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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Council meets Tuesday, 2nd reading of charter changes, more

Council meets TUESDAY in agenda-setting session.

CORRECTION: I got a little ahead of myself. Tuesday is of course the AGENDA-setting session. Residents will be able to comment on the charter changes Tuesday, AND at next TUESDAY's business meeting (day corrected), when the ordinance will have its public hearing. -- Dan.

Plainfield City Council meets Tuesday (September 4) in an agenda-setting session. (Monday is the Labor Day holiday.)

Among other things, the Council will take up the ordinance reorganizing the City according to its newly revised charter (M 2018-22). This will be the ordinance's second and FINAL reading.

A public hearing will be conducted on the ordinance and offers the public the last time for input before the Council votes to adopt.


The public will be dinged once again by two tax appeals, totalling approximately $42,000. One is for nearly $37,000 alone.

What is going on here is that the real estate tax valuations -- last done in 1981 -- are so out of whack with the true current market values of properties that almost anyone can mount a successful appeal.

Meanwhile, for every appeal that succeeds, the pain is spread among the taxpayers as a whole in order to make up the annual tax levy.

What this indicates is that an update of the tax valuations is necessary. However, politicians are loathe to undertake a revaluation on their watch because there are always winners and losers -- and no politician in his or her right mind wants to paint a bulls-eye on their back for doing a revaluation.

So, Plainfield will probably wait until forced to do it by the State -- which may be sooner than you think. Last year's forced revals had a cutoff date that just missed Plainfield. So, guess who's in line next?

On a happier front, there is a resolution to extend the contract on the first phase of the Green Brook Multi-Use Trail (please, someone, come up with a catchier name!) for another year.

When this project was first dreamed up, Plainfield was in the running to become part of the East Coast Greenway Project. That got trashed when New Brunswick muscled its way in, but it is still a good project even though it is a bit out of sight. (That will change when it comes closer to downtown.)

Some cities -- like Naperville (near Plainfield, Illinois), and San Antonio, Texas -- have capitalized on trails like Plainfield's proposal to revitalize the downtown area by turning the greenway into opportunities for outdoor cafes and performance spaces. (Is anyone reading this?)

Lastly, I wish someone in the Clerk's office would proofread the agenda before it goes out:

  • Under "Unfinished Business," there is an item "to be reordered in meeting minutes." The obvious sense of this is "to be RECORDED in meeting minutes.

  • "Further down, Resolution R is for a grant for $825,000 from the state to "PROVIDE childhood lead exposure." I'm sure that means to "prevent" or "remediate" and NOT to provide for this health issue for our children.

City Council meets at 7:30 PM TUESDAY in the Council Chamber / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking on the street or in the lot across from Police Headquarters.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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