The Hoboken City Council okayed a preliminary $135,951,106 budget with a seven percent tax hike, as well as the first reading of amendments to a controversial rent control measure, at last night’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Business Administrator Jason Freeman provided an overview during a brief presentation of the municipal spending plan, for example noting that salaries, insurance, pension, and debt service costs are up $9,224,745 from last year.
He also said that Hoboken has the lowest municipal tax rate in the county based on 2022 figures, that the municipal tax average residential assessment compound annual growth rate up just 1.13 percent, and that this budget has about $3.5 million in non-recurring revenues.
“About 32 percent of all city appropriations fall under police and fire salary and wages, 26.2 percent of the budget is made up of group health, pension, and fringe benefits, 10.4 percent is made up of general operating expenses across the board, 13.5 percent is for salary and wages that are not public safety,” the BA explained.
He continued that 10.8 percent is for debt service, 4.5 percent is for trash collection and hauling, and 2.5 percent is reserved for uncollected taxes, as well as mentioning that out of salaries and wages for each department, public safety makes up 74 percent.
The first reading of the ordinance passed 6-3, with 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo, and 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino voting no.
The day prior, the local board of education voted to send a preliminary $74,875,799 budget with an 8.47 percent tax hike to be reviewed by the office of Hudson County Executive Superintendent Melissa Pearce, as HCV first reported.
As for the rent control proposal, an ordinance was approved last month by a close 5-4 vote that included a variety of changes such as changing the initial base rent yet to October 1st, 1985 and reducing annual rent increases from 7.5 percent to 5 percent.
Several landlords and tenants spoke out against the measure then and urged the council to consider amendments such as rent permitted to be charged under the rent control ordinance, leaving rent control calculations up to the rent control office (with tenants able to receive the calculations upon request), and that a “base rent” cannot be increased in the event that it is greater than “legal rent” – among other things.
Andrew Simoncini, speaking on behalf of the Mile Square Taxpayers Association in partnership with the Fair Share Housing Association, thanked the council for their consideration, specifically Fisher, Russo, Giattino, and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos.
“Recognizing that there will be a public hearing on this matter, we will forego extended comment here, except to again express gratitude for the council members who brought the parties together and mediated the issues at hand very successfully,” he stated.
” … But we did not hear, not even one time outside of this chamber, a single inquiry or public comment from any of the other council members rationalizing their opposition to addressing the amending that were passed earlier this year. Speaking for MSTA, we want to have that debate on the merits and not be subject to political dynamics as this decision is made.”
Cheryl Fallick, a tenant advocate and former rent leveling board member, said that they should open up
“This is something that I did sit down with Ron Simoncini on, it’s not perfect, but you guys have a longstanding situation with rent control and we did our best we worked together … I posted every single amendment to the amendments of the Hoboken Fair Housing Facebook group, it’s an open group, not private,” she explained.
” … So I have already put it in writing if you don’t want to have a discussion with me,” Fallick added, noting that she is open to conversations with anyone who is interested.
The first reading of the amended ordinance, sponsored by Ramos and Giattino, passed 5-4, with 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, Fisher, Russo, Ramos, and Giattino voting yes and everyone else voting no.
So long, DeFusco. Just another Ravi deal undoing Hoboken.
Good meeting coverage but please make sure to cover the large recreation failure and broken promise, there were 3 different failures covered at the meeting and thank you to Ruben, Tiffany, Mike Russo and Patricia Waiters the only people speaking up for the kids and for those in town still who are finding it hard to afford. The program is not letting enough kids in and not offering enough summer options other then a handful of athletics when the city knows they can do much more. They are bringing back art in the park which helped pay a political friend in summer in the past so the city knows they can do arts programs for older kids and teams via recreation yet they refuse to do it, why is that? Will we get many more arts programs this summer or will it fail? Tiffany and Jenn did a good job holding Jason feet to the fire when he tried to say there was a liability about kids using indoor facilities on snow days, they pointed out using the parks has the same liabily. One thing has become VERY clear over the years its that the city doesn’t want to do much extra recreation. Is it because so many council members pay for shore homes in summer or make money renting them out as many people are saying? If you ask, Emily and others have taken their cars out of town to bring kids to Stilton and other places is the talk, while moms in hoboken still can’t get decent swim lessons for their kids. Instead of talking about busing and driving their kids to out of town camps, Emily and the others should be pressuing the mayor and the new person for the big summer camps and programs we have been promised for 7 or more years, not be satisifed with the same things and a new webpage and registration that still shut out the poor. Stop talking about carpooling out of town to Stilton and other camps and instead, its March you can certainly put together real options for our kids this summer. What about swim lessons like EVERY other rec program in every town, and not just for some? The schools don’t have to be told to do it, and half the kids don’t go to the public schools some have special needs and such. One thing for TIFFANY, you started to bring up the failure of rec but then said parents are only complaining because it’s more “visible” now. NO. We have had the same complaints and been made same failed promises for many years and during covid ok that was a reason to hold off but last year someone was hired to “revitalize” and this was announced in winter 2022. It’s now almost spring 2023 and a person (political?) was hired for over 100K to bring all kinds of programs to us. We have heard nothing meaningful about summer and so we have city officials scrambling to post messages all over the internet about driving out of town for lessons instead of fighting for our kids and teens to go to arts programs. Tiffany, this person was hired to do a job. Let’s see her do it. We were all told she came up with things for her former jobs even during covid so let’s have it, what will we have from her in Hoboken that’s not the same 6 things like art in the park? Many of us are furious. To the press please cover this. Its embarrasing that Patricia had to come again and speak about the kids being shut out of recreation even after a year of promises and new speding. Digusting! I am not the only parent with his opinion but many have tried talking to people privately but since this is not changing anything it needs to be public. Please press ask where the new revitalized rec is and don’t accept a list of the same programs as before, or a new webpage. Our kids deserve so much better during those summer weeks. Look at what other towns have, chess, games, art, not just for kids under 4.
for your own good, learn to write in paragraphs. not one person will read this.
If the City doesn’t charge people for each activity; people sign up kids for everything and block kids who actually want to participate out. Those are the kids being shut out. By the way, did you kids sign up to get on the email list at the new upcoming 14th & Hudson weed shop. Remember, you can’t have enough stupid people without weed participation?