Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner received another consulting contract with the Town of West New York last week, a one-year, $17,500 agreement “to perform special projects.”
“First, let me say John, the reason for hiring the consulting of Mayor [Richard] Turner. As you know, this town from the 90s, Mayor, and now Congressman Albio Sires, with the guidance from Mayor Turner, were able to build the waterfront,” Roque began, calling into Thursday’s special board of commissioners meeting.
“As you are aware, we get 70 percent of the taxes … is made off of 30 percent of the people that live on the waterfront. So it’s actually enabling us to subsidize a lot of things in this town, thanks to the visions, innovations of the Mayor at that time, Albio Sires, and Richard Turner.”
Turner, the West New York business administrator during Sires administration, has taken great pride in building up the Weehawken waterfront: unveiling two more projects that are a part of the $2 billion effort last month.
“I want to do the same thing, John. I want to build up West New York and grow West New York. I have a fantastic business administrator in Jamie Cryan, but I do need help and he needs help.”
Turner’s new contract, specifically issued to Innovative Government Consulting Inc. is $17,500 for one-year, retroactively from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.
Roque also said he would’ve “done the deal out of my own pocket” if the board voted it down, given Turner’s wealth of knowledge and experience and the relatively low cost.
Luckily for Roque, the board approved the measure by a vote of 4-0(1), with Department of Public Works Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez abstaining since he works with Turner in Sires’ office.
“I can see the future of West New York getting even better by having somebody like Richard Turner helping us out,” exclaimed Roque. “Again, big bang for a little money, that’s the way I’m looking at it.”
Roque also expressed his desire that he wants to build a military academy and improve roads in West New York, endeavors Turner could be extremely helpful in.
When Hudson County View asked Roque the difference between his special projects consulting contract that began in November, which netted Turner $90,000 over six months, and this upcoming project, he said their would be less responsibilities this time around.
“It’s gonna be the less of the responsibilities now, John. Now it’s the special projects. We have buildings, we’re building a hotel … on 52nd Street, there’s developers in that area, we’ve got projects, you know, in that area.”
Roque added that West New York, like Weehawken, is building new condominiums on the waterfront and again stressed that Turner’s knowledge of that project is invaluable.
“We can’t stop now. And I’ve got three years to make this town the way it should be: new lights, PSE&G, lightings for 60th Street, new construction, I believe we’re [re]doing about 70 percent of the roads in West New York.”
In a phone interview today, Turner echoed Roque’s sentiment in completing the development on the waterfront, as well as other projects he started working on late last year.
“It’s to wrap up some of the special projects that were started on the waterfront. The Weehawken and West New York properties were being developed by the same principals and have been developed in-sync, for the most part, up to this point,” Turner stated.
He also noted that developing more parking is a priority, further stating that the area of 51st and 52nd Streets between John F. Kennedy and Bergenline Avenue has always been an area pegged as a potential development site.
“These areas are open and vibrant and there’s a lot to done,” Turner concluded, indicating that it was important to finish the job that he started.
According to a copy of Turner’s most recent contract with the town, issued to Project Management Solutions LLC and approved by the board in October, simply says that the hiring is “in order to complete the building issues concerning Town Hall” and was from November 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016.