City Council 9/3/2008 – Preview
Another busy night ahead for the Hoboken City Council. The agenda is packed with controversial issues, but many (if not most) of the hot-button items may be skipped over. Several items were referred to committee at the last meeting and due to the summer vacation season may not be ready to come back to the council for a vote.
Three Ordinances up for Public Hearings
The first on the agenda is the proposed Parks and Open Space ordinance, which continues to be tweaked in committee and discussed by attorneys and citizens. It’s likely no action will be taken tonight. Councilmen Mike Russo and Nino Giacchi sponsored the ordinance designed to protect undeveloped land earmarked for parks in the Master Plan from turning into high rise condos.
The second ordinance would raise the cost of Mercantile Licenses from $50 to $100 in an effort to get some cash to fill the $11 million Roberts deficit. The third would establish a “Citizen Service Act” to create a process that would “increase openness and transparency in the Hoboken municipal appointment process and encourage citizen involvement.” Sponsored by Councilwoman Beth Mason, this would (in theory) open up municipal appointments to boards like the Zoning, Planning, ABC, Housing Authority, etc to more members of the public than just those who have “an in” with the Mayor.
Appointments included on the agenda
Mayor Roberts is known for using appointments to boards as political chits. He is also known for not appointing people to vacant seats on a timely basis, leaving some boards with quorum problems. Sometimes board member terms expire and the Mayor takes forever to go through the legally necessary steps to re-appoint people. That’s the case with Angel Alicea, who has acted in the capacity as chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority board even though his appointment expired on May 8th. A resolution on the agenda would re-appoint the Union City police officer and husband of former Board of Education member Wanda Alicea. They are part of the Ruben Ramos/Carmelo Garcia/Chris Campos political operation. Another resolution would re-appoint Philip Salinardi, Jr. to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for a three year term. His term expired at the end of June. Several other appointments on the agenda show a similar lack of Mayoral attention to timely action.
Recalculating the Roberts budget
Councilman Peter Cunningham sponsored a resolution requesting recalculation of the Mayor’s 2009 fiscal year tax increase to include deferred payments from fiscal year 2008. He says the true impact of this year’s spending plan presented by the Mayor’s Office should reflect over $10 million in deferred payments from 2008. The deficit has essentially just vanished from the Roberts budget documents, shrouded in pie-in-the-sky “revenue generation” schemes. The Cunningham resolution seeks to have the overspent amount exceeding factored into the Mayor’s spending plan and “considered within the 2009 Fiscal Year Cap.” Watch for “The State” to once again come to Roberts’ rescue and try to scuttle the resolution, which may make it harder for them to brush the overspending under the rug in time for the Mayoral election. Dawn Zimmer is the co-sponsor.
Other items that didn’t fly last month
These are back on the agenda, but again may not come up for a vote:
- Roberts plan to make the Police HQ a Redevelopment Zone
- Roberts plan to add hundreds of new parking meters
- Roberts plan to hike up permit costs
- Roberts plan to charge businesses for trash pickup
- Roberts plan to allow his favorite developer/campaign contributors Tarragon/Ursa to build 16, 14, and 12 story buildings on the “Western Edge”
And much, much more! The meeting begins tonight at 7pm at City Hall. Bring popcorn because the Mayor might show up and turn red (then again, he might not. After all, it’s still feels like summer in Mantoloking!)