The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Council wants to look at $8M bond before issuing

The redesigned intersection at East 9th Street
and Prospect Avenue was done with grant monies, not bonds.
Some members of Plainfield's City Council expressed suspicions election year considerations were behind a sudden push by the Robinson-Briggs administration to add more than $3 million to a proposed bond issue for capital projects that would bring the total to over $8 million.

Councilors Storch, Williams and Reid were not pleased with an explanation by the Robinson-Briggs administration that basically amounted to 'we haven't done any capital improvements for several years [for which no reason was supplied] and we should pile on now'.

Storch noted that there were nine items proposed to be covered, only one of which was roads (an issue residents always bring up, and dear to the Council's hearts), and wanted a fuller explanation and time for the Council to truly deliberate the wisdom of such a large bond burden on the taxpayers.

When asked directly, Director of Administration and Finance Al Restaino admitted that the Robinson-Briggs administration could not project at this point what effect the bond issue would have on property taxes except to say that it would not kick in until the 2014 budget, an answer that did not reassure concerned Councilors.

Storch also cited his ten years' experience as a member of the Planning Board, noting that the long-term Capital Plan developed by the Planning Board always included 'wish list' items put forward by various city divisions that were not of an urgent nature and were most often pushed down the road. Storch argued that the Council should look carefully into the bond proposal and decide on projects after some deliberation.

Councilor Greaves seems to have missed the point completely, objecting that roadwork on East 3rd Street, which Director of Public Works and Urban Development Director Eric Jackson estimated would cost $2 million, was necessary. Storch replied that most of the other roadwork undertaken in recent years utilized various grant monies and wanted to know why there was no grant money being included in the funding of the 3rd Street proposal.

Unfortunately, Councilor Mapp, who brings a fiscally-trained eye to these discussions, was still of out the country attending to family business in connection with the recent passing of his wife's mother. He will be present at next Monday's meeting, which should make a difference in the questions the Robinson-Briggs administration will have to face.

The bond ordinance (BO 1256) is slated to have its First Reading at next week's Council business meeting, at which time the public will be able to weigh in with their questions. Let's hope the Robinson-Briggs team does their homework and is able to completely and competently answer every question that arises to the last jot and tittle.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I am astounded at the lack of understanding councilor Greaves brings to the job. She is a perfect example of why Plainfield is such a downtrodden town. The people continue to elect friends instead of qualified people who understand what is going on.

I am sure councilor Greaves is a lovely person, she is just woefully inadequate to be on the council.

Bob said...

Greaves us clueless as usual. How does this dim woman get elected. Don't the people in her ward pay attention and see that she constantly backs Sharon, not the people of her ward. Watch Sharon. She's had nearly eight years to bring up major projects and why now?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan Couldn't find the blog today, what's up with that. Is the man trying to censor you? Or is it the Mayors minions>

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. The plan to repave East 3rd St. and Councilwoman Greaves' comments baffle me. I use that street every day. I live 100 feet from it. I do not see any need for major work on that street at this time. There are a few potholes and Public Works can fill them.

Better the city focus its attention on Park Avenue near the railraod bridge- either for them to repave or pressure the county to maintain it if it is a county road. That bumpy and pitted section of roadway is a disgrace for a major thoroughfare and it reflects poorly on the city.

Anonymous said...

Road repair equals property tax hike

Anonymous said...

You all should know by now.
People are not elected because of the knowledge they bring to the table. It's all in who you know.