Mayor’s Message

 

2013 BudgetPreliminary discussions have been held regarding this year’s budget. This year promises to be even more daunting than the last two years due to decreased surplus funds, increased costs incurred from prior years’ projects and the 2% tax cap levy. I am hopeful that the council finance committee will have some estimate of the proposed budget by the time this newsletter goes to print. As I write this (Feb. 11), we do not have a proposed budget nor do we know what surplus funds are available to be used. As the vote last year to exceed the 2% tax cap was overwhelmingly against, I am committed to not having a referendum this year.

 

Police ConsolidationOn November 6, 2012, Demarest voters supported by a vote of 56% - 44%, the referendum to merge the Demarest Police with the Bergen County Police. Demarest then prepared a contract, with the applicable County and Demarest parties involved, passed a resolution to dissolve the Demarest Police Department and introduced an ordinance to merge with the County Police. On December 28, the Bergen County Freeholders voted 4-3 not to merge the County and Demarest Police Departments. This proposal would have saved Demarest taxpayers approximately $400,000 per year while at the same time benefitting County taxpayers and serving as a model for future shared services, not only in Bergen County but across New Jersey. Unlike other proposals to share services, this merger was supported by both Police unions, the County & Demarest Police Chiefs, the County Executive, I and the majority of the Demarest Council; all concerned parties working together. We are continuing to discuss options regarding the police department as well as any other shared services that would result in significant savings for our Borough residents.

 

 Present and Immediate Future Tasks

·       Police & DPW Contracts – We are negotiating new contracts with the Police and DPW unions.

·       Road Paving Projects – Last month, we sent letters to all the residents on unpaved roads within the Borough in order to gauge their interest in paving those roads.

·        E-Waste & Metal Recycling – Electronic recyclables (TVs, computers, etc.) can still be dropped off at the North Borough parking lot by the ambulance corps and DPW building (Wakelee Drive). The bin for these items has been removed but we are still collecting these items to be recycled. By law, these items cannot be left at the curb for trash pickup, nor will the trash collector pick up these items. As we were not able to generate enough metal recyclables to be cost effective, the metal recycling bin has been removed and the Borough will no longer accept metal at this location.

·       Group Home – Work has commenced on converting a home on Knickerbocker Road for use by four adults with developmental disabilities. The Borough’s Housing Trust Funds are being used to fund part of the purchase and renovation of this home.

·       RailRoad Station – We continue to look at the possibility of renting out the station as a café or for other purposes. Consideration of our seniors, Historical Society and other organizations that use the station will be considered in reaching a decision.

·       110 Serpentine Road House - We are working on resolving the issue of selling this property and getting this property back on the tax rolls and eliminating the carrying costs to the Borough. We must consider the requirements in the original purchase agreement.

 

Most importantly, thank you to all the volunteers who helped us in 2012; members of the fire department, ambulance corps, CERT, the many boards and commissions and those involved with our athletic program. Your time and willingness to serve for the betterment of our town are greatly appreciated!

 

Sincerely,

            Ray Cywinski