The Bayonne City Council unanimously approved Mayor Jimmy Davis’ executive order implementing a one-year hiring freeze, though two staunch Davis critics are against the exceptions made for the city’s Municipal Utilities Alliance.
According to the executive order, an exception will be made for no more than five MUA employees when the autonomous agency is absorbed the city.
Peter Cresci pointed fingers at the city council for the water rate increase by first bringing up the transfer of $11 million from the MUA to the city.
“You readily took the money and allowed them to raise the rates to 18 percent,” he said.
According to Bayonne City Council President Sharon Nadrowski, “the money couldn’t be used for rate stabilization” and the “rates were already contracted to a raise.”
Bayonne Corporation Counsel John “Jay” Coffey also chimed in stating that “the money was for tax stabilization and not rate stabilization,” based on the contract.
Cresci fired back stating the money could have been used to help stabilize the rates and the mayor is really the one to blame because he “appointed Tim Boyle.”
“That has nothing to do with the rates,” interrupted Nadrowski.
Cresci further challenged Nadrowski, stating that Davis appointed all the commissioners and they voted on the rates.
Bayonne Chief Financial Officer Terrence Malloy explained that the excess money from the concession fee after retiring debt is required to be used for municipal tax relief.
“In terms of the transaction with the concession fee, there was an excess of $150 million that is a relatively small sum of money and that was completed because the KKR wanted some debt left because there is an efficiency agreement between the MUA and the City of Bayonne.”
Due to the ongoing talks of abolishing the MUA, the current debt of a quarter of a million dollars would carry over to the city.
There will also be an annual payment of $500,000 made to the MUA to cover operative expenses as part of the agreement with KKR.
Cresci then listed what he feels are incomplete, aging jobs by the BMUA such as the “Avenue J generator down since Hurricane Sandy” and “regulator chambers to be serviced twice a year.”
“You’re acquiring up to five people that don’t do their jobs,” he said. “A million dollars between the pension, the salaries, the bonding and expenses.”
Fellow resident Peter Franco also blamed Boyle for the water rate hikes
“He gave himself a raise and then gave us a 16 percent water rate increase.”
Although Coffey argued that Boyle couldn’t just give himself a raise since the board has to vote on it, Franco claimed that four out of the five members of the board is related to him.
“You’re right, he didn’t give himself the raise, his family did,” Franco said to applause from the crowd.
Further discussion on the dissolution of the BMUA and a bond ordinance of $234,920 will be discussed at the city council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 22nd.