The budget amendment passed 5-3 and there was no surprise in its passage as the council majority was clearly pleased to do so.
Only two members of the council minority were present and they voted against it signaling they will do so again on final vote as is typical of their standard operating procedure. As no reason was given by them, the most exciting part of the meeting arose when Council Vice President Peter Cunningham addressed amendments presented to him as chair of the subcommittee.
He noted Concilwoman Carol Marsh's inquiry was addressed and then turned to Tim Occhipinti breaking the bad news no additional raises would be given to council members. Occhipinti was not pleased to hear this response to his request and was told to use his current salary for marketing if that's what he wanted to do.
Occhipinti's unhappiness grew worse when Cunningham chastised the loss of $4.5 million in refinancing the Parking Utility midtown garage last November which could have been used for both budget surplus and additional tax relief. Occhipinti attempted to obfuscate the issue and claimed he was told by former BA Liston that amount was not able to be moved into the City budget beyond $3.5 million. He was instructed it could be rolled over and completed with both years 2011 and 2012. (Was this even a coherent reason to see the opportunity wasted?)
It continued beyond the clip below and Occhipinti was joined by Councilwoman Terry Castellano who vainly attempted to come to his aid. She claimed approving the refinancing would have added cost and extended the payments out over additional years. Cunningham quickly replied that was untrue as the bond's end date would have remained exactly the same. She fell dead silent with Cunningham's correction.
MORTe, re: Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Occhipinti all were extensively briefed on this last year and knew the end date of the bond refinanced would not be extended and lower interest rates would produce millions benefiting the City.
Their sabotaging instincts could not stomach the City benefitting in this way under the Mayor's Administration. So not one of the four would provide the needed sixth vote to approve the bond's refinancing last November. They voted it down multiple times for political spite.
Councilwoman Beth Mason was the third vote by phone. She's missed many meetings and this is the first she's actually called in to vote. Councilman Michael Russo was not present.
Here's the video from that key segment of the one hour meeting:
Talking Ed Note: While Terry Castellano's fabrication to aid her MORTe colleague was easily crushed, Occhipinti continued in an attempt to obfuscate on the issue. FAIL!!!
Occhipinti had the nerve to ask for more taxpayer monies to promote himself and he's not taken responsibility for costing the City and Hoboken taxpayers $4.5 million for nothing more than political spite.
Each member of MORTe owes Hoboken more than a million each for this outrageous intransigence. As Peter Cunningham said, we sadly don't get a redo on this squandered opportunity.