8/9/06 City Council Meeting
8/10/06 update: 10th and Grand eminent domain voted against (to be continued I’m sure). Redevelopment of City Garage voted against. 20 year tax exemption voted for. There were many other issues discussed at the meeting. More on this later.
The eminent domain issue is just the tip of the iceberg for tonight’s City Council meeting.
Here’s a summary:
Seeking to take advantage of the sleepy summer vacation season, when many people are out of town, Mayor Roberts has jam-packed the City Council agenda tonight with hot-button items.
Public Hearings will be held on the creation of the “Hoboken Hospital Municipal Authority”, which will put the taxpayers of Hoboken on the hook for the costs associated to the money-losing St. Mary Hospital. Just because it is a hospital authority doesn’t mean Hoboken Taxpayers won’t be on the hook for losses incurred by the hospital. The new head of the hospital wants to borrow 65 million dollars to upgrade the facilities, and if the hospital authority ever defaults on that, we are all on the hook to pay it off.
Mayor Roberts also wants to give double-digit raises to all of his top directors and deputies, even as the rank and file city workers are still waiting for new contracts. These are the people in City government making anywhere for $80k to over $100k. He could only try to pull this in the summer.
Then there are resolutions to settle with Robotic Parking, and license their software. These resolutions haven’t been released yet, so it remains to be seen if the city’s Settlement Agreement includes a big “sorry for the inconvenience of kicking you out and ending up in court” cash payment.
Then there is the Southwest IT Redevelopment issue — now headed to court. he City Council is being asked to pay $57,000 to the Planners who were so arbitrary with the redevelopment study to now prepare the Mayor’s plan for the area. This plan will likley include several high-rise condo buildings for the Mayor’s campaign contributors.
The Mayor is also asking the City Council to reject all the work of the Observer Highway Redevelopment committee over the past year. Roberts wants the council to reject the community-based solution of buildings that will rise nine and seven stories on the Municipal Garage property in favor of his developer-led plan for buildings that rise 12- 10- and 8-stories, enveloping the 5-story buildings already on the block. The council has made many statements about community involvement in development, and ahead of the May election this vote will be a test of their will.
In all, it’s a huge agenda, with three Public Hearings, 26 Resolutions, and the introduction of 7 new Ordinances, including 20 year tax exemption for a large condo complex to be built at 800 Madison Street.