Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mayor and Police Unions salute new contract agreement

Mayor Dawn Zimmer held a joint press conference with the representatives of the police unions: Sgt. Ed Drishti who represents the police officers and Detective Vince Lombardi who represents the police rank and file to declare a satisfactory conclusion in the agreement reached and approved at last night's City Council meeting.

In addition, Captain Ed Garcia stood in on behalf of Police Chief Falco to highlight the measures planned for this Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade.  As part of the Hoboken Police Department's efforts, DWI checks will be conducted at unannounced locations around town.

Spread the word.

Here's a brief video of today's press conference:

Apologies to Detective Vince Lombardi as his remarks were not complete when a tape error occurred.  An interview with Mr. Lombardi had been scheduled earlier.  MSV will be printing it soon after.

Mayor's budget includes tax cut, $20 million bond for open spaces advances

Introduced budget cuts personnel costs by $4 million, reduces taxes by 10% since 2010

The City Council voted to introduce the Administration’s municipal budget which includes a 10 percent tax cut compared to the fiscal year 2010 budget. The budget includes a reduction in payroll costs of approximately $4 million as a result of Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s efforts to address personnel costs.

The tax cut was achieved despite enormous fiscal challenges including $3 million in Police salaries for prior years, nearly $3 million in rising health care and pension costs, the establishment of a legally required $3.3 million reserve for uncollected taxes, and a $3.4 million reduction in state aid.

“Despite the challenge of rising costs beyond our control, I am proud that we have delivered a significant down payment on the tax relief that our citizens deserve," said Mayor Zimmer. “At a time when almost every municipality in the State of New Jersey is raising taxes, Hoboken is able to deliver an honest and fully-funded fiscally responsible budget that delivers tax relief to its citizens.”

The City Council unanimously approved the agreement reached between the Police unions and the Administration which saves $700,000 in retroactive salary payments and will save an additional $200,000 per year going forward.

Residents who care about open space are encouraged to speak at the next Council meeting on March 16 on the $20 million bond acquisition. This ordinance, crucial for bringing new open space to Hoboken’s underserved western neighborhoods, barely passed by a 5 to 4 vote, after an attempt to table it failed. The bond would be completely paid for by the Open Space Trust Fund.

Hoboken needs more open space, and the Council needs to hear from the public to ensure that it follows through with final passage of this bond at the next Council meeting,” added Mayor Zimmer.

Mayor Zimmer is pleased with the final passage of the single stream recycling ordinance which authorizes her to proceed with her Administration’s initiative that will reduce costs and make recycling easier for residents. The City Council also unanimously approved an amendment to the rent control ordinance.

“I applaud the Council for taking this important first step, but I urge them to promptly consider the amendments that Councilman Bhalla discussed, which reflect important clarifications to ensure fairness for both tenants and landlords,” said Mayor Zimmer.

Documents and presentations regarding the 2011 budget are available on the City website at:

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3rd ward candidate Greg Lincoln kickoff tonight with special guest Mayor Zimmer

Third Ward Resident and active community member, Greg Lincoln has decided to challenge  incumbent Mike Russo for 3rd Ward Councilman in the City of Hoboken in the May 10th 2011 municipal election. Greg feels strongly that honest representation in the 3rd Ward is long overdue. It's time for a Councilman who puts residents' needs ahead of his own.   You are cordially invited to Greg’s Campaign Kick-Off and Fundraiser:  

Thursday March 3
Willie McBride’s, 616 Grand St
7-9 pm
Special Guest: Mayor Dawn Zimmer 

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to the campaign email address:

Greg Lincoln Bio

My Community
My family and I have lived in Hoboken for six years and love the vibrant, diverse, and welcoming atmosphere of our town. After renting for a couple of years, we decided to plant our roots and bought a condo in the third ward where we enjoy a great neighborhood.

During our time in Hoboken, my family and I have become more and more involved in what our town has to offer. I’ve volunteered as an assistant coach for instructional league soccer for three years. I’m involved with my oldest son’s Cub Scout troop. I have been a member of my building’s condo association board for four years. We’ve been involved with the schools and of course, our kids’ athletic teams.

In the last three years, I have become more involved politically in part because of the recent tax increase, but more so because of the poor decisions and corruption of prior elected officials. I was one of many on the steps of city hall holding a sign after Peter Cammarano was indicted, calling for his resignation. I regularly attend city council meetings, speaking when I feel it is important to do so. I also attend other community meetings when I can, and I do my best to support my neighbors, friends, and local businesses.

My Family
My wife Carma is my best friend, an awesome mom, and a dedicated professional. I am so grateful for her in so many ways; our marriage of 11+ years is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

We have two sons, Thurman and Nicholas. Thurman just turned 10 and is in the fourth grade at Elysian Charter, though he was at Wallace school for three years (K-2nd). He is an avid reader, budding scientist, enjoys sports, and loves Legos. Nicholas will be turning 6 soon, and is a precocious kindergartener. He loves to run and play like most kids his age, and has a passion for sports. 

Hoboken Budget introduced, cash surplus $5 million, police contract approved

Hoboken Patch filed a brief story noting the introduction of this fiscal year's budget with a $5 million cash surplus dedicated to reserves as recommended on the low end of a 5-10% professional recommendation by municipal financial planners.

The Police unions and saw their contract including a $3 million payment for back pay approved. The amount represents one of the larger costs to the $14.7 million surplus among others expenses highlighted.

Last year's transitional budget in the latter half of 2010 included a 5% tax cut and the mayor has proposed an additional 5% tax cut for this fiscal year's budget.  Budget workshops are scheduled for later this month.  Last year, the previous council majority worked to deliver savings of over $300,000 in two weekend workshops.

Another $4 million has been saved in salaries mostly due to retirements and layoffs.

This City Council will have a steep hill to climb to match any of those efforts.  The new council majority under Beth Mason and Mike Russo have crowed about saving money but not named any substantial reductions anywhere.  Instead, they have expended a lot of air complaining about the mayor's staff and the directors.

Most recently, Mike Russo's retort to cost savings was to note City Hall is more top heavy.  But the actual numbers prove otherwise and the mayor's office reduced it's own budget cost more than 20% earlier.

When Russo's former campaign manager Peter Cammarano became mayor, he created a new position: Chief of Staff at $125,000.  The mayor's replacement cost a fraction of that and has been targeted along with the communications manager as an issue by political opponents.

The communications manager position replaces two former public information officers.  Both of those roles were eliminated previously although one is contesting the matter as part of a civil service action.

Talking Ed Note:  The updated pay-to-play ordinance passed last night but not before the public got to weigh in on the matter finally before the midnight hour.  The first speaker from the 4th ward discussed the disappointment in the anti-wheeling measure not being included, explaining his concerns and before the words wheeling barely escaped from his lips, he was interrupted by the chair, Beth Mason.

She tried to silence any use of the word "wheeling."  Other council members interjected saying she was again attempting to regulate speech, but this time not of council members but the public.  Beth Mason attempted to make a case discussing wheeling on the pay-to-play ordinance was out of order.  The speaker noted it was easily part of the issue and others ventured afar on rent control concerns as he continued.

Beth Mason: don't say that word.  Last night she attempted to silence the public from mentioning wheeling
during the public's time discussing the pay-to-play ordinance.  The issue isn't going away.

Later long time Hoboken resident Scott Siegel was incensed by that attempt to limit the pay-to-play discussion from any mention of wheeling, calling Beth Mason a dictator adding he would not allow her to censor his comments on the pay-to-play ordinance when she attempted to censor him as well.

MSV will be offering video on this.  People need to see for themselves.