There will be a public hearing for the 2012 municipal budget at the next City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24th, followed by possible final adoption.
The full agenda for this City Council Meeting is now available. Click here to download a pdf of the agenda.
Happy New Year. I am writing to invite you to the City of Englewood’s Annual Reorganization Meeting. It will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:00pm at the Municipal Court, 73 South Van Brunt Street. Our two new members of the City Council, Marc Forman and Eugene Skurnick, will be sworn into office. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.
I am excited for 2012 and look forward to working together with the members of the Council for a productive year. Please join us for this reorganization meeting.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the Mayor and Council will designate June 19th as “Juneteenth Day” in the City of Englewood. Juneteenth was first observed over 130 years ago on June 19, 1865 when General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were free. Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the abolition of slavery in the United States, symbolizes freedom and reminds all Americans of the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our society.
The first State to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday was Texas in 1980. In 2004, late Englewood resident and District 37 representative Senator Byron Baer sponsored Senate Bill No. 566 in the legislature designating the third Saturday in June of each year as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in New Jersey “to commemorate the emancipation of African Americans and foster respect for all cultures.”
The Jabari Society of Bergen County, in a partnership with the City of Englewood, is pleased to announce the City’s First Annual Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration and Festival, running from June 16 – 19th at Mackay Park. This celebration is a very special one for the City of Englewood as it will surely bring together the diversity of our City.
At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the Mayor and Council will designate the month of June as “Aphasia Awareness Month” in support of both the individuals afflicted with the disease and the Adler Aphasia Center in their efforts to raise awareness and provide services to those struggling to overcome this often-misunderstood communication disorder.
The Adler Aphasia Center is a resource center for people with Aphasia, their caregivers, and the community. The Center, through their mission, provides a therapeutic environment that promotes successful living with Aphasia, creates opportunities for social connection, breaks down barriers to communications, advocates through research and education initiatives, and fosters hope.
To find a complete copy of this resolution, please click here.
The agenda for the next City Council Budget and Workshop Meeting is now available. Click here to download a pdf of the agenda.
Please come out, listen, participate, and let your voice be heard!
Communications From The Mayor:
This year is off to a great start.
I am happy to announce that our first Council Workshop Meeting was held last Tuesday, January 11th. This workshop meeting is one of many that will now occur each Tuesday at City Hall one week before our regular Council Meetings. The purpose of these work sessions is, as the name suggests, to “work.” On these days, we will work until we are finished. These sessions will allow us to analyze, discuss, and challenge the upcoming agenda along with any other pertinent issues that arise so that we do not go into a Council Meeting blind and uninformed.
I strongly urge the public to come out to these workshop meetings and participate. It is certainly a wonderful opportunity for all of our residents as they can see their city government work right before their eyes.
I am also happy to say that we can finally say, “Let it snow!” I would like to congratulate the Department of Public Works, DPW Director Clyde Sweatt, the City Manager, and the City Council for their efforts this past year in improving our snow removal system and the great work they did during the last few storms. I can say that I have seen a significant improvement over the last year alone and have in addition heard countless comments from our residents expressing their sincere approval. As we all know, the system is not yet perfect and there are still minor defects that we will work on fixing; however, I can say we are finally on the right track.
In these difficult economic times, we must always be looking for new, innovative ways to revive our city and the heart of it: our downtown. This is why, last year, I created the Downtown Economic Growth and Stability Commission. In the near future, I will be holding a town-hall style meeting with Englewood’s merchants and stakeholders to discuss the future of downtown Englewood and what we can do to restore its vitality.
Acting Fire Chief Gerald Marion has announced that he is in the process of obtaining a commemorative steel memento from the World Trade Center for our city. As we come upon the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks this year, I believe this would certainly be an honor for our city to possess. A very special event will be held this year to honor the victims and first responders of the attacks as well as their family members and friends. The 9/11 Committee will be expanding and working more on this special event later in the year.
I also want to mention the success of Englewood Idol, which was recently held at bergenPAC. This was a wonderful show and I want to congratulate the children from both the public and private schools in Englewood for their excellent performances.
Finally, I left the most important item to discuss for last: the budget. The City Manager has presented his budget at this Council Meeting, and I am happy that he was able to prepare this presentation by the deadline of January 15th. Almost immediately, we will hold Budget Workshop Meetings which the dates have yet to be established, and I invite the public to come out to listen and participate. On the current path we are on now, the City Manager’s budget will be introduced on February 15th and the City Council will adopt it by March 15th. Because we are hopefully adopting the budget before the State does, we will need to estimate what the State numbers will be. If we are wrong, we will have to amend our budget. Amending the budget is nothing compared to the mess we will face if we wait to pass the budget like we did last year.
Resolution #029-01-18-11: Amend Schedule of Holidays for 2011 to include New Year’s Day, January 2, 2012.
Resolution #030-01-18-11: Renewal of Liquor Licenses for 2010-2011.
Resolution #031-01-18-11: Authorizing Public Donor Agreement with Vincent T. Kibbs Child Development Center in the amount of $58,413 for 2011 subject to budgetary appropriations.
