City budget in peril out of the gate as MORTe flexes power
Wielding the power of their legal appeal preventing Jim Doyle from taking his court won appointment, MORTe flexed its obstructive powers and showed the introduced budget is in trouble out of the gate while shooting down varied funding measures for good measure: from alternate public defenders for the poor, repairing Pier C, capital equipment to million dollar street improvements/repair.
The Pier A bond for $2.5 million bond for major structural repairs was to be paid by the South Waterfront O&M board was killed on introduction. * MORTe killed $3 million for street repairs.
Pier C also was to be repaired from this Waterfront fund at no cost to Hoboken. The engineer to be hired to plan and scope out the work to make the repairs was also voted down by MORTe - beth Mason, tim Occhipinti, michael Russo and Terry castellano.
Last year, every member of MORTe voted against the budget viciously arguing to defund the City surplus.
On introduction, the budget even with the hit by Hurricane Sandy has no tax increase, the third year in the row under the Zimmer Administration. Some highlights:
- totals under $105 million
- a four percent reduction to prior year
- public safety represents 70% of City salaries
- a two percent tax reduction for most taxpayers
- 6.6% annual cost to finance debt
Finance Director Solomon Steplight addressed the bonding capacity of the City saying Hoboken was $244 million under its capacity of $344 million. MORTe has argued against bonding repeatedly saying the City needs to stop using "the credit card," a refrain which may return even in light of the Finance Director's established fact.
After the budget presentation, Steplight was commended for a fine job by Councilman Peter Cunningham. He was followed by Councilman Michael Russo who made a telling comment describing the budget as "disturbing" in more ways than one.
Russo who has often stated on a variety of issues "concern" opposing all things in a Zimmer Administration signaled the budget will be obstructed even with seeing only the short strokes at introduction.
Jim Doyle, the legally appointed councilman-in-waiting can't be sworn in until another appeal by the Mason family on behalf of MORTe is heard in the NJ Appellate Court. The earlier decision in Hudson County Superior Court by Judge Bariso directed MORTe to attend and vote in one council meeting. He called their manufactured lawsuit "gamesmanship" and said no individual council member should be able to obstruct city business in the manner they did.
Short of Doyle's arrival, the budget appears to be headed to defeat in a 4-4 vote as his swing vote is tied up by MORTe appealing their defeat in Hudson County Superior Court. The NJ Appellate Court may hear and decide the appeal next month.
Talking Ed Note: The MORTe orgy of obstruction has no reason to end with the budget's introduction and the numerous measures killed out of the gate with no discussion on first reading last night. Michael Russo said the Administration needs to 'kiss the ring' of MORTe's manufactured lawsuit power and call him "if they want the votes."
Mayor Zimmer is practical and had a history of looking to use consensus when she began as Acting Mayor in the City Council back in 2009 but those days are long over. Somehow Da Horsey doesn't see her going to Michael Russo, say at his defunct Russo Association bowing down and kissing the Hoboken Sopranos godfather ring.
Or anyone else in the Russo grifting family for that matter.
MORTe's war on Mayor Zimmer and Hoboken people will continue. Michael Russo lives for this.
Lepercons end: In new business Councilman Ravi Bhalla commended all law enforcement and the administration for their efforts on Leprecon last Saturday. Freeholder Anthony Romano confirmed Hudson County provided 20 officers for the event at no cost to the City.
* Correction: The vote on Pier A repairs passed on first reading and will be discussed at the next meeting. The vote for repairs on Pier C was killed on introduction along with the sidewalks and street repair funding of $3 million.
Someone tell people in the fourth ward what Timmy "potholes" Occhipinti just did.