Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis emphasized several times that “this is our city” and also stated that he plans on sticking around for a second term during a re-election fundraiser last night.
“Again, it’s about the pride in Bayonne. It was the biggest thing I wanted to bring to the city when I came into office: we all talked about it when we were running for years ago. This city is too good, too proud, not to have the pride that we’ve always had,” Davis said after a brief chant of “four more years” filled the Masonic Lodge.
“We’re bringing it back: slowly, but surely, this city is coming back. People want to invest their money into our city again. Over the last three years, over a billion dollars has been invested in the City of Bayonne: that’s no joke!”
After addressing the room of at around 125 supporters, Davis spoke to Hudson County View about the rapidly approaching May 8th mayoral contest.
Davis scoffed at the ex-Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell’s notion that his administration has been giving the city away to rich developers, noting that payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements are essential to keep Bayonne competitive with other cities.
“This is about developing in our city and using PILOTs is a tool that we have to use, otherwise it would be a disadvantage for the City of Bayonne and a disadvantage to our taxpayers not to do that,” Davis explained.
“This city’s in competition with other cities. Without using PILOTs, we’re not gonna be able to get this development going. And the proof in the pudding is nothing happened in this city for the past 15 years. And now, if you drive around this city now, you see developments going up.”
Earlier this week, O’Donnell also went after the Davis administration for a “completely disingenuous” project labor agreement that the council approved the first reading of at Wednesday’s meeting, but the mayor maintains that he is simply sticking to his promise to create a redevelopment plan.
When asked about the possibility of former Mayor Mark Smith, who Davis defeated in June 2014, entering the fray, the incumbent seemed indifferent, yet still open to the challenge.
“You know what, that’s up to Mark. We’ve been friends since we’re eight years old, we’re still friends, but if he wants to try and run again, that’s fine with me. Like I said, it’s an election, everyone has a right to run.”
Davis hosted the event on the same day that a former City Hall employee filed a lawsuit alleging he abused his office in the midst of a sexting scandal.
Davis dismissed the allegations in the suit, stating “this is just somebody whose looking to make money off the taxpayers.”