My June photo
On to the big City Council meeting. The Dec. 7 agenda session has been combined with the Dec. 14 regular meeting and a separate agenda session for the January reorganization will also be considered Monday. The "special meeting" starts at 7 p.m..
Things to watch out for:
--Two "financial arrangements" aka payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT agreements are up for votes. One is with Sleepy Hollow Developers Urban renewal for the 212-unit amenity-laden project on South Avenue, in an ordinance up for second reading and final passage. It was passed unanimously on first reading on Nov. 23, although Councilwoman Gloria Taylor hesitated before voting and later reminded everyone, "It's not over yet," alluding to the final vote.
--The second agreement has to do with the conversion of upper floors of the YMCA to 30 studio apartments for young people aging out of foster care. The PILOT agreement is with Plainfield Genesis Affordable Housing LLC, which will have 50/50 ownership of the apartments with the YMCA. It is in the form of a resolution.
--Other business includes five resolutions for legal fees, totaling $100,000. On the other agenda there is a resolution authorizing three-month 2016 temporary budget appropriations for city operations, listing $97,000 in salary & wages and $150,000 for other expenses in the Corporation Counsel's office. The total appropriations in the adopted 2015 budget were $370,075 for salary & wages and $382,600 for other expenses. The January agenda also includes a resolution for an agreement with David Minchello of DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole, LLP of Teaneck to serve as corporation counsel for 2016. This seems at odds somewhat with the notion of an in-house corporation counsel, although Minchello has served the city well for many years now.
--Another item of interest is a resolution authorizing the Planning Board to investigate whether two South Avenue buildings are in need of redevelopment. The buildings span a whole block between Berckman and Richmond streets. One, identified in the resolution as the Royal Apex building, but also known as the Rushmore Building, has just won Board of Adjustment approval for an ambitious makeover. Usually the "in need" investigation launches a process that ultimately results in a redevelopment plan, but it seems that will be taking place anyway. If the designation means any breaks for the developer, all the better.
Reminder: Special Meeting (combining December agenda and regular meeting) 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave., followed by an agenda-fixing session for the annual reorganization to be held in January.