The Jersey City Council unanimously passed a resolution to include a non-binding referendum on the November 8 ballot for a $1.2 million annual property tax levy reserved for an open space trust fund.
The proposed annual tax levy is not to exceed two cents per $100, or 2 percent of the assessed valuation of each annual tax levy beginning on January 1, 2017.
The non-binding referendum would allow Jersey City residents to vote whether or not they agree with the open space recreation, conservation and historic property preservation trust fund.
Mayor Steven Fulop and his administration, who revealed the plan last week, have received criticism from state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16), who responded by stating that the city has “the capacity to â€˜create millions of dollars per year to buy open space,â€ but still depends on a large portion of statewide aid for school funding.”
“Mayor Fulop boasts that Jersey Cityâ€™s newest tax will generate millions of dollars for open space. How is it that Jersey City has the capacity to raise millions for open space while taxpayers across the state pay for more than 70% of the cost of Jersey Cityâ€™s schools?,” he told Hudson County View.
“The goal of every community that benefits from state aid should be to wean itself off the subsidy. Thatâ€™s only fair. Mayor Fulop exploits his own citizens and fleeces taxpayers across the state every time he advocates for bloating Jersey Cityâ€™s municipal government.”
Both Fulop and Ciattarelli are likely candidates for governor next year.
In June, Gov. Chris Christie (R) proposed a â€œFairness Formulaâ€ whichÂ would cut the statewide funding to $6,599 per pupal in every school district, putting a squeeze on Abbott School Districts such as Jersey city. The state currently offers $9.1 billion in education funding.
The governor’s new plan would increase funding for 75 percent of school districts by reducing funding in urban districts.
There are currently about 28,000 students in the Jersey City public schools and they received $18,491 per student last year.
A Jersey City spokeswoman didn’t return an email seeking comment.