Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Feb. 1 City Council Agenda Items

A visit to the Plainfield Public Library turned up the agenda for Monday plus all the background documents. All you have to do is ask at the Reference Desk and surrender your library or credit card while you peruse the paperwork.

To see just the agenda without the accompanying documents, click here.

In no particular order, here are some highlights:

--Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs will be asking for City Council advice and consent to the nomination of Bibi Taylor to serve as city administrator. She is currently both acting city administrator and acting director of Administration, Finance, Health & Social Services. If approved at the regular meeting on Feb. 8, Taylor will receive a four-year term concurrent with that of the mayor. Other resolutions call for council approval to waive the city's residency requirement for Taylor and to permit use of an unmarked city car for 24-hour use.

--The city has been allocated $250,000 in state aid, to be used only for property tax relief. In November, the city sought $3.5 million and agreed to strict terms for any funding that was granted. In return for the aid, the city has to impose a hiring freeze and a salary freeze, not fund any non-essential vacancies, fund no charities or "sunshine funds," freeze promotions, achieve staff reduction through attrition, submit to the state Division of Local Government Services a list of all employees with title, salary and date of hire indicated, provide labor contracts and hire no outside consultants without approval of the LGS director. The memorandum of agreement also bans all out-of-state travel for officials, as well as overnight stays within the state. There's more, but you get the picture.

--The administration proposes use of $55,000 in Urban Enterprise Zone funds to hold the "Music in the Plaza" event this summer.

--Speakers during public comment will get six minutes instead of three, if the council approves on Feb. 8. However, the sixty-minute time limit will remain in place. This issue came up when the City Council decided last year to hold just one agenda fixing session and one regular meeting per month. Council watchdogs and gadflies objected, saying they were getting just half the time to speak as before. The clinker is that 10 people will now get six minutes each, instead of a potential 20 people speaking for three minutes.

--There will be a "follow-up" discussion on the Health Division fees proposed last month, but withdrawn after an outcry from business owners. No new schedule was in the packet.

--With no budget in place, the administration will need temporary appropriations to run the city in March. Tax Collector Marie Glavan will be asked to send out estimated tax bills to keep up cash flow.

The agenda-fixing session is 7:30 p.m. Monday in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. The regular meeting will be 8 p.m. Feb. 8 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

--Bernice Paglia


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