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Mayor Derek Armstead Challenges Governor Phil Murphy

Critical information for all Linden residents.

Dear Linden Residents, 

There is something critical I need to bring to everyone’s attention. 

All residents must be made aware of an egregious New Jersey Health Benefits Plan cost increase set into motion by the Governor’s office in New Jersey. If the current plan is allowed to come into effect, then while state employees will only experience a 3% increase in their contribution, municipalities will sustain a catastrophic 22.8% increase in their contributions. This translates into an additional $3,292,054 annually for Linden, which is unacceptable. 

On December 21, 2022 at 3pm I called into Ask the Governor, which is a monthly live show on channel News 12 New Jersey, and I challenged the Governor to explain why it is acceptable to burden local taxpayers with the significant increase in the municipal contributions toward the New Jersey Health Benefits Plan. The Governor’s explanations are factually inaccurate, and unfortunately I was cut off from the live call and unable to respond to his rebuttal. This link will show you what happened on the call

The 22.8% increase will almost certainly cause municipalities throughout the State of New Jersey to increase their property taxes to meet this new financial burden, and may also cause an unprecedented number of layoffs and hiring freezes statewide. To be clear, this increase affects all homeowners AND RENTERS in the State of New Jersey, not only in Linden. When property taxes go up, this means that rent also increases, because the property owners must find additional revenue to meet the new financial demands resulting from the property tax increase.

My finance team and I are working around the clock in an effort to solve this calamity without the State’s assistance, and I can really use your help! When you have time, please contact the Governor’s office by clicking hereselect “Taxation” from the Topic dropdown, select “Property Tax” from the “Select a sub-topic” dropdown and then paste the following italicized text into the message field on their contact form page. The italicized text below is from my own letter that I sent to the Governor’s office in November, 2022. 

I am writing to you as a resident of the great City of Linden. The announcement by the State Health Benefits Commission that municipalities will receive an approximately 25% increase in the cost of health benefit premiums is incomprehensible. Such a one year drastic raise in health benefit premium costs will be devastating to Linden residents. Not only will the City’s costs increase, but also the trickle down increase from the County will be a double hit to me and my fellow residents. The residents of the City of Linden simply cannot afford the determination of the Commission.

The health premium increase of nearly 23% with a 2% margin means an additional $3,300,000.00 tax increase to our residents. Linden is a hardworking, blue collar municipality. With an average home assessed value of $132,683.00, this multimillion dollar burden will cost Linden residents 12.5 tax points, with an additional increase coming from the County. With police and fire emergency calls increasing almost 10% in 2022 over 2021, we cannot make service cuts.

This health benefit increase is not sustainable for the City. On behalf of me and my fellow residents, I must call for your Office to take action to have the Commission renegotiate rate plan premiums which are affordable and sustainable. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter! 

Thank you in advance for your help. With any questions, please call my office at (908) 474-8493.

Linden Wins $350,000 Grant to Plant Trees

The City of Linden was awarded $350,000 in New Jersey’s Natural Climate Solutions Grants (NCS) program. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced this and other grants on Wednesday to underscore the important role natural resources have in sequestering carbon to meet the Garden State’s greenhouse gas goals.

The City of Linden will plant 540 trees across eight Blue Acres-acquired lots and three City-owned, partially Green Acres-funded parks and lots in the Tremley Point region, including Sgt. A. Wales Memorial Park and Louis Avenue Park. The City will pair this work with a public outreach effort that includes educational signage at each site and a public tree planting event with the community.

“The City of Linden is proud to be a recipient of DEP’s NCS grant program,” said Linden’s Mayor Derek Armstead. “These funds will enable us to plant over 500 trees and install educational signage across several barren Blue Acres-acquired properties and City-owned parks in our Tremley Point region. This project will help reduce the urban heat island effect, help sequester carbon, create wildlife habitat and enhance green space in our Environmental Justice Community.”

Holiday House Decorating Contest Winners

Mayor Derek Armstead, the City of Linden, and the Linden Cultural & Heritage Committee present the winning homes of the 2022 Holiday House Decorating Contest! Let’s light up Linden with holiday spirit!

