Monday, March 18, 2013


Trenton Mayor Tony Mack gave his "state of the city" address before city council Monday evening.

The text of the speech can be found on the city website, here.

Don't go there if you are looking for any revelations, significant accomplishments or measurable goals for the coming year.

Mayor Mack started off, as is his "tradition" reminding the audience that his administration managed to balance the budget even with the $55 million deficit his first year in office, $34 million last year and $26 million this year. He then criticized those who point out that balancing the budget is the law and his administration should claim no extra credit for merely doing its job.

In his view, there will always be a higher demand for services than the city's revenues will pay for. We suppose that means he still feels it is necessary to run sports leagues and put on festivals and parades even when there is no money for such unnecessary activities.

The next item was a brag about how much money in grants and aid has been awarded the city during his tenure. This is another indication of just how out of touch with reality he is.

Taking pride in surviving off of handouts is just wrong. A real leader (heed this all of you mayoral wannabes) would be seeking ways to raise revenues and LESSEN the dependence on grants and government largesse.

A responsible mayor would be working very hard to move the city towards a firmer fiscal footing with a long term goal of become something close to self-sustainable. (Another fault of too many of those desiring to hold public office, they don't look past the next election cycle).

Keeping to the grants theme, the mayor gave props to those individuals in the city who write the grant applications that successfully bring in the money.  Of course, he has no problem wasting money not using grant software the city subscribes to. How much more in grants might we bring in if we used this? We are paying for it regardless.

The mayor wraps up his fiscal responsibility pitch by claiming that the reason we have received so much financial assistance is because he has righted the budgetary ship. He then launches into the oft repeated sources of revenue he is ready to tap into...delinquent tax liens, unpaid municipal court fines and costs, and squeezing the last drops of money leftover from completed projects in the hope of applying them elsewhere.

This notion, again, demonstrates Mack's total lack of a grasp of the situation. Even if, and it is a big IF, the city were 100% successful in collecting the unpaid tax liens and the court revenues, it is a one shot deal. These are not revenue streams. They are little caches of money we may be able to tap into. Once. It is just another stop gap measure; one of those "one-shot gimmicks" that the mayor later decries.

Predictably, he touted the deal with Thomas Edison State College for the Glen Cairn Arms site. He conveniently forgot to mention that in last year's speech he listed, on page 13, under "accomplishments" that "the old Glen Cairn Arms site will finally be demolished, and a developer will be sought to create a more marketable and valuable site." {our emphasis}

First, if it is an "accomplishment" it has, by definition been done. So if it "will finally be demolished" (future tense) in could not have been accomplished (past tense). And, indeed, it wasn't accomplished. And it still isn't.

The city council approved the sale of the property and the city has signed a disposition agreement about what "will" happen. The fact remains, one year later, the site is exactly the same as it was when he gave last year's speech.

This year's speech is full of those kinds of statements inconsistent with his prior state of the city addresses. No reference to last year's "Comprehensive Crime Initiative" (that never was comprehensive or even an initiative). No commentary about the cops walking the beat.

He did state that the Trenton Police Department reopened the East and West district stations to "increase response time" and that is the way the script reads. Obviously he is as careless as he is delusional.

We could go through each paragraph of this less than 30 minute speech and point out all the things that are wrong. You don't deserve that pain.

We don't deserve this mayor.

The state of the city is quite simply worse than it was last year or the year before. Tony F. Mack's tenure as mayor has been nothing short of a disaster.

Let us hope his failures are noticed by those who seek to replace him and they do everything they can to not repeat them.

No comments: