In a recent meeting of the Hasbrouck Heights Borough Council, key decisions were made surrounding public safet and notable discussions were had about increasing property taxes.
Public safety issues dominated much of the meeting’s discourse. Resident Kathy Prosec of Baldwin Avenue raised concerns about several accidents on her property due to speeding cars and poor lighting. She proposed a digital speed limit sign, a lighting study, and a traffic study as potential solutions, which were echoed by other community members.
Addressing these concerns, the council acknowledged the pressing issue and outlined the current measures in place, including a ticketing system issuing an average of 750 tickets per month. The council also demonstrated a willingness to consider new ideas and confirmed that steps were being taken to address the situation, including the possibility of installing cameras at intersections. However, they conceded that a definitive solution had not yet been found.
The subject of noise pollution, particularly from the Boulevard and Highway 17, was another major concern. Residents described the prolonged noise from vehicles, with some pointing to the disturbance from illegally modified car mufflers. The council recognized this as a wider societal issue and assured residents they were exploring solutions.
The meeting also touched on retirements and public improvements. Announcements were made of the retirements of Leonard Bahe from the Department of Public Works and Justin Trell from the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department. Additionally, Ordinance 2530 authorized various public improvements, including acquiring a new firetruck, which elicited Councilman Bobby Kistner’s gratitude to the fire department.
Tax increases became another hotly debated issue. The average house value was estimated at $495,000, and the predicted tax increase for 2023 was around $377.96. However, a discrepancy arose when an attendee disputed this figure, claiming her increase was approximately $1,200. The council attributed the increase to ‘rolling assessments’ based on current market values, while also acknowledging the increased tax burden on residential properties due to decreased rateable value of commercial properties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the council defended its budget decisions, asserting the lowest local tax increase in five years, attendees questioned the council’s spending habits. Despite the contention, the council invited the public to examine their budget more closely and emphasized their thorough scrutiny of every expense.