Wednesday, March 4, 2015

3/4/15 Plainfield City News: From the Office of the Mayor

Dear Plainfield, 

My administration and I have been engaged in a number of productive activities to keep Plainfield moving forward. This week we place a spotlight on the following areas:

  • PSE&G Ambassador Program Honors Black History Month
  • Education Mayor's Playbook
  • Economic Development Update
  • Public Affairs and Safety Update
  • Department of Public Works and Urban Development Update
  • Administration and Finance Update
  • Arts and Culture
  • Resources  
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Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

PSE&G Ambassador Program Honors Black History Month

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, I was honored to be one four New Jersey Mayors invited to serve as a panelist for the Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) Company's Black History Month Ambassador Program. Joining me at the table were Mayor Angela Garretson of Hillside, Mayor Lester Taylor of East Orange and Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark. We had the opportunity to discuss, from a mayoral perspective, critical issues facing cities and towns in New Jersey, Black History in America, and the importance of public service. A question and answer session was held at the end of the discussion. Please click on the video for my opening remarks at the roundtable.

Education Mayor's Playbook

I am doing my part in helping to secure a good education for the children of Plainfield by collaborating with our local Board of Education members and the Superintendent to ensure our children perform up to their potential. I encourage you to keep abreast of the Education Mayor's Online Playbook through your reading of the Educational Excellence Task Force's report and the reports provided by the Mayors of Albuquerque, NM, Arlington, TX, Kansas City, MO, and Louisville, KY. Click on the link to visit: The Education Mayor's Online Playbook.

Economic Development Update

Service Provider's Meeting
The Office of Community Development held their Service Provider's meeting on February 24th. There were thirty participants. The networking meeting  provides a forum for the exchanging of ideas and an opportunity to share current information between Plainfield's Service Providers. Numerous programs were explained and upcoming events, that are sure to enrich the lives of Plainfield residents, were discussed.

Department of Public Works and Urban Development Update

Planning Board Updates
As you know, economic development is crucial in helping Plainfield reach its potential. My administration has been working closely with the Planning Board to help fulfill our goal to bring economic development to our city. To that end, I am please to share the following:
  • At the February 19th Planning Board meeting, the board adopted a resolution recommending that City Council adopt a new re-development plan for 1340-1426 South Avenue, across Old South Avenue from Plainwood Square Park. The re-development plan calls for the City to vacate Old South Avenue in order to make way for a new residential development, with 212 potential units being permitted. This area is the eastern corridor of Plainfield, and it is imperative that we be prepared to take advantage of the "One Seat Ride" to NYC. The plan now proceeds to the City Council for their March and April meetings and a public hearing. Any designated developer will then be able to submit site plans to the Planning Board for development. 
  • NJ Future has notified us that the City of Plainfield has been selected as one of 12 finalists for a Smart Growth Award. The Planning Division nominated the new Transit Oriented Development zone centered around the Netherwood Train Station. This zone has attracted the eyes of many developers as the city seeks to invigorate South Avenue with new mixed-use commercial/residential development. The plan is to transform the underutilized, former industrial buildings on North Avenue to a vibrant, moderate, and density mixed use residential/commercial area. We will keep you apprised of NJ Future's final decision.
  • The Planning Board granted site plan approval to expand an existing childcare center at the corner of East Fifth Street and Roosevelt Avenue (Step One Academy) from 5 classrooms/79 children to 10 classrooms/162 children. The applicant also agreed to make a number of site improvements in the areas of parking, landscaping, and signage.
  • The Planning Board granted relief from city development standards to convert 7,300 square feet of vacant space in an existing warehouse to an automobile repair facility (Progressive Auto) at 1652 South Second Street. The applicant is required to provide customer parking, a screened outdoor storage area, and improved landscaping including provision of street trees. It is important to note that this was a vacant facility that will now become a new business and add to our growing business community.
  • The Shade Tree Commission (STC) submitted their required 2014 Annual Accomplishment Report as part of the Community Forestry Management Plan.  This plan is the master plan for all shade tree planting/removal polices.  An approved plan provides for both the STC grant opportunities with the NJDEP Urban Forestry program and the city protection from potential lawsuits due to hazardous tree related damage/injuries.  

Department of Administration and Finance Update

Tax Collection Reminders
I have a great appreciation for our Plainfield seniors, who are engaged in our community and passionate about moving Plainfield forward. There may be opportunities for savings or tax reimbursements for our seniors, and my administration will do its part to ensure our seniors can take advantage of them. The Property Tax Reimbursement (Senior Freeze) program reimburses qualified applicants for the property tax increases they incur each year. Applicants must continue to meet all the income eligibility and residency requirements and must file an application each year to receive the reimbursement. The qualifications are as follows:
  • You must have been age 65 or older as of December 31, 2013, OR receiving federal Social Security disability benefits as of December 31, 2013 and December 31, 2014.
  • You do NOT qualify if the Federal Social Security disability benefits you or your spouse/civil union partner were receiving were on behalf of someone else; and 
  • You must have lived in New Jersey continuously since December 31, 2003 or earlier as either a homeowner or renter; and
  • You must have owned and lived in your home since December 31, 2010; and 
  • Your total annual income must have been no more than $84,289.00 for 2013 and $85,553.00 for 2014
The deadline for filing the application is June 1, 2015
There is a form in the application that needs to be filled out by the Tax Office. That form is PTR-1A for first time filers, and form PTR-2A for applicants who received reimbursement checks for 2013 in 2014. If there are any questions please call the following phone numbers:
For questions: State of New Jersey: 1-800-882-6597 (8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday,except holidays)
City of Plainfield Tax Office: 908-753-3214 (8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through
Friday, except holidays)

The Homestead Benefit and Property Tax Reimbursement ("Senior Freeze") Programs are separate programs and separate applications must be filed every year for each program. As of February 26, 2015, the applications for the Homestead Benefit program
had not been sent out by the State of New Jersey.

