My apologies for the late notice (and 3rd email this week), but TONIGHT AT 6pm, there will be a public meeting before the council meeting to hear more about the Hoboken Smart City initiative. This was noticed, but not widely distributed or advertised. Please join in person or watch online. This meeting was scheduled primarily to educate those council members who were not previously made aware on the Hoboken Smart City proposal and we felt it easiest / better to schedule as a public meeting. As chair of the subcommittee who is reviewing this proposal, I will advocate for a community meeting at a later date so more members of the public can learn more about it.
The Hoboken Smart City consortium was selected by the administration last summer and approved by city council with the hopes of bringing great technology and connectivity to our fingertips, including the potential for free public wi-fi. I am excited about the prospect of this type of initiative for Hoboken. However, I still have many questions concerning the economics of the proposal, execution risk of full implementation, whether all Hoboken residents will benefit from these services, what type of physical buildout will be required across our community (sidewalks) to provide these services, and how this will be project managed by City Hall.
When we voted, I supported moving forward with the Hoboken Smart City consortium given the breadth of their combined experience in this space. However, I expressed concern that as presented using only municipal assets, the reach for these services was limited. In particular there was question as to whether those who reside in the western side of Hoboken would benefit.
In December, the administration submitted a contract with Hoboken Smart City to the city council to approve which, along with an outline for the various services to be implemented, included a host of revenue generating activities that the city is giving to the consortium that had not been valued including, among others, advertising on new bus shelters and naming rights for our parking garages. Unfortunately, the contract raised more questions than answers. As a result, we tabled the vote and in February, our subcommittee (including councilmembers Giattino, Jabbour and Russo) recommended, and the entire city council subsequently approved, hiring a financial consultant to review and advise the administration and city council on the financial aspects of the contract prior to entering into the formal agreement.
This is a really big opportunity and investment for Hoboken and I am very much looking forward to working with the administration and the Hoboken Smart City consortium on addressing all of our concerns and landing on a plan that works best for all of us. I hope you can join tonight, but if you cannot join, we will schedule another time in the near future.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions or comments or want to discuss any of this.