Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, June 21, 2010

Will these kill Robinson-Briggs' plan to buy YWCA?

Senator Lautenberg secured $460,000 for use at Tepper's site.

Will Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs continue with her plan to have the city float $5.5 million in bonds to buy the YWCA (see my previous posts here and here)?

Besides the issues already raised, there seem to be two more that are true 'deal-killers'.


In his FIRST Senate career, Sen. Frank Lautenberg secured two grants for Plainfield -- one for the Plainfield Public Library and one for the city's Tepper's redevelopment project. The Library used its grant expeditiously.

The city's $460,000 grant fell in the gap between the McWilliams and Robinson-Briggs administrations. As the deadline for using or returning the grant approached in 2007, I blogged about it (see here and here).

While there was talk by the new administration of using it elsewhere, when push came to shove and the deadline was literally upon them, the Robinson-Briggs administration awarded a no-bid contract for sheetrocking the 15,000+ square foot space.

Though there was talk of using the space for the proposed business district streetcam project, that has not come to fruition and here we sit, three years later, with nothing done to put the space to good use.

Why not the Tepper's basement, which we already own, and which has been 'improved' with nearly a half million taxpayer dollars already?

Maybe the Council should take a look into this before further consideration of the Robinson-Briggs proposal to buy the YWCA.

Cranford is buying school and property for $1.9M. 

While Mayor Robinson-Briggs somehow came up with a dollar amount of $5.5 million, no one seems to know where it came from.

Real estate professionals are asking why the typical average-of-three professional appraisals method wasn't followed, especially considering the city's fragile financial position, and the YWCA's admitted drawbacks -- of which parking availability is a critical shortcoming.

Meanwhile, we learn that over in Cranford -- where properties fetch better prices than in Plainfield -- the Township Committee is about to bond for the purchase of the former Solomon Schechter Day School building and its 3.7 acre campus on Orange Avenue, for the princely sum of $1.9 million (see story here).

So, how do we know the YWCA price is a good one?

And why bond to buy when you already own?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

Because she continually hopes we are as daft and disconnected from reality as she is....Maybe she is planning turning it into a $1 STORE MEGA-MART???

Anonymous said...

Is this $450,000 bond, which appears to be use it or lose it money, the same money that Rebecca Williams refers to when she said that Rashid, and I quote "Allowed the mayor to spend $500,000 to sheetrock a city-owned BASEMENT!"

Bob said...

Since many Plainfielders like me don't trust our mayor, it truly seems strange that such a large sum has been proposed. It also shows, once again, that our mayor doesn't do her homework and is out of touch with reality. If this city council approves the borrowing of this money, then they all need to be put out at the next election, but I have faith in most of them. We need to put this mayor out and put in someone with half a brain for business.

Anonymous said...

It's a known fact that this mayor has and continued to do whatever it is she wants regardless of what anyone says or thinks. Enough talk already if you are really tired of what's going on write Chris Christie. Perhaps if he gets enough letters he will rush to Plainfield to see what the problem is. So I say put the pen to the paper and help change happen to this great city.

Jim Pivnichny said...

Thanks for putting the issue into perspective. You are correct in wondering why competent real estate appraisals haven't been done, and your comparison to Solomon Schechter is a real eye-opener (to use a phrase once embraced by our mayor). Also the lack of any atated plan for the building's use use is ridiculous. This is highly indicative of our the mayor's total lack of financial responsibility, and is the sort of thing which leads to an excessively high tax burden on Plainfield's residents. Is there a weasel deal here which exceeds even that of the Monarch? It's all about taxes.