Paterson City Council Tackles New Garbage Collection Issues and Early Voting Concerns Amidst Diverse Community Appeals

In the latest Paterson City Council meeting, the transition to a new garbage collection company, Filco, took center stage as members discussed the challenges faced by residents, particularly seniors and those without internet access, in adapting to the new online scheduling system. The council also debated the prospect of repealing nonpartisan early voting in the city, a issue that divided members and drew public attention. Furthermore, the council showed unanimous support for the Islamic Center for State County (ICPC), recognizing its contributions to the community.

The council meeting saw discussions on the logistical and financial implications of the switch to the new garbage company. Councilman Luis Velez raised concerns about the online scheduling system’s accessibility. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton proposed the installation of kiosks in public places to aid those without internet access, and Director Ba noted that an additional garbage truck and staff member were being allocated to address scheduling demands.

Financial constraints were a recurring theme, with Mayor Andre Sayegh underscoring the need for cost-effective services within the city’s budget. The new contract with Filco represented a significant cost reduction over the former contract with Roselli, according to the mayor. Nonetheless, the payment of $1,884,003.79 for city bills, including the garbage company’s payment, was unanimously approved by the council.

The meeting also saw an discussion on an ordinance to repeal nonpartisan early voting. Councilman Michael Jackson questioned the timing and intent behind the repeal. Corporation Council clarified that the ordinance would not affect previous authorizations for early voting but would be prospective. Councilman Alex Mendez reaffirmed his support for early voting and the necessity of extended early voting locations. After discussions, Councilman Al Abdelaziz moved to strike the item from the agenda.

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Support for the ICPC was evident as council members, including Abdelaziz, Cotton, Mendez, Dr. Lilisa Mimms, and Forid Uddin, praised the center’s plans for a new recreational center and its invaluable service to the Paterson community. Dr. Mimms assured her decisive vote in favor of the ICPC.

Another pressing matter was the first reading of an ordinance designating Jefferson Street as one-way to improve safety. Concerns about the bid specifications for a contract were voiced by Mr. Ernest Rucker, who questioned the budget’s sufficiency for the contract’s scope. The ordinance was adopted on first reading, with a public hearing scheduled for a subsequent date.

Councilman Jackson highlighted regulatory issues within the city, expressing frustration at the proliferation of smoke shops and late-night barber shops. He called for stronger ordinances and enforcement to address these issues. Community appeals featured prominently, with representatives from Minds for the Lord and Praise Break seeking council support for community programs. Elvis Duran, an activist, called for city cleanup actions, while Dwayne Ellis shared his vision for a ministry serving those affected by homelessness and hunger.

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The meeting also included discussions on sewer system financing, with Mr. Eddie Ales critiquing the decision to borrow $4 million annually for emergencies and calling for better council understanding of the program. Councilman Jackson voted against the project, stressing the importance of informed decision-making.

Public safety and community welfare were also addressed, with council members engaging in heated exchanges over legal challenges facing some members, the integrity of the council, and the importance of respectful public engagement. Council President Dr. Mimms called for adherence to council rules during discussions, while Councilman Jackson and others debated the public’s right to engage.

Community member participation brought to light various concerns, including business contract grievances, community-police relations, urban development, and the need for better support for disabled individuals. Speakers like Commissioner Cory Teague announced plans for forums to improve community-police communications, while John deos Santos inquired about cannabis licensing updates, and Joseph Hart spoke on behalf of the disabled community.

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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:
Andre Sayegh
City Council Officials:
Michael Jackson, Shahin Khalique, Alex Mendez, Ruby Cotton, Luis Velez, Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz, Maritza Davila, Dr. Lilisa Mimms, MD Forid Uddin

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