On Friday January 6, North Arlington reorganized for 2017 and introduced their new council leaders, while swearing in new members. The night began with the singing of the National Anthem and God Bless America by borough residents Kiana Carbone and Talia Dombrowski, followed by the swearing-in of Mark Yampaglia and Jean Williams as council members. Councilman Daniel Pronti was sworn in as the Council President and Councilwoman Allison Sheedy was sworn in as Council Vice President.
Mayor Joseph Bianchi spoke about his plans to improve on the Borough’s success of the past few years, pointing to redevelopment throughout the town. He explained that the expansion of the town’s tax base is part of his plan for long overdue property tax relief. He also touched on the new apartments being constructed at the old Ridge Lumber location: the FedEx groundbreaking on Porete Avenue, and the overall refurbishing of Porete Avenue that will modernize the area.
Mayor Bianchi thanked outgoing Council members Hughes and Karcic for their service and credited them with being a big part of the efforts. “These projects, which Richie Hughes and Mario Karcic did a great job instituting, will help improve the tax rate,” he stated. “We need to continue moving forward and work together. The people spoke out in support of Mark and Jean. I believe they will do a good job,” he stated.
Pronti addressed the crowd and spoke of the many great changes in the town. He wants to ensure the momentum is sustained. “All members of the council must work together, and pull their own weight. We must continue moving North Arlington forward.” Williams said one issue she’s planning to focus on is the trap/neuter release program. “I’ve trapped 40 cats in five years.” She has been an active advocate for the program and 2016 is the first year there were no stray kittens born in the borough, she said.
Yampaglia stated he intends to address taxes, “because nobody is ever satisfied,” and find ways to curtail spending. “In my mind, there is no reason why we can’t all work together in hopes of lowering the tax base. This is my home and I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make North Arlington an even greater community,” he said.
Mayor Joseph Bianchi said he looks forward to working with Jean and Mark, and acknowledged the hard work all the borough departments do. He also thanked former Councilman Richard Hughes, who was in attendance, for the outstanding job he did on the borough’s 9/11 Memorial that was unveiled in 2016. “There were no borough funds utilized, thanks to former Councilman Hughes, and that’s an incredible feat,” stated the mayor.
Bianchi went on to speak about when he first took office and the empty store fronts along Ridge Road and the different ways the borough has devised to generate a bigger tax base. “There has been so much great improvement. Porete Avenue, for so long was an embarrassment to the community, but now it will be something positive,” the mayor said. “I’ve sat on this body over 12 years, and the last two years we’ve seen the most improvements.”