A dose of reality on Hoboken woes

A dose of reality on Hoboken woes

July 21, 2008  Jersey Journal - Editorial

Last week, Hoboken Mayor David Roberts came up with his proposals for a spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, one that faces a $10.5 million deficit.

Of course, any fiscal blueprint for Hoboken will have to be approved by the state Department of Community Affairs, which is actually running the show in the Mile Square City. The state has assumed control of the city's finances after the municipal government failed to approve the last budget. This newspaper believes the failure was a combination of inept administration and City Council political grandstanding, a fatal combination for local taxpayers.

The Roberts proposals, if anything, give residents a suggestion of what to expect in the future. For city officials, it is a cataclysmic event when the mayor calls for cutting the municipal workforce by a third, resulting in a cut of services.  About 300 employees will be reduced by 95, some 28 through retirements.

Naturally, there is a dire need for a steady stream of revenues, so Roberts is looking at a possible 7 percent increase in property taxes.

The mayor is also looking at putting a city tax on parking lots that could bring in over $1 million. Computerized parking meters in commuter districts could mean more revenues. In other words, wherever there is curb, don't be surprised if a parking meter appears.

One of the more interesting suggestions is enticing corporate sponsorship for Hoboken's festivals.

Why stop there? Offer naming rights to all the Mile Square City assets.  McDonald's Park, Frito-Lay Highway, or Axe High School are always possibilities. It is an obvious jest about a serious problem.

The point is that the state will make the ultimate decision on what should be done.  It should make the traditional hard choices first before exploring new and needed ideas.

Residents should not panic and follow the advice of the city police union brass, who suggest they should buy themselves a gun and guard dog and put bars on their windows should layoffs hit the Police Department.

Besides, it is too late for bars on the window. They have already been collectively robbed.

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