River Dell in 2012: Looking Back at January through June
Patch brings readers its annual Year in Review, a look back on some of the bigger news items from 2012 in two parts
Following Gov. Chris Christie signature to legislation on Jan. 17 allowing school boards statewide to change elections and eliminate budget referendums, both the River Dell andOradell Boards of Education agreed to move the school election. River Edge could make their decision on Feb. 1.
Over the summer the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund Committee, comprised of residents, government officials, and environmentalists, recommended that $500,000 of the available $6.9 million be set aside for the stabilization of the Waterworks smokestacks.
This fall, the Board of Freeholders chose to reallocate that funding to reimburse the borough of Saddle River for the purchase of the Marker property near Rindlaub Park for a parking lot and street access to East Allendale Road.
Rather than constantly covering their ears when the fire sirens in River Edge go off, residents will now begin feeling a sense of relief after the decibel levels for all three sirens were reduced.
Each of the sirens at Company 1, the corner of Kensington and the corner of Bloomfield were reprogammed and the decibel levels lowered from 113 down to 106 and the span was reduced to 40 seconds.
Cries and pleas by residents, members of the Library Board and Library employees (past and present) echoed throughout the meeting room of Borough Hall in River Edge Saturday morning as the governing body and the citizen's budget committee discussed $46,000 in additional cuts to the River Edge Public Library budget for 2012.
Over the weekend, the River Edge Mayor and Council were inundated at Borough Hall during their budget discussion by members of theNeighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) job-seekers and networking group. The governing body and its citizen budget committee discussed a$46,000 budget cut to the public library's budget based on moving the building's utilities and employee insurance under the state mandated formula of a third of a mil.
The final decision was pending on Borough Attorney Saverio Cereste's legal opinion on whether the libraries utilities and insurance costs should be included in the state mandated formula of a third of a mil. The borough's contribution to the library is 33 cents on each $1000 of assessed value per residence. By state law, a library can not be funded under the third of a mil.
Shortly after the end of the 2011 Hurricane season, River Edge DPW Superintendent John Lynch proposed creating a satellite location for his office during emergencies at the former DPW yard at the end of Grove Street. On Monday night, he reversed direction, stating that his concerns of vandalism and the upset residents outweighed any benefit.
Several River Edge realtors came out in force along with homeowners on Monday night to speak out against the 2012 reassessment results in River Edge to the Mayor and Council as well as Tax Assessor James Anzevino. While no one in the audience was happy, the realtors stressed their concerns that going forward few homes in the borough will actually be sold.
After "seeing the light" as Hackensack Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan put it, theBoard of Freeholders unanimously supported Freeholder Vice Chairman John Felice in hisTuesday decision to restore the $500,000 Open Space Trust Funding to the historic Hackensack Waterworks in Oradell during their meeting Wednesday.
School Budget Approvals
River Dell budget hearings were held in the high school cafeteria to accomodate the overwhelming number of residents and students in attendance. This year the Board approved its budget before its smallest crowd to date - one single resident. The same could be said for the River Edge and Oradell elementary school budgets as a small number of residents turned out for the public hearings.
A not often seen migratory bird, a Blue Heron has recently decided to make its nest not far from the Elm Street Bridge. Due to the possibility of negatively affecting the clutch, Bergen County has delayed the construction work on the bridge from April 9 to June 30. The Elm Street Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since June 2008.
With decreases in revenue and an increase in delinquent taxes, Oradell was faced with a difficult budget season but finally introduced is 2012 Municipal budget on Tuesday night. The $13.53 million budget calls for a $10.59 million tax levy which falls at the state mandated 2% tax levy cap.
The lone good news that came out of an early April Council meeting with River Edge Tax AssessorJames Anzevino and Rick Del Guercio Jr. ofAppraisal Systems Inc., is that the deadline to file a tax appeal to the Bergen County Board of Taxation has been pushed back to May 8. But both Del Guercio and Anzevino defended the results of the most recent assessment citing the lack of a housing uniformity in town and a prior 2005 assessment. Their defense came after residents, realtors and even a developer have stated they will not be able to stay in town after the reassessment.
For the past three years Oradell Public Schoolhas been operating under the direction first of interim Superintendent Dr. Maria Nuccetelli and then Dr. Jeffrey Feifer but come September will once again have a permanent leader at the top. On Wednesday night, the Board of Education introduced the final candidate - Middletown Township Thompson Middle School Principal Anne Facendo.
On Thursday night, the Planning Board unanimously approved a 7-Eleven application at 584 Kinderkamack Road near Van Buren Avenue for 2400-square foot building split between 1300-square feet of retail space and 1100-square feet of storage/utility space. The 24-hour convenience store will have 13 parking spaces on site.
A petition that garnered over 200 signatures in favor of an off-leash dog park in Van Saun Park recently reached Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan's desk and after a recent review of the Park, awaits word if County funding is available.
On June 6, units from the River Edge Police Department, Bergen County K9 and Bergen County Sheriff's Crime Scene Unit responded to a possible bank robbery at Hudson City Savings Bank on Main Street, according to police. The alleged suspect fled into Hackensack with an undisclosed amount of cash but following a week-long investigation, officers arrested Darrel Johnson of Englewood in the crime. Following the June 13 charges, he was remanded to the Bergen County Jail in lieu of bail.
In 54 years of graduation ceremonies at River Dell Regional High School, the Class of 2012 not only boasts their prowess across athletics, academics and the arts but also the largest senior class over the past few years. The 290 seniors braved the triple-digit heat record in caps and gowns to receive their diplomas. A large number of graduates also chose to stay on the East Coast for college.
Few towns in Northern New Jersey can boast of the historical significance of a Revolutionary War battleground in their backyard, but if things continue as they have, River Edge may be facing the loss of the Von Steuben House.