PLAINFIELD, NJ - An ordinance to restructure management of Plainfield’s Special Improvement District won final City Council approval Monday and will take effect in June.
The vote was 5-1, with Councilwoman Diane Toliver voting “no” and Council President Charles McRae and members Joylette Mills-Ransome, Rebecca Williams, Steve Hockaday, Barry Goode voting “yes.” Cory Storch was absent.
In public comment before the vote, SID member Lori Trachtenberg said, “We do not want the city to control the SID.”
SID President Nimrod Webb next urged the governing body not to change to a city-appointed board, saying no one has complained about the present management. Webb invoked Mother’s Day, saying “If you vote against somebody who has done good works, what would your mother think?”
But the next two speakers endorsed the change.
Jeff Spelman, owner of The Coffee Box, said he supports the change, saying the “two groups of seven” that would take control will not be “just a rubber stamp of the mayor,” but will get advice and consent of the council.
"I’m interested in seeing what the board can do in this time of exciting growth,” Spelman said.
The two groups will be the Central Business District Management Corporation, which will operate and manage the district, and the Central Business District Advisory Board, which will have budgetary and reporting functions.
Business owner Miguel Vargas agreed with Spelman, saying he had nothing against the existing SID, but he had never been approached by anyone from it.
“I believe we do need something new,” he said.
Vargas did question language in the ordinance regarding donations to the SID, saying a “successful businessman” might be favored by the board, but Corporation Counsel David Minchello said the sole purpose of the SID was to advance the business interests of the town.
“I would not be concerned about any preferential treatment,” he said.
The current SID management sends a quarterly publication, “Positively Plainfield to all households, decorates the district for holidays and organizes seasonal events. The new SID will be able to start in June.
The ordinance passed Monday is the second try to change the organization. An ordinance passed in December was tossed out in Superior Court for lack of proper notice to those affected.