Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Councilman Ravi Bhalla: Washington St. reconstruction, BASF land acquisition and budget initiative savings

From the desk of Councilman Ravi Bhalla:



Dear Friends,

I hope you’re enjoying your holiday season with family and friends.  I am reaching out to provide you with some exciting new updates happening here in Hoboken.

Washington Street Upgrade Set to Begin
Major upgrades are coming to Washington Street, with a substantial repaving and redesign project set to begin in just a few weeks in January 2017. The much-needed improvements include road resurfacing, new traffic signals with pedestrian countdowns, ADA accessible curb ramps, and refurbishments of lighting fixtures, among other upgrades. I’m proud to be a part of moving this project forward that will give our historic main street the look it deserves! While this project was delayed due to frivolous litigation filed by a contractor, that matter has been resolved in the City’s favor, so we can now begin. The City has set up an innovative website to track the progress of this project – sign up for updates or check out the details of the upgrade at www.washingtonstreetproject.com.

Largest Park in Hoboken Will Help Flood Resiliency and Add Parking
Last week, Mayor Zimmer signed a contract to acquire 6 acres for open space, parking, and flood prevention – effectively attacking three of the major issues facing our City through this historic announcement. This park will be located near 12th and 13th streets between Adams and Madison. There will also be a new parking garage at 13th and Adams.
This new park is one part (albeit, a major one) in a multi-faceted approach our City has taken to make Hoboken a better place for all residents. This initiative, along with the new park to be constructed at 7th and Jackson, and the new park under construction in southwest Hoboken, will provide much needed open space to residents in the western areas of Hoboken and all residents.  At the same time, these initiative are  being designed to protect our neighborhoods from floods – with underground stormwater detention integrated into each of these resiliency parks, we’re taking an innovative approach to end flooding while also increasing parks and open space.  In order to meet the increased demand on parking, we are allocating a portion of the BASF land acquisition to a new, modernized parking garage, to support the economic growth we are seeing in this area of Hoboken. Stay tuned for an official announcement regarding this project in the coming days.

Budget Trimming Initiatives Passed
At the last City Council meeting, the City Council approved contracts for the police PBA and several other unions that eliminates longevity for new hires.  The proposed new contracts for our police officers are another important step in keeping Hoboken on a sound fiscal path. The 2 percent increases in the contract are fair to the police officers who do an outstanding job ensuring the safety of our residents, and are fiscally responsible.  The ending of longevity pay for any new hires follows-up on a recently adopted ordinance, which I strongly supported to do away with longevity pay for non-union employees.  These initiatives make our City government more fiscally-sound and enable us to hold the line on taxes.
In order to keep municipal taxes under control, I'm dedicated, along with my council colleagues who supported this measure, to making the difficult choices necessary to protect Hoboken’s taxpayers.

Thank you for your time and commitment to Hoboken.  If I can ever be of any assistance or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Ravi S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large
City of Hoboken