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Less fires – more paid firemen

Can Hoboken save? With less fires – hire less firemen?

Stumbled across this interesting article about fire statistics over the past 35 years in America. We have less fires than ever in this country, yet 50% MORE paid firemen!

The chart below shows that in 1980 – we (America) had 225k paid firefighters, who handled close to 2.4 million working fire calls. And today – we have 340k paid firefighters, but for over a million less fires (1.37 million)! 50% more paid firefighters for 40% less fires.

career fire fighters Hoboken NJ

(note that the number of “volunteer” (read: free) firefighters has actually gone down…)

Firefighters doing a lot less “fire” work?

There has long been a fierce debate about “public safety” workers. With the divide between those who support and are against getting deeper by the week. Many feel life would be over without these paid (and pensioned) first-responders, while on the flip-side, the pensions are bleeding the property taxpayers dry. Pick your poison.

However, apparently what fire-fighters are doing is respond to medical calls, up over 300% in the past few decades, and close to 80% of all calls? Are they fire-fighters or medics?

“Whenever you see six firefighters standing around at a fender bender accident scene remember that it costs you the taxpayer approximately $3,500 every time a fire engine leaves the station.”

fire fighters respond to mostly medical calls

How would you fix the exorbitant cost for fire safety in Hoboken?

This is a tricky fine line to walk. How would you handle, or reduce the cost to a mile-square city? The annual pay and pensions for the fire department is over $10 million per year here in Hoboken.

Would we ever be able to switch to a 100% volunteer model? And over the next few decades next to eliminate the growing (and virtually unsustainable) pension payouts?

Would volunteer firefighters be incapable of handling a row-house blaze? How do most other cities (85%) “survive” with volunteer fire departments?

There are many questions like this out there in cities across the country. And a very tough problem to solve. Because with unions, “votes” and much more (sabotage, threats), there will always be a VERY big loser somewhere if the “honey” was removed from the “pot.”

Who is strong enough to solve this conundrum?

See more stats here: usfa.fema.gov/statistics/estimates/nfpa/

Hoboken Volunteer Fire Fighters

Hoboken NJ

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Library renovations… again?

Hoboken Public Library Renovations – for what?

Did you notice the Hoboken Public Library is seemingly always under some kind of renovation? A couple people we’ve spoken with don’t quite buy the whole constant library renovations – regardless if it’s a benefit to the community or a “historical” building. Fair questions like this come up:

  • Is some kind of money-funneling going on? Either to contractors or others behind the scenes?
  • Why is this building constantly in need of work? What about work that was done previously? Was it completed satisfactorily?
  • Has anyone ever audited all the expenses, verified work being done, line-item by line-item?

The library seems to get a hefty chuck of public money every year. I’d suspect most people would want proof that it’s not being squandered in some nefarious way.

Hoboken Library Renovations

[Click to continue reading the rest....]

Hoboken NJ

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Citizen complaints or responsibilities?

If Hoboken had a good government, would citizen complaints be needed?

You’d think that in a city about a square mile, and with a $100 million dollar budget – things would not only get done perfectly, they’d go WAY above and beyond the bare minimum. Pristine streets, no sidewalk rubbish, rock-solid waterfront walkways, and more than enough time left over to spare to lend a helping hand to some of the less fortunate residents (i.e., seniors, disabled, etc.)

But that’s not the case here in Hoboken. Not only can’t they “manage their own house,” but they beg that citizens also lend a hand (for FREE!) by submitting citizen complaint requests, etc.

Even then, I’m hearing that many “citizen complaints” go pretty much ignored or unresolved.

How long has the Hoboken Huddle been over? That concrete platform has remained months after. What were they waiting for, the next NY Super Bowl?

Hoboken Huddle Citizen Complaints

Then another resident was complaining about this ugly, orange “temporary” dog park set up on Hudson Street outside one of the municipal garages (while three of the parks were curiously shut down simultaneously this past winter for “renovations.”) It too, still remains.

Hoboken temporary dog park citizen complaints

Citizens even have to light the fire to keep construction projects plugging along, like the crumbling walkway north of Sinatra Park. So what are the public servants at City Hall doing exactly? Maybe the entire city should be run by volunteers – and not “paid slackers.”

Hoboken sinatra park walkway citzen complaints

Hoboken NJ

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Hoboken City Council Meeting 4/16/2014

Hoboken City Council Meeting of April 16, 2014

Inspect Hoboken City Council meeting documents below – and click here at 7:00pm to watch live video stream.

Business as usual over at the circus tent city hall this week.

