Monday, June 15, 2009

Last Council Meeting of FY 2009 Tonight

Tonight’s City Council meeting is the last one for FY 2009, a year marred by extremely late budget passage due to disarray at the state level caused in part by a general economic crisis.

While many governmental and private systems turned to furloughs, layoffs and givebacks, Plainfield proposed just one layoff for savings of only $10,000. A large tax increase was warded off only by the dubious measure of deferring pension payments, which must be paid back with interest over 15 years starting in 2012.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Tonight’s agenda contains resolutions for July Fourth fireworks, something other municipalities are foregoing during the current fiscal crunch. The city is planning to save money by holding the display on the Thursday before the holiday in order to save overtime costs and will not hold a concert this year. The traditional parade will take place on Saturday, July 4.

Besides the 69 resolutions and one ordinance discussed on June 9, Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson announced that night that he was requesting addition of several more items to the agenda. Details were not available last week.

The agenda includes liquor license renewals for 22 establishments, while several others are in doubt. Those that do not meet renewal requirements by Monday will have to get day-to-day “ad interim” licenses in order to do business while their problems are worked out.

Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig said on June 9 he has developed a better way to give the City Council reports on the various bars, clubs and restaurants. The council acts as the local Alcoholic Beverage Control board and can act to suspend or deny the license of any establishment that breaks rules on underage consumption, has illicit activity on the premises or otherwise fails to meet ABC requirements. Previously, printouts of police calls at such locations included everything from motor vehicle accidents to alarms going off, so council members were not able to pinpoint ABC infractions. Hellwig said he has fine-tuned the process so that reports are now more intelligible. In addition, he said, patterns are emerging on establishments that have chronic problems.

Council members, especially Councilman William Reid, have expressed concern about the number of liquor establishments in Plainfield, which exceed current state guidelines but were grandfathered in when new rules on ratios per population were passed. If the council can prove an establishment is in violation of ABC rules, it can shut the place down by denying its license.

The complete agenda for tonight’s meeting is posted on the city web site. Click here to view it. The meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not start with layoffs of the mayor's full time legislative aide? What does she do anyway? What do a lot of those people at city hall do? Other municipalities have found ways to cut unnecessary employees, but the mayor can't seem to be able to. In the 21st century there is not as big a need for bodies to do work that can be done in an automated manner. She is wasting our money with bloated patronage jobs. Let's see what the new proposed administration budget is. Let's see if she will try to give herself a raise as well.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping people aware of the schedule and results of the city meetings.

Thanks Again !!!


2:04 PM  

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