Historic Meeting Minutes

Historic Meeting Minutes

Funding has been made possible in part by the Bergen County Department of Parks and the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. 

What are the meeting minutes and why are they important?

The meeting minutes are a record of the City Council proceedings. The minutes reflect the actions of the city’s governing body at any given meeting. These actions include the passage of ordinances, adoption of resolutions, approval of spending, appointment of officers and all other actions the governing body may take during its term. When viewed over the course of the last one hundred years, the minutes can provide tremendous insight into how this city developed.

How do I use this resource?

The meeting minutes span back to 1891 and are stored as Adobe Acrobat files, a free program you can download here.

Each file contains the minutes for a given meeting. Typically, there are 2 or 3 meetings per month. To view by year, click “Select a year” at the top. You will see a list of years. Click on the plus sign to expand the meeting dates in a given year. To search by keyword, enter the search terms in the upper right field. Please note that some older documents contain fonts and character sets that are not optimal for searching and may therefore not yield results. 

Note: Some electronic files were not scanned from the “official minutes” but draft minutes, which are usually approved by the governing body. This was done because some of the official binders could not be unbound and therefore much more expensive to scan. Loose leaf, draft minutes were used instead. When official minutes are required, only copies of the original, official minutes should be used. The electronic versions are meant for historic research only.

For questions about how to use this service, email adib@hackensack.org

Historical Notes: “New Barbadoes”, “Hackensack Improvement Commission” and “City of Hackensack” (Same place, different names).

In its early years, Hackensack was a village located in “New Barbadoes Township”. Local government was created by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 14, 1856, designating an “Improvement Commission” to upgrade the sidewalks of the village. Those limited powers were expanded over the years until March 30, 1896, when the Commission was declared the governing body by the Legislature. At the same time, the Legislature made the boundary of the village and the township coincide.

The Hackensack Improvement Commission, elected every two years, consisted of a President, one commissioner at large, and a commissioner from each of the five wards. In 1921 the title of the Commission leader was changed from president to mayor by state legislation.

The City's form of government was changed by referendum vote on May 23, 1933, to the Municipal Manager Plan. This called for the appointment of a professional manager and a five-person Council elected at large. The first new Council was elected June 20, 1933. This form exists today.