Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Toliver, Rivers continue sniping over Rushmore Playground upgrades, more

Renovation of facilities is part of
improvements plan for Rushmore Playground.

No longer part of a Plainfield City Council majority, Councilors Diane Toliver and Bridget Rivers are casting about for a role to play and seem to settled on sniping at resolutions and ordinances they have no chance of derailing.

Monday evening offered several examples, from the Rushmore Playground renovations to the revival of the city's longstanding 5-year tax abatement for property improvements to hiring a marketing consultant to continue the rebranding effort as part of the city's economic development plan.

Councilor Toliver exhibits a certain charming tendency when, meeting after meeting, she shows the world that she is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Last night, it was the question: "what streets are included in the bonding for 2017?"

The answer: They are listed in Section 3 of the proposed ordinance (which has been in the hands of all the Council members -- including Toliver -- since before January's combined agenda/business meeting.

You may be forgiven if you're asking yourself whether or not she reads her packet thoroughly.

As for the 5-year tax abatement, Deputy City Administrator for Economic Development Carlos Sanchez did an excellent job of explaining how it works.

The ordinance itself has been on the books since 1978, when it was passed by the City Council of that era. However, it fell into disuse and needed to be updated before it could be put to use as a development tool today.

The first thing, Sanchez explained, was to designate an area in which the abatement for improvements would apply (the UEZ zone is being proposed).

The way the abatement works was illustrated with a simple example in which a property owner was paying taxes of approximately $8,600 pre-improvements.

Typically, the tax assessor reviews any improvements once made and updates the valuation of the property to take into account the improvements.

Under the 5-year rebate program, the updated valuation would not kick in until after 5 years. In the example used, the property owner would continue to pay $8,600 per year for 5 years (the city not losing anything over what was previously collected, with the incresed valuation kicking in at that point and going forward.

Sanchez cautioned folks to remember that while the tax valuation is determined by the city's tax assessor, the tax rate is set by the County.

Mayor Mapp added the explanation that it was hoped this plan would encourage the owners of multi-story downtown properties whose upper floors have been vacant and unused for decades to bring them back to productive use as apartments or office space.

Doesn't that sound like a win-win?

Theresa Ann Moroney Teacher and Plainfield bookstore owner was an avid reader and adventurous cook Theresa Ann Moroney of Plainfield, N.J., died on Jan. 19, 2017, from complications of breast cancer. Family and friends are invited to join together to honor Terry's life at The Landing, 311 Amwell Rd., Hillsborough, N.J., on Sunday, Jan. 22, for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Terry was born on March 24, 1944, in Summit, N.J., to Mary Gallagher and David Moroney, the seventh of nine children. She graduated from St. Teresa's Grammar School, Summit, in 1958, and attended three high schools: Summit High for two years, followed by a year at Madison High, before graduating from South Plainfield High in 1962. Terry attended Fairleigh Dickinson University while working night shifts at her sister Catherine's diner, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college with a B.A. in English in 1967. While at FDU she served as editor for the school newspaper. After graduation, Terry and her sister Grace travelled across the country. Terry began her teaching career at Westfield High in 1967 and continued at Plainfield High. In 1972 the call of the highway beckoned once more, and she and Grace continued their cross-country exploration. Upon returning to New Jersey, Terry met and married the love of her life, David Beck, and soon welcomed two sons into her world. In 1980 she reentered the work force, teaching adult education in Plainfield and New Brunswick, N.J., a vocation in which she took tremendous pride. In 1992 Terry returned to high school, teaching at North Plainfield until her retirement in 2009. In 1997 Terry opened "Another Look Books" in Plainfield. A labor of love, the used book store served the downtown community until closing its doors in the early 2000's. Terry was active in the Cook School PTA, and while at North Plainfield she served as advisor for the school newspaper and lent her aid to countless students; she took particular joy in helping her ESL students apply to college. She was an active member of the Plainfield Historical Society and the Democratic Committee in Plainfield. Terry was an avid reader and adventurous cook; the two pursuits birthed an extensive and lovingly used library of cookbooks and personal recipes. Terry was predeceased by her husband, David Michael Beck, in 2014. She is survived by her sons, Andrew David and Richard Evelyn; her daughter-in-law, Christine Beck, and grandsons, Damien Carter and Alexander David. The seventh of nine children, Terry is survived by her sister, Constance Costello Rooney. She was predeceased by her brothers, David, Richard, and James, and her sisters, Margaret, Catherine, Rosemary, and Grace. In New Jersey, Terry will be missed by her sister-in-law, Kathleen Moroney; nephews, Charles Femminella and his wife, Charlotte Ryden, Christopher (Gretchen), Sean (Karen), and Mark Moroney (Kelly); nieces, Regina and Renee Femminella, Maureen Pena (Joseph), Sandra Roberts (Steve Kosciolek), and Jennifer McBride (Sean); in Virginia, by Moyra Moroney; in Arizona, by her brother-in-law, Paul Beck and, in Hawaii, by John Beck; and many grand-nephews and grand-nieces. - See more at:

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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