9/29 Special Council Meeting Recap
Council Recap: Much ado about nothing
Just before the meeting began, the administration pulled the resolution regarding a contract for the Police Department to provide officers to the Housing Authority. Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s attempt to get the agreement through the council was premature, since the Department of Housing and Urban Development hasn’t signed off on the concept yet. The “Belfiore Plan” will have to wait.
After several members of the public rose to complain about the effort by the Mayor and 5th Ward councilman Peter Cunningham to slam the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan through, the matter was tabled. Cunningham was not happy with the last-minute retreat, but he had to suck it up when his allies, including un-elected 4th ward councilman Michael Lenz, saw the political suicide they were walking into and backed off to fight another day.
The budget amendments were accepted after some back-and-forth with the public about the council’s refusal to use more funds from the budget surplus for a tax cut. Taxpayers will likely see their combined tax bills go up, unless they took Hoboken411’s advice this year and looked into filing a Property Tax Assessment Appeal.
The council went into executive session to hear from their attorney on S. Hekemian’s lawsuit over the Municipal Garage. The only place to see all the documents related to the suit is exclusively here on Hoboken411.
It’s the legal complaint the Mayor doesn’t want you to read.
See original preview and video archive of tonight’s meeting after the jump…
Zimmer calls Special Meeting; Election clock ticking
Zimmer only has two more regular meetings with a guaranteed 5-vote majority to “rubber stamp” her initiatives before the 4th ward gets a chance to choose who will represent them from November through June 30. With her hand-picked choice of Michael Lenz facing a head-to-head battle with Tim Occhipinti, Zimmer is rushing her flawed Western Edge Redevelopment Plan through the council.
Resolution 1: Western Edge Redevelopment Plan
Two weeks ago, Mayor Dawn Zimmer unveiled her plan for the Western Edge Redevelopment Zone at the Jubilee Center.
The plan was met with a great deal of criticism from activists and developers alike. Despite offering lip service about appreciating the comments, Zimmer and her Community Development Director Brandy Forbes tried to jam the plan onto an “Emergency” meeting agenda for the City Council to vote on last week. Lawyers challenged the improper legal notice of the meeting, and the vote was postponed to tonight.
Zimmer ignores feasibility and open space concerns
After listening to hours of feedback, the city only made three minor changes in the plan before offering it to the council for referral to the Planning Board.
The minimum percentage of 3-bedroom units increased from 10% to 15%, new requirements were added for on-site detention of stormwater and a minor wording issue regarding consistency with planning policies in Jersey City.
Nothing has been changed regarding a lack of open space, concerns that the project will result in ugly slab-designed 8-story buildings, or the overall lack of feasibility for a combined residential/commercial/office building plan for properties that involve four different owners.
Resolution 2: Hoboken PD contract in the HHA
The second item will move “The Perry Belfiore Plan” for a new Hoboken Housing Authorty Police Bureau, which will fund the salaries of at least five police officers.
Read the rest and see video archive after the jump…
Public Hearing on the Budget
The City Council has held some hearings on the 6-month “Transition Year” budget. If you missed them, you’re like 99.999% of Hoboken and you didn’t miss much.
There was lots of hemming and hawing, umms and ahhs, as well as the usual Long Lenz Lectures (“Triple L’s”), and some Remedial City Operations 101 for some Council Members who showed just how little they know about running a municipal government. With five solid votes on the council, nothing anybody says will change anything when the rubber stamps come down.
The Transitional Year budget is a six-month plan designed to front-load state aid payments for maximum political impact ahead of a November special election. A small tax decrease is expected, but it won’t be enough to offset the massive increase in Hudson County taxes, thanks in part to the Mayor’s reluctance to challenge the funding formula that puts a much greater county tax burden on Hoboken taxpayers.
The meeting starts at 7pm at City Hall. There will be a public comment portion at the end of the meeting.