IRVINGTON, NJ — The township had a series of activities scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 20, including Mayor Tony Vauss and Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation Director Deborah Simpkins’ annual Community Luncheon at the INIC headquarters on 16th Avenue from noon to 3 p.m., a turkey giveaway at the Municipal Building in D. Bilal Beasley Square at noon, and a special tax sale at 11 a.m. in Council Chambers.
In April 2017, the township sold more than $800,000 in liens for vacant abandoned properties through a special tax lien auction conducted in Municipal Council Chambers by Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. According to the Spann Co., the auction attracted an enthusiastic group of bidders who purchased 53 tax liens. The auctioneer credited Vauss’ leadership for “intelligently using the law to get these abandoned properties back on the tax rolls” and positioning Irvington in the vanguard of municipalities using recent changes in tax lien sale law to help combat urban blight in their communities.
This year, Vauss said he is hoping for another successful special tax sale.
Vauss said the holiday season is one of the few times of the year when it really is “better to give than to receive,” referring to the Pre-Thanksgiving Community Dinner. Last year, he stopped by the INIC to host this event for seniors from the Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center and needy members of the community, giving away free turkeys to the needy the day before the national Thanksgiving Day holiday.
This year, Vauss and Simpkins said they wanted to make sure the township’s charitable efforts occurred in time for the actual holiday.
“We do this every year, to bring the community together and share the holiday spirit,” said Vauss on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. “Here in Irvington, we truly believe in one team one dream. And that’s with our entire community, including seniors, children and everyone in-between.”
Vauss stressed that the “team” and “teamwork” his administration espouses was handed down to him and him by his friend, mentor, and role model, the late Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley. Vauss said teaming up with Simpkins, Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers, Deputy PSD Director John Brown, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department Director Donald Malloy, Health Department and Senior Services Director Dr. Monique Griffith and others to spread goodwill and feed the hungry is the right thing to do.
“We’re doing what we normally do here in the township of Irvington, which is take care of our residents,” said Vauss on Monday, Nov. 19. “We have a great meal prepared and I want to make sure that we get to it and serve everyone, so everyone has a joyous holiday season.”
Simpkins agreed with Vauss.
“This was a total Team Irvington Strong effort, with members of the Fire Department and the Police Department that are standing by trimming boxes filled with stuffing, vegetables, cranberry juice, rice and macaroni and cheese that goes with the turkeys and the hens that we’re giving away,” said Simpkins on Nov. 17, 2017. “The Fire Department and the Police Department every year collaborate with us and help us be able to provide the families in Irvington with a full Thanksgiving dinner.”
Bowers said said everyone in Irvington’s government shares the goal of seeing residents eat well and be well this holiday season.
“Police, fire, we’re all one, so it’s a great time in a great city,” said Bowers on Friday, Nov. 9.
Malloy agreed about the importance of serving people in need during the holidays.
“It is a cultural affair, but it’s one that I’m happy to be a part of getting ready to serve the residents here in the township,” said Malloy on Monday, Nov. 19. “I think it’s more work at this time of year, because we are in the community and we’re going out into the community to make sure that people have what they need. Sometimes, this holiday season is a tough one for some of our residents who have lost loved ones, so we want to make that as comforting to them as we possibly can.”