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For Immediate Release:

June 27, 2018

Contact: Natalie Pineiro

INK Creative Strategies



Hillside Mayor issues $10,000 Scholarship Launching

Bloomfield College Partnership


Township of Hillside - Denilson Vincent of Hillside High School received a special surprise on Tuesday at his High School Graduation when Dahlia Vertreese, Mayor of Hillside presented him with a $10,000 per year scholarship to attend Bloomfield College, where he will begin his studies in the fall.


“One of my passions and highest priorities is to ensure greater opportunities for Hillside residents especially those opportunities that enable our students to achieve a higher education,” Vetreese said.


The scholarship is one of many that will be awarded in the coming months as a result of a partnership between the College and the Township.


A former educator and school board member, Vertreese has been working with the Bloomfield College leadership team, specifically Richard Levao, President, and Dr. Patrick Lamy, Vice President of Student Affairs, since the beginning of her administration to ensure that the scholarship program could begin with the graduating class of 2018.


“Bloomfield College is excited to partner with Mayor Dahlia Vertreese and the Township of Hillside on this important new initiative to provide needed scholarships to make college affordable for exceptionally talented graduates of Hillside High School. Our recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Township of Hillside is a clear example of how Colleges and municipalities can collaborate to create better educational outcomes for citizens of New Jersey,” Lamy said.


Vincent, was selected for the Scholarship based on his academic achievements and contributions as a student of Hillside High School. He was an honor roll student and captain of his track and field team.


For additional information on the Hillside College Partner Program please contact the Office of the Mayor at 973-926-3002.



For Immediate Release:

April 10, 2018

Contact: Natalie Pineiro

INK Creative Strategies



Mayor Vertreese’s 1st 100 days Marked with Improvements and Efficiencies


Hillside, NJ – When Mayor Dahlia Vertreese took office on January second, she stood at the podium in the auditorium in Kean University’s STEM Building, eager to take her position. She gave a heart felt thank you speech to all of the people that helped her along her journey, but also talked about the difficulties that lay ahead.


Her road to becoming Mayor was an uphill battle, but the next one hundred days would prove even more daunting as she endeavored to begin the process of fixing a government that was in many ways neglected and broken.


A labor organizer by trade, and former School Board member, Vertreese is no stranger to tackling multi-faceted issues and hit the ground running. Armed with her Transition Team report, and the feedback of the residents she had met along the campaign trail, her plan was to start cleaning up the town immediately- internally and externally.


“We discovered some serious quality of life issues which we took very seriously," said Vertreese.


She started by filling important vacancies within Municipal Government, and creating a more open and service-oriented organizational culture.


One of these vacancies was Department of Public Works (DPW) Director.


“There were issues with our sewer systems that were causing some environmental concerns,” said Vertreese, “so getting someone qualified in this position was extremely important."


These issues range from proper coverage of manholes, to the structural integrity of pipes, and stormwater issues that had previously gone unaddressed. In addition, through the Department of Public Works, the Township needed to address loitering ordinances, a reassessment of signage, and compliance with OSHA and DEP Standards.


Quality of life, cleanliness and services are what attract prospective residents, investors and businesses to town Vertreese commented. It is through this invigorated work by DPW paired with increased attention towards addressing and eliminating vacant properties, reassessing assets and attention to affordable housing requirements, that the Mayor hopes will put Hillside back on the map.


“Everything is connected," Vertreese said, “Foreclosures and Vacancies create a need for investment, but investors and businesses don’t want to come to a town that’s being drained of its tax revenue."


On the new hire list to address this area are two new code enforcement officers, two new health inspectors, and two new construction officials who now have the task of going through lists of vacant and foreclosed properties.


Some, which are in arrears for almost $600,000 have already been scheduled to be demolished. The Mayor is now in talks with the council and administration to think about an auctioning process to unload more of these properties as a way to further stabilize taxes.


But the plan doesn’t stop there, the Mayor has a wants to work with developers to make sure that they don’t over price homes in order to keep them occupied longer, thereby contributing to a stabilization of Hillside’s housing market.


Hand in hand with the housing market, is stabilizing property taxes- a feat every town struggles with -but something even more crucial to a town that in 2015 was listed among the top 50 New Jersey towns with the highest foreclosure rates by RealtyTrac.


The average property tax rate for a Hillside resident is just above $9,000 and in order to stabilize those numbers Vertreese is starting with plugging all of the Township’s small money bleeds. Part of that starts with hiring a new full-time CFO in accordance with State law.


“We need to adequately assess our spending versus incoming tax dollars and ensure that proper protocol is being followed when contracting and purchasing," said Vertreese. “We also need to analyze that we are saving money in all areas."


Along these lines changes are taking place in town hall as well, with focused attention on improvements in human resources and employee relations as well as a comprehensive review of the state auditor’s report to ensure that government is operating more efficiently.


It’s an investment in total quality management that the Mayor believes is long overdue.

Other quality of life areas of focus for the Mayor have been to increase communication and transparency with residents.


Not only has Vertreese authorized the design of a more efficient and user-friendly website, but the Township also launched an online “news room” and Facebook page.


She also initiated a series of ward-specific town hall meetings where the public was invited to talk about their concerns. Directors and Administrators of various municipal departments were present, in person, at each event to directly answer questions particular to their areas of responsibility.


Her next step is to help residents better understand their form of government.


Hillside operated under the Township Committee form of government until mid 1997 when it changed to a strong Mayor-Council form under the Faulkner Act.


“We would like to host a retreat, open to the public, to explain the process so people understand exactly who is responsible for what under this form of government,” said Vertreese.


As Vertreese looks to the future, she knows that there is much more work to be done. She plans on continuing to build on these milestones and also examine other areas where the Township can progress.


Two major projects she would like to see come to fruition are capital improvements to the Hillside Public Library, and the rehabilitation of the Hillside Firehouses.


“Our people deserve better, and our employees deserve better," Vertreese said, “Our government gives power to the people, and I want our administration to be a reflection of that."


For any additional information, please contact the Township of Hillside at 973-926-3002, visit them online at or follow them on Facebook @TwpHillsideNJ.








For Immediate Release:

April 10, 2018

Contact: Natalie Pineiro

INK Creative Strategies



Hillside Graduates 10 New Officers from Academy












Photo Caption (photo attached): On Thursday, April 5, Hillside Police Department graduated 10 new officers from the Essex County Police Academy following a rigorous five month full-time training program. The class was one of the largest classes in recent history. Mayor Dahlia Vertreese was present to congratulate the new officers who begun serving the community on Sunday, April 8th. Featured, from left to right are: Captain Lashonda Burgess, Officer Brian I. Wilson, Officer Giovanni Esposito, Officer Branden McNeil, Officer Amadeu Fernandes Da Cruz, Officer Krysti Janusz, Mayor Dahlia Vertreese, Chief Vincent Ricciardi, Officer Manuel Diaz Jr., Officer Diego Coral, Officer Carlos Rivas-Difo, Officer Carlos Nascimento, Officer Michael Morales, Sergeant Ronald Bartell. (photo courtesy of the Township of Hillside)