City Council 4/4/2007 – Recap
Funny thing last night. Nine
ordinances resolutions were read without public comment. The Council was astonished, and believed that was the first time in a long while since it happened. Considering the sparse crowd that showed up, it was no surprise.
Southwest Redevelopment Vote Postponed
The vote on the widely derided Southwest Redevelopment Plan was put off until the next regular Council Meeting on April 18th. Council members were told that the Planning Board hearing on the plan was “Standing Room Only” and went until nearly midnight Tuesday. The Council is awaiting comments and recommendations from the Planning Board before they move forward with their Second Reading, Public Hearing, and Final Vote. Although, according to 411 reader “estevens”, it may be the May 2nd Council Meeting: “According to the city’s website, the next planning board meeting is on May 1, followed by the City Council meeting on May 2. That sounds to me like the vote could take place before the election.”
4th Ward Flooding Talk
Some are calling it the “Dawn Zimmer Effect.” Even before voters in the 4th Ward have the chance to pick between her, Chris Campos, and two other opponents in the May 8th Elections, issues that Zimmer and the Southwest Parks Coalition have brought to the forefront were once again topics of discussion. Zimmer has been calling attention to the long ignored flooding problem that 6-year Council Veteran Campos was telling people was “a thing of the past” before recent rainstorms proved him wrong. In response to the Zimmer’s call for action on flooding, the Council heard from Community Development Director Fred Bado about potential solutions.
Bado cited memos going back to June of 2006 that suggest projects that could possibly alleviate the problems. Bado says the North Hudson Sewerage Authority needs to build 5 pump stations with ejectors and outflow lines. New Jersey Transit also needs to build new outflow lines to the Hudson River to replace lines that have been under the rail yards for several decades. Bado said there is an engineering report, but never described a timetable for actually fixing the problems. He also suggested any new construction in the Southwest should include an effort to raise buildings and the streets above sea level. Others said that could cause more problems for buildings in lower lying areas, such as Harrison Court.
More Eminent Domain Ahead?
Before the City Council took a vote to rescind the Ordinance that would have allowed the Mayor to borrow $10 Million for land acquistion, the issue of eminent domain returned. The City apparently lost the open bid for the “Mercury Site” to developer and 3rd Ward Council Candidate Frank “Pupie” Raia. His five million dollar bid trumped the City’s bid for the property. Now Councilman Ruben Ramos wants to take the property from Raia via eminent domain.
Campos agreed with Ramos that this is a good idea, and again said he wants to take Dr. Zaklama’s 4th Ward properties by eminent domain as well. Last summer Ramos, Campos, and Terry Labruno where the only Council Members to vote yes on Mayor Roberts’ plan to take buildings that house businesses at 10th and Grand so Ursa/Tarragon could tear them down and build more condos.
916 Garden – See You In September
Months ago when the Council approved the nearly two million dollar contract with Unitronics to fix the automated garage, Parking Utility Director John Corea predicted an April 1st ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome customers back to the facility. On April 4th Corea told the Council there are now only 30 vehicles in the facility, and he doesn’t expect to reach maximum occupancy before August or September.
Almost FY 2008, Still No 2007 Budget
With less than 3 months to go until the end of the Fiscal Year, there is still no official adopted budget in place for the City of Hoboken. The council was told the final budget is being held up by the state. Once the Department of Community Affairs signs off on it the Council will be able to vote, possibly at the April 18th meeting.
And the #1 Issue of the Night: PEDICABS!
Most of the Council’s time last night was spent debating whether or not to allow pedicabs to roam the streets of Hoboken. For what seemed like over an hour there was a heated debate over whether pedicabs were a great idea to add to Hoboken life or a potential plague of locusts designed to bring all traffic in the Mile Square City to a screeching halt. Councilwoman Terry Labruno is a big proponent of the idea. By the end of the night she was the only proponent. The Council took the unusual step of passing an impromptu resolution calling on the administration to not issue any licenses for pedicabs, even though no such license yet exists. If you have an hour of your life to kill, watch this tedious debate on Cablevision Channel 78 sometime over the next two weeks. I can’t bear to go through the “Blow-by-Blow” again.
Speaking of Pedicabs, here’s an interesting article about some drunk driver bashing the skull of a Pedicab rider in California six months ago. Could never happen in Hoboken, right?
And Speaking of “Blow-by-Blow…”
City Clerk Jimmy Farina attended the meeting without his boxing gloves. There was a $350 bill from “Hoboken Glass” among the items among the $737,366.42 in “Unclassified Claims”, but as Councilman Russo pointed out, it was apparently not the bill for the conference room table glass Farina broke while attempting to rearrange the face of Mayor David Roberts last week.