Articles Archive for January 2011
The agenda for the next City Council Meeting is now available. Click here to download a pdf of the agenda.
Communications From The Mayor:
This year is off to a great start.
I am happy to announce that our first Council Workshop Meeting was held last Tuesday, January 11th. This workshop meeting is one of many that will now occur each Tuesday at City Hall one week before our regular Council Meetings. The purpose of these work sessions is, as the name suggests, to “work.” On these days, we will work until we are finished. These sessions will allow us to analyze, discuss, and challenge the upcoming agenda along with any other pertinent issues that arise so that we do not go into a Council Meeting blind and uninformed.
I strongly urge the public to come out to these workshop meetings and participate. It is certainly a wonderful opportunity for all of our residents as they can see their city government work right before their eyes.
I am also happy to say that we can finally say, “Let it snow!” I would like to congratulate the Department of Public Works, DPW Director Clyde Sweatt, the City Manager, and the City Council for their efforts this past year in improving our snow removal system and the great work they did during the last few storms. I can say that I have seen a significant improvement over the last year alone and have in addition heard countless comments from our residents expressing their sincere approval. As we all know, the system is not yet perfect and there are still minor defects that we will work on fixing; however, I can say we are finally on the right track.
In these difficult economic times, we must always be looking for new, innovative ways to revive our city and the heart of it: our downtown. This is why, last year, I created the Downtown Economic Growth and Stability Commission. In the near future, I will be holding a town-hall style meeting with Englewood’s merchants and stakeholders to discuss the future of downtown Englewood and what we can do to restore its vitality.
Acting Fire Chief Gerald Marion has announced that he is in the process of obtaining a commemorative steel memento from the World Trade Center for our city. As we come upon the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks this year, I believe this would certainly be an honor for our city to possess. A very special event will be held this year to honor the victims and first responders of the attacks as well as their family members and friends. The 9/11 Committee will be expanding and working more on this special event later in the year.
I also want to mention the success of Englewood Idol, which was recently held at bergenPAC. This was a wonderful show and I want to congratulate the children from both the public and private schools in Englewood for their excellent performances.
Finally, I left the most important item to discuss for last: the budget. The City Manager has presented his budget at this Council Meeting, and I am happy that he was able to prepare this presentation by the deadline of January 15th. Almost immediately, we will hold Budget Workshop Meetings which the dates have yet to be established, and I invite the public to come out to listen and participate. On the current path we are on now, the City Manager’s budget will be introduced on February 15th and the City Council will adopt it by March 15th. Because we are hopefully adopting the budget before the State does, we will need to estimate what the State numbers will be. If we are wrong, we will have to amend our budget. Amending the budget is nothing compared to the mess we will face if we wait to pass the budget like we did last year.
Resolution #029-01-18-11: Amend Schedule of Holidays for 2011 to include New Year’s Day, January 2, 2012.
Resolution #030-01-18-11: Renewal of Liquor Licenses for 2010-2011.
Resolution #031-01-18-11: Authorizing Public Donor Agreement with Vincent T. Kibbs Child Development Center in the amount of $58,413 for 2011 subject to budgetary appropriations.
Resolution #032-01-18-11: Awarding Bid for Lease of Property at 136 Cedar Lane for Cellular Communications Use.
Resolution #033-01-18-11: Appoint City Solicitor, reappointing William J. Bailey, Esquire for a period of one year beginning January 1, 2011 and ending December 31, 2011.
Resolution #034-01-18-11: Appoint Municipal Auditor, services from Suplee, Clooney, and Company.
Resolution #035-01-18-11: Appoint Real Estate Appraiser, services from McNerney & Associates.
Resolution #036-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Assistant City Solicitor (Prosecutor) Gerald Oratio.
Resolution #037-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Public Defender Aishaah Rasul.
Resolution #038-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Code Enforcement Attorney Carl Beckwith.
“[The snow removal this year was] miraculous and we and our neighbors rub our eyes in disbelief,” claimed Ary Freilich, an Englewood resident of over twenty-five years.
It is certainly not shocking that Ary was in disbelief over Englewood’s neatly plowed streets: for decades, Englewood residents had to deal with the city’s poor system of snow removal. While hundreds of residents complained over the years, it was not until the wake of last year’s snow storm that both residents and city officials decided that enough was enough.
During last year’s snow storm, I worked first-hand with the Department of Public Works as they made their way around Englewood “cleaning” the streets. Unfortunately, the streets were everything but clean; one resident pointed out that “The town fail[ed] to plow the streets…leaving us trapped, sometimes for days on end.” Clearly, then, this became more than just a problem: it became a safety issue for our citizens.
A new plan needed to be established before the next storm hit because it was apparent that the old plan had miserably failed.
Since the snow storm last year, the DPW, city officials, the Council and I have been working collaboratively on structuring a new system of snow removal for the city – one that will work in a more efficient and timely manner, leave the streets cleaner, and reduce the risk of hazards.
