Friday, June 12, 2015

City Council President Bhalla: Rebuild by Design meeting; taxes, PATH and Washington Street updates

From the desk of City Council President Ravi Bhalla:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope your summer is off to a great start. I’m very excited about a few news updates and events and wanted to share them with you with the hope that you will stay informed and mark your calendars.

Rebuild By Design

On June 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., I hope you will join me at a public kickoff meeting for the Rebuild by Design Hudson River Project at the Babbio Center on the Stevens campus. I am proud to be co-chairing the Hoboken Citizens Advisory Group, which will provide feedback regarding this $230 million project to implement a comprehensive urban water strategy in the Hudson River. The money was awarded by the federal government following a Rebuild By Design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As many of you know, flooding has always been an issue in Hoboken, but I am happy to report that through this historic project, we will be able to make chronic flooding in the streets of Hoboken a thing of the past. Please see the city’s website for more information.

Tax Update

I am proud to say that the City Council and Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s administration have kept the municipal tax levy flat for the upcoming year. We have been able to keep taxes under control through hard work and by making tough decisions.

Then why have your property taxes gone up?

Unfortunately, even though the City has held the line on taxes, the County of Hudson is calling for a tax increase to Hoboken of about 12%, or $285 for every $500,000 in assessed property value.  This happens year after year and I find it outrageous and unacceptable.  The current tax formula for the county punishes Hoboken because of our rising property values. As Mayor Zimmer noted in the Hoboken Reporter, Hoboken has 7.9 percent of Hudson County’s population but bears 20.6 percent of its county tax burden. I publicly spoke out against these increases to the Hudson County Freeholder Board last week at their public hearing in Hoboken, asking them to work harder to find a way to provide some relief to taxpayers. We continue to urge the county to find ways to trim the budget, even if that means making tough decisions like we have done here in Hoboken.

PATH Service

You may have also read about cuts in PATH service.   Mayor Zimmer and I met with Port Authority Director Patrick Foye and other representatives about the potential impact of these cuts, including ways to make sure Hoboken’s needs are met. I want you to know that Hoboken does have a place at the table in these discussions, and we are urging the Port Authority to work to accommodate the growth of Hoboken and reward riders for using public transit. 

Washington Street Update and Other Events

If you’re looking for better news, check out this great website from the City of Hoboken which outlines the proposed Washington Street Revitalization Project which, yes, includes a repaving!

Hoboken is also hosting a number of free events this weekend for Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday! Check out all the events here! It’s going to be great.

Fundraiser – June 25

Finally, I hope you will join me on Thursday, June 25 at 6 p.m. for a fundraiser I’m hosting at Hudson Tavern (51-53 14th St.). Please RSVP by June 24 and contact Jessica Lanfranchi at (201) 457-9000 with any questions. It is my sincere hope that you will spend the evening with me and discuss any issues that are important to you. If you’re unable to attend but would still wish to make a donation, please click here to visit my new website.

Like my page on Facebook if you’d like to receive more updates. As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance with anything, feel free to call me at (201) 647-6090 or email me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com.

I hope to see you on June 23 at the Babbio Center and June 25 at Hudson Tavern!

Enjoy your weekend!

Sincerely,
Ravinder S. Bhalla
City Council President

Councilman Ravinder Bhalla
http://www.ravinderbhalla.com/