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Category: News

Heat on the way? Library hopes so



It’s taken longer than anticipated but Kearny Public Library’s main facility at 318 Kearny Ave. is seemingly assured of having heat for the winter ahead.

So reported Library Director Josh Humphrey last week after workers from Core Mechanical Inc. of Pennsauken were applying what Humphrey hoped to be the final adjustments to a new boiler in the library’s basement.

It’s a replacement for an original coal-fired furnace, later converted to gas, “70 years old or older,” which “has been on its last legs and leaking water for some time,” Humphrey said.

Because it hasn’t been working efficiently, “the heat in the building isn’t regulated very well,” Humphrey added.

So, with the cold weather season beginning to set in, Humphrey said the town decided it was time to act by getting a new unit installed. The town will be footing the bill from unreserved emergency funds, he said.

How much the job will cost wasn’t known as of last week. Initially, the main library shut down Monday, Nov. 10 to Wednesday, Nov. 12, figuring that the work could be completed within that time, and planned to reopen Thursday, Nov. 13.

But Humphrey said the work turned out to be a bit more complicated than anticipated and the library stayed closed Thursday and Friday that week. “It’s a big job,” he said. “They had to take out the old boiler in pieces and put the new one in pieces as well. Then they had to hook up the gas line, put in a new meter, re-do the electricity for the lights in the ceiling and then hook it up to the chimney.”

Despite an inside temperature of 42 degrees, with the boiler still a work in progress, the library re-opened Saturday, Nov. 15, and an estimated 150 library patrons showed up during the day, Humphrey said.

As a result of the closures, the library had to cancel all scheduled programs, including Story Time, Child’s Cooking Class and Book Discussion Group.

Then, the following week, the library shut down Wednesday, Nov. 26, as the installation continued and remained closed for the Thanksgiving holiday period, Nov. 27, 28 and 29.

A notice posted on the library website advised that, “We plan to reopen Monday, Dec. 1.”

Humphrey was hoping that by then, the air inside would be a bit warmer with a functioning boiler.

– Ron Leir

Keeping play areas in shape



Some municipal recreational infrastructure in need of attention has been addressed recently in Kearny.

Several compromised park benches at Bell Playground got fixed, as did some jagged edges of the synthetic turf at the Thistle F.C. Futsal soccer Facility.

“When the playground [on Stewart Ave., between Chestnut and Devon Sts.] was built about nine years ago, the benches installed there were secured by a brick base but over time, rainwater and erosion have caused the bricks to become loose,” said Public Works Director Jerry Kerr.

And, Kerr said, that process has been accelerated in recent weeks by miscreant youths “picking at the loose bricks.”

So, to prevent the possibility of anyone getting hurt by a bench toppling over, Kerr said the town called in a contractor to remove the bricks, lay down cement and anchor the seven wooden benches into the cement.

Kerr said he got prices from three firms and Season Round Property Management of Newark came in the lowest at $1,950 so they were hired to do the repairs last week. The playground was closed for a couple of days to allow the contractor to complete the work, he said.

Meanwhile, at the Futsal soccer field, Assistant Recreation Superintendent Ralph Cattafi said that continuous use of the synthetic turf surface, seven days a week, has taken a toll, with sections of the turf getting ripped up.

“There were one or two sections, in particular, in dire need of repair,” Cattafi said. “It’s taken a beating with all the wear and tear.”

The 25,250 square foot Futsal Facility in Riverbank Park at Passaic and Bergen Aves., with three practice soccer fields, was resurfaced with Field Turf in spring 2009 for nearly $200,000 with help from a U.S. Soccer Foundation grant.

Land-Tec, a landscaper from East Meadow, L.I., was called upon to handle the repairs, Cattafi said. “The job is still under a 10-year warranty so there’s no charge to the town,” he added.

It took about a half-day to do the work, Cattafi said.

