CEO Column
From the 9th Floor

- Norman M. Guerra

Spring is in the air and it is an exciting time at the Hudson County Improvement Authority!

In February, the HCIA Commissioners held their 2017 Reorganization Meeting. The HCIA was proud to welcome our newest commissioner, Commissioner Brian K. Dellabella of Bayonne. Commissioners Frank Pestana and James Doran, Ed.D., were re-elected as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, while Commissioner Nicholas Goldsack was elected Treasurer and Commissioner Frank Lorenzo was re-elected as Treasurer. The Commissioners and staff of the HCIA are looking forward to another successful year in advancing the HCIA’s mission of providing a wide range of services to residents and businesses of Hudson County at the least cost to taxpayers.

Thanks to a mild winter along with a determined construction team, the development of the new Hudson County Schools of Technology High Tech High School at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus is progressing. At the end of January, I was honored to join Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Schools of Technology Board of Education President Craig Guy, Superintendent of Schools Frank Gargiulo and Director of Planning, Research & Evaluation Joseph Sirangelo for the “Topping Off” Ceremony for the new structure. Work continues on the school with anticipated completion and opening for the 2018-19 School Year. Upon completion, this 340,000 square foot building will consist of a three-story central hub consisting of classrooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria, gymnasium, a 400-seat theater and three extensions for teaching environments. Follow the Hudson County Improvement Authority on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our #BacktoSchoolMonday which provides weekly updates on the progress of construction!

Golf is back in Hudson County! With warmer weather on the horizon, Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West in Jersey City has re-opened for the 2017 season! Hudson County residents are encouraged to purchase a Hudson County Resident Card at Skyway Golf which enables them to book tee times in advance of non-card holders as well as receive the preferred County resident rate. Skyway Golf also offers instructional packages to golfers of all ages and may be taken individually or in a group format. Skyway Golf Course offers events throughout the year which are open to residents and non-residents including Pig Roasts, and popular Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve Shotguns! The course is also available for private Golf Outings. Come and check out Hudson County’s finest Public Golf experience!

Get ready for a racket- a tennis racket that is! Tennis season is approaching. This year, the HCIA has completed the resurfacing of six tennis courts at James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen which also includes new nets and new lighting on the courts. The tennis community can also enjoy the HCIA's tennis courts at Lincoln Park in Jersey City. Registration for Hudson County Resident Cards for access to the County’s Tennis Courts will begin on April 1 at the Tennis Office. Proper identification is required for residents at all times. Access to the courts are free of charge for County residents, however there is a nominal fee for all other players. For the County’s youth, registration will be available soon for the 2017 Summer Tennis Program for Kids, sponsored by the Hudson County Division of Parks.

Please join us for the Hudson County Improvement Authority’s 27th Annual Earth Day Fair at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The day kicks off with the Annual Earth Day 5K at 10 a.m. Register now for this scenic and fun 5K along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway! The Earth Day Festival will be held from 11 am til 4 pm and will include fun for all ages including live entertainment, face painting, games, exhibits, inflatable rides, food trucks and kite flying! This year's theme is “Trees For the Earth.” Earth Day promises to again be a great day of fun for all ages!

In preparation for Earth Day, the HCIA is hosting the 2017 Earth Day Calendar Art Contest which is open to any Hudson County student from Kindergarten through 8th Grade. This year’s theme is “Trees for the Earth” or #Trees4Earth. Four pieces of artwork will be selected from each of the following grade categories: Kindergarten through Grade 2; Grade 3 through Grade 5; and Grade 6 through 8. Winning posters will be included in the HCIA’s 2018 printed calendar which will be distributed to all Hudson County elementary and middle schools in December. The winners of the Earth Day Calendar Art Contest will be recognized at a special ceremony in the “Awards Tent” at 1 pm at the HCIA's Earth Day Fair. More information is available by clicking HERE. Entries are due by Wednesday, March 22.

Spring also means the beginning of the HCIA’s Mobile Shredding Days, Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sales and Household Hazardous Waste Collection & Tire Amnesty Days. These popular events are scheduled from March 25 through October 28 at locations throughout Hudson County. Check the HCIA’s Calendar of Events for the event closest to you.

The HCIA’s Mobile Shredding Days provide residents with the opportunity to have their personal, confidential and/or sensitive documents shredded for free by certified mobile-shredding professionals. Residents are asked to remove large binder clips from documents, however, staples and paper clips may remain in documents. In an effort to accommodate those residents wishing to participate, please limit your documents to no more than 40 pounds. For more information, check out the March-edition of the HCIA Blog.

This Spring, the HCIA is proud to again host Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sales Events throughout Hudson County. Compost bins and rain barrels each provide residents with financial and environmental benefits. A compost bin collects organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, coffee grinds, and other materials in order to decompose and transform into humus- a rich nutrient-filled material. The humus produced in a compost bin can be added to plants and lawns to provide necessary nutrients, rather than end of directly in a landfill. A rain barrel captures and stores rainwater as it drains from a roof connecting directly from a downspout. The barrel includes a spigot for filling watering cans as well as a connection for a hose. Not only does rain barrel use save on a resident’s water costs, the water captured in a rain barrel is also healthier for plants and lawns since it does not include the inorganic ions and fluoride compounds typically found in tap water which can accumulate in the soil and harm plant roots over time.

Finally, the HCIA will be holding Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days Free Tire Amnesty Events for Hudson County residents. These free events provide residents the ability to remove hazardous materials commonly found around the home. Such materials include: thermostats; cleaners and corrosives; pool and photographic chemicals; oil-based paints and varnishes; rechargeable and car batteries; barbecue propane tanks; solvents and thinners; pesticide and herbicides; formaldehyde; used motor oil; old gasoline; fire extinguishers; compact fluorescent bulbs & tubes; antifreeze; marine and auto flares. In addition, these events provide residents with the opportunity to bring old computers, monitors, mouse, keyboards, tablets and cell phones for safe disposal. No printers or televisions will be accepted. Residents may also bring up to 4 tires for proper disposal.

It is an exciting, yet busy time at the Hudson County Improvement Authority as we continue to advance the HCIA’s mission of providing a wide range of services to residents and businesses of Hudson County at the least cost to taxpayers. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events throughout Hudson County!