School board and Council to meet May 21 to finalize budget
The mayor and Town Council will meet with the school board to adopt the final school budget. During the meeting the council will vote on a resolution to set the tax levy and the school administration will adjust the budget accordingly. The meeting will take place in the Municipal Building Council Chamber One.
On April 17 residents voted the budget down, which was rejected after a near tie: 944 to 943.
The total operating school budget proposed for the 2012-2013 school year was almost $35 million. The budget included an increase of $620,320, which is within the state’s 2 percent cap, and equates to average increase of $74 per household in school taxes. School taxes represent just one portion of a tax bill, which also includes municipal and county taxes. While taxpayers will not see a municipal tax increase, some may have been hesitant about seeing any additional increase at all.
Memorial Day Parade May 19, rain date May 20
The 3rd Annual Memorial Day Parade will be held on Saturday, May 19 at 12 p.m. The parade begins at Secaucus High School and ends at the American Legion at 2nd and Centre Ave. There will be food, activities, and entertainment. The rain date is Sunday, May 20.
Surrender date for former Mayor Dennis Elwell postponed
Former Mayor Dennis Elwell has been granted a two-week reprieve in reporting to prison while a federal judge weighs his request to remain free pending an appeal of his bribery conviction, according to news reports.
An order signed by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares last week postponed Elwell’s surrender date from June 4 to June 18 to consider the pending motion. His lawyers filed a notice of appeal on April 24.
Elwell, 66, was sentenced April 12 in Federal Court to 30 months in prison. On July 6, a federal jury acquitted Elwell of conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion, but convicted him on bribery, in connection with a government sting. Federal prosecutors claimed that Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant posing as a real estate developer, gave Elwell $10,000 cash, allegedly through political operative `Ronald Manzo, in order to get favoritism on development projects. Elwell has said he saw the money as a campaign contribution rather than a bribe.
NJ Transit may discontinue or alter bus routes
NJ Transit plans to cut costs by discontinuing or altering bus service on 11 routes, some of which serve various parts of Hudson County, according to a release issued on Monday. Jersey City, Secaucus, and Union City are among the municipalities that will be affected by the changes that in total affect 3,200 riders.
NJ Transit projects more than $3 million in annual operation savings, which will be reflected in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The agency conducted a study to review metrics, including customers per hour, fare box recovery and subsidy per customer. The proposed initiative will go before the public in June, when two public hearings will be held in Newark and Wayne to solicit public input.
“The innovative Bus Service Optimization proposal announced today fulfills the call for government to provide smarter, more efficient services at less cost to customers and the taxpayers,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein. “A measurable result of NJ Transit successful Scorecard initiative, Bus Service Optimization will ensure that NJ Transit uses its limited resources to provide the best service to the most customers—all while holding the line on fares.”
The agency plans to reinvest more than $1.02 million to expand and enhance bus service within the City of Newark, in addition to key corridors between Newark, Newark Airport and Elizabeth.
Eleven bus routes were reviewed for adjustment that were said to be underutilized, or directly compete with rail or light rail services. These routes average 16 customers per trip, in comparison to the system wide average of 35.
The routes include:
• No. 42 (Newark-18th Avenue): Discontinue service
• No. 43 (Newark-Jersey City): Discontinue service
• No. 56 (Elizabeth/Cranford/Winfield): Widen peak hour headway from 25/40 minutes to 60 minutes
• No. 57 (Elizabeth/Linden): Eliminate first/last round trips on weekdays
• No. 75 (Butler-Newark): Discontinue service
• No. 78 (Newark-Secaucus): Discontinue service
• No. 93 (Bloomfield-Newark Light Rail): Discontinue service
• No. 181 (Union City-NY/GWB): Discontinue Sunday service
• No. 258 (Bloomfield/Newark Airport): Eliminate University Heights Branch, adjust headway to 30 minutes all day
• No. 451 (Camden/Lindenwold PATCO): Eliminate service between Voorhees Town Center and Lindenwold PATCO
• No. 604 (Trenton/East Trenton): Eliminate some peak-hour service between Trenton Transit Center and Justice Complex
For these 11 separate routes, most customers will not be significantly impacted, as system access remains available with reasonable alternatives. In some cases, customers may need to walk a reasonable distance to access service, or be subject to a two-seat ride instead of a one-seat ride.