Despite pandemic, Linden wards report many advances in 2020

LINDEN, NJ — At the Linden Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, council members reported that, despite the limitations imposed on them by the COVID-19 pandemic, they were still able to accomplish a number of tasks in the past year.

The financial report from the Division of Transportation and Parking for the month of December 2020 included the amount collected from on- and off-street parking meters, railroad parking lots, railroad permits and merchant parking permits, said 1st Ward Councilwoman Lisa Ormon during the meeting. She said the Trenton-side lot collections were $739; the New York-side lot collections were $349; the in-person railroad parking permits were $270; the online railroad parking permits were $6,018; the parking meter collections were $6,424.30; and the merchant permits were $2,033, for a grand total of $25,923.13 submitted by Traffic Maintenance Supervisor Tyrone Givens.

“For the Traffic Department, we are now doing Street of the Week. Baltimore Avenue and the 5th and 8th Wards are our Street of the Week,” Ormon continued, adding how successful the program had been over the last six months at slowing down and correcting bad driving behavior throughout the city of Linden.

“The Department of Public Works has trimmed and removed so many bad trees in the entire 1st Ward, just making it safer for all,” Ormon said. “They’ve gone through and removed all of the stumps. I want to say thank you to all of them for their diligence and their hard work. Besides the trees, some potholes were taken care of, even though we didn’t have a lot of snow, and I thank them for that.”

Orman said a lot of utility work had been done in the 1st Ward by Engineering. “Every time there was a site problem with removing material or other little issues that crept up, Engineering stepped up and rectified a lot of the problems. I want to thank them, also,” she added.

“We’ve had lots of violations that occurred in the 1st Ward, and I’d like to say thank you. Because of your diligence and your hard work,” Ormon said, “a lot of those violations have been corrected. Whenever there was a problem with the permits being issued, every time I called, they stepped up to the plate and they took care of it. It’s a complete effort by everyone in the city.”

Due to COVID-19, Orman said, the 1st Ward was not able to do a lot of the things that they typically do, such as the barbecue and the Easter egg hunt; however, she reported that the annual Fall 1st Ward Yard Sale and Craft Grab-and-Go had taken place, and she hoped more activities would be able to occur in the spring.

Chairperson of the Fire Committee and 2nd Ward Councilman Barry Javick said the Fire Prevention Bureau collected $5,310.55 in December 2020. As for Linden Fire Department and Ambulance billing, he said $76,220.06 for December 2020 had been added to the deposits for 2020, bringing the year’s total to $721,042.47.

Javick next spoke about year-end holiday decorations, saying that “2021 is here, and the ending of 2020 went out with the best decorations our uptown has ever seen, thanks to Mike Bono, our city committee and staff. The 2nd Ward would like to congratulate Edwardo and Gladys Torres, who enhanced our holiday experience by decorating their home and winning the Cultural and Heritage Decorating contest. If you would like to see their home, just go to my Facebook site, 2nd Ward Councilman Barry Javick.”

Javick also applauded improvements in roads, sidewalks, finished parks and a new county Fire Academy. He added that residents are receiving a zero-percent municipal tax increase.

“Some of my goals for this year are in completion,” Javick said. “Completion of roads being repaved, sidewalks replaced and two parks finished. The dog park at Lexington will get up and running this year. Residents are looking forward to this, and this will be our second dog park in Linden.

“I’m also confident that our Police Traffic Bureau will establish a truck rally and, through the necessary marking enhancements, slow down the traffic in our ward,” he continued. “I want my residents to know I’m working with the mayor and council president to bring forth a Linden that will thrive into the future. This isn’t easy, given the COVID environment, but we will all get through this together.

“A new county Fire Academy is being established in Linden on Edward Street, which is the site of the former Juvenile Detention Center. This facility will have classes starting Feb. 1,” he added.

As the Information Technology chairperson, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Monique Caldwell announced at the meeting that 102 permits were issued. “Certificates were 26, and, for the month of December, it was a total of $139,000,” she said. “We’re going to be rolling out the laptops that we purchased for employees to work from home. We’re going to be looking at revising some of the policies and procedures for use of your laptop at city hall.”

Caldwell also thanked Public Works and the Sewer Team for their help last year and touched on work that will be done by Elizabethtown Gas on a number of streets.
“A lot of people have reached out to me about yellow and blue flags,” Caldwell said. “The yellow flags mean gas, and the blue flags mean water. There’s going to be work done on Maple Avenue, Clark Street, Roselle Street, Jackson Avenue, Cleveland Avenue, Union Street, East Curtis Street, Middlesex Street, East Henry Street and they will be paving it upon completion.”

She said Linden would be paving Clark Street, Pierce Avenue, Middlesex Street, East Givens Street, Baldwin Avenue, Third Avenue and Walnut Street.

“I want to congratulate President elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their inauguration, and I want to thank Officer Eugene Goodman for saving so many lives at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” she added.

More reports from remaining council members can be heard on the Linden Council meeting YouTube video.