Click here to view and/or download the informational flyer for this contest.

All homes in Linden that had their holiday lights on from December 12th to December 20th were included in this contest. No registration was required. Winners announced on December 28th. Winning homes will be on the City of Linden website, and pictures will be shared on Linden’s Facebook and Nextdoor pages. Gift cards will be delivered to the winning homes. Homes that have won in the past two years were not eligible.

Certified Home Health Aide 4-Week Class

The Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Central New Jersey invites you to enroll in a four-week class to become a Certified Home Health Aide.

  • What: Four (4) week health training program that will put you on a new career path as a Certified Home Health Aide.
  • Where: JFSCNJ Halpern Building, which is located at 655 Westfield Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ 07208.
  • When: March 6 through March 30, 2023, on Monday through Thursday from 9am until 3pm.
  • How: $75 fee for books and materials. The program is generously funded by the Fred C. Rummel Foundation. For more information, email here or call (908) 352-8375.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Open Enrollment Notice January 2023

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Division of Housing and Community Resources (DHCR) is accepting Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program preliminary applications online here for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program waiting list state-wide. 

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program that provides housing subsidies to New Jersey residents, so that they can obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing. A total of 20,000 households will be selected state wide through a random lottery system and be placed on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher pre-applications will be available online here beginning Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 9:00 AM EST., until Friday, February 3, 2023, at 5:00 PM EST., for New Jersey residents, who are eighteen (18) years of age or older; or, who are emancipated minors and meet all applicable federal income and eligibility requirements.

DCA has adopted the following preferences for admission to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list: Veterans, Homeless, Disabled, Domestic Violence, and Local and Secondary Residents. Applicants who qualify for one or more preferences will have priority for selection for placement on the waiting list. United States Armed Forces Veterans, and their surviving spouses in accordance with New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) 5:40-2.5., have the highest priority. Individuals who claim to have a preference, must meet all eligibility criteria for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program at the time of selection from the waiting list, (on DCA’s webpage, see frequently asked questions #5 for a full definition for preferences). Applicants should select all preferences categories that apply to them.

All Applicants must have an email address to apply.

Only one (1) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program pre-application per household will be accepted. Paper pre-applications will not be accepted unless a reasonable accommodation is necessary. Please contact DCA-DHCR at 609-292-4080 and select Option 9 from the menu and request a reasonable accommodation, during the hours of 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, seven days a week, or email us here during the open enrollment period. 

Income limits for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program are referenced on DCA’s website.

Submission of a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program pre-application does not guarantee placement on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list.

Click here to view and/or download the DCA Rental Assistance Fact Sheet.

Additional information, including the Public Notice and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in both Spanish and English can be found here.

The City of Linden Step Team

Mayor Derek Armstead, the City of Linden, and the Department of Parks & Recreation invite you to join the City of Linden Step Team!

Click here to view and/or download the informational flyer for this program.

  • Who: For kids in grades 6 through 12.
  • What: The City of Linden’s traveling Step Team.
  • Where: Linden Multi-Purpose Center, which is located at 1025 John Street.
  • When: Beginning on January 18, 2023, the Step Team will meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6pm for eight (8) weeks.
  • How: To view full program description and register online, click here. In person registration is available 9am until 4pm at the JTG Center (330 Helen Street) or the Linden Multi-Purpose Center (1025 John Street). Online registration available 24/7. All first time registrants are required to call during business hours to have an account set up. For more information, email us here, or call 908-474-8639.

Annual Celebration of the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mayor Derek Armstead, the Linden Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee, and Senior Pastor Therman E. Evans, MD, PhD. of Morning Star Community Christian Center invite you to attend the annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Click here to view and/or download the informational flyer for this event.

  • What: Annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., featuring speaker Dr. Leo Blackshear of Morning Star Community Christian Center. Masks are mandatory.
  • Where: Morning Star Community Christian Center, which is located at 1009 Chandler Avenue.
  • When: Monday, January 16, 2023 at 11am.
  • How: Masks mandatory. The in-person event will also stream live on Facebook and YouTube.