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January, 2018

Mayor Bhalla Announces Formation of Public Safety Task Force

Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla is announcing the formation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Safety to address violence and quality of life issues resulting from intoxicated bar patrons. The task force includes Police Chief Ferrante, Provisional Fire Chief Crimmins, Police Capt. Pasculli, Police Sgt. Kucz, Police Sgt. Montanez, Health Officer Frank Sasso, Battalion Fire Chief Buoncuore, Fire Captain DiVincent, Business Administrator Marks, Corporation Counsel Aloia, and Environmental Services Director Pellegrini.

“We can no longer ignore the fact that a small number of establishments are creating a big problem for everyone else in the form of violence, property damage, and financial cost,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “When a person comes from out of town and spits in the face of our officers, as has happened numerous times, that is unacceptable. When an officer is assaulted by an inebriated patron and receives a concussion, as happened to Officer Lombardi on Christmas Eve, I will not allow the status quo to continue.”

  • In 2017, there were 277 ABC violations by liquor license holders.
  • Of 133 liquor license holders, more than half received zero Tavern sheets in 2017 and more than ¾ received two or fewer Tavern sheets.
  • Half of all violations in 2017 were issued to just 11 establishments (8% of license holders).
  • Since August 2017, 15 police officers have been attacked, the majority occurring late at night by intoxicated patrons.
  • On SantaCon, 17 bars received Tavern sheets, while the remaining 87% of establishments were not issued violations.

“The Mayor’s creation of this task force is not about hurting the bar and restaurant industry in town,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “This task force is going to take a deep look into incidents, events, and problem bars that are contributing to a decay of our city’s quality of life, causing injuries to our residents, visitors, and police officers, and hurting most of the businesses in town, including a majority of our bars and restaurants. The disruption that SantaCon brought to this great city, its residents, and business owners the week before Christmas and during Hanukkah, just so 10 to 15 percent of our bars can profit, is unacceptable!”

“I fully support this task force as a means to develop policies that protect public safety,” said Provisional Fire Chief Brian Crimmins. “I look forward to working with Mayor Bhalla, Chief Ferrante, and community leaders to achieve this goal.”

Police Officer and past president of the Hoboken PBA Vincent Lombardi, who suffered a concussion from an assault by an inebriated patron on Christmas Eve, supported the Task Force’s efforts, stating, “The escalation of disorderly and violent behavior by inebriated bar patrons against police officers, of which I am a recent victim, has spawned into a quality of life crisis. I welcome and fully support Mayor Bhalla’s decision in addressing this ugly trend for the sake of officer safety and serenity within our city.”

The first step in the Task Force’s efforts, based on the recommendation of the Hoboken Fire Department, is to increase the fines levied for overcrowding and other imminent hazards during all high-volume events to the maximum amount permitted by the Uniform Fire Code Statutes and Regulations. Fines for non-compliance will increase to $2,500 for a first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses. Additional steps will be taken by the Task Force in the coming weeks.

“At Little City Books we are grateful to Mayor Bhalla for addressing this issue,” said co-owner Kate Jacobs. “On the corner of 1st and Bloomfield, we are surrounded by bars that are generally very good neighbors, keeping our surrounding blocks lively. The ‘Cons,’ however, are severely damaging to the success of our business —  especially SantaCon which occurs on a Saturday before Christmas, a critical day for a low-profit margin business like a bookstore, which should be our most profitable day of the year. On the ‘Con’ days, our staff is harassed and intimidated by drunk people and we have always had to close early, with business down by about 40 percent. Our store is a destination for families with children, and no one brings children into that neighborhood when it is so out of control and vile from morning until night. Curbing the excesses of the ‘Cons’ would be a great thing for our business, for the residents of Hoboken, and for the reputation of the town.”

Statement from Mayor Bhalla on Union Dry Dock Acquisition

Today the NJ Transit Board of Directors was again scheduled to vote on the acquisition of the Union Dry Dock property and to lease the property back to NY Waterway for a ferry refueling and maintenance facility, however the measure was pulled from the agenda.

“This is a huge step forward and a continuation of Hoboken’s decades-long efforts to transform our industrial waterfront into public open space,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “Our waterfront is an asset not just to our community, but the entire state, and I will fight tooth and nail to preserve the former Union Dry Dock property as open space. We value NY Waterway and their role in our regional transportation system, and I want to work with them and all stakeholders to find a comprehensive solution that will benefit our entire region. I thank Governor-elect Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez, Senator Stack, Assemblywoman Chaparro, Assemblyman Mukherji, the Hoboken City Council, and all of the activists and residents who raised their voices and made a difference.”

