Monday, October 05, 2009

Senior Center Questions Swirl

A tax abatement plan for the senior center/condo complex at 400 East Front Street is dead, City Council President Rashid Burney said Monday, but Councilman Adrian Mapp insisted other questions on legalities of an agreement with the Union County Improvement Authority are not resolved and seniors demanded to know when they can move into the new center.

The tax abatement issue arose when the council was asked earlier this year to approve an ordinance to permit negotiations on a five-year break on taxes for buyers of the 63 condos on three floors above the senior center. Although the proposal was a preliminary measure and any agreement would have to come back for council approval, the terms were discussed publicly as a 40 percent abatement, meaning buyers would pay only 40 percent of taxes for five years.

Normally, such agreements would be negotiated in advance of construction, but the abatement plan was touted by politicians as necessary to prevent the nearly-completed complex known as "The Monarch" from becoming rentals instead of condos over the senior center.

As far as the legal status of the complex, Mapp and city Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson sparred over whether agreements on transfer of city-owned land to the the Union County Improvement Authority were properly executed, with Williamson declaring, "After all is said and done, the transfer was absolutely, positively legal" and Mapp still demanding proof. Mapp's demands for verification drew applause from seniors in the audience.

Meanwhile, senior center member George Smith said most of the furnishings of the current center in leased space at 305 East Front Street have been moved to the new building at 400 East Front Street, but no final moving day has been set. At the same time, the owner of the building now housing the center is trying to get a tenant for the space, he said.

City Administrator Marc Dashield said the certificate of occupancy for the new center was issued about a week ago, and that the city was now working with the developer to come up with a "transition date."

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to councilman Burney and the entire council to listening to the citizens of Plainfield. It is this type of common sense thinking that has Plainfielders hopeful that truly a new day is dawning.

And to Councilman Mapp - while some may be irritated with your pesky questions wanting details and facts and accountability - I for one hope you never cave to this kind of bullying and pressure.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can there be any doubt that the center will have another grand opening precisely one week before the election, with Jerry and Sharon attending in all their finery?

As others have said, if this is the highlight of their accomplishments, we indeed are in a heap 'o trouble.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Yep I Said It! said...

Fool the senior citiizens once with candy and kisses. . . shame on the senior citizens. Fool the senior citizens TWICE with . . . nnnaaahhhh!!!

That just AIN'T happening!

10:01AM -I was thinking the same exact way.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Per Anonymous at forgot to mention the RED Ballons, the RED Banners, the RED Buttons, the rosy RED cheeks ablush with joy and the big white grin of the Cheshire Cat and her handler..Mayor Jerry. But, will they be taking hostages like they did at the meeting late one night...inquiring minds want to know?!?!?!??!

7:06 PM  

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