Resolution #032-01-18-11: Awarding Bid for Lease of Property at 136 Cedar Lane for Cellular Communications Use.
Resolution #033-01-18-11: Appoint City Solicitor, reappointing William J. Bailey, Esquire for a period of one year beginning January 1, 2011 and ending December 31, 2011.
Resolution #034-01-18-11: Appoint Municipal Auditor, services from Suplee, Clooney, and Company.
Resolution #035-01-18-11: Appoint Real Estate Appraiser, services from McNerney & Associates.
Resolution #036-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Assistant City Solicitor (Prosecutor) Gerald Oratio.
Resolution #037-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Public Defender Aishaah Rasul.
Resolution #038-01-18-11: Authorizing Appointment of Code Enforcement Attorney Carl Beckwith.
The agenda for this week’s City Council meeting is now available. Click here to download a pdf of the agenda.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Senator Loretta Weinberg presented a resolution to Councilmember Charlotte Bennett-Schoen for her service to Englewood for the last six years. We wish her all the best of luck on her humanitarian service trip to India and in the future, and we will additionally be honoring her at January 4th’s reorganization meeting.
The Finance and Budget Commission has been hard at work meeting with the various department heads in the city. I thank the City Manager for inviting the Commission to sit in on all of these meetings. I trust that the City Manager is preparing a budget report that will be completed and presented in the very near future. We are currently moving on the right track this year and because we are starting the process early this year, I am confident we will not run into the problems that we had last year.
December 7th’s Council Meeting was a historic moment for the City of Englewood and its residents. It was the first time that our city live-streamed a Council Meeting and brought city government into the homes of our residents in order to encourage transparency and more public participation in issues affecting our city. I hope that the City Council and residents will support me on this as we enter the New Year.
Second Reading and Public Hearing…
Ordinance #10-36 would amend Ordinance 3-10 which was an ordinance authorizing certain roadway improvements as local improvements and specially assessing the benefits derived therefrom, up to the cost thereof, upon properties specially benefitting thereby, in order to include Block 2605.
#259-12-21-10: resolution accepting the accounting of the executrix of the estate of Eleanor S. Harvey.
#260-12-21-10: resolution to join New Jersey Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting in order to seek out the lowest cost of energy and to save a minimum of 10%.
#261-12-21-10: extension of liquor license to receiver of Joe II Wines & Liquor.
#262-12-21-10: award professional services contract to RBA Engineers to provide services to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center for Quarry Pond dredging.
#263-12-21-10: award professional services contract to Warren and Panzer Engineers, P.C. to provide an environmental review and remediation report.
#264-12-21-10: authorize application for local government energy audit program.
#265-12-21-10: authorize award of contract for auxiliary snow plowing and ice removal.
#266-12-21-10: authorize budget transfers for the 2010 budget. These budget transfers will take place on December 31, 2010.
I want to thank all of the residents who came out and participated at this week’s Council Meeting. Once again, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any problems or concerns. I wish everyone in the City of Englewood a happy and healthy holiday and a Happy New Year!
The Volunteer Awards Ceremony preceded the Council Meeting and gave special recognition to individuals in Englewood that give their time to sit on various boards and committees, volunteering their time and services. I am pleased that Englewood has such a large number of volunteers, and believe that is truly what makes Englewood a wonderful city. I commend each and every one of these individuals for all of their hard work.
I greatly appreciate the comments that City Manager Dan Fitzpatrick made at the beginning of the meeting regarding the “controversy” over the police promotions that were recently made. Councilmember Lynne Algrant mentioned that she did not like to have information coming from third party sources. Instead, the City Manager discussed his new procedure, which would provide all members of the Council and myself a summary of all personnel action that has occurred during the week. This will be instituted immediately, and will help to keep each and every one of us updated, so events like this will not occur in the future.
However, this “controversy” was about much more than just the police being promoted. In August, the police ordinance I vetoed was to send a message to everyone that we should be following procedures. I was highly concerned that the majority of the council voted on this ordinance in a matter of 17 seconds – the same night that the council voted on the 2010 budget – eight months into a twelve month year. Additionally, these recent promotions came only two days after the election. You simply cannot vote on something without looking at all of the relevant information. It is about performing the proper studies. We should all have this information available to us, and then be able to debate about it; it is all about transparency. Governments are not run like private industries, and they should be. I believe that I was elected by the people to change this. I give Chief O’Keefe my utmost respect and deference, but I only ask that we all question why things are the way they are – not just to accept them. This is what will make us a more effective city overall.
I also extend my sincere thanks to Acting Fire Chief Gerald Marion, the Englewood Fire Department, and the other surrounding town’s fire departments for the action they took in responding to the three alarm fire that occurred next door to my home. Lives could have been lost, but thankfully were not, and I can only commend the fire department for doing the best they could in this emergency situation.
I am pleased to say that the Finance and Budget Commission has also had its first successful meeting and we are now plowing through an extensive amount of documents. We are working together to prepare and present a budget to the City Manager so we can avoid last year’s budget failures.
