Questions are being raised about Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones' planned economic development trip to India, fueled by his refusal to say with whom he will be meeting.

Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones (City of Paterson)

Jones and Municipal Utilities Authority board member Erik Lowe are slated to leave Saturday on an eight-day trip but neither is saying much about the plans.

The Record newspaper reported Wednesday their itinerary indicates Jones and Lowe will visit the western Indian cities of Surat and Mumbai. Lowe said the authority is focusing on renewable energy involving solar, wind and water projects. The mayor said he would be looking at broader economic development opportunities.

But Lowe and Jones declined to say whom they would be meeting, arguing it could put their security at risk.

"My mission is to go there and say the city of Paterson, with all of its history, is open for discussion and a review of opportunities," Jones told The Record.

"Believe me when I tell you I don't know what I'm getting into," the mayor added. "I have no idea what kind of questions are going to be on the table."

The Municipal Utilities Authority voted at a recent meeting to cover the $4,156 airfare for the two.

Lowe said their hosts will be paying for lodging but that he and the mayor will pay for their own meals. Jones said he planned to use money from his campaign fund to cover some expenses.

"It's a long way to go on a whim of landing some speculative business," said Councilman William McKoy.

Jones and Lowe canceled an economic development trip to China last year after questions were raised about who would pay for it.


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