LETTER: Jersey City water & solid waste tax would be added taxpayer burden, council candidate says


In a letter to the editor, Jersey City Council-at-Large candidate Elvin Dominici explains why he feels a water and solid waste tax would be an added burden to taxpayers.

Jersey City Council-at-Large candidate Elvin Dominici. Screenshot via IGTV.

Dear Editor,

The lack of independent leadership on our city council is financially hurting the residents of our city. The responsibility to be a public servant has been unseen from the majority of this body for the last eight years.

This is a fact based on their track records and their priority for developers over the wellbeing of the residents of our city.

At the July 2021 Jersey City Council Meeting, council members are getting ready to approve a water and solid waste pick up tax, which adds on to the current financial stress impacting most residents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As affordability is one of the main issues affecting our Jersey City residents, the lack of independent leadership and advocacy of some of our current city council members clearly displays that they are always aligned with the will and pleasure of the current administration and totally forgot their duty to advocate for the prosperity of all our residents.

The new water and solid waste tax is a reality which will bring another nightmare for the Jersey City household’s financial budget.

The advocates of this new bill are indeed not concerned with the financial struggles our Jersey City families are facing with high numbers of unemployment, small businesses closing, and the lack of funding of our public schools.

As per the statement on the City website: “Jersey City has traditionally provided garbage collection to the residents and businesses of the City through a private vendor retained by the City pursuant to a public contract.

In August 2020, the City awarded a contract for garbage collection to Regional Industries, LLC. In January 2021 the garbage collection contract with Regional Industries, LLC was assigned to the JCMUA. Pursuant to the assignment of this contract, the JCMUA will now bill residents and businesses directly for garbage pick up, similar to the way that water and sewer services are billed.”

This change by the current administration has increased the cost of expenses for Jersey City homeowners by $10-$15 million on an annual basis.

In some cases, homeowners may pay an additional 50% in fees due to this new water and solid waste tax. Even with this increased tax, many residents are witnesses to how inefficient the waste collection has been in the last 5 years, including poor garbage pickup services as our streets and neighborhoods are filthy.

With all this in mind, our municipality still managed to renew the contract and add an additional tax to our residents.

Our residents deserve leadership who will advocate on behalf of the residents over the wants of the current administration. It is irresponsible for our residents to pay additional taxes during a life altering pandemic.

This additional tax stress on our residents will be around $300 dollars per household. I urge fellow residents to speak up at the next city council meeting against this unneeded additional tax burden.

Elvin Dominici
Jersey City Council-at-Large candidate

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  1. “This change by the current administration has increased the cost of expenses for Jersey City homeowners by $10-$15 million on an annual basis.”

    “In some cases, homeowners may pay an additional 50% in fees due to this new water and solid waste tax.”

    “This additional tax stress on our residents will be around $300 dollars per household.”

    It’s shifting the cost from the city to the MUA. So, it’s not an increase.

    It’s redistributing a burden to residents not currently paying property taxes, which only seems fair since they produce trash just like those who pay property taxes. And to be precise, these are fees not taxes – like paying tolls on the turnpike when you use it. Taxes are different. Taking this contract out of the city budget will reduce property taxes, so it’s reducing costs for Jersey City homeowners.

    $300/yr is less than $1/day which seems like kind of a bargain for hauling away garbage.

  2. I would be shocked if property taxes were actually reduced by this stunt. If it passes then the City should tell every taxpayer how much their taxes will be reduced. Most likely if it is passed the City will go silent hoping few will speak up and continue to collect the same amount of taxes and spend the money to fill in gaps in their budget.

    No matter how they try to spin it taxpayers know that it is a tax increase.

    • Except that it’s not a tax, it’s a fee.

      Taxes are levied based on the value of property and paid by property owners.

      This is a fee for solid waste disposal services (based on water consumption) that will be paid by all households using the service, not just property owners. Perhaps one could make the argument that basing the fee on water consumption is a blunt instrument (i.e., the more water a household uses = the more persons in the household = the more garbage generated), but it would impractical for solid waste firms to weigh each household’s garbage, or to count bags or cans and submit an exact bill, so it’ll have to do. The more important fact is that everyone using the service will be paying for the service, not just property owners. So, it’s no different from water fees, sewer fees, utility fees, or your cable bill, if you subscribe to a lot of premium channels – you’ll be paying for the services you use and not be subsidized by property taxes paid by a smaller number of households.

      As for collecting the “same amount of taxes” and “filling budget gaps” – that’s not how it works. Also, the real question is not how much an individual property owner’s tax bill will be reduced, but what will their net position be when they (along with everyone else) have to pay their fair share, based on usage, of solid waste disposal.

      Just to re-emphasize – a fee is not a tax.

      My advice, take shorter showers.