Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Former Mayor's Wife Questions City on Use of Stimulus Money and Civil Service

Tonight The Wife of Former Mayor and Currrent Councilmember Kevin Sanders, Adrienne, questioned the council on how much stimulus money the city has received and how it was spent. She also asked why another member (John Loffredo) was questioning the purpose of the civil service law governing city employees. (Today, the Asbury Park Press ran a survey form on the editorial page in which one of the questions was should civil service be dropped on the municipal level.)
Dozens of Residents of the Westside filled the council chambers to support property owner Eva Horvath's bid to development Avenue A with a partner.

Council Meeting October 7, 2009
Present – all, but Councilman Bruno stepped down from dais during work session.
Bryan Grant, City Engineer –
Downtown business CBD 99% complete.
Conversations go back 2 ½ yrs re property owners being assessed for improvement/ all w/ be paid for out of VIP funding. Lighting is not eligible for that funding. TR says lighting shouldn’t be left out of bid specs. Watch for bid specs on this project.

Pat brogrant, mon cancer coalition. Vol org funded by grant office of cancer control and …reduce burden of cancer in mon cty. Rep over 45 organizations. AP is rep by them. A program here on july 25, at beach, choose your cover, originated in 08. 4 counties along shore participated this last yr. 5 in Mon Cty AP was lead of flagship for project/ 138 people were screened. July 17, 2010 will do again. JC Med provided clinical support. Thanked tom Gilmour, tom pivinski, interfaith neighbors all show supported made program successful.

Mr. Jesse Kindle, property owner, requests use of right of way for stone pillars at 1204 4th Ave.

John Loffredo wants to ask about civil service –
T. Reidy, CM - Case on pt only one is from 1909, city of new Brunswick adopted civil service act, changed its mind in 1910. In Nov. of 1909 supreme crt of nj said there was no mechanism for NB to withdraw itself from guidelines of civil svc act. Lg of Municipalities discussed for decades, no way to withdraw.
JL – can we get info on how civil svc works?
JBruno – go online
TR – lots of info on how it works.
Gilmour, commerce – UEZ projects app’d by board, mktg plan $150k for marketing services. Ends in Feb, new RFP going out soon. Will report back.
Firetruck funding – UEZ contributes $53k a year for debt reduction. $250,000 total over 5 yrs.
Times tough right now, business community looking for relief, flexibility, wants some dialogue established with city council, chamber, some vehicle where can vent issues before comes to council. Just want you aware of that. Many businesses struggling right now. [Council not using mics. Difficult to hear.]
Special events Columbus Day reenactment, Oct 12, laughter in reference to former Councilman Keady’s objections over yrs to the observance. Children’s parade on b’dwlk, parade downtown for adults, roads closed down (inaudible)
Jersey Shore Rescue – coat give away, Sewall Av bet. Mem’l Drive 10-2pm Sat. 11/21
Rotary Club, polar plunge, 1/30/10
Wateredge – music festival free concert 5/22, 5/29 5 – 7k people expected
Request by mon cty cotillion committee for four of city’s free dates.

