Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mayor Zimmer introduces budget - with tax cut after Hurricane Sandy

Office of Mayor Dawn Zimmer announces:

Mayor Zimmer Introduces Budget With Municipal Tax Rate Cut

** Includes Funding for Redesign of Washington Street and Sinatra Drive ** 

For the third year in a row, the Zimmer Administration is introducing a budget with a reduction in municipal taxes. The 2013 calendar year budget holds the municipal tax levy approximately equal to 2012, which will result in an estimated 2% reduction in the municipal tax rate due to an increase in the ratable base. The budget includes funding for the planning process for complete street redesigns of Washington Street and Sinatra Drive. 

“Without the responsible rainy day surplus that we fought so hard to maintain, the $10 million toll from Hurricane Sandy would have been devastating to the City’s finances,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Just as we need to build a more physically resilient city, years of prudent planning have made us more financially resilient. After all our residents and businesses have been through this year, I am glad that not only will we not have to raise taxes, but that we can provide a modest tax decrease while we make investments to improve our quality of life, such as the redesign of Washington Street and Sinatra Drive.” 

The proposed municipal purposes tax levy for 2013 is approximately $51 million, a nearly $7 million reduction since Mayor Zimmer took office in 2009. This represents a reduction in the municipal tax levy of approximately 12 percent. 

The municipal tax levy makes up approximately 35% of a Hoboken property tax bill. County and School taxes make up the remainder, along with Library and Open Space taxes. 

The budget will be presented at the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. If the Council votes to introduce the budget, then a series of public budget workshops will be held, and the Council can make amendments before adopting a final budget. 

Together with the budget introduction, the Administration is presenting a series of bonds for various long term capital expenses, including parks and pedestrian safety improvements: 

• Parks bond: $1.2 million to fund various parks renovation projects city-wide including Phase II of Church Square Park plus new slide equipment for toddlers, Stevens Park 
playground renovations & Legion Park upgrades. 

• Pier A Park bond: $2.5 million for structural repairs. The South Waterfront O&M board has agreed to pay for the payments for this bond. 

• Municipal equipment bond: $260,000 includes $50,000 for a high water vehicle for emergency purposes during flooding, a bucket truck for transportation repairs and maintenance, and a salt shed. 

• Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Flow Bond: $3 million towards ensuring safe crossing intersections near schools and parks and to alleviate traffic flow in Southwest Hoboken. 

• 9/11 Memorial Bond: $500,000 for a storm-resilient design.

For the third year in a row and even in the face of the enormous costs
from Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has once again cut taxes.