City Council President and mayoral candidate Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski has recently been proposing answers to local problems every week in the build up to the May 10 municipal election. Dubbed “Solution Sunday,” Ashe-Nadrowski has discussed how she would tackle issues including “Open and Transparent Government,” “Redevelopment,” “Quality of Life,” and now “Affordability.”
“There’s always a lot of talk about keeping Bayonne affordable,” Ashe-Nadrowski said on April 10. “Sometimes this conversation gets a negative connotation, but it really shouldn’t. The truth is we want people to live, grow, and thrive in Bayonne. We want to keep our family, friends, and loved ones close to our hearts, and even closer to our doorsteps. The only way we get there is by making responsible choices and decisions.”
Ashe-Nadrowski is proposing to tackle the issue of affordability, or rather the un-affordability of the city, by putting Bayonne first in any negotiations; exploring alternative housing options for key workers in the community; and proposing the creation of an Office of Small Business Support and Advocacy.
‘Putting Bayonne first’
According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the residents of the city need to be considered before anything else when it comes to any negotiations in the city.
“During negotiations of all types, there needs to be a voice in the room that puts Bayonne’s needs first,” she said. “Under a Nadrowski administration that means a lot of things. More than anything, it means setting the tone that Bayonne won’t settle for less than it deserves. Not for less money, not less resources, not less quality, and not less time. Committing to this attitude keeps all conversations accountable to Bayonne taxpayers, it keeps services efficient, and it ultimately keeps our city an affordable place to live.”
Ashe-Nadrowski already seems to been putting part of that plan in motion, seeking to get what she sees is a better deal for the city for land at the site of a proposed former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) redevelopment which she says is now undervalued by approximately $60 million.
She plans on introducing two resolutions and an ordinance at the next council meeting to nullify the deal, re-list the property for sale through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, and rescind the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement for the site.
While incumbent Mayor James Davis‘ campaign initially called the idea “insane” and the deal “ironclad,” it has since been mum on the topic since Ashe-Nadrowski announced her resolutions and ordinance.
Alternative housing options?
Ashe-Nadrowski also proposed a plan to provide housing to the workers “at the core of the city’s operations” including: teachers, firefighters, police officers, veterans and city employees, among others.
“Under a Nadrowski administration we will prioritize exploring reasonable housing options for these workers with a large focus on those just starting out – the ‘rookies’ with the lowest salaries,” she said. “This keeps them in the community they serve, and reminds them that we have their back while they are working hard to have ours.”
The proposal could be funded by redevelopment agreements or federal funds, Ashe-Nadrowski suggested.
“Through redevelopment discussions and federal funding sources, we can look to integrate this type of housing in with new development projects,” she said. “In the end, the goal is to keep realistic housing options open to those in public service so that that they can continue to grow in and with our community.”
Office of Small Business Support and Advocacy
Additionally, Ashe-Nadrowski also sought to address affordability or the lack thereof when it comes to small businesses.
“Small business is the backbone of our local economic engine, and they need our help,” she said. “Affordability isn’t just about individuals, sometimes it’s about a business climate. The last several years have been rough on Bayonne’s small business community and, quite frankly, the city hasn’t done enough to help.”
Ashe-Nadrowski plans to help small businesses address affordability issues through the establishment of an Office of Small Business Support and Advocacy.
“Under a Nadrowski administration we’ll establish an Office of Small Business Support and Advocacy,” she said. “This office will be charged with providing outreach and assistance to our local small business community. Between grant applications, permit applications, and regulatory compliance – everything takes time, and time is money The city should be a helping partner. My goal would be to save our small businesses some time, by extending an open hand of support.”
Ashe-Nadrowski and her slate will face off against incumbent Davis and his slate, as well as Dr. Mitchell Brown, on May 10.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.