Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Message from Councilwoman El Warner re: Tonight's City Council Meeting

Councilwoman El Warner replied to my questions about three agenda items to be discussed at the meeting tonight:

"The amendments to the Vacant Property Review Committee are first to allow redevelopment of blighted properties for commercial or industrial use as well as residential use (so under the code we could for example redevelop a property like the Hubcap Store, not just residential properties) and to note the change in the department name from Planning and Economic Development to Planning and Codes.

The reallocation of CDBG funds was introduced a month ago, and a public hearing on this was held before our meeting two weeks ago. It is to move unspent money from various line items to lines where it will be spent by the end of the year, mainly to "park improvements" for the Riverside and Scott park projects. This reallocation happens every year due to projects coming in under budget and money needing to be moved to new or other projects.

The Police in Neighborhoods program is sort of like something I campaigned on - a program to entice police officers to live in the city. The proposed program is a $7,000 loan towards the purchase of a property in the City for any officer who wants to live here; if the officer stays in the home for 7 years the loan is forgiven, if he or she leaves before then it must be repaid at varying amounts, depending on the length of residency. It is not indicated how the City plans to pay for this program; I'll be asking about finances tonight.

All ordinances are posted on the City website under "legislation," or at least they should be. Any citizen can also go to the Clerk's office and either make copies of all the legislation or borrow the folder and read it in City Hall. I believe copies are also available at the library, but I'm not positive about that. The legislation is available at the counter right when you walk into the Clerk's office the Friday before each meeting."

~Elinor Warner


Anna said...

Hi Noel: Sorry I did not know about the meeting or I would have been there. I have to say that in NJ my home state. All of the local police municipalities require you to live and work in the same town. I have suggested to both Mayer Mitman and Panto to instate the "Policeman next door program". The program allows police, firefighters and teachers to purchase homes with no money down, low interest rates and at a 50% or more reduction in price. But...the house has to be a HUD home. The stipulation is you must reside in the home for 5 years or more. The program helps build up the neighborhood in every aspect possible. Easton is behind and needs to catch up. Having this program will reduce the crime and help the city regain some pride. The program is working in NJ!

I have also made statements at the Weed and Seed meeting to Mayer Mitman about diversity within the police force. I guess it is easy to ignore our request...they don't live here.


noel jones said...

Thanks for posting Anna. You are absolutely right, and WW residents have been suggesting the HUD program along with other incentives for a long time now.

I know that a lot of people are frustrated from past experiences with Mayor Mitman and even before, but we have to speak up to each new mayor that comes along as they are different people with different administrations.

I know that some people are frustrated with Mayor Panto as well, but we have to give him credit for offering this incentive to officers, even if we continue to urge him to create additional incentives for the WW and pockets of SS, which need officers living in their community as neighbors most.

There will be a Safety Committee Meeting with Lt. Remaley of the EPD on Thurs., Aug. 27 at 6pm at the Salvation Army at 1110 Northampton if you'd like to come out with some other residents planning on going, to make suggestions and also welcome the EPD to take advantage of the new housing incentive and invite them to move to the WW--hope to see you there!