Jersey City Council votes down $2.5M budget transfer to cover extra police OT


The Jersey City Council voted down a $2.5 million budget transfer to cover extra police overtime at last night’s meeting that was largely overshadowed by an extended dialogue about a Gaza ceasefire resolution.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Another report came out recently that the police overshot their overtime by two-and-a-half million dollars and there’s reshuffling of the money in the public safety department to cover that,” said former Board of Education President Mussab Ali.

“But in the last budgetary cycle, the city increased taxes a 32 percent tax increase, that’s how it was quoted although it was a two percent property tax increase.”

He spoke during public comment on an ordinance calling for an emergency appropriation of $10 million for retirements, also asking where that money was coming from.

Business Administrator John Metro said that this move was necessary to fund employees who are grandfathered in from the $15,000 cap implemented by the state about a decade ago, as well as that the funding would be obtained through a bond.

That measure passed 6-1(1), with Ward E Councilman James Solomon voting no and Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore abstaining. Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley was absent as she is still on maternity leave.

When they voted on the $2.5 million appropriation to the Department of Public Safety, which would’ve included $1.4 million from the fire department going to the police department.

Gilmore, who pressed at Monday’s caucus to find out that the appropriations were needed to pay for police overtime going over budget, said that it is long overdue for the city to get this situation under control as he voted no.

“I really would suggest that we really get a hold of these overtime expenditures as it related to public safety because at some point, we can’t keep going to the well asking taxpayers to fund these overtime expenditures without detailed plans,” Gilmore began.

“Long story short: we gotta get it together.”

Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise, who also had questions on this measure during caucus, said she didn’t feel comfortable taking that kind of money away from the fire department.

“… It shows that their either understaffed or not being promoted as they should be, there are rigs off duty. I respect all of the Jersey City police and I thank those that are here for overtime, but it cannot come at the costs of quality of life and the fire department.”

Council President Joyce Watterman said she would be abstaining since the council had been trying to have a discussion with the public safety department about this and it hasn’t happened yet.

The resolution failed 4-3(1), with Solomon, Gilmore, and DeGise voting no. Watterman abstained and Ridley was absent. The measure required six votes to pass.

The other budget appropriations for the Departments of Infrastructure; Administration; Finance; Housing, Economic Development, and Commerce; as well as Department of Public Works and City Clerk’s Office, were all approved.

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