Best Practices - Vol. IV

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage

Online Services Manager

Under Mayor Chris Bollwage, the City of Elizabeth has been able to better prepare for the 21st century by designating a management specialist with the most current computer capabilities. This has enabled the City to prepare applications with maps and graphics that were previously procured through costly consultants. In addition, the City can now print out NOFAs and applications from the WEB sites of federal agencies, which gives the City an edge in competing for many competitive grants.

Going from handwritten ledgers to computers was a big expensive step; creating a network and accessing the Internet was a little easier. From these initiatives, employees have been able to obtain and act on information vital to the City, primarily in the area of grants-in-aid.

In addition, searching for or comparing innovative programs with other cities using the Internet hasn become one of the most useful tools for creating programs that benefit the community. Some of the areas that officials have been most interested in are anti-graffiti programs, juvenile curfew, beautification, anti-drug programs and various community activities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's WEB site has been the most useful, and through this cyber-exchange the City has been able to capitalize on the partnership era of HUD. Some of these partnerships include CDBG, HOME, ESG and Section 108. These programs bring in financial assistance which bolsters the opportunities for the City's emerging immigrant families. These opportunities can be in the form of jobs, affordable housing, home ownership and other quality-of-life elements of the American Dream.

Currently, Elizabeth boasts the creation of 16 three-family dwellings earmarked for first-time home buyers, seven townhouses, and 11 new homeowners from the HOME program. The following projects are in the planning stage or have started construction: Marina Village with 24 three-bedroom units, 154 First Street with four rental units and a child care center, 200-206 Second Street with five apartments and five stores, James T. Kirk Gardens with 24 rental units, Winfield Scott Senior Residence with 48 units, Immaculate Conception Senior Residence with 70 units, 940-942 East Grand Street with 24 units, First Street and East Jersey Street with 10 rental units, and 1120 Dickinson Street with nine rental units. In economic development there are two major projects that at full build-out will create more than 5,000 jobs. These are the $100 million midtown redevelopment project, and the MetroMall with more than a million square feet of retail outlet space, to be completed by the fall of 1998.

Elizabeth is constantly looking for new ways to enhance its current partnerships with federal agencies and to create new ones. Utilizing online services is a new tool for the 21st Century that Elizabeth is capitalizing on to access instant information.

Contact: Mary Krupinski, (908) 820-4177

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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