MAKEUP: The population was 37,825 in 1990, according to the Bureau of Census, continuing Teaneck's position as Bergen County's most populous community. Physically, Teaneck is the county's seventh largest municipality, with 6.22 square miles or 3,893 acres (Alpine, Franklin Lakes, Mahwah, Oakland, Paramus, and Wyckoff are larger.)
Teaneck has 23 municipally owned parks, of which 14 are developed. Overpeck County Park, which is also in portions of Englewood, Leonia, Ridgefield Park, and Palisades Park, is more than 800 acres in size, of which about 500 are donated by Teaneck. Major institutions within Teaneck are a campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University and Holy Name Hospital.
About 80% of the residents live in single family homes, the balance are in garden apartments, two family homes, apartment houses and condominiums. There is a little light industry and only one major development, Glenpointe, which includes town houses, a hotel, two office buildings and a retail shopping area. A community that has historically paid attention to the aesthetic aspects of life,
Teaneck prides itself on being the only municipality that has no commercial development on Route 4, a major east-west highway that bisects the community.
HISTORY: The area which is now Teaneck was originally inhabited by the Hackensack Indians, a tidewater tribe of the Lenni Lenape. Settled in the 1600's by the Dutch colonists, it was incorporated as the Township of Teaneck in 1895. Some of the oldest homes in America are in Teaneck. The municipality experienced its greatest growth rate between 1920 and 1930 when the population quadrupled. After World War II, there was a second major spurt of building and population growth.
Teaneck's reputation was enhanced when it was selected in 1949 as America's model community. A film made in Teaneck was shown in Occupied Japan as a part of the Army's education program to show democracy in action. The national spotlight focused on Teaneck a second time in the 1960's when it became the first community in the nation to vote for integrated schools. The sequence of events was the subject of a book entitled "Triumph in a White Suburb" written by a Township resident.
GOVERNMENT: In 1930, the residents voted to establish the nonpartisan Council-Manager form of government. In 1987, a referendum to alter the form was approved, creating staggered terms for the Council. As part of the change, Council elections now take place every two years on the second Tuesday in May. Seven members serve four year terms which expire in even numbered years as follows: four will expire in 1998, three will expire in 2000, etc. The Council so elected is Teaneck's governing body. It sets policies and standards and passes laws, known as ordinances. It adopts an annual budget and approves contracts and agreements for services, appoints the Manager, Clerk, Auditor, Attorney, Magistrate and Assessor. The Council also appoints seven members of the Planning Board, the members of the Redevelopment Agency, the Board of Adjustment, and all advisory boards.
The Mayor, elected from among the Council members themselves, serves for two years. The Mayor presides over all meetings and votes on every issue as a regular member. The Mayor is an ex-officio member of the Planning Board and the Library Board. The Mayor appoints the members of the Library Board, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Environmental Commission and one member of the Planning Board. The Mayor executes bonds, notes, contracts and written obligations of the Township and is empowered by State Law to perform marriages.
The Municipal Manager, appointed to the position by the Council, is the Township's full-time professional chief executive officer. The duties include implementation of Council policies, enforcing ordinances and coordination of the activities of all departments and employees. The Manager makes recommendations to the Council on relevant matters, appoints and removes Township employees and investigates and acts on complaints. The Manager also appoints the Municipal Court's Prosecutor and Public Defender, and members of the Rent Board.
The Municipal Clerk is appointed by and serves as secretary to the Council. Responsibilities include filing contracts, ordinances, resolutions and other official documents, supervising voter registration and elections, receiving communications for consideration by the Council, and many other duties.
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