Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hackensack is paying new attorney as much as Christie

During a spirited discussion of tax breaks for downtown apartment developers on Monday night, Hackensack Board of Education Attorney Richard Salkin was uncharacteristically deferential when he addressed City Council members; City Manager David R. Troast, left front; and Alexander H. Carver III, right front, the new city attorney, a job Salkin once held.


Alexander H. Carver III, who is Hackensack's new city attorney, is being paid a flat rate of $175,000 a year -- or $10,000 more than his salary when he left the Superior Court bench in 2013.

He also is making as much as Governor Christie, who picked the last Hackensack city attorney, Thomas Scrivo, to be his chief counsel in Trenton.

In addition to the maximum of $175,000 a year, Carver and his firm, Harwood Lloyd, will be paid legal fees associated with litigation, according to The Record.

Three-quarters of The Record's story today is filled with Carver's exploits as a Superior Court judge "who pulled no punches," but doesn't mention the city will pay him and his firm at a rate of $150 an hour (L-1).

When Scrivo was city attorney in 2014, Hackensack removed two city managers and a public relations consultant, running up legal bills topping $200,000 in six months.

During the Zisa years, Hackensack routinely paid its city attorney more than $250,000 a year, one official said.


Do you hear mooing?

Most of the discussion and debate on the appointment of Carver, as well as tax abatements for downtown apartment developers, occurred on Monday during the Committee of the Whole meeting, which started at 6:30 p.m.

When City Council members convened for the regular meeting at 8 p.m., they ran through more than two dozen resolutions read off in rapid-fire fashion by the city clerk before they were open to public discussion and then a council vote.

Members of the public, such as City Council candidate Richard Cerbo, were limited to 5 minutes each, but could have spoken longer at the COW session.

City tax breaks

On Monday, the Hackensack City Council approved the introduction of two resolutions designating the redevelopers of 150-170 Main St. and 210 Main St.

Other resolutions were introduced to grant the apartment and retail developers tax abatements of 30 years and 25 years, respectively.

Cerbo, son of a former mayor, addressed the council, saying "10 years [of tax breaks] is plenty."

But Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino said the apartment and retail projects would never get built without the longer abatements, also referred to as payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT).

Canestrino noted the land and buildings at 150-170 Main St. are paying tax revenue of $228,277 a year, compared to the first-year payment of $802,605 after the project is completed.

Meanwhile, the city's annual street festival is set for Saturday from 10 a.m. t0 6 p.m., rain or shine.

Among the entertainment is Village People. 

Today's paper

Nearly six years after he took office, Christie says he is open to raising the gas tax and creating a stable source of funding for the Transportation Trust Fund (A-1).

His refusal to raise the second-lowest gas tax in the nation helped drivers, even though logically they should pay for repairing the roads and bridges they use.

But the GOP dictator moved decidedly against mass-transit users by killing the Hudson River rail tunnels, and stood by when the Port Authority refused to expand bus operations into Manhattan.

He also cut state subsidies to NJ Transit, forcing the agency to raise fares and cut service.

The Record's coverage of mass transit is so sophisticated a reporter today refers to NJ Transit's sleek, electrified light-rail system as "trolleys" (L-3).

And, like Christie, the Woodland Park daily has paid far more attention to drivers and driving, as evidenced by a dozen years of Road Warrior columns largely devoted to no other topics.

Hackensack Costco

The Record today is reporting Costco Wholesale is planning to convert its Hackensack warehouse to "a more specialized business center" after the store closes Oct. 13.

A bigger Costco is scheduled to open in Teterboro on Oct. 14.

In October 2014, the same reporter said the Hackensack Costco would be closing permanently, making the 14.8-acre parcel available for redevelopment.

So much for the reliability of The Record's business reporting.

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