Chairman Turner talks about fire budget
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Chairman and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner discussed the 2009 calendar year $54 million budget for the department last week.
He said that the budget was up 6 percent from the 2008 $51 million budget, but that the contributions received by North Bergen, Union City, West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg are only rising 5 percent due to federal grants.
Union City will contribute $15.4 million, North Bergen will give $12.1 million, West New York will contribute $11.8 million, and Weehawken and Guttenberg will pay $6.8 and $2.4 million respectively.
NHRFR received a $544,319 federal grant that will be used for monitoring and communication equipment at their future 43rd Street fire house, which will house their communication center on the second floor, Turner said.
The budget also estimates that their general legal counsel fees, which were $200,000 last year, are estimated to rise to $250,000 because of the NAACP lawsuit that is currently preventing the NHRFR from hiring.
Turner said that overtime costs are unforeseeable because of the lawsuit.
The budget also estimates that full-time fire department salaries will rise $1 million because contract negotiations will be ongoing this year, said Turner.
Health benefits rose from $4,820,800 to $5,302,880 based on the estimates they received on future increases.
“This is a very tight budget, given the fact that fire service is so personal heavy,” said Turner. “All our costs basically go towards personnel [and] health benefits [and you] just never know what’s happening with health benefits.”
The North Bergen Reporter filed an OPRA request three weeks ago requesting documents that listed which towns were paid up to date, and what towns, if any, were not. Legal representation for the NHRFR has stated that they are not sure what documents hold that information, even though this past February they released the same information to this publication.
Hal Tuner denied bail
Harold “Hal” Turner, a North Bergen-based white supremacist internet radio host and blogger, was denied bail on July 1, after a June 30 bail hearing in Newark was postponed due to a power outage.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shipp said that he felt Tuner was still a danger to the community and ordered him to be extradited to Chicago by the U.S. Marshal Service.
U.S. Attorney's Office Spokesperson Michael Drewniak confirmed a week ago Friday that during Turner’s June 23 appearance in court it was disclosed that there had been a stockade of weapons at Turner’s residence. They included 200 rounds of ammunition, of which 150 rounds of hollow-point bullets, a shotgun, and three handguns.
Turner is being held on charges that he threatened to kill three Chicago federal judges.
Turner’s Newark-based attorney, Michael Orozco, said that Turner possessed permits for the weapons.
As of today, Turner’s website has been shut down, but has a link directing people to a blog now being run by his mother.
Power outage in North Hudson
A n explosion in a manhole underneath Kennedy Boulevard near 32nd Street shut down a PSE&G substation in West New York, causing power outages in that town as well as Union City and North Bergen Tuesday morning.
PSE&G responded to assess the damage. Traffic lights in Union City North Bergen were out and police were directing traffic. Power to North Bergen Township Hall was also affected. By mid-afternoon, all power had been restored, according to published reports.
Approximately 9,000 residents and businesses were affected by the outage.
Blood drive in North Bergen
A North Bergen community blood drive will be held on July 15 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Eye Contact Vision Center on 7733 Bergenline Ave.
It is being done in connection with Community Blood Services, which helps insure that transfusion patient needs are met in more than 30 hospitals in the NY-NJ Metro area.
All blood types are needed, but especially types 0- and 0+. Any health individuals from the ages of 17 through 75, weighing at least 110 pounds, are welcome to donate. Donors should eat a moderate meal and bring identification cards.
Donors will receive a discount on eyeglasses or other products at the store, as well as a complimentary cholesterol and glucose screening.
To schedule an appointment, call Bob Ceragno at (201) 868-0768.