City Council Meeting: 5/5/2010


See video archive of city council meeting after the jump…

The only Hoboken preview you’ll ever need!

A new trick to hide the real cost of Hoboken’s ever-expanding budget, nearly two and a half million dollars in spending shifts, and another two million bucks in borrowing to build a place to handle the city’s fleet are the highlights of tonight’s city council meeting agenda. Read on for the original (and always champion) Hoboken411 preview…

A new Municipal Garage… but WHERE?

Which neighborhood will be next to suffer through the endless comings and goings at all hours of the day and night of garbage trucks, snowplows, and other heavy equipment? The most closely guarded secret at City Hall these days is where Mayor Dawn Zimmer plans to relocate the Municipal Garage. Will it be YOUR neighborhood?

new Hoboken municipal garage location still unknown - City Council Meeting: 5/5/2010

Tonight a public hearing and final vote will be held to bond $1,980,000 to build a prefabricated steel building for a new garage. Nowhere in the bond ordinance does it say where this two million dollar building will be built. Why the secrecy? Because Zimmer wants the prefab garage built on the new site before the neighborhood in question has a chance to mobilize against it. If your neighborhood has a decent sized piece of open land, it could be you.

Mad rush to move $2.4 million bucks

Just weeks after adopting a budget the City Council was asked to add dozens of “special items” not included in the original spending plan. Now the Zimmer administration is shifting $2,424,986.00 from overfunded line items to underfunded line items within the budget Finance Committee Chair Michael Lenz claimed was “fully funded” just two months ago. It’s the same kind of end-of-the-fiscal-year money moving that former Mayor Dave Roberts used to do, and former “regular citizen” Lenz used to complain about. Oh, the irony.

New Zimmer budget gimmick: Change the budget year!

It’s the latest in municipal chicanery sweeping New Jersey, and now it’s coming to Hoboken. How does a city front-load all it’s state aid money and push the next budget battle well beyond the spring 2011 ward elections? By changing the budget schedule, of course! Currently Hoboken’s budget year starts on July 1 and ends in June. Now the Mayor wants to dump the “Fiscal Year” budget system and move to a calendar year. Why make the change now? Politics, and Hoboken’s never-ending election cycle, of course.

Just the latest attempt to lull the public to sleep

Hoboken411 has obtained a memo from State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi spelling out why the administration should consider the move. Tripodi says:

Judy Tripodi Budget Trickery Quote Hoboken NJ - City Council Meeting: 5/5/2010

That’s right. A full year of State aid totaling $11,113,035.00 would be spent by Zimmer in just 6 months from July to December of 2010. According to the city’s financial consultants, this would allow Zimmer and Lenz to use the state aid to claim they cut taxes ahead of the November 4th ward Special Election, even though they only used a 6-month budget gimmick to do it.

But wait, there’s more… No budget battle before spring

Remember how Zimmer pushed the budget introduction past the last election? That’s what this move could do as well. Changing the budget year changes the timing of the introduction, hearing and adoption to beyond the May council election, giving Zimmer’s choices a leg up on the competition. Same playbook as last year: claim you have a big tax cut coming, but delay the budget until after the election.

So, how will the Zimmer team sell this?

Hoboken manual of trickery and deception - City Council Meeting: 5/5/2010They’ll point out some of the minor but legitimate reasons for changing to a calendar year, like making it easier to explain to people too dumb to understand what a Fiscal Year is (a top priority for sure).

They’ll also claim it will save $30,000 because they won’t have to mail an additional bill. Tripodi notes West New York, Guttenberg, and Kearny are doing it, so why not Hoboken? Lenz and Zimmer will go along with the plan to boost their chances of maintaining control of the council. Of course, they’ll call it “reform.” What will you call it when there’s a giant mess to clean up in the future?

See the full agenda here. The resolution pack is so messed up this week it will only confuse you. Much of what’s in the pack is not even on tonight’s agenda, and several items that are on the agenda are missing from the package the Mayor’s people posted on the city website. By design, incompetence or both? Hard to tell these days.

Video archive after the jump…

(Hoboken City Council Meeting of May 5, 2010 video)

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Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:34 am

I guess no one cares anymore if Judy leaves or not since Mayor Zimmer and Councilman Lenz are not going to cut taxes. Having Judy gone won’t change that.

In fact, it was just announced yesterday that taxes are going up. The Hudson County Executive, Tom DeGise, has just introduced the County Budget and they are hitting Hoboken with 40% of it. Lucky Secaucus will see a tax reduction while they said “Hoboken will be among those hit the hardest.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:00 am

“State officials vote to end fiscal monitoring in Hoboken”

This has been news for almost 24 hours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 2:37 pm

Regarding the secrecy, here’s my hunch:

The location and negotiations are being hidden because the site is owned by a local politically-connected landowner or, worse yet, a public and/or elected official who has a HUGE conflict of interest in this deal but stands to reap mucho $$$ from the City in lease payments.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 4:50 pm

Maybe the council should just tell the new pwners of the garage we don’t want to sell. Oh no we can’t do that since we borrowed money to pay off open time expenses. Sound faniliar after hearing Mr Lenz responds about what we will do the funds from the state if we except going to a calendar year. Something like using 6 Million for a one time item. Sound familiar.

Reply to  hoboken411
Thursday, May 6, 2010 12:20 pm

Did they announce where the garage will be, or list the sites they are looking at? If I was looking at a property, I would have no problem letting the owner that I am negotiating with know that I am also talking with others. Wouldn’t that help the city’s negotiate?

In response to hoboken411 who said:

If you watch the video, 11th St. Hoboken Crossing Guard Margaret O’Brien asked for the FIFTH straight council meeting “where is the garage going to be,” and got the same cockamamie answer in return. That the corporation counsel said they couldn’t because of confidential negotiations.

Common sense would indicate that prior to engaging in what is likely negotiations to finalize a real estate transaction, you’d involve the residents surrounding the new site.

But since when is the council sensible? They’re making decisions without public input.

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