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Paramus Mayor Reflects on 2013, Looks Ahead to New Year

Mayor Richard LaBarbiera gives an overview of the borough's standing as officials reorganize for 2014.

The Paramus Mayor and Council held their annual reorganization meeting at Borough Hall earlier this week.

Among the issues covered was the swearing in of two new council members, the “P” party (Paramus party), the borough’s surplus and the shooting at the Garden State Plaza that grabbed the nation’s attention on the evening of Nov. 4.

Richard Shoop, 20 of Teaneck, entered the Garden State Plaza, fired a number of shots inside the mall, injuring no one but eventually taking his own life.

“The only good ting that came out of this was that our police, together with law enforcement departments and agencies throughout the area were prepared and responded professionally and assured our residents and visitors that we are always ready,” said Mayor Richard LaBarbiera.

Jean T. Weber and Stephen J. Sullivan, both republicans, won their seats on the council on Nov. 5 and the two new members replace Ralph Amato and Eric Nazziola who did not seek re-election. The two were sworn into office Sunday evening.  

The “P” party is something that LaBarbiera has been boasting since being sworn in as mayor three years ago.

“I challenged everybody to check their party affiliation at the door and join the Paramus party,” LaBarbiera explained. “If we continue to make our decisions in the best interest of the Paramus resident, in all likelihood most votes will be unanimous and we’ll accomplish great things together.”

Councilwoman MariaElena Bellinger was unanimously voted in as council president.

“I’m absolutely confident in her abilities. Not just as a council member, but now in the council presidency,” said LaBarbiera.

Three years ago the Mayor and Council laid out a blueprint for the borough, which has resulted in a surplus that was $40,000 to what is now a surplus of $9,000,000.

“We’ve constantly strived to do more with less, we’ve streamlined departments by making them more efficient, we’ve gone into automation in several areas, we’ve aggressively challenged tax appeals and we were blessed with an expanding tax space,” explained Labarbiera.

As a result, Paramus has maintained a zero percent tax levy increase over the past three years and has exponentially grown the borough’s surplus.

LaBarbiera is confident that if the “recipe” continues to be followed, that they can continue to improved Paramus’ economic footing in 2014. 

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