9/28/16 Council Meeting
PERTH AMBOY – Resident and current Mayoral Candidate Sharon Hubberman questioned Ordinance No. 2 on the Agenda which states An Ordinance to amend an Ordinance entitled An Ordinance designating restricted parking spaces for use by handicapped persons. (a.k.a. Ordinance No. 380-85 and Amendments)Adopted July 2, 1985. Re: Additions/Deletions
Hubberman wanted more about the specifics of this ordinance. “Does it have anything to do with the newly formed handicapped committee? Or is it separate?”
City Clerk Elaine Jasko answered, “Persons who want a handicapped parking space have their applications reviewed to see if they are qualified or not. The additions on the list are those applicants who are new or those who were approved for renewal. The deletions on the ordinance are for those applicants who were removed because they no longer were qualified or due to traffic restrictions such as a loading zone added.”
Acting Law Director Louis N. Rainone added to the conversation, “The Handicapped Committee still consists of the Police Personnel and applicants must still provide medical certification. The newly formed committee makes recommendations as to whether or not the applicants are qualified for a handicapped spot. The current ordinance required more documentation. We are doing away with some of the requirements. We will rely more on physicians for medical determinations.”
City Clerk Jasko stated, “The State requirements are more stringent and the current documentation that was previously used was what the State required.”
During the Public Comments, Resident Stanley Sierakowski questioned Resolution R-414 Authorizing the proper city officials to execute a contract with the Intersect Fund for Microenterprise Development in the amount of $50,000.00 in accordance with the fortieth year Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended.
He wanted to know what department has oversight over the person who institutes this grant. “This was supposed to start in January. Was the money already dispersed? Were these loans or grants? Are there mechanisms in place for defaults and what happened with the previous monies?”
Sierakowski also questioned R-418 which also utilized CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) where there is supposed to be a contract in the amount of $24,750.00 for Sheltered Hearts.
Sierakowski also wanted to know who are the officers of this organization and who lives there. “You should table this resolution if you don’t have the answers.”
Resident Robert Massey spoke next and simply said, “I agree with everything that Stanley just said.”
Resident Alan Silber came up to speak next about R-418. “I live near the old Boyd House and I have questions. They buy the house then they can sell if for profit? The buyer gets grants to fix it up?”
Acting Law Director Rainone said, “There are strings attached to the CDBG Grants mentioned.”
Silber answered back and said, “There seems to be no oversight on City or State monies.”
Rainone assured Silber, “There has to be documentation submitted by the applicants to the Federal Government stating on how the grant money they receive will be used.”
Silber still wasn’t satisfied and questioned if Annie Hindenlang who answered questions about this resolution at the Caucus Meeting on 9/26/16 was still employed by the City. Hindenlang’s was the Executive Director Office of Economic and Community Development Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency. The answer of whether or not she was still employed was glossed over.
Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Joel Pabon spoke next. He was concerned because he felt somebody from the Housing Authority should have been here to answer these questions. “We should table this resolution.”
The above Residents’ questions were answered by the following:
Business Administrator Adam Cruz said, “I don’t have a package in front of me of what all is required of the applicants. All applicants are reviewed to make sure they are in compliance.”
Pabon still was uneasy because Hindenlang couldn’t answer most of the questions asked of her at the 9/26/16 Caucus. “The Housing Authority should have been here instead.”
Acting Law Director Rainone interjected, “We can provide applicant information or ask the Housing Authority to come here at the next Caucus or Council Meeting to come and answer some of the questions.”
Silber also wanted to know if Councilman William Petrick received answers to the questions he submitted regarding the YMCA swimming pools.
Petrick answered, “I didn’t get all my questions answered, yet.”
Council President Lisa Nanton and Councilman Fernando Gonzalez wanted to know who was on the committee when applicants apply for these CDBG grants and who decides who gets them?
Resident Jeremy Baratta got into a discussion as to what is a non-profit vs. a charity. He said, “A charity must register with the Attorney General. These people should be present to answer questions regarding these grants. Is the Boyd House a registered charity? It (the information) should be readily available to you (the Council) and the public.”
Acting Law Director Rainone responded to Baratta’s statements, “You are using this in terms not applicable to this resolution. We can have them come to the next Meeting. If an organization dissolves, I don’t know if there is a mechanism in place if the money can be taken back from them.
Resident and Businesswoman and Council Candidate Virginia Lugo also questioned Resolutions R-412 through R 418 all dealing with CDBG grants. She questioned about properties that have been upgraded. “A non-profit can be set up, but is the money being used properly?”
Rainone fielded those questions, “There are different designated categories for CDBG funds. Some are for businesses, low income applicants, etc. Part of the money is designated for administrative costs. Sometimes if non-profits go out of business, some remaining funds revert back to the State.”
Sharon Hubberman came up to speak and said, “If you pull all the CDBG funds, most of them go to the same people. A lot of these people sit in Boards (Boys and Girls Club and PRAHD, which does good work) and there seems to be a conflict of interest. Individuals on these Boards that receive funds should provide full disclosure. There are too many conflicts of interest.”
Councilmen Fernando Irizarry and Fernando Gonzalez were not present at the 9/26/16 Caucus.