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Meadowlands mayors to Super Bowl planners: When you need help, 'don't ask'

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The mayors of at least two towns near MetLife Stadium are threatening to stay on the sidelines when it comes to paying for municipal services around next year's Super Bowl.

In a press release issued today, the Secaucus and Carlstadt mayors said the organizers of the upcoming NFL title game "should not be looking for their help when it comes to police, fire or any other municipal services." Secaucus Mayor Michael J. Gonnelli, whose office issued the release, also "made it clear that he would lead a concerted effort to make sure the region's towns do no participate in any Super Bowl planning or activity that will require the towns to pick up any costs."

"There is little doubt that the mayors will be expecting a call that their services are needed," the press release said, citing a history of bad blood with the New York Jets and Giants, who own the East Rutherford stadium. "Their answer will be clear: 'Don't ask.' "

Wayne Hasenbalg

Logistics and operations at the Meadowlands Sports Complex are among many issues being addressed by a working group of state officials and the 2014 Super Bowl host committee. Wayne Hasenbalg, chief of the state Sports & Exposition Authority, said no one has contacted him about such an issue, though he said that when he took the post last year, he told local officials "that I was always available to meet if they had concerns."

He repeated that sentiment today, saying he would personally meet with municipal officials, "and that can be part of how we address all matters related to the Super Bowl and the communities that are going to be involved." He also said "there are more effective ways to have discussions about these kinds of issues than passing resolutions and issuing press releases — (such as) giving me a call."

"Before we begin talking about how we're not going to support the Super Bowl, let's have discussions about what it's going to take to make it great for everybody," said Hasenbalg, whose agency is the landlord for MetLife Stadium.

A spokeswoman for both the stadium and the 2014 host committee did not immediately return a message left late this morning. A Giants spokesman, meanwhile, said the team was "more than willing to meet with the mayors" to discuss such concerns.

"It is unfortunate that our neighbors would issue a press release of this nature at a time when most of the New Jersey and New York metropolitan region is working together to produce a great Super Bowl ... an event that will have a tremendous positive impact on the region and the neighboring towns surrounding MetLife Stadium," said Pat Hanlon, senior vice president of communications for the Giants, in a statement provided to NJBIZ.

The three-page press release from the mayors alleges the stadium has "done little" to help offset the costs resulting from large events that are held there.

"While we enjoyed Super Bowl XLVII, it is becoming more and more apparent that the frustration and anger of the local mayors of Meadowlands is growing," the statement said. "And the first cold-weather Super Bowl may be their loudest statement that they are not taking it any more."

Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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