The preliminary $620 million Jersey City budget comes with an annual tax decrease of $967 per household, made possible in part due to $69 million received from the American Rescue Plan.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Since day one of this pandemic, our commitment to helping our already overburdened residents has been the driving force behind our efforts to overcome the historic financial deficits and provide relief to taxpayers,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“This budget also commits more resources to expand recreational programs for our youth, affordable housing, mental health and public health services, infrastructure improvements, among other critical services our residents rely on.”
According to the mayor’s office, the tax reduction, a 20 percent municipal decrease, will offset costs such as the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority solid waste services, an average increase of $25 a month per household, that was implemented this year.
The 2021 budget includes $69 million in federal aid through the American Rescue Plan, which will fund continued testing and vaccine operations, relieve lost revenues, and other public health initiatives.
The federal funding will allow the city to recoup costs incurred throughout the pandemic and provide revenue relief from some of the more severely impacted lost revenues, including lost hotel taxes, suspended parking fees and taxes, and slowdown in construction permitting.
Other highlights include nearly $5 million has been budgeted to fully fund the Department of Recreation and Youth Development and ensure all recreational programs are fully reinstated, with all safety protocols in place.
Additionally, a new Jersey City Police Department De-escalation Training Facility will be funded, as well as a $7.5 million increase for the Department of Health and Human Services.
This will be allocated towards demand for public and mental health services outside of vaccinations and testing, as well as meeting a 300 percent increase in demand for Meals on Wheels services.
This funding will help to meet the community’s needs through HHS with significantly expanded resources that Jersey City residents are relying on more than ever before.
The municipal spending plan also includes $4.9 million towards capital improvement projects to strengthen Jersey City’s infrastructure.
These projects include:
• Pathside Building Renovations
• De-escalation Training Facility
• St. Lucy’s Homeless drop-in center
• Skyway Park
• New Police District Buildings
• Washington Ave Creative Center
• Citywide Engineering projects such as traffic signals, speed humps, bike lanes, etc.
“For other municipalities, a budget that expands city resources, addresses devastating budget gaps, and still reduces taxes for residents by double-digits is unheard of. For Jersey City, it’s the latest example of how the Mayor and administration remain at the forefront of the issues that affect our community the most,” added Council President Joyce Watterman.
The full 113-page preliminary budget can be viewed here.
The Jersey City Council will meet for their caucus meeting via Microsoft Teams on Monday at 4 p.m.