HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- Two years into his term as Mayor of Hasbrouck Heights, Jack DeLorenzo seems like he has settled into the role.
DeLorenzo thought for a moment when asked if anything had really surprised him when he became Mayor, before answering, “No, nothing really surprised me” pointing out his previous experience as a member of the school board and police department did not make him exactly a newcomer as to how Hasbrouck Heights operates.
He is, however, frustrated by some of the never-ending rules and regulations towns must maneuver through on a regular basis. But at the local level, the path is a lot less tangled.
DeLorenzo took a measured approached when he began putting his stamp on how he would like Hasbrouck Heights Borough management to work.
“The first year, we spent a lot of time observing how things ran, gaining an understanding of the process before making changes," DeLorenzo said. "This year, we are starting to make changes.”
Parking on the Boulevard and taxes are the two problems that DeLorenzo admitted he hears from a lot of people, and something that he cannot do as much about as most people would like. Parking has been a problem for years. Like everyone else, taxes are something that DeLorenzo is concerned about.
“It is just not a Hasbrouck Heights problem, or even a Bergen County problem, but I do worry about the impact of taxes, especially on the elderly and younger families,” he said. “You have senior citizens who want to stay in Hasbrouck Heights, and who live on limited incomes, maybe only social security.
“I also see how it impacts younger families, who wish to move to Hasbrouck Heights, and we want younger people to come into our community, but they can’t. We are not the only town that has that problem, but it still concerns me."
DeLorenzo noted that the average tax levy in Hasbrouck Heights went up only $7 last year, He was pleased when speaking about the money the Board of Education was notified they will be receiving from the state as part of the funding reallocation.
“The Board of Education reached out to us (the town) and offered half of the amount back as tax relief, which was certainly appreciated,“ DeLorenzo stated. “It will help keep taxes down, even if just a little. Every little bit helps."
As for parking, he is looking forward to working with Chamber of Commerce and Council on a solution, and hearing what proposals come forward.
Growth, not so much in Hasbrouck Heights, but in Wood-Ridge at Wesmont Station and from the new shopping mall in Teterboro, has impacted everyone in Hasbrouck Heights. Traffic, from either additional residents in Wood-Ridge, or going to/coming home from the shopping center have more people on the town's streets.
“And one traffic accident on Route 17 or Route 46, and everyone starts using Hasbrouck Heights as a way to get around the issue, “ he added.
At Teterboro Landing, the growth of the shopping center resulted in Hasbrouck Heights no longer being responsible for responding to fire and ambulance calls to all of Teterboro. Effective for 2017, Hasbrouck Heights will only respond to residential calls in Teterboro, but will not go to the shopping center for ambulance calls. Those calls will be handled by Hackensack Medical Center Emergency Services.
“There were too many calls, for Hasbrouck Heights, as volunteers, to respond to on a daily basis,” he stated. “There were days when there were seven, eight calls. It was just too much to ask from people who are volunteers.”
Looking forward, DeLorenzo was enthusiastic when speaking about the new Hasbrouck Heights town website, which should be launched in the next few months.
“We have not updated the design of the website in a while, “ he stated. “This will be a big improvement.”