Friday, September 25, 2009

The Mayor Dropped the Ball--Part One

The "on again, off again" Monarch residential tax abatement ordinance was off again last night; it was off because of my refusal to allow the issue to be discussed in closed session in violation of the Sunshine law. I took the position that the abatement ordinance did not meet the test for a closed session discussion and, since 4 votes were needed to go into executive session, and only 4 council members were present at the time, no executive session was held.

This is because I refused to give my consent. I became incensed when, in response to my objection to the closed session, the Corporation Counsel sought to justify what was a clear violation of the Sunshine law by claiming that the abatement discussion was a “continuation of contract negotiations that started in 2006.” If ever there was a "stretch" argument, this was one; it was an obvious attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Council President Burney, as transparent as he claims to be, came down on the side of the “make it work at any cost” argument of the administration, so much so that he still wanted to go into closed session although there were only 3 votes in favor--clearly, this would have been a violation. I informed the council president that 4 votes, a majority of the council, are needed for the passage of any resolution; it was only at this point that the attempt to hold an executive session was abandoned.

Later, I will provide my reasons in detail for why I say, "The Mayor Dropped the Ball!"

Regards, Adrian


Anonymous said...

Good Work !!!!

There are building size lots all over town the City owns that could be auctioned off instead ofs making thwe City keep them clean and mowed. That is something the Adminiastration should be working on to get MORE taxs, not reduce them for their friends !!

Anonymous said...


Do we know who the people are who have already expressed an interest (pending contract) in buying one of the Monarch condos?

It might be, that they are some of those most interested in seeing a tax abatement. Not sure if we can find out, but might be worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

This project has been a mess from the beginning. Even with the tax abatement will the developer be able to fill all of the condo units selling at the $299,000 fee when you are being stacked one on top of the other. It has always been said..location..location..location in real estate. This is a good location for expensive condos?

We've got the building so what can we do with it? I don't think tax abatements are the answer.

Anonymous said...

to the person at 8:50 am, I think that's an interesting question.

More important, though, to a future home owner than a temporary tax abatement would be the LOWERING OF THE PRICE. For example, if the condo costs $279,000, look at the difference between saving 60% of Plainfield city taxes for 5 years, as opposed to the REAL SAVINGS you would enjoy if the price was reduced from $279,000 to about $225,000 or $215,000 at 6.5 or even 7.00% over 30 years.

We're talking the difference between a few thousand in the first five years total, as opposed to SAVING TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars in INTEREST PAYMENT SAVINGS by lowering the price of the property.

It should be a "no-brainer" in terms of what the developer and sales agents should be doing to try to get these units moving.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Adrian,

I received a mailing from Coldwell Banker that the Monarch is now offering the following:

"$3,000 Selling Agents Bonus on all contracts*" with the asterisk noting that the offer is "Subject to change without notice. Only applicable on new sales agreements that become non-contingent by October 30, 2009. Bonus paid at time of closing." So my question is why are they offering a "selling bonus" instead of lowering the price?

Anonymous said...

To: 10:49
Under normal circumstances I would agree with your assessment. However, consider this; if the developer and current "under contract" owners are simply looking for an economic bridge between now and when the mid-town direct train comes, they don't need a discount on a 30 year mortgage. What they need is a hard dollar cost savings between now and when they flip the units.

A discounted price won’t impact them as much over 5 years because they will be paying interest only (tax deductable) anyway. A property tax reduction will benefit them now, and it will also maintain the market value leading up to a flip.

That’s why I ask who, because it could be people that now exactly when things are slated to happen.

As far as a selling bonus, it’s an expense (deductable) which I would assume would be handled differently for tax purposes. I can't say with strong conviction on that one, but maybe someone who has more financial experience or accounting experience could.

active citizen said...

Thank you once again Councilman Mapp for stopping this crooked administration from wasting our tax dollars and trying to put on over on the citizens of Plainfield. If this mayor does get re-elected, and I know I won't vote for her, I hope the City Counsel and citizens keep her feet to the fire. No budget and this Monarch albatross, I'm not very proud of the way government business is done in this city.

Thank you once again.

Anonymous said...

I am a supporter of councilman Burney, and I sent him a similar comment to this one. I understand him taking personal the angry response from you, even though I think you are right. The city council should not have moved forward. if you all want to play semantics it's fine, but I don't think there was was wrong in how you phrased it. I understood exactly what you meant in terms of the count. Yes, I think it's time for you both to move forward, but why on earth would the council try to still have this discussion when you all couldn't count to positive 4? I don't agree with you on every issue and I don't agree with him. I do ask you, has the city council talked with Rahway councilwoman Wenson-Maier about why Rahway rejected this type of ordinance brought by the same developer? Also, what is the current asking price of these condos? I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone, not even the realtors.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mapp,

Thank you for your post and transparency. Unfortunately, it took a posting such as this in order for Rashid Burney to finally update his blog in over a month via his response to you.

Hopefully, this will become water under the bridge and perhaps the council can move forward and become more transparent on issues that are affecting us all.