Reliable sources: “Panic in City Hall” over Ravi Bhalla budget as major tax increase looms
Reliable sources indicate Hoboken’s budget this year looks dire for Mile Square City residents. Word of a deficit running into the millions of dollars is causing major agita as a major tax increase looms.
One reliable source connected to the mayor’s office stated matter-of-factly, “there is panic in City Hall about the deficit.” The source asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation from the “Face Punchers” in the mayor’s office.
Other sources confirmed the budgetary dilemma unfolding under Mayor Ravi Bhalla with one saying it’s running into the millions, near double digits. “We could be looking at $8,000,000 before efforts by the Bhalla Administration begin trying to whittle it back,” said another.
Hoboken’s 2018 budget came in at over $118 million, much of it tied in fixed municipal and public safety costs.
The panic is causing seizures inside the mayor’s office where a major tax increase looms and would be presented to the Hoboken City Council this spring by the Bhalla Administration.
Among the problems driving the budget panic and a major tax hike not seen in almost a decade:
- Lack of proper encumbrance for rank and file Hoboken Fire, set at .05% vs the 2% needed
- Parking revenues in free fall with millions in added costs to Washington Streets renovations
- No seven-figure rateables from new development coming online this year
- Cavalier indifference since last year’s budget handed over from former mayor Dawn Zimmer
- Significant increases in health insurance benefits as in recent years
- Double-digit pay raises to the “Face Punchers” in the mayor’s office with a $300,000+ annual payout to three political operatives focused on “Face Punching” any believed opposition.
Efforts to reduce a sizable deficit approaching double digits in the millions are under examination but others in City Hall think it’s too little, too late.
One source believes the mayor’s office is asking each department head to bring in a 2019 budget with a 10% reduction from the prior year.
Request for comment from the mayor’s office was submitted late Sunday night. Recent questions not favorable to the Administration here and on other news sites have been ignored. Most recently, there’s been no answer to significant questions related to Ravi Bhalla’s second job with a Republican law firm where tens of thousands in legal contracts flowed late last year.
shoot the messenger retaliation.
Talking Ed Note: Last week, Ravi Bhalla announced a green plan pointing to 9% energy savings in Hoboken municipal space in upcoming years. The plan failed to acknowledge nor address major opposition in the area by residents and regional mayors for a natural gas power plant by North Bergen.
A resolution against the North Bergen power plant sponsored by Councilman Jim Doyle was pulled off the City Council agenda last fall, reportedly by Ravi Bhalla. In its place, Bhalla attended a ball for Nick Sacco, the North Bergen mayor in October.
In recent weeks, Bhalla reportedly held two private meetings with Nick Sacco. Some believe the Jim Doyle resolution against the North Bergen power plant was permanently buried in exchange for backroom political considerations favorable to Bhalla.
One such Bhalla consideration is aid to his recent political fundraiser by Sacco’s chief political operative Joey “the Nose” Munoz.