In his effort to rebrand and change the perception of the city, mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration is spending more than $35,000 to purchase new “Welcome to Paterson” signs.
Municipal officials awarded a $35,100 contract for nine new signs, one for each entrance to the city, to Garfield-based Impressions Signs and Printing late last month. The company submitted the lowest price quote for the signs, according to municipal records.
A pair of Paterson companies lost out due to their higher prices. Expression Graphic Design of 5th Avenue submitted a quote for $44,250; and Mr. J’s Sign Service for $36,270.
Council members approved the contract in a 5-2 vote on Sept. 24. Some wanted to make changes to the signs and others thought it a waste of money.
Lilisa Mimms, councilwoman at-large, wanted names of nine council members on the signs. Business administrator Vaughn McKoy said he will see if there’s enough space to fit the extra names.
A typical welcome sign contains just the mayor’s name.
Council president Maritza Davila pointed out council members change every two years which could mean changing signs every 24 months. Council members’ terms are staggered. The three at-large seats are filled during the mayoral race and the six ward seats during the middle of the mayor’s term.
Al Abdelaziz, 6th Ward councilman, said the city could get signs that have name plates. Plates would be replaced rather than the entire sign.
“It’s unnecessary,” said Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, of having council members’ names on the welcome signs. “It’s a very frivolous request.”
It’s unusual to have council members’ names on welcome signs, said Jackson. He said he never saw such a sign in any other municipality.
“It’s your opinion that it’s frivolous,” retorted Mimms.
Davila said she’s against adding council members’ names if it increases the cost for the nine signs.
“I think this is wasting taxpayer money,” said Shahin Khalique, 2nd Ward councilman, of the entire exercise to replace the signs at the entrances. He said the old signs already have Sayegh’s name.
Council members Abdelaziz, Ruby Cotton, William McKoy, Mimms, and Davila voted in favor. Jackson and Khalique voted against.