In addition to the implementing replacement plan for some of the DPW’s outdated equipment, we have also hired private contractors to supplement the work of the DPW. These private contractors have proven to be a great asset in the aftermath of the recent December and January snow storms. Resident Raphael Benaroya even noted, “Our street has never, ever been so promptly and well-plowed as after the last two storms…As I drive through the city, I am impressed.”
Ultimately, what this issue has shown is what our city can accomplish by simply working together. I would like to especially congratulate the DPW for their hard work and successes during the last two snow storms. I hope that their successes will continue in the future to avoid the mishaps we have encountered during the last few decades. In addition to the DPW, I would like to also commend all of the city officials who have participated in this process and who have helped to make this clean-up a success.
When we come together as city officials to solve a problem, we can also unite our city’s residents along with us. Richard Krane, a long time resident of Englewood for over fifty years said, “This snow removal was the best I have seen [in fifty years]. We are proud to be residents of Englewood.”
I hope our last two successes can serve as an example for all future endeavors we take on as a city.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
The agenda for this week’s City Council meeting is now available. Click here to download a pdf of the agenda.
From: The Record, Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Melissa M. Hayes, Staff Writer
ENGLEWOOD — Mayor Frank Huttle kicked off his first workshop meeting as City Council president by pledging to improve the city.
“We need to do a better job,” Huttle told council members Tuesday. “We are not a small town. This is a city and I wholeheartedly believe the city can be managed better. The efficiencies need to be better. We need to look at cost in a totality and we need to look at service.”
Huttle is the first mayor to also serve as council president, an appointment that the council unanimously approved at the Jan. 4 reorganization meeting.
Although he is serving as president, the city charter prohibits him as mayor from voting on ordinances or resolutions. But he now has the power to set the agenda, which gives him more authority than previous mayors.
One of his first acts as council president was to hold the workshop and action meetings on separate nights.
The mayor and council members called on City Manager Dan Fitzpatrick to produce a flat budget, with hiring and salary freezes.
Council members asked that Fitzpatrick consider sharing services with the city’s school district as a way to cut spending.
Fitzpatrick said he had a hiring freeze last year and did not give raises to any non-union employees. Fitzpatrick will introduce a budget Jan. 18.
Huttle said he wants the council to adopt it by the end of March.
Huttle also called on city officials to enforce the snow removal ordinance, which requires all sidewalks to be cleared within 24 hours. He asked that the law be posted on the city’s website and said if residents don’t comply, the city should remove the snow and bill the property owner.
The mayor also asked Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe to compile a list of all street lights in the city that are out, which would be sent to the Public Service Electric and Gas Co. O’Keefe said at least 100 street lights are out across the city.
“This is a persistent issue with respect to public safety,” he said.
O’Keefe said he is also working with a company that is donating small solar-powered lights, which he plans to install in the street near Congregation Ahvath, where a resident was killed in a hit and run accident on Broad Avenue last month.
ENGLEWOOD, NJ – At Tuesday night’s annual reorganization meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to restructure the way the city government operates. For the first time in the history of the city, a mayor was elected to dually serve as Council President.
“I am grateful for the confidence you have placed in me to take control of our city’s broken government,” said Mayor Huttle. “I look forward to working with the Council, City Manager, and residents to make Englewood the best city there is.” Sharing in the celebrations were newly elected Councilman Michael Cohen, veteran Councilman Jack Drakeford, and Councilwoman Pro Tem Lynne Algrant, all of whom were additionally sworn in last night.
As Council President, the mayor can set the agendas and preside over Council meetings; as mayor, he can still continue to vote in tie-breakers and additionally hold the power to veto ordinances. “The doors of our city government will be open wider than ever before,” Mayor Huttle remarked, stressing the idea of transparency. To make city government more accessible to the residents, the mayor also announced that Englewood’s Council meetings are set to be televised beginning sometime in early February.
The Council will also be holding workshop meetings once every other Tuesday, twice the amount of meetings that the Council typically met in prior years. The mayor noted that the Council would spend as much time as necessary on the issues affecting Englewood, with emphasis on the budget, stating, “We must first become fiscally responsible before we can address other items on the agenda. The process in which we execute tasks is vital.”
“Further,” Mayor Huttle added, “it is essential that we all work together as one Englewood, despite our differences, to solve our city’s problems. Process is the key to progress in our city, so let us work hand in hand to ensure that the process is done correctly.”
From: The Northern Valley Suburbanite, Friday, January 7, 2011 by Mike Curley, Staff Writer
ENGLEWOOD – The city council elected Mayor Frank Huttle as the governing body’s president on Jan. 4 – a move that some political experts say could bring the two municipal offices closer together.
Huttle said he was “grateful and honored,” by the vote of confidence the council showed in him.
Englewood’s city charter, which was adopted in 1978, allows for the mayor to be elected council president. Council Attorney William Bailey said the move was fairly unique to the city.
While Huttle will preside over and set the meetings, he will still not have voting power except to break a tie.
At the meeting, Huttle said as council president he would change how the council operates, with workshop meetings to take place every other week, between the regular council meetings.
Having the mayor act as council president moves Englewood toward a borough form of government which is practiced in several other municipalities in Bergen County, said Professor Emeritus Earnest Reock of the Center for Government Services at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.
