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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Annual Council-PMUA exhibition match highlight of Monday meeting

The world according to the PMUA.
(Cartoon courtesy Mark Anderson)

Once again, the Plainfield City Council and the PMUA put on their annual exhibition match at Monday evening's Council double-header. That, plus one agenda item, made for the only items of note for the evening.

The questions raised by the Councilors are always the same: Why are rates so high compared to other municipalities? Why does generating more revenue by expanding services to other communities never seem to put a dent in Plainfield's rates? Why can't the PMUA rates be folded into owners' property taxes so they can claim a deduction?

Executive Director Daniel Mejia and CFO Duane Young answered questions on behalf of the Authority, while most of the Commissioners sat in the front rows of the audience.

As the proceedings wore on, it became clear that the Authority did not wish to get into any detail on any of the questions, closing off most discussion with the ever faithful "but Plainfield is different" argument, meaning the PMUA asserts no comparisons can be made.

After an hour, the sides called in quits -- until the next time.

If the Council really wants to get to the bottom of their concerns, they are going to have to shell out for professional assistance in analyzing the PMUA's books. Will they do it? Your guess is as good as mine.

The agenda item that caused some note was R241-17, a proposal to renew the city's contract with Associated Humane Societies to provide animal control services for another year for $121,890.

This had been tabled at the June business meeting after several residents questioned some of AHS's practices, including excessive euthanization of cats and dogs, and difficulties retrieving and returning lost pets to their owners.

When the agenda came to this item, Council President Williams noted the resoltuion's purpose and asked for someone to move the resolution.


The meeting moved on to the next item.

Not taking up a resolution at the next meeting after which it has been tabled means that the resolution has died. To proceed, it will have to be offered as a new resolution at a future meeting.

This means the Administration must address the concerns which caused it to be tabled in the first place, and then try again.

The City Council meets again on August 14 for a combined agenda/business meeting. Time will probably be 7:00 PM, at the Council Chambers / Courthouse, East 4th Street and Watchung Avenue.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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