Affordable Housing SubCommittee Report – Hazel Samuels and Don Sammet, Redevelopment Dir for the city; city owned lots in the redev area.
Sammet: Tonight recommend a redeveloper be chosen for Block 99, lots 13,14. new single and multi-family homes / 2007 city put out rfp for developers to buy property, build – 3 said too expensive, can’t do it.
Next plan was amendment to the STARS plan – existing lots insufficient in size can be built out with… No more eminent domain, amendment. Connecting Av A to the courtyard? Reached out to 3 non-profit hsg orgs ..Coastal Habitat for Humanity, Interfaith Neighbors and NJ Housing… DS recommended the city continue to wk with the three. Two council mtgs ago city appr’d transfer of lots to developers.
In Oct 08, Eva Horvath approached city desirous of developing properties. Judged not compliant, lack of proven track record and detailed proforma. City said it would approve her. She continued to try. Aug mtg showed no add’l qualifications or change in status. Meanwhile council passed ordinance authorizing transfer of sale to three nonprofits.
Samuels: recommendation of sub committee, reading from report, not to be sold to ms eva Horvath. Transfer to nonprofits: mon housing, now affordable housing alliance, coastal hab and interfaith neighbors and authorize us to move forward and prepare that ordinance. [previous not verbatim]
Lack of development experience is chief reason for refusal. Reading from letter from Horvath that it isn’t appropriate to question on this basis. Developers have to submit proof of qualifications before they can submit RFP. Have to show they’re credit worthy to put forth their share of the funding. “Standard practice for us to vet any potential developer who wants to do work in the city,” said Samuels.
“..not only appropriate but mandatory...”
Recently Horvath said James Bellinger, her business partner, was experienced. Newark office of HUD replied to city they don’t recall receiving email or able to substantiate Bellinger’s claims of experience in this area.
Letter from NJ Dept of Community Affairs – Terrance Schreider, it is not the policy of DCA to promise support or funding resources without (missing) – no such aid given. Other correspondence read refuting similar claims. Also, said Samuels, Horvath’s claims to be a community based organization could not be substantiated.
“We’e never been this close to having buildings go up. We need affordable housing.”
Anyone planning to buy homes, there are classes Saturday and applications.
Raffetto – Horvath did buy a lot for $100 in 1996, but deed was lost. Taxes have never been paid on the lot. The said lot she would want to put with others for this current project. City was asked to produce another deed, but stipulation all taxes interest and penalties to $4,000 would have to be paid before city turns deed over to her.
TReidy – originally the properties Horvath wanted to bid on were part of the original plan. The nonprofits were moving forward to build on those properties. Horvath had made proposal to be developer on three. City took those lots out of its plan to give Horvath time to make her case. Think important to say that they were set aside for months to allow her to make proposal.
Eva Horvath – wasn’t told there wd be this hearing tonight, she just underwent surgery the other day, only learned two hours ago. 23 people are here to object to what is proposed tonight. They all came on short notice. Every single lot on Ave A offered to three developers in addition to 23 lots city has offered. Bellinger was Chr of western hemisphere shipping corp. Met w/ affordable hsg sub committee twice, once for 5 mins. I’m donating 4 lots of my own, one of which has to be subdivided. We wanted attached townhomes. We started a neighborhood watch and are drug free (on Avenue A). Want to do program that would allow people who are not qualified to own mortgage, but can get a special section 8 mortgage. No down payment required. If you have over $2k in bank you can’t keep getting section 8, so couldn’t save for deposit. This program she says resolves this, but Hazel is shaking her head in the negative.
She says she did provide a proforma and approved mortgage application submitted by Bellinger. Says she could’ve bought the contiguous lots under state law of first refusal. She took state certification program to be a developer.
The real here is the heart stuff. Neighbors told her they want the simplest house you can give us. Just don’t want to get foreclosed on.
Give us a chance to apply for some grants. We never wanted STARS because we knew it called for the eradication of Ave. A. I will do everything it costs to get this through, whatever it costs.
EJ asked if the council had any questions. No
Raffetto: is there a consensus among the council.
JL: I’m ready to move forward.
$500 from Sons of Italy for Columbus Day ceremony.

Lou Parisi: Commending firemen helping with VFW post in emergencies and help with flag. Commander Kenny to present check to Chief Keddy for antique fire truck. Donation also to PBA and APPD to honor fallen police officers, especially the four who lost lives in line of duty.

Mayor Johnson congratulate businesses and individuals for community clean up day. Reiterate what Samuels said about home readiness home buyer workshop. There will be other opportunities besides this Sat.
Raffetto: No action from executive session to be taken by council.

