Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday's Council Topics: Roads, Taxis, Cleanups, Crime

The city's capital improvement plan for 2017 will consist solely of $5 million for road repair, Planning Director Bill Nierstedt said when called upon Monday to explain a resolution that will be up for a City Council vote on Dec. 12.

Capital improvement plans can include equipment for long-term use and major improvements to municipal properties as well as infrastructure, as described in this 2006 post.

The city 's 2005 five-year plan for road repair faltered several years ago. In 2008, the governing body declined the administration's request to pay an engineering firm $1 million to assess and re-prioritize road repair needs. The current administration has been attempting to revive a program of road repairs.

 In other matters at Monday's agenda-fixing session, Norman Muhammad of the Plainfield Anti-Violence Coalition thanked Police Director Carl Riley for his efforts to reduce violent crime, but challenged Councilman Barry Goode to be more active in combating violence. Goode, who represents the First and Fourth Wards at-large, said he forgave Muhammad for "your lapse of memory" regarding his involvement and added Muhammad can call him at any time.

"I am approachable," Goode said.

A large group attended the meeting to support out-of-town taxi drivers who are facing the possibility of having their vehicles towed after final passage of an ordinance next week. Speaking in English and Spanish, supporters said the owners and drivers, mostly based in North Plainfield, are just trying to make a living. Several alleged it takes an hour or more for city-licensed taxis to answer calls, so they have to call the out-of-town taxis to get to medical appointments and such on time.

Resident Timothy Priano, whose Queen City Pride group has held numerous cleanups, said city Code Enforcement needs to be stepped up to address derelict buildings he has seen along the cleanup routes. Priano alleged courts were not helping and no one was obeying rules or codes.

Council President Cory Storch said Code Enforcement has been an ongoing concern and asked City Administrator Rick Smiley to comment. Smiley said the city will soon have a new director for abandoned property.

"I'm not going to blame it on the courts," Smiley said.

"I just don't find that response acceptable," Storch said.

Muhammad also asked whether a South Avenue developer was hiring minority contractors, as promised when the project was approved. Economic Development Director Carlos Sanchez said the project is in the demolition phase and a local contractor is doing the work.

In the absence of Chairwoman of the Whole Gloria Taylor, Councilwoman Tracey Brown filled in and rapidly received council approval to move all 35 resolutions and four ordinances to the agenda for the regular meeting at 8 p.m. Dec. 12 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.


  1. Welcome back Bernice!

    1. I am not really back. That was a trial balloon. Still not convinced blogging is the best use of my time right now with all the health and household issues I have.

  2. Regarding the comment from Mr. Smiley..... the court is a large part of the reason why zoning and code enforcement issues are not addressed. I suggest he go to court one time and see for himself.

    1. This is a longtime issue, since the 1980s. Nobody can tell a judge how to act. The late Bill Hetfield wanted a "hanging judge," but the best thing is a judge who understands Plainfield. One judge used to act like he was at Comedy Night and make little jokes. The city needs one who will be fair but firm with property owners, even those who are politically hooked up.


  4. And still after the promises of properties will be cleaned, they are stacking more trash on the piles and nothing gets done.