This month’s council agenda was again late in being released – while less late than the last few, it did reduce the available time to read through the documents for creating a summary post.
As I mentioned in my prior post, I won’t summarize the entire agenda (that can be found here) – but will instead point out resolutions/ordinances that I think residents may want to be aware of or those that are confusing and that I may be able to help make more understandable.
R147-22 – Council resolution appointing members of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. The meetings for the CY2022 budget will start 4/11/22 and culminate with the budget recommendation from the CBAC members on 5/23/22 with possible adoption of the final budget 6/13/22. I will post the schedule of public meetings separately.
R151-22 – VERY IMPORTANT Resolution authorizing the city to apply to the state Local Finance Board, within the Division of Local Government Services, to dissolve the Plainfield Municipal Utility Authority. The City Council has the authority to eliminate the PMUA but requires the approval of the dissolution by the state level agency.
This resolution starts the process to eliminate the PMUA and transfer those services to either a city department (i.e., Public Works) or outsource them to a private entity. The resolution is interesting as it states, in part:
- “After careful analysis of the authority, the city believes…” This “careful analysis” is not provided, nor could it be that “careful” as the requested bids for solid waste services from private companies aren’t even due until June 3, 2022.
- “The assumption of the Authorities Assets and LIABILITIES” – emphasis mine, as there is no documentation provided on what those assets and liabilities are – which is an important piece of information when you consider the city would assume responsibility for not only any outstanding bond debt but also pension obligations.
- “The amounts to be expended for said purpose are not unreasonable or exorbitant” – again no supporting documentation is provided so there is no clear understanding of what the council is saddling the residents with.
- “The proposal for the project is an efficient and feasible means of providing services…” – I guess we must assume it is efficient and feasible because the proposal is not provided for any council member to review.
I am a proponent of dissolving the PMUA and have been for a long time. However, the city council has a fiduciary duty to make sure that whatever “solution” replaces the PMUA is both fiscally prudent for residents AND provides a level of service that far exceeds what the abysmal management of the PMUA has been providing. This resolution essentially asks the council members to just trust that everything is accounted for, and a city staffed by people without any experience in mergers and acquisitions are suitably capable of managing such a process. If you have witnessed the extraordinarily expensive and extremely bad “upgrade” to the city website, you will understand my cause for concern.
R154-22 – Resolution introducing the administrations budget request in the amount of $100,259,783.89. This is in comparison to the 2021 budget of ~$86 Million. I can only guess what the increase is at this time as the supporting documents were not available due to an IT issue.
R165-22 – Is a resolution transferring the PILOT (i.e. tax subsidy) for the Quin development on South avenue to 3 new legal entities. Should be noted that this is the 3rd transfer of this PILOT agreement since the project was first started.
April Municipal Ordinances on First Reading
- Note – Ordinances, unlike resolutions, must have two successive public readings, in essence they must be voted on at two council meetings in a row. If approved on second reading they go into effect after 20 days.
MC2022-17 – This ordinance enacts amendments to the density bulk standards in the TODD-West Redevelopment Plan – which is the area north and west of the downtown train station that was designated as a redevelopment area. In terms of density, this means it changes the number of dwelling units per acre that are allowed in the redevelopment zone.
MC2022-21 – This ordinance is the city council’s official dissolution of the PMUA. Note that Resolution 151-22 above was the application to ask for approval of the plan (that nobody has seen) to the Local Finance Board – how we got from asking for a plan nobody has seen to be approved by the state to total dissolution of the Authority in the same meeting is some serious authoritarian stuff.
It is absurd to vote on any PMUA initiative without circulated and reviewable plans for replacement / transition to new service providers. Dollar for dollar and service for service analysis MUST occur. We as taxpayers must stop supporting blind governance. Checks and balances are necessary for taxpayer and informed consensus. Stop this blind governance by one!
Why are agendas late… how can we discuss solutions with our representatives on the council without timely advance notice????
This seems like an easy one to get correct!