3 Ordinances, 4 Resolutions Considered
PERTH AMBOY – Ordinance No. 1: Amending Section 99-3 of the City Code entitled Redevelopment Agency. RE: Appointing Authority.
This was moved by Councilman Bill Petrick and seconded by Joel Pabon. Everyone voted “yes” except Councilman Fernando Irizarry who abstained.
Resident Alan Silber came up to speak during the Public Portion. “Is this a change? Correcting something that has been done for years and years? Someone who worked on the Mayor’s campaign and (who was also is a PARA Board Member) came up to speak about Joel Pabon at a Council Meeting.) There are no checks and balances.”
Silber continued, “The PARA Attorney insinuated that no developer will want to build here if they can’t make a campaign contribution. This ordinance is long overdue.”
Resident Kenneth Balut came up to speak next, “There were two loans that PARA took out dealing with Kushner. Maybe because PolitickerNJ talks nice about her (Mayor Diaz). Where is all this money coming from? You (the Council) should get presentations about all upcoming projects before voting on them. You (the Council) haven’t gotten the paperwork on the (aforementioned) loans which is a good reason to get rid of PARA (Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency).”
Resident Stanley Sierakowski spoke next, “I support the ordinance giving PARA duties to the Council. People were appointed who lacked integrity and didn’t ask questions. Assert yourselves and advertise for these positions. People were appointed and resigned later. Appoint people who will do the research and ask questions.”
Councilman Fernando Irizarry questioned Acting Law Director Louis Rainone, “What are the consequences if we don’t follow your advice?”
Rainone answered, “The Court might have to make the final decision and that could cost between $20,000 to $40,000.”
Councilman Fernando Gonzalez disagreed with Rainone. Gonzalez stated, “It’s our responsibility to make the right decision for the City and residents. I said this eight years ago about redevelopment not being good for the City. There is no plan and we have too many rental units. Our school system can’t continue to get more children.”
Councilman Joel Pabon stated, “At the end of the day, when your out on the streets, it all comes back to the Council – even if we didn’t start the project. The Council put PARA together and we have the right to remove it.”
Councilman Fernando Irizarry took a different path, “No one considered the Council can be influenced by outsiders. The influences aspect may be even greater if the Council takes over.”
This prompted Councilman Pabon to say, “I never said people on PARA were being influenced.”
Councilman Bill Petrick questioned, “Who is the governing body (when it comes to ordinances)?”
Rainone responded, “It depends. The Faulkner Act said it could be the Council or the Mayor. For this ordinance, the vote for the governing body would be the Council.”
Council President Lisa Nanton said, “The Redevelopment Members are not accountable to the voters.”
Ordinance No. 2 setting the salary range for the Director of the Law Department. RE: Minimum $90,000 – Maximum $120,000.
A motion to move was made by Councilman Petrick and seconded by Joel Pabon.
Ordinance – Override of Veto – to amend an ordinance entitled: “Powers and Duties of the Director of Law.”
It was decided to add a resolution to be placed on the agenda at a Special Meeting to be held on 12/30/16 to override the Veto Ordinance.
This was moved by Petrick and seconded by Pabon. It was passed unanimously.
At the beginning of the Meeting during the Public Comments, Resident Kenneth Balut talked about the Veto Ordinance entitled “Powers and Duties of the Director of Law.” Balut said, “That’s why you (the Council) need your own Attorney. He (Rainone) told you at the last minute what you have to do. He’s doing the Mayor’s bidding. You always have to vote on things the last minute. You need to get your own Attorney ASAP.”
Balut then talked about R-552 Authorizing a settlement agreement and general release in consideration of payment in the amount of $486,587.70 to the City of Perth Amboy by Seabra’s Armory Restaurant. Balut asked, “Is this the full amount that Fehrenbach (former Business Administrator) worked out?”
CFO Jill Goldy came up to answer, “The amount is the full amount of the cost of the bulkhead.”
Balut questioned, “No interest?”
Rainone answered, “The money was expended from a grant.”
Goldy also responded, “We temporarily bonded for a front end funding from a FEMA Grant.”
Resident Stanley Sierakowski came up to speak about the same ordinance. “This is a sweetheart contract. It’s over a ten year period with no interest. You can’t go after the owner. You don’t know if you have additional mortgages that may be already be under. You haven’t paid interest for ten years.”
Councilman Petrick responded, “The owner is a corporation.”
Sierakowski countered, “Liens pay 18%. The Armory is paying nothing. There’s no lien on the property right now. Get an agreement.”
Rainone responded, “No matter how many mortgages, taxes always come first. It’s completely secured. Read the contract. I pulled this off the agenda because I wanted to look at it. There’s no such thing as personal liability on a tax lien. You (the City) are a secured creditor. A Federal Tax Lien might trump the City. Bankruptcy Court might wipe out the interest.”
Jill Goldy reminded the Council that this matter was discussed in closed session and this proposal was made by the Armory.”
Rainone continued, “You (the City) can do installment payments. I’m trying to make it as secure as possible.”
Resident Jeremy Baratta who was next at the podium stated, “You can make them hold a bond.”
Rainone added, “This is a tax lien.”
Baratta said, “In the settlement agreement the Armory should have their proper name.”
Baratta also brought to the attention of the Council that there were two mistakes made on the agreement: “They have the City of Perth Amboy listed as Monmouth County and the improper spelling of the Mayor’s first name.”
Resident Alan Silber came up and told the Council they should table this resolution because of the errors on the last page. “This Council should not take the word of this Counsel. He told you that you need three days to advertise the override of an ordinance. You can have anyone give you a straight forward answer. Don’t vote on it until you can get another opinion. This one is pertaining to override of the Veto Ordinance.”
At the last Public Portion, Resident Ken Balut told the Council to ask for copies of loan agreements from PARA. “I’m glad they made corrections on Police Promotions. A BID (Business Improvement District) Book came out. You should ask them questions pertaining to the distribution of the book, what is the bidding process, all the bills related to the book and how it was drawn out after all the paperwork before the budget was passed. This is worse than what Joe (Vas) did. We just had a coup in the Police Department. Burglaries and Accidents are not being reported. What is being released to the press? We have nothing. It’s dangerous for the Police Chaplains to wear badges. People have been targeting Police.”
Balut also told Council President Nanton, “You did a great job.”
Stanley Sierakowski came up to talk about the private School Bus parking situation. He still suggested that a property on Sayre Avenue would be a good place to park the school buses or to tow vehicles to. “There’s space for 150 vehicles or you can build Veteran’s Housing.”
Jeremy Baratta wanted to know, “What is the dispute with the PARA appointments if the change is not made? The Mayor makes an appointment and the Council must approve the appointment.”
Acting Law Director Rainone read the ordinance pertaining to Municipal Board Appointments. Rainone also commented on the Mayor’s Veto Power. He read an ordinance pertaining to the Law Director’s duties.