Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rooney Takes over as Wyckoff Mayor

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rooney Takes over as Wyckoff Mayor

Article excerpt

WYCKOFF -- Mayor Kevin Rooney is preparing to draw up the 2015 budget, open a long-in-the-works recreational complex and find ways to draw businesses to town.

Rooney, a licensed real estate agent and 2013 champion of a Food Network amateur cooking reality show, has held several township positions over the past decade, including mayor in 2011, deputy mayor in 2010 and deputy mayor in 2014.

Rooney also is assuming office at a time when some residents are questioning the long-held tradition of the Township Committee elevating the past year's deputy mayor to the mayor's seat.

Each year, the Township Committee members vote to decide who will fill the roles of mayor and deputy mayor. The Township Committee unanimously voted Rooney, last year's deputy mayor, as mayor for 2015 and Rudolf Boonstra as deputy mayor at Thursday's municipal reorganization. Both will serve a one-year term.

When it comes to this year's budget process, which starts next week, Rooney said he aims to keep any increase below 1 percent. The new mayor also said he will bring back "Meet the Mayor," an event he previously instituted as mayor that will convene township officials, local business owners, residents and others.

"Usually in Township Committee meetings, there's a limited ability to speak with residents, as there's a two- to five-minute rule," he said.

The $2.5 million Pulis Recreation Complex will open in the spring, said Rooney. The project has been in the works since Rooney served as deputy mayor four years ago, when "a group came to the Township Committee with an idea to create a public-private partnership so we could turf two fields with zero impact to residents on a tax perspective," he said.

Construction began "a few weeks ago," Rooney said.

The previous mayor, Douglas Christie, said he counts among his own accomplishments adopting zoning ordinances "to limit the McMansions" and raising awareness about the dangers of drugs.

"Kevin will do a great job," Christie said. "He's a hard worker and a tenacious, smart young man. …

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