In an exclusive interview with vast implications in the final days leading into the Hoboken mayoral election, Judy Tripodi, the state fiscal monitor flatly declared, "Taxes are going down."
Reluctant to speak on the record, Ms. Tripodi at first requested Mile Square View speak to the public information officer. As a request was made for the extension, she began to express some misgivings about the disinformation coming from "blogs" and requested we "tell the truth."
Indicating that the much awaited budget will in all likelihood be coming after required certifications and appropriate legal counsel review at some time in November, the fiscal monitor guaranteed this budget would be the most transparent to the public. "As soon as the (Hoboken) counsel clears it, every line item is spelled out, every salary will be available."
In addition, Ms. Tripodi emphasized she is in fact representing the vast interests of Hoboken residents and taxpayers adding, "This will be the most transparent budget cycle they (Hoboken) have ever had."
Update 7:35 - In our earlier impromptu interview, Judy Tripodi, the state fiscal monitor made a number of points. She emphasized both the budget process, the public's participatory role by statute, re: hearings and the ongoing confidential negotiations with the police and fire unions. She stated the public had a right to information and she was happy to work to provide it but that the information is not available to everyone at all times and a process was required to do the job properly.
Regarding the union negotiations, she wanted it to be understood it's confidential but progressing with both of the unions however neither the mayor, the City Council or the public could participate in the process and that included the tax group, (Hoboken Revolt) who she felt on their homepage were incorrect in asserting a request to have "input" in the confidential process. While agreeing with her point, we told her of the concern of the public getting a great deal of disinformation from a number of bad sources and we wanted to play a part in dispelling the reckless charges which prompted the call.
"My allegiance is to the taxpayers only" she responded, while praising Nick Trisante, the Finance Director and her whole team who she stated with pride were working very hard to bring this all together. Judy also remarked she was well aware of who was paying the salaries of her and her team, "We are working on behalf of the taxpayers of Hoboken" she emphasized.
A reference to potential revenue enhancement was mentioned but we don't know what is currently under consideration. The big news was clearly the tax impact and the budget arriving in November.
Talking Ed Note: In the end, Ms. Tripodi stated her strong desire to get Hoboken back on track and the efforts her team are currently working on to bring this to fruition. Without detailing the usual suspects, she was unhappy with the disinformation campaign and hoped Mile Square View would get the true basic facts out. (We'd like to thank Ms. Tripodi for trusting us to do so.)
Casual readers are aware of the scurrilous charges from the usual places: Hoboken 411, Lane Bajardi and their operatives. We pointed out the poor behavior in the Mason campaign's own video: Stophidingthebudget, with Lane Bajardi in a previous column last week.
In an earlier press release today, the Mason campaign demanded the Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer present the budget and charged that she was preparing a 15% tax hike. "At the current rate of spending Zimmer is on pace to spend more money than any previous mayor in city history," said Mason in her statement.
The complete Mason campaign statement follows. We've spoken to her campaign earlier and asked for a statement. Mile Square View will update accordingly.
|MASON DEMANDS ZIMMER PRODUCE BUDGET|
Budget Is Late & Spending Continues on Record Pace
|Click to Read Beth's Full Plan for Hoboken!|
Hoboken, NJ-- With just over a week to go until Hoboken's mayoral election, Councilwoman Beth Mason is demanding that Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer produce a summary of the 2010 budget.
"Last spring Dawn Zimmer made numerous promises regarding Hoboken's budget when she was a candidate for Mayor. Among them were promises to cut taxes 25%, to hold public budget meetings and workshops, and to pass a fully funded budget within six weeks of taking office," Mason said. "So far, though, the Acting Mayor has not released any information about the budget to the City Council or the public. When former Mayor Dave Roberts engaged in the exact same reckless actions, Dawn Zimmer was outraged."
Earlier this month, Zimmer proposed a plan to spend $55 million to fund the city's temporary budget. "At the current rate of spending Zimmer is on pace to spend more money than any previous mayor in city history," said Mason. "If spending continues at the current rate, this city faces a 15% tax hike."
The Second Ward Councilwoman says an emergency budget meeting should be held this week so the council and the voters can get a true picture of the 2010 budget woes before the election. But Zimmer is determined to hide the budget until after Election Day.
The Acting Mayor has stated on various occasions that the reason for the delay is negotiations with the city's unions. Mason disagrees.
"Union negotiations can go on for years, and if no agreement is reached then the city and the unions will go to binding arbitration," said Mason. "Is Mayor Zimmer now saying we won't have a budget for years?"
Mason said that only by enacting immediate fiscal discipline can Hoboken be spared another sizable tax hike. She has outlined a fiscal plan and platform available on the campaign's website: