Friday, April 27, 2012

Council President Bhalla: Star Ledger notes Hoboken a stand out on tax cuts across entire state of New Jersey

From the desk of Hoboken Council President Ravi Bhalla:



                                          
Dear Friends,

I hope 2012 has been treating you and your family very well. I write to share some exciting news regarding our City's financial condition and recent progress in delivering more parks and open space in Hoboken.

2012 Budget Passed

For the fourth consecutive time, under the steady leadership of our Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken taxpayers have benefited from a tax decrease in the municipal portion of our tax bill. In this rough economic climate, this accomplishment is virtually unprecedented in the State of New Jersey. And we did it without having to lay off a single police or fire officer. The New Jersey Star Ledger has recognized Hoboken as standing out among all other towns in Hudson County in achieving a double digit decrease in municipal taxes from prior years.

We were able to achieve substantial tax relief despite the best efforts of some members of the City Council to obstruct Hoboken's progress towards fiscal honesty and responsibility. Over the last few Council meetings, some of my colleagues have been kicking and screaming in protest. But what constructive ideas have they put on the table? None. All I have heard from them is that we need to hire more police officers and other vague platitudes. But I ask you: how will increasing the size of our police department reduce the size of the budget and offer tax relief? It will only obstruct, not advance, this objective with no guarantees of enhanced public safety. The hypocrisy of those who want smaller government but a larger police and fire department is nothing less than astounding.

So how has Mayor Zimmer achieved this success? I quote my esteemed colleague, Vice President Peter Cunningham, who recently stated, "We are proud of the way we did it. Honestly. Sustainably. No tricks or gimmicks. We cut taxes while preserving needed services and reserving 3.6% of the budget for unexpected costs."

My friends, this is honest and effective government at work, and we should all commend Mayor Zimmer for the stellar results she has produced so far. I also wish to commend her entire financial and legal team, Vice President Cunningham, and my council colleagues David Mello, Carol Marsh and Jennifer Giattino for working together to move Hoboken forward.

Parks & Open Space

Mayor Zimmer has called 2012 "The Year of Parks" in Hoboken, and we are making substantial progress in delivering more open space and park space for both children and adults. The Sinatra Soccer Field construction has begun and is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2012. The City of Hoboken recently filed a lawsuit to stop the Monarch project, an offensive development initiative to build 12 story residential towers on a crumbling pier in the northeast part of Hoboken. Just last week two new parks, Legion Park and a pocket park on Jefferson Street were renovated and opened to the public. The Jackson Street Park was also recently re-opened for use. Finally, we are also moving forward on developing 1600 Park and the Hoboken Cove in the northern end of town. There is much more that is being done, but I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to preserve and develop more open space in Hoboken for the use and enjoyment of all of our residents.

Personal Notes

You probably have not heard from me for several months because of some significant personal changes in my life. My wife and I recently moved from the Shipyard community, where I enjoyed living for about 12 years, to a home on Garden Street near the Brandt School. Most significantly, earlier this year we had our second child, a beautiful baby boy named Shabegh Singh Bhalla. It is truly a joy to have a new little addition to our family.

As always, if you have any concerns, questions, or require assistance, I am only a phone call or email away. You can reach me at 201-647-6090 or rbhalla@hobokennj.org I hope to hear from you soon!

All the best,

Ravi S. Bhalla
City Council President
City of Hoboken