Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last Night's Council Meeting

Many good questions asked and observations made by the audience. It was nice to see former Mayor Paul Werkmeister back on his feet again and bringing sensible ideas to the table. Too bad they are generally ignored.

Mr. Werkmeister again suggests the City hire an outside agency to conduct an audit of the City. This has been suggested for years by Joe Bianco and at one point, that service was even available for free by the State. That request, even when the service was free, has been ignored all these years. To suggest an undertaking of such importance can be accomplished by partisan councilmen is nonsense. Councilman Koziol kept silent about the study he conducted.

It’s time to call in a professional. What’s more, the scope of the work should include a study as to whether the City would be better off keeping any future redevelopment projects, or even simple construction projects, in-house and cutting out the Union County Improvement Authority. Councilwoman Yamakaitis reported that the construction of the new firehouses are on schedule and under budget. The City partnered with the UCIA for those firehouse projects. As to the claim of the firehouse projects being under budget, it can be argued that perhaps the budgets are inflated thereby allowing the UCIA to claim that they are under budget. JMO, but it almost sounded as if the councilwoman was plugging the UCIA. Whatever the truth is, we’ll just never without an independent study and opinion.

Ms. Yamakaitis did not address the other UCIA projects that are complete failures. Mayor Gerbounka indicated that the failed Morningstar project is costing the taxpayers $450,000 a year alone just on the bond payments. I can only imagine the failed South Wood Avenue project must be costing us a similar amount, more likely even more. Therefore, the taxpayers are on deck for millions of dollars for failed projects undertaken by private developers. There is no guaranty that we will ever recoup that money. This is, IMO, inherently unfair as taxpayer have become unwitting loan guarantors for pie-in-the-sky projects. As Pat Hero has suggested on numerous occasions, government should not be in the redevelopment business. I couldn’t agree more.


NFS said...
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NFS said...

Ms. Hero gave a very nice & WELL DESERVED salute to Bryan De Cruz who passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was well loved by many.