Only in Trenton’s topsy-turvy world of city government would City Council be on the receiving end of two harebrained schemes asking for hundreds of thousands of city dollars, following a presentation on just how cash-strapped the city’s fiscal future is looking.
Rumors about the city’s dismal finances have abounded for a long time, but in recent days they have grown into a crescendo of nervous whispers here in New Jersey’s capital.
Those voices talk of 10-percent budget cuts, layoffs, firehouses closing, and other symptoms of a city government whose finances have finally broken, after 18 years of mismanagement under Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.
But to add injury to insult, at tonight’s council meeting representatives from a wireless internet company trying to sell council on the merits of a citywide Wi-Fi system – which council members have already rejected once – will make another desperate appearance to try and get a city contract worth over $200,000 from the doubting city representatives.
That is scheduled only an hour after council members receive a nightmarish briefing on the city’s failing finances.
At around the same time Tuesday as that dandy, Police Director Joseph Santiago will try and convince council about the necessity in paying $200,000 to another gun company for handguns for Trenton’s police officers, despite the fact that the current supplier has offered to replace the whole weapons cache for free.
What is wrong with this picture?
A good way of looking at the behavior of Mayor Palmer and his officials in their treatment of city residents and the legislative branch of city government is that they act like they’re talking to a bunch of idiots.
They say one thing, then do another, which nearly always contradicts their earlier positions and policies. Whether it’s finances or residency or any other issue, it has become quite apparent that many Palmer administration officials – including the mayor, a Trenton native – have little or no respect for the rest of the city, or its government.
Maybe it’s time for a change.