It was a classic episode of “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.”
At the Newark City Council meeting last night, residents waited for hours to express their opinions on the proposed water rate hike, as well as a very irresponsible budget for 2015.
It took nearly 3 hours — at just before 10:00 PM — before the citizens of Newark were given the opportunity to speak a single word.
The good news is, we applied enough pressure to delay the vote on the water tax hike. It will now be part of the final budget discussion on December 15th.
We also got the city to admit that we were actually talking about a 14% water rate increase, since the city’s $9 Million sweetheart deal with Honeywell Corporation to install utility “smart meters” has already increased their revenues by over 7%.
But the bad news out of the meeting last night was the planning and budgeting practices of our city, as they are absolutely determined to flagrantly spend taxpayer money and drive our city into more debt on ill-advised — and often unadvised — wish list projects and pay raises.
Our Delaware State Coordinator, Eric Boye, was in attendance and pointed out that, while the Storm Water Drain system has been neglected for 16 years and needs $8 Million for repairs . . .
. . . the city is attempting to spend $14 Million on a multilevel parking garage in the heart of Main Street that is not only unnecessary, but is not even something the city government should be involved in.
The city admitted they have absolutely no data to support this level of construction for increased parking, that they do not calculate return on investment for their projects, and that a study might be performed or completed sometime early next year.
Eric also pointed out that while the median household income in Newark is only $51,128 a year (roughly $24 per hour), who must then pay for the salaries of the city staff . . .
. . . virtually every city employee is receiving anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 in pay raises and increases of $200 to $500 in their bonuses . . .
. . . more than a 50 of whom are already making over $70,000 to $140,000 a year!
Yes, even their bonuses are getting bonuses.
So you’ve heard the good and some of the bad. Now, it’s time for the ugly.
The City of Newark is embarking on an unsustainable financial future. The citizens are slowly catching on and its effects are bringing out the ugly sides of certain Council members.
Mayor Polly Sierer continued her personal assault on the citizens last night, ejecting our own New Castle County Coordinator, Brett Zingarelli, from the building after he obliged a request from a woman in the audience to pass a note over to her Councilman.
Brett’s adherence and attention to rules is so strong, he had never been kicked out of anything before in his entire life.
As a veteran of two overseas wars — which the Council had just applauded two weeks ago for Veterans Day . . .
. . . and a concerned citizen that has dutifully attended every council meeting for the last two years to fight for our rights and freedoms . . .
. . . he deserved better than what you’re about to read next.
Brett gave the note to the Councilman, per the woman’s request, and Mayor Polly Sierer immediately said, “Brett, you’re Out Of Order. You need to leave.”
Surprised and confused, Brett asked, “How am I out of order. What rule have I broken?”
The Mayor’s display of emotion was tragic, not answering his question and instead, hollering and screaming at Brett to leave the room as he tried to gather his belongings from under his chair . . .
. . . making a point to continue yelling at him as he walked through the crowd to the exit doors, making members of the audience uncomfortable, even up to the point where he physically passed through the doorway.
U.S. Army Specialist Zingarelli was officially kicked out of a public meeting and building by one person, the Mayor, for no reason . . .
. . . with several Council members fully admitting after the meeting that he had broken NO RULE and had done NOTHING wrong!
District 4 Council member, Marge Hadden, notorious for voting with the establishment and being confused during the meeting discussions, also went on offense against some concerned citizens and tried to rally support for the city purchasing military-grade AR-15 rifles for the Newark Police Department.
And when a member of the audience, who is educated in the subject of firearms, tried to quickly answer one of her minor questions —
— she became red in the face, told him to “SHUSH” and then violently shook her finger for an awkward 3 to 4 seconds.
Here are a few more highlights from Newark’s proposed 2015 budget:
The entrance to the new $1 Million Curtis Mill “parking lot” park on Paper Mill Road will have its entrance blocked while the city tears up the street for a hasty water pipe repair that should have been included in the “parking lot” park plan.
They now want to develop Old Paper Mill Road Park across the street.
The city wants to spend $8.9 Million on an electric substation that is not only over-sized for the short-term, but will not be fully utilized for 50 to 100 years.
- $1.3 Million in pay increases for city staff
- the City Manager raking in a $150,000 salary
- a last minute referendum proposal to change the city’s charter
- a Rain Tax identical to what has been implemented in Maryland
- and so much more . . .
We’ve got a big job to do in Newark over the next 3 weeks and your help will be needed. You’ve got to become involved to help stop this unsustainable train wreck.
This email alone identifies nearly $25 Million Dollars of spending that is of lower priority than the $8 Million in storm water drain repairs that have gone ignored by this Council and Mayor, as well as previous ones.
Please call Mayor Polly and her dutiful, “Yes, M’am” members below. Tell them to reject this budget until it stops spending money on any new projects outside of the storm water drain system that has been neglected for 16 years and has critical, live utility feeds running through it.
Mayor Polly Sierer 302-690-1741
District 2 Todd Ruckle 302-893-1601
District 4 Marge Hadden 302-983-9087
District 6 Stu Markham 302-456-1755
Don’t listen to their excuses. Don’t fall for their talking points.
Just tell them to focus on essential city services that are in scope with the city charter and stop straying into the unnecessary and low priority spending projects contained in the current 2015 budget proposal.
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty
P.S. While one of our own was wrongfully ejected from the building by an overzealous Mayor Polly, we still achieved a temporary victory last night in delaying the vote on a water rate tax hike.
That tax increase will now be wrapped into the overall budget decision at the next Newark Council meeting on December 15th.
Please call the Council members listed above and tell them that the current 2015 budget is unacceptable; they need to force City Administration to halt all projects and focus on the $8 Million storm water drain repairs that they have ignored for almost two decades!