City Council – 2/4/2009 Preview

2/4/2009 Reminder:

Tonight at 7pm – City Hall.

2/3/2009:

Hoboken City Council Preview

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The Hoboken City Council meets again tomorrow. It should be another night of sparring, pontificating and jostling for position. The last few meetings have seen high drama as we get closer and closer to the deadline for filing petitions to run for Mayor and Council-at-Large this spring. Watch for more grandstanding as Peter Cammarano tries again to convince us it would have been better to continue to hide Dave Roberts’ overspending than to open the bloated $121 million dollar budget to the public review and outrage now underway. At the last meeting Terry Castellano called Cammarano a liar. Will there be a rematch of Terry LaBruno and Donna Antonucci? Who will mix it up this time? Here’s a juicy preview of what’s officially on the agenda – Hoboken411 style.

Borrowing more money, raising more fines

Two ordinances are up for public comment and a final vote. Back in December of 2007, a majority of the council led by the Mayor’s allies Cammarano and LaBruno approved a $2.2 million dollar bond issue to pay the bill to fix the 916 Garden automated garage. Instead of paying the Unitronics bill out of the multi-million dollar profit made by the Parking Utility each year that Roberts raided to help hide his deficit spending, the Mayor insisted the council push the bill on taxpayers of the future by borrowing money.

Fast forward a year and State Monitor Judy Tripodi has apparently discovered that the bonds were never issued and Unitronics was paid out of other accounts. Now the bonding is back on the agenda. If the bill has already been paid out of HPU revenue why borrow and increase the city’s indebtedness? The second ordinance raises fines for parking violations in an effort to raise revenue for the city.

SEE MORE OF WHAT’S ON TAP, AFTER THE JUMP…

(City Council 2/4/2009, continued…)

New: More PILOTS, salary reduction grandstanding

Five new ordinances are up for first reading, with no public comment allowed before the vote. The first comes from Tripodi and establishes a Department of Revenue and Finance. This continues Tripodi’s effort to clean up the jumble of dysfunctional fiefdoms that has developed at City Hall under the watch of Mayor Roberts. Tripodi already dispatched the private financial firm that Roberts brought in three years ago and has brought in new people to oversee the finance wing.

The next two involve the approval of two more 25 year tax exemptions for 69 market rate residential rental apartments at 1320 Grand Street and 1321-1325 Adams Street. These are believed to be more Ursa/Tarragon Upper Grand units that will be built between the Movie Theater and existing Upper Grand condos on that block.

The last two are efforts by members of the council to say they have cut something, no matter how small out of the $121 million dollar budget. The first from Castellano and Mike Russo cuts the $24,130.00 base salaries of the council members by 10%. The second from Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cunningham reduces the $129,894.00 salary of the Mayor by 10%.

Neither measure has much impact on the $121 million dollar budget, but then again it’s probably more about how it will look in campaign literature than what it actually does to cut spending. It’s not like the public employee unions are going to see these cuts and step up to take their own 10% pay cut. Not hardly!

Running down the resolutions

Rounding out what else is on the slate tomorrow:

  1. A standard request for state grant money to pave streets
  2. More money for Cali Carting to take out recyclables
  3. The appointment of Sharon Curren as Collector of Revenue at a salary of $112,000.00 following the retirement of Tax Collector Louis Picardo. The resolution says she would serve a term through January 1, 2014.
  4. Yet another redevelopment zone proposed for North Hoboken outlined in depth here on Hoboken411.
  5. Removing Block 11, Lot 9 from a resolution awarding a contract for appraisal services. This one is an odd duck. It involves the Nat Salvemini property. The council has stated it’s interest in acquiring the land for a southwest park, but now the Roberts legal department wants the council to rescind it’s move to assess the land. Strange.
  6. Adopting certification for the estimated third quarter tax bills (should be a doozy)
  7. Authorizing Emergency Temporary Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2009 budget which is now more than half over.

Documentation:

AGENDA
RESOLUTIONS

As always, the public will also get their five minutes to vent during the open portion at the end of the meeting. It begins at 7pm Wednesday at City Hall.

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19 Comments on "City Council – 2/4/2009 Preview"

Beejay
Member
Beejay

[quote comment=”133317″]
If all the highly paid city officials who are currently living in Church Towers, Marineview Plaza and other PILOTs would do the right thing and move out, the city of Hoboken would have plenty of subsidized apartments to offer to truly deserving low-paid city workers. Ask for instance Councilman Michael Russo why he is living in Church Towers, even though he collects two salaries (one full-time salary from a healthcare company plus his part-time compensation as city council member) and owns a beach property![/quote]

Agreed. There is like 5,000 subsidized apartments in this town. And we have about 1000 people that work for the city in some capacity. But at least a third to half of those workers make two much to qualify for subsidized housing. I get irritated by all this talk of worker housing. Does any other town in New Jersey, if not the country, provide so much affordable housing? It is just a way for those that are connected to get their housing paid for, or to receive payoffs to get housing for their friends. Also, it provides them with a reliable voting block.

truth1
Member
truth1

Re: Post 17 – It is non-personal fact that Russo mentioned this. This is not an endorsement for or against him. It takes the majority of the entire governing body to oversee that this city is run professionally….they all(councilpersons) need improvement and some need removal. It is up to the public to decide their fate. Election in May 09.

HobokenReformer
Member
HobokenReformer

[quote comment=”133309″]Confusion regarding residency Ordinance – Bayonne recently removed employees who were non-residents. Russo requested same but no action taken. To my understanding,some non-resident hHoboken municipal employees were grandfathered in and are in compliance. Any other employee who is a non-resident is breaking the local law. Many fee that performance is more important and that living in Hoboken costs too much for certain employees. Again, what is the city council’s opinion. Do they want to enforce the law or do they want to change it. Another sad story of their inability to gain consensus to properly represent the people that elected them. Hence, the reason for the state takeover. They get an ‘F’ in decision making. Get to the counsel meetings and make a visible difference in your vote in May 09.[/quote]

If all the highly paid city officials who are currently living in Church Towers, Marineview Plaza and other PILOTs would do the right thing and move out, the city of Hoboken would have plenty of subsidized apartments to offer to truly deserving low-paid city workers. Ask for instance Councilman Michael Russo why he is living in Church Towers, even though he collects two salaries (one full-time salary from a healthcare company plus his part-time compensation as city council member) and owns a beach property!

truth1
Member
truth1

Confusion regarding residency Ordinance – Bayonne recently removed employees who were non-residents. Russo requested same but no action taken. To my understanding,some non-resident hHoboken municipal employees were grandfathered in and are in compliance. Any other employee who is a non-resident is breaking the local law. Many fee that performance is more important and that living in Hoboken costs too much for certain employees. Again, what is the city council’s opinion. Do they want to enforce the law or do they want to change it. Another sad story of their inability to gain consensus to properly represent the people that elected them. Hence, the reason for the state takeover. They get an ‘F’ in decision making. Get to the counsel meetings and make a visible difference in your vote in May 09.

CastlePointWatcher
Member
CastlePointWatcher

[quote comment=”133270″]I can’t believe people are still putting any kind of stock into Tripodi. WAKE UP PEOPLE – she’s part of the problem, and is not going to help us. They’re probably already painting her new place at Marineview.

;)[/quote]

I’ve been saying it for months and months.

People are so f-ing lazy — they want to put hope in her instead of doing for themselves.

I’ve worked my ass off trying to make an example out of Picardo and you have NO idea how lazy people can be. The citizens on my list that are actually doing something ROCK — but most people, just shove their head in the sand.

sad but true — and the reason we keep getting screwed.

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