City Council – 3/5/2008 Preview
The Hoboken City Council holds its first meeting of the month tonight at 7:00, and today’s report on the Police Department will probably be a hot topic. The budget is tops on the agenda, along with more applications for parks funding and more cash for the company that did the $2 million retrofit of the 916 Garden automated garage. Here’s your Hoboken411 preview.
Budget Battle Continues
With the approach of the ides of March, Hoboken is now less than four months away from the end of fiscal year 2008, yet it is still operating without an adopted budget. Tonight the public hearing on the $90 million spending plan continues (some say it’s actually well over $100 million) and a resolution “Authorizing amendments to the SFY 2008 Municipal Budget introduced on October 3 2007” will be considered after that hearing. I’d love to tell you what the amendments are, but the agenda says they “will be available at the meeting,” which means the public and most council members will not have seen them before they are asked to comment and vote on them. The council will also be asked to again approve “additional temporary emergency appropriations until such time a formal budget is adopted.”
Fire Department Changes
A public hearing and second vote on changes to the Fire Department’s table of organization governing the balance of titles will not happen. The Roberts administration is rescinding the ordinance and offering a new version for first reading, Of course, nobody has seen it yet and it is also listed as “will be available at the meeting”. The same goes for first reading on an ordinance changing the administrative code to include an “insurance fund commission”.
More Parks Funding Applications
At the last meeting the City Council approved an application for funding to acquire land on “Block 11” on Patterson Avenue between Sky Club and Harrison Court as part of the Master Plan vision of a 6-acre park on the southwest side of the city. This resolution and the grant applications that came with it were driven by the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition and the City Council members who support the SW6 plan. Now the Roberts administration is adding two more competing resolutions to apply for Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund grants.
Money to fix Stevens’ Property?
Hoboken has a 50-year lease on the Castle Point waterfront walkway parks that are actually Stevens Institute property. This walkway and adjacent parking lots are falling into the river. Now Dave Roberts is looking to apply for Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund money to pay to fix the existing waterfront walkway. Roberts wants the council to sign off on a $400,000 grant application for “emergency reconstruction to the waterfront walkway at Castle Point Park”. Instead of having Stevens fix its own property, Roberts wants to spend $550,000 of taxpayer money to do it for them.
Seeking Cognis/Henkel site funding
Another resolution offered by the Mayor would send yet another grant application to the Hudson County open Space Trust Fund for money toward the acquisition of the Cognis/Henkel site in the fifth ward. This resolution is on the agenda, but not included in the resolutions posted on the city website. The Cognis/Henkel site has long been coveted by the Board of Education for a new school site, but state money for a new school dried up years ago in the Schools Construction Corporation debacle.
More money for Unitronics
The city council has already approved payment of nearly $2 million to Unitronics for the retrofit of the 916 Garden automated parking garage. Now the Parking Utility is seeking an additional “support, service, and maintenance” contract of $138,000 payable at $11,500 a month. This resolution is also not included in the PDF file on the city website. When Unitronics was originally hired it was touted as a company that would do the job and then leave, unlike Robotics before it. Now it seems just like Robotics, Unitronics won’t be leaving Hoboken anytime soon.
The council meeting begins at 7pm at City Hall.