The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.
President John F. Kennedy
BY BILL CLEARY
UPDATE ON GLOUCESTER CITY EDC-So how much did the Gloucester City Economic Development Corp. borrowed from the city Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) program/city taxpayers? According to an OPRA request we made, Gloucester City Council passed a resolution at a November 20, 2012 meeting authorizing a $400,000 UDAG loan to the seven volunteers of the GCEDC.
Why that information wasn’t released when we first asked Municipal Clerk Kathy Jentsch the question, in December 2012, is a mystery. The time that it took Jentsch to answer the OPRA request we made, trying to find out that information, was a waste of taxpayers money. All she had to do in December was hand over a copy of the resolution along with any other public information about the EDC.
It is also a puzzle why none of the members of the GCEDC responded to our repeated public requests. Instead the seven volunteers, Chairman Dave Stallwood, Co-Chair Frank Antico Jr., Treasurer Bob Booth, members Bob Bevan, Nick Marchese, Dan Spencer, Frank Wunsch, stayed silent. Two of those members, both councilmen, voted on that November resolution.
Not a peep was heard! Nothing! Dead silence!
It is sad to say, but one is given the impression that those individuals didn’t think the taxpayers should know about the loan, or how they were planning to spend the money. It wasn’t until repeated attempts by CNBNews to Chairman Stallwood that a press release was issued explaining the purpose of the group. However, the chairman never mentioned the amount of the UDAG loan nor did he mention in that press release how much was paid for the two properties.
Incidentally, Stallwood never returned CNBNews phone calls nor did he answer our email requests.
Fortunately a CNBNews tipster pointed us to the New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards website http://www.njactb.org , otherwise we still wouldn’t know the committee paid $110,000 for 524 Monmouth Street (listed for $129,900) and $75,000 for 524 Monmouth Street (listed for $80,000). Both closed on December 21.
Let us be perfectly clear. We praise every member of this board for volunteering to serve the citizens of Gloucester City. That being said, these individuals should not forget that the taxpayers are footing the bill for this project. And, they have a right to know how their money is being spent.
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