From the desk of Mayor Massa
To the Editor:
Last week, the voters of North Arlington approved the expenditure of $3.3 million in repairs for the Rip Collins Memorial Field located on River Road. Twenty-five percent of the electorate agreed to support the referendum that will result in the construction of a new playing field, running track, bleachers, lockers and other items.
As mayor, I rather questioned the practicality of renovating a facility that has flooded on numerous occasions including the past two recent hurricanes that ravaged not only North Arlington, but many parts of New Jersey. As mayor, I have a fiduciary responsibility to question a proposal that in my view did not address the central issue of flooding as well as parking for that specific site plan.
Moreover, I was equally concerned that a duplication of sorts was being conducted in that the County of Bergen is expending $5.5 million for a multi-purpose football/ soccer complex and running track and new baseball and softball diamonds for which the county executive as well as Freeholder Steve Tanelli assured me that North Arlington will receive preferred status in securing these facilities for our kids.
The Board of Education now has the responsibility to ensure these millions authorized by the referendum are spent wisely and that the assurances they gave voters regarding future flooding are addressed. As mayor, I will monitor the progress of the project and offer any assistance the Board of Education may need in completing the proposal as presented to the community. Now is the time to move forward so that both projects are completed on time and within the constraints of their respective costs. I want to thank both the Board of Education as well as our county executive and Freeholder Tanelli for all of their hard work in achieving these goals and objectives we all share as borough residents, parents and children alike.
At the same time, the mayor & council have introduced a zero tax hike budget for 2013.
For the first time in three years, there will be no increase in the municipal tax levy – the portion of the tax bill controlled directly by this governing body. For a home assessed at $318,000, the municipal portion of a homeowner’s tax bill will increase about 3 cents, from $3,264.28 to $3,264.31!
Keep in mind the school portion of your tax bill is roughly $1,400 higher or $4,788.42 for a home assessed at the same $318,000! The municipal tax levy here in North Arlington represents 37% of your overall tax bill while the Board of Education represents 54% and the remaining 9% is from the County of Bergen.
Maintaining a stable tax rate is part of keeping North Arlington small, safe and suburban. This budget cuts overall spending by over $700,000 and decreases our dependence on homeowners by roughly $200,000. No services were eliminated. Not one. In fact our commitment to recreation programs such as Little League and Girl’s Softball increased by as much as 50% per line item. This is what happens when we work collectively for the common good of homeowners and taxpayers!
I urge speedy adoption of this budget. I want to thank the entire governing body and especially Council President Granell and the professional staff for putting the people’s business first in these tough times.
And now with the budget’s introduction behind us, must prioritize our time and examine the best course of action as it applies to redevelopment both in the Meadowlands, as well as here on Ridge Road, Schuyler Ave. and River Road.
Mayor Pete Massa
Borough of North Arlington