LIST IS IN FULL EFFECT NOW – ZIMMER IS MAYOR

7/2/2009:

Feet to the fire…

Many of you remember the “Peter Cammarano Campaign Promise Checklist” that was published on Hoboken411 a couple weeks ago.

zimmer-team-campaign-promise-checklist-hoboken-hoboken411

4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer, despite losing in the Mayoral Election – still enjoyed a “win” for her council slate – whom all shared identical campaign “visions” and promises. With two years left on her term – plus the new “council majority” which includes Carol Marsh, Ravi Bhalla and Dave Mello – those exact campaign promises should also be tracked with the same ferocity and scrutiny that the new Mayor will be held to.

With that being said – I tried my best to extrapolate all the promises they made on the myriad of websites they inundated us with (unlike Cammarano who had an easy-to-digest list broken down into categories):

Zimmer Team Campaign Promises

411 NOTE: A very long list, so I crunched them into easy to read sections here. Just click an appropriate title to expand and read the campaign promises!

[expand title="City Government (In general)"]

Category: CITY GOVERNMENT
Zimmer Team says: “The Right Team” – Dawn Zimmer, Carol Marsh, Ravi Bhalla, and David Mello each have proven records of fighting for all of Hoboken. They’ll be a big part of getting Hoboken back on the right track.”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Reach beyond the political establishment and draw on the skills, talents, and energy of all of our residents to set a new direction for our City.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Restore fiscal responsibility by instituting sound budgeting, delivering services in a more cost-effective manner and streamlining City Government.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Take a different approach to development—one that emphasizes more parks, ball fields, restaurants and shops and less condos.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Put improving our quality of life first, so Hoboken remains a great place to live and raise a family.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • No more “spending first and answer questions later.” Good ideas for saving money will be welcomed, and acted upon.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Recruit the BEST BA AND CITY ATTORNEY we can find. Each of these crucial functions must be filled with someone with demonstrated success in these roles as soon as possible – we can’t afford on the job training.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Review OPERATIONAL AUDITS and follow-up as required. One of the benefits of state takeover was supposed to be access to professional review of Hoboken ’s operations. Those audits were performed, but never made available so the Council could act. Dawn Zimmer and her team will use these audits to internally assess and prioritize operations. They will then evaluate all city functions and find efficiencies and opportunities for savings. And while they are balancing the budget, they will be finding ways to improve and expand city services – flex hours, better use of technology, green solutions and the like – without raising costs.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Enter GOOD FAITH NEGOTIATIONS with unions and employees. Put Hoboken Residents First. Hoboken’s labor costs are not sustainable. We just can’t afford to pay our Police Chief more than NYC’s Police Commissioner makes. And union flexibility in wage increases and benefits will be required to avoid painful layoffs. But unionized employees form the backbone of our city workforce, and must be dealt with as partners in the success of the city. Non financial union issues must be carefully considered to make needed agreement possible.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Work to lower taxes further throughout my term by continuing to cut costs as well as by aggressively seeking to bring in alternative revenues such as federal, state and private grant funding particularly in the emerging area of green technologies.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Eliminate Constituent Services department – and productively assign those currently employed there to other duties.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="The Budget"]

Category: THE BUDGET
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Introduce a Budget with a 25% TAX CUT by August 10, 2009.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Once new budget is adopted, we will follow it, as the law requires. We will enforce the legally required procedures – such as encumbering costs when the obligation is incurred – which are required and designed to prevent the illegal overspending that has so contributed to the city’s financial crisis.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Hold comprehensive PUBLIC BUDGET HEARINGS in the fall. It’s long past time that Hoboken started holding workshops – open to the public – Where the line items that make up the city budget are explained, examined, and if appropriate, modified.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Budget Workshops – take advantage of Hobokenites who want to help. The budget document that results from these comprehensive workshops will become a living document, guiding the city’s actions in accordance with law, which accurately and clearly represents the personnel and programs the city intends to employ throughout the fiscal year.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Deliver a budget – and a tax rate – as low as we can make it consistent with funding needed city operations, tending to our infrastructure needs, and avoiding financial gimmicks.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • ADOPT A FULLY FUNDED CITY BUDGET by 11/30/2009. Adopting a budget has long been a political drama in Hoboken . By acquiring needed facts, and working cooperatively with all stakeholders, the process will work somewhat better. But Dawn Zimmer understands passing Hoboken’s first fully funded budget in a generation won’t be easy. Dawn will make adopting this budget and restoring home rule a top priority, and will get it done.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Petition to END STATE MONITORING by 12/31/2009. Once all this is accomplished the need for monitoring will be gone, and the state will no longer serve a useful purpose. They will be as glad to go as Hoboken will be to see them gone.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • From July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, target a 10% reduction across the board in operating costs, over and above the elimination of the approximately $31 million in non-recurring appropriations that will happen automatically. This would mean a budget of no more than $89 million, and about a 25% reduction on average in the taxes for municipal services paid by Hoboken residents.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • 80% of our operating budget needs to be addressed from day one. Cutting 10% in labor costs in ongoing operations will be accomplished through a combination of wage freezes and reductions, demotions, benefit reductions and co-pays, furloughs, elimination of un-needed functions, and as a last resort, layoffs. Reducing labor costs calls for judgment and care, not simplistic solutions. Massive layoffs may sound attractive to some, but I believe there are alternatives which accomplish the same financial objectives, with far less disruption to people’s lives or city services.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Professionally conducted labor negotiations. Hoboken taxpayers have so far sacrificed the most. Now the rest of the city needs to share the burden. If municipal workers agree to reduced salaries and lowered healthcare costs then we can minimize layoffs, while cutting costs, and ensuring every employee is doing a job that needs to be done
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Start 2010 with a clean slate, IN CONTROL OF OUR DESTINY.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Sanitation"]

