For those of faint heart in the heat, there’s still a way to catch the redevelopment meeting tonight at the Multi-Service Center 124 Grand St. MSV is expecting it will be broadcast live and is carrying the feed. It will also be rebroadcast on TV but for the hard core Hoboken policy wonk and/or political junkie who just has to have their fix live. This one will probably not be for the faint of heart unless you are a stone cold policy wonk.
Meeting has ended. Here’s the link to watch it online:Read More...
Tomorrow night’s City Council meeting will feature the introduction of the budget from the Zimmer Administration and with it much needed tax relief. The relief will come in the form of a 5% reduction amounting to approximately $2 million of the almost $12 million in the City’s current surplus plus another million in other reductions.
According to Councilman Mike Lenz, fourth ward Councilman and candidate for this November’s special election in the same ward, Hoboken can’t legally extend tax relief beyond this amount coming off fiscal monitor control. Although not physically present any longer in Hoboken, the State’s sign off releasing Hoboken is not expected to become official until September. “The mayor, finance committee and the council are committed to giving taxpayers a five percent tax cut. To cut any more in this six-month transition period would require state approval, and until we’ve had our fiscal house in order for some time, it’s very unlikely we could get such approval,” he said yesterday.
Councilman Lenz indicated there are additional state regulations preventing larger tax cuts when cities incur savings moving from a fiscal to a calendar year as Hoboken did with in a recent action by the City Council. Combined together, Hoboken can’t in the short term deliver additional tax relief.
Councilwoman Beth Mason has issued several email communications to residents first insisting the $20 million “surplus” be given back to Hoboken taxpayers, then retreating a bit from that position before again issuing yet another email claiming a full $20 million surplus and suggesting people go to tomorrow’s meeting and “Tell City Hall to give your money back and cut your taxes immediately.”
Most observers agree there’s been another $6 million added to the budget surplus this year but $8 million is restricted leaving the real surplus at $12 million. The surplus has become a matter of strong contentious political disagreement not just its actual amount, but its revelation with announced citywide layoffs expected to become official September 24th.
The Hoboken PBA and its members have pointed to the “$20 million surplus” as a reason not to overhaul the police department. Councilman Lenz did not view the two issues as linked stating reserves in the city were a necessity, “The introduced budget does use some of the surplus of the surplus to reduce taxes, but it maintain $10 million as working capital and as a cushion against financial shocks. This is toward the high end of the accepted 5-10% range for well run municipalities and will speed us toward a better bond rating. Given our history and exposure this is just what we should be doing,” he said.
Hoboken’s current bond rating is said to be just above junk status meaning the cost to the city for borrowing money when needed comes at significant high cost.
Looking ahead, Councilman Lenz acknowledged expectation from Hoboken taxpayers saying, “The Zimmer Administration is getting Hoboken’s finances under control, and making the tough choices to reduce spending. Taxes will go down 5% in this budget, and more in the next if we stay the course. Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her council allies – all of which I am proudly one – are committed to doing just that.”
Critics of the Zimmer Administration led by die hard backers of Councilwoman Beth Mason’s failed mayoral run last year have complained there was no real intent to cut spending or reduce taxes. Most independent analysts acknowledge there can be no significant tax relief without reductions in city personnel. City manpower costs are upwards of 70% of the city’s annual budget with public safety alone coming in over 50%.
Councilman Lenz acknowledged the current built in cost to the city and necessity for more tax relief concluding, “the only way we can do so as a city is to control spending.”
Tomorrow’s City Council meeting can be expected to exhibit sharp disagreements on all the steps proposed by the Zimmer Administration on the matters of taxes, the budget and municipal layoffs. Onlookers will be curious as to the possible linkage between them as political consultant Paul Swibinski is now employed by Councilwoman Beth Mason and the Hoboken PBA. Word of a show of force from the Hoboken Police is expected.
Talking Ed Note: If you want a good seat for tomorrow’s City Council meeing get there early. Unlike the previous City Council meeting, if you are tossed for bad behavior you won’t be able to go sit in the corner. There will be police available to show you the door.
MSV plans to attend and provide onsite observations and pictures for the Hoboken Journal. You can watch the meeting online and join in the discussion there:
On Tuesday, August 31, the City of Hoboken will host a “Redevelopment 101” informative seminar to educate the public on the redevelopment process.
“My Administration takes public input very seriously,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “As we move forward with various redevelopment projects, an informed public will be in a position to offer the feedback we need to reflect our community’s vision for our City.”Read More...
(TRENTON) – In light of the country’s continued economic woes, Assemblymen Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. and Nelson Albano are pushing legislation to protect jobs at home and discourage the “outsourcing” of American jobs to other countries.
The bill – A998 – would prohibit business entities from being eligible to perform any state contract or receive any state grant if the business eliminates jobs performed by its employees in the United States and assigns those functions to workers in a foreign nation. Read More...
Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the City of Hoboken are proud to host the 17th Annual Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival on Sunday, October 3rd from 11am to 6pm. Admission is free.
The fair will take place on Washington Street between Observer Highway and 7th Street and will include more than 300 artists, crafters, photographers, local businesses, restaurants, food vendors and more. A special children’s section will include rides, games, and more.Read More...
There’s been an unusual high level of interests in some local online polls with people arguing the value of the results here on the Hoboken Journal poll and also the Hudson Reporter.
Online polls particularly ones covering a short period of time are far from scientific but the interest is more like a pr tool for further arguing one point of view or another. With this being the end of summer, it’s really interesting to see the Hudson Reporter website showing thousands of views and votes on a summer weekend. They created a poll that permits repeated voting. In fact, just to see the latest poll results you have to vote again. You can blame the Hudson Reporter website for that faux pas.
On the Hoboken Journal poll featured here on MSV, repeated voting is prevented but that doesn’t mean you have to be in Hoboken to vote. In fact one local officer, who calls himself Hitman 149 reached out to a some friends on a website and asked folks to vote in the poll here on MSV. Nothing wrong with it really, it shows he really does care about his fellow officers: Read More...
The Hudson Reporter has a poll up on whether the public sides with Mayor Zimmer’s plan for the Hoboken Police Department or the Hoboken PBA. Yesterday, the Mayor had a significant lead but the poll’s total votes was in the range of just several hundred.
Da Horsey noted to folks that lead would not last with a late push to get the PBA numbers up and so it has. But it’s been an astronomical effort. There’s been thousands of views overnight along with votes pushing the union’s lead well ahead.Read More...
The Lt. Angelo Andriani case is finally over with Mayor Zimmer notifying the City Council of his termination in a memorandum scheduled for release at the next City Council meeting. The termination however doesn’t match the date of the meeting or even the letter – it’s retroactive to 2008!
After a lengthy process and approval of the Hudson County Superior Court approval, Lt. Andriani of the Hoboken Swat fiasco fame can move on to bigger and better things. Most recently, he was arrested at the Tampa Airport last January for disorderly conduct and impersonating a police officer. He had been on a paid suspension from the Hoboken Police force for more than two years.
It’s not clear how the retroactive termination will impact payments made during that time but at a City Council meeting Corporation Counsel Michael Kates did not rule out seeking to recover those payments. MSV will look to confirm the city’s decision in that regard.Read More...