Articles Archive for May 2014
I am happy to announce that Englewood will have the first fully-digital Code Enforcement Department in the entire State. This will also benefit merchants who are locating to Englewood.
Please see article below in yesterday’s Suburbanite.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
ENGLEWOOD – The city is now home to the first fully-digital Code Enforcement Department in the state with the recent launch of an online permit system.
City administrators launched a cloud-based ePermitting and eCode Enforcement system on May 13 that allows residents to electronically submit permit requests or applications for building projects to the Code Enforcement Department online.
Through a “Citizen Portal” located on cityofenglewood.org, residents can register to apply for permits and track the process of their application during the process.
Construction Official Walter Deptuch believed the move to digital would make the inspection and permit application process “much more efficient” for residents.
“The major part of this is real time,” Deptuch said. “You won’t have to wait to find out where your inspection was.”
City Manager Tim Dacey said work on digitizing code enforcement began about a year-and-a-half ago. The City Council initially approved spending $54,761, through a state cooperative, for the initial development, installation and necessary training in April 2013.
One of toughest hurdles when trying to implement the system was getting state approval to have code enforcement go fully digital, Dacey said. It took about six months to gain this approval, since the state usually requires municipalities to keep multiple paper copies of documents.
“When we approached the state it was something different for them to think about,” Dacey said.
Dacey believed the move to digital would improve efficiency in code department, since employees will conduct more inspections thanks to the use of an iPad.
In the past, an inspector would come to a house, write the results of an inspection on paper, go back to their office, and then input the data into a computer, according to Dacey. Now, inspectors will input the results of an inspection into an iPad on-site, making the resident instantly aware if the inspection passed or failed through an email.
Mayor Frank Huttle III believed the new system would benefit merchants who have decided to move their business to the city.
Newark-based Bright Star eSolutions, a company that implements high tech cloud-based solutions for federal, state, and local government, brought the cloud system to the city. Dorothy Nicholson, CEO of Bright Star, employs veterans to install the system into government agencies to give them job opportunities after leaving the military.
Dacey said he approached Bright Star knowing that the company gives job opportunities to veterans around the area.
Tags: Town Government | Englewood |
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/city-allows-for-online-permits-1.1020891#sthash.woFQpn4L.dpuf
I am happy to announce that the City Council has chosen a contractor for the construction of the new Jack Drakeford Firehouse.
Please see article below in the May 20, 2014 Record.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
Englewood council awards contract for firehouse construction
MAY 20, 2014, 10:44 PM LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014, 8:33 AM
BY KIM LUEDDEKE
ENGLEWOOD — Plans for the city’s new firehouse advanced Tuesday with the awarding of a $7.145 million contract for the project to a Hackensack firm.
The City Council on Tuesday chose Dobtol Construction to build the new firehouse, which will be nearly twice the size of the current building and located on South Van Brunt Street between the police station/municipal court building and the ambulance corps building. Construction is expected to begin this September and be completed by October 2015.
The current firehouse, located on Williams Street, is nine decades old and has had numerous issues in recent years, including ceiling leaks, broken urinals, cramped locker rooms, faulty wiring and pipes contaminated by asbestos. Conditions there have been repeatedly cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The new firehouse will be an L-shaped brick building with larger truck bays. Vehicles will be able to pass through the building from Jay Street onto South Van Brunt Street, meaning firefighters will no longer have to back trucks into the bays.
The new station also will include offices, multipurpose rooms and larger living quarters. There also will be a separate dormitory, shower and bathroom for any female firefighters hired.
The firehouse will be named for the late Jack Drakeford, a longtime councilman whose 50-year career in public service began as one of the city’s first black firefighters. Drakeford, who died in 2012 at age 75, was an activist and a leader in the city’s school desegregation battles in the 1960s. He was appointed to the City Council in 1973, a role he remained in for four years before becoming city clerk and then city manager. He served on the school board in the 1990s and returned to the City Council in 1999.
In January, the council authorized the appropriation of $7.65 million for the new firehouse, about $7.27 million of which will come from issuing bonds.
Dobtol Construction beat out 11 other bidders for the project, according to the resolution passed by the City Council on Tuesday. Dobtol is the same firm that was chosen by Paterson officials last year to build a new firehouse on McBride Avenue.
