Good news about UEZ?
Funds from the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone may be restored next year, but with some restrictions, Chief Finance Officer Terrence Malloy told the “Bayonne Community News” this week.
Malloy said Christie’s public statements seem to indicate that the city can look forward to the restored funding after the state drained the program to help balance the $29.8 billion state budget for 2010.
A UEZ is a state-designated business district that can charge customers half of the normal state sales tax, and the funds collected from the discounted sales tax remain in the zone to finance local projects. The businesses within the UEZ can charge only 3.5 percent sales tax to attract customers. And the tax normally returns to the zone to help with street cleaning, police hiring, and other improvements.
“The UEZ fund will change,” Malloy said, although it is not yet clear what those changes will be.
Christie’s statements dispel the fear city officials had last year that the UEZ program might be done away with entirely.
Malloy said Bayonne’s model for the UEZ seems to be in line with what Christie is proposing statewide.
“We do not spend our money on hiring consultants, especially for marketing,” Malloy said, noting that the Bayonne Crossing Mall, which will open for business in late November seems to be a model for what Christie wants for UEZs around the state: low administrative cost with most of the funding going into programs and other tangible elements that improve the business district.
Bayonne’s UEZ gave Bayonne Crossing a $2.5 million loan last year, which – along with a $23 million state loan – helped the mall development to continue despite a tough economic climate.
Malloy said the UEZ program will be undergoing a review to look at how the funds are being used, but he felt that Bayonne was in a particularly strong position since the funds are used to clean the sidewalks and make other physical improvements, as well as to pay a portion of police, fire and other salaries associated with the UEZ zone. It also helped bankroll the small business loan program.
Mayor Smith retires from police department
Mayor Mark Smith filed his retirement papers with the state Police and Firemen’s Retirement System on June 29, effectively ending his career as a police officer as of July 1.
Smith has been on unpaid administrative leave as deputy police chief since November 2008, when elected mayor. Prior to that, Smith served as public safety director, which required him to take a leave from his position as deputy chief, but still counted towards his police pension. To qualify for full pension, Smith needed to have 25 years or more of service as a police officer. His total was 25 years and 10 months.
Smith will receive about $9,000 a month along with his $72,000 annual salary as mayor.
Smith names directors
Mayor Mark Smith has appointed directors to lead each of the city’s four municipal departments. Jason O’Donnell, who was recently named as the state assemblyman, has been appointed acting director of Public Safety; Gary S. Chmielewski has been appointed acting director of Public Works and Parks; Joseph A. Waks Esq., has been appointed acting director of Municipal Services; and Stephen J. Gallo has been appointed acting business administrator. Each appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the municipal council.
Suspect arrested at municipal pool
Sarob K Worrell, 19, of 25th Street in Bayonne was arrested on Aug. 4 after police responded to the activation of a burglar alarm at the DiDomenico Municipal Pool.
According to a police spokesperson, responding officers saw two males outside the locker room with Worrell allegedly standing on a trash can looking in. As the police approached, the two males fled, running down into the lower level of the 16th Street Park. Police found Worrell hiding in the weeds. According to the police, Worrell fled further into the weeds, then when police apprehended him, allegedly struggled to keep from being handcuffed. The other male apparently got away. An investigation found no damage to the pool or locker room window. Worrell has been charged with attempted burglary, defiant trespassing, and resisting arrest.
This is the latest of a series of break-ins at the pool, and the city will respond by setting up a new security system there that will include four new infrared cameras that will send images directly to the Bayonne Police Department.
Bayonne man charged with DWI after accident on JFK Boulevard
On Aug. 4, Michael Blunt, 24, of Jersey City, was charged with driving while intoxicated after police said he allegedly hit several parked cars before plowing into a utility pole.
Luis Melendez, who witnessed the accident, dragged Blunt out of the damaged car when it began to smoke after the crash.
Blunt was taken to Jersey City Medical Center for treatment for possible head injuries. He was charged with DWI and driving with a suspended license. He also at $2,500 in outstanding unpaid fines from Jersey City Municipal Court.
In an unrelated incident, John W. Khalil, 31, of Bayonne, was charged with DWI and other violations on Aug. 3 after police found him parked near 22nd Street and Broadway blasting a loud radio. Police spokesperson said officers detected the odor of alcohol. The police said Khalil became belligerent, when questioned, and was allegedly too unsteady to perform field dexterity tests. Khalil also refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
Walgreens to fight child cancer
Walgreens in Northern New Jersey (including the Bayonne location and many in Hudson County) are joining the battle against childhood cancer by hosting Alex’s Lemonade Stands on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 12 to 4 p.m. at 89 Walgreens locations throughout Northern New Jersey. The Bayonne Walgreens is located at 699 Broadway.
Walgreens team members were inspired to get involved with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation after hearing the story of Alexandra “Alex” Scott and then realizing they could help part of their own Walgreens family. Will Lehmacher was the Walgreens store manager in Florham Park, N.J., while his son Mikey was struggling with a rare form of leukemia. Eventually, Will transferred and moved his family to Fort Worth, TX because Mikey was hospitalized and undergoing treatments there. After a tough fight, Mikey, at only five-years-old, lost his brave battle on July 19, 2010. His family has lost its light and is behind on their mortgage, medical, and other bills. Proceeds from this Lemonade Stand Day will be split 50/50 between the family of Mikey Lehmacher and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.