LETTER: Fund for a Better Waterfront tells Hoboken voters to approve ballot questions

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In a letter to the editor, the Fund for a Better Waterfront is urging Hoboken voters to approve the two questions on the ballot November 5th.

Fund for a Better Waterfront Executive Director Ron Hine.

Dear Editor,

On election day, cast your vote YES on Questions 1 & 2. This will ensure that Hoboken can create a lasting legacy of public open space before the town’s rapid development erases that opportunity.

Voting YES for open space is especially important for our waterfront, where there is a chance to fully connect a public waterfront park – a project 30 years in the making.

In November 2007, Hoboken voters overwhelmingly approved the Open Space Trust Fund (OSTF) by a 10 to 1 margin. For the past 12 years, the City has successfully used this fund to help acquire and build 11 acres of new public parkland on the west side of town.

Currently, the OSTF ordinance allots 2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, generating more than $2 million annually to the fund.

For an individual homeowner with a property assessed at $500,000, the 2 cent rate means that $100 of their taxes annually goes to the OSTF.

If ballot Question #2 is approved, the rate would increase to 3 cents per $100 assessed value (or $150 annually for a property valued at $500,000).

This is not a tax increase but instead a change in how taxes are allocated, dedicating about 2 percent of Hoboken’s municipal budget to the OSTF.

As long as the City holds the line on total spending and keeps other revenue sources constant, there would be no increase in municipal taxes.

The current OSTF ordinance requires that 75 percent of the funds be dedicated to park acquisition. Ballot Question #1 would amend this, allowing the 75 percent to be used for park construction as well as acquisition.

Question #1 would allow the other 25 percent of the funds to be dedicated for historic preservation purposes.

By dedicating more dollars toward public open space development, the City of Hoboken will be able to leverage more park funding through County, State and Federal sources as it has done in the past.

Hoboken continues to suffer from a deficit of open space. The current ratio of 1 acre per 1,000 residents is well below New York City’s standard of 2.5 acres and the national standard of 6.25 to 10.5 acres per 1,000 residents. By voting YES on Questions 1 & 2, part of this deficit will be reduced.

For nearly 30 years, the people of Hoboken and FBW have sought to fulfill a vision for a continuous, public waterfront park along the Hudson River in Hoboken. The potential is now close at hand to complete several of the last missing links including Union Dry Dock and the Monarch pier. This is a rare opportunity that cannot be squandered. A park at Union Dry Dock would add over three acres of land as public open space connecting Castle Point Park to Maxwell Place Park.

Vote YES for a lasting legacy of open space that will make all of Hoboken proud.

Fund for a Better Waterfront

betterwaterfront.org

14 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with the sentiment behind this letter – the passage of the open space trust fund in November 2007 was essential to the open space progress that we’ve made. The proposed changes are needed to complete the job.

    The letter however, is wrong about the trust fund passing easily by 10-1 in 2007. It passed 60/40 in a hard fought election with well funded highly vocal opposition. No one knew how it would play out until the votes were counted. In fact, if Dawn Zimmer and Chris Campos hadn’t been engaged in a council do-over election that had voters all over the City paying attention, the measure probably would have lost. 1/2 of the margin of victory came from just Zimmer’s 4th Ward, and the measure actually lost in Mike Russo’s 3rd ward.

    Those of us who were involved remember how hard the battle was, and who was on what side. Developers wanted the city to be dependent on over-development to get open space, and elected officials beholden to them carried their water.

    A 5-4 vote at the city council literally changed the course of history. That vote – to adopt language proposed by then Councilwoman Zimmer rather than Mayor Roberts’ language – turned what was meant by Mayor Roberts as a back door tax increase scam into a true acquisition fund that park activists could support. If then Councilwoman LaBruno hadn’t listened to the public and changed her position at the meeting (against Mayor Roberts’ wishes) we would have had no Open Space Fund and the 9 new acres coming to West Hoboken would never have been achieved.

    Let’s get out and vote for this, but let’s not forget how hard it has been to achieve what we have achieved, and how important it is to keep our city on the right track.

    • But you made Dawn support the PAC Man Ravi and his big construction NJ Transit -Stronger Foundations-Mack Cali team in this election. Stupid!! So her legacy is dead. You killed it. I’m voting No and No. Giving Ravi taxpayer money is an idiot’s delight but let’s not talk any more about you. Oh and tell Dawn we all said “thanks for nothing.” She gave us Ravi and that’s an infliction of enough pain for Hoboken.

      SELLOUTS!

      • Way off topic and factually wrong but the extreme WE HATE RAVI clack needs to vent.

        The constant focused personal attacks are very disturbing even for the internet.

      • This message brought to you by Misogynists for Team Vision Media – Jen, Tiff, Mike and Ruben. Team Vision Media believes that despite being a 2 term mayor and reform icon, Dawn Zimmer is given orders on what to do and think and submits to male authority in all things. According to Team Vision Media, Zimmer is lost without male guidance and makes no decisions on her own. If you love misogyny as much as we do, please vote for the Team Vision Media ticket if Jen, Tiff, Mike and Ruben. Let’s get those ladies back to the kitchen where they belong!

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