Sunday, March 29, 2009

Special Meeting Tuesday

Although you wouldn't know it from the city web site, there is a special City Council meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall Library. According to a legal notice , the purpose of the meeting is to act on a resolution to apply to the Local Finance Board for a reduced pension contribution. This is probably one and the same as the "deferred pension payment" proposal that has been discussed recently.

The meeting coincides with a previously advertised City Council budget session, also at 8 p.m.

The revised City Council meeting calendar was published the same day with the location of the first agenda session, 7:30 p.m. on April 6, listed as Emerson School. However, the new schedule as posted on the city web site says the April 6 meeting is at City Hall Library.

Jazz Clayton-Hunt, the former PIO for the city, has a new blog on which she deplores the criticism aimed at the city web site, among other topics. I think there is good reason for questioning why, after three and a half years, the administration can't get timely and accurate information up on the city web site.

Please note this is not my opinion, it is factual, as indicated by the mix-up described above and many other examples. The public is ill-served by having to guess which information is correct.

NOTE: I forgot to say there will be a public hearing on the school budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the administration building, 1200 Myrtle Ave.
The Plainfield Public Schools budget is also in the same edition of the Courier News as the calendar and special meeting notice. The local tax levy, which held steady at $17,683,663 for many years, rose to $18,391,262 in 2008 due to a state-mandated increase. For the 2009-10 school year, it will be $19,862,563.

Abbott District advocates are fighting to get the new funding formula rolled back, but meanwhile taxpayers will be asked to pay more each year in local school taxes. Under the old plan, taxpayers only kicked in 20 percent of school costs, while various forms of aid made up the rest. In surrounding suburbs, the ratio is more like the opposite and there has been a backlash against the high level of aid given to poor urban districts when other towns also have poor students who need extra help.

One thing the document doesn't tell is the anticipated tax rate per $100 for school purposes in 2009-10 and the rate of increase over last year. Editors always want those numbers and so journalists always have to pester the BA/BS in each district. If I want to state it on the blog, I guess I will have to do the same next week.

--Bernice Paglia


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