Category: SANITATION
Zimmer Team says: “Streamline Sanitation Department services to reduce one of the largest expenses for the City and clean up our streets. Hoboken pays for the amount of trash leaving our City. Therefore every effort we make to reduce the amount of trash produced will reduce costs for the Hoboken taxpayer. Common sense initiatives to reduce trash levels and increase revenue include:”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Require businesses to be responsible for their own trash pickup. No other community provides trash disposal services to its local businesses, and Hoboken simply cannot afford to continue to do it.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Decreasing overlap between in-house employees and outsourcing for services;
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • improve enforcement of recycling through education and new technology that enables effective ticketing for continuous violations;
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Establishing city-wide recycling program on our streets (including the Housing Authority and Public Schools) which could be funded through grant applications or a public/private partnership agreement;
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Exploring composting opportunities to significantly reduce trash levels. Expand educational programming to encourage more recycling and composting.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Create program to provide for recycling bins on our City streets while seeking grant funding to cover costs.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Investigate using camera technology on street sweepers to increase revenue and cleanliness of Hoboken streets.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Streamline landscaping services.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Accountability..."]

Category: ACCOUNTABILITY
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Search for and hire top directors. REQUIRE ACCOUNTABILITY. As of this moment Hoboken still hasn’t taken action against the men who illegally overspent the budget and necessitated state takeover, who failed to secure $11 million in promised grants for the Hudson walkway, who have not fully accounted for parking meter money and who pushed through the illegal retirement plan. Select directors capable of doing their jobs, and will hold them accountable.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Hold City Directors responsible for living within their budgets and increase the work-week for city employees from its current 27 1/2 hours to 35 hours.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Establish annual written performance reviews for all City employees to ensure a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Establish policies to reduce exorbitant overtime costs in many departments.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Reign in out-of-control consulting costs and limit legal settlements by treating employees fairly.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Ensure sound and transparent budgeting by hiring competent people regardless of political affiliations.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Recreation and Open Space"]

Category: RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Maintain and strengthen recreational programs for our children, and expand it for adults, but look at ways to reduce costs through participation fees and possible inter-local and public/private partnerships. Children from all economic levels should be able to participate, so I would establish a system for those that cannot pay for it.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Use the Open Space Fund to its fullest potential by ensuring that parks are created in the neighborhoods that don’t have them and include the active space both our children and grown-ups need.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Energy and Green Technology"]

Category: ENERGY & GREEN TECHNOLOGY
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Make Hoboken a model for the use of cutting edge green technology, which if properly implemented offers the potential for major cost-savings in the areas of energy, garbage disposal and flood prevention, Hoboken should be leading the way towards a “green future”, not dragging its feet.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Aggressively pursue grant opportunities that can fund energy solutions to reduce taxes and decrease our City’s carbon footprint.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Require that all new buildings meet the silver level (33-38 points of a possible 69) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Standards (LEED).
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Promote green technology to reduce flooding and infrastructure costs such as green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavers and gray water technology.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Senior Citizens"]

Category: SENIORS
Zimmer Team says: (see below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Pursue opportunity for shared county transportation services at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Eliminating Overlap..."]