Public Portion – 7:43 pm

Ed simon – locksmith - glad so many people are out tonight at mtg. ball excellent time to share ideas. Johnson reached out to Neptune mayor, which is good.
Todd Bergman, 4th Ave – street sweeper still goes by both sides of street instead of making alternate parking. Kingsley Av no traffic control. Maybe if traffic lites on every corner…
Unnamed – in favor of Eva Horvath’s plans for housing. Nowhere for children to go. Please give her the chance to try.
Horvath – little loopy from anesthesia, left out fact affordable housing subcommittee didn’t give her opportunity to wk with them. We are qualified to build. NASP money can be used to build lots. Haven’t been given a chance. No way money can be used on these lots…fraud and deception…
Carmen Barham – Avenue A. been thru a lot on that street. Calmed down because we all stood together. Section 8 is a good idea.
Dwayne Small – Mattison Av/ shooting on Bangs Av in paper today. …put out newsletter saying want participation but not hiring anyone from community. What will city council do? Will you attend the opening? Asked Nancy Shields to put something in paper about jobs needed for our children. Kids in gangs because they have anything. They don’t understand it’s something else comes with that money. Make it mandatory developers have to hire local.
James Spikes – from neighborhood of Asbury, crime watch program really cleaned up…lot of kids hanging around that neighborhood.
Linda Collins 30 Avenue A – been there years not seen any improvement. Give Ms. Eva a chance if she wants to build there. Applause.
Everett Barham – Avenue A for 7 yrs, "The makingg of speeches is an art of which I have very little experience. Give her a chance – Yes she can."
Bloodsore – we are in trouble. Lot of misgivings at senior sites, people who move in and never move out. Willing to meet with councilman Sanders, NAACP, to discuss what’ sgoing on at senior homes: intimated, told where can and can’t sit, intimidated by staff and security, prostitutes…
Frank Safax – 4th Ave – represents citizens united. Thank volunteers who cleaned up Saturday. Adam St. where faces old village a lot of cleaning up there. Thank you for fixing up Summerfield Ave street surface. Public park for Westside would be a good thing. Westside Community Center is something we could build on. All they need is some renovation. Plus Prospect Court. Kids cold have their summer leagues. Jobs would help this community.
Adrienne Sanders – Dir. NAACP and resident – how much stimulus money have you received, how much has been earmarked, especially interested in job training programs. (Sanders looked surprised by this line of questioning, sat up and put his glasses on.) I hope some money is making its way to the Westside community ctr. Invest in it, put politics aside… What prompted discussion to look at eliminating civil service positions? Getting lot of emails about conditions in the city. Answer me in writing if can’t do so now. There is an organization called NAKA – NACA? A legitimate organization established due to discriminatory practices toward minorities. The program is through HUD. Knowledge is power. The NAACP is back and we’re not going anywhere.
Jay – Jersey Shore News – suspend parking fees on waterfront?
Lori Ross – pres bd of trustees of Westside Com Ctr, 67 yrs. Asking mayor to live up to your challeng of supporting the children. She states different programs conducted there. Asking you mayor Johnson to step up. A lot of those funds were supposed to go to this ctr, not discourage me. We see articles in paper about the shooting. We need to stop the politics and work for the children who are our future.
Ave A resident – what do you call affordable housing? If working at Taco Bell can’t afford this housing. We’ve been waiting since 1970 when riots began. Funding coming – recalls all mayors who said money coming to Westside. There’s no jobs. You have not done what you promised. Hasn’t happened – 39 years of false promises. It’s time to do what’s right. Find some better projects so we can see you’re doing something now. Developers won’t hire because they know city won’t do anything about it. Shooting right across from school. We need something done now.
Pastor Bradley – concerned with media where our concerns do not get printed. Drug traffic discussion w/ city manager before about it and are working on it. Main concern is WSCCtr all of us who hav ignored the type of ctr that can help our youth. The AME church has tried to start something there.
Jobs coming into the city aren’t going to the community people. Outsiders work here they take their money out of the community. Must post jobs 14 days in advance otherwise we’ll complain.
Joyce Stolaroff – sewer bill very high and it was wrong. Paying huge percentage of my sewer bill for Brick wall, whose usage is ten times mine. Was originally city’s obligation to oversee it. Want to support dog walking ordinance.
Gloria Barkley – resident 36 yrs. Avenue A is nothing like it used to be. I have 5 kids and I definitely need affordable housing.
Barbara Whitaker – Avenue A – not saying like it is. Drugs still over there and I support the mayor and the council position choice of three nonprofits. Eva doesn’t even fix the houses she already owns. Not even keeping it up to par. I never heard anything about this organization that she has. Yes there’s children running around there, but if parents took children where they need to go wouldn’t have the problem.
Lou Parisi - on positive note: a night to remember, sinking of the titanic in 1912. We too a night to remember prepared 3 day commemorative for the disaster of the Morro Castle. Monument is a stellar tradition for Asbury Park. Thanks historical society and all connected with the effort.
James Henry – tried to walk up Cookman in front of the Brick Wall and sidewalks totally blocked. Well beyond city’s limits, people with drinks in hands, which is illegal. Resident complaining about thenoise and something needs to be done to enforce ordinances on the books.
Resident Ave. A – asking do something, put playground something to help the children.
Resident Elizabeth Ave – concerns about WSCC, which he used growing up. Now have kids selves and nothing to do around here, place for kids to unite come together, play. Can you help us?
Denise Richardson, Ridge Av – Lori does a good job, best foot forward on everything she does. Anything you can do for Westside pls reach out and help. Avenue A started long time ago, they gave her time to do something. She’s done nothing. We now have an org that has the money to do something on the Westside. She has no money and no backing why wd you turn around and give it to her? We need it done: let’s get it done.
Cynthia Wright – lived here all life. What about the beachfront, can’t afford anything on it. Bring our beach back.
Bill ….- Street sweeper still not doing job. Heard parking meters when does it stop and start, can I get an answer. Resident later withdrew his complaint, explaining that he'd forgotten his agreement with the city manager to call him if the sweeper began skipping his street again.
Mayor: Parking advisory authority meets next week.
Jim Bellinger – Avenue A – People have explained what’s needed. Horvath has finger on the needs of people who live there. Take a hard look and listen to what they say. Very important to them, Eva and me.
Rita Marano – infill housing builder wasn’t vetted. Give the woman a chance.
Bonding for floor in Interfaith Neighbors building for senior center is now $3 million for building Interfaith is going to own. Seniors sandwiched in the middle of the building. Shouldn’t build it on second floor of building. Give the woman a chance. Don’t understand the empty lots, but shouldn’t have been discussed in public, should have been private. Street sweeper never comes to 8th Ave.
Jerry Scarano – can there be a program to see which properties are bank owned and put families in them. Most went to investors not first time home buyers. Need ordinance, stiffer penalties for theft of pipes from homes. Can’t get mortgages for them because no plumbing. Should be heavy penalty, numerous houses for sale not livable. More pressure on developer to build on the empty lots.