The Williams Street station, along with the former Lincoln School next door, eventually will be replaced with apartments. The City Council last month designated Englewood Builders Urban Renewal Co. LLC as the redeveloper of the two properties and entered into an agreement with the company approving its construction of 186 one- and two-bedroom apartment units. In exchange, the city will receive $7.9 million.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/englewood-council-awards-contract-for-firehouse-construction-1.1019929#sthash.Gnb4v2s9.dpuf
This afternoon I was pleased to announce the State’s first cloud based ePermitting and eCode Enforcement system, which was provided by Bright Star.
The system will enable residents and contractors real time access to information on their projects that require permitting on a 24/7 basis.
Access to the new system will be available through www.cityofenglewood.com where users can access information on a faster and more efficient basis.
I have attached a press release that was sent out on the Bright Star System. Citizens, contractors and businesses can now go to the “Citizen Portal” link at www.cityofenglewood.org to access permit and code enforcement information.
Mayor Frank Huttle
MAYOR FRANK HUTTLE III ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF BRIGHT STAR ePERMITTING AND eCODE ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM
Launch of Bright Star System that streamlines important City services is part of the fulfillment of Mayor’s promise to bring best practices of the private sector to the City Government for enhanced delivery and cost savings
ENGLEWOOD – Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle III today announced the State’s first cloud based ePermitting and eCode Enforcement system, which will enable residents and contractors real time access to information on their projects on a 24/7 basis. Access to the new system will be available through www.cityofenglewood.com where users can access information on a faster and more efficient basis. The system promises not only to enhance efficiency but also to create significant savings in taxpayer dollars and in the productivity of City workers.
Mayor Huttle announced the completion of the initiative and the launch of the system as part of his ongoing program to bring the best practices of the business and private sector to the City Government. “We should be implementing innovative information technology solutions such as Bright Star at every opportunity in order to maximize the efficiency of City Government”, Mayor Huttle said. “We will continue to achieve this goal by lowering tax costs and improving services.”
“When I first became Mayor I promised to streamline the way the City Government did business both in the way it operated and the way it delivered services to residents. I have made that a top priority during my time as Mayor and today we are seeing another step in that direction with the deployment of the Bright Star ePermitting and eCode Enforcement system,” the Mayor stated. “The City of Englewood is open for business in the 21st century.”
Citizens, contractors and businesses can now go to the “Citizen Portal” link at www.cityofenglewood.org to access permit and code enforcement information…whether the permit is missing information, has been approved or denied (and the reasons for the denial) or ready to be picked up or emailed to them. Outside the office, inspectors enter information into the system via their iPad and it is updated real-time into the system. That means that as soon as the information is added, it is in the Citizen Portal. This is the first step in creating a cloud based “portal,” where all citizens and vendors will be able to do nearly everything they do at the Englewood Code Enforcement Office online including applying and paying for permits, requesting inspections, and so on.
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Please see article in today’s Suburbanite entitled: “Mayor pitches plan to add more senior housing”
This plan will afford the opportunity for seniors to remain in Englewood as they advance in age rather than having to move to apartments outside of this area. I believe it is the responsiblity of the City to service those with specail needs.
Stay tuned to hear more on this plan.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
Englewood mayor pitches plan to add more senior housing
MAY 8, 2014 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2014, 12:32 AM
BY STEPHANIE NODA
NORTHERN VALLEY SUBURBANITE
ENGLEWOOD – With 30 percent of the city’s population expected to turn 65 years old during the next 20 years, the mayor is pitching a plan to develop more affordable housing to keep the aging residents within city limits.
“It’s important for those working and living in Englewood to have an opportunity to continue to age within Englewood and enjoy the fruits of what Englewood offers,” said Mayor Frank Huttle III.
The plan calls for eight to 12 units for individuals with special needs and 160 units for seniors ideally located within walking distance of the downtown, said Huttle.
Huttle wants the Englewood Housing Authority to help him identify land for those in the two subgroups. The initiative would provide housing in addition to Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) obligations.
The city currently has senior housing at the Vincente K. Tibbs Senior Citizen Building, a 152-unit facility managed by the Englewood Housing Authority.
Roughly 14 percent of residents are at least 65 years old, according to the 2010 census. Since 30 percent of the population is aged 45-64, demand for affordable senior housing will continue to increase, said Huttle.
The “graying” of Englewood’s population mirrors a national trend, according to the 2014 Master Plan. As residents age, they replace their larger homes with smaller housing units, such as an apartment or condominium.
Huttle would like seniors who have spent their entire lives in Englewood to “age in place” instead of moving to apartments in other towns.
“You don’t need a large, three-bedroom house [as you age],” said Huttle. “This is an opportunity to be in close proximity to walk to stores and truly see what Englewood has to offer in its downtown.”
