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Thursday, March 16, 2017

A small city's high property taxes get you ice-covered streets and segregated schools

Driving to Englewood just before noon on Wednesday was a bone-jarring experience on Forest Avenue, Lafayette Place, Tenafly Road and Demarest Avenue, all of which were covered with packed and broken snow and ice -- evidence that Department of Public Works crews and supervisors took the day off.



As a resident of Hackensack, I'm used to paying high property taxes and getting little in return when a big snowstorm hits.

Two days after Tuesday's storm dropped about 12 inches of snow on Hackensack, my driveway remains blocked by in icy mound that formed after city plows pushed snow into my driveway when clearing my street.

That means I haven't been able to use my car, which is too low to get over the barrier. I was able to back my wife's Toyota, which has more ground clearance, over the mound, but just barely.

Still, when my wife drove me to Englewood just before noon on Wednesday, we found packed snow and ice still covering many streets -- forcing her to drive 20 mph or less.

On the way home after 4 p.m., even North Dean Street near Palisade Avenue in downtown Englewood was covered with ice.

Did Englewood Department of Public Works crews and their supervisors sleep in or take the day off?

Taxes and schools

Englewood homeowners pay some of the highest property taxes in Bergen County, but few whites send their children to public schools.

The elementary and middle schools are filled almost exclusively with black and Hispanic students, while desegregation efforts have been focused on Dwight Morrow High School.

Now, you can add incompetent DPW supervisors who leave streets icy -- endangering residents and visitors alike -- to the Englewood experience. 

Now, that's service

Today, I decided to call Hackensack's DPW and ask if a truck could be sent to clear my driveway, which was blocked a total of three times on Tuesday.

The woman was polite, but said crews were busy clearing snow all over Hackensack, and that it was unlikely one could get here. 

She took my address, and less than 30 minutes later two men in a Parks Department truck with a plow cleared my driveway.

A Hackensack Park Department truck and two workers cleared my driveway just before 2 this afternoon, above and below.

On the snow- and ice-covered incline at Demarest Avenue and Engle Street in Englewood, we got stuck behind three other vehicles as the driver of a Honda at the light spun his front wheels.
After 4 p.m. on Wednesday, North Dean Street, one of Englwood's premier shopping streets, was still covered with snow and ice.
At Main Street and Euclid Avenue in Hackensack on Wednesday, a woman walked in the street instead of using the sidewalk, because city crews didn't clear the corner and crosswalk, a scene repeated all over the city.
Euclid and Prospect avenues in Hackensack on Wednesday.

The Record

The Record wasn't delivered today -- that's three days in a row.

I called to get credit; Gannett raised the price of home delivery, but doesn't replace papers that it fails to deliver.

Today's digital edition lavishes Page 1 coverage on a face lift to The Shops at Riverside, the 40-year-old luxury mall in Hackensack.

The breathless account is by Staff Writer Joan Verdon, a veteran retailing reporter who probably is one of the 141 North Jersey Media Group employees who will be laid off by March 25.

News about one of the paper's biggest advertisers takes precedence over the mayhem caused by President Trump, who was sworn in less than two months ago.

And it looks like early deadlines prevented The Record from reporting federal judges in two states have blocked enforcement of Trump's latest travel ban targeting Muslims.