 – Ron Leir 

A guide to cooking with herbs


Perhaps the most difficult thing about cooking with herbs is figuring out how to pronounce the word. Is it “herb,” like the guy next door? Or is it “erb,” with a silent “h”?

Good news: Either pronunciation is acceptable, according to Webster. So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s concentrate on what herbs can add to our cooking: in a word, flavor.

But even more important is what they don’t add: fat and sodium. Herbs are an excellent way to replace the flavor when you remove fat and excess salt from your food.

If you’re just getting started with herbs, go at it gradually. Experiment with one or two herbs at a time. For freshness, purchase herbs that have been newly dried, and buy in small amounts.

This brings up another vexing point: What’s the difference between a (or an) herb and a spice? Herbs are spices that grow directly from the ground.

Examples are mint, thyme, basil and sage. Spices that grow on trees are not considered herbs. Cinnamon and nutmeg are two examples.

Gourmet chefs prefer fresh herbs over dried, but both have their advantages.

Fresh ones have better texture and appearance, but dried ones are generally more convenient and produce stronger flavor. A tablespoon of dried herbs produces roughly the same amount of flavor as a handful of fresh. Suggestions for starting with herbs:

• Be sure to wash them well  and pat them dry.

• Remove any leaves from  woody stems. The stems carry much aroma, but the leaves are what you usually use.

• If a dish requires a long  time to cook, consider adding the herbs toward the end of cooking.

• Avoid using too many  herbs at one time.

While there are hundreds of herbs you can experiment with, you will most likely want to focus on the kitchen herbs most commonly called for in recipes. Here’s a list to get you started:

• Basil. Adds flavor to any tomato dish. Also good in omelettes and salads. Try it with poultry and fish, as well.

• Chives. Chop leaves and  add to salads and egg, cheese or potato dishes.

• Cilantro. This has a unique  taste often associated with Mexican foods. Use leaves in  salads, in soups such as gazpacho, or in many Mexican or Thai dishes.

Use dry seeds to sprinkle on cakes or sweet dishes.

• Dill. The standard flavoring for pickles, dill also goes surprisingly well with fish, poultry, souffles, omelets and potatoes.

• Marjoram. Sprinkle leaves over lean meats before roasting  or add to soups, stuffing, and egg and cheese dishes.

• Mint. Great in Mediterranean dishes. Or try it with carrots, fruit salads and especially in iced tea.

• Oregano. A staple in Italian  and Mexican recipes, oregano is especially useful in meat and tomato sauces. Good on marinated vegetables, beans  and mushrooms.

• Parsley. These leaves will liven up salads, soups, omelets  and potato and onion dishes. Parsley also helps freshen  breath.

• Rosemary. Insert a sprig  into lean meat or poultry before roasting. Sprinkle chopped leaves sparingly in soups, stews, vegetables and especially on green beans.

• Sage. Use sparingly with  poultry, cheese dishes and omelets.

• Savory. Comes in two varieties according to season. Summer savory has a more delicate flavor than winter savory. Use  with beans, with fish or in stuffing.

• French tarragon. Great  in sauces for poultry or fish. Good with soups and in salads.

Here’s a simple recipe for a high-nutrition, low-fat chicken dish that can be surprisingly delicious thanks to the addition of a small amount of thyme, from your garden or from the store:

 Zesty grilled chicken breasts with thyme 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

 2 teaspoons Dijon-type mustard 

1 clove garlic, crushed 

2 sprigs fresh thyme, about 1/4 teaspoon dried 

1 teaspoon horseradish (optional) 

Combine all the ingredients  except chicken in a bowl or container large enough to accommodate the chicken breasts. Coat the chicken  breasts with the mixture and let stand at least 15 minutes. Grill (or broil) approximately  5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.

Note: Try substituting fresh oregano for the thyme. Or if you like a bit of a crust, roll in unseasoned bread crumbs before grilling. Or sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Serves four. Each serving  contains about 142 calories, 27 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat.

