Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freeholder Caucus Meeting Recap - 8/9/2011

I attended the Hudson County Freeholder Caucus meeting on 8/9/2011 to get an idea of where all the spending is going besides Hoboken out of their nearly 1/2 billion dollar yearly budget. The Caucus is set up on the Tuesdays before the Thursday meeting where main votes are taken. The Freeholder meetings are held at 567 Pavonia Ave in Jersey City on the 3rd floor every other week except summers and holidays.

Freeholder Meeting 8/9/2011 Highlights:

  • Before the meeting various vendors were questioned over contracts for producing job placements for the County.
  • Chairman O' Dea asked many probing questions and as chair is the main source of commentary and seems to run a fair meeting and professional meeting from what I observed.
  • The board recognized Summer Youth Program contributors as the first item in the agenda. Photo is below.
  • Resolution against PATH fair increase. This passed 8-0. I don't know any local politicians that are for this.
  • Resolution 29 for construction in Kearney produced almost 20% savings vs. last meeting. It was discussed that there was a new procedure to handle change orders with pre-approvals. In the past pre-approvals were not always done. Well there you go. Maybe there is a little more minding of the store these days. About time.
  • Resolution 2- Anthony Romano sponsored bullet proof vests. Only $10k. Seems like a no brainer to me to protect County Police Officers.
  • Resolution 6 involved 750k grant from NJ Historic Trust for restoration of the Court House Mural. That is a lot of money for a work of art but history is important.
  • Resolution concerned 7- 11 million dollars open space fund or one year extension.The following points were raised: It can fund 100% projects and has in the past for small ones. Lower equalization rates in the County are lowering the available funds for this program. For consideration by Chairman O'Dea: more points for readiness in the evaluation process for these grants was recommended. He expressed concern over tying up funds in order to prime the job market and that there should be forward commitments.He brought up the $3 million awarded to Hoboken for the Henkel Site. Cognos was originally the owner but bought by BASF. Process started in 2008. Reprogram request by Hoboken was made to redirect to SW. I see where Chairman O'Dea is coming form but Hoboken gets very little from the County in terms of Parks.
  • Resolution 12- The contract to purchase is now 7.9 million. The purchase amount went up due to owner fixing roof.
  • There were also some big ordinances on the table introduced, one for $18,000,000 and the other for $15,570,000 which is for 830 Bergen Avenue purchase in Jersey City. Perhaps an operational audit is in order to ensure the building isn't too big with the amount of positions the County has created that I am not sure what purpose they all serve. But that is why I am running for Freeholder: to find out.
Here is the agenda for reference:

Regular meeting is today at 1pm where action will be taken.

The Board of Freeholders

Freeholder Romano was in and out of the meeting. It was learned he had a personl emergency.