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Harrison Mayor & Council: Meet Again Tues. Nov. 14, 2023

Nov 13, 2023
Town of Harrison NJ Doors and Eagle Above it Town Hall

The Town of Harrison's Mayor and Council are set to convene on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. The meeting is scheduled to commence at 6:15 p.m. in the Caucus Room, third floor of the town hall, and will start with proposed amendments to Ordinance No. 1498 to the Redevelopment Plan for the RCA Vo-Toys Redevelopment Area. The proposed changes however have not been provided for the public to review. As one Councilman who retired and moved out of town used to say, "They keep us in the dark like mushrooms".

On Thursday, November 2, 2023, the Mayor & Council held a special meeting which was not noticed on the Town of Harrison website.  The November 2, 2023, meeting came on the heels of another special meeting held just a week prior on October 26, 2023.  The Town of Harrison is not known for its robust public comment session at Mayor & Council meetings but since last year there has been an uptick in public participation.  The elimination of a Zoom option has limited public input but holding special meetings and at least one special meeting not posted to the Town website does not help the effort to increase participation at the public session of the meeting.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting includes a variety of resolutions and discussions, such as:

  • A resolution to continue membership in the Garden State Municipal Joint Insurance Fund.
  • A resolution authorizing the submission of an application to the New Jersey Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Decisions on various contracts, including those with RSC Architects for renovations at the Harrison Community Center and Delta Dental for dental insurance coverage.
  • Financial resolutions, including authorization for the Chief Financial Officer to make 2023 year-end transfers and cancellations in various budgets.

Each resolution is crucial to the functioning and development of the town, impacting everything from infrastructure and community facilities to financial management. However, the lack of public access to detailed information, especially concerning the redevelopment plan, casts a shadow over these proceedings.

The council's approach to handling these meetings and the information shared therein is vital to maintaining public trust. As Harrison navigates through these developments and policy decisions, the demand for transparency and community involvement remains at the forefront of civic discourse.

Public Comment Period

The public can address the Council during a designated Public Comment portion of the meeting. This segment provides the citizens of Harrison with an invaluable platform to express their views, share their ideas, and interact directly with their local representatives. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with their questions, concerns, or comments regarding the resolutions, or any other community-related matters. Each speaker is allocated 5 minutes to speak which can be extended at the discretion of the Mayor.

These meetings are a pivotal part of local governance, enabling town leadership to make informed decisions that shape the future of the community. They also serve as a critical space for residents to voice their opinions and contribute to the democratic process. The Mayor and Council of Harrison, NJ are known for their very short meetings. Of late, the meetings have been going longer as more residents are attending and taking the opportunity to address important issues in the Public Session of the meetings.  On Tuesday, July 11, 2023, residents raised the issue of Red Bull Arena games and their inability to access their residences because South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. was closed to vehicular traffic.  Read more about the latter in our article entitled Harrison NJ Residents Cry Foul Over Red Bulls Traffic Restrictions.

The Mayor & Council are holding this meeting In Person as there is no indication on the Town of Harrison website that it will be held via Zoom. The location of the meeting, the Third Floor Conference Room, also indicates that the Mayor & Council anticipate a low turnout from the Public as the Conference Room is a very small space as compared to the Mayor & Council chambers located on the 2nd Floor. The Public is welcome to attend the Caucus session and listen and take notes. The Public can ask questions and comment at the Public session of the meeting on any topic including what was discussed at the Caucus session.  The Public Session is not limited to discussion of Agenda items.  Hope to see you there.

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