Hoboken Budget Debacle Update

6/25/2008 Update:

2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason responds to State Takeover of Hoboken’s Finances By the State of New Jersey:

Embarrassing

“It’s an embarrassment to the city and an indictment of the Robert’s administration that it cannot, or will not work with the city council to solve the city’s fiscal problems. With this drastic step of agreeing to a state takeover, Mayor Roberts now has succeeded in lumping Hoboken in the unfortunate group of deteriorating cities such as Paterson and Camden. This matter should have been discussed with the city council before the mayor agreed to any terms with the state. I have no more faith in the state’s ability to solve the city’s financial problems than I have in Mayor Robert’s financial acumen.”

6/24/2008:

City Hall is abuzz with rumors about what the state of New Jersey is going to do next to deal with the city’s budget mess. The Dave Roberts budget ballooned to over $102 million dollars with a deficit of $11.7 million. After 11 months of misinformation from the administration, the City Council essentially threw up its hands and called for help from the state to clean up the mess. When the state didn’t act immediately, talk of bringing in outside consultants to do efficiency studies and forensic audits kicked in to high gear. Now the state is beginning to make its move.

hoboken-city-hall-lightning-debacle-budget.jpg

Why does the state care about Hoboken?

The tax base of Hoboken and Jersey City drives Hudson County, and Hudson County drives the New Jersey state government. The Governor lives here, along with a U.S. Senator and many others who have a lot of say over what moves in the state. They don’t want Hoboken to get too far out of their control, and they have help from friends on the Local Finance Board. Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner essentially calls the shots at the LFB, which is part of the Division of Community Affairs run by former Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria. Both Doria and Turner are key power players in Hudson County politics looking to protect the gravy train, which departs from Hoboken Terminal. Turner also works for Congressman Albio Sires. These people know Dave Roberts and they know Hoboken.

What’s next?

So far the state has told Hoboken the fourth quarter tax rate will be set at the same level as the third quarter, which means we will not be getting a 50% tax increase in one bill thanks to the $11.7 million Roberts Deficit.

Instead that overspending will be spread across the next fiscal year. Some say that lets Roberts off too easy, but apparently that is not where the state is going to end it. There is talk of a state appointed monitor for city government spending, taking a lot of the power from the Mayor and Council. It’s not clear if it means a takeover of all spending or simply advice and consent for spending by the state, but that may become clear in the next few days. Rumors are also swirling that there may be some special meetings called.

The bottom line

The explosive rate of growth in the city budget from $52 million when Roberts took the Mayor’s office in 2001 to the $102 million plus it is today in finally coming home to roost. Several years of fiscal tricks and one-shot revenue deals lulled some into thinking they could do this forever, but the buck stops with fiscal 2007… or does it?

Leave a Reply

91 Comments on "Hoboken Budget Debacle Update"

Katie_Scarlett
Member

Yes I did get my email back from the state. I wrote those f*ers back, cc’d the senators and forwarded the whole shebang to the attorney general of the US as well as Corzine.

I’m a lot of things (some of them negative) but I’m no coward. You’ll see my response tomorrow as I sent it to hobo411 as readermail-forwarded so he knows it’s no bull.

This city makes me sick-and I made sure to forward my email to everyone I know so if I “fall into a pothole” there’s a list of suspects.

And b4 anyone comments on the time of this post I’m on a busoness trip NOT on est.

Colonblow
Member
Colonblow

That’s pretty lame. I’d actually write back and ask them about their view on the Mayor’s contribution to all this. Let’s just see how they spin that.

[quote comment=”92107″]Katie_Scarlett, did you get your response from the Goven’r? I did, or at least from one of the divisions that Doria works out of, busy bashing and fining the Council members while mentioning NOTHING about the fault of Mayor Quimby:

“Your e-mail to Governor Jon Corzine concerning the City of Hoboken has been referred to the State’s Division of Local Government Services.

As you may be aware, the Division has been working with City officials toward resolution of its fiscal issues. As a result of the Council’s delay in setting its FY 2008 budget, Council members have been fined for their delay, the Division set the final quarter’s tax levy, and on June 30, the Council finally adopted the budget. The Division is continuing to review other actions which may be necessary to ensure the fiscal integrity and stability of the City’s finances.

Thank you for contacting Governor Corzine.

Sincerely,

Division of Local Government Services”[/quote]

matt_72
Member
[quote comment=”90238″][quote comment=”89998″][quote comment=”89995″]Mayor Roberts is on another wave length. He was elevating the standard of living here in Hoboken. We have many wealthy new residents who are affording the high taxes. I mean, come on. A million Dollar condo and people are crying about high taxes??? The life style here has increased ten fold. Taxes only doubled? Hoboken rebuilt most of this city with grants & funding and now it is time to pay the piper. Wait until we lose state funding. Is the 112 Million dollar budget just the tax payer portion? How much does it cost to run the city without funding????? I’m not sure? Anyone have a clue?[/quote] You mean he elevated the standard of living of the city workers and politically connected contractors that do business with the city. Sure a bunch of new condos got built, but the population hasn’t at all risen anywhere near as fast as the budget has.[/quote] Chase is right…this city use to be a dump. As an outsider looking in, this city HAS improved tenfold over the last 5-8 years. The city looks great and is now filled with families and young people — all the while acomidating those who have called this town home for their entire life. Was the money mishandled a bit…maybe…but its not like you have not reaped the benifits.[/quote] I have reaped no benefits. I have no make-work job, I have no sweetheart contracting deal with the city, I use no city services other… Read more »
plaintruthiness
Member
plaintruthiness

Katie_Scarlett, did you get your response from the Goven’r? I did, or at least from one of the divisions that Doria works out of, busy bashing and fining the Council members while mentioning NOTHING about the fault of Mayor Quimby:

“Your e-mail to Governor Jon Corzine concerning the City of Hoboken has been referred to the State’s Division of Local Government Services.

As you may be aware, the Division has been working with City officials toward resolution of its fiscal issues. As a result of the Council’s delay in setting its FY 2008 budget, Council members have been fined for their delay, the Division set the final quarter’s tax levy, and on June 30, the Council finally adopted the budget. The Division is continuing to review other actions which may be necessary to ensure the fiscal integrity and stability of the City’s finances.

Thank you for contacting Governor Corzine.

Sincerely,

Division of Local Government Services”

Biffy B For Mayor
Member
Biffy B For Mayor

[quote comment=”89998″][quote comment=”89995″]Mayor Roberts is on another wave length. He was elevating the standard of living here in Hoboken. We have many wealthy new residents who are affording the high taxes.

I mean, come on. A million Dollar condo and people are crying about high taxes???

The life style here has increased ten fold. Taxes only doubled?

Hoboken rebuilt most of this city with grants & funding and now it is time to pay the piper. Wait until we lose state funding. Is the 112 Million dollar budget just the tax payer portion? How much does it cost to run the city without funding????? I’m not sure? Anyone have a clue?[/quote]

You mean he elevated the standard of living of the city workers and politically connected contractors that do business with the city.

Sure a bunch of new condos got built, but the population hasn’t at all risen anywhere near as fast as the budget has.[/quote]

Chase is right…this city use to be a dump. As an outsider looking in, this city HAS improved tenfold over the last 5-8 years. The city looks great and is now filled with families and young people — all the while acomidating those who have called this town home for their entire life.

Was the money mishandled a bit…maybe…but its not like you have not reaped the benifits.

wpDiscuz