There are several inaccuracies in Mayor Roberts' letter in the February 27 issue. Please allow me to make some corrections.
Mayor Roberts states that the "minority coalition of four Council members (Marsh, Soares, Castellano and Russo) has refused to accept this budget". In fact, no such thing has occurred. Indeed, the budget has not yet come before the City Council for a final vote.
The budget process has taken longer than usual for a variety of reasons, including mistakes in its preparation by the well intentioned but inexperienced Business Administrator. A public hearing on the 2005 budget appears on the City Council agenda for the March 2, 2005 meeting. So how could the City Council reject a budget that has not yet come before them?
Mayor Roberts neglects to say that only five votes are required to pass a budget. He does not need the votes of the four minority members to pass a budget, only to approve borrowing almost $ 8 million from the Hudson County Improvement Authority. This borrowing is what the minority members have rejected.
This raises the question of why Mr. Roberts continues to push for borrowing from the HCIA when it is clear he won't get the six votes that he needs. He is free to pursue other sources of revenue for the 2005 budget that require only five votes. The saying about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over expecting different results comes to mind. Perhaps Mr. Roberts will answer this question in a future letter.
Mayor Roberts states that his budget has been "sanctioned by the State of New Jersey." It is my understanding that their role is limited to approving the form of the budget and that it complies with all applicable regulations. They do not take a position on the wisdom of specific expenditures. They do not, for example, decide whether a city is spending an appropriate amount on the police department. Their only role is to make certain that, for example, expenditures for the police department are in the police department line and not hidden in some other line item. Perhaps the Reporter could clarify this for their readers. I understand Mayor Roberts is in a bind. He has been spending money like a drunken sailor and isn't happy that the City Council is saying "Enough!". Mayor Roberts may yearn to be an absolute monarch, but that's not how things work. We have a legislature that is separate from the Mayor for a reason. Certain transactions require six votes for a reason. If that is inconvenient for Mayor Roberts, that's too bad. The garage deal shows no signs of being approved, so I suggest that Mayor Roberts find another way to pay for his spending.
Jonathan R. Gordon