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News in brief

HARRISON –

Harrison Mayor James Fife, 73, is spending time in St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, where he is recovering from surgery.

The hospital declined to provide any information but Councilman James Doran, who is serving as Fife’s campaign manager for this year’s municipal election season, said that Fife was experiencing chest pain early last week and went for tests.

“An echocardiogram showed that his aortic valv e was blocked,” Doran said. So Fife had an operation last Thursday to replace that valve, he said.

Doran said Fife was expected to remain in the hospital for five days and then undergo outpatient cardiac therapy for a few weeks.

“He should be a new man in about six weeks,” Doran said.

Until Fife is ready to return to duty, Doran said that Town Council President Michael Dolaghan and the various municipal department heads will look after town business.

NUTLEY –

The state has awarded Nutley $2.75 million in transitional aid this year that Revenue & Finance Commissioner Tom Evans said would somewhat offset the pain of a municipal tax increase triggered by a devaluation of the Roche property.

Evans said that the special compensation corresponds to the diminished share of municipal, school and county taxes that Nutley will realize as a result of demolition at the Roche site, which its owners plan to vacate by sometime in 2015.

Had Nutley not received the aid package, the owner of an “average” house assessed at $314,000 would have faced a municipal tax increase of $109 but, with the aid, the tax impact is reduced to a projected $72 increase just on the municipal portion of the 2014 tax bill, Evans said.

This is expected, he said, despite the fact that overall municipal spending is up by less than 2%.

Because the aid is a “special category” of transitional aid — designed to offer tax relief to a municipality that experiences an extraordinary loss of property value by providing a “partial adjustment” to cover that lost value – Nutley won’t be saddled with the fiscal monitoring by the state that normally accompanies the granting of transitional aid, Evans said.

“The state recognizes that Nutley ranks in the 96th percentile of the state’s Best Practices checklist so for that reason we won’t be included in the traditional fiscal oversight program,” he said. “We’re seen as a wellmanaged municipality.”

Evans said that Nutley would have to reapply in 2015 for the special aid as the township continues to transition to a future without Roche.

The property owners have hired a marketing firm to find a buyer for its property, which overlaps Nutley and Clifton.

KEARNY –

A Franklin School sixth-grader in Kearny faced disciplining in the wake of an incident that happened outside the Davis Ave. school last Thursday.

Sources said that two sixth-graders, best of friends, were waiting for classes to start that morning. After one of them reportedly hid the other’s cellular phone, her friend allegedly removed a kitchen knife from a backpack and displayed it.

At that point, sources said, other students reported the incident to teachers. The Juvenile Aid Bureau responded, but sources said there was no threat made and no one had been injured.

There was no lockdown of the school and police worked with school administrators to calm everyone. Administrators were pleased with the police response. A school resource officer was temporarily reassigned to Franklin from Kearny High.

As rumors spread through the community about the incident – especially with it happening the day after multiple students had been stabbed by another student at a school near Pittsburgh, – phones reportedly were ringing off the hook around town.

– Ron Leir

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