Bayonne political activist, Peter Franco, a staunch critic of the Mayor Jimmy Davis administration, went head-to-head with Business Administrator Joe DeMarco over whether or not the tactics used to shore up the 2015 budget are legitimate ones.
“Where will we get the money?” asked Franco. His first concern was that a 3 percent tax increase on the residents will not be enough to close on the $24 million deficit.
Although there is additional revenue from tax abatements, annual payments on land sale negotiations with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and an initial deposit from the settlements of the three lawsuits from the Military Ocean Terminal, it still will not be enough, Franco claimed.
Another concern was the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority bond, since the money was issued during Mayor Davis’ administration and if that would be included in the budget.
“So the seven-day transfer that you talked about last year, the $9 million dollars, that was accrued prior to this council taking office,” Bayonne Business Administrator Joe DeMarco quipped back.
According to DeMarco, the transfer came from a concession fee which was part of the deal that was constructed under Mayor Mark Smith’s administration. The sole purpose of the concession fee was to offset taxes.
“Part of was this was used last year. The budget it used for was the budget that was introduced by the prior administration,” stated DeMarco.
This year’s budget will utilize $11.2M of the BMUA to help stabilize taxes, which was approved by Trenton after the city council sent a letter to Trenton.
“The $1.2 million that remains in the BMUA concessions, it’s designated as water stabilization rates so people don’t have protection when rates go up,” Franco told Hudson County View.
The city council sent a letter to Trenton to allow the city to use $11.2 million from the BMUA for sustainable tax reliefs.