North Bergen plans to auction off the largest number of township assets online since it began the practice more than a year ago.
At the March 10 North Bergen Commissioners Meeting, a resolution was passed allowing the township to sell 25 surplus items on the website www.govdeals.com. Township Administrator Christopher Pianese said that it was the “biggest auction yet” for the town.
Among the items to be sold include a 1993 400 gallon Army water tanker, a 1972 airplane puller, a 1999 E450 Ford ambulance, a 1998 and 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, a Pontiac Grand Am, light towers, salt boxes, a plow, a 1971 Jeep Wrecker, and a 140 V4 Johnson Boat Motor.
Pianese said that it was impossible to predict the sort of revenue the town might earn.
Two projects are being held up because of the state budget cuts.
Pilot parking program passed
The commissioners also passed an ordinance that will implement pilot parking permits for residents on Liberty Avenue between Secaucus Road and 10th Street. The program will allow residents to park in their driveways as long as they have four feet of space between their car and the curb. Before that, residents needed four feet of space from the end of their driveway to their car.
However, Liberty Avenue resident George Parisek called the North Bergen Reporter last month, upset with the township’s new program. He said the new rules will make it harder for people to walk on the sidewalk.
Sacco said after the meeting that the program was beneficial for nine out of 10 residents on the dense block and that it was for the common good.
UEZ funds in limbo
After the meeting, Sacco discussed the current freeze by Gov. Christopher Christie on the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone budgets. UEZ money comes from local sales tax and goes back to the town’s business district.
“They can’t spend the money, we can’t spend the money,” said Sacco. “It’s counter-productive; something has to give at some point.”
Sacco, who is also a state senator, expects the fight for funding will be a “very interesting battle” since 20 senators represent UEZ zones. He said the split was also down the middle in the state Assembly.
He said that if the funds are frozen over a long period of time, property taxes will rise and it could cause layoffs and hurt business districts across the state.
Pianese said that North Bergen currently had more than $1 million frozen, but collectively there is $60 million in limbo.
“Our concern is the pressure on our budget,” said Pianese, who explained that North Bergen supplements its municipal budget with $2.5 million from the UEZ on a recurring basis.
Pianese said that there are two local projects being held up due to the freeze: traffic light replacements on Bergenline Avenue and a left-hand turn lane on Tonnelle Avenue into the new mall there.
While the funds are frozen, Sacco said they are going to keep introducing the projects at UEZ meetings.
“In an urban area, if you can’t properly secure a mall or a shopping area, then people aren’t going to come,” said Sacco, who explained that the police presence in their UEZ zone, as well as other employees’ salaries, comes from UEZ funds. “You’ve seen that happen in other places. We have a place where people feel perfectly safe. That can only be maintained with a police presence, with cameras, so people feel good shopping in North Bergen. If it falls on the township and the township can’t afford it, the malls become less safe, less lucrative, and before you know it you have urban decay.”
Sacco said that officials representing UEZ zones may have to propose legislation, block legislation, negotiate, or go to court in the future.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.