HOBOKEN, NJ — A number of interesting items are on the agenda for the Hoboken City Council meeting Wednesday, including:
A resolution authorizing the city to apply to the federal department of Housing and Urban Development to buy the Jubilee Center at 601 Jackson St. The center has run nonprofit programs for the youth in the housing projects area, but the group in charge has placed it for sale in order to have money to keep running its programs. Read more here.
A resolution to bond for more than $4 million for upgrades to the century-old main library.
Various appointments. Councilman Michael DeFusco has proposed a resolution to appoint Patricia Waiters to the Hoboken Housing Authority board, which oversees the city's subsidized housing, when a slot becomes available. Waiters has been active in the community for many years and has requested to be considered for the board. But she also was the source of controversy for comments that some construed as anti-Semitic at a housing meeting in 2014. She later apologized for the comments in a letter, then said she didn't write the letter, then said she's welcoming to all people. "Pat Waiters has spent decades fighting to protect Hoboken residents from being priced out of a city that is rapidly developing with luxury apartment units," said a DeFusco spokesperson Tuesday, "and her track record of defending minorities uniquely qualifies her to serve on the Hoboken Housing Authority. Councilman DeFusco was unaware of this comment by Ms. Waiters, but trusts her apology was sincere and personally knows her to be accepting, welcoming and compassionate towards all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity and background."
A DeFusco-sponsored ordinance that allows someone to get their car back without a release fee if they see it about to be towed in the city, to allow them to pay by credit card, and for the city to notify people before a car is towed. Read more here.
A vote on the mayor's choice of business administrator, his former deputy chief of staff, Jason Freeman. Read more here.
The business administrator vote
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced Friday that he would appoint Director of Operations Freeman to serve as the business administrator for the city.
The resolution is A6 on the agenda.
Bhalla said last week, “As the Director of Operations, Jason has gone above and beyond to ensure a continuation of city services and personnel during the covid-19 pandemic. His knowledge of city projects and relationships with city directors is second to none, and I can think of no better person to continue serving Hoboken in this new role.”
Bhalla's political opponents on the council weren't pleased with the hire, calling Freeman an "insider" and saying Bhalla should do a wider search.
DeFusco said, “Just last week Hoboken taxpayers were handed a 7.5 percent property tax increase, largely at the hands of our mayor and inexperienced acting business administrator. Hoboken has gone nearly eight months without a permanent business administrator and instead of conducting an executive search, Mayor Bhalla has once again chosen to elevate politics over good government."
To see the full agenda, click here.
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