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The squeeze continues on the little guys. Roselle is a rough-edged little town not too far from where I live. Times are tough, so Roselle is considering selling a prized asset, its town hall, to someone who wants to build a restaurant.

Star-Ledger article

The idea to sell the Chestnut Street property came about after the developers, local real estate agent Steve Weiner and restaurant owner Bruno D’Uva, toured the downtown area earlier this year.

Weiner and D’Uva, who owns a Tiffany’s restaurant franchise in Toms River, submitted a request for redevelopment to the council Tuesday.

According to their preliminary proposal, the pair would buy the 1.2-acre plot, demolish borough hall and replace it with a 5,000-square-foot casual-dining restaurant licensed to sell liquor. They estimate the restaurant would create 50 to 75 jobs and bring in 2,000 to 3,000 patrons each week.

Attached to the proposal were seven pages of menus and photos showing another restaurant’s interior.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The problem is, they have no backup plan for where to put the town offices, the municipal court or the police station.

The motion passed 5-1 and the town will spend $7500 to explore the matter further. The town thinks it can get at least $1,000,000 from the sale. But it doesn't make any sense - this is a one-time infusion of cash.

This is not to say that the town hall is perfect. The building costs tens of thousands a month for heating and cooling.

Here's the problem: When they find themselves in trouble again down the road, what will they sell next? Fire trucks? Street lights? Will they strip houses for copper and other scrap metal?

Just another stop on the way down the American Death Spiral. At least we'll have a nice place to eat.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:41:20 AM PDT

  •  Why are we so wasteful. (4+ / 0-)

    We tear all our old historic buildings down. So sad.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:44:49 AM PDT

  •  very sad (4+ / 0-)

    This is why facilities funds and operational funds are legally separated in CA. You cannot sell facilities and use the money to pay personnel. Otherwise school districts would probably consider the same thing.

  •  A million from the sale, but-- how much in (3+ / 0-)

    tax abatements are they going to give the restaurant owners?  

    It's true that the town hall doesn't currently generate any tax revenue for the town, but it seems this is not the smartest multi-year business plan.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:54:18 AM PDT

  •  For small towns, there are so many issues... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, Bob Love

    The business sectors in many small towns have been decimated by big box stores and loss of small town manufacturing facilities.  A lot of small towns have one major employer, and when that company shuts down, the tax base suffers tremendously.  There are so many moving parts.  But the bottom line is that tax ratables have been shifted primarily to homeowners in these depressed towns.  

    In New Jersey, many small towns have been left totally dependent on state aid that has been consistently reduced over the years.  When I sat on town council in my borough many years ago, I took it upon myself to go to Trenton with our mayor to literally beg the DCA for funding to repair our crumbling storm sewer system.  That was nearly 20 years ago.  I don't live there anymore, but it's crumbled even further, and property tax paying homeowners have left in droves in part because property taxes are so high.

    Like I said, many moving parts to the woeful economic situation facing small towns and cities, not only in NJ but across the country.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned and brainwashed to believe that this is as good as it gets. It's not.

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:55:03 AM PDT

  •  Hey! I know a bridge... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That will be true soon also.

    Seems EVERYTHING is up to the HIGHEST BIDDER!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

  •  Hey, Chicago Leased its Parking Meters, and OH is (5+ / 0-)

    preparing to lease its turnpike.

    When you build up a trade deficit of trillions, because you stop selling goods and services to the world, those offshore dollars are going to come back and purchase territory and infrastructure.

    This is arithmetic not rocket science.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 07:03:41 AM PDT

  •  This is a combo... (5+ / 0-)

    of Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge and the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-

    No new taxes - eliminates funding for fundamental government services/buildings.

    At the ALEC annual meeting in August they actually had a session about selling all types of government assets and one of the discussion was to sell government buildings to a prviate entity and then the city have to rent space back in the same building they just sold.

    We have to get rid of politicans that are signing the no new taxes pledge and we have to keep alert at all times about ALEC and theior advice to oour governmetn employees - which includes city government (Just because ALEC says it - doesn't mean it is right or good).

    Smaller government does NOT equal - NO GOVERNMENT

    I am so sorry to hear about this - thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    •  Schools, libraries, Post offices... and any other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      taxpayer built and maintained asset ALEC and their minions
      can get their greedy claws into. Insidious.

      This scenario, if it is allowed to play out, will be horrific. Public-private 'partnership' is never the answer.

      When attempting to explain this to people. one of the points I make is, 'when you step outside your front door, onto a sidewalk or street, do you want to pay a toll?
      How about 'whatever the market will bear' for a glass of water?

      Shine that light .

  •  Heading back... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...home for a visit in four weeks.  Taking Amtrak from Oregon back to New Jersey.  See my parents and my sisters and my nieces and my nephew again.

    Damn, even my hometown (Passaic) didn't, and won't, ever sell city hall.

    I know Roselle.  Had many friends in Rahway, Cranford and Linden.  Sigh.

    "Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls, it's more democratic." - Crash Davis

    by JayinPortland on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 07:45:13 AM PDT

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