Plainfield Health Division
It is the law that all dogs and cats seven months of age or older are required to be licensed each calendar year. In order for the license to be issued, the owner must present proof that a licensed veterinarian has vaccinated your pet against rabies. Licenses can be issued in person or by mail. Either option requires the individual to provide:
Proof of Spay or Neuter (if done)
Proof of Current Rabies Vaccination
License Fees
Spayed or Neutered Dog or Cat $15.20
Non-Neutered Dog or Cat $18.20

All Food-Related Business Establishments doing business in the City of Plainfield must be licensed and certified to sell and/or handle food. Fees vary and are determined by the type of business and square footage. Contact the Plainfield Health Division
to obtain your license.


Pet Licenses: 1st Floor (908) 753-3093
Retail Food Licenses: 2nd Floor (908) 753-3092

Public Affairs & Safety Update

Plainfield Fire Division Promotions
As you know, Public Safety is the cornerstone of my administration. I am pleased to announce that on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, the Plainfield Fire Division celebrated the swearing-in at a Promotional Ceremony for Walter Thompson and Thomas Scalera. I swore in Battalion Chiefs Thompson and Captain Scalera in a ceremony held at the City Hall Library. I appreciate the efforts of our men and women who serve to protect and keep our residents out of harm’s way, as well as the sacrifices made by their families.

Arts & Culture Update

Plainfield Symphony Orchestra 
The Plainfield Symphony's 95th Season Annual Free Afternoon Family Concert, “The Orchestra Grows Up,” was presented on Saturday, February 21, 2015, under the baton of guest conductor Michael Avagliano. The program provided a musical tour through the history of the symphony, featuring selections from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic to the Modern era. 

"Rhythm and Praise" Photography Exhibit Continues 
The Brian Price Photography Exhibit showcases the Epic Journey of Black Gospel music. The exhibit runs through March 28, 2015 
Location: Plainfield Public Library, Anne Louise Davis Gallery 
800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060


Myths and Facts About Taxes
Tax season can be a confusing time of year. However, if you're informed with a few basic facts, you'll be able to resolve certain questions on your own. The following myths and facts will help you with the tax filing process.

Myth: If you're new to the United States, you don't have to file a tax return.
Fact: Taxes are not related to immigration status. You must file taxes if you live in the United States and if your annual income reaches a specified amount, among other requirements. 
Myth: If you don't have a Social Security number, you don't need to file taxes.
Fact: Taxes are not dependent on Social Security numbers. If you don't qualify
for a Social Security number, you must request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues ITINs to residents and non-residents.
Myth: The IRS will call to say you owe money and demand a prompt payment.
Fact: If this happens, it could be a scam. The IRS does not request payments over the phone or by e-mail. If the IRS does need to get in touch, you will receive an official letter in the mail.
Myth: You don't need to declare tips as part of your income on your tax return.
Fact: Any tips you earn must be reported. If you're an employee and you earn more than $20.00 in tips per month, report it to your employer so federal income, Social Security and other taxes can be withheld. If your tips total less than $20.00 per month, they don't need to be reported to your employer, but must still be declared on your return.
Myth: If you don't file a tax return, the IRS will do it for you.
Fact: You must file your own tax return. The IRS doesn't prepare returns for any taxpayer. You will be considered a tax liability if you don't file, and the IRS may impose penalties if you don't pay before the deadline.
Click HERE to read this information in Spanish. 

AARP Tax Preparation
AARP tax counselors will provide our members with free tax appointments from now until Wednesday, April 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Call 908-753-3506 for an appointment. Bring the following documents to your appointment:
* 2013 federal and state income tax return if you filed
* 2014 federal and state income tax booklet
* 1099 SSA and/or 1099 Forms
* W-2 Forms per employer
* 1098 Form if you own a mortgage
* Social Security card for all dependents
* ID for anyone ages 18 and over.
* All child care and dependent care provider info, including employer's name, SS
# or EIN #.
* Your 2014 Tax Receipt
* All rent receipts or total annual rent paid if you are a tenant.
If you're interested in having a PTR done, please have your "proof of taxes paid" completed by the City Hall Tax Office prior to making an appointment.
IRS Can Help if W-2s Are Missing
In most cases you get your W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2 (Wage and
Tax Statement) shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year. You need your W-2 form to file an accurate tax return. If you haven't received your form by mid-February, click here to see resources from the IRS.

Until next time...
Stay warm and have a great weekend!

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