To learn more, stop in and see in-store Registered Dietitian Julie Harrington at the ShopRite of Lyndhurst, 540 New York Ave. For information on health and wellness events contact her at (201)419-9154 or  Julie.harrington@wakefern. com.

around town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., announces:

  • A screening of the animated action adventure film “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (PG) is slated for Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.
  • Pajama Storytime, open to all ages, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday craft, open to all ages, is offered Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.

Belleville High School’s Music Department presents its 2014 winter concert series, starting with the instrumental music program, featuring the BHS Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, on Thursday, Dec. 11, and the vocal music program, with the BHS Concert Choir and Acapella Chorus, on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Both concerts start at 7 p.m. in the Connie Francis Theatre at the high school. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted at the door.

For more information, email band director Anthony Gotto at Anthony.gotto@belleville. k12.nj.us or vocal music director Carol Lombardi at carol.lombardi@belleville. k12.nj.us.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., will screen the following films as part of its Thursday and Monday Afternoon Movie programs. All films start at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free.

  • Thursdays – Dec. 4 – “One Special night” (PG), featuring James Garner and Dec. 11 – “Christmas Eve” (NR), starring Ann Harding. No films will be shown Dec. 18 and 25.
  • Mondays – Dec. 8 – “Scrooge” (G), with Albert Finney. No films will be shown Dec. 15, 22 or 29.


A cat food drive is being conducted through Dec. 12 for Kearny’s TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) program. Drop off cat food donations at K-9 Corner, 169 Midland Ave. at Elm St.

The First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., hosts a Christmas bake sale and flea market on Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church of Kearny and Christ Church of Harrison will jointly sponsor their monthly flea market at 575 Kearny Ave., on Dec. 13. Vendors are invited. Tables are one for $15 and two for $25. Call the church at 201-991-5894 to schedule a table. Or, call Annamarie at 201-998-2368 after 5:30 pm. Walk-ins and new vendors welcome.

Kearny UNICO meets on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the meeting or Kearny UNICO, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409. Kearny UNICO is a member chapter of UNICO National, the largest Italian American service organization in the U.S.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts a holiday marbleizing workshop on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m.

Marbleizing is the preparation and finishing of a surface to imitate the appearance of polished marble.

Using silk scarves, instructor Renee Johnson will lead participants in this ancient art, widely used in Pompeii and in Europe during the Renaissance.

Just in time for the holidays, the finished product, free to all registered attendees, will make a beautiful gift. This program will only be open to a limited number of adults. Call the library at 201-998-2666 for a reservation.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts its annual carnival on Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. Try your hand at more than 30 games of skill, including the goldfish toss, spin the wheel, go fish and more. There will also be a table of arts and crafts, homemade toys and baked goods. The entire community is welcome.


The Lyndhurst Historical Society is showcasing a sampling of the many businesses that contributed to the community and beyond in its newest exhibit, “Lyndhurst Business: Building a Community,” which runs through August 2015 at The Little Red Schoolhouse, 400 Riverside Ave.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, but a small donation to the Society is appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, leave a message at 201-804-2513 and your call will be returned.

For more information about the Lyndhurst Historical Society, readers can visit www.lyndhursthistoricalsociety.org. Like them on Facebook.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., announces the following events for children. Registration is not required unless otherwise specified. To register, call the library at 201- 804- 2478.

