Beth Mason mailer magically reduces surplus fib from $27 million down to $20 million
Beth Mason is back with another mailer to the 2nd ward residents she is counting on to bring her back to the job she wants more than any other. Well it’s momentary but in order to advance up the political ladder, the 2nd ward seat is critical to her ambitions to run again for mayor. (If not then look out Stick Romano cuz it’s Freeholder here we come.) So she’s appealing once again to the 2nd ward residents who aren’t paying much attention. This it would appear to be Beth’s target demographic these days.
In the letter above, she acknowledges the recent polling around town and proves if there were any doubters, well that mayor is certainly more popular than she’d like so it’s time to wrap her arms around Dawn ever so tightly. If there’s one thing Beth Mason ain’t letting go of though, it’s that budget surplus thingy.
Most recently the City announced a 5% tax cut earmarked in the mayor’s proposed budget and the surplus is planned for the low end of professional municipal planners advice of 5% as well. That’s 5 and 5, got it?
So after enveloping the mayor with the good news of what was obviously her citywide polling, (do you think she would be all kissy faced in the first paragraph if the data said otherwise?) – she moves on to two financial matters. The first is the implicit amount of money to be raised via taxes and that figure has dropped with the results of some hard choices on the budget reducing staff and reorganizing the police department. $4 million has been knocked off in total combining retirements to those efforts.
When Beth Mason says taxes in the future are too high, she fails to address any of these critical points disproving what reduced costs have already occurred on the ground in Hoboken.
Apparently Beth Mason is so impressed with the mayor’s polling numbers, she’s decided to move a bit off the big lie of the surplus being $27 million back down to her prior fiscal year fib of $20 million.
Some would call that a fib. But this is Beth Mason, so let’s give her some credit and call it progress.
The true cash surplus of the city in the mayor’s proposed budget is $5 million. That’s 5% of the $100 million budget. Another $4 million is dedicated to back pay for the police unions. (Boy did they earn it especially with their hard work this past weekend.)
Talking Ed Note: Two budget workshops are scheduled this month. What will the Mason-Russo City Council do to match the mayor’s efforts on reducing the budget? Well there modus operandi is certainly not rolling up their sleeves and making tough reductions and last year Beth Mason told the Hudson Reporter the City Council lacked the courage to make cuts. This after she had come off a run for mayor the previous November running on a platform of “rightsizing.” She refused to explain what it meant then and has shown no inkling on remotely acting on the word since. None as in ZERO.
Mike Russo is a proud father now and rebranding his image from being rather difficult to cuddly but a budget hawk he ain’t. At the last City Council meeting, he showed he’s more interested in obstruction (and acting difficult) at all costs trying to link the State’s concerns on 2008-2009 professional services agreements put forward by his former campaign manager – the one and only Peter Cammarano to contracts today.
As many will recall, that State letter made its way around town on the weekend and was printed with the Russo Reporter storyline in two places: the Hudson Reporter and Hoboken Patch before the misleading conclusions were crushed by the Jersey Journal that corrected the record on Monday. The Jersey Journal followed up with the State whereby we learned the Comptroller’s office was actually targeting the towns where Operation Bid Rig was a big hit. Of course Hoboken made the grade.
Back to our Council of No champions, what are they to do? Neither Beth Mason nor Mike Russo has shown much interest in reducing the size and scope of government. They can take the road of ordering the Department Directors to do the heavy lifting and ask them to come back with proposed budgets of 10-15%. Then they can take the credit when some of it is finally approved. Is hitting the same well again the right way to go? (Last year 300K was saved but now you will hit bone if you apply this technique twice in a row.)
That’s hardly the skillful surgery the town needs, and deserves. But this is what we have and this is what you’ll likely get. Don’t expect much more than critical eyeing $38 expense reports and the like. Hard to believe but Mike Russo actually questioned Director Forbes on gas expenses in an earlier meeting. This when he lost track of almost a million dollars in quarters. A million dollars in quarter. A million dollars in quarters. Of the missing 55 tons of quarters, he later tried to bury the matter describing it as “my mistake.”
City wide elections will be held on May 10th.