Mayor Roberts' 2009 spending plan

Mayor Roberts' 2009 spending plan

Wednesday July 16, 2008, HobokenNow by Carly

Selling the automated garage, laying off municipal workers, more parking meters -- Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts introduced his plan to patch up Hoboken's broken budget today.

Roberts said he will introduce his Spending Plan for Fiscal Year '09 at tonight's City Council meeting. He'll need the state of New Jersey's approval before passing anything.

"Anything that I'm presenting needs the state of New Jersey's approval and needs the municipal council's approval as well," said Roberts. "We're not arrogantly ignoring the fact that the state is involved. We understand that all of this will have to be ordained by the state of New Jersey but there's no harm in rolling up our sleeves and creating some new ideas."

What are some aspects of Roberts' three-part spending plan?

Column A: Budget cuts and reduction of services

- Getting rid of redundancies in government, such as using more Hudson County services; getting Hudson County to repave Hoboken streets; using Hudson County's health and recreation programs; relying on the Board of Education to provide after-school programs that the City currently provides

- Sale of automated garage at 916 Garden Street, which could bring in $10 million. Roberts said the automated garage has been "challenging for the city of Hoboken to maintain" and that the city has an interested buyer. "I strongly recommend we auction it to the highest bidder, which could save Hoboken money," said the mayor.

- Possible reduction of 1/3 of Hoboken's municipal workforce. Twenty-eight potential retirements could save Hoboken an estimated $2.3 million, 30 provisional layoffs would save the city $1.2 million and 37 potential layoffs/demotions would save $2 million.

It's very unlikely all of those layoffs/retirements would actually happen. But -- "There needs to be an honest conversation with people. There very well may be layoffs and I regretfully have to say that. The alternative is a very large tax increase and I won't say that," said the mayor.

Roberts said all municipal departments stand to be affected by the layoffs.

"Every department is on the table, including the police and fire departments which are already under a state review," said Roberts.

Column B: Revenues

- Collecting a tax on parking lots, which could bring in over $1 million

- Exploring the idea of getting corporate sponsors for Hoboken's festivals. "We need to go to national companies, like Pepsi, that could underwrite our events. That could make a million dollars," said the mayor.

- Putting in computerized parking meters (like the kind they have in New York City) in commuter districts

- O/T-Alt Side parking ticket increased, which stands to bring $850,000 into the city's coffers

Column C: Potential tax increase

"If there aren't areas of Column A that interest the municipal council in terms of budget cuts and reductions in services and if there aren't enough in Column B in terms of new revenue, then Column C is a tax increase," said the mayor.

Roberts' plan includes a 7 percent property tax increase in 2009, collected quarterly. So for those who own a home assessed at $250,000 (the average assessed value of a home in Hoboken) that would mean paying an additional $213.50 dollars a year.

The City Council has said they would like to adopt a 2009 budget by Nov. 1st.

What do you think of Roberts' spending plan?

Comments (0)

New comments are currently disabled.

Email to Friend

Fill in the form below to send this article to a friend:

Email to Friend
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
* Friend's Name:
* Friend's Email:
* Security Image:
Security Image Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image
* Message: