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Grant Writer Appears Before Mayor and Council

Eager to hear the Borough's Grant writer speak, the public packs Borough Hall, shifting work session to Council Chambers.

The Borough Grant Writer, Marlene Casey of Capital Alternatives, appeared before the Mayor and Council Monday night to clarify her position regarding available grant money during the time that the Borough was in a position to purchase the United Water property.

Saying that she was "solemnly hurt" by the comments and rhetoric regarding her position on the grants available at the time the town had the opportunity to purchase the United Water property, Casey said, "I want everyone here to understand what I say and what I do."

SOD has put forth that Casey informed them during a 2012 SOD meeting that there were grants available for the purchase of the property in early 2011.

Mayor Ann Subrizi has contended that when the town considered purchasing the property in early 2011, Casey offered the Mayor and Council no guarantees that grant money was available for the purchase. 

"You kept saying 'Yes, but...,'" Subrizi said.

Conceding that she may not have been clear when she spoke before the Mayor and Council during the March 2011 meeting, Casey responded, "If asked today if grants were available my answer is 'yes,' but you probably won't get it all in one year."

Casey said that she was "hurt" to hear the Mayor publicly state that there was no grant money available for the Hirschfeld Brook flood mitigation project. "I was never instructed by the council to file an application," Casey said.

Again, Subrizi said, "Because you kept saying, 'Yes, but...'"

"I want to be clear that going forward I will provide the most accurate information of what's available," Casey said, adding, "I'm telling you now, Hirschfeld would qualify."

Subrizi urged the council to pass a resolution authorizing Casey to get "whatever grant money possible" for the $1.6 million Hirschfeld Brook flood mitigation project.

"We've been working on this since Hurricane Floyd," Subrizi stressed.

The council unanimously voted 'yes' to authorize Casey to apply for any and all available grants to help fund the Hirschfeld Brook flood mitigation project.

Councilman Michael Putrino suggested that Casey be scheduled to appear before the Mayor and Council on a regular basis in order to foster better communication regarding the status of grant applications and the availability of grant money.  

 

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Lori Barton January 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Just to be clear: what Ms. Casey said at the M&C meeting was: "Yes, but...you won't get all the money in one year." She indicated that it would be a multiyear effort but that the money was there and VERY accessible. It should have been pursued then. It wasn't. Just because we missed that opportunity does not mean we should abandon all hope and cave into United Water, Hekemian and Inserra now. This is a battle to maintain quality of life and it can still be won. Residents of New Milford, let UW and Inserra know that you are NOT HAPPY with this proposed development. Write letters, call, and email to let them know that the changes Hekemian has proposed are not acceptable. Let them know how disgusted you are.
Madison January 16, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Mr. Drake, I have to say that it is really disturbing to read your comments on the Patch. I am a twenty year resident of this community and care very much about its future. I can only imagine that you do as well. I truly believe that if we could all take toxic rhetoric out of our statements, a more meaningful discussion can be had. If, however, the idea is to keep people from becoming involved by the constant staging of a public dog fight, then I believe you are accomplishing your goal. Lori, thanks for the clear statement, as usual.
Alexander Diaz January 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Is the town a non profit? How long have we had a grant writer? Why has it been made public the yes but? Or the he said she said? I may stand alone in this but, if companies want to generate revenue for a themselves, and in doing so generating revenue for a town, then doesn't that help? Isn't it common sense to allow owners of industry to dictate and direct us on a direction that can positively impact our town. What's the fear of having a nice shop rite or a nice field or a parking lot or apartments? What is the big deal already. Lets just get things done and stop with the he said she said.
TommyIce January 16, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Mr. Diaz it's American tradition to allow the common man to have self determination. To dictate their own path. Not to allow INDUSTRY and GOVERNMENT to DICTATE to us. We The People dictate to government. Not the other way around.
Lori Barton January 16, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Hey Alex!! Great to hear from you. The grant writer has been around for a very long time. Companies absolutely have the right to generate revenue for themselves but this company wants to do it on land that is not zoned for their purposes. The tricky part is there is a really good chance that instead of generating revenue for the community, this could actually cost us more in tax dollars while at the same time drastically reducing the quality of life for all of New Milford, not just the "neighbors." Despite requests, there still has not been a fiscal impact study. Additionally, the Environmental and Shade Tree Commissions have a bunch of concerns with allowing that kind of development on the United Water property. As far as a field, there is NOT one in the plans. The REVISED plans are finally allowing for flood storage basins (interesting since originally they denied there were flooding problems in the area). Even the very first talk of including a field (which was never formally proposed), did not include a site big enough to hold a football field with bleachers, etc, let alone have room for a track. It would have been a practice field in the part of the land that floods the most. Not much of a "gift," if you ask me. United Water should walk away from this deal and do the right thing: negotiate with New Milford to purchase the land. And Inserra should rebuild where they are and where they already have the approvals.
Darlene January 16, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I did attend the meeting - my very first! - and heard Mrs. Casey talk about available grants - not just in relation to the U/W property and Hirshfeld Brook - but also possible grants for fire engines and police building or fire station improvements, maybe more. My question is - why are we not going after every possible grant available? If you heard the police chief detail the inadequacies of our current police department building and then wrap up his testimony by revealing that the list he was reading from was written in 2004 (!!) -- clearly there are upgrades in our infrastructure that need addressing, so why aren't we taking advantage of every single opportunity offered by way of Mrs. Casey's services (which, I believe, she said are free of charge)? If there are ways to address the needs of New Milford without placing undue burden on the taxpayers, why aren't we lunging for them as a matter of course? Why isn't Mrs. Casey welcomed at every M&C meeting to provide immediate updates on what's available so that the M&C can determine how it might serve us? I mean, is there a downside to accepting grants that I am unaware of? If not, this seems like a no brainer to me.
MT January 16, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Mrs. Casey and her firm makes money on grant that she gets for the town. I am assuming it is percentage of the grant. I don;t know how much. Notwithstanding that, you are correct. New Milford has to make better effort of going after every single opportunity to get grant for whatever sources. Every little bit helps. It is essentially that much less burden on taxpayer.
miriam pickett January 16, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Mrs. Casey is a long time resident of New Milford and works for us and many other northern NJ communities. Her efforts are resposible for improvements being made all over our area. She has stated in public and is backed up by recordings that in 2011 she told the Mayor and Council that there were funds available to purchase this property. The minutes of these meetings do not reflect her comments correctly. The recordings are availble at boro hall for anyone to purchase. However, it is counter productive to spend a great deal of time considering the history of this sale. Elections will decide if the public approves of the way it was handled. Let's dirct all our energy in stopping this development from scarring our community. Working together, putting vitriol and poison behind us we can insure ourselves and our children a good life in a good community. At this point politics really do need to be put aside. Dialogue is good. Opinions are valid. Anger and demagogary have no place in this discussion. I can't hear anyone because of the noise.
robin commerford January 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM
On a positive note, our attention on the United Water property has made everyone in town more aware and active in our town government!
Darlene January 16, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Good point - In fact, I brought my middle school age daughters to the meeting and they found it very interesting! Alas, we had to leave at 9:30 as they didn't seem to be close to finishing. Long meeting!
MT January 16, 2013 at 07:24 PM
You are right on the money, Robin. And this engagement by the NM residents needs to spread to other issues beyond United Water property. Issues that can bring the town together instead of dividing it.
Alexander Diaz January 20, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Thanks for the clarifications!!

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