Monday, May 24, 2010

Press Release from the Mayor's Office: Hoboken Takes control of its Finances

Here is a note for note release from the Zimmer Administration a week after the fiscal monitor has left the building. The Zimmer Administration is finally on their own now. Unlike another website in town that seems hell bent on brining this administration down at every chance (to bolster their self anointed  "Queen of Transparency" and possibly get the big ad revenue payday),  I  have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and see what they can do in the next 3 plus years. The road so far has been a rocky one and the booby traps were just about everywhere and now is time for the Administration to deliver.

I leave it up to the reader to decide how much is spin or just new fangled communication from the Mayor.....


Having completed its first full week of self-rule free of fiscal monitoring oversight, Mayor Dawn Zimmer highlighted some of the steps taken by her Administration to correct mistakes of the past and position Hoboken for a more responsible and fiscally secure future.

"Hoboken's days of kicking the can down the road and leaving the check for our kids to pick up are over," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "My Administration will always put the City's interests ahead of the short-sighted political expediency that brought us to this point."

After conducting an actuarial review, the City of Hoboken last week paid the State of New Jersey $4.2 million for an illegal early retirement incentive plan implemented by the Roberts Administration. The City is pursuing alternatives to recouping funds.

"We are quite literally paying for the mistakes of the past," noted Zimmer. "With proper research, we would have known that this was illegal. We didn't create this mess, but we will clean it up and leave Hoboken a better place for the next generation."

The relocation of the Municipal Garage, which was sold five years ago, is a major challenge inherited by the Zimmer Administration.

"They sold the garage, spent the money to plug budget holes, and never planned for where to relocate," said Zimmer. "That kind of recklessness threatens Hoboken's future and will not be tolerated in my Administration. I’m not simply determined to solve this problem; I’m committed to making sure we don’t find ourselves in this kind of situation in the future. That's why it's been a priority of mine to hire the most qualified individuals who base decisions solely on their professional judgment and on what is best for the City."

On May 12th, Mayor Zimmer traveled to Trenton and appeared before the Local Finance Board to argue for the City's release from state oversight. The board voted unanimously to eliminate fiscal monitoring oversight, four months ahead of schedule. Hoboken's first day free of oversight from State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi was Monday, May 17th.

My comment: Paying off the Roberts Pension debacle at a one-time clip of $4.2 million is a good thing. However, in the short term, it won't give tax relief in this or the next fiscal year. Now that the fiscal monitor is gone and the Mayor can make autonomous decisions so we will see if additional tax relief can be met over the next few years. I for one never for a moment believed that a 25% tax reduction would happen in the first year and actually that was a campaign promise from Zimmer in the second election election that she lost to Peter Cammarano. Still, much remains on the Mayor's plate with Pier C, a new budget, the garage,  right sizing of government ( the police audit still needs to be acted on), SW Park, and many other such things. ◦