As Election Day nears, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis held his 2018 State of the City address at the Villa Maria last night, honing on new development throughout the Peninsula City.
By John Heinis and Katherine Guest
In particular, Davis focused on the Military Ocean Terminal, redevelopment surrounding the Hudson-Bergen light rail station, and Broadway Avenue.
“What I do know is that the state of the city has changed a lot and has changed for the better since I stood before you, four years ago,” said Davis to a large audience of city officials, council members, and Bayonne residents.
“Four years ago, when I became mayor, our city was in a state of decay,” continued Davis, noting copious amounts of empty lots and the lack of commercial or residential development along Broadway Avenue and Avenue E.
“There was nothing happening on the business development front: no commercial or residential development was taking place. Broadway was filled with empty stores. Avenue E had several closed gas stations and repair shops and businesses.”
Davis has touted development throughout his campaign, although his main Election Day rival, former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell has been critical of the administration giving out 40 tax breaks to developers.
The incumbent specifically addressed the city’s willingness to give our payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements about 10 minutes into his speech.
“I also realized that over the long haul, the City of Bayonne can realize five, six, seven, sometimes 10 times the revenue from PILOT-related development that we would be [losing out on] by allowing properties to remain undeveloped,” Davis stated, using the Resnick’s property as an example – which he’s done previously.
O’Donnell sent out a preemptive strike prior to the State of the City, again noting that Davis was against tax abatements as a candidate, also pointing out some other perceived shortcomings.
” … I am confident that Mayor Davis’ speech tonight won’t mention the fact that we will be paying the Port Authority over $2 million for them to put a ferry on our land that would cost residents at least $26 round trip to use,” he said.
“His speech won’t mention how much taxpayers are paying for City settlements or the fact that Davis and his Team forced us all to pay for lawyers to try and hide the total amount of the $1.5 million settlement from ourselves.”