The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, May 5, 2014

Liberty Village PILOT Agreement Must Pass Tonight

Above are two sides of a flier distributed to Liberty Village residents (some of whom read this blog). You will be coming to the special meeting called by the mayor tonight to watch your elected officials in action. Below is an updated version of side two of the flier. I am hopeful that the residents will come out tonight to show the city council that they are in favor of extending the PILOT agreement to the prospective new owners of Liberty Village. The people spoke LOUD and CLEAR about their support. 

Of course, they will also realize that Jerry Green (the embarrassing spectacle) was feeding them a bunch of misinformation about his "power" as the "head of housing" to do anything to extend a federal HUD deadline! Jerry Green made sure to schedule a meeting at the same time to ensure that he would not be subject to ridicule for his on-camera statements that have turned out to be so much hot air! Why would he spread such nonsense and endanger the Liberty Village community?? What is in it for him?? He will have to backtrack on all of his ridiculous and misinformed comments that were caught on camera, and his city council cheerleaders will have to pass this PILOT. If they don't, you will know that it's because of politics. If they do, it's because you, the residents of Liberty Village, forced their hand. 

Dear Neighbor,

Please come out to tomorrow’s Special Meeting called by Mayor Adrian Mapp to discuss the Liberty Village situation.  The HUD Section 8 contract is set to expire this Tuesday, May 6. Jerry Green knew full well that the deadline was firm--yet he chose to play with your residency. If the council resolution does not pass, the HUD Section 8 vouchers will be at risk. 

The community meeting hosted by Councilwoman Tracey Brown at Ruth Fellowship Ministries regarding this situation illustrated the urgent need for the Plainfield City Council to pass a resolution to allow the new management company to purchase the Liberty Village Complex with the existing 50-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement for HUD Section 8 in place so that you can continue living there at an affordable rate. As you know, when the property was managed by the Housing Authority of Plainfield, it received an extremely low score from HUD, which endangered the agreement. 

You testified to the housing authority’s poor performance yourselves! However, the prospective new owners have an excellent reputation regarding affordable housing. They have agreed to several conditions to improve your quality of life—there will be a return of the community room with new computer stations for resident use, new washers and dryers, upgrades to the grounds, security cameras, an on-site super, and improvements to plumbing, electrical, and the sidewalks. This is ALL IN WRITING, and it was in writing then!  

Also, the new owners agreed to give a larger percentage of the taxes they pay to the City of Plainfield, the additional money for which can be used to improve public safety. If this PILOT does not pass, the new management will not be able to come in.

When we tried to pass the resolution last month, only Councilwoman Tracey Brown, Councilman Cory Storch, and I (Councilwoman At-large Rebecca Williams) voted YES, as favored the new agreement. The other Councilors, including Bridget Rivers, Vera Greaves, Bill Reid, and Gloria Taylor voted NO. All the information was given to the City Council in early April. Councilwoman Rivers and Assemblyman Jerry Green were among those (along with Cory Storch and Adrian Mapp) who met with the proposed new owners last year. Because of the NO votes, the situation has become urgent.
You saw how nasty Assemblyman Green became when this issue was discussed. I ain’t got all night to be here!” he said, showing extreme disrespect toward you, toward the city staff and council members, and toward the church where the meeting took place.  

He claimed to be “head of housing” for the state, and yet he has done nothing to protect you, even though he knew the situation was dire. The needs of the community should be of primary importance to all elected officials—I hope you will come to the meeting and support the resolution. Please do your best to come out—please call, email, and encourage your neighbors to come out as well. Silence implies consent—please let your voice be heard!

All best,

Rebecca Williams

Councilwoman-at-Large, Second and Third Wards

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