Bemused by Hoboken budget
Here we have long time resident Helen Hirsch offering her viewpoints on the budget, and points out many other areas that are in need of examination besides what was proposed in the resolution. I’ve seen her speak many times at City Hall, and I hardly feel she ever gets a comprehensive enough answer back.
What are your thoughts?
“What follows is a statement I had prepared for the January 17, 2007 Hoboken Council meeting budget discussion. Unfortunately, an unannounced resolution, reopening the previously agreed upon disposition of the municipal garage, set aside because of irregularities in the developers’ bids, did more than raise my blood pressure. I had looked upon that agreement as a ray of hope in the continuously contentious and mendacious exchanges between the administration and Hoboken’s citizens. I trembled!
I did not spend much time with Councilman Russo’s suggestions for reducing the City’s red ink since I am sure he was constrained by the perceived need to avoid spooking Hoboken’s sacred cows. Also, ideas make more sense to the man in the street. I did not understand the explanation of “STRUCTURAL DEFICIT” which was offered at the last meeting. From what I have since learned, it is a con man’s way of saying: “We are bankrupt — financially and morally.” Universally, there is agreement that there are only 2 ways to eliminate structural deficit: raise taxes or spend less. Doing neither merely postpones the inevitable, meanwhile enabling the keeper of the war chest to say: “See, what a good manager I am? There will be no tax increase year!”
What is not even whispered, is that in order to continue this charade, city managers during the next hundred or so years will be deprived of all the funds channeled directly into the City coffers, without regard to needs of the school system or the County, because the civic minded developers will prepay their PILOTS now. Tomorrow there will be no dirt to sell; tomorrow there will be no way to pay off the profligate spending.”
“I did not hear Councilman Russo say anything about calling in the fleet of taxpayer financed automobiles, the need for which is even more questionable since it was officially declared that there is no need for parking spaces at the uptown multiplex theater because people can walk. How many additional taxi medallions were sold recently in an effort to dent the deficit? Why can’t the VIPs who won’t walk, patronize those dearly licensed taxis? A bonus would be freeing of about 20 privileged curb spaces for which meters could be installed. More income! Too, there would not be so many illegally parked vehicles in town which raise the blood pressure of ordinary folk who play by the rules. If some of our VIPs hit the sidewalks, they might get to see our fair city as we ordinary people do.
Was there a recommendation for the recall of a hundred or more cell phones, the records for which have been declared secret, for security reasons? Why so many and why is their apparent abuse not monitored critically?
I don’t think he detailed the outrageous redundancy of experts and consultants. The concept of hiring staff who are marginally capable of doing the jobs for which they are hired and then backing them up with layers of experts, whose advice is often ignored, can break any budget. This does not touch on the idea that job titles are created so that cooperative persons can be put on the payroll — never mind doing any job. When I mentioned some months ago that the City was advertising to replace a media consultant, to complement the 2 1/2 already on board, you reacted as though I were mad. I see no record of the fourth slot being refilled, but tax dollars are paying for public operations which seem to be engaged in spin, concealment or misinformation.
With the condo market softening, there will probably not be enough cooperating developers to bail out the City. There is not much left to sell — legally. I think the time is now to face the real world; to think and remember the pledge you took when you started this job.”