Mayor's Boards and Committees

[26 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 86 views]

Dear Residents,

In case you missed it, I have provided a link here to an article published in the Bergen Record regarding the proposed expansion of the Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Line on the Northern Branch and terminating in Englewood at the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

Englewood had been continuously involved in the planning of this new option since 2012 and earlier when the City together with the Englewood Economic Development Corporation, as coordinated by the Mayor’s office, submitted a comment to the DEIS version under review at that time. Those comments formed the basis of many of the changes now being made. Englewood has and continues to consult with NJ Transit as the project moves forward.

I have also attached a map of the newly proposed Northern Branch Expanded Rail Line for your reference. Please stay tuned for further details and developments on this exciting new project.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

Please click here for the map of the proposed Northern Branch line nbcorridormap

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[25 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 104 views]

Dear Residents,

I have pasted an Opinion Editorial piece written by myself and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop expressing our opinion that the time to bring Passenger Service back to the Northern Branch of the Hudson/Bergen Light Rail is now.

As you may know, the restoration of Passenger Rail Service has been discussed for over a decade. Englewood has been actively working on not only making this project shovel ready but also the best it can be. That is why Mayor Fulop and I founded the Mayors’ Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission which will be a single focused entity that will unify each of the independent municipalities of the line together and speak with one voice. It will coordinate ground-up planning and consultation between the local government entities within each municipality, both counties and amongst stakeholders while providing a direct conduit to NJ Transit, the lead agency in the project.

I encourage you to read the piece and also to stay tuned for more developments.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

Opinion: Why we need to act on Hudson-Bergen light rail now
MARCH 24, 2014, 4:35 PM
BY STEVEN FULOP AND FRANK HUTTLE III
THE RECORD

Steven Fulop is mayor of Jersey City and Frank Huttle III is mayor of Englewood. Both are Democrats.

ANYONE who lives in northern New Jersey knows that commuting – by car, bus or rail — is a universally unpleasant topic. While it is central to our daily lives, the everyday traffic jams and crowded trains frequently leave us in the breakdown lane.

This shouldn’t be the case, especially when considering the high cost of living in Bergen and Hudson counties.

We need a transportation system that meets the needs of our communities while at the same time improving our regional economy. Moving forward with plans for the expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line into Bergen County should be an immediate priority for Governor Christie and the State legislature.

NJ Transit began operating the first segment of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail — currently only in Hudson County — in Jersey City in 2000 and expanded the system to 21 miles over the next 11 years serving approximately 44,000 weekday passengers. But it has yet to become what planners originally envisioned, which is a regional transportation network connecting two of the most densely populated counties in New Jersey – Bergen and Hudson – to one another and to New York City.

The long-talked about light rail expansion would ease traffic congestion for commuters, create thousands of jobs and spur added economic development in both counties. Since there is no rail option in eastern Bergen, new investment in transportation should be in the form of public transit, which is why the expansion of the Hudson-Bergen line makes so much sense.

Studies show that federal investment in transit will create jobs and boost the economy. A 2009 study by the American Public Transportation Association found that for each billion spent on public transit, as many as 41,000 jobs are created. This same investment in public transit would also generate as much as $3.8 billion annually in business sales further enhancing the economy.

This expansion will help many Bergen residents. In fact, unique to our area, commuters of all income levels use mass transit. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in most major American cities there is a huge gap between the median income of residents and ridership on public transit. Not so in New York City and northern New Jersey, where the median income essentially matches the average income of the mass transit rider.

More efficient workers

In addition, by improving our transportation network, less time is spent commuting, making workers more efficient. Saving just 15 minutes on employees’ commutes equates to a 12 percent increase in productivity in their 40 hour work weeks.

To help advance this expansion, we have formed a mayors’ commission representing all 12 municipalities with present and future Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service to provide direct dialogue to NJ Transit, the lead agency in the project. We fully intend to show the value in beginning to build the line into Bergen County.

Funded with a combination of state and federal dollars, the final cost of the Hudson portion of the project was approximately $2.2 billion and was one of the largest public works projects ever in New Jersey. It would only cost half of that amount – approximately $900 million – to expand the line into Bergen County, increase the volume of riders and improve our transportation network.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson, recently testified before the State Senate Transportation Committee’s hearing on the extension of the line, and advocated for the use of the federal New Starts program, which can provide up to a 50:50 match with state funding. Pascrell noted “it is critical that planning be expedited — every day we wait is another day for other projects across the nation to jump ahead of New Jersey in the federal queue.”

Role for private sector

We agree. We also believe there is a role for the private sector to play in supporting the line. In Jersey City, for instance, developers are paying the nearly $12 million cost of a new station because of the importance the new stop means to their projects. In Englewood, the city has partnered with NJ Transit and Englewood Hospital to build an End of the Line parking lot on the hospital’s land. Partnerships with the private sector should be pursued at other locations in Bergen County where the rail line will enhance the value of adjacent properties, spurring new development.

It’s time to stop hoping and start acting to make the Bergen part of the Hudson-Bergen line a reality. There are federal and private dollars to pay for a substantial portion of the project. Governor Christie needs to show his support and call for this line as well.

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[19 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 84 views]

Dear Residents,

I have pasted below a Press Release announcing the Formation of the Mayors’ Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission to be co-chaired by myself and Mayor Steve Fulop of Jersey City.

Please stay tuned for more news on this exciting development.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

MAYOR HUTTLE ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF MAYORS COMMISSION TO FINALLY MAKE LIGHT RAIL A REALITY FOR BERGEN COUNTY
Bi-County Commission will be Co-Chaired by Huttle and Jersey City Mayor Fulop

ENGLEWOOD – Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle III today announced the formation of a mayors’ commission to spearhead an ambitious plan to extend the long-awaited northern portion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line through Bergen County.

The Mayors’ Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission will be co-chaired by Huttle and Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop and is comprised of all of the mayors from Hudson and Bergen counties representing towns along the rail line and its proposed extension, as follows:

Co-Chairs
Mayor Frank Huttle III of Englewood
Mayor Steven M. Fulop of Jersey City

Mayor James Rotundo of Palisades Park
Mayor Anthony Suarez of Ridgefield
Mayor Vincent Bellucci, Jr. of Fairview
Mayor Nicolas Sacco of North Bergen
Mayor Felix Roque of West New York
Mayor Brian Stack of Union City
Mayor Richard F. Turner of Weehawken
Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken
Mayor John DeSimone of Leonia
Mayor Mark Smith of Bayonne

The Commission will be a single focused entity which will unify each of the independent municipalities of the line together and speak with one voice. It will coordinate ground-up planning and consultation between the local government entities within each municipality, both counties and amongst stakeholders while providing a direct conduit to NJ Transit, the lead agency in the project.

The move comes on the heels of the city’s recent adoption of a comprehensive new master plan that places a high priority on extending the light rail line through Bergen County and ending in Englewood in order to foster economic development and smart growth in one of the most densely-populated areas of the state.

“Hudson and Bergen counties are fully developed and host mature economies,” said Mayor Huttle. “For the most part, it’s not feasible to build new roads, bridges or tunnels for people to get to work between Hudson, Bergen and New York City. New Jersey is still struggling to rebound from the recession and lags behind New York and Pennsylvania in job growth. We need improvements in our transportation infrastructure to grow and create jobs in New Jersey and improve the quality of life for area residents. Light rail will do just that.”

