The Showdown and the low down on the Municipal Garage

UPDATE: Monday – Last night some 3rd ward residents helped fill up Council Chambers on a Sunday evening.  Many of them have discovered things were not as they had thought.  About half of them were visibly backing the city contingency to protect Hoboken and possibly keep the Municipal Garage in its current location.  

What’s the cost for this possibility?  Zero.  Was there a vote?  No.  

Petty local politics is firmly rooted in Hoboken.  Even with hundreds of thousands in interest costs in the balance as of June 23rd and millions at stake on July 1, the moment for placing the town first has not reached critical mass.  But it’s coming and in short order.

A few people are actually enjoying this.  They see it as a victory not for Hoboken but in keeping the mayor from advancing this option for the Municipal Garage, at least on a Sunday leading into a July 1 default deadline.  Yes, that’s not an error: DEFAULT on the Municipal Garage.

Although most residents who commented voiced their support for this no cost option for the city, no required sixth vote could be found.  It wasn’t going to be.  Councilman Nino Giacchi goes on vacation and the meeting was held on Sunday to accommodate that timing.  He followed through as stated to Hoboken Patch not to support the bond with a vote last night.

Wednesday the Municipal Garage repurchase contingency will be repeated all over again with only the city defaulting/losing the chance to repurchase the Municipal Garage at stake.  The dance of the flowers will continue. At least while personal petty politics is viewed as more important than Hoboken.

Talking Ed Note: Councilman Nino Giacchi responding to MSV the sixth ward would have no representation on this critical issue as he goes on vacation differed.  He stated that although he’ll be away, the sixth ward would be represented and the bond ordinance would pass.

The open question of course is when?  It’s obvious there’s people that don’t want to let go of this opportunity for more grandstanding.  It was a fine display of bad government: complaining, whining, Monday morning quarterbacking, changing the subject, grandstanding and yet more complaining.  Rinse, repeat: more of it to come Wednesday.  

Will Hoboken get a vote Wednesday on this no cost option to maybe keep the Municipal Garage where is is now? 

Related: Hoboken resident Richard Tremitiedi led a chorus of residents mostly advocating the city protect its interests and approve the bond ordinance for the Municipal Garage.  
The Hoboken Journal posted a copy of his remarks.  

Mr. Tremitiedi is a retired Hoboken fire chief.

Hoboken has posted the news story on the evening’s events.  It’s a definitive review on the meeting and what’s at stake.

June 13

The biggest vote in Hoboken since citizens took to the polls in the mayoral elections last November will take place tonight in the City Council at City Hall on a proposed bond ordinance for the Municipal Garage.  How large are the stakes?  How about the very property where the garage sits.

Not only is Capital One, the bank holding the loan on the property sitting in the driver’s seat if the city fails to deliver on their expectation to establish the contingency of the bond, they can move to take the property outright July 1.  Instead of the city potentially protecting its right to buy back the property, and then retaining the Municipal Garage where it is, – it would lose everything!

Even worse, Capital One could then sell the property to anyone even for a $1 and the city would have to pay the loan difference of the two!  Is Da Horsey overstating the case?  See the point made in the legal opinion rendered by Corporation Counsel Michael Kates for yourself:

For the entire explanation from the Mayor’s office and the Corporation Counsel:

Who would risk such a consequence?  Councilman Mike Russo has been the most vocal in opposition, saying any bonding could be done later.  He’s reported in Hoboken Patch as continuing to tell residents this untenable financial theory.  Does he have any financial professional or other considerable legal opinion supporting his claim?  Or are we to take his word on the matter it won’t cost the city hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars at a minimum?!  

Councilwoman Beth Mason in an article by Hoboken Patch says her understanding of the information is “insufficient” but she won’t support the bond ordinance unless she knows the garage’s new location.  RFPs for any potential location are not even completed yet, a process required by law.  Following through on that basis would constitute a prescription for handing over the garage to the bank.  Worse, it would mean a potential bill of millions to the city as the bank could sell the property for far less than the loan and hand the bill to the city.

The city would get nothing, nothing but a bill for millions, even over 10 million!
The $16 million bond is needed to keep the Municipal Garage in its current location if the developer is unable to close August 13th.  


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