781,805. all yes bill resolution
Approved renewal for Jimi’s pocket license.
Advertise for bids for sewer plant – all yes
Application local finance bd, $3 million bond ordinance – discussion: important to understand one pc policy discussion as to do we need center, believe seniors in ap shd hv senior ctr, citizens of ap w/ own the senior ctr / it will be condo’d out. Whole notion why are we bonding this? Financial mgmt dictates that when you spend money on a capital improvement something that will last more than 5 yrs, the bond has a 30 yr life, what that means is city w/ pay for the improvement over the life of the improvement. When spend money on cap improvement, cd make everyone pay this year of over time so that people enjoying it can pay for it over the life of it. ALL YES

Amend 09 budget UEZ in the amount of $5,000 – all yes

Contract for prof svcs Donald Molliver, not to exceed $45,000. TReidy: Paid for by developers of Asbury Park, not the city.
Added lighting to street scape plan. ALL YES
Resolution to amend the capital budget respect to that project.
Dog ordinance – Sue Henderson – w/ be free rabies clinics.
Jim – Asbury Bark – in favor of this ordinance. People come here because AP is dog friendly. Over summer when prohibited from boardwalk, people reconsidered buying here because wanted to see if prohibition would be lifted. All Approved.

Additions, omissions, spellings: all changes, please click on the report, then again on the comments link. Thank you!
Maureen Nevin

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