“We have seen the success the Light Rail has had in stimulating residential and commercial development in Jersey City and Hudson County, and know that a full expansion into Bergen County will only benefit Jersey City and add to commerce in our region,” said Mayor Fulop. “Providing more northern New Jersey residents access into Jersey City and Hudson County is good for development, job growth and small business alike. This Commission will allow mayors along the route to have a more active role in this important transit system and its future growth.”

The restoration of passenger rail service to the Northern Branch of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Line has been under discussion for years. Huttle noted that Englewood has been working extensively with NJ Transit in recent years to hone the project to adequately meet the needs of the eastern Bergen County region it is intended to serve.

Chief among Englewood’s concerns in a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) created by NJ Transit were a potential loss of roughly 128 on-street parking spots in the city’s central business district and the exclusion of a stop at Englewood Medical Center.

During the official comment period on the DEIS, Englewood proposed in a letter that the last stop on the line be Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and that there be two other stops in the city at Englewood Town Center and Route 4.

NJ Transit has been receptive to Englewood’s concerns and not only agreed to restore the parking spaces, but under the DEIS the transit agency finally approved last May, proposed stations now include: 91st Street in North Bergen, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, Englewood Route 4, Englewood Town Center and Englewood Hospital.

“The light rail service, if accomplished properly, will transform the region for the better, easing congestion, raising property values and providing myriad other benefits,” added Huttle. “A coordination of planning and consultation between local government entities will ensure the light rail service will be the best it can be.”

To this end, Englewood has already begun the process of gathering the municipalities of the light rail service line in a collaborative group that will not only coordinate individual municipal planning but will also serve as a repository of institutional knowledge over what will certainly be a long planning and build process.

The Mayors Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Commission will serve as a semi-permanent body to fulfill the needs of the line communities, individually and collectively, through the following primary objectives:

1. Connection of the two largest and most congested counties in New Jersey to promote transportation to and from Englewood to North Bergen, Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne, as well as NYC;

2. Creation of jobs and development along the line connecting all residents living in Bergen County to Hudson County and NYC; and

3. Focus on economic growth.

The Commission is timely formed because of the imminent finalization by NJTransit of the DEIS and Supplemental DEIS which should be completed by the Summer of 2015.

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[20 Jan 2014 | No Comment | 266 views]

Please click on the link below for the Master Plan.

Adopted_2014_Master_Plan

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[18 Jan 2014 | No Comment | 44 views]

(ENGLEWOOD) – Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle III and the city’s Planning Board will officially present a proposed, new master plan to the public for its review and discussion at the Planning Board meeting on Jan. 23, capping off an extensive process that incorporated unprecedented community input to create a rich and enduring blueprint for the city’s future.

“From day-one our goal has been to create a community-driven process so that the end result would truly incorporate the needs and wants of our residents,” said Huttle. “The new plan fuses old with new by preserving our history and enhancing our existing strengths while keeping an eye towards the future and the best ways to promote smart development.”

Since beginning the planning process in 2012, Huttle hosted several community meetings and pop-up workshops where input from more than 1,000 residents was gathered. A team of experienced consultants – Brown & Keener, a division of RBA, Regional Plan Association, and Urban Partners – went to work incorporating this input into a comprehensive plan that establishes a proactive approach to managing future development, preserving community character and guiding public and private investments.

The resulting plan is the product of on-the-ground research and a robust public process guided by two committees – the Municipal Advisory Group comprised of various city officials and the Stakeholder Committee comprised of business, civic, religious and community organization representatives.

The new plan incorporates a number of key elements, or “turning points,” that will significantly boost the quality of life in the five-square mile city:

-Reactivation of the Northern Branch light rail line by NJTransit with three stops in Englewood to improve commuter options and enhance residential and business development;

-Enhance the vibrancy of the downtown through a mix of retail, residential, health care and offices with a focus on over-the-shop downtown living;

-Revitalize Englewood South by investing in the public realm and rezoning the area to mixed-use industrial to encourage entrepreneurship;

-Upgrade the existing city-wide community center programming as a current alternative to a possible future facility;

-Preserve residential neighborhoods through the creation of a Historic Commission to help retain and enhance residential character and preserve unique structures citywide;

-Enhance public spaces and city gateways by building upon the recent improvements at Depot Square, creating bike lanes and jogging paths within the city and along the proposed light rail line and targeting the western gateway to the city as a potential site for a new city hall and community center; and

-Treating planning as a civic exercise by making sure that the extensive public input that was gathered for this new plan is incorporated into future updates of the Master Plan.

The plan also provides policies and recommendations for future development strategies, economic incentives and land use controls that support and strengthen the city’s neighborhoods and commerce. These policies are organized around the following five major themes and their accompanying vision statements:

-Destination Downtown: Cultivate a unique, vibrant, livable, and walkable mixed‐use downtown with diverse retail, services, and housing opportunities for all.

-Englewood South: These blocks, traditionally devoted to manufacturing and commerce, will evolve into a vibrant, attractive, entrepreneurial district and employment center. Streetscape improvements, investments in branding and way-finding, and improved business facades and signs, will create an attractive environment that celebrates Englewood industry and attracts investment.

-My Neighborhood: Ensure safe, healthy, and attractive neighborhoods that are well‐connected and that have an abundance of accessible community amenities and services.

-Our Town: Offer a diverse variety of community amenities for Englewood residents of all ages and cultures in easily‐accessible and well‐maintained facilities.

-Mobility: Maximize the benefits of existing transit and anticipate the benefits of proposed transit improvements by planning for development opportunities, smooth traffic circulation, and parking.

Included within the Master Plan is the Land Use Plan, which will guide future growth and change in the city by recommending appropriate land use policies, densities and design tools to encourage healthy growth while protecting the unique character of the community.

“Englewood has long been considered a jewel of the region because of our diverse population and our vibrant mix of downtown shops, restaurants, cultural and entertainment offerings and lush housing stock. Ultimately, our plan is to build on our city’s rich history and diversity, as well as our proximity to New York City, while targeting specific areas for growth that will bolster our long-term economic prospects,” added Huttle.

Huttle also noted that while the 2009 master plan was relying on demographics from the nearly decade-old census conducted in 2000, the new plan better incorporates the city’s rich diversity by using the latest data from the 2010 Census.

Huttle will formally present the Master Plan to the Englewood Planning Board for approval at its next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 8 pm in the Municipal Courtroom. Full details and copies of the Master Plan will be available electronically on englewoodone.com and cityofenglewood.com and hard copies will be available in the Englewood Public Library.

# # #

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[18 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 42 views]

Dear Residents,

I have pasted below an OpEd of mine that was published in the Bergen Record on this past Sunday, June 16, 2013 in case you may have missed it.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

Opinion: Charting a new course for Englewood arena

SUNDAY JUNE 16, 2013, 6:40 AM
BY FRANK HUTTLE
THE RECORD

Frank Huttle is mayor of Englewood.

