The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

UPDATE: Mayor Robinson-Briggs withdraws bond ordinance to buy YWCA

Original YWCA logo under oriel window of the Plainfield YWCA.

UPDATE: This post was originally written before Monday's City Council agenda session. The administration WITHDREW the proposed bond ordinance without comment.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has a surprise bond ordinance on tonight's Council agenda (Bond ordinance #1248), proposing that the City bond $5.5 million for the purchase of 'real property'.

Turns out the 'real property' in question is the historic YWCA building on East Front Street.

While it is not widely known that the YWCA is in very difficult financial straits, it certainly will be as a result of the mayor's initiative this evening.

The Robinson-Briggs administration is likely to face some sharp questions tonight concerning the proposal, some of which might include --
  • Why, in an era of shrinking government and fiscal difficulties, would the city BUY a building?

  • How was a value arrived at without having several independent appraisals done to arrive at a more or less 'professional' opinion?

  • What would the building be used for?

  • What would be the cost of engineering and feasibility studies for any proposed uses?

  • What would be the cost of renovations?

  • What would be the ongoing impact on the city budget of having another building to staff, heat, maintain and insure?
That's just for openers.

This is not Her Honor's first venture in edifice envy -- a few years ago, when the YMCA was in desperate shape, she wanted to buy it, too.

That talk has died down since Ravenell Williams has come on board.

Stay tuned.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Rob said...

Dear Plainfield, This is a message from your Assistant Mayor Sharon...Since I have no idea how actually accomplish things like..hiring people, accomplishing goals or being a leader in general I will, in an era of fiscal restraint and pull back decide to throw out $5Million+ more in debt because it's obvious the amount of spare cash the city of Plainfield is swimming in. We expect the tax revenue from the 5 new $1 Stores planning to open to completely pay this bond off setting off an new and incredible era of fiscal growth for the community. Then, when I am finished playing games, ducking questions, pretending there aren't problems, ignoring the antics of my personal employees and not hiring the state mandated CFO I will declare all of us winners and sit patiently at Jerry Green's feet waiting for him to pat my on the head and decide if I can run again for the position of Assistant Mayor!! Thank you, and have a good day.

Bob said...

Here, here to Rob. He has hit it on the head. Our mayor has little or no clue as to what her job is. Perhaps we should put the mayor in charge of bake sales to raise money for her multi-million dollar deals to by buildings and let someone else run the administration from the mayor's office.

Anonymous said...

Rob and Bob are hilarious!!! I am in total agreement with you both.

Anonymous said...

Quoting from Mark Spivey's article about the Mayor's plan for the YWCA:

"Robinson-Briggs could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Taylor said the mayor envisions a "cultural center" being established in the building that could double as a community hub at which multiple recreation and youth programs could be operated."

Comment: Aside from the City not having the money, I would like to point out that the City already has a cultural center and community hub, aka the Plainfield Public Library, which the Mayor is choosing to underfund. Are literate Plainfield residents a threat to the Mayor?

Back to the YWCA: it is no prize as a prospective site, since the parking situation is poor. As you know there is another large, old, and underused building in Plainfield that could be available for $1 and would make an promising arts center, i.e. the Armory. Perhaps when the City is in better financial shape, under a Mayor and Council with vision, this might again be brought to the table. Aside from custodial staff and utilities, this building could be operated at little cost to the taxpayers.