Community Invited to Complete Survey & Attend Public Meeting on Madison Street Park Renovation

The City of Hoboken will be redesigning, renovating, and upgrading Madison Street Park, located at 3rd Street and Madison Street. The purpose of the project is to upgrade old equipment and make better use of limited park space.

Members of the community are invited to provide input on the project by completing an online survey available at www.hobokennj.gov/madisonparksurvey.

A public meeting to gather additional public input will held on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 from 7pm to 9pm at the Multi Service Center, located at 124 Grand Street. A public notice will follow for a public hearing scheduled for February 15, 2018 from 7pm to 9pm at the Multi Service Center.

Hoboken Seeks Applicants for Rebuild by Design Citizens Advisory Group

As the Rebuild by Design-Hudson River project enters the design phase, the City of Hoboken is seeking applications from members of the Hoboken community interested in participating in Hoboken’s Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) for the project.

Apply online at: https://hoboken.seamlessdocs.com/f/rbdcag

Applications should be submitted by January 31st, 2018. The volunteer term will be approximately 2 years, less if the design advances expediently. CAG members are expected to be full participants in the process, including attendance at a minimum number of meetings. A wait list will be created for interested citizens to replace any CAG members who are unable to fully participate in the process.

The Rebuild by Design Citizen Outreach Plan provides additional information on the purpose of the CAG:

The purpose of the CAG is to provide a forum for exchange of information between the Outreach Subcommittee and key citizens and citizen groups representative of that community. CAG members will be responsible for bringing issues and concerns to the table as well as sharing information from the Executive Steering Committee and NJDEP with their constituents, including members of vulnerable populations. The CAGs will be composed of representatives from a variety of communities within each town. The mayors and/or their representatives will be responsible for working with the NJDEP Constituent Services Manager to identify members of their communities who will populate the CAG in each of the three cities. Each CAG will communicate with the Outreach Subcommittee representative(s) of t heir town, who will bring issues and information to the larger Executive Steering Committee. CAG members will supplement the knowledge of local government officials or their delegates about the project areas and provide input on ideas, problems, observations and solutions. Specifically, CAG members will be expected to:

  • Share information about Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge project goals and objectives with their constituents;
  • Share the processes and procedures that will be followed in implementing the project;
  • Determine what community priorities or concerns exist about the project as it develops;
  • Bring the priorities, issues and concerns of the larger community to the attention of the Outreach Subcommittee, and
  • Share with the Outreach Subcommittee and project team what local networks DEP should use to establish and maintain a dialogue.

The role of the NJDEP will be to provide project updates, explain processes and procedures on the various phases of the project, solicit input from stakeholders and the public, and answer questions during CAG meetings. The role of the mayors will be to host the CAG meetings and general public meetings, and work with the NJDEP Constituent Services Manager and RBD Project Team on the logistics and scheduling of meetings. At major milestones, the three municipal-level CAGs may convene to meet together as one large group, identified as the Regional CAG. The NJDEP will notice all Regional CAG meetings on the NJDEP’s OFHRRM website and inform the public signed up for the NJDEP email listserv. All the NJDEP’s Regional CAG meetings are by invitation only to Regional CAG members; however they are open to the public to observe.

City Seeks Applicants for Communications Manager

The City of Hoboken is seeking applicants for the position of Communications Manager. The Communications Manager reports directly to the Mayor and is responsible for all internal and external communications within the City of Hoboken. Click here to view a complete job description. Interested candidates should submit a resume to jallen@hobokennj.gov.

 

Important Update From Mayor Bhalla On NJ Transit’s Plans to Acquire Union Dry Dock for Ferry Maintenance Facility

Today the NJ Transit Board of Directors was scheduled to vote on purchasing the Union Dry Dock property and leasing the property back to NY Waterway for use as a ferry maintenance and refueling facility. The meeting was abruptly cancelled due to a lack of quorum. Following the cancelled meeting, NJ Transit issued a notice for a rescheduled board meeting at 10am on Friday, January 12, 2018.

“Today was a tremendous victory for Hoboken, and more importantly, for good government,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “Hitting the pause button on this rushed and ill-conceived plan provides NJ Transit the opportunity, under the leadership of the incoming Murphy Administration, to begin a deliberative and transparent planning process that considers input from all stakeholders, including the public.  Any further attempts to subvert this process will be met with fierce resistance from me, and I pledge to use every resource at my disposal to protect Hoboken’s interests.

Thank you to Governor-elect Murphy, who understood the need for local voices to be heard on this matter. Thank you to Senator Menendez and Senator Booker for their advocacy. And a big thank you to Senator Stack, Assemblywoman Chaparro, Assemblyman Mukherji, the Hoboken City Council Members, and all of the advocates and residents who have been united on this issue.”

Hoboken Public Library Newsletter for January

The Hoboken Public Library newsletter for January, 2018 is now available.

