Limited by the 2% levy cap, lack of revenues and redevelopment interest, River Edge will face many challenges in the coming year all while the governing body seeks to continue its cohesive relationship going. The council is now split down the middle along party lines with Democratic Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo able to cast a tie-breaking vote.
"We now have three Republicans and three Democrats on the council and unlike another borough across the river that every vote for the past year has come down with the mayor casting a decision, I don't see that happening this year in River Edge," Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo said. "We have people willing to work hard and move mountains for the benefit of the community as a whole. I will make a prediction that I can count on one hand the number of times I'll have to cast a tie vote. It doesn't take a Democrat or Republican to get things done."
But the borough will still face several challenge this year, starting with what could prove to be another difficult budget year.
"We have challenges again this year," Councilman Alphonse Bartelloni said. "The budget will not be easy. Together we can plow through it."
For the past few years, the borough's state aid has remained flat at $1,070,715 while taxpayers have been hit by back-to-back $14 million municipal budgets resulting in hikes of $234 in 2011 and $142 in 2012.
"This year's budget was challenging due to revenues decreasing by 5%, a significant increase in the Bergen County Utilities Authority and emergency costs for Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm," Borough Administrator/CFO Alan Negreann told Patch in April 2012.
Part of the decrease in revenues over the past year is due to businesses such as Blockbuster, Fresh N More, Eden Furniture, Mr. Bob's Cleaners and the Decorating Exchange closing their doors.
"We really have to look at redevelopment and promote that in town," Moscaritolo said. "We have these big empty box stores. I'm not going to make any predictions about the Huffman Koos property but I believe we will see them working in 2013 as the leases have been signed."
Peter and Paul Ciancia, owners of Route 4 - Main Street LLC have approval for a trio of retail buildings on the former Huffman Koos site with Total Wine moving further down towards Rt. 4 into a new 30,000-square-foot building on the property. As of early September, CVS had signed an agreement in principal to move from their current location near the River Edge Diner into the current Total Wine store. A third building, approximately 22,000-square-foot, situated in the middle of the property has not yet garnered a potential lessee.
Moscaritolo added that the council will push for shovels to hit the ground for the construction of a new McDonald's on Main Street, a 7-Eleven on Kinderkamack Road and a 46-unit condominium development on Kinderkamack Road.