Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Asbury Park City Manager is Open to Gov-Elect Christie's Ideas

Asbury Park City Manager Terry Reidy told Asbury Radio tonight that he's willing to consider whatever ideas the new governor may have for cutting waste and overhead in municipal budgets. See last item on tonight's Reporter's Notebook:

What prompted our question to Reidy: What will a Republican governor mean for Asbury Park? Asbury Park has a bipartisan, or no-party system, but its council members are predominantly Dems. Deputy Mayor John Loffredo ran for Assembly on a Democratic ticket.Governor-Elect Christopher Christie, voted in by a huge margin last night, upset the Democrat machine in New Jersey. Right now City schools, which comprise an Abbott District, and our City government both enjoy millions in state and federal aid. Will the Christie administration share the wisdom of this strategy? Leave your comments by clicking on Comment below and add your opinion to the survey to the right.

Reporters’ Notes of AP City Council Meeting of Nov 4, 2009 - Feel free to send changes, suggestions, corrections, etc. The comment section does not require you to identify yourself on your posting.

Work Session – Present all but Council member James Bruno

Dennis Carroll, Pres. ArtsCap and Doug Ferrari, SICA, Exec Dir, gave presentation on Sculptoure Event – visit

Bidders on renovation of Transportation Center bid $148,900, lowest bid $97,814. $50k difference, staff recommends bid go to Gavan, the lower bidder. Johnson asked if wouldn’t be better to go with higher quality, if that’s what accounts for the wide diff. Fred Raffetto’s recommendation compare bids again to see if materials differ significantly, since state requires accept lower bid.

Chief Kinmon - Police dept to accept $10k for homeland security to train patrol dog for explosives. Go toward purchase and its feed and training classes. Detective Newman is experienced with canine patrol. This will be the third dog, other two are trained in narcotics detection. Dogs can’t be cross-trained. When dog is phased out, it goes to detective Dan Newman’s house.

City Mgr, Terry Reidy, Betty Brock, from US Census, made presentation months ago to form committee to ensure accurate census of AP. Johnson suggested, to laughter, that Councilman Bruno serve on it, since he’s not here tonight. Council member Sue Henderson volunteered. “It’s important that our own residents get to do this.”
Johnson: some feel census is an invasion of privacy, want to allay those fears.

Proposed fee increases for Construction Dept.
Recommendations, from TReidy – many fees hav been static for yrs. They’ve compared with other communities. Covers subcode, plumbing, fire subcode, special permit, including demolition fees and COs.

Special Event apps – Gilmour on vacation
TReidy: Jersey Shore Running club – benefit AP youth.

Matters to be introduced by city council:
Mayor Ed Johnson: Can we include parking instructions in the City calendar? Too late for this year, but next.
Also, wd police lk into pkg violation fines? He’s been watching chronic pkg behavior: double parking, idling, blocking traffic. Raise fines enough to get your attention. It’s out of control. I can see it everywhere. No one stopping at stop signs, hardly anyone stopping…speeding too. Don’t want to see pkg tkts going thru roof, but it’s like people just don’t care.”
Chf Kinmon – absolutely right mayor, will step up the efforts. He got a parking tkt in NY and it cost $110.
EJ – Well we don’t have to go that far.
TR – we’ll come back w/ recommendations for fees.
EJ – anyone lk into serving liquor at brunches on Sundays?
TR – have talked to tom dibenedetto, pres of the chamber.

No matters from executive session w/ be looked at by council.
TR – Halloween was very good in Asbury Park – parades and pet parade. 50 dogs entered.
At silent prayer, Mayor Johnson, recognized Fireman Robert Bush, 40, who passed away.

Open Session:
Miss Colliers – Fair is Fair and Interfaith Neighbors do good work. (But) if miss eva is willing to build these homes for the community I believe she should have them…you should allow her to build.

Phillips – Avenue A, jst want to see miss eva’s project come along. Section 8 helped me a lot other people could the same way.

Another resident of neighborhood – Give Miss Ava a chance.

Tina Chuna – Avenue A Give her a chance to see what she can do for Avenue A.

Johnson – same neighborhood. See a lot of black people have gotten old and don’t have good places to live. Favors Miss Ava.

Another for Horvath – Give her a chance

Eric ? – Avenue A – Favors Eva
? Thomas – Avenue A – She needs the three lots.

Lifelong resident AP – She should have a chance. Recession is hard, people can’t afford it…should hv chnc to bld affordable housing.