Street Cleaning Enforcement Resumes on Monday, Jan 8 to Plow Parking Lanes

Enforcement of alternate side parking/street cleaning regulations will resume on Monday, January 8th to allow crews to plow snow from parking lanes.

Parking is now permitted on all snow emergency routes: Washington Street, Observer Highway, Willow Avenue, 3rd Street, 4th Street, 5th Street, 9th Street, and 13th Street.

Garbage and recycling pickup remains on the regular schedule.

Mayor Bhalla Announces Jason Freeman as Deputy Chief of Staff

Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla announced today that he has appointed Jason Freeman to serve as his Deputy Chief of Staff.

“I welcome Mr. Freeman to my Administration and thank him for stepping up to serve our community,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Jason will play a key role as we focus on improving city services and upgrading our infrastructure.”

Jason has worked for several community engagement and non-profit organizations, most recently as the Director of Development for the New Jersey Region of the Anti-Defamation League. He attended the Pennsylvania State University where he studied Political Science and Labor Employment Relations. Jason lives in Hoboken with his fiancée, Rachel Hodes.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Mayor Bhalla’s administration and look forward to serving the people of Hoboken,” said Mr. Freeman.

Winter Storm Warning Issued; Drivers Reminded to Move Vehicles from Snow Emergency Routes

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area with a forecast for 4 to 8 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour. Crews from the Department of Environmental Services have made preparations to begin salting and plowing operations during the overnight hours.

Parking Prohibited on Snow Routes
Drivers are reminded that parking is prohibited on snow emergency routes when streets are snow covered or when a snow emergency is declared. Vehicles parked on snow routes are subject to ticketing and towing. The decision on when to tow vehicles from snow routes is made by the Office of Emergency Management based on weather forecasts and road conditions.

Based on current forecasts, the Office of Emergency management expects to issue the order to begin towing during overnight hours. Since the decision to tow could be made while residents are asleep, drivers are strongly urged to move their vehicles from snow routes before this evening.

This is necessary to move police, fire, ambulances, and snow plows throughout Hoboken in time of emergency for the safety and welfare of all our citizens. Emergency Snow Routes in Hoboken are labeled with street signs that read “No Parking When Road Is Snow Covered.” A map of snow routes is available at www.hobokennj.gov/snow.

Snow Emergency Routes & No Parking Permitted:

  • Washington Street (Both Sides)
  • Observer Highway – Henderson St to Hudson St (Both Sides)
  • Willow Avenue (West Side) – Observer Hwy to 11th St
  • 3rd Street (North Side) – Jackson St to River St
  • 4th Street (South Side) – River St to Jackson St
  • 5th Street (South Side) – Clinton St to River St
  • 9th Street (North Side) – Clinton St to River St
  • 13th Street (North Side) – Washington St to Willow Ave (Snow route + Temporary No Parking Signs posted from Hudson Street to Washington Street and Willow Avenue to Madison Street)

Discounted Garage Parking
The City of Hoboken will provide reduced rate $5 per day parking in municipal Garage B (located on 2nd Street between Hudson and River Streets) and Garage D (215 Hudson Street) for residents with a valid Resident parking permit or Temporary parking permit placard beginning Wednesday, January 3rd at 8:00pm through Thursday, January 4th at 8:00pm. In addition, Hoboken residents with disabilities who possess either a handicapped license plate or hang tag for their permitted vehicle may also park in the Midtown garage (371 4th Street) for the same reduced rate. Garage parking space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. When discounted parking is offered, garages frequently fill before the start of the discount period. Residents who wish to park in the garage outside of the discounted hours will be charged the regular garage fees during non-discount hours.

Street Cleaning
Street cleaning enforcement is suspended for Thursday, January 4th and is scheduled to resume on Friday, January 5th.

Garbage & Recycling
Regular garbage and recycling pickup remains on schedule, however residents are asked not to dispose of Christmas trees until next week (Place curbside next Tuesday and Thursday after 9pm. Do not wrap in plastic.)

Keeping Sidewalks Clear
Property owners/occupants are reminded that they have six hours after the completion of a storm to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property, along with adjoining wheelchair ramps or curb cuts. Residents are urged to assist elderly or disabled neighbors with clearing snow from their properties. It is illegal to shovel snow back onto streets or onto fire hydrants. The City is responsible for clearing sidewalks around City-owned properties.

The City performs proactive inspections and also relies on citizen complaints to help identify those property owners that are not meeting sidewalk safety requirements. The vast majority of property owners comply with these regulations, but the City will issue fines to those who do not keep sidewalks clear.

Reporting Problems
To report an unplowed street, unshoveled sidewalk, or other problem, residents can submit an online complaint via www.hoboken311.com or via the Hoboken 311 mobile application.