Dear friends and neighbors –
Happy 1st Day of Spring! I hope you are all braving the spring-like weather! With many activities cancelled tonight, I hope you can either join in person, or watch online here tonight’s City Council meeting as Mayor Bhalla is submitting his first municipal budget for 2018 for the City Council to officially introduce. Business Administrator Marks will present a summary at the beginning of the tonight’s meeting. You can find a copy of the draft budget here.
The key results are:
- Total budget including parking utility increased $5.2M or 4.2% mainly driven by significant increases in healthcare and pension costs (excl parking, $4.1M or 3.8%)
- HOWEVER…. the tax rate remains flat (so the municipal portion of your tax bill would not change) – significant ratable expansion, increased income from building permits, and excess prior years surplus are the major revenue offsets to the cost increases above.
Once the budget is introduced tonight, the City Council and the public will have a chance to hear testimony and ask questions during three upcoming budget workshops starting tomorrow night and at the public hearing which is expected to be at the April 18th City Council meeting. Below is a summary of the workshops and a list of just some of the topics covered that coincide with what I hear from many of you:
Thursday – 3/22
- 6:00 pm – Community Development / Director Brandy Forbes – Zoning and Planning, Rebuild By Design/Resiliency, Community Pool, Historical Preservation, Redevelopments or Affordable Housing
- 7:00 pm – Health and Human Services / Director Leo Pelligrini – Recreation, Seniors, Rent Control, Recreation, Recreation
- 8:00 pm – Environmental Services / Director Leo Pelligrini - Parks, Parks, Dog Poop, Clean Sidewalks and Streets, Trash
Monday – 3/26
- 6:00 pm - City Clerk / Jimmy Farina – OPRA requests, elections, and all public records
- 7:00 pm - Corporation Counsel / Brian Aloia – Tenant Advocacy, In house / External Activiites, Lawsuits, Redevelopment, Municipal Courts
- 8:00 pm – Administration & Finance / BA Stephen Marks – Constituent Services, Debt Debt Debt, Washington St., Infrastructure, and Suez
Wednesday – 3/28
- 6:00 pm – Hoboken Parking Utility/Director Ryan Sharpe – Meters, Intersection Safety (Stop Signs, Bump Outs and Traffic lights), Bike Lanes, Parking Tickets, the HOP, and Road Improvements
- 7:00 pm – Hoboken Fire Department / Chief Brian Crimmins – From 4 alarm fires to burned popcorn and everything in between.
- 8:00 pm – Hoboken Police Department / Chief Ken Ferrante – Walking Policemen, Monitor Dangerous Intersections, Crime Statistics, Homeless residents
As you know, there are a lot of moving parts in the budget that cover all of the City’s municipal services across the City. I encourage you to join in person or watch online any or all of the budget workshops to learn more. All workshops will also be streamed online.
Once the budget is reviewed by the City Council and the public, whether in its current form or reflecting any recommended amendments, the final budget would then be voted on for adoption at the City Council meeting on May 2nd.
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any thoughts about or want to discuss any of this. As chair of the Finance, Administration and Infrastructure subcommittee, I will be presiding over the workshops, however Council Vice President Giattino will preside over the Environmental Services workshop as I will not be in attendance due to a prior engagement.
Thank you in advance for engaging in this very important annual process.