But here’s a little food for thought to plant in your head. You want to know the top three recurring expenses in Hoboken every two weeks?

  1. Police Dept. (around $550k)
  2. Fire Dept. (around $500K) and…
  3. Hoboken Parking Utility (over $150k)

The first two can be argued “contribute” somewhat to “quality of life” in Hoboken. The third? No way.

Hoboken City Council Meeting April 16 2014 NJ

Hoboken City Council Documents for April 16, 2014

Enjoy!

Hoboken NJ

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Dog Walking Packs

Hoboken Dog Walking Packs – 2014 Edition

Jeez Louise. Seems like not a week goes by where I don’t receive an email about some “problem” with one particular dog walker in town.

9 times out of 10, it’s “too many dogs at once.”

I’ve said in the past – that dogs are indeed “pack” animals, and have no issue with it. To think your four-legged friend is “special” and needs to be walked individually is just nonsensical.

I saw this lady the other day, and all dogs seemed well behaved and in control. If I had to pick only ONE thing that MIGHT be a bit wrong is, that when she yelled “HEEL” to one of the dogs who might have been pulling, it may have confused other dogs who didn’t do anything wrong. That’s about the only thing I could find a flaw in.

Other than that – the dogs seemed happy to be out and about. So there.

Dog Walking Packs Hoboken NJ

Click to see previous dog walking packs updates…

Hoboken NJ

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Game of Thrones {Beer – Price Gouging?}

Game of Thrones Beer from Ommegang a “hot” commodity in Hoboken

Game of Thrones Beer Hoboken NJ price gougingSince we don’t get caught up in the latest “hot” TV series – we had to kind of look into what this “Game of Thrones” on HBO was all about.

You guessed it! A fantasy type show, with characters, explicit sex scenes, yadda, yadda, yadda. And viewership has apparently doubled since the first season (I think close to 7 million viewers now?) So it’s definitely one of the “in things” to talk about at your (real or virtual) water cooler.

Also what we didn’t know was that the Ommegang Brewery, in conjunction with the show – had come out with a “limited edition” Game of Thrones beer, which coincided with the premiere two weeks ago.

Did some Hoboken liquor stores over-charge for Game of Thrones?

Hoboken411 reader Eric clued us into this fact, but more importantly – believed that some kind of beer price-gouging was happening in Hoboken.

“There are 3 different designs for same beer, which I was trying to hunt down. I actually purchased 2 bottles over at Sparrows uptown for $10.99/each even though they had a sign stating ‘Limit one per customer’. Sparrows did not mind this.

Game of Thrones Beer OmmegangWhen I saw that Wine House (the old Price King) was selling Ommegang I went in to see if they had the last design I was looking for. They did and they did not have a sign limiting the amount a person could purchase. So I picked up all 3 bottles and my total was roughly 48.00. I didn’t think anything of it because for some reason i thought I purchased 4 bottles which would have made it 12.00 each. Not a big mark up, another 1.00 over sparrows which I was fine with since they just remodeled and I’m helping out a local store.

I state 48.00 roughly because I never received a receipt nor was I offered one. They have you pay via an ipad and sign your name on the screen but there’s no summary of your order just the total cost. To my surprise afterwards I was actually paying 16.00 a bottle almost a 50% increase over sparrows. When I realized this I went back to the store to let them know of my displease. I informed the sales clerk that it was my mistake that I did not ask for the price of each, his response was that I gave you a total cost. If i received a receipt with an itemized bill I would have known of the price gouge immediately.

He stated they do not accept returns, which i understood as well, but it would have been nice to get a price match or some type of refund if they would not take back the alcohol. Nothing.”

We checked it out. Sparrow did indeed sell it for $10.99. Ok….

Game of Thrones Ommegang Beer Sparrow Hoboken NJ 1099

So was it really price gouging?

Then we went to Wine House – and the price was $12.99 per bottle. Pretty standard for small store not to have the same low “discount price” that a larger outlet like Sparrow (or Super Buy Rite in Jersey City) would sell it for.

Game of Thrones Ommegang Beer Wine House Hoboken NJ 1299

So Eric’s jumbo $48 bill was either a true mistake (on either party’s end) – or Wine House lowered the price a week later since the “exclusivity” of the hot commodity had wore off.

Who knows – but the lessons here are:

  1. Ask for the price (if it isn’t listed).
  2. Pay attention to your total bill (and demand an itemized receipt).
  3. Don’t go to the store drunk and stupefied. Not good for the wallet.

Enjoy your suds!

Hoboken NJ

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