Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ponder bonds carefully

The Robinson-Briggs administration gives George a headache.
With her political future on the line in a vote that is just three weeks away, Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' move to float more than $8 million in bonds for various projects has folks scrutinizing the bond issues carefully.

For an administration that has not seemed all that interested in bonding capital projects for several years to suddenly float issues of such size raises questions on motivation on the Mayor's part. Maria and Olddoc have weighed in, as has Councilor Cory Storch. Bernice has addressed the general question of accountability for bond monies.

Tonight, the Council will have the Second Reading and final passage of Bond Ordinance 1255 for $3.1 million (Maria has posted the complete bond ordinance online here). This matter was introduced and deliberated in April, and the bond contains many well-deserved items.

The second bond ordinance, BO 1256, will be introduced on First Reading this evening, and this is the one that has raised so many eyebrows (again, Maria has posted the complete document online here).

The evident haste with which the ordinance was put together meant that the itemized road projects were left out. When Councilor Storch questioned the projects being done without grant monies to help with the costs, he and Councilor Greaves got into a testy back-and-forth about doing West 3rd Street.

Storch pointed out that the streets to be done were not itemized in the document the Council was given -- which leads one to ask how Councilor Greaves had what seems to be privileged knowledge about which roads were included.

In addition, while Storch pointed out that there were no offsetting NJDOT grants to help cover the costs, it appears that the Robinson-Briggs administration also slipped up there, too.

In a press release dated April 29, NJDOT announced its local aid grants for 2013 totaling $86.5M (see press release here), including $200,460 for West 3rd Street in Plainfield (see grants list here; Plainfield is on page 13). The fact that the Robinson-Briggs administration did not include the grant information in the Council's packets suggest not only hasty preparation of the bond ordinance. It further begs the question of whether the Robinson-Briggs administration had applied for a grant without the Council's knowledge and/or approval.

All of which, to my mind, suggests the Council needs to have the Robinson-Briggs administration answer more questions tonight, in preparation for further action to be taken next month, after the fate of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has been decided.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Here's the problem. You have three people on the council who either have no clue what's going on, one certainly understands zippo about bonds. The fourth is smart but I think can be spiteful. The city is run by not very smart people (smart in terms of running a business).

Bob said...

Would we even trust Shady Sharonda to over see these bonds if they were done correctly? NO! Still shady after all these years and we still don't trust her. I wish I didn't have a college class to teach tonight.

Bob Bolmer