Category: REDUNDANT SPENDING
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Effectively share county services to save money, such as OEM, Law Enforcement, Street Clearing and Repair, Transportation, Planning, Parks, Grants, Records Retention and other areas.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Revenue Enhancement"]

Category: REVENUE ENHANCEMENT
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Explore opportunities for grants and other public/private partnerships to improve Hoboken’s infrastructure, quality of life for residents and to bring revenues for the city: Park development, improved transportation, make Hoboken more bike-friendly, reduce flooding.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Raise Parking Fees.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Adopt state-of-the art Green Technology to reduce energy costs for the City with common sense solutions like motion sensor light switches and LED lighting. Our Mayoral candidate Dawn Zimmer spearheaded the successful grant application that funds 75% of the cost for a municipal energy audit to be conducted by Concord Engineering. As the 11th municipality in the State to receive this grant, Hoboken strongly positions itself to receive additional funding for energy and cost saving solutions.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Devise a comprehensive and forward thinking grant strategy to position Hoboken to capitalize on the new federal and state monies available as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Harness millions of dollars of federal FEMA grant possibilities with the passage of Hoboken’s Emergency Management Plan.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Real Estate Developers"]

Category: REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS
Zimmer Team says: “We need to make sure that businesses like that have the opportunity to stay in Hoboken. Furniture makers, artisans, and ship repair companies provide jobs to our residents and are an essential part of the fabric of our dynamic City. Instead of pushing them out with new development we need to find ways to partner with these companies and ensure that they can remain part of our community.”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Will support PILOTS only if: The Hoboken share of the revenue was negotiated to be guaranteed to meet or exceed regular taxes in every year of the PILOT’s life; The Hoboken public schools were fully funded as well; and some substantial benefit (park, recreation center, sewer repair, affordable housing for those in need) is given to Hoboken.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Do a complete analysis of all PILOT agreements for the city.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Ensure that all properties with expired pilots are immediately assessed as required by law, and returned to the city as taxable properties.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Commission and complete such an analysis by a competent outside professional, within 100 days of taking office.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Work harder to get the givebacks the community deserves and negotiate deals that support the Hoboken taxpayer.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Ensure adherence to the master plan by codifying it into the zoning laws and appointing a zoning board that will enforce the law.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Preserve Hoboken’s diversity and character with affordable housing while ensuring that the benefits are reserved for those it was built for and equally available to all who qualify.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Prioritize commercial development over residential, creating jobs and strengthening property values for Hoboken property owners.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Hoboken University Medical Center"]

Category: HUMC
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Work with the hospital board to spin-off the hospital to a private concern at the earliest opportunity.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Exploring the possibility for the Hospital to participate in a regionalization plan with another hospital.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Under no circumstances would we support taking any steps that would result in any increase in the city’s financial exposure if the Hospital were ultimately unable to continue operating.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Safety, Cleanliness & Pedestrians"]

Category: SAFETY & CLEANLINESS
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Support increased use of foot patrols and other community policing techniques in order to reduce crime and improve public safety.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Support community gardening programs to bring our neighborhoods together and beautify our city.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Seek grant funding to continue to make Hoboken a safer place to walk and bike through the use of traffic calming measures and infrastructure improvements such as use of stanchions at crosswalks and properly timed traffic signals.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Investigate converting city vehicles to run on free, used, vegetable oil from local restaurants, drastically reducing energy costs and air pollution.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Investigate the return of the Crosstown bus during rush hour by taking advantage of a private/public partnerships to defray costs.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Flooding"]

Category: FLOODING
Zimmer Team says: “The four-pump plan is not only the most expensive solution, but also does not solve the problem for the long term. There is a better way. We can solve our flooding problems and save Hoboken millions with a cost-effective, integrated, and green approach”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Move forward with critical Southeast pump, which experts estimate represents 80% of the problem.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Explore feasibility of linking critical southeastern pump to wetlands system, a viable solution widely used throughout Europe, to reduce the amount of sewerage from being dumped into the Hudson River, saving millions in future costs to solve the problem.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Use state-of-the-art wireless monitoring technology at an estimated cost of $100,000 (.01% of the total 4 pump cost) to evaluate need for any additional pumps and to better plan an integrated and more cost-effective approach that reduces dumping in the Hudson. The information gathered by this technology could enable us to devise a more effective, more economical, and more quickly implemented solution.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Continue demanding that North Hudson Sewage regularly clean the pipes to prevent overflows. The system must be better maintained to prevent backup and flooding in the short term.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Promote green technology to reduce storm-water run-off that contributes to the flooding such as green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavers on streets, grey water technology, and more trees with water storage chambers.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Continue to reach out to our local experts, Stevens Institute of Technology and firms from across the nation to find more ways to creatively and cost efficiently solve Hoboken’s flooding problem.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Harness millions of dollars in federal FEMA grant opportunities for storm water management improvements available to Hoboken once we receive state approval for our emergency management plan.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Infrastructure & Roads"]

