Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Borough resident Joseph Dinella is critical of the increased costs to Collingswood taxpayers from 2005 to present.
Tuesday, March 19
Borough resident Joseph Dinella, who has written to Patch on the subject of municipal debt in Collingswood, submitted this response to the question James Maley asked of residents at the conclusion of the candidate profile Patch published on March 18. He also provided the attached documents, from which he said his calculations were derived. OK Jim, here's what's wrong with the town because of the way you've been running it. It's a math problem, which is not all that complicated. Since 2005, the following is observed: Since we all desire to continue to live here, what value have you given us, Jim, for all this increased borrowing and spending? The answer is—almost none. Joseph Dinella Collingswood
Thursday, February 7, 2013
PILOT agreements lessen debt obligation for private interests but cost taxpayers in the long run, argues Joseph Dinella.
Thursday, February 7
To the editor: Debt is at the heart of the matter. Unrestrained and unaccountable borrowing for reasons not related to purpose of local government—which is providing for public health and public safety—have resulted in a debt service that is twice that of neighboring communities. The Old Zane School sure does look a hell of lot better than it used to. But these aesthetics cost taxpayers $1.8 million over 25 years, which is the stated useful life of the project in Ordinance 1161, which authorized the borrowing in August 1998. We are now throwing our money away by selling it for less than half of its $1,959,900 assessed value. Not a very smart move for taxpayers during a depression. PILOTs are the crack-cocaine of redevelopment. Developers …
Monday, October 1, 2012
The community group had its day in court, but Judge John T. Kelley disagreed with their arguments.
The final word may have been spoken on petitioners’ requests to halt the redevelopment action at the LumberYard site. In state Superior Court in Camden on Monday, Judge John T. Kelley rejected legal arguments that the borough ordinances regarding the project should be subject to a ballot question. Collingswood had sought a declaratory judgment in the case to hopefully curtail additional legal wrangling on the question. “While I certainly can understand the concerns the petitioners have, there is a narrow issue before the court: whether these are subject to referendum," Kelley told plaintiffs Joseph Dinella, Robert Gittler and Nathalie Marquet. The petitioners offered a variety of arguments in their challenge to the proposal, from a broad …
Friday, September 21, 2012
The vote was a sign that those most affected by the amended redevelopment plan are onboard, Mayor James Maley said.
Of all the roadblocks en route to completing the LumberYard redevelopment project, a vote from its condo association will not be among them. The leadership group for the most-talked-about building in town voted 51-2 Wednesday to amend its master deed and bylaws, authorizing the Ingerman Group to complete the project. The vote was a legal necessity, as the scope of the project had been altered from its original design as a luxe commuter village. In addition to completing the fit-out on unfinished units left when Costanza Builders abandoned the job, Ingerman will erect a five-story, 100-unit apartment building within which the company plans to relocate its corporate headquarters. Collingswood Mayor James Maley said the vote was a clear …
Friday, August 31, 2012
By seeking a preventive adjudication, borough leaders are hoping to knock down talk of a ballot initiative.
Even as the Collingswood Planning Board approved revised ordinances governing the completion of the LumberYard this week, the borough is taking additional steps to close off any lingering opposition. Collingswood issued a statement that it would seek “a declaratory judgment from the New Jersey Superior Court" on the legality of a petition submitted by residents regarding the final phase of the LumberYard redevelopment project. The move could take the air out of a citizen-led petition delivered to the municipal government earlier this month that called for putting the redevelopment plan and 25-year PILOT grant issued to its developer, Ingerman Group, up for a referendum. “There’s 13,962 people in this town,” said Collingswood resident …
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Mayor James Maley says the group is entitled to its views, but that legally they could never reach a ballot initiative.
At present, the LumberYard redevelopment is not exactly what it was supposed to have been: a tightly budgeted investment that would invigorate downtown Collingswood with luxury condominiums and an infusion of the tax revenues that such high-end projects deliver. Instead, myriad factors—a down economy, a burst housing bubble, a builder crying poor, a savaged municipal credit rating—rewrote the script. In its current incarnation, the last phase of the project is slated to be completed as a multi-unit, five-story apartment complex with some retail spaces on the bottom floors. And for one group of Collingswood residents, that’s one change too many. They’re hoping that with enough signatures, the borough will change course on the project. They’…
Thursday, July 26, 2012
As residents air concerns about the build-out for 90 minutes, the mayor defends the project prior to a unanimous vote.
Familiar concerns were echoed among the 60 or so residents who turned out at the Wednesday night special meeting of the Collingswood borough commissioners to discuss the next phase of the LumberYard project. They wondered aloud whether the project would unsustainably spike parking demands, introduce an undesirable element by inviting more apartment renters to town or create an eyesore that would dominate the downtown skyline. After all the talk was through, however, the borough leadership approved the pair of ordinances on its docket. One greenlit the build-out of the five-story, mixed-use residential/commercial construction, and another gave its builders, the Ingerman Group, a 25-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) deal. At the outset …
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Residents worry, however, that the new design, which adds 51 more units, will create parking concerns downtown.
Amid public concerns about the potential impact of overflow parking from adding new apartments—not permanent residences—to the borough, the Collingswood Planning Board amended plans for the next phase of the LumberYard redevelopment project at Monday's special meeting. As compared with the original plan for the space, changes in the new resolution include: “We really have no objection to the plan since it appears to be consistent and appears to meet the intent of previous redevelopment plans,” said Board Engineer Tim Staszewski. After some confusion about the specifics of the plan at its June meeting, the board was eager to pass on a finalized draft of the new construction project to borough commissioners for approval at their July 25 …