Everton Barham – 32 Avenue A – endorse my neighbors. My parting word is Yes she can.
Eva Horvath – major pts of proj. we can bld 8 homes, if hold bk these 3 lots and let us apply for grant. There’s a 25% minimum required by city to allow us to apply for a grant. Let us apply and then we’ll see. We made our street drug free, a beacon of hope, started a community garden. We proved that w/ just back breaking work we cd make something beautiful. Let us show what we can do.
Rita Marano – 8th Ave
Amending budget tonight, can you explain that money?
How much is it for ambulance to come to house and take to hospital
Chief Keddy – Billing company bills out at $460. is maximum they bill out.
She got charged even for the gas.
TReidy – aft budget adopted any add’l $ comes in city has to amend budget to add: 2 grants came in for police dept. $235, 214. and $104, 446. Higher is for hybrid police cars and the other is for car for street crimes unit, which has system w/ camera, license plate recognition system, to see if stolen or Regis expired or owner wanted for something. Can’t take that grant money and spend it on something else. Not spent yet, but dedicated for that purpose.

Frank Saffits(?)…representing Citizens United – thanks for trimming trees on Atkins Ave. Public safety concern between Bangs Av and Middle schools, the park area. Also, at our church last month had three on three basketball game, included even bloods and crips. Do renovation at schools over there. Maybe in summer can have it resurfaced.

Lou Parisi – VFW AP – greatest celebration world had ever known cost 10 million lives, left behind 117,000 of our American dead. Next wk honor these men on Veterans Day. Invite everyone 11 AM to come to Memorial Park, on 5th Avenue, will dedicate part of memorial park to honor our policemen, for those lost in line of duty.

Ed Simon – locksmith – 3rd and Main – had wonderful time w/ the trolley. Found out there’s a haunted house in AP. Took 500 kids to the haunted house. Next year will take trolley across tracks to children over there. Will work w/ the Berkley and interface with the Halloween parade.
Yvette Chilton – 7th Ave – wore 4” heels running up and down the trolley stairs all day, giving out candy to the kids and had a great time.

Jerry Scarano – Long Branch – permit for new furnaces and water heaters…asked price of gravel property along Kennedy park - $200,000, says Reidy. Would council be willing to forgo salaries in view of new governor being for smaller budgets. JLoffredo says no.

Denise Richardson - by Atkins where they trimmed trees, there’s a place where cars get plowed in when it snows. Dirt road between townhouses and trees.
End of public portion:

Payroll – health cov’ge $1,292,000. all yes 2, 272,000 bill resolution for two weeks
Central Jersey Club – raffle application-- all yes
Spec Events app for Marathon – all yes
Accelerated Tax Sale approved.
Yvonne Adams appt’d Recycling Coordinator
Added revenue see above for police equipment – Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants
Approve grant for bomb sniffing dog.
Dec 2nd meeting – personnel policy, residents requirements eliminated.
Public hearing for bond ordinance $3 million for senior center.
Rita Marano – still think unfair bonding, taking into acct 3 generations w/ be owing the debt/ Don’t think seniors will appreciate having to go all the way to Atkins Av and take stairs or elevator. Are we ever going to get out of bondage?
TReidy – we looked at another location. Also thought third floor of new bldg wd be better, but seniors who currently attend the center at Seaview Tower asked for the second floor.
Nov 16th carried award of bid.
After the meeting, which ended about 8 pm, Asbury Radio asked Terry Reidy if he anticipates any problems continuing to get the generous subsidies that the City depends on from the State, now that a Republican governor will be taking the helm.
Reidy started by saying it remains to be seen. Then he said, “I think AP is the perfect city for Governor-Elect Christie to work w/, in terms of developing a model for urban cities to be held accountable to; in terms of regionalizing services, sharing services, being able to generate revenue to support your own services.
“The State had done an audit when I first got here. They made recommendations and we’ve been following that plan.
Reidy said several times that he is “looking forward to sitting down” with Christie or his representatives.
I asked about audit that the State had performed last spring and Reidy said the City has been following those recommendations. I asked specifically about his intentions as far as having employees pay at least a portion of their health insurance premiums.
Reidy said referenced the unions as a possible obstacle to that. I thought the union, I believe AFSME actually suggested that, but Reidy was shocked the workers own union would suggest the members pay for something they’re getting now for free or little. (I think I have this somewhere and will check.)
“I’ve got the list,” he obliged. “I’ll take another look at it.”
Generally, he said,
“We have to take it (the new State Administration) one step at a time. Have to speak to Gov Christie. We’re open to what other people have to say.”
At this point, I had to close down my computer for a low battery. So I’m taking this from memory. But Reidy vowed to remain open to any avenues to reducing costs, including merging towns and services and seemed to embrace the popular attitude these days that spending, especially for duplication of efforts, has got to be brought under control. He mentioned the numerous small towns that carry the burden of their own safety service equipment, which may not be necessary to protect their residents.
Also adding to the uncertainty of what to expect from the new governor is the fact that his campaign strategy, which Reidy pointed out to me, was to withhold the details of his economic reform plan so that opponents couldn’t tear it apart. That also leaves towns wondering what to expect, too.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The employee's union did not suggest its members contribute a share to their health benefits. However, the State's auditor made that suggestion, as well as to reduce the amount the city currently pays employees who decline the courage, which is currently as high as $10,000, annually. For an excerpt from that report, see the archive on this site.