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North Bergen ordinance would establish Green Environmental Advisory Committee

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The North Bergen Board of Commissioners meet in person at Town Hall. Photo by Art Schwartz

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The North Bergen Board of Commissioners meet in person at Town Hall. Photo by Art Schwartz

The North Bergen Board of Commissioners have introduced an ordinance to form a Green Environmental Advisory Committee.

“We’ve been talking about forming this Green Environmental Advisory Committee,” Township Counsel Tom Kobin said at the Jan. 26 meeting.

The committee is going to consist of those who currently sit on the Senior Citizen and Disabled Persons Condominium Cooperative Conversion Protection Board.

“That board is still in existence, but it never meets,” Kobin said.

The board only meets when necessary instead of monthly due to lack of any agenda, and members are now paid based on attendance to address quorum issues, following ordinances adopted by the Board of Commissioners last year.

“It’s there but it’s not doing anything,” Kobin said. “It’s members are not doing anything. So we’re creating this new committee.”

There will be the same number of members as the Senior Citizen and Disabled Persons Condominium Cooperative Conversion Protection Board, nine to be exact.

“The members would serve a one-year term,” Kobin said. “The mayor appoints them with the advice and consent of the Board of Commissioners.”

A committee secretary serving the same term would also be appointed. The committee would meet monthly, but that is not set in stone.

“I worded it in such a way that if it gets onerous for monthly meetings, like they start running out of things to discuss, it doesn’t necessarily have to be monthly,” Kobin said. “It’ll probably be monthly at least to start out, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way.”

Investigating green ideas

The purpose of the committee is to look into new green initiatives that may be applicable to North Bergen.

“They’re going to investigate and evaluate and sort of ferret out any kind of green or environmental ideas, initiatives, programs and anything like that,” Kobin said.

However, the committee is purely advisory in nature, he added: “They can’t take any action. They can’t enter contracts. It’s all advisory… It will coordinate with Janet and they can make recommendations to the mayor and the Board of Commissioners.”

According to Kobin, the committee will get paid the same as the other boards such as the Traffic Advisory Board or the Rent Leveling Board. Additionally, the committee is not going to be subject to the Open Public Meetings Act.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco asked if Hailey Benson of NB Earth Talks, an environmental advocate who frequents commissioners meetings, would be on the committee, to which Kobin and Township Administrator Janet Castro responded that she wouldn’t be since the committee would be made up of those on the Senior Citizen and Disabled Persons Condominium Cooperative Conversion Protection Board. They added that she could be appointed as a community liaison to the committee.

In terms of other potential committee members, Kobin pointed to Tom Stampe. Stampe is currently on the Senior Citizen and Disabled Persons Condominium Cooperative Conversion Protection Board, and under the ordinance, would also serve on this new committee.

“Tom Stampe is a good person to be on the committee,” Kobin said. “He’s on the co-op board, so he would come over.”

“We already had a board established, and we just wanted it to roll over,” Castro said. “Tom Stampe has welcome knowledge when it comes to green issues.”

Kobin said the board will likely make appointments to the committee at the next meeting. The next North Bergen Board of Commissioners meeting is on Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. in the municipal chambers at Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, go to northbergen.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected] 

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