THERE COMES a time when a community must decide whether it is ready and willing to move forward into the future or whether it would rather idle in the past. Now is the time for the City of Englewood to embrace our future by determining, once and for all, the fate of the John T. Wright Arena at Mackay Park.

When the Ice Arena opened in 1982, it was seen as an opportunity to bring our community together and give our youth a safe recreational space. Unfortunately, as The Record correctly noted, more out-of-town visitors than Englewood youth have utilized the rink due to a lack of affordable and accessible programming. I made a commitment to change this when I took office as mayor.

Plan presented

To that end, a plan was presented to the community that would have authorized a non-profit organization to operate the Ice Arena through an innovative public-private philanthropic partnership. The city would have paid for the capital improvements necessary to reopen the arena after Superstorm Sandy in exchange for increased ice time for Englewood youth and year-round recreation programs coordinated with the city’s Department of Recreation.

Three council members supported funding these improvements to pave the way for a revived arena better able to serve the youth of our city, especially those in our 4th Ward. Two, however, voted to pay primarily for the roof replacement without addressing other concerns required to open the arena, in effect choosing the status quo.

Both approaches failed and so now Englewood must decide whether we close the arena or pay to reopen it in some capacity. This decision is one that affects the entire city, particularly the 4th Ward in which the arena is located. It is therefore only right that all residents have a voice in the decision-making process.

Public forums

This process began with several public forums to engage the community, including the mayor’s Town Hall Meeting at Community Baptist Church. I recently formed the advisory task force comprised of residents from across the city to make recommendations to the council and myself. While some, such as The Record, view the discussions as contentious, I see our city coming together to create a new course for the arena.

Englewood is not divided. We are a vibrant community of well-informed and engaged residents. Democracy is at its best when we all have a stake and we all take a stand on our collective future. I am proud of Englewood’s long tradition of strong public involvement and I am pleased that residents are expressing their views on the arena.

The John T. Wright Arena at Mackay Park is not a symbol of past divisions, but a reminder of a promise Englewood made three decades ago to the youth and families of our community. It is time to take action without rehashing old fights. I look forward to hearing new, creative and inclusive solutions in the weeks and months ahead from the task force and city residents. Our children deserve nothing less.

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[17 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 22 views]

Dear Residents,

I have pasted below an Editorial written by The Record on the John T. Wright Ice Arena.

It was published on June 14, 2013.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

The Record: On the front burner

Friday June 14, 2013, 8:02 AM

The Record

GOVERNING a city as economically diverse as Englewood certainly has its challenges. Within the city’s approximately 5 square miles is a mix of working-, middle- and upper-class families with different concerns for their quality of life.

With officials now debating the fate of the city’s ice rink, the John T. Wright Arena, it’s important for them to consider the concerns of all residents and neighborhoods. Having an ice rink can be a great attraction for a city, but the well-being of all residents must be the priority in Englewood.

Mayor Frank Huttle wants to put together a 15-member task force to help the City Council decide the future of the rink, which has been closed since Superstorm Sandy destroyed the roof. A task force of that size can be unwieldy, but on the plus side, having 15 members can bring passionate debate and diverse opinion. We hope it also will help create a plan that can truly benefit the city.

There are a variety of opinions on the landmark’s value.

Many people in the largely working-class 4th Ward, where the rink is located, feel it serves only wealthy city residents along with out-of-towners who rent ice time for hockey teams. They want the city to focus instead on improving the facilities at MacKay Park, which surrounds the rink. Many residents would also like the city to build a community center to provide children with more things to do. Suggestions have included turning the rink property into that type of center or using a former elementary school a block away from the park that is now boarded up.

Others say the rink should be preserved and want the city to make the necessary repairs — which include more than just the roof — to get the facility operating again. But the mayor says he would not support reopening the rink unless it becomes a place that welcomed all of Englewood.

That could be a challenge, especially as the city’s budget is already limited and tentative plans are for the city to refurbish the rink by borrowing money. Still, this is an endeavor officials should embrace with genuine effort as they determine their priorities.

If the city is to spend a large sum of money, it should be on a project with broad appeal. The city needs to invest in its youth, and an ice rink alone isn’t enough. Like all cities, Englewood has issues with crime. The job of the mayor’s task force should be to focus on developing effective programs and resources for local children. That means a refurbished ice rink, but could also mean improved facilities at MacKay Park.

There aren’t many municipalities with their own ice rinks. Englewood has a valuable resource. And it should make sure it uses that resource to benefit the entire community.

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[17 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 141 views]

Dear Residents,

I have pasted below an Article that was published in the Bergen Record in case you may have missed it.

It was first published on June 9, 2013. 

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

Ice rink is at the center of a divided Englewood

Sunday, June 9, 2013    

BY REBECCA BAKER 

STAFF WRITER

The Record

From the day it opened more than 30 years ago in the heart of Englewood’s minority neighborhood, the Mackay Park ice rink held the promise of being a symbol of inclusion, a place where the wealthiest and poorest residents could come together and have fun.

But over the years, the John T. Wright Arena has, instead, become a symbol of privilege and division, as well-off residents and out-of-town teams began claiming the rink as their own, making some residents, particularly those in the working-class 4th Ward, feel unwelcome.

“The symbol that I would use to describe what this building has become is one of an invasion — an occupation,” said Melvin Drakeford, head of the Mackay Park Legacy Committee, a community booster group.

Those grievances exposed long-standing racial and class divisions in this small city of 30,000 that, in the past, has seen protests over school segregation and street clashes over civil rights. More recently, 4th Ward residents objected last fall to outsourcing by the public school district, whose student population remains overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.

Their anger over about 100 employees losing their jobs carried over this year and contributed, officials say, to derailing the city’s plans to repair and renovate the Mackay Park arena, which now sits dormant.

The divisions are largely rooted in frustration over how, and on whom, the city spends taxpayer money. Leaders and activists in the  4th Ward say the city has made the rink a high priority while overlooking other needs, such as a community center, and allowing their neighborhood — including Mackay Park — to decline.

“The rink has not really served the whole community, especially the community in the 4th Ward,” said Shirley Smith, a former school board member who has lived in the 4th Ward for nearly 50 years.

Those resentments helped fuel opposition to the city’s plan to borrow $675,000 to fix the rink, which was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Councilman Wayne Hamer, who represents the 4th Ward, cast the deciding vote that defeated the borrowing plan, one day after scores of residents criticized it at a public meeting in a Baptist church.

“[Opponents] may have had a chip on their shoulder because of the political abuse they’ve received over the years,” said James “Sid” Jordan, a retired builder who served on the Planning Board for 30 years. “They were ignored.”

Mayor Frank Huttle wants that to change. He is asking the residents from all parts of Englewood who have been the most outspoken about the ice rink to serve on a 15-member task force that will advise the City Council on what to do with the shuttered arena. Huttle said he would not support reopening the rink unless it becomes a place that welcomed all of Englewood.

“If we’re going to have an ice arena, it’s going to be for the kids, for Englewood kids, not for kids living across the 70 towns in Bergen County,” he said,

Named after the city’s first black councilman, the ice rink opened in 1982 and initially was a source of community pride.

“When [the rink] was first built, it was exciting,” Smith said. “People came, and there was a good turnout from all the wards.”

