Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Redevelopment Meeting @ 7:00 - We are Live!

For those of faint heart in the heat, there's still a way to catch the redevelopment meeting tonight at the Multi-Service Center 124 Grand St.  MSV is expecting it will be broadcast live and is carrying the feed.  It will also be rebroadcast on TV but for the hard core Hoboken policy wonk and/or political junkie who just has to have their fix live.  This one will probably not be for the faint of heart unless you are a stone cold policy wonk.

Meeting has ended.  Here's the link to watch it online:

Part 1:

Part 2:

USA Football awards equipment to Hoboken for 800 kids

City of Hoboken announces:


Mayor Dawn Zimmer is proud to announce that the City of Hoboken was awarded a grant through USA Football for acquiring sports equipment for the Hoboken Police Athletic League.

USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, has awarded football equipment grants to approximately 800 youth and high school football programs throughout the United States this year based on merit and need. The equipment grant program, directed by USA Football and NFL teams, has awarded more than $3 million in football equipment through the NFL Youth Football Fund since 2006. All equipment grants are fulfilled by Riddell, the official helmet and protective equipment partner of USA Football.

Hoboken’s Director of Human Services, Leo Pellegrini submitted the Hoboken P.A.L.'s successful application to USA Football this spring. In addition, through the support of the New York Giants and USA Football, Hoboken P.A.L. has received 100 tickets to the Giants' September 2 preseason game against the New England Patriots as part of USA Football Month across the NFL to salute youth football.

"Even with multiple fundraisers and strict budget adherence, many well-run youth football programs like Hoboken P.A.L. need help to properly equip their teams," USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. "We are proud to assist the kids and families of Hoboken with the NFL Youth Football Fund's support and wish them a great time at the Giants-Patriots game on September 2."

Director of P.A.L. Bobby Gohde is coordinating the Giants-Patriot game trip with youth football players. 

USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, each of its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association.

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Tax Relief comes for taxpayers but limits set by State control

Tomorrow night's City Council meeting will feature the introduction of the budget from the Zimmer Administration and with it much needed tax relief.  The relief will come in the form of a 5% reduction amounting to approximately $2 million of the almost $12 million in the City's current surplus plus another million in other reductions.

According to Councilman Mike Lenz, fourth ward Councilman and candidate for this November's special election in the same ward, Hoboken can't legally extend tax relief beyond this amount coming off fiscal monitor control. Although not physically present any longer in Hoboken, the State's sign off releasing Hoboken is not expected to become official until September.  "The mayor, finance committee and the council are committed to giving taxpayers a five percent tax cut.  To cut any more in this six-month transition period would require state approval, and until we've had our fiscal house in order for some time, it's very unlikely we could get such approval," he said yesterday.

Councilman Lenz indicated there are additional state regulations preventing larger tax cuts when cities incur savings moving from a fiscal to a calendar year as Hoboken did with in a recent action by the City Council.  Combined together, Hoboken can't in the short term deliver additional tax relief.

Councilwoman Beth Mason has issued several email communications to residents first insisting the $20 million "surplus" be given back to Hoboken taxpayers, then retreating a bit from that position before again issuing yet another email claiming a full $20 million surplus and suggesting people go to tomorrow's meeting and "Tell City Hall to give your money back and cut your taxes immediately."  

Most observers agree there's been another $6 million added to the budget surplus this year but $8 million is restricted leaving the real surplus at $12 million.  The surplus has become a matter of strong contentious political disagreement not just its actual amount, but its revelation with announced citywide layoffs expected to become official September 24th.

The Hoboken PBA and its members have pointed to the "$20 million surplus" as a reason not to overhaul the police department.  Councilman Lenz did not view the two issues as linked stating reserves in the city were a necessity, "The introduced budget does use some of the surplus of the surplus to reduce taxes, but it maintain $10 million as working capital and as a cushion against financial shocks.  This is toward the high end of the accepted 5-10% range for well run municipalities and will speed us toward a better bond rating.  Given our history and exposure this is just what we should be doing," he said.  

Hoboken's current bond rating is said to be just above junk status meaning the cost to the city for borrowing money when needed comes at significant high cost. 

