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Wood-Ridge was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on December 6, 1894, from portions of Bergen Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. The borough was formed during the "Boroughitis" phenomenon then sweeping through Bergen County, in which 26 boroughs were formed in the county in 1894 alone.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.097 square miles (2.842 km2), including 1.097 square miles (2.841 km2) of land and <0.001 square miles (<0.001 km2) of water (0.01%).
There were 2,939 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 31.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.4 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 89.3 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $90,411 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,617) and the median family income was $95,972 (+/- $7,148). Males had a median income of $64,658 (+/- $7,287) versus $46,402 (+/- $6,549) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $35,360 (+/- $2,759). About 3.9% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.
There were 3,024 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the borough the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $60,949, and the median income for a family was $72,500. Males had a median income of $48,309 versus $40,025 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,865. About 0.8% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over.
Municipal Building in February 2009
Wood-Ridge is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Wood-Ridge, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2019[update], the Mayor of Wood-Ridge is DemocratPaul Sarlo, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019; Sarlo also represents the district in the New Jersey Senate. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Catherine Cassidy (D, 2019), Ezio I. Altamura (D, 2021), Dominick Azzolini (D, 2020), Joseph DiMarco (D, 2019), Edward Marino (D, 2021) and Philip D. Romero (D, 2020).
In September 2012, the Borough Council selected Phil Romero from a list of three candidates offered by the Democratic Municipal Committee to fill the vacant seat of Cosimo "Tom" Gonnella, who had resigned from office to accept a position with Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission after serving 16 years in office, making him the longest-serving councilmember in borough history.
Federal, state and county representation
Wood-Ridge is located in the 9th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 36th state legislative district.
Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. The freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year; a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore are selected from among its seven members at a reorganization meeting held each January.
As of 2018[update], the County Executive is Democratic James J. Tedesco III of Paramus, whose term of office ends December 31, 2018. Bergen County's Freeholders are
Freeholder Chairman Thomas J. Sullivan Jr., (D, Montvale, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder chairman ends 2018),
Freeholder Vice-Chairwoman Germaine M. Ortiz (D, Emerson, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder vice-chairwoman ends 2018),
Freeholder Chairman Pro-Tempore Mary J. Amoroso (D, Mahwah, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder chairman pro-tempore ends 2018),
David L. Ganz (D, Fair Lawn, 2020),
Steve Tanelli (D, North Arlington, 2018),Joan Voss (D, Fort Lee, 2020) and
Tracy Silna Zur (D, Franklin Lakes, 2018), Bergen County's constitutional officials are
County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale, 2021),
Sheriff Michael Saudino (D, Emerson, 2019) and
Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill, 2021).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,764 registered voters in Wood-Ridge, of which 1,405 (29.5% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 844 (17.7% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 2,513 (52.7% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 62.5% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 79.6% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 2,308 votes (50.3% vs. 41.1% countywide), ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton with 2,120 votes (46.2% vs. 54.2%) and other candidates with 156 votes (3.4% vs. 4.6%), among the 4,632 ballots cast by the borough's 5,952 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.8% (vs. 72.5% in Bergen County). In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 2,028 votes (52.5% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1,777 votes (46.0% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 33 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 3,866 ballots cast by the borough's 5,085 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.0% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 2,073 votes (51.2% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,910 votes (47.2% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 32 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 4,046 ballots cast by the borough's 5,038 registered voters, for a turnout of 80.3% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 2,073 votes (52.7% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,814 votes (46.1% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 28 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 3,932 ballots cast by the borough's 4,926 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.8% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.3% of the vote (1,533 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 41.7% (1,115 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (29 votes), among the 2,777 ballots cast by the borough's 5,098 registered voters (100 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 54.5%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,146 votes (51.6% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 955 votes (43.0% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 93 votes (4.2% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 3 votes (0.1% vs. 0.5%), among the 2,221 ballots cast by the borough's 4,263 registered voters, yielding a 52.1% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
With the opening of Wood-Ridge Intermediate School in September 2013 for grades 4-6, Doyle Elementary School was realigned to serve students through third grade, while the students in grades 7 and 8 who had attended Gretta R. Ostrovsky Middle School began attending Wood-Ridge Junior / Senior High School.
Our Lady of Assumption School, a Catholic school that served students in Kindergarten through 8th grade, was closed as of June 2010 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark in the face of enrollment that had declined to 134 students in the school's final year.