  • Walk-in storytimes, open to grades pre-k to 2, are held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
  • Santa Claus visits on Monday, Dec. 8, at 6:45 p.m. Children of all ages are invited to take a picture with him. Registration is required.
  • A reindeer craft, open to grade pre-k-3, is set for Thursday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.
  • Children in grades 1 to 4 can make a holiday wreath on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required.
  • A Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Night, open to grades 6 to 9, takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 7:15 pm. Refreshments will be served. Space is limited and registration is necessary. To register, call the library or email referencelyndhurst.bccls.org.
  • RoseMarie Rubinetti Cappiello, an intuitive medium/ healer, hosts a brief session of audience spirit readings followed by a discussion of her new book “Speaking From Spirit”. Books will be available for purchase at the book signing. Space is limited and registration is necessary. No walk-ins will be allowed. Call the library or email romeo@bccls.org to register.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission hosts the following events:

  • First-Sunday-of-the- Month Nature Walk with the Bergen County Audubon Society kicks off at 10 a.m. just outside DeKorte Park on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Visitors are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year.

To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201-230-4983.

  • Watercolor Pencils for Kids, open to ages 5 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.  to noon, at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. All art supplies are provided. Pre-registration is required. Cost is $10 per child (no fee for adults).

To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec . For more information, call 201- 460-8300.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1, holds a blood screening Friday, Dec. 5, at the Community Center on Riverside Ave. Appointments begin at 8 a.m. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents ages 18 and older for a $20 fee. Pre-registration is required. For appointments, call 201-804-2500. Payments are accepted in cash or checks, payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

The Humane Society, 221- 223 Stuyvesant Ave., invites members of the community to bring children and pets for photos with Santa taken by a professional photographer on Sunday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available, but walk-ins are also welcome. Proceeds benefit the animals at the Humane Society. Photos with an attractive holiday folder cost $10. A CD of all pictures taken is available for $20. For  more information, call 201- 896-9300.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Jan. 16, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $15 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657-0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446-7244.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Police Department Crime Prevention and Community Relations Unit is conducting a holiday toy drive. New and unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the police department now through Dec. 11. Toys will be distributed to area hospitals, local families and others in need.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a holiday celebration Friday, Dec. 12. Bingo starts at 10:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon and dancing begins at 1:30 p.m. For more information and reservation, call 201-998-5636.

North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a trip to the Sands Casino, Bethlehem, Pa., on Dec. 6. The bus leaves from Borough Hall at 9 a.m. Cost is $30 with $20 slot return and $5 food voucher. For information, call 201-889-2553.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, hosts the following programs:

  • A talk by food historian Judith Krall-Russo on Colonial and Victorian Christmas is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served. Registration is recommended but not required. Call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.
  • Computer Coding Club, open to ages 8 to 13, meets Saturday, Dec. 13, at 1 p.m. Registration is required. To register, visit http://bit.ly/1qTd8Cc . Registration closes on Dec. 6. The library will be closed to the public at 1 p.m. on this date, as usual, and open only for this special program.
  • YA Movie Day, for grades 6 and up, is set for Friday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m.
  • Lego Club, open to grades 1 and up, meets Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m.
  • A holiday pageant, for all ages, is set for Thursday, Dec. 11, at 6:45 p.m. • An origami class, open to grades 4 to 7, is set for Friday, Dec. 12, at 3:30 p.m.
  • The Woman’s Club sponsors a craft program, open to grades K to 5, on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Queen of Peace Church presents its annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. The event features the church’s choir, the Queen of Peace Schola Cantorum and the Chopin Singing Society along with soloists. There is no admission charge but a free will offering is requested.


Vincent United Methodist Church, 100 Vincent Place, will present its annual Living Nativity on Sunday, Dec. 7. From 7 to 8 p.m., members of the congregation will present short Nativity portrayals every 20-30 minutes in a st able setting  on the front lawn. The free presentation will include live animals — sheep , goats, donkeys and maybe more. Refreshments will be served. The church is across from the Nutley Library. All are invited to come and view this timeless reminder of the real reason for the season of Christmas.

Actors from the Nutley Little Theatre will present a staged reading of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. This special event is part of a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the NPL. Call 973-667- 0405 for more information on this and other programs. The complete schedule is available at http://nutleypubliclibrary.org.

