News in brief …


Kearny residents who want to reserve a municipal off-street overnight parking space had better start saving up now.

That’s because the municipal governing body is proposing to hike the annual administrative fee for processing applications for those parking permits, from the current $25 to $125 – a whopping 400% increase.

An ordinance amending the existing fee was introduced at last Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and Town Council and will be subject to a public hearing on Aug. 9.

If it passes, the new fee would take effect, beginning in 2017, so residents should expect to pay the higher price when they apply for permits the day after Labor Day.

Councilwoman Susan McCurrie, who heads the council’s ordinance committee, said that in comparison with other communities, the revised fee “is still very low. It’s still the best bargain in town.”

The residential overnight parking fee went from $15 to $25 last year. Before that, it had been $10 for many years, according to Town Clerk Pat Carpenter.

About 180 Kearny residents currently hold overnight parking permits, which are spread over eight municipal parking lots and the upper deck of the former West Hudson Hospital parking garage, according to Carpenter.

Three of those lots are also used for overnight commercial parking, for which the permit fee was raised, from $25 to $250 last year. Permits for overnight business parking go for $525.

Neither Harrison nor East Newark allow overnight commercial or business parking in those communities “so we get some of that overflow,” Carpenter said.

All told, she said, the nine municipal parking areas can accommodate about 225 vehicles. “This year, we sold 200 spots so we have 25 available,” she said.

Among the most subscribed lots, Carpenter said, are the Belgrove Drive police sub-station lot, whose 32 spaces sell out “almost immediately,” along with the 14 at Dowd playground on Devon Terrace and the 12 at the Hudson Surgical Center garage on Bergen Ave.



A disgruntled East Newark volunteer firefighter who was fired last summer has settled a lawsuit against his former employer.

On June 8, the East Newark municipal body voted to approve a settlement and release agreement with the former firefighter Edmund McKeown, a Kearny resident.

In return for giving up “any and all claims” against the borough, McKeown will be paid $27,500, “inclusive of attorneys’ fees and costs.”

McKeown agreed that he “will not seek any future or existing volunteer or employment positions” with the borough.

Through his Basking Ridge attorney Jennifer L. Casazza, McKeown had filed a “wrongful termination” complaint against the borough, Fire Chief Kenneth Graham and Mayor Joseph Smith following his dismissal for “conduct unbecoming” and “insubordination” on July 8, 2015.

The firing stemmed from an incident May 31, 2015, at the borough firehouse on Sherman Ave. at which, according to his complaint against the borough, McKeown suggested that money spent for re-sodding the firehouse backyard would have been better applied to “conduct service ladder testing.”

That issue, the complaint said, led to verbal abuse directed against McKeown by two fire superior officers. The following day, according to the complaint, McKeown advised the mayor in writing about certain departmental “safety issues.”

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