Category: INFRASTRUCTURE & ROADS
Zimmer Team says: “Hoboken roads are plagued by too many accidents and too many poorly repaired potholes. Dawn Zimmer, Carol Marsh, Ravi Bhalla and David Mello will work to make the streets safer, less congested, and better maintained. Specifically they will:”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Work with Stevens Institute of Technology to expand the Road Safety Audit program conducted in the southwest into a citywide initiative.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Aggressively seek grant funding to continue to make Hoboken a safer place to walk and bike through the use of traffic calming measures and infrastructure improvements including improving visibility at crosswalks through daylighting techniques and properly timed traffic signals.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Ensure developers are held accountable for properly repairing roads after development. Make certain that anyone that must break apart our City streets for underground infrastructure repairs will be held responsible for properly fixing our roads for the long term.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="The Tax Burden"]

Category: HOBOKEN TAXES
Zimmer Team says: “To reduce our crushing tax burden, we must institute sound budget practices, deliver services in a more cost-effective manner, streamline City Government and more aggressively pursue available county, state, federal and private grant funds.”
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Reduce the budget in fiscal 2010 by instituting cost-efficiencies, eliminating all unnecessary expenditures, and requiring accountability for every dollar spent.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Create a sustainable and transparent budget so that the taxpayer never faces another drastic increase in taxes.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Tax Revaluation – Support following the law and fairly sharing the tax burden, and will promptly take the legally mandated steps to put one into effect.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Use common sense technology such as voicemail, email, and an increased online presence to deliver services more cost-effectively and efficiently, and eliminate the need for a Constituent Services Department.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Work more closely with the County and where possible, take advantage of County programs to eliminate duplication and shift services and expenses to them. Opportunities to do this exist in many areas, including Senior transportation services and capital improvement costs for Hoboken facilities that support residents countywide.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Cut overall payroll costs across all levels by 10%. These costs represent approximately 80% of our operating budget. Work with the public employee unions to determine the best way to achieve these savings, but make the goal non-negotiable. Reduced staffing levels, salary reductions and shared benefit costs such as premium co-pays must all be considered, as well as any alternatives suggested in good faith by the union representatives.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Investigate furloughs of city employees to reduce short term payroll costs.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Fix the table of organization for our Police and Fire departments to ensure that we have more Police on the streets, and more firefighters in the trucks.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Reduce unnecessary overtime costs across the board with Police, Fire, sanitation and recreation services.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="City Payroll Costs"]

Category: CITY PAYROLL
Zimmer Team says: (See below…)
Promise:
Status
Date
  • Cut overall payroll costs across all levels by 10%. These costs represent approximately 80% of our operating budget. Work with the public employee unions to determine the best way to achieve these savings, but make the goal non-negotiable. Reduced staffing levels, salary reductions and shared benefit costs such as premium co-pays must all be considered, as well as any alternatives suggested in good faith by the union representatives.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Investigate furloughs of city employees to reduce short term payroll costs.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Fix the table of organization for our Police and Fire departments to ensure that we have more Police on the streets, and more firefighters in the trucks.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009
  • Reduce unnecessary overtime costs across the board with Police, Fire, sanitation and recreation services.
INCOMPLETE7/1/2009

[/expand]
[expand title="Campaign Quotes"]

Category: CAMPAIGN QUOTES
From their websites: I took one quote from each of the four members of the “Zimmer Team.”
QUOTE:
COUNCIL MEMBER
SOURCE
  • “If Hoboken is going to get out of this mess as a community, we need to face our situation and make responsible choices. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem, and the second step is assembling a council team ready and willing to confront it.”
CAROL MARSHWEBSITE
  • “Laws have been broken, money squandered, and opportunities lost. Together with my council running mates, and Dawn Zimmer, we will restore fiscal responsibility, providing transparency, and modernizing city government.”
RAVI BHALLAWEBSITE
  • “I built a life in Hoboken mainly because of the simple pleasures that life here offers, such as meeting friends and neighbors on the street and in the parks, being able to walk to religious services and other weekend events, eating at outdoor cafes, and being part of an active, thriving community. Hoboken has gotten into trouble by ignoring what made Hoboken great (411 note: this website) and turning our back on the wide variety of open and community spaces, architecture, mixed-uses, and the unique urban character that once defined our community.”
DAVE MELLOWEBSITE
  • “I believe that it is time to fix our poisoned politics. The time for finger-pointing and blaming has passed. While there will always be disagreements, we must work to find common ground. I will bring people together to get things done.”
DAWN ZIMMERWEBSITE

[/expand]

Note to Council Members (and anyone else):

I will do my best to keep this checklist up to date with any notable achievements and successes.

However, if you have scored a victory on one of your promises, and I have failed to update this list – please email me at hoboken411@gmail.com – and note which section and promise was kept – and I’ll update accordingly.