Treating a pinched nerve

pinched nerves_web

After 25 years of clinical practice as a chiropractic physician, one of the most common phrases to hear from a new patient is their claim that they have a “pinched nerve or something” in their neck or back. Sometimes they have already visited their family physician and been given a prescription for pain relief, anti-inflammatory medication and/or muscle relaxers. Although medications have benefits, more and more patients are turning to alternative treatment methods to address their complaints of muscle soreness, discomfort and pain caused by a pinched nerve. Let’s first take a look at what are the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve before considering treatments. Some of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are headaches, neck pain, spinal pain, mid and lower back pain, shoulder pain, radiating pain down the arm or leg, numbness, tingling and/or burning sensation in the arms, legs, feet and hands. Some other noticeable reasons associated with a patient’s complaints of a pinched nerve can be a patient’s limited range of motion in the neck, mid or lower back, difficulty standing from a seated position, trouble sitting for a long period of time, pain and discomfort with increased exercise and difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. An irritated or pinched nerve can also effect the overall health of an individual since each organ and function of the human body is supplied by an assortment of various nerves.

In general, there are 4 main causes of pinched nerves that are commonly identified by a well-skilled and well-trained chiropractic physician. These are as follows: (1) subluxations or misalignments of the spinal bones (2) disc degeneration (3) osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease (4) disc protrusions or disc herniations. Pinched nerves can result from any combination of these including all of them simultaneously. Due to irritation or inflammation, pinched nerves may also cause a chemical neuritis meaning that nerves can be irritated chemically from the inflammatory process as well causing more pain and discomfort than was initially determined. New patients are accepted in our office via a scheduled appointment or by walking in for an initial consultation and evaluation. A physical examination is then conducted to determine the underlying causes of possible nerve irritation or inflammation as it relates to any biomechanical abnormalities in the spine. In addition to a thorough examination, Dr. Stimmel usually orders x-rays or an MRI to further evaluate the patient’s chief complaints in order to design an appropriate chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation program. Dr. Stimmel’s knowledge and expertise over 25 years has enabled him to utilize a variety of safe, gentle, pain-free and non-invasive techniques that quickly and gently alleviates pain and discomfort and addresses the structural biomechanical abnormalities of the spine. Chiropractic care of pinched nerves is designed to find and correct the underlying problem rather than just treat the symptoms. Neglecting the warning signs of a pinched nerve may lead to future surgery as the only option.

Dr. Stimmel of Harrison Spine and Rehabilitation Center is a board-certified chiropractic physician with over 25 years of clinical experience. Dr Stimmel has been board certified as a chiropractic sports physician and is certified in hospital protocols and privileges. He has frequently lectured to orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and medical physicians on the benefits of chiropractic care. Dr Stimmel offers his patients a unique perspective in treating conditions caused by a pinched nerve using a variety of safe, gentle and pain-free techniques including a revolutionary technique called cold laser. Contact our office today at 973-483-3380 for a free consult and evaluation.

Park Ave. in NA closed between Elm and Chestnut Sts. until further notice



Park Ave. is closed between Elm and Chestnut Sts. today for construction, the North Arlington Police Department said in a text alert. It will be closed until further notice.

Happy Thanksgiving!


More apartments eyed for Bergen Ave.


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Carlstadt builder Ed Russo is looking to expand a residential development project already in progress in a Kearny redevelopment area at Bergen and Schuyler Aves.

Russo told The Observer last month he has a contract to purchase an additional 2.25 acres of property on the northeast side of Bergen Ave. – opposite where his current project Vermella Crossing (formerly known as Schuyler Crossing) is rapidly rising.

He’s looking to acquire – and take down – commercial warehousing at 307-337 Bergen Ave. – 175 feet from the Schuyler intersection – currently owned by Wal-Park Associates of Verona and put up two new multi-family residential structures with a total of 70 apartments.

Each three-story building would contain 35 apartments, with 18 one-bedroom apartments and 17 two-bedroom units.

