Paterson City Council Approves Buyback Ordinance
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 • 8:00am
PATERSON, NJ – The Paterson City Council approved an ordinance to authorize the purchase of properties related to the Paterson Northside Buyback Program by an 8-1 vote.
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and the Environmental Protection Green Acres program awarded Paterson more than $5 million as part of the Buyback Program, which will allow the city to purchase private properties from owners for developmental opportunities.
Pastor James Staton was encouraged by the council’s decision to approve the ordinance. “I’m encouraged that we’re able to take care of those residents and those properties and. And I’m encouraged by the way that the [properties] were selected,” Staton said.
Councilman Rico Rodriguez was the only council member to oppose the ordinance. He stated that he did not feel that purchasing the houses addressed the root of the problem.
Rodriguez suggested that if the Passaic River was cleaned properly any future problem of the river destroying the houses would cease to exist.
“I would think that we can deploy that money better by cleaning up the streets, and cleaning up the [Passaic River],” said Rodriguez, who also suggested that purchasing the housing was not financially feasible. “For you to come here and buy all those houses and leave the river the same as it [currently] is does not work. Those houses are taxes that are now going to be taken off the books.”
Rodriguez concluded, “All I ask is to take a look at another aspect of how were going to address the issue of the river. Buying houses is just not going to cut it. We don’t have enough money and we can’t afford it as a city. We’re not addressing the issue.”
Council president Andre Sayegh voted to pass the ordinance, but stated that cleaning up the river was something he would like to see eventually addressed as well.