Hoboken council to consider initial $135M budget with 7% tax increase next week


The Hoboken City Council will consider the first reading of their initial $135 million budget with a seven percent tax increase at Wednesday’s meeting.

Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

According to the mayor’s office, the tax hike equates to an estimated $13 a month – or $156 for the year – for a property owner with an average assessed property of $526,800.

In July, the Mile Square City adopted a $131.67 million budget with a 2.56 percent tax increase, which was also far below the rate of inflation for the previous year.

“The proposed 2023 budget will allow us to continue to transform our City for the better through critical investments that provide for not just the residents of today but the residents of tomorrow,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.

“This responsible budget prioritizes major investments in infrastructure upgrades through millions annually in water main replacements, flood resiliency projects, Vision Zero safety improvements, and much more. My Administration looks forward to working with the City Council to finalize this budget in the coming weeks.”

He continued that the proposed budget will also expand the city’s surplus to affirm their continued AA+ credit rating and that that they have the lowest municipal tax on the average residential assessment in Hudson County.

The mayor also indicated the proposed budget overcomes significant fixed cost increases, including over $1 million increases in State pension costs, a nearly $2 million increase in healthcare costs, over $1 million in contract obligations, an annual inflation rate of about 6.5 percent, and high interest rates.

Additionally, Bhalla said “discretionary spending” has been brought in house rather than hiring contractors, such as in the Engineering and Law Departments.

Other specific benchmarks of this budget include acquiring Union Dry Dock, replacing aging water mains, beginning construction of the Northwest Resiliency Park, and expanding the division of housing and recreation departments – among other things.

The city also indicated that the budget would be available online once it is introduced, which 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said is unacceptable, as was the timing of the announcement – after 4 p.m. on a Friday.

“Gee, a well timed, late Friday afternoon, announced 7% tax hike without including the actual budget itself. Another example of how the public doesn’t stand a chance with the Bhalla administration that runs the city like it’s just one big taxpayer-funded campaign,” she said in her own statement.

Furthermore, nine virtual budget workshops will be held over Zoom on three separate days and the schedule is as follows:

Thursday, March 16

Administration – 6:00 p.m.

Corporation Counsel – 6:40 p.m.

City Clerk – 7:10 p.m.

Community Development – 7:40 p.m.

Monday, March 20

Public Safety – 6:00 p.m.

Health & Human Services – 7:00 p.m.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Transportation & Parking – 6:00 p.m.

Environmental Services – 6:30 p.m.

Water Utility – 7:15 p.m.

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  1. To be clear, 7%, of which 3.5% for the next 40 years, can be directly attributed to moving the DPW to buy votes for Monarch, is only Ravi’s portion.

    But we need TWO town spokespeople to spin the mayors agenda and to pay off Ken Flierante by creating a “Head of Public Safety” position that does nothing.

    You get what you vote for.

        • in PUNJABI. Why Punjabi? It is a colloquial SLUR that you Googled because of the mayor’s ethnicity. You are hateful, a racist, a suspect for terroristic threats being made on the mayor and his family that are currently under federal investigation.

          • Nope not in Punjabi either… Here in the UNITED STATES, it means Penis. It’s used quite broadly by hipsters and teens. Language evolves, but if you want to spin it to make it about Race, nice try!

          • Much of Bhalla’s support comes from out of town/state members of his religious sect. Trying to make the upcoming Ward elections about his religion and alleged victimhood only helps in his fundraising

  2. Next up will be a protracted dance around where the cuts are coming from, which will take the increase to 5-6%, or so. Some of our councilmen will then take a victory lap for working hard to “cut taxes.” This is an election year and the incumbents cannot go into November running on a 7% tax increase. None of this should be a surprise — this administration is proving to be quite reckless when it comes to spending the public’s money.

    • Budget Hawk Russo has a plan ready with the Ravi-Russo reductions as we speak. It will be a tax increase of 6.4% and Ravi will declare himself a hero. Then Ravi gets back to his profligate spending with his office leading the overpaid charge. Hey, that’s the good news.

  3. Punjabi to English: ” He’s walking ”
    Slovak to English: “King”

    Nowhere can an non South Asian like us find any results on “Google” that translates the word to a Punjabi Slur

  4. DeFusco is running for office in his new home country
    He forgot the Seniors during the water main crisis
    He conspired against Giatinno with Bhalla
    He ignores everyone near McSwiggins…

    Now he’s on a vacation again

    • Have to wonder how much of these online attacks on First Ward Councilman Michael DeFuso originates with the very well funded Mayor’s political machine to eliminate any possibility of opposition on the City Council

  5. How are people going to pay for these taxes?
    BOE is seeking a 12.25% rise in tax collection in its new budget.
    Fat chance the County portion of property taxes is going to bail us out this time around.