Wednesday, March 15, 2017

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR ZIMMER REGARDING PIER A

Office of the Mayor announces:


STATEMENT FROM MAYOR ZIMMER REGARDING PIER A

“Tonight's City Council agenda includes a bond and a $5.3 million contract to fund the repairs needed for the substructure of Pier A that I encourage the Council to support.

Pier A was constructed by the Port Authority. Possibly due to construction issues, the steel pilings are not properly coated to the mudline, causing various levels of degradation to occur on over 1,000 steel pilings. This issue was discovered when the City conducted an evaluation of our entire waterfront after the collapse of Sinatra Park. Funding for the maintenance of Pier A and the waterfront are provided by an account established by a 1994 agreement between the Port Authority and the City. The account funds are managed by the South Waterfront Board consisting of the Port Authority, the City of Hoboken and the developers (Applied, SJP, and Mack-Cali). That account now receives $1 million annually from the developers as part of the obligation of the developers to “give back” to the community in exchange for the development rights that were provided in Hoboken. Furthermore, that account also has many millions accumulated over the years that has not been spent. The City, as a member of the board, has been trying to work with all parties for a fair agreement to fund the repairs to Pier A from that account so that everyone can continue to safely enjoy it.

Unfortunately, the Port Authority representative on the Board has failed to attend multiple meetings and failed to participate in many meetings when present.  This action has caused a stalemate so that the Board has not been able to come to a final decision on the funding of the repairs. The Port Authority’s failure to participate in the process has occurred despite my direct discussions with Port Authority Executive Director Foye. As a public agency, the Port Authority has a fiduciary responsibility to represent the public’s interests in its capacity as a member of the board. Sadly, their failure to participate has created a deadlock much to the detriment of the public that they serve.

Tonight I ask the City Council to support the resolutions and ordinance on the agenda to fund and begin the necessary repairs to Pier A so that we can make certain that the treasure of our City is fully repaired. Since residents, visitors, and the business community benefit from our waterfront park throughout the year, it is important that these repairs are completed to ensure that Pier A can be enjoyed for years to come. The City will continue to work in good faith to engage the Port Authority and the other members of the board negotiate a fair agreement to pay for the repairs to Pier A. If no agreement can be reached, the City will pursue all appropriate legal options to protect the infrastructure and financial interests of the City of Hoboken.”

Related: Council meeting tonight live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/beta-council-meeting