Livingston Council Addresses YMCA Sale and Advocates for Transparency

In a recent Livingston Town Council meeting, developments included the introduction of ordinances related to the sale of municipal properties and the potential impact of these sales on the community’s resources. The meeting also addressed community concerns about transparency, property disputes, and the importance of maintaining public services such as the YMCA within the township.

The council’s deliberation on the sale of a property to a Maryland LLC, outlined in ordinances 10-2024 and 11-2024, was a primary focus of the meeting. These ordinances, which are related to the same project but not interdependent, would enable the sale of municipal land to Bright View for the development of an assisted living facility. The project aims to return previously tax-exempt properties to the tax rolls and may offer the possibility of obtaining fair share housing credits. Concerns were raised about the potential relocation of the YMCA if the ordinances did not pass. The sale of the skateboard park was also part of the conversation, with assurances that the town would have time to find a replacement site and construct it using the sale proceeds.

Citizen Justin Alper voiced concerns regarding these ordinances, questioning the potential conflict of interest and suggesting the need for more rigorous due diligence. Alper proposed the idea of retaining independent counsel to scrutinize the financial details more closely and considered alternative uses for the property, such as commercial space or community purposes. Additionally, Alper criticized recent actions by state Democrats in Trenton concerning the Open Public Records Act and urged the council to uphold transparency and open governance.

Another community issue was brought forward by a resident named Tim Foley, who detailed a dispute involving his mother-in-law, her neighbors, and a local synagogue. The conflict centered around property maintenance and zoning issues, including an improperly erected fence and the removal of a natural barrier. The council responded by promising to investigate the matter.

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The meeting also included discussions about the township’s financials, with the completion of the audit paving the way for earlier budget meetings with department heads. The council reported on the receipt of ten responses to an open space RFP and the ensuing process to select candidates for interviews. Additionally, recognition was given to various community contributions, including the Livingston Unico’s person of the year, the retirement of police officer Joe Winnick, and an American Rescue Plan Grant received by the fire department.

Council members shared updates on upcoming community events and initiatives, such as the high school’s Cinderella production, outdoor activities, and the “Pick it Up Livingston” trash cleanup event. They also acknowledged cultural celebrations like Ramadan and St. Patrick’s Day and expressed appreciation for the US Women’s National Soccer Team’s victory and high school students’ engagement in democratic clubs.

The council wrapped up the regular session by addressing the consent agenda, approving a list of resolutions that included various appointments, service contracts, and an emergency contract authorization. One resolution, 24-107, was notably removed from the agenda. The council conveyed gratitude to volunteers appointed to committees for their service.

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The meeting concluded with the council transitioning back into a conference session, with the understanding that no further formal action would be taken, except for a possible amendment to a closed session resolution based on the conference discussion.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Alfred M. Anthony
City Council Officials:
Shawn R. Klein, Edward Meinhardt, Michael M. Vieira, Barry R. Lewis, Jr. (Township Manager)

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