Wednesday, June 15, 2011

City Council Meeting of June 14

Another long Council meeting that started with a 6 pm executive session and ended around midnight. When the Council's confidence in the administration increases, I believe the meetings will be shorter and business will be conducted more efficiently. The most important positive action will be the appointment of a permanent city administrator who is competent and willing to work with the Council. Right now we have an acting city administrator who appears to fit that bill. Unfortunately he can only stay 90 days under the Plainfield ordinances.

Highlights of the evening:

* the road paving program - another of many discussions about the wisdom of our road paving selections. To some extent we continue on automatic pilot, guided by a scoring system that does not take into account the amount of traffic, safety issues, whether a road is a gateway to the city and other critical considerations. I used Watchung Ave to illustrate my point. The administration supports paving it from Hillside Ave to Woodland next. Compare that to the Leland to Woodland section which needs paving much more. Then check out Sterling, Cambridge and Oxford and other streets behind Cook School. You will see some of the worst streets in the city. Yet there has been no paving there at all. We have limited resources and need to make wiser decisions about the sequence of roads to be paved. I was asked to forward my recommendations to our Council Neighborhood Services committee. Once again, I will do so.

* Shotspotter - the vendor was back with a much better financing plan. And kudos to the administration for obtaining a $250,000 public saftey technology grant. Later we found out this is "almost" a done deal. Still a reason for hope. The Council had previously asked for expert input on the value of Shotspotter but that was not forthcoming at the meeting. I cannot vote for such an important initiative simply based on a vendors testimony. Once again I asked for the administration to reach out to the Prosecutors office, the State Police and other independent law enforcement entities to guide Plainfield's investment of public safety resources. Do we pay for Shotspotter (approximately $160,000/year after the grant runs out), more surveillance cameras, more police or more root cause interventions (recreation, youth career development, substance abuse treatment). Or a combination of the above.

* PMUA Citizens Taskforce - I urged Council members to appoint one representative each for action at next Mondays Council meeting.

* The Armory - the Mayor had the previous proposal brought back for discussion. Problem is we had that discussion months ago, the Council said "not worthy of action" and nothing of substance was added by the administration this time around. This is just stirring the pot. When a real proposal is made, then we should discuss it in public.

* Calendar year budgeting. Our CFO has prepared us to switch to a calendar year budget. That includes a "transition" 6 month budget from July to December. Thanks goes to Adrian Mapp, the original advocate for the change. There are advantages for Plainfield that I am sure he will cover in his blog.

We had many other items of business but too much to write about today. The Council business meeting is next Monday at 8 pm at the Municipal Court chamber.


Bob said...

I still wonder,Councilman Storch, how that will improve response time. It will obviously not deter gun violence, where I think we need to concentrate our energy and money. I'm glad you are taking a careful view of this and I hope those who usually rubber stamp Sharon's ideas are also careful with the city's resources and money.

Anonymous said...

I am not in favor of Shotspotter. I do not think we have done an efficient job of using our police and would like to see that happen first.

Did they use shotspotter in NY on 42nd street? No, they used police.

Also, just read that in New Bedford, Ct. they were leasing Shotspotter for 150K. Why are we more in only 4 months.

Chuck Hale said...

Leland Ave, from Front street, north to the bridge, is one of the most heavily traveled streets, with heavy trucks. It is in serious need of being repaved.

Nancy said...


The Armory discussion should include a discussion about the New Jersey Fire Museum. The State of New Jersey already owns the Ernie Day Collection of Fire apparatus and memorablia, and Mr. Day was a long time area resident across the Plainfield border in Middlesex County. The Plainfield Armory already owned by the State of New Jersey could be used to house this collection, and it would be a great solution to all. The Armory could be a cultural tourism econonic development site, and it is so close to the Netherwood Fire House and train station. Another possiblity for jobs that this city needs.


gzb said...

Councilman Storch, I returned from work today to find most of the speed bumps on Kensington Avenue - MISSING.

I searched your blog for any reference, finding nothing.

What could possibly cause the City to spend money to REMOVE something that had a completely positive SAFETY affect on our corner and I suspect all cross streets from Watchung to Park. We haven't had an accident on this corner since they went in.

I am shocked and anxious to understand this complete waste of public funds.

What are the city's plan to control traffic now that the bumps are gone.

Gail Bayse