To the Editor:

I am convinced that the redeveloper is committed to the Borough and, I know, the Borough is committed to seeing Courthouse Square become a reality. But this reality must not be a financial burden to the residents of the Borough. We need to make sure that we have a full understanding of the real costs of this development going forward, costs which were appallingly never investigated and never built into the accounting for the overall plan at the development’s inception, as they should have been.

I am committed to making sure that we are able to reach an agreement that is beneficial for all involved. This includes the Borough taxpayers and the Developer. 

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Together, we can move Courthouse Square forward, for the benefit of the Borough and the redeveloper.”

The above is quoted from Flemington Borough’s Mayor, Betsy Driver’s 12/3/19 Letter to the Editor (Time is Now for Cust to Satisfy Flemington Taxpayers, TapInto.net). In the same letter, she criticizes former Mayor Phil Greiner and his Republican running mates, and details that the resulting schools’ costs, relocation of the Police Department, and her failed municipal building proposal that was to include a corner office suite for herself complete with bathroom, conference room and elevator, would all contribute to the financial burden of Borough taxpayers. 



In December 2019, Driver called on the Courthouse Square developer to Satisfy Flemington Taxpayers.

Last Monday, 9/14/20, Mayor Driver together with Council members Tilly and Giles-McCormick presented a revised Courthouse Square development that is lower, without a college, and keeps the police in place. That is, it satisfies one out of three issues Driver cited on 12/3/19 that would cause the project to be a financial burden of Borough taxpayers.

We were told that a new financial agreement would be presented at the next Council meeting on Tuesday, 9/29/20. I do hope that we can move Courthouse Square forward, for the benefit of the Borough and the redeveloper. We have been told that Mayor Driver’s over-budget spending of 2019 that was relocated to the redeveloper’s escrow account, approximately $100k, would be paid as part of the new agreement.



Interestingly, infrastructure which Driver previously cited in 2017 and 2018 as financial liabilities for the Borough - is apparently no longer her concern. Those costs were omitted from the Borough’s financial impact study in 2019, even when then-Councilman Jeffrey Doshna wrote that infrastructure costs would be determined. Our financial liabilities were instead omitted even after the study was delayed for release until after the last election. No Borough cost detail has since followed.

Mayor Driver has figured out a way for the redeveloper to pay her political spending liability...Let’s hope the financial agreement to be disclosed on Tuesday, 9/29/20 will identify and address the Borough taxpayers’ financial liabilities. 

Sincerely,

Michael Harris

Flemington Borough Councilman