The city paid for the rink with federal funding and a state Green Acres grant. Putting it in Mackay Park, a place of cultural significance to Englewood’s black community and which has played host to church picnics and civil rights rallies, was also a sign that times had changed — the area around the park was the scene of three days of rock-throwing, firebombing and looting during civil rights demonstrations in 1967.

But the ice rink struggled to pay for itself. After it operated in the red for two years, the city gave a 25-year contract to a private operator, Mackay Ice Arena Inc. To turn a profit, the private operator increasingly came to rely on hockey teams from communities such as Tenafly and other outside groups who could afford hundreds of dollars per hour for ice time.

“A lot of children from the 4th Ward were not able to use it, and interest went away,” Smith said.

Larry Reid, the former longtime rink operator, has said many of the figure skaters who used the rink for private lessons were from the East Hill, the city’s wealthiest neighborhood. He said he tried to involve the entire community with learn-to-skate programs and public skating hours, with mixed results.

Councilwoman-at-large Lynne Algrant said more people skated in the past few years, but the rink didn’t draw many 4th Ward residents, who had come to view it as a private club for their wealthier neighbors. “Of course people [in the 4th Ward] hated the ice arena,” she said.

When the long-term contract with Reid expired in 2009, the City Council approved a series of one-year extensions, which Algrant said included more free ice time for residents, and debated how to make the rink more accessible. Last year, the city advertised for a non-profit group to manage the rink for 10 years, with the stipulation that the new operator offer year-round programs with the profits made from skating and hockey.

Three groups offered to run the rink, and a divided council chose the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield. Huttle, as mayor, had to cast a tie-breaking vote to hire the Boys & Girls Club after the council deadlocked 2-2. Jack Drakeford, the 4th Ward councilman, had recently died and his seat was still vacant.

Councilmen Eugene Skurnick and Marc Forman were opposed, saying the organization had no experience running an ice rink; Councilman Michael Cohen, who represents the 2nd Ward, and Algrant were for it, saying they wanted a “brand name” connected to the rink and praised the club’s youth programs.

After the vote, the council agreed to invest $450,000 in the rink, removing an underground oil tank, buying a new Zamboni ice-surfacing vehicle and installing a new cooling tower, heating system and pipes. The arena was nearly ready for its grand reopening when Superstorm Sandy shredded the roof and shut it down for the first time in its history.

The tipping point for 4th Ward residents seemed to be when the city announced plans to double down on its investment and spend nearly $1 million, some of which would come from insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to repair the roof and refurbish the interior. That plan galvanized opponents who said it was time to take a stand against what they saw as the city’s misplaced goals.

“It was about the rink being made a priority over any and everything that the community was thinking about,” said Melvin Drakeford, who is not related to the late councilman.

The perception of past slights has made 4th Ward residents quick to take offense, even when city officials say their actions are innocent.

In a recent flap unrelated to the rink, an outspoken community activist questioned if the city was “at war” with the 4th Ward after it removed debris and topsoil from a vacant lot that had been used as a community garden. It left a “pond” after rainstorms this spring. According to officials, the city had been waiting until the ground dried out to replenish the topsoil.

Algrant said she understands the frustration on both sides but said residents didn’t give the Boys & Girls Club, or the city’s plan to fix the rink, a chance to succeed.

“There is a wound in the community that is absolutely legitimate,” she said. “But I think a lot of things are being conflated.”

Algrant and Huttle blame Skurnick for using the 4th Ward’s sensitivities for political gain by spreading rumors that the city was trying to outsource its Recreation Department by bringing in outsiders from Garfield. Those rumors came on the heels of the Board of Education’s decision to outsource nearly 100 secretaries and classroom assistants, many of whom were black and Hispanic women with ties to the 4th Ward.

Skurnick declined to respond to the charges, and city officials said the Recreation Department was never in jeopardy. But Algrant acknowledged that some people might have been more willing to believe the rumors because of built-up resentment toward the rink.

“I understand where it comes from,” she said. “But I also have to say that the level of it was built upon and drummed up by a calculated misinformation and disinformation campaign.”

Hamer, who was appointed to fill Jack Drakeford’s unexpired term, said his opposition was based on the city’s hazy plans for the rink. He said no one explained what programs would be offered once skating season ended or how they would be funded if skating and hockey programs failed to turn a profit.

“If it could’ve been done in a clear way, I think all of that [opposition] would have been blunted,” he said.

Others saw the city’s plan as a poor substitute for a community center, something that 4th Ward residents say they’ve spent decades lobbying for, ever since the city’s former community center on Armory Street became the privately run Bergen Family Center.

“I think anything short of a community center after waiting this long of a period of time is going to meet resistance,” Melvin Drakeford said.

The city’s reluctance to pursue the idea, some community activists say, has caused long-held resentment to smolder.

“It’s really upsetting, because 4th Ward people feel like they’re being ignored,” Smith said. “That’s caused a lot of division in the whole city.”

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[17 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 3 views]

Dear Residents,

I have posted below for your reference the Formation Letter of the John T. Wright Ice Arena Task Force.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

FormationLetterExecuted

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[19 Mar 2013 | No Comment | 41 views]

Dear Residents,

As you probably have heard, the City of Englewood is updating its Master Plan for 2013 which will set objectives and the policies that will shape Englewood’s future. After a series of general public meetings and meetings with specific constituencies, the professional project team (Brown & Keener and Regional Plan Association) has been hard at work developing the vision and finer points of the Master Plan.  

On March 21, 2013, from 1PM to 8PM, the project team will host a Pop-Up Workshop to present the Englewood Vision and Master Plan to be held at 14 West Palisade Avenue (formerly Chico’s clothing store) in downtown Englewood. At the storefront, visitors will be able to stop by any time during “shop hours” and take part in hands-on exercises to weigh-in on the Plan. Materials and presentations will showcase what a future Englewood could look like under the recommendations of the Master Plan.

The Plan places particular emphasis on creating an even more lively downtown; a reimagined industrial district in South Englewood; enhanced neighborhoods whose character is preserved; improved access to community amenities; and better transportation connections throughout the city and to the region beyond. In addition to hands-on exercises, residents will be able to provide feedback in comment booklets provided on site.

The Vision and Master Plan was developed over a 9-month process through which nearly 600 Englewood residents and stakeholders participated in two public workshops to shape the recommendations found in the plan. Following the pop-up workshop, the Project Team will incorporate feedback into the Plan and present it to the city in April.

Many of you have been active participants in this process and I thank you for it. We would urge you to join us at this Pop Up Workshop as your voice should be heard. Attached below is a copy of the invitation for the Workshop (simply click on the link), please feel free to distribute it to your friends and neighbors via email.

If you should have any questions regarding the event or the Master Plan please feel free to contact me at City Hall at 201-871-6666 or by email at frankhuttle@englewoodmayor.com

I look forward to seeing you there!

 Sincerely,

Mayor Frank Huttle III

MasterPlanOPEN_HOUSE-Invite

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[24 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 51 views]

Dear Residents,

I wanted to share with you a mail piece that was sent out in support of Recreation and Athletic Programs providing our children with a safe and secure place to play at the John T. Wright Arena.

The mailer is posted directly below for your convenience.

