- “The plan is in its early stages,” claim some proponents of the scheme to give a “Redeveloper” a big tax break to turn our little Chatham Borough into a transit hub city.
- “We can always walk away,” they insist, out of one side of their mouths.
- “We can’t back out now,” they say out of the other side. “We’ll get stuck with huge expenses.” *
Not one of those statements is true.
That corporate welfare scheme for Post Office Plaza has been brewing for years. We simply didn’t get certain horrible details until last month’s post-election meeting of the old Mayor Harris and his Borough Council. That’s when the old Mayor’s tin-eared, designated Redeveloper revealed his nightmarish designs for Chatham. CBC Meeting 11 14 19
The process of imposing those designs on Chatham is actually in its late stages. The old Mayor set a tight schedule to get Chatham hog-tied to his tin-eared Redeveloper’s vision by April 2020 – with Developer and Financial Agreements that will legally lock us into the scheme.
How could the old Mayor do that when he isn’t even allowed to vote on the Post Office Plaza project because of a potential conflict of interest?
Easy. As mayor, he controls the Council’s agenda.
That’s also how the old Mayor was able to suddenly decide – just two days before his final Council meeting – to have the Council vote to saddle his successor with the same tainted scheme by extending the same tin-eared Redeveloper for another six months. They did just that at the December 19 meeting, over the objections of a packed house, making it much harder for Chatham to escape this nightmare.
Harder, but not impossible.
Our newly-elected 2020 Mayor Thad Kobylarz and his new Council can still correct all that. They have the power to abandon the tainted Redevelopment Plan scheme and make Chatham better for all of us – not only one rich developer.
Will they use that power for the public good?
* Not true, according to the Post Office Redevelopment Plan posted on the Council’s web site and an insider who has been intimately involved in this process for years.