Similar to the anticipated rise in senior housing, the need for special needs housing will increase with the upcoming closures of state-run developmental centers, said Huttle.
Two Northern New Jersey centers located in Totowa and Woodbridge are scheduled to cease operating on July 1 and Jan 1, 2015 respectively. Governor Christie has stated the closure will save $27 million, which he will redirect toward community housing.
Huttle said the city has the responsibility of serving those with special needs, the city’s “most needy” residents.
“People who live in supportive housing pay taxes, shop and work in local stores, and contribute to the vibrancy of our community,” said Huttle in a statement. “This is the right thing to do for our neighbors with special needs and an important step in addressing a deep need within our community.”
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/mayor-pitches-plan-to-add-more-senior-housing-1.1011848#sthash.LvfgHHVM.dpuf
Please see the May 8, 2014 article in the Suburbanite entitled: “Redevelopment plan calls for apartments: Would transform Lincoln School, firehouse into mixed use complex”
I am delighted that this long awaitied plan has been approved by the City Council as it will increase services for the community as well as enhance revneue.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
Englewood council taps firm to redevelop school, firehouse lots
MAY 8, 2014 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2014, 12:32 AM
BY STEPHANIE NODA
NORTHERN VALLEY SUBURBANITE
ENGLEWOOD – A 186 unit apartment complex will replace a long-vacant school and a 90-year-old firehouse in order to create a “live and work” community envisioned in the master plan.
Council members approved the Englewood Builders Urban Renewal Company LLC to redevelop Lincoln School and the William Street firehouse during the April 29 council meeting.
The redeveloper will pay the city $7,905,000, contingent on how many units are approved, at the project’s closing time.
The mixed-use redevelopment plan calls for a five-story, 107,401 square-foot complex with one- and two-bedroom apartments and retail on the ground floor.
The redevelopment is within boundaries of the Armory Street Renewal Area. That area, created in 1987, includes West Palisade Avenue, Bennett Road, West Englewood Avenue, William Street, Humphrey Street and North Van Brunt Street.
Heralding the long-awaited development plan, Mayor Frank Huttle III believes it will “create a genesis” for more economic recovery in the downtown district.
“We’re at a crossroads,” said Huttle, about the first large-scale project in the city since 2008. “We have to enhance revenues and we have to increase services. We need to deliver what the community needs are.”
There is a renewed interest by people young and old to live and work in cities “large and small,” according to the city’s 2014 master plan. Creating mixed-use space on the Lincoln School property was suggested in the plan as a way of complementing the Palisade Avenue downtown and adjacent neighborhood.
This is not the first time city officials tried to redevelop the school. In 2011, council members rejected two proposals for redeveloping the Lincoln School property. Huttle said the proposals failed for “being too broad” at the time.
“Real estate was in the midst of the recession, banks were not lending, and real estate values were at the bottom,” said Huttle. “The then-council attempted to sell this property that would have yielded less than 2.5 million, which I strongly opposed.”
City officials purchased Lincoln School and Liberty School, now used by the Recreation Department, for $11.5 million in 2008. Since then, Lincoln School has sat vacant for six years.
Ward 4 Councilman Wayne Hamer, who abstained from the vote, said he supported redeveloping Lincoln School, but had misgivings because the plan did not include affordable housing.
“It’s very important to me that our existing housing stock be upgraded,” said Hamer “This would provide an opportunity and it still can be a way to upgrade our existing housing stock of units within the city.”
Huttle said the Lincoln School redevelopment is part of “a fabric of housing projects” to address all of Englewood’s needs. Affordable housing required by a recent settlement agreement with Route 4 developers ERA South will address Hamer’s concerns, said Huttle.
ERA South developers – S. Hekemian Group and MDK Development LLC – will build 15 affordable housing units in an upcoming 195 unit apartment complex near Route 4. City officials will also re-designate 64 affordable housing units for another 30 years.
Huttle also plans to work with the Housing Authority to construct 160 senior housing units and 12 units for those with special needs in the vicinity of the downtown.
While, city officials OK’d redeveloping the area, Englewood Builders still need to appear before the Planning Board for approval within the next 120 days, according to the agreement.
If the Planning Board approves a site plan with less than 186 units, $42,500 will be subtracted from the $7.9 million purchase price for each apartment that isn’t built. The redeveloper can also terminate the agreement if the approved plan calls for less than 170 units.
Before work commences on the site, however, officials need to complete the new Jack Drakeford Firehouse on South Van Brunt Street. The new fire house will replace the old William Street location, located next to Lincoln School.