Once again I would urge you all to attend the upcoming Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:30pm at the Municipal Court, 75 South Van Brunt Street. It will be a critical meeting to decide the fate of the recreational and athletic programs at the John T. Wright Arena. I would encourage you all to attend the meeting and weigh in on this most important matter.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle III

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[13 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 15 views]

The Budget for 2013 will be one of the greatest challenges the City of Englewood has yet faced in the ongoing recovery of its municipal finances. The fiscal and budgetary climate facing the City, which is part and parcel of the external factors facing all New Jersey Municipalities, makes the balancing of the City Budget daunting. In addition, the City is still recuperating from decisions taken internally and the economic crisis of 2008.

Acknowledging these realities, Mayor Huttle has scheduled budget hearings well in advance of the upcoming late winter and early spring deadlines to make sure the budget process is well underway. Additionally, as part of a directive from the Mayor, the City Manager has begun preparations necessary for the Council and the Administration to be able to work through these challenges. The goal is the delivery of a budget for 2013 that maintains tax relief and keeps Englewood on the road to long term fiscal and budgetary recovery and health.

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[10 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 150 views]

Englewood Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)

Statement of Purpose

The mission of the Englewood Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) is to attract, retain and grow businesses and jobs in the City of Englewood.

To fulfill its mission, the Corporation has three fundamental tasks:

1. Cooperate with the public officials, residents and business community of the City of Englewood to develop and execute strategic plans that focus on improvement of the City’s economic base and enhancement of its business environment; and

2. Fulfill the Corporation’s statutory duty to act as the District Management Corporation overseeing the operation of the downtown Special Improvement District established by the City on May 20, 1986.

3. Facilitate the economic development of the City by taking on such additional supervisory roles as the City and the Corporation may deem mutually beneficial.

Each year the Corporation shall review and update its strategic plan and identify projects to be actively pursued by its committees. The Corporation, as well as its committees, shall be composed of individuals with the expertise, experience, and dedication necessary to fulfill its current and long-term objectives.

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[4 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 70 views]

Dear Residents,

I would like to invite you to a very important Town Hall Meeting that I will be hosting on the partnership that we have created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield involving youth recreational programs both during the school day, after 3 and weekends at the John T. Wright Ice Arena, MacKay Park and other City facilities, the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood.

This Town Meeting comes at an important time. The City Council in 2011 overwhelming voted to re-open the John T. Wright Ice Arena last year. I had deep concern that, should the Ice Arena re-open, it must provide substantial ice skating programs to our children and much more. My goal remains that the Arena cannot be about “Ice in Isolation” but must be a year round facility offering a variety of recreational programs for our children.

After close to two years of work, on October 1st of last year a partnership was created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield that would create the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood (the program name having been approved by the Boys and Girls Club of America) with a full set of school day and after 3 programs for our City’s Youth. Together with a leadership grant from Benzel- Busch Motor Car Corp., which enabled the Laureus Foundation and Coaches Across America to join the partnership and with participation by the School District, these programs will be historic in scope.

The larger vision is to create a public – non-profit – philanthropic partnership between the City, the Boys and Girls Club and other non-profits, and private individual donors. This Public/Private partnership would allow the programs to be robust and run indefinitely, benefiting our children for years to come. This is the same model that I used successfully when reinventing the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) as one of the leading performing arts and educational centers in the State. It is also important to highlight that 100% of profits made by the Boys and Girls Club will go directly to Englewood youth programs.

That vision and the programs it would bring are in jeopardy at present due to lack of full Council support of the agreement with the Boys and Girls Club that the Council previously voted on. With decades of neglect at the John T. Wright Ice Arena combined with the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the Ice Arena requires a commitment by the City. The recently introduced Bond Ordinance is that commitment, but the real issue here is not about the capital improvements it’s about the opportunity for our children.

I asked the Council and it voted to introduce the Bond Ordinance to promote an unfiltered, full and open public discussion on this Ordinance and allow each resident the opportunity to fully participate, weigh in and share their opinions on these important decisions before the Council votes upon it later this month.

The total cost of the capital improvements would be substantially covered by insurance proceeds and the rental income on the property, with little annual cost to the taxpayer. Should the Council vote to replace the roof only this month or if it refused to make the necessary improvements to assure the facility is safe, the Boys and Girls Club year round programs will be lost and the facility will continue to be an eye sore in MacKay Park.

The John T. Wright Ice Arena is just one vehicle to deliver these programs and there is opportunity to expand them to other City facilities but this is the critical first step.

I would ask that you please attend and participate in this important meeting and also make you fellow residents aware of it as well, particularly grandparents, parents and school age children. Please ask them to join us and let their voices be heard!

The meeting will be held on Monday, February 11th at 6.30 PM at Community Baptist Church. I have posted an invitation right below this post for your convenience. Please forward it via email or distribute it in any way you wish.
I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Best regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

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[4 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 391 views]

Dear Residents,

Please see the invitation below and join me for a very important Town Hall Meeting that I will be hosting on the partnership that we have created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield involving youth recreational programs both during the school day, after 3 and weekends at the John T. Wright Ice Arena, MacKay Park and other City facilities, the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood. I hope that you join me there and share your thoughts during the open discussion.

Regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle

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[15 Jun 2012 | No Comment | 62 views]

Englewood Residents,

The City of Englewood is updating its Master Plan for 2013 which will set objectives and the policies that will shape Englewood’s future.

The new Master Plan will allow Englewood to maximize opportunities available to it based on its location and assets while also taking a proactive approach to avoiding some of the pitfalls that other towns have experienced.  There is a webpage dedicated to the Master Plan.

You will find the most up-to-date information on the Plan on the link to the Master Plan page on the City’s website, which can be found at www.cityofenglewood.org.

Our first public hearing on the Master Plan will be held on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:00PM at the Community Baptist Church at 224 First Street in Englewood.  We need participation from a large portion of Englewood’s diverse community.  The more input received, the richer and more enduring the Master Plan will be.  Please make plans to attend this important public meeting and urge your neighbors and fellow residents to attend.

Please click here to see they flyer for the public meeting.  Please email dgallagher@cityofenglewood.org if you will be able to attend the public hearing on the 27th.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Mayor Frank Huttle III

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[17 Oct 2011 | No Comment | 32 views]

What: Town Meeting to Discuss Englewood’s Fiscal Health

Who: All Residents and Stakeholders of the City of Englewood

When: Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 7:00pm

Where: bergenPAC Cabaret Room, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey

Last October, Mayor Huttle created the

Commission on Budget and Finance

to examine the municipal budget and recommend measures to improve the City’s financial condition.  In July, Mayor’s Commission released its report on the City’s budget and fiscal situation.

Mayor Huttle has decided to hold a Town Meeting on Monday, October 24, 2011 calling together all members of the Commission, residents, and stakeholders to discuss the City’s financial situation and recommendations of the Commission.

Please join Mayor Huttle to share your questions, concerns, and ideas in order to get the City back on a sound fiscal footing.

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[22 Nov 2010 | No Comment | 69 views]

At the Planning Board Meeting on October 26, 2010, we revisited the Master Plan of 2009.

