New sign outside Municipal Court
The big sign on Watchung Avenue makes it easy to see how long a council meeting took. Monday's regular meeting might have been shorter but for some pre-primary politicking.
All the proposed festivals and events won approval, though an unsuccessful bidder for a concert in Cedar Brook Park convinced the council to rescind the resolution to hire another organizer. Corporation Counsel David Minchello pointed out there is no guarantee the the unsuccessful organizer will get the contract if re-bid.
Plaintalker will follow up later on the subject of "festivals and decibels," as retired Police Captain Siddeeq El-Amin dubbed it. Details were lacking on the proposed parade along Front Street in September and El-Amin suggested more should be provided to avoid "a rolling fiasco."
Veterans pleaded for their own building, as they have for some time. A Veterans Center at 400 East Front Street has never been used due to contractual terms of the development that included a new senior center and condos. Veterans are using the senior center for meetings, but have to be let in. They want their own place with their own key and suggested there might be a vacant city-owned property they could have.
Most importantly, Council President Bridget Rivers said she wanted to have a special meeting to pass the 2014 budget this month, but just in case it doesn't, the council passed a temporary budget for June as a new item.
The council's budget consultant recommended eliminating all new positions, which supporters of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp see as a mortal blow to his vision for the city. The budget has yet to be amended and a hearing must be scheduled on any amendments, after which the budget may be passed.
Former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs testified on Mapp's perceived lapses as a councilman and again said he should choose between having a job and being mayor. (The mayoralty is part-time and all previous mayors except Robinson-Briggs have held jobs outside City Hall. ) There was more, but no doubt it will turn up on YouTube or PCTV cable channels.