NJ.com: 10 N.J. police departments awarded $12.2M to hire, rehire officers

Nine cities and one county in New Jersey will share $12.2 million in federal funding meant to create and protect police officer jobs.

The US Department of Justice announced yesterday that it was distributing about $124 million of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, money to police departments nationwide. US Attorney Paul Fishman announced today the portion of those funds that will be allocated to New Jersey departments.

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The Record: No fines for signs

PARAMUS HAS a law on the books restricting campaign signs from appearing around the borough earlier than 35 days before elections that goes unenforced by local authorities. While many find the annual plethora of campaign signs around the county to be an eyesore, they are actually good for democracy.

Certain restrictions are reasonable for placing campaign signs. For instance, they should never interfere with a public right of way, and should be removed in a timely fashion after an election is over. But ultimately, the First Amendment supports citizens' rights to express their political opinions in this manner.

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Record: Probe dispels report of illegal dumping on Paramus construction site

PARAMUS — There is no evidence of contamination or illegal dumping of debris on a borough construction site to build affordable housing for disabled veterans, according to an independent report commissioned by the council.

The report also found that the councilman who raised the accusations should not have done so publicly.

The revelation of the report’s existence sparked a tense debate during Tuesday’s council meeting among the governing body and the public, most of whom are players in the borough’s Republican and Democratic parties, there to speak on different issues.

Councilman Stephen Sullivan, one of two Republicans on the dais, alleged during the June 24 council meeting that he witnessed “debris being dumped” at the construction site illegally, according to the report, which was conducted by the Teaneck law firm DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick and Cole.

Sullivan also claimed he went to the borough’s construction official, George Georgeou, about the possible contamination, and said that Georgeou was “slack” in his duties, according to the report.

But according to Georgeou’s account, Sullivan approached the construction official in May and asked what should be done if fill were dumped at the site. Georgeou apparently told Sullivan that the site’s contractor should remove it, according to the report. The councilman then reportedly told Georgeou to wait to take action.

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Record: Bergen County freeholders put plan for access road in Paramus on hold

The Bergen County freeholders shelved on Wednesday a proposal to build a $1.1 million access road to a new County Public Works facility until it can consider safety and traffic concerns raised by Paramus officials.

Borough officials want the county to instead route the road through the adjacent 65-acre county-owned Bergen Regional Medical Center to the Public Works facility, which is under construction near Farview Avenue and Pascack Road.

A traffic engineer hired by the borough told the board that doing so would be less harmful to residents in terms of traffic and safety than the road the administration had proposed.

"This is a better plan from a safety and operation point of view," engineer Louis Lugligo said.

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Patch: Crime Rates Fall in Paramus

New Jersey State Police have released their Uniform Crime Report for the first two quarters of 2014. According to their ParamusPatch.JPGreports, Paramus’s crime index has fallen from 672 to 589 in the last year, a 12 percent decrease in crime.

After 18 incidents of violent crime between January and June 2013, Paramus saw 9 such incidents in the first two quarters of this year.

Paramus Police reported 654 nonviolent crimes in the first half of 2013, and 580 in the first half of 2014, falling 11 percent.

For more statistics, go to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

Originally posted at: http://patch.com/new-jersey/paramus/crime-rates-fall-paramus

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Letter to the Editor on County DPW Facility

To the Editor:

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and her administration have again delivered a clear message to Paramus residents by attempting to shift the blame for a massive new facility housing the County DPW, Bergen County Police, Bergen County Technical Schools and Bergen County Special Services schools that is infringing on residential neighborhoods in the borough. That message again is simple – Donovan doesn't care. County Executive Donovan does not care that the County facilities have led to disruptive construction activities, removal of trees and additional heavy truck traffic on previously quiet Paramus residential streets. Donovan does not care that residents in the area are outraged and feel like their voices are not being heard. Donovan clearly does not care, because instead of listening she instructs her administration to keep parroting a talking point that the borough was "informed" in an attempt to shift blame. This is despite the fact that when I met with her to defend the quality of life in Paramus, and oppose this intensification of County facilities, she made it very clear to myself and a local Republican colleague that, “this is county land and she will do with it what she pleases,” despite potential decline of residents’ quality of life and home values. Donovan just doesn't care. 

I wish this were an isolated incident, however this is not the first time Donovan showed her lack of respect for Paramus. A few short years ago the County Executive tried to use Hurricane Sandy to accomplish what has to be a long held political goal of hers -- to chip away at our Blue Laws. Donovan tried to order and then dragged Paramus to court in order to force us to allow retail stores to open and to allow a potentially precedent-setting period of Sunday shopping. While it seems the Bergen County courthouse seems to be her favorite place to spend her time as County Executive, it is clear Donovan did not care about us then and she does not care about us now. 

While Paramus is one of Bergen County's largest and one of its most economically essential municipalities, it is home to almost 30,000 residents that are tired of this County Executive literally dumping on them. We deserve to be treated with some respect and our community preserved, not just run over by Kathleen Donovan again and again. Paramus has had enough. 

Mayor Rich LaBarbiera 

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Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign

Mayor Rich LaBarbiera officially kicked off his re-election campaign by submitting nominating petitions this week. Mayor LaBarbiera, who was elected in 2010 after two terms on the Borough Council, will be running with Councilwoman Maria Elena Bellinger and Councilman Joseph Garcia.

Under Mayor LaBarbiera’s leadership municipal taxes in Paramus have been frozen for the last four years with absolutely no increase at all. This has come without any reductions in government services, the elimination of $10 million in debt and a dramatic increase in surplus from $40,000 to $9 million. Mayor LaBarbiera has also vigorously defended Paramus’ cherished Blue Laws to protect quality of life, created and reinstated beloved public programs like the Fourth of July fireworks and DARE Program, and fostered a greater sense of community and pride in Paramus. All of this led Moody’s Investors Service to upgrade the borough’s bond rating last year to Aa1, which is among the highest of any municipalities in the state.

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