To begin the night, I had the honor of swearing in our newest Planning Board Member, Robin Klehr Avia, who I am pleased to say has joined our team.

We revisited the Master Plan for a number of reasons of which I mentioned during the work session:

* The Russell C. Major Liberty School and the John T. Wright Ice Arena were not extensively studied prior to the creation of the Master Plan last year. The newly available Preiss Study focuses on the adaptive reuse of these two real estate assets. Because these assets are clearly underutilized, the report extensively describes how they can be utilized to their full potential. It is important that the Planning Board and I examine this report carefully and review our options so that we can effectively discuss where to go next.

* The Northern Branch Corridor Project by NJTRANSIT is another issue that was not incorporated into the Master Plan. This Project, funded dually by the federal government and by the state, would create three additional light rail stations in Englewood and even more stations in other neighboring towns. The Project is currently in the Environmental Impact Phase, where it must be approved by the Federal Transit Administration before they move on to the next phase, in which representatives from NJTRANSIT would go from town to town to hold public hearings informing the public about the Project and also hearing the public’s concerns. The Planning Board and I must look at this Project to determine if it is feasible in the City of Englewood and whether or not we will support it.  

* The idea of a Community Center was also briefly discussed as it has been brought up numerous times recently. Again, we need to discuss this idea more in depth.

* In addition, the 2010 Census is to come out in the near future which can have an impact on the Master Plan depending on how much demographics have changed in our City over the past ten years. The old Master Plan was based on 2000 numbers, and it is highly probable these numbers are significantly different and will thus change the way we look at ideas in the Master Plan.

We need City Planners that will know how to effectively organize the City and take public opinion into consideration. Planning Board Member Marian Imperatore agreed, also making a good point that we should spend the money getting a planning company to come into the City. If it is done this way, we would not have to spend so much money on smaller studies. Though the Preiss Study proves informative, we cannot afford to do little evaluations here and there; we must do it right the first time so that problems like this do not arise after the fact.          

The Planning Board and I set up a new committee which would work with different planning firms to consider what was left out of the Master Plan last year and will eventually be funded by approval of the City Council. The volunteers appointed to the Committee are Lewis Baer, Curtis Cavenis, Jordan Comet, Marian Imperatore, and myself.           

City planning is important. The Master Plan is something that requires visionary planning and a long hard look into the future. We have a lot of assets here in Englewood, and we should utilize all of these assets to the best of our abilities and make Englewood the best City there is.

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[20 May 2010 | No Comment | 82 views]

From The Record:

ENGLEWOOD — The City Council agreed to cut $1.6 million from the tax levy portion of the school budget this week, nearly a month after voters rejected the plan at the polls.

The council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night that calls for a $46.4 million tax levy, down from the original $48.1 million proposed by the Board of Education.

The new plan, reformulated by the council’s subcommittee consisting of Mayor Frank Huttle, Councilman Ken Rosenzweig and Councilwoman Lynne Algrant, restores nearly everything related to classroom instruction and does not call for any teacher layoffs. Joe Kelly, a certified public accountant, was hired as a consultant to the subcommittee and was paid $4,500, City Attorney William Bailey said Tuesday.

Huttle said the subcommittee spent several late nights working with school board members and carefully examining the budget to ensure that the majority of the money would go directly into the classroom.

That meant putting capital projects, such as new central offices for the administration and a new location for the alternative high school — both are now housed at the Liberty School — on the back burner.

“At this time, capital projects should be voted on by referendum,” Huttle said, calling the new plan a “win-win for students and teachers.”

“When things are tough, we have to work harder and differently. … We have reinstated instructional staff and there will be no increase in class sizes,” he said.

Huttle’s remarks drew applause from many in the packed meeting — a stark contrast from a public meeting two weeks before, when some audience members criticized the mayor for urging voters to defeat the budget a few days before the election.

Anita Shemesh, co-president of the Englewood Teachers Association, was one of more than a dozen teachers who wore a T-shirt reading “Year 2, no contract” to the meeting. She thanked Huttle and the council for making classroom instruction the priority, but said morale in the district had been low since June 2008, when the teachers’ contracts expired.

Huttle said the contract issue was in the school board’s hands, and was not discussed by the subcommittee. Barring a settlement in the next few months, teachers will be entering their third year without a contract.

The city’s plan will be put to a vote tonight by the Board of Education at a special 7:30 p.m. meeting at Grieco Elementary School. The board, which formed its own subcommittee to work with the City Council on the budget, will vote on whether to accept the new tax levy. If members accept it, any decisions on how they will spend the money will take place next week.

Longtime resident Laura Vogel said she was impressed by the committee’s efforts and wanted to set the record straight about why she voted against the budget.

“When the budget failed, people were saying that those who voted for the budget were pro-teachers and those who voted against it were anti-education or didn’t have children in the schools,” Vogel said.

“There are a lot of people on my street who have children in the schools, but voted against it, and it had nothing to do with the teachers. … It was because of the tax increase, which we just can’t take.”

Councilman Jack Drakeford, who supported the plan, said council members shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

“We can tell you how much money we’ve given you, but we can’t tell you how to spend it, so nothing is guaranteed right now,” Drakeford said. “We’ll have to wait and see what the Board of Education does.”

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[25 Apr 2010 | No Comment | 346 views]

While the people of Englewood voted for a revision of the proposed school budget, I want to thank the School Board members and Superintendent Segall for their tremendous effort in the face of a short deadline and the removal of state aid imposed by Governor Christie.

We now have the opportunity to re-visit our budget priorities and re-work the budget in a way that builds citizen confidence. It can be done! As your Mayor, it is my goal to find the common ground that does right by our deserving students and honor to our hardworking taxpayers.

What’s next is clearly defined by New Jersey State Law and the NJ Department of Education. The process promotes absolute transparency so each of us can be informed and participate. I urge every citizen to be engaged in the process. Click here to view an excellent presentation prepared by the New Jersey Department of Education that walks you through the budget process.

Between now and May 19th there is a consultation period with the Board of Education, the school district administration, the City Council and me – all under the guidance of the County Superintendent, Dr. Aaron Graham.

By April 28th, the Board of Education will prepare what is called the “defeated budget information package” along with a letter of transmittal to the Mayor and City Council. The defeated budget package includes:

  1. The Proposed Budget for 10-11
  2. Salary schedules for all employees (09-10 & 10-11)
  3. Pupil enrollment by grade as of 6/30/09, 10/15/09 & projected for 2010-11
  4. The number of schools & classrooms, including pupil capacity in each classroom
  5. Detailed tuition analysis
  6. Analysis of professional & nonprofessional staff, 2009-10 & projected for 2010-11 (including a list of retirees).
  7. Proposed capital projects and/or deposits into capital reserve
  8. Copies of BOE’s most recent annual report, annual audit, comparative spending guide, and report card
  9. Any other information deemed appropriate by Executive County Superintendent for a specific BOE

This material will be carefully reviewed by the Mayor and City Council. The City Council will then set the amount of taxes to be levied in order to accomplish the Budget.The School administration and the School Board will be able appeal certain aspects of the Council’s decision to the NJ Department of Education, if they so choose. To make this less likely, I recommend that the City Council form a sub-committee with Council Members and the Mayor and the Board of Education also create a sub-committee to work together, collaborating to deliver a budget that can be endorsed by both the City and the Board of Education.

