City announces big updates on Western Edge, budget and police layoffs

City of Hoboken announces:

The Administration is providing updates on several topics of interest to the community.
Western Edge Redevelopment Plan
The Western Edge Redevelopment Plan is the first item for consideration at this evening’s City Council meeting. Several members of the City Council, which is the redevelopment agency for the City, have expressed interest in postponing consideration of the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan in order to solicit additional input from the community. The community concerns have been largely focused on the amount of open space presented in the plan.
The Administration, working with the Trust for Public Land, has been in discussions and negotiations for the last year to acquire a large area of land adjacent to the Western Edge for a park. The property known as the Henkel site is owned by Cognis. The City currently has $3 million in funding to acquire the site, and the Administration has applied for additional Green Acres funding. The Administration’s intention has been to develop the Western Edge in concert with the adjacent planned park at the Henkel site. The City was close to an agreement to purchase the site, but because Cognis is now being bought out by another entity, discussions were delayed until the closing of the purchase, scheduled for the end of November. The Trust for Public Land has been in communication with the company acquiring the Hankel site, and they are very receptive to working with City.
Unlike previous plans, the proposed Western Edge Redevelopment Plan includes a guaranteed location for the long-promised community center with pool which must be built before developers can open their buildings. The plan brings balanced development, including much-needed retail and commercial space, to Northwest Hoboken which has seen close to 100% residential development over the past 10 years. In addition, the mixed usage helps reduce the tax burden caused by services required by residential development.
Municipal Budget
The State of New Jersey conducted a review of the introduced Municipal Budget. Based on feedback received from the review on Friday, September 24th as well as from the budget workshops held with department directors and the Chiefs of Police and Fire, an amendment to the budget will be proposed which includes necessary technical corrections and statutory obligations, but which will not change the total levy amount of the budget.  Click here to view the proposed amendment.
The Council will vote on a resolution to advertise the amendment, and if passed, another public hearing will take place on October 6th on the amendment and the budget. The public will have an opportunity at tonight’s meeting and at the future meeting to provide input on the budget and the proposed amendment.
Police Layoffs
The Administration is on track to meeting the goals of creating a more efficient and cost-effective Police force while increasing street patrols by 38 percent. However, meeting those goals while avoiding layoffs will require both the approval of the interlocal agreement between the City and the Hoboken Housing Authority and the follow-through on the commitments to retire from seven Police officers. Mayor Zimmer trusts the integrity of the Police officers who have stated their intention to retire. She therefore expects that there will be no need for any of our young Police officers to lose their jobs. If the officers who have indicated their intention to retire in writing follow through, then the layoffs will be permanently canceled on December 2nd.  The planned demotions will still take place on December 2nd with adjustments made to reflect all retirements which may occur.
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