turner.
Looking to continue development on the waterfront, Weehawken will be building the largest pier park (excluding Liberty State Park) in Hudson County, which will offer public access to leisure activities and a fishing area just north of the Chart House. The waterfront will also be fortified by the federal “Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge” project that will use pumps, drains, and walls to help protect Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City against rising sea levels and flash floods.
In development news, a senior citizen building is being constructed near 48th Street and Park Avenue. Also, the TD Bank on 42nd Street will be replaced by a BCB Community Bank.
The city will be receiving 100 bicycles that will be available at 10 different locations around the city as part of a joint bike-sharing service with Hoboken and Jersey City, which is slated to begin in August.
Plans to revamp Richard W. Arricale Memorial Field with a turf field and draining system similar to the one at the Waterfront Park and Recreation Center are already in the works.
“We have a lot of new initiatives and we want to keep the township progress going. We want to continue to provide the same level of services if not more than we do now,” Turner said.