Officials will bid the firehouse project in May and hope to complete construction on the new South Van Brunt Street location in September 2015, said City Manager Tim Dacey.
The redeveloper and city administration will also have to remove contaminated soil under the firehouse before the two buildings are knocked down.
City officials will either conduct remediation or reimburse the developer for remediation work on the firehouse, according to the redevelopment agreement. Officials have already approved a $250,000 bond ordinance to pay for remediation work for various contaminated spots around the city.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/redevelopment-plan-calls-for-apartments-1.1011825?page=all#sthash.JUQwuRS3.dpuf
Please see article in the 5/1/14 Suburbanite entitled: “Council plans $15M in capital projects”
The City Council has set adie $15M in capital funds for road construction and building maintenance projects
Mayor Frank Huttle, III
NORTHJERSEY.COM : NEWS
Englewood council plans $15M in capital projects
MAY 1, 2014 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014, 12:31 AM
BY STEPHANIE NODA
NORTHERN VALLEY SUBURBANITE
ENGLEWOOD – The city council has earmarked $15 million in capital funds to undertake road reconstruction and building maintenance projects this summer.
The council plans to adopt the capital and operating budget at its April 29 meeting, pending review from the state. For homes assessed at $458,000, property taxes would increase $51.75.
The total capital investment in the 2014 capital budget is $15,233,482. The biggest capital item within the capital budget is $7.7 million for construction of a new firehouse. Officials plan to award a bid possibly in May and complete construction in July 2015, said City Engineer Ken Albert in March.
Officials will use $250,000 to replace furniture and trees in all city parks. Albert said most of this money will replace items like benches and garbage cans in Mackay Park.
A $315,000 repair project to Veteran’s Monument on West Palisade Avenue is scheduled for this year – although not before Memorial Day. Last year, Mayor Frank Huttle III pushed for renovation of the monument to ensure local veterans are honored.
Entranceway reconstruction and roof replacement for the Englewood Public Library, costing $64,000 and $165,000 respectively, is scheduled to occur either late this year or early spring of next year. Library Director Catherine Wolverton said the library roof has drainage issues, which has caused water damage on the ceiling. The spongy surface has also caused vegetation to grow on the top of the building, said Wolverton.
“I’m appreciative that the council is going to address this internal structure issue,” said Wolverton. “It’s absolutely fabulous.”Approximately $1.2 million is slanted for milling and pavement for at least 12 city streets. Davidson Place and Englewood Avenue from the railroad tracks to Wides Corner are the two most expensive projects, costing $101,351 and $310,000 respectively.
Albert said his department keeps an inventory of all roads, which are scheduled for milling and paving based on need. Despite a rough winter last year, Albert said the inventory of need is decreasing.
“We’ve been maintaining the roads pretty well,” said Albert. “They’re in fairly good condition.”
While the timeframe will vary from road to road, streets in the 3rd and 4th Wards have a lifespan that is almost twice as long as those in the 1st and 2nd Wards, said Albert.
Officials will use $2.6 million to reconstruct more than six roads in 2014, including Demarest Avenue, Hutchinson Road, Fountain Road, Arch Road, and Warren Street. Demarest Street needs a realignment to the height of sidewalk curbs in relation to the road, which will cost $440,000. Since the sanitary sewer system is starting to fail on Hutchinson Road, officials will spend $573,660 to tear open and close the street to replace the system.
The $2.6 million reconstruction will also include a curb and sidewalk program for Elkwood Terrace, Whitewood Road, and East Hudson Avenue for a combined $204,444.
“That’s a big project,” said Albert. “It will get people totally around to Engle Street from that neighborhood, which has no sidewalks.”
Approximately $120,000 was allocated for roof and infrastructure improvements to the Vincente K. Tibbs Child Development Center. The city-owned building will receive new ceiling tiles, flooring, plaster, and lights this year. Officials will also replace doors frames and molding in 2015.
“The inside needs a lot of work,” said Albert. “[The Tibbs Center] has a great program and we would like to support it.”
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/council-plans-15m-in-capital-projects-1.1006367#sthash.113vTqOk.dpuf
Please see below the 5/1/14 Record’s article entitled: “Long-vacant Lincoln School, Englewood Firehouse to be replaced with apartments ”
I am delighted to announce that Lincoln School and the firehuse will be replaced with 186 one-and to-bedroom apartment units.
Stay tuned for more on this project.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
Long-vacant Lincoln School, Englewood firehouse to be replaced with apartments
MAY 1, 2014, 6:21 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014, 6:23 PM
BY KIM LUEDDEKE
ENGLEWOOD – The long-vacant Lincoln School and the city’s firehouse will be replaced with apartments, a project that city officials are touting as the first major development to be built in Englewood since at least 2008.