The Wood-Ridge Police Department (WRPD) provides emergency and protective services to the borough of Wood-Ridge, augmented in times of emergency by the Police Auxiliary. The WRPD consists of 24 officers, led by Chief John Korin .
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 19.20 miles (30.90 km) of roadways, of which 16.25 miles (26.15 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.30 miles (3.70 km) by Bergen County and 0.65 miles (1.05 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The Wesmont station provides train service on the Bergen County Line. The station was approved in 2008 to be constructed in Wood-Ridge. The station serves a new residential development and was opened to the public in May 2016, after years of delays.
^Harvey, Cornelius Burnham. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, p. 11, New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900. Accessed September 1, 2013. "For a period of sixteen years following the passage of this act few boroughs were organized in the State, only three of them being in Bergen County.... As it was twenty-six boroughs were created in the county from January 23, 1894, to December 18, of the same year."
^Clark, Susan Joy. "Councilman steps down in Wood-Ridge, replacement sworn in", Community News (Lodi edition), September 21, 2012. Accessed December 23, 2013. "Democratic Councilman Cosimo "Tom" Gonnella has resigned from the Wood-Ridge Council with two years remaining on his term. He was the longest serving councilman in Wood-Ridge history, serving for 16 years. Gonnella has been a resident of Wood-Ridge for 42 years.... Gonnella will be replaced by Philip Romero who took the oath of office as a Wood-Ridge Councilman on Sept. 18 to fill the two-year term."
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Wildstein, David (January 24, 2018). "Calabrese unopposed for Caride seat". Politics DW. Retrieved 2018. Caride resigned last week, following Gov. Phil Murphy's inauguration. She is currently the Acting Commissioner of Banking and Insurance as she awaits State Senate confirmation.
^Clark, Susan Joy. "Wood-Ridge Intermediate School opens its doors", Community News (Lodi edition), September 10, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2015. "Students at the new Wood-Ridge Intermediate School have been greeted this year by a building that's been refurbished from the inside out.... For 18 years, kindergarteners through fifth-graders attended Catherine E. Doyle Elementary School, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders went to Greta Ostrovsky Middle School with ninth through 12th graders at Wood-Ridge High School.The Wood-Ridge Intermediate School now has fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, and houses approximately 280 students."
^Griffiths, Erin Patricia. "Council wants to buy Assumption School building", Community News, July 15, 2010. Accessed June 12, 2012."The Archdiocese of Newark closed Our Lady of the Assumption School, located at 151 First St. in Wood-Ridge, on June 30 due to low enrollment." However, The Borough of Wood-Ridge recently purchased the Assumption School building and it is now up and running as Wood-Ridge's Intermediate School for grades 4-6."
^Garcia, Alfa. "Wood-Ridge native Emanuel Ayvas goes big with unique sound", The Record (Bergen County), March 6, 2010, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 8, 2010. Accessed November 24, 2017. "It was lucky, then, that frontman Emanuel Ayvas had the foresight to try a different approach; one that borrowed from the classical world.... So the Wood-Ridge native moved back home, wrote songs and diligently scored them for strings, brass, woodwind and percussion, his sound drawing from far-reaching influences like pianists Chopin and Rachmaninoff, guitar-heavy rockers Springsteen and Hendrix, and the more abstract Sufjan Stevens and Tom Waits."
^Feldberg, Robert. "Bergen County native shares role with deaf partner in Broadway's 'Spring Awakening'", The Record (Bergen County), September 20, 2015. Accessed October 18, 2015. "Theater is a collaborative art, but rarely do actors form a partnership as unusual as the one created by Alex Boniello, who was raised in Wood-Ridge, and Daniel N. Durant.... Boniello, who got the acting bug at Wood-Ridge High School before going on to study drama at Wagner College, joined the cast after the production had gotten under way in its Los Angeles debut, so, he said, he had to quickly play catch-up."
^Lei, Richard. "The Reliable Source", The Washington Post, August 1, 2004. Accessed November 25, 2017. "David Brock... Born: July 23, 1962, in Hackensack, N.J.; grew up on Windsor Street and Sussex Road in Wood-Ridge, N.J."
^Rohan, Virginia. "Malcolm Star Stays Grounded", The Record (Bergen County), March 6, 2000. Accessed May 7, 2008. "On the phone from Los Angeles, at 7:30 a.m. his time, the 14-year-old actor from Wood-Ridge seems just as friendly and chipper as he did before his Fox comedy "Malcolm in the Middle" debuted -- and became an instant hit."