Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Luck of the draw: First Council meeting tonight @ 7:00

Streaming Live

As luck of the draw would have it, the first council meeting comes a day after New Year's Day. A closed session should start and end before the meeting time at 7:00.

On the agenda is resolution no. 2 regarding temporary appropriations re: a temporary budget.  This is guided by a State formula but has been a contentious issue when the minority held control in 2011.  As it is a normal part of passage in most municipalities by rote, in Hoboken when leverage is available in recent years, it's used as a nuclear weapon.

What do you think happens with a council of eight split 4-4?

Also on the agenda is an ordinance with a restriction on smoking in some areas of the City's parks which may prove to see views on both side expressing vastly different perspectives.

A number of legal contracts for this year are on the agenda and although the average amounts are smaller than what has been historically seen, it doesn't mean that a divided even number of eight people may see the value of each (or all) of the contracts differently re: enter the political football.

Last, Hoboken is officially in an election year.  If you don't know what that means, you'll likely find out starting tonight.  With Jim Doyle's council appointment in the courts, Hoboken progress stands in a somewhat precarious position.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla - on Hoboken's challenges and the New Year

From the desk of Councilman Ravi Bhalla:

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Dear Friends,

            I wanted to take a moment to wish you and your family happy holidays and a happy new year, and express my sincere appreciation for your support in 2012.

            The year 2012 was a memorable year in Hoboken. On a personal note, five days into the year, on January 5, 2012, I celebrated the birth of my son, Shabegh Singh, at Hoboken University Medical Center.  This week we will celebrate his 1st birthday!

            Perhaps the single event that stands out in my mind this past year (other than the birth of my son) was the challenge our community faced enduring Hurricane Sandy. There is no single storm or weather event Hoboken had to confront that was similar to Sandy. I saw how courageous our Mayor, Dawn Zimmer, was in action on a day-to-day basis, fighting for our residents literally around the clock, and doing everything in her power to help those in need. Her grit and determination set the bar for all of us during those trying weeks. Fortunately, Mayor Zimmer's efforts were joined by equal time and effort from city officials and municipal employees, the Police Department, Fire Department, OEM, the CERT Team, and hundreds of volunteers. Hoboken truly came together in its greatest time of need. We helped our neighbors and will continue to do so in the coming months. Now there is a lot of rebuilding to do, and I would request that you consider contributing to our efforts to help Hoboken residents and businesses in need by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund at Thank you.

            In 2012, we made much progress in Hoboken at the municipal level. The municipal property tax level remained stable, with a slight decrease in the municipal portion of your tax levy. We are continuing the process of a property revaluation to bring greater tax equity among residents, and I expect this process to be completed in 2014. This year truly was the Year of the Parks in Hoboken, as new parks went online, Mama Johnson's field underwent a restoration, further progress was made on Hoboken Cove and 1600 Park, the process of bringing a park to the Southwest began, and renovations began to Church Square Park.

            Hoboken voters also made their voices heard at the ballot box, continuing the progress in our district's schools by electing the Kids First team. I look forward to continued improvements in our school under the leadership of the School Board and Superintendent Mark Toback. Additionally, Hoboken voters overwhelmingly enacted a reform to consolidate Hoboken local elections to a single day in November, on the same date as state and federal elections.

            In 2013, I look forward to continuing the progress under Mayor Zimmer's leadership and playing an active role in serving our community. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have any suggestions or feedback, you can always reach me at or on my cell phone, 201-647-6090.

            Best wishes for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2013!

Ravi S. Bhalla