Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Monday Special Council Meeting

The resolution of most interest to me was the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) nominations.  Both of Mayor Mapps' nominees were approved by the Council.  I was skeptical of ever seeing Mapps' appointees achieving a majority of seats on the PMUA Commission but to my surprise, not only were Michelle Lyons and Henry Robinson approved, they are replacing Malcolm Dunn and Cecil Sanders.

The goal is not to see new faces but to see new faces make positive changes and help Plainfield ratepayers to have confidence and trust in the PMUA.  And reduce the rates!!

Rate reduction will not be easy but is necessary.  Plainfield's solid waste and sewer rates are well above what people are paying in other towns.  Seniors on fixed incomes feel the burden most.  The cost of running a business in Plainfield is higher because of the PMUA rates.  This is a disincentive to economic development and local job creation.

There are vested interests who do not want changes at the PMUA.  These interests are powerful and will not give up the benefits they get from the PMUA without a fight. Non competitive contract procurement  and job patronage are at stake. "No-one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it" (G Orwell).

But with three Mapp appointees on the five member commission, we can hope for progress.  A good start would be for commissioners to set commission meeting times in the evening so more working people have the opportunity to attend. I would also like to see them end the practice of charging ratepayers for their pre-commission meeting dinners.  This wont have an appreciable impact on rates but will signal that commissioners are serious about serving their customers.

Time will tell whether Mayor Mapp's  strenuous and persistent efforts will make a difference.

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