He said while he has not heard of a mayor being elected council president in the past, the practice of combining the two positions is not unusual.
One advantage of having the mayor serve as council president, Reock said, is to bring the offices closer together, and avoid the potential for having a council and a mayor that are at odds with each other.
On the other hand, he said, it could diffuse the responsibility of the offices, and blur the lines between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Algrant said later in the meeting that the council has to take the opportunity and challenge to reorganize how the city is run.
The coming decade, she said, will redefine city government, and she invited residents to join with the city in reorganizing for the future.
Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, who was present at the meeting, commended her husband for taking on the extra responsibility that would come with the position of council president, noting he has “a lot on his plate.”
From: The Record, Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by Giovanna Fabiano, Staff Writer
ENGLEWOOD — Mayor Frank Huttle was sworn in as City Council president at Tuesday night’s -reorganization meeting, marking the first time in city history that an elected official has held both posts at the same time.
The council unanimously voted to nominate Huttle – who is a year into his mayoral term – before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.
“I look forward to working with all of you, and I am honored and privileged that you have the confidence in me to take on this role and do something that has never been done before,” Huttle said after he was sworn in by his wife, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood.
More than a dozen New York public officials, including state Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, attended to support Englewood’s newest councilman, Michael Cohen, Sampson’s chief of staff.
Cohen, who replaces Charlotte Bennett Schoen as the Second Ward council representative, was sworn in by New York State Supreme Court Justice Ellen Spodek.
Sampson said he should have spent Tuesday night “counting votes in Albany to see if I’m still the majority leader,” but instead, he chose to come to Englewood to speak about Cohen.
“It’s important that in the good times and bad, even when times are dark, that you have a friend you can always rely on, and Mike has been that friend,” Sampson said.
“Remember that you’re doing this not for yourself, but for the people you represent,” he said.
New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene also spoke on Cohen’s behalf, calling him a “dedicated person who will exceed your expectations.”
Veteran Fourth Ward Councilman Jack Drakeford, who was easily reelected in November, was sworn in by the Rev. Vernon Walton of Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Councilwoman Lynne Algrant was sworn in by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson as council president pro tem, the second in command.
Bennett Schoen, who was elected in 2005, opted not to run in November in order to participate in a global justice assignment in India for the American Jewish World Service. She was given a plaque by council members, each of whom praised her dedication to the city.
“Charlotte, I always look to you as a touchstone to do what’s right, so I’m going to really miss you,” said Councilman Ken Rosensweig.
Despite his position as council president, Huttle will not vote on ordinances or resolutions — a rule that applies to the mayor under the city charter. But he will set the agenda and lead meetings, allowing him more political power than previous Englewood mayors, who have traditionally served a more ceremonial role.
Huttle, who replaced Scott Reddin as council president, said he would make some changes, including scheduling work sessions on separate nights from council meetings and calling on experts in what will likely be a difficult economic year.
“We’re going to face some serious challenges, but we’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together,” he said.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Senator Loretta Weinberg presented a resolution to Councilmember Charlotte Bennett-Schoen for her service to Englewood for the last six years. We wish her all the best of luck on her humanitarian service trip to India and in the future, and we will additionally be honoring her at January 4th’s reorganization meeting.
The Finance and Budget Commission has been hard at work meeting with the various department heads in the city. I thank the City Manager for inviting the Commission to sit in on all of these meetings. I trust that the City Manager is preparing a budget report that will be completed and presented in the very near future. We are currently moving on the right track this year and because we are starting the process early this year, I am confident we will not run into the problems that we had last year.
December 7th’s Council Meeting was a historic moment for the City of Englewood and its residents. It was the first time that our city live-streamed a Council Meeting and brought city government into the homes of our residents in order to encourage transparency and more public participation in issues affecting our city. I hope that the City Council and residents will support me on this as we enter the New Year.
Second Reading and Public Hearing…
Ordinance #10-36 would amend Ordinance 3-10 which was an ordinance authorizing certain roadway improvements as local improvements and specially assessing the benefits derived therefrom, up to the cost thereof, upon properties specially benefitting thereby, in order to include Block 2605.
#259-12-21-10: resolution accepting the accounting of the executrix of the estate of Eleanor S. Harvey.
#260-12-21-10: resolution to join New Jersey Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting in order to seek out the lowest cost of energy and to save a minimum of 10%.
#261-12-21-10: extension of liquor license to receiver of Joe II Wines & Liquor.
#262-12-21-10: award professional services contract to RBA Engineers to provide services to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center for Quarry Pond dredging.
#263-12-21-10: award professional services contract to Warren and Panzer Engineers, P.C. to provide an environmental review and remediation report.
#264-12-21-10: authorize application for local government energy audit program.
#265-12-21-10: authorize award of contract for auxiliary snow plowing and ice removal.
#266-12-21-10: authorize budget transfers for the 2010 budget. These budget transfers will take place on December 31, 2010.
I want to thank all of the residents who came out and participated at this week’s Council Meeting. Once again, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any problems or concerns. I wish everyone in the City of Englewood a happy and healthy holiday and a Happy New Year!