Saturday, April 21, 2012

Back to the tape: how MORTe cost Hoboken $4.5 million

For those who didn't see the original discussion on the midtown refi, here's a key three minute segment.  Here you see the efforts of the council majority fall short as a bond requires six votes and not one member of MORTe will fulfill their fiduciary responsibility.

If there was a law on doing so and upholding your oath of office each member of MORTe could find themselves fined a million plus dollars each and/or in jail.

What has been overlooked in much of this recent discussion is the refinance was required by the IRS when the hospital was sold.  Smarting from the community rising up to stop their sabotage and see Hoboken University Medical Center closed, MORTe was not going to let go of this opportunity to bleed Hoboken for millions.

More importantly, the refinance would have saved the City $50,000 and the bond would have been paid off AT THE EXACT SAME TIME as the original bond payment schedule.

Councilwoman Terry Castellano claimed at a prior meeting the refinancing of the midtown garage would have saddled Hoboken with many more years of additional payments.  Council VP Cunningham immediately corrected her and she fell silent.  Of course she well remembered the truth from the end of 2011.  But she gave the Big Lie a shot.

Notice the arguments or lack thereof here.  Occhipinti is not complaining about additional costs to the City of Hoboken.  He doesn't address the arguments on how lower interest rates will greatly benefit the City and its taxpayers.  He cries about service fees and calls them "patronage" as if that made any sense at all with millions of dollars at stake.  Those fees would have been a pittance in comparison.  It's overheard here as being only 30K.

Like last Wednesday, you can see the truth is hitting too close to home when MORTe refuses to allow the facts to be rationally discussed as they did to Councilman Dave Mello.

Take a look at this three minute clip from last November and see the ugly truth for yourself:

Cunningham: 'Our honest budget success hailed by NJ paper of record'

From the desk of Councilman Peter Cunningham:

Dear neighbors, friends and family,
After Wednesday night's council meeting, I had to leave early the following morning for Baltimore returning last night.  However, taking the train, I had time to pen the following.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.  
Thanks, Peter
Dawn Zimmer and I have been working to control Hoboken’s budget since before we were elected to the council.  We join a long line of citizen activists who understood that the only sustainable way to cut taxes was to reduce spending.  This week, years of effort continued to bear fruit, as we again made historic progress with Hoboken's 2012 budget.  New Jersey’s ”paper of record,” The Star Ledger recognized that achievement when it wrote: “In a 5 to 4 vote, the Hoboken City Council passed its calendar budget that drops the tax levy 17 percent from last year's [actually prior year’s] figures, putting the mile square city on top of the state for reducing taxes.”
We are proud of our record in cutting taxes. But we are just as proud of the way we did it. Honestly.  Sustainably.  No tricks or gimmicks.  We cut taxes while preserving needed services and continuing to reserve 3.6% of the budget for unexpected costs.  All achieved in the face of unrelenting obstructionism by minority council members Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Castellano.   
Minority members understand that the city’s fiscal success is their political catastrophe.  That’s why they worked so hard to kill the HUMC hospital privatization which would have cost the City dearly in reduced services, loss of jobs, and financial and economic disaster.  These four obstructionists failed in blocking the sale, but did manage to block a refinancing of Parking Utility bonds to the tune of $4 million which would have further shored up our reserves and provided additional tax relief in a responsible manner. 
We persevered through the budget process in accordance with state statutes.  We conducted open and transparent budget workshops.  We made well thought out amendments to the introduced budget.  And we passed a responsible budget which will provide for sound regeneration of surplus savings in future years, while preserving needed services and providing the most tax relief in the state.
Many thanks to Mayor Zimmer and her team, to my council colleagues, and to our many supporters.  Working together we stayed the course and got the job done.    Hoboken has a lot to be proud of.
Peter Cunningham