The proposed 2016 budget that would bring a 3.5 percent municipal tax increase would make it a lot tougher to call Hoboken home, according to at least one lifelong city resident.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher to live in this city. The taxes are being raised and the city looks like its in shambles,” Theresa Hunt, a lifelong Hoboken resident, told the city council at last night’s meeting.
Hunt pointed out the pot holes, conditions of the streets/sidewalks and the decrease of available parking due to the new residential buildings and bike lanes and issues that are negatively impacting residents.
“There are more and more bike lanes and less parking, it takes my family at least two hours to find parking on 12th Street. They can’t afford parking lots. It’s getting harder and harder to live here.”
Hunt also admitted that it was her first time at the council meeting, not only because of her hectic schedule, but because of the politics involved.
“Ms. Fisher, I live on 12th [Street] and Park [Avenue] that you are a representative of, and to be honest, I don’t even know who you are,” she added.
“I do think that we really need to get a bit more organized in it and assign these committees to really sort of explore what are our options,” commented Councilman-at-Large David Mello.
Mello also explained how the city council works hard to lower the municipal tax but, “we have [the] county raising taxes every single year, the taxpayer doesn’t even realize what we are doing.”
2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher stated that “ it’s complicated and there is not a lot of sympathy for the wealthiest town in the county complaining about too high taxes, there’s not a lot of sympathy across the freeholders for that, there is sympathy in getting more out of the county budget.”
Fisher further explained that since Hoboken is paying more, they certainly should explore getting more county services.
She also said she understands that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is working closely with the county on this and she would be happy to help facilitate that.
3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo also suggested that the city council should work more closely with the school board to see “how we can work together to really reduce that number as well, cause if were doing it here, and the school board is doing it there, that’s two thirds of the pie that we are trying to reduce on a yearly basis.”
“Sometimes, tax increases are a lot easier to swallow, if in fact, services are increasing in the city.”
Hoboken Finance Director Linda Landolfi presented the 2016 proposed budget on March 16 and explained why a tax increase of 3.5 percent, compared to 2015, was in the cards.
According to Landolfi, the Municipal Purpose Tax seems to be stabilizing although county taxes are going up, also noting that the current municipal purpose tax is at $2,429, ranking the second lowest in Hudson County.
With all that said, Hunt still believes that the city council is not doing all they can to look out for the little guy (or girl) in the city.
“And you can blame the county, but even the school taxes, for a one square mile city, something needs to be done to keep people who have been living here a long time and want to stay. Something needs to be done.”