City Council Meeting 10/18/06
10/18/06 Hoboken City Council Meeting
Tonight, the budget, converting a street to one-way traffic, and an “about face” on a megabucks memorial are on the agenda. May not be able to attend, so if anyone does, please let us know if anything interesting happened! Thanks.
World War Two Memorial Downsizing
As Hoboken411 first reported back in September, the price tag for the World War II memorial has been going through the roof. This was a project originally advertised as one that would NOT involve taxpayer dollars. By September the City Council was faced with a $728,000 contract for work on the memorial that only covered the base. The Council was told it would likely cost another $500,000 or more for all the brass rifles and helmets to go with it!
At that time the council was pretty much divided into two camps. On the one hand you had those who were very concerned about the skyrocketing price of this memorial, but who also knew they were forced to vote for it or face major senior citizen and veteran backlash. On the other hand there were the free spenders who saw this as an opportunity to openly pander to the senior vote, even if it meant money earmarked for parks used by Hoboken’s new parents would have to be re-allocated.
Councilman-at-Large Ruben Ramos said if it meant other parks would not be built or improved, then that was fine with him, and that money should be moved from the other parks to pay for the WWII memorial. The other free spending council-at-large members (Peter Cammarano and Theresa LaBruno) also made statements designed to ingratiate themselves with the veterans at all costs. The Ward Council representatives (who are up for re-election in May) took a more cautious approach, and it appears their behind-the-scenes lobbying has forced a downsizing of architect Dean Marchetto’s grandiose memorial.
The Jersey Journal reports today they have come to an agreement with the veterans to cut the size of the memorial in half, in order to cut the price of the project. 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo is quoted as saying the project as proposed by Mayor David Roberts had ballooned to an estimated 1.4 million dollars, and this downsizing will bring the price back down to $750,000.
Always happy to play the “blame game,” Roberts tried to pin the blame for the escalated cost of the project on preservationists and activists who successfully opposed the original Marchetto design for a line of 146 Guns, Helmets and Boots on the East side of the waterfront walkway.
Marchetto and the developers he works for are major contributors to the Mayor. It is believed the Mayor handed Marchetto the WWII project as a “consolation prize” after Marchetto’s proposal for the Hoboken 9/11 memorial was rejected by the public.
Fiscal 2007 Budget Update
Since the City is still working without an adopted budget, the Council will be asked to once again authorize Temporary Emergency Appropriations to keep the city running. The Council has the option to re-open the public hearing on the budget proposal tonight, or put it off again to another meeting, since the budget is still a work in progress with additional changes on the agenda tonight.
“Magic Ice” Settlement
Resolution #8 settles litigation with a company called “Magic Ice USA” with a lump sum payment of $37,500.00. Expect people to ask what the deal is with this, and how the city screwed it up so much as to face a lawsuit in the first place. I’m assuming it has something to do with the skating rink.
5th Street Goes One Way
The only ordinance up for a public hearing and final vote is one that changes 5th Street from 2-way traffic to one-way from River Street to Sinatra Drive to increase safety around the park. Not exactly a hot-button issue.
Removing Parking from 3rd Street
Another yawn-inducing motion, this ordinance is up for first vote, making 3rd Street no stopping or standing between River and Sinatra. Most likely due to the construction of the W Hotel.