I look forward to helping facilitate a process that will lead to a sound and equitable final budget that will be a win-win for our schools, for our students and for all our citizens.

Best regards,

Mayor Frank Huttle III

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[21 Apr 2010 | One Comment | 339 views]

By now, we’ve all heard the outcome of yesterday’s school board election and the defeat of the 2010-2011 school budget.

Before I comment on it, I first would like to thank all of the candidates who ran for School Board during one of the most difficult fiscal environments in years. Volunteering for public service, doing the hard work of campaigning to get your message across to our citizens at a time of great uncertainty is something for which each candidate should be commended.

I would also like to deeply thank our incumbents for their service over this past term of office on the School Board. I would especially like to single out Joan Meltzer, whose years of service in the support of our students and schools have been extraordinary. We all owe her a tremendous debt and a great deal of gratitude.

Before the budget vote, I had stated in an open letter to the City that as your Mayor — and as an experienced business attorney and Certified Public Accountant – it was both my professional and civic duty to advise Englewood citizens to vote no on the budget and return it back to the City for reformulation to get it right.

Today, I am grateful that the majority of this week’s voters determined the same thing.

I want to assure every resident, every student and every taxpayer in the City of Englewood that this can be a win-win for everyone. The defeat of this budget will not harm our students. Nor will it mean larger class sizes, fewer teachers and fewer resources. It does mean that we have an opportunity to take a careful look at our budget priorities, how we plan for them and what we can accomplish effectively and efficiently throughout this difficult budget year.

I am absolutely committed to the excellence of our schools. I will not rest until we do whatever is necessary to allow us to accomplish a budget for 2010-2011 that focuses on directly benefiting our students. Now is the time for all of us to come together to accomplish this goal.

We will move forward together, going through the next steps in a process clearly defined by state law and the rules and regulations of the NJ Department of Education. I will share with you all the details of this process shortly, so please check back at EnglewoodOne.com.

Again, congratulations to the newly elected board members and heartfelt thanks to those who did not prevail. It is the vigor and commitment of citizens who step up and volunteer to serve their community that renews my belief in Englewood and its greatness.

Mayor Frank Huttle III

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[19 Apr 2010 | No Comment | 124 views]

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20th is a very important election day for our City. You will be asked to vote on the proposed school budget for the coming year and, as well, vote for school board members. As your Mayor — and an experienced business attorney and Certified Public Accountant — I’ve looked at the information presented and the options available. It’s both my professional and civic duty to advise Englewood citizens to vote NO on the budget and return the budget back to the City for reformulation and to get it right. Furthermore, I will be voting for Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison — the only two incumbent Board Members who had the good judgment to vote no on the Budget — and Enrique Diaz, their running mate.

Why I am Voting no on the Budget?

The School Budget as approved by the Board contains an increase in the school tax levy of 4.82% over last year’s budget. An increase of this size is certainly troubling; however, what is more troubling is the “process” that led to the formulation of this budget. The budget provided to the public on the eve of the public hearings provided limited details of the $63 million budget. I’ve learned a couple of valuable lessons about information and decision making:

1) Inadequate information leads to bad decisions.

2) Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable and real ones aren’t.

But how can you tell the difference between real and imaginary when you lack sufficient real information?

There are millions of dollars of “cushions” buried in this budget that do not go to classroom education. In the face of teacher layoffs, this budget proposes millions of dollars to construct an administration building instead of using existing facilities. Faced with massive state cuts in education, is this the time for a $3.5 million capital expansion program at the expense of our children?

There is another $6.8 million that is not in the Budget that the School will receive from the City this year as a result of the Board of Education having sold its school buildings several years ago. When this money is paid, it can help save teachers’ jobs, pay expenses and reduce the tax levy. Our children come first, and with $6.8 million of cash available, we need to get it right and get it done now.

I believe that the proponents to the Budget are not effectively serving the students. I believe that we must pause, re-evaluate and produce good information so we can do right by our children.

For these reasons, I am recommending that you join me in rejecting the proposed school board budget on April 20th. This gives us and the City an opportunity to get it right. This will be a win-win for our children.

An informed vote is vital. While I will be voting for Stephen Brown, Glenn Garrison and Enrique Diaz on Tuesday, I invite you to click here to go the Englewood One Community website for a look at each of the candidates’ platforms as reported by the Suburbanite.

We too often feel helpless in making government serve us. In this case, the quality and value you get from our City are in your hands!

Best regards, and Vote on this Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

Mayor Frank Huttle III

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[18 Apr 2010 | No Comment | 3,194 views]

The statements below were published in the Suburbanite.

STEPHEN BROWN

I am running for the board to continue the fight to maintain high standards while responsibly managing resources amidst the worst economic recession in generations. The district must re-engineer its operations in order to keep academic standards high without unduly burdening taxpayers.

I believe I have the experience and track record to accomplish these goals.

Like most managers in corporate America, the economy has required me to do my job to the highest quality standards with fewer resources than before. This district must now do the same — reconfigure its operations by cutting extremely high administration costs and working more efficiently. This will save teaching positions, preserve courtesy busing and early-childhood programs. We also must think out-of-the box to find free resources to help our children. For example, three years ago I personally brought to the district the NJ SEEDS College Preparatory Program which prepares academically motivated students with limited financial means for admission to selective colleges. I also orchestrated the district’s “Give a Kid a Smile” program to provide hundreds of students with much needed dental care from local doctors. Both these programs are funded through charitable donations.

I have been against lowering graduation requirements as a way of “helping” failing students. Lowering the academic bar without fixing what’s broken academically and raising taxes without fixing the district’s cost structure is simply not responsible.

I respectfully ask that you vote for me (ballot position #5) so that we can maintain high standards academically and fiscally. Thank you for your consideration.

ANTHONY CURETON

I want to be a member of the Englewood Board of Education because our children are our future. Our schools must provide the environment and opportunity for our students to achieve and excel and highlight the “Quality of Life” concerns of our community for all our residents. Children today must have the literacy, communication and technological skills to be productive and successful.

As a parent and a member of the Board of Education I will encourage and vigorously promote policies and programs that strive for and support high academic achievement in a balance with positive social, cultural and personal individual development. Realizing that tax increases are a concern, it will be my position as a board member not to increase taxes, but to examine how cuts can occur without compromising children’s education. The consolidation of services with the City of Englewood could result in cost savings for the district, which can be allocated to programs and staffing that, perhaps, are subject to budget cuts. I feel the Englewood Public School System is striving to become better and I support flagship programs such as dual language immersion, the Avid & Ivy Program and Academies@Englewood.

These innovative and challenging new ideas established a positive, new basis and foundation on which to build. We must now focus on challenging all students to perform at levels comparable to those in our flagship programs. Our ultimate goal should be to have Englewood achieve the distinction of being a statewide and national “Blue Ribbon School System.”

ENRIQUE DIAZ

As parents, my wife and I have learned to set high expectations for our children – whether in their schoolwork, chores or how they behave as young citizens. In these difficult times, we, like many of our neighbors, have had to sacrifice to live within our means. But we know, no matter how difficult the times, we cannot lower our expectations for children.

