0% Municipal Tax Increase, Murder Suspect Caught, Mayor's Op-Ed, and High School Rankings Released

Here is a rundown of the week's top stories in West Orange.

The township council passed a $70.4 million municipal budget on Tuesday with a zero percent tax increase. The final vote came a week after the council decided to cut an originally proposed  in the budget. 


Nolvin Garcia, 24, or Orange, was arrested Sunday night in Laredo, Texas, by US Border Patrol Agents, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Garcia is wanted in connection with the murder of Jacques Nelson, 32, of Orange.


Overall crime dropped by 17 percent during the first six months of the year, though assaults and motor vehicle thefts have increased, according to township’s Uniform Crime Report. 


There is about $1.1 million budgeted for overtime costs for the police department in the 2012 budget. The fire department is also budgeted for $750,000 in overtime costs. 

Compared to 2009, this marks an increase of 85 percent in budgeted police overtime, and a jump of 150 percent for budgeted fire department overtime, according to township documents.


Mayor Robert Parisi discusses crime in West Orange in a op-ed posted this week. He also highlights future plans to help combat crime, including a new partnership with the City of Orange. 


The West Orange Fire Department will be adding more fireman to its ranks in the coming months with the help of a $1.7 million federal grant awarded this week.  


The first armed robbery happened at the Exxon gas station, at 486 Prospect Ave. Two men approached the gas station and robbed an attendant of about $300 at 10:23 p.m. One of the men reportedly had a semi-automatic handgun. 

The second armed robbery happened near the Rosedale Cemetery at about 10:55 p.m. A woman and a juvenile were approached by two men with silver handguns on the street in front of home on Watchung Avenue. After taking two cell phones, a wallet and cash, the two men fled on foot.  


Two men arrested in Monday’s  are reported gang members, according to the West Orange Police Department. 


In a new ranking of the state’s high schools published this past week by Inside Jersey, West Orange High School was ranked 14 out of 35 Essex County public high schools. 

In another high school ranking by New Jersey Monthly, West Orange ranked 136 out of more than 320 high schools statewide in 2012. According to the website, West Orange dropped eight spots from the previous year. 


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