Russo said that the design of those buildings would mirror the frame and masonry look of Vermella Crossing: six three-story buildings that will contain a total of 150 apartments, consisting of one- and two-bedroom units, plus a clubhouse/fitness center.

Although Russo included retail tenants — a CVS pharmacy and Investors Bank – as part of his Vermella Crossing mixed-use development site, he said that – at this point – he is not planning any retail space for the proposed expansion project.

What he is seeking, however, is approval from the town governing body for a PILOT (Payment in lieu of Tax) agreement similar to the tax abatement deal previously negotiated with the town for the residential portion of Vermella Crossing.

That arrangement was for a 30-year PILOT agreement which called for Russo to pay the town an annual “service charge” of $375,000 (representing 10% of the gross annual rents), with yearly adjustments keyed to inflation and a state budget cap, plus an annual $2,500 “administrative fee.” Russo also agreed to make a one-time-only $150,000 contribution to the town’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and to repave part of Bergen Ave. to the trestle bridge.

As of last week, Mayor Alberto Santos said that the terms for a PILOT for the proposed expansion were still being discussed.

Meanwhile, Russo has filed an application, under the name Schuyler Crossing Urban Renewal LLC, with the Kearny Planning Board for approval to undertake the new project which, according to the application, will include “all necessary drainage, sanitary sewer, water, landscaping and lighting improvements.”

Russo is seeking variances from the Schuyler Redevelopment Plan for impervious coverage and ground signs, he’s asking for a design waiver to provide 9-foot by 18-foot parking stalls and he wants an exception to allow parking for 106 as opposed to 133 spaces.

Plans call for 64 “garage/ driveway” spaces and 42 “open parking” spaces.

In neighboring Harrison, meanwhile, Russo is building a single five-story structure that will hold 400 apartments (a combination of studios, one- and two-bedrooms) plus 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and various amenities.

In other development news, the Kearny Zoning Board of Adjustment voted Nov. 6 to clear the way for Helo Holdings Inc. to expand its South Kearny heliport by building a new helicopter hangar/maintenance facility, offices and lounge for a total of 40,465 square feet at Central Ave. and Webster Road.

With the capacity to handle more aircraft, Helo CEO Jeff Hyman has projected that the number of flights, primarily by corporate clients, would likely increase by an additional 45 per day, from the current 20 to 27 daily flights.

Local taxes up again in borough

NA Budget_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Borough residents should be getting their property tax bills by the first week of December, CFO Steve Sanzari said last Thursday, after the Borough Council finally adopted the 2014 municipal budget.

Passage of the budget, introduced back in July, has been delayed since then because members of the governing body – faced with local elections earlier this month – couldn’t agree on the final numbers.

But the process was pushed along by the looming threat of the state Local Finance Board dictating an outcome that, officials said, could have been far more distasteful.

Had they not acted when they did, the borough faced having no revenues coming in since they’d have been unable to mail out bills without a county-certified tax rate, starting the new year with an operational deficit and $25-aday fines to individual council members for each day after Dec. 31 that the budget was late.

As it is, the adopted 2014 budget, after amendments, calls for expenditures of $21.55 million (up from last year’s $20.18 million), of which $15,875,961 must be raised in local taxation (up from $14,657,457 last year).

According to the CFO’s calculations, that translates to a nearly 8% increase on the local tax rate for municipal purposes only or a hike of about $254 on the “average” house assessed at $319,000. The county share of the budget is expected to have “zero” impact while the local school portion figures to add on about $14 for a total impact of $268 on a total tax bill of $9,220 (up from last year’s $8,951.).

For the local spending document to be complete, however, the borough was relying on the Passaic Valley Water Commission to approve at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18, a legal settlement that would pay North Arlington $325,000. Both sides have been in negotiations for many months over alleged overcharges the borough claims it’s owed.