Our children attend the Englewood Public Schools. I have volunteered there and as a Little League coach and in the Jr. Football program. I have seen firsthand how children need coaching, mentoring and high expectations.

The current recession has had a devastating effect on Englewood’s schools. Taxpayers are suffering. State funding is disappearing and the district can no longer operate under the pretense of “business as usual.” Compounding the problem is that some board members seem more concerned with lowering standards than addressing the schools’ economic crisis.

I am running because I believe my education and professional experience in finance give me the skills needed to tackle the financial challenges ahead. My experiences as a parent have taught me that we must keep expectations high for all children.

Moving forward, the district must examine each program from the ground up and understand how every dollar is spent.

Tough decisions will have to be made. We must invest in success, keep our standards high and learn to live within our means.

I hope you will join me in this fight.

GLENN GARRISON

When I moved to Englewood in 1989, people said, “It’s a great town, but stay away from the schools.” My wife and I both attended public schools and believe strong schools are the foundation of a strong community. When the time came to enroll our own children in school, we chose to roll up our sleeves and work to build a school system in Englewood that meets the needs of all our children.

As an active public school parent and board member, I am proud of our accomplishments. Asked to oversee our multi-year construction program, I worked hard to deliver the new Grieco School and upgrade our other schools. I partnered with the superintendent to develop curriculum to prepare our children for the Academies@Englewood. I fought for interscholastic sports at the middle school so our young teens have “somewhere to be” during critical after-school hours.

We have more work ahead. Facing our greatest financial crisis in years, we must do more with less and develop creative solutions for our funding needs. For example, when I learned the district wasn’t applying for reimbursement of students’ physicals and other therapy expenses, I insisted we do so. We have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result.

It’s time to muster our strengths, ingenuity and experience to keep our schools moving forward despite the challenges we face. I ask you to support me in this mission. On April 20, please vote for Glenn Garrison (ballot position 4).

JOAN MELTZER

I’m running for reelection to the school board. I have been committed to education from my children’s K-12 years, through my 10 years as director of the In-School Volunteer Program into the present. My goal upon reelection is to bring to fruition our work in progress.

My priorities are to:

1) educate our children

2) keep teachers in the classroom

3) control the tax burden

Education is not a one-size-fits-all process. I am ombudswoman for all children: those in the Academies and Academies-prep, striving standard achievers and those needing extra help.

Young children are “wired” to learn: curious, active, open. Early childhood education is essential for brain development and later academic success. We must pick up children when they totter, before the vicious cycle of failure and remediation begin. Currently our budget has been hit by the perfect storm: $5.7 million of customary state aid has been eliminated by governor’s decree. The bulk of our expenditures are salaries, health benefits, utilities, maintenance and repairs. Little discretionary monies are left for athletics, libraries and summer and after-school programs which benefit our children. Everyone has been hit and affected by the deep ongoing recession. Therefore, the superintendent with the board’s consent, has eliminated since the 2008-2009 budget, including the 2010-2011 budget, 31 teachers, five teacher assistants, six secretaries, two technicians and 10 administrators while trying to retain essential education programs for our children. Our ongoing challenge is to balance fiscal restraint with our mission to keep improving student achievement.

ESTHER SANTIAGO-BABB

I am a married mother of two and proud Englewood homeowner. My son attends Grieco Elementary School.

I graduated from DMHS and attended FDU. Before becoming a full-time mom, I worked in management. Presently and for the last four years, I have worked vigorously for parent empowerment through the local PTOs and community outreach forums; mentor training for our youth and school volunteer programs through the Englewood Education Alliance and cross-racial and cultural understanding and appreciation with the newly formed Voices group.

I am running for the Englewood Board of Education because I want our children to graduate with the same children with whom they started pre-K. A Board of Education sets policy and when I am elected I hope to work with the sitting membership to create policies that will support our administration and our faculty in the use of research based instructional strategies that will meet the learning needs of ALL children. Our children must be in schools that afford them the opportunity to reach their full intellectual, academic and social potential.

As districts across the state continue to reel from the governor’s current cuts the Board of Education must use a new and proactive approach because what is happening currently is not working for too many children.

Vote for change! Vote for me April 20 and I promise to work really hard and diligently with the sitting board members to plan and set appropriate goals that will benefit ALL the children and to achieve the distinction of Blue Ribbon status.

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[4 Apr 2010 | One Comment | 202 views]

The Board of Education is the ultimate and final authority over the schools in our City. All budgeting, the levying of school taxes on your property, the setting of school policy and the hiring of the staff and administration of the schools is handled by the Board of Education. There are seven members of the Board of education and they are directly elected by the citizens of Englewood to three year terms.

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[30 Jan 2010 | No Comment | 74 views]

The Downtown Economic Growth and Stability Commission was created by Mayor Huttle to explore innovative and forward thinking ways to revive and grow Englewood’s downtown, which had been hard hit by the continuing recession. The Englewood Downtown represents the single greatest economic engine in the City and is part and parcel of the uniqueness and diversity that is Englewood today. The Commission, composed of a broad cross section of business owners and other stakeholders will report to the Mayor with a study and recommendations to first stabilize the downward trend of in the central business district and then innovate ways of promoting its growth, long term health and viability.

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[30 Jan 2010 | No Comment | 59 views]

Parts of Englewood are truly natural and environmental treasures and when one thinks about the Environment in Englewood things like Flat Rock Brook Nature Center or MacKay Park spring into mind, but the Environmental Commission serves a much greater purpose. According to its own ambitious mission statement, its purpose is to support and protect the natural resources of the city. Accordingly, it advises the City Council, Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, Department of Public Works and other city agencies on environmental issues that impact Englewood. It assists in the analysis, development, and implementation of sustainability programs and projects, it promotes environmental education, informs citizens on environmental issues and how they can be addressed, and coordinates community involvement in these efforts. The commission works directly with the Mayor to further this mission and achieve its goals. Seven members and two alternates are appointed by the Mayor. Their terms of office are three years.

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[30 Jan 2010 | No Comment | 27 views]

It is not too difficult to guess the mission and the responsibilities of the Library Board but this organization has the responsibility of maintaining the operation and programming of the City’s library. Five citizens, the Mayor (or alternate) and Superintendent of Schools (or alternate) are appointed by the Mayor. Terms of office are three years.

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[30 Jan 2010 | No Comment | 33 views]

The Planning Board, along with the Board of Adjustment, the Library Board, the Environmental Commission, and others represent the permanent boards and commissions that operate as part of the Englewood City Government. They directly oversee the department or subject matter to which they are designated and their importance to the daily lives of our citizens cannot be overstated. The planning board makes critical decisions related to physical building and construction what could be called the “look and feel” of Englewood. Specifically, the Board advises the Council as to the adoption of a municipal master plan, approves plans for specific sites, such as opening a retail store or office building and has the powers to grant one time changes in restrictions to accomplish building and development goals. The Planning Board consists of one non-elected municipal officer, one council member, six citizens, the Mayor and two alternates are appointed. The Council appoints its member to the Board and the Mayor appoints all other members. Terms of office are one to four years depending on the member’s position.

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