Looking ahead, Councilman Lenz acknowledged expectation from Hoboken taxpayers saying, "The Zimmer Administration is getting Hoboken's finances under control, and making the tough choices to reduce spending.  Taxes will go down 5% in this budget, and more in the next if we stay the course.  Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her council allies - all of which I am proudly one - are committed to doing just that."

Critics of the Zimmer Administration led by die hard backers of Councilwoman Beth Mason's failed mayoral run last year have complained there was no real intent to cut spending or reduce taxes.  Most independent analysts acknowledge there can be no significant tax relief without reductions in city personnel.  City manpower costs are upwards of 70% of the city's annual budget with public safety alone coming in over 50%.  

Councilman Lenz acknowledged the current built in cost to the city and necessity for more tax relief concluding, "the only way we can do so as a city is to control spending."

Tomorrow's City Council meeting can be expected to exhibit sharp disagreements on all the steps proposed by the Zimmer Administration on the matters of taxes, the budget and municipal layoffs.  Onlookers will be curious as to the possible linkage between them as political consultant Paul Swibinski is now employed by Councilwoman Beth Mason and the Hoboken PBA.  Word of a show of force from the Hoboken Police is expected.

Talking Ed Note: If you want a good seat for tomorrow's City Council meeing get there early.  Unlike the previous City Council meeting, if you are tossed for bad behavior you won't be able to go sit in the corner.  There will be police available to show you the door.

MSV plans to attend and provide onsite observations and pictures for the Hoboken Journal.  You can watch the meeting online and join in the discussion there:


Reminder: Redevelopment 101 tonight at the Multi-Service Center

City of Hoboken announces:


On Tuesday, August 31, the City of Hoboken will host a “Redevelopment 101” informative seminar to educate the public on the redevelopment process.

“My Administration takes public input very seriously,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “As we move forward with various redevelopment projects, an informed public will be in a position to offer the feedback we need to reflect our community’s vision for our City.”

The event, which will take place at the Multi-Service Center124 Grand Street, from 7pm to 9pm, will be taped, replayed on television, and posted on the City website.

Redevelopment attorney Joe Maraziti of Maraziti, Falcon, & Healey will speak in general terms about the redevelopment process from start to finish, while Jong Sook Nee of McManimon & Scotland will explain the financing tools that are available through redevelopment. The presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.

The City is in the process of creating the redevelopment plan for the Western Edge and will soon be announcing a public meeting to discuss a draft of the plan. Additionally, the City is currently conducting a study to determine whether redevelopment would be appropriate for Southwest Hoboken.

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Assemblymen Ramos and Albano present plan to counter outsourcing


            (TRENTON) – In light of the country’s continued economic woes, Assemblymen Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. and Nelson Albano are pushing legislation to protect jobs at home and discourage the “outsourcing” of American jobs to other countries. 

The bill – A998 – would prohibit business entities from being eligible to perform any state contract or receive any state grant if the business eliminates jobs performed by its employees in the United States and assigns those functions to workers in a foreign nation. 

“Now more than ever we need to be conscious of the businesses New Jersey invests in,” said Ramos (D-Hudson).  “We should be using every resource at our disposal to help retain and attract jobs to our country, and our state in particular.”

The bill also prohibits state funds or funds under the custody or control of the state from being invested in the securities of such a business entity.

“With unemployment rates remaining at an all-time high, we should be using taxpayer dollars to benefit our taxpayers,” said Albano (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland).  “Companies should not be allowed to profit from state contracts while shipping all the jobs overseas when people in New Jersey are dying for work.” 
        Prior to receiving any state contract or grant, a business entity will be required to certify in writing to the state agency awarding the contract or grant that it is not prohibited by the bill’s provisions  from performing such contract or receiving such grant.  A business entity that is awarded any state contract or grant must agree that during the duration of the contract or grant it will not engage in conduct that would make it ineligible to receive a contract or grant under the bill. 

The Division of Investment in the Department of the Treasury is also directed not to invest any state funds in the securities of any business until the division determines that such investment is not prohibited by the bill’s provisions.

The measure is currently awaiting a hearing before the Assembly State Government Committee.