The City Council this week designated Englewood Builders Urban Renewal Company, LLC, as the redeveloper for the former Lincoln School and the Williams Street firehouse, and entered into an agreement with the company to build 186 one- and two-bedroom apartment units. In exchange, the city will receive $7.9 million for the property, which is about 2.5 acres.
Mayor Frank Huttle III, who praised the project as “monumental” for Englewood, said construction could be completed by the end of 2016.
Englewood Builders’ willingness to invest in the city is a recognition of its vibrancy, Huttle believes, and he predicted it would be a “springboard” to an economic expansion of the downtown.
In 2003, the city agreed to pay the local school district $11.5 million for both the Russell C. Major Liberty School and the Lincoln School. The Lincoln School, located on West Englewood Avenue, has been vacant since 2008. The Liberty school is being used for recreational and community programs.
Firefighters are still operating out of the Williams Street firehouse, which is next to the Lincoln School. The firehouse has had numerous issues in recent years, however, including ceiling leaks, broken urinals, cramped locker rooms, faulty wiring and pipes contaminated by asbestos. Conditions there have been repeatedly cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The city plans to relocate firefighters to a new firehouse on South Van Brunt Street that will be built between the Police Department and the ambulance corps building. Earlier this year, the City Council appropriated $7.65 million for the construction.
Englewood Builders is made up of two entities: the BNE Real Estate Group Englewood, LLC, and Sterling Properties Englewood, LLC. Both are based in Livingston.
Part of the agreement between Englewood Builders and the city is that it will make annual payments based on the amount it receives in rent, rather than pay property taxes for the first 15 years of the project. The agreement – commonly known as a PILOT – calls for the redeveloper to pay the city 12 percent of what it earns in gross rental income for the first five years after the certificate of occupancy is issued and people start renting apartments. That amount goes up to 12.5 percent for the next five years, and then up to 13 percent for the final five years of the agreement.
The redeveloper will pay property taxes both before the certificate of occupancy is issued, and then after the 15-year period ends, according to the agreement.
Councilman Wayne Hamer abstained from voting on the agreement when it came before the council Tuesday because he said it did not include provisions for affordable housing.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/long-vacant-lincoln-school-englewood-firehouse-to-be-replaced-with-apartments-1.1007214#sthash.dO3WulmO.dpuf
Tonight the Englewood School Board will discuss its proposed budget for the coming year. I released the following statement this afternoon on the school budget.
Mayor Frank Huttle
Mayor Huttle Urges Englewood School Board to Exercise Restraint, Work Together to
Reduce Max Tax Increase
(ENGLEWOOD) – With the Englewood Board of Education set to propose a $71.3 million budget and $48.8 million tax levy tonight that would raise property taxes the maximum allowable amount under state law, Mayor Frank Huttle III urged the board’s members to exercise restraint and work together with city officials to reshape the fiscal plan to benefit students and taxpayers.
“Voting to increase the school budget to the maximum two percent allowed under the state’s property tax cap, especially during the first year that voters will not have a chance to weigh in on the budget in the years to come sends the wrong message,” said Huttle. “I think it would be wise to take a lesson from our recent past and sharpen our pencils and work together to formulate a budget that puts our kids first and maximizes every tax dollar spent, much like the hard work and cooperation that went into crafting the budget four years ago.”
Huttle noted that in 2010, the school board introduced a budget paid for by $48.1 million in taxes, which was a nearly five percent tax increase from the previous year. Voters went on to defeat the budget during the school board election. However, the Board of Education voted earlier this year to move elections to November, a change that could result in ongoing two percent increases because voters will no longer have the opportunity to vote on the budget unless it exceeds the two percent cap.
“After the budget defeat in 2010, I helped lead a committee that worked on reshaping the budget into a win-win for students, teachers and taxpayers. In the end, we were able to cut $1.6 million from the budget while increasing the dollars that were going directly towards classroom instruction. It wasn’t easy but together we achieved this win-win and put the school district on firmer footing,” added Huttle.
“Having spent over $23,000 per pupil in 2011-2012 – among the highest in the county and the state – it’s clear that pouring more money into any school system does not necessarily help solve the problems that we face. What will help address our problems is accountability. Whether it’s a mayor or a school board member, we all need to approach our budgets with accountability and responsibility to the taxpayers to make sure every penny is spent wisely,” concluded Huttle.
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