CEO’s Column

From the 9th Floor- Norman M. Guerra

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the CEO’s Column! This quarterly column will keep Hudson County residents up to date on the wide-ranging work of the Hudson County Improvement Authority.

2016 has been a banner year for the HCIA in various fronts. With 2017 on the horizon, the Commissioners and staff 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.

Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West will be wrapping up its first complete season on December 30. Hudson County’s first public 9-hole golf course has seen tremendous utilization by County residents and visitors alike. This year, Skyway Golf offered a Thanksgiving Day Shotgun which sold-out a week prior to Thanksgiving! Skyway Golf offers a Hudson County Resident Card which allows residents to book tee times in advance of non-card holders as well as receive a preferred County Resident rate at Skyway Golf. Stay tuned for announcements on the 2017 Season at Skyway Golf!

The HCIA’s Recycling & Solid Waste Programs offer various services to residents throughout the County. From household recyclable materials such as aluminum cans, plastic, glass and newspaper, to other items including paint and cell phones, Hudson County maintains an overall recycling rate of 60%, nearly double the national average of 34%. This year, the HCIA held Mobile Shredding, Hazardous Household Waste, Tire Amnesty and E-Waste Collection events throughout Hudson County. Be sure to check our 2017 Calendar for the HCIA’s events which begin in March!

The Hudson County Improvement Authority utilizes Recycle Coach’s My-Waste Application which provides users with municipality-specific trash and recycling pick-up schedules, information on recycling as well as a sign-up for notifications regarding any necessary schedule changes. The My-Waste App is available on the HCIA Website as well as on the HCIA Facebook Page.

Speaking of recycling, the HCIA’s 15th Annual Crayon Recycling Competition is underway from November 14 through December 15. Participating schools will be collecting used crayons which will then be shipped by the HCIA to Crazy Crayons in Minnesota to be recycled into new “Crazy Crayons” which come in many different colors and shapes for re-use. This program teaches students about the benefits of recycling and reuse while conserving landfill space and energy. To date, Hudson County schools have collected and recycled more than 16 tons of crayons! Any schools who are interested in participating must submit a Crayon Pickup Request Form to the HCIA by December 2, 2016. HCIA staff will be picking up the crayons between Wednesday, January 4, 2017 and Friday, January 6, 2017 with winners announced on Friday, January 27, 2017. Winners will be awarded on a percentage basis: the number of pounds of crayons collected divided by the school’s enrollment.

The HCIA is overseeing the construction of the Hudson County Schools of Technology’s High Tech High School which will be located in Laurel Park in Secaucus. Construction of the 350,000-square-foot facility began in May 2016 with completion expected in time for the 2018-19 school year. This state-of-the-art facility, with an estimated cost of $160 million will enroll 1,200 students from across Hudson County through four academies including Digital Design/Fabrication; Performing Arts; Science Technologies; and Technology, Visual Arts & Culinary. The HCIA is excited to be leading this innovative project which will help to shape the future for Hudson County’s youth!

In April 2016, the HCIA was proud to join Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise along with Hudson County elected officials, corporate partners, the Hackensack Riverkeeper and residents to officially open the Laurel Hill Park Waterfront Promenade in Secaucus. This waterfront walkway is ADA-compliant and provides residents with access to one of our County’s most underutilized assets, the Hackensack River and includes new fishing stations, a dog park and other amenities. As HCIA Chairman Frank Pestana said at the ribbon-cutting, “100 years ago, Hudson County was designed as a place of industry…now it’s a place to enjoy living and recreation.”

On Saturday, April 23, residents from across Hudson County descended upon Liberty State Park for the Hudson County Improvement Authority’s 26th Annual Hudson County Earth Day Event! The event was kicked-off with an Earth Day Nature Path Planting where residents assisted in planting native trees and shrubs along the path that had recently been cleared. The Earth Day 5K Run provided a scenic run through Liberty State Park and was followed by the Earth Day Fair which included face painting, games, exhibits as well as a 40 foot aquarium featuring several varieties of fish. Mark your calendars for Earth Day 2017 being held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Liberty State Park!

The Hudson Transportation Management Authority (TMA) is a comprehensive resource for businesses and individuals to simplify travel, increase safety and assist in reducing carbon emissions. The TMA offers programs for employers including a program to develop, promote and monitor employee commuter transportation programs for businesses at no cost. For residents, the TMA offers programs for all types of commuters through multi-modes of transportation including mass transit, vehicles, bicycles or walking. In June, the Hudson TMA hosted Stride & Ride! A Bike Rodeo which promotes outdoor bicycle safety program. Through the efforts of 70 volunteers, this fun and interactive program provides children and adults with a unique educational experience through 10 safety stations and obstacle courses while teaching cycling and walking safety. Be on the lookout for the 2017 Bike Rodeo to be held in June!

From recycling and solid waste removal to improved recreational opportunities, services for commuters and improving educational opportunities for our County’s students, the Hudson County Improvement Authority works tirelessly in service to Hudson County residents and businesses, while being ever-mindful of the impact to taxpayers. We look forward to continued success and growth in improving on our efforts in 2017 and beyond.