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* Harrison To Pay for Red Bull Lighting


JohnPinho
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The Harrison Redevelopment Agency authorized tonight the payment of three invoices from PSE&G totaling over $698,000.00 for "buydown of poles, brackets and shrouds and ... cost of construction" for street poles and lights along Guyon Avenue, Cape May Street, and South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. The Resolution was passed without discussion by the Commissioners or input from the public.

The preamble to the Resolution stated that "pursuant to the Rider to the Redevelopment Agreement between the Agency and Advance at Harrison LLC ("Advance") the Agency is responsible to reimburse Advance for the "Stadium's Pro Rata Share" of Infrastructure costs, up to a maximum of $8,000,000".

Councilman Steve McCormick attended the meeting as a member of the public and attempted once again to ask Town Attorney and Redevelopment Agency attorney Greg Castano (Sr.) about the legality of the Agency's policy of not allowing members of the public to ask questions or speak at Redevelopment Agency meetings. Councilman McCormick video taped the meeting and plans on putting the video up on the web in the future. There were no other members of the public at the meeting.

As a former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner, the meeting brought me back to a more simpler time when I naively thought that my appointment to the Agency was in recognition of my contributions to the Harrison community and my professional achievements. As a Commissioner, I toke my job seriously and asked for Agenda documents, actual bills and to be provided same on a Friday afternoon rather than at the Tuesday meeting so I could review those documents over the weekend. When I found errors in billing or thought it inappropriate to pay for an item, I raised my concerns and expressed my opinion. Ultimately, my naivete resulted in my not being re-appointed. Mayor McDonough did not even send me a letter thanking me for my service.

As I sat in the audience at Redevelopment meeting in a room on the Second Floor above the Harrison Department of Public Works (DPW) on Essex Street, my thoughts reflected on how public money is being spent without any input from the public. If an elected public official cannot ask questions about the Redevelopment at the Redevelopment Agency Meeting and is told to "put it in writing", where are the checks and balances. If the public came to this out of the way location to attend a "Redevelopment Meeting", they would not be able to ask a question. Mayor McDonough and the other Commissioners passed a resolution to that effect and apparently see nothing wrong with the policy. What are they afraid the public will ask or comment upon?

Well, maybe the fact that the Harrison Redevelopment Agency (or should I say the Harrison taxpayers) should not be footing the bill for new street lights for the Advance Group and/or Red Bulls without first having them pay their contractual portion of the cost. From the documents I reviewed it appears that the Agency is making a direct payment in advance to PSE&G before they even order the poles and lights. Advance did not pay for the lights. The Resolution states that its a reimbursement which is not accurate.

Other questions come to mind: Are these temporary telephone pole lights or permanent decorative lights. Why can't PSE&G foot the bill for the street lights since the town would be paying for the electricity making PSE&G some additional revenue? The public may never know because the Agency's silence policy prevents anyone from asking. If you go to the Town Council meeting and ask, Mayor McDonough will direct you to go to the Redevelopment Agency to ask. Unfortunately, unless you "put it in writing" you won't be able to ask at the Agency meeting. Mayor McDonough who sits on the Agency Board will not give you his opinion. The cone of silence surrounds the Redevelopment Agency decisions. Now we know why it's in such a remote location.

By the way, there is a Special Meeting of the Mayor & Council for this coming Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 4 p.m. Tell your boss that you have to leave early because Mayor McDonough has scheduled another Special Meeting. Do not worry about the blank stare you get from your boss, you do not need your job after all. Mayor McDonough canceled last Thursday's Regular Meeting because all the town's business had been handled at a Special October 26, 2009 town meeting. McDonough was apparently wrong. According to Mayor McDonough, shutting down some parking garages is on the Agenda.

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The Harrison Redevelopment Agency authorized tonight the payment of three invoices from PSE&G totaling over $698,000.00 for "buydown of poles, brackets and shrouds and ... cost of construction" for street poles and lights along Guyon Avenue, Cape May Street, and South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. The Resolution was passed without discussion by the Commissioners or input from the public.

The preamble to the Resolution stated that "pursuant to the Rider to the Redevelopment Agreement between the Agency and Advance at Harrison LLC ("Advance") the Agency is responsible to reimburse Advance for the "Stadium's Pro Rata Share" of Infrastructure costs, up to a maximum of $8,000,000".

Councilman Steve McCormick attended the meeting as a member of the public and attempted once again to ask Town Attorney and Redevelopment Agency attorney Greg Castano (Sr.) about the legality of the Agency's policy of not allowing members of the public to ask questions or speak at Redevelopment Agency meetings. Councilman McCormick video taped the meeting and plans on putting the video up on the web in the future. There were no other members of the public at the meeting.

As a former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner, the meeting brought me back to a more simpler time when I naively thought that my appointment to the Agency was in recognition of my contributions to the Harrison community and my professional achievements. As a Commissioner, I toke my job seriously and asked for Agenda documents, actual bills and to be provided same on a Friday afternoon rather than at the Tuesday meeting so I could review those documents over the weekend. When I found errors in billing or thought it inappropriate to pay for an item, I raised my concerns and expressed my opinion. Ultimately, my naivete resulted in my not being re-appointed. Mayor McDonough did not even send me a letter thanking me for my service.

As I sat in the audience at Redevelopment meeting in a room on the Second Floor above the Harrison Department of Public Works (DPW) on Essex Street, my thoughts reflected on how public money is being spent without any input from the public. If an elected public official cannot ask questions about the Redevelopment at the Redevelopment Agency Meeting and is told to "put it in writing", where are the checks and balances. If the public came to this out of the way location to attend a "Redevelopment Meeting", they would not be able to ask a question. Mayor McDonough and the other Commissioners passed a resolution to that effect and apparently see nothing wrong with the policy. What are they afraid the public will ask or comment upon?

Well, maybe the fact that the Harrison Redevelopment Agency (or should I say the Harrison taxpayers) should not be footing the bill for new street lights for the Advance Group and/or Red Bulls without first having them pay their contractual portion of the cost. From the documents I reviewed it appears that the Agency is making a direct payment in advance to PSE&G before they even order the poles and lights. Advance did not pay for the lights. The Resolution states that its a reimbursement which is not accurate.

Other questions come to mind: Are these temporary telephone pole lights or permanent decorative lights. Why can't PSE&G foot the bill for the street lights since the town would be paying for the electricity making PSE&G some additional revenue? The public may never know because the Agency's silence policy prevents anyone from asking. If you go to the Town Council meeting and ask, Mayor McDonough will direct you to go to the Redevelopment Agency to ask. Unfortunately, unless you "put it in writing" you won't be able to ask at the Agency meeting. Mayor McDonough who sits on the Agency Board will not give you his opinion. The cone of silence surrounds the Redevelopment Agency decisions. Now we know why it's in such a remote location.

By the way, there is a Special Meeting of the Mayor & Council for this coming Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 4 p.m. Tell your boss that you have to leave early because Mayor McDonough has scheduled another Special Meeting. Do not worry about the blank stare you get from your boss, you do not need your job after all. Mayor McDonough canceled last Thursday's Regular Meeting because all the town's business had been handled at a Special October 26, 2009 town meeting. McDonough was apparently wrong. According to Mayor McDonough, shutting down some parking garages is on the Agenda.

rl="http://yourharrison.com/2009/11/12/harrison-to-pay-for-red-bull-lighting.aspx?ref=rss"]View the full article[/url]

The level of secrecy and "behind closed doors" wheeling and dealing is just incredible. I find it very hard to believe that all this clandestine activity involving taxpayer dollars is legal.

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