Introduction and First Reading…
Ordinance 10-35 would authorize the lease of a portion of Lot 2 in Block 2604 for the location of a cellular communications tower.
Second Reading and Public Hearing…
Ordinance 10-34 was to establish a Citizen’s Finance Committee
227-11-09-10: state contract purchase of DPW truck chassis
228-11-09-10: cancellation of taxes on the Nigerian Consulate
229-11-09-10: authorize award of contract for cleaning and removal of debris from the Overpeck Creek culvert
230-11-09-10: authorize rejection of bid supplementary snow plow services
231-11-09-10: rescind award of contract for emergency curb and sidewalk replacement project
232-11-09-10: authorize award of contract for emergency curb and sidewalk replacement project
233-11-09-10: authorize award of contract for garage lighting entrance
234-11-09-10: authorize application for BC CDBG Grant – Family Teen Center $53,105
235-11-09-10: authorize application for BC CDBG Grant – Family Teen Center $680,100
236-11-09-10: authorize application for BC CDBG Grant – Family Teen Center $60,000
212-11-09-10: simultaneous acquisition and conveyance of premises located at 55-63 West Palisade Avenue and 9 James Street in the City of Englewood
222-11-09-10: amending Chapter 48 Resolution Addendum, withdrawn from the Agenda
Michael Cohen, Councilmember Ward 2-Elect, made great points during the public session. First and foremost, he said that our town is our own responsibility. We should not compare ourselves to other towns – our ambitions should be to just do better than what we are doing right now. Likewise, we will have to make a lot of difficult decisions in 2011 and our city will have to trust us in order to make these decisions properly. We have to understand the time we are living in is incredibly tough, and that we need to be communicating with the public more readily so we have openness in government.
Thank you all for coming out to the Council Meeting, staying active in Englewood, and providing us with your comments. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need anything.
The agenda for the November 23rd Council Meeting will be posted as soon as it is available.
Resolution 216-10-19-10 honored Brian Paton, who saved a life by using the Heimlich Maneuver on July 10, 2010.
Members of Englewood’s Fire Department were commended for their service to the City of Englewood; some members were honored for their (1) Hurricane Katrina Service; (2) HAZMAT Team Service; and (3) Community Service.
During my remarks, I mentioned the new Finance and Budget Commission I formed within the Office of Mayor under the power granted to me by the City Charter. You can find a copy of my letter addressed to the City Clerk, Council, Manager, and Attorney here, which explains the purpose, justification, duties, and members of the Commission.
Ordinances – Introduction and First Reading:
Ordinance #10-34: is for the establishment of a permanent Citizen Advisory Committee which would be made up of no less than 5 and no more than 7 residents. All residents would serve 3 year terms. Appointments would be staggered with 2 one-year terms; 3 two-year terms; and 2 three-year terms. The Committee would be appointed by the City Council and one member will serve as the Finance Chair. The duties of this committee would be to: (1) advise the Mayor and Council on appropriate revenue, expenditures, and financial policies; (2) review annual financial statements of the city; (3) review annual preliminary budgets of the city; and (4) undertake all other studies as assigned to them.
Resolution 212-10-19-10: regards the City’s acquisition and conveyance of 55-63 West Palisade Avenue and 9 James Street; this was withdrawn from the Agenda.
Resolution 217-10-19-10: authorizes block grant funds of $10,000 for a renovation project for Ideal Lodge #470 of the World Application for Bergen County CD.
Resolution 218-10-19-10: authorizes block grant funds of $185,000 for road improvements to West Linden Avenue and Columbus Avenue.
Resolution 219-10-19-10: authorizes block grant funds of $40,000 for Henry Douglas Post #58 for Bergen County CD.
Resolution 220-10-19-10: renews Joe II Wines & Liquor, Inc.’s liquor license for 2010-2011.
Resolution 221-10-19-10: certifies a review of the annual audit by the governing body.
Resolution 222-10-19-10: clarifies the Chapter 48 resolution which deals with health benefits for public employees; it changes the text from “for the retiree and dependents” to “for the retiree and spouse only;” this was tabled by Council President Reddin.
Resolution 223-10-19-10: authorizes the sale of special emergency notes by the Chief Financial Officer in order to meet extraordinary expenses incurred for the preparation and execution of a city-wide property reassessment.
Three additional Resolutions were added last minute to the Agenda, but were not voted on; they all authorize block grant funds for the establishment of a Family Teen Center facility in Englewood. The following will be added to the agenda for November 9th’s Council Meeting: (1) Equipment – $30,000; (2) Leasing – $680,000; and (3) Renovations – $60,000.
Many comments during the public session were with regard to many of tree stumps that have not been removed and sidewalks that have not been repaired since the March nor’easter. It is unacceptable that seven months later, there are still hazards and eyesores from this storm in Englewood. It has been far too long and this problem must be dealt with immediately. I will work with City officials in order to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Thank you to all who came out last night and expressed comments and concerns. Your public participation is greatly appreciated and helpful to making our City better. Once again, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.