City Council – 12/3/2008
Seeing that I was otherwise pre-occupied to attend tonight’s city council meeting – a faithful Hoboken411 reader was kind enough to synopsize some of the key points that took place at the rather tepid gathering of city officials:
What happened at the City Council Meeting tonight?
What follows is my very lame re-take of some of the happenings at the Hoboken council meeting of December 3, 2008:
For starters, resident turnout was quite low, which isn’t surprising in the month of December. But with the general “transient” nature of Hoboken – it’s still nice to see even a couple people show up.
First thing I noticed was that 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo asked Hoboken’s Community Affairs Director Fred “Umm” Bado for reports about Hoboken’s controversial PILOTS program (Payments in Lieu of Taxes)… Bado said that he is attempting to find all the PILOT agreements, and is having somewhat of a difficult time finding them. He later said that he has only 80% of the estimated 35 PILOT programs in town.
Later on, $1 per year advisor Mo DeGennaro said he was surprised that the city cannot even keep track of it’s own PILOT programs. “Who’s in charge of keeping all these records?” Gennaro said during the public portion. Councilwoman Beth Mason added that developers MUST provide the PILOTS within a month of the request or face a stiff fine. Later, Councilman Nino Giacchi said “Before we pass a resolution and become a threatening body – how about we just ask?” Afterward, the rest of the Council went on to determine that it’s best to draft a letter, asking the developers to provide Hoboken with a copy of all the PILOTS.
Fairly ridiculous in my opinion! Why must the city go ahead and ask for such rudimentary paperwork? Is that the sole purpose of this council? To make “procedures?”
Further into the meeting – 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo again spoke out, inquiring about the City’s individual health benefits, saying “My understanding is that we have over 90 insured people who should not be getting insurance, people who left the city or spouses of employees that died. That adds up to over a million dollars every year for people getting their health insurance for free.” Russo later added “I hope I’m wrong, but it seems we have a problem here.”
[Hoboken411 received information that indicated MORE than 90 individuals were receiving free health care inappropriately] City Counsel Steve Kleinman thought otherwise. “The number of people receiving health benefits is way, way less” than the 90 Russo suggested. Or so he says. Kleinman later deferred Russo’s question to Judy Tripodi, Hoboken’s fiscal monitor.
Further into the meeting, anger over the much contested Hoboken Housing Authority Appointment re-appeared tonight. During the public portion of the meeting, ousted HHA director Angel Alicea addressed the council. He thanked the Council members who supported him as he tried to hold on to his spot, then he lashed out at Dawn Zimmer, who backed Alicea’s opponent Hector Claveria.
READ THE REST AFTER THE JUMP…
(Hoboken City Council – 12/3/2008, continued…)
“Angel said Zimmer made “two direct attacks” on him, which he said were incorrect. Zimmer had previously criticized the HHA for not changing locks and not filling vacant apartments. Angel said Zimmer was incorrect in her criticism and advised her to “get the facts first.” Zimmer eventually apologized, but said, “We clearly have security issues. We need to get locks fixed and change the locks on those vacant apartments.”
In a moment of City Council Meeting comedy, Hoboken $1 per year advisor Maurice DeGennaro stumbled up and demanded accountability from the City on a number of problems — Dave Roberts’ salary, three paid city spokespeople, the council’s salary, the high tax hike, and more.
He lambasted Hoboken’s city attorney Steve Kleinman: “What’re they doing up there?!” But Kleinman wasn’t paying attention… and was clearly distracted with a device in his lap.
DeGennaro accused Kleinman of not even listening and “typing on his blueberry.”
While essentially everyone and his brother’s unborn child knew what he was referring to, it still got a chuckle out of some folks.
Other than that – the council meeting was quite boring!!!”
Spoke with Councilwoman Terry LaBruno – and she said that the parking permit increase was pulled from the agenda tonight – because it has to go before committee first.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening at the Hoboken City Council meeting tonight at 7pm.
For one, the budget hearing was pushed back to December 17th – and guess what? Your residential Parking Permits are going up YET AGAIN!
Why stick it to the residents? Make those damn “temporary permits” that get abused DAILY more expensive. Like $25 PER DAY! C’mon City Hall!