Only Council President Al Granell voted against the amended budget. In a prepared statement, Granell said he was “dismayed that the council did not join me in working to lower the tax levy for our residents as promised at the budget introduction in July.”

Granell said that several alternatives to lower the levy “have been presented for the council to consider for many months but did not garner the support of a council majority. I firmly believe that the Borough Council next year and in coming years will have to seriously consider and implement some of those options, including shared services and merging of services and basic municipal functions.”

And Mayor Peter Massa, a Democrat, who will cede his post to Republican Councilman Joseph Bianchi on Jan. 1 after having lost a re-election bid Nov. 4, said the council should follow the lead of Kearny and other municipalities in pressing the state to “help compensate us” for providing municipal services to “tax-exempt properties” owned by non-profits and the like because “it’s becoming more of a financial burden … on our seniors and homeowners who account for 85% of our tax base.”

Borough spokesman Thom Ammirato said this year’s tax increase was driven by $1.35 million in unexpected costs, outside the state-mandated 2% budget cap, including $307,000 for snow removal, $422,000 “to bolster the reserve in uncollected taxes” and $276,000 “to increase debt payments.”

Additionally, he said, the borough was directed by the state to reserve $125,600 in FEMA revenue for 2013 to pay down special emergency debt and to “reduce revenues by another $123,000 for the current year’s anticipated FEMA aid.

Vets’ photos wanted for ‘Wall of Honor’


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


This township, which has been in the forefront when it comes to offering support and assistance and recognition to veterans, has launched yet another project to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our nation. This time, going all the way back to the American Revolution.

The Nutley Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the Nutley AMVETS, is creating a “Wall of American Honor,” which will feature images — photos, sketches, portraits — of all township veterans from 1776 on.

Also eligible are veterans who may not have personally lived in Nutley, but whose descendants or other relatives are current residents.

So, Nutleyites, if your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, husband, wife, uncle, cousin, whatever, wore this country’s uniform, you are invited to submit that person’s picture for inclusion on the wall.

In the words of Commissioner Steven Rogers, “It will be an enduring legacy that will enable future generations to see for themselves, through these photos, what their friends and relatives did to preserve the nation.”

The veterans need not have served in combat; those who swore their oath of allegiance in times of peace are also to be honored, for they, too, did their part to “preserve the nation.”

When completed, the display will be on a mobile wall, which can be incorporated into the ceremonies marking Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

There will also be virtual “walls” for viewing on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Facebook page and its website.

Rogers noted that the idea came from the department, which also decided to enlist Nutley youngsters in the project. “This wall is going to be an educational tool, constructed by students,” he said, explaining that they will be framing the photos and organizing the makeup of the wall.

Area Scout troops, the school district and the Nutley High School Patriot Club have been recuited, the commissioner said, but any local child or teen is welcome to volunteer. Just contact him at the Department of Public Affairs: 973-284-4976.

As for the photos (or drawings or portraits) of the vets, these should be mailed to Rogers at the Department of Public Affairs at 149 Chestnut St., Nutley 07110. “We do not need original photos, copies will do,” said Courtney Johnson, executive director of the department. In fact, you can even email the images to him at: cjohnson@ nutleynj.org.

Please note that, along with the photos, the department needs the names of the individuals pictured and the contact information for those submitting the images. If you know the veteran’s branch of service (and that can include the oft-overlooked U.S. Merchant Marine) and the years they served, that information can be added.

Rogers emphasized that the veteran does not have to be a current or former township resident. “There just has to be some Nutley connection.”

“As time goes on,” Rogers said, “I have noticed that the legacy of our veterans is getting lost.” He hopes that this project will be “an inspiration to those veterans and their families, to know that their legacy will live on forever.”

Also in recognition of that legacy, Rogers noted that all Nutley veterans are entitled to a medal. For information on that program, or on benefits for veterans, call Public Affairs at 973-284- 4976.

Plans are to unveil the “Wall of American Honor” on Veterans Day 2015.