NCC ethics panel budget restored:Board votes against Clark Administration 'paper redevelopment' ordinance; Weiner draft still pending - News Journal
New Castle County ethics panel budget restored
Planning Board votes against new development ordinance
May. 18, 2011 Written by ADAM TAYLOR The News Journal
New Castle County Executive Paul Clark's administration has taken a couple of mini-lumps this week.
Clark administration officials announced Tuesday that they had changed their mind about trimming nearly $12,000 from the Ethics Commission's annual budget request.
Also, the county Planning Board voted 8-1 against recommending that County Council approve an ordinance designed to fix the county's "paper redevelopment" controversy. The ordinance was authored by the county Land Use Department.
Clark aides said giving the Ethics Commission $11,841 less than what it asked for was purely a financial decision and that all departments underwent the same scrutiny. But residents and members of the commission, the council and the Delaware Coalition for Open Government opposed the move. They were particularly irked at Clark's idea to give the commission money from his contingency fund if it ran out of cash. Doing so would create the appearance that the commission wasn't independent, critics said.
A proposal will be introduced at the May 24 council meeting to take $11,841 from the Finance Department's proposed budget and put it into the Ethics Commission's budget.
"We think this is an appropriate place to take the money out of the budget rather than some of the other places that were discussed," Acting Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Wilson told the council at a committee meeting Tuesday.
The money is for training new commission members.
"I'm pleased to see that they took that action," Ethics Commission Chairman Thomas P. Collins Sr. said.
Planning Board Chairman Victor Singer said the board voted to not recommend the redevelopment ordinance, sponsored by Councilmen Joe Reda and Dave Tackett, because it "didn't do the whole job" of clarifying the county's Unified Development Code.
"Paper redevelopment" describes the notion that the county has allowed developers of some new construction projects to misuse the code by granting them redevelopment status.
"The county development code contradicts itself and argues against itself in several places," Singer said. "I don't see where the Reda-Tackett ordinance makes that any different."
County spokeswoman Angie Basiouny said Clark hasn't taken an official position on the Reda-Tackett ordinance. Councilman Bob Weiner, however, said it's his understanding that Clark supports it, in part because Land Use General Manager David Culver, a Clark appointee, authored it.
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