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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#1
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All this makes me even happier that I recently sold and moved to a rental. A tax rate of 2.1% on my former property would triple my taxes, and the impact on the property value would be severe, much more than the capital gains tax I'll pay.

Property taxes need to be adjusted to be fair. However, because of irresponsible actions by successive JC Administrations in avoiding a reval for 28 years it will be very painful. And when the State shifts more school costs to JC it will be worse. Even if that takes a couple of years, people will see it coming so it will hit property values.

The idea of a reverse mortgage to pay more tax to this dysfunctional City, particularly in view of a likely substantial hit to property values in the near future, has no appeal to me. The way I see it I've taken my gains and will wait.

Other factors are important to me as well. Transportation woes on NJT and PATH are only going to get a lot worse when all the over-development is completed. And with all those apartments becoming available and a softening NYC rental market the DT JC property market is going to look a whole lot different when those new assessment notices go out in about 12 months IMHO.

Posted on: 5/21 13:58
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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#2
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Quote:

Erica wrote:
My deeper concern is that dismissing the reval opponents misses the opportunity to engage them on more important issues - like, for example, planning for the day when the Abbot designation goes away or the funding formula changes or NJ simply runs out of money to do anything but pay pensions (I hope I'm joking about that last one) and we need to come up with a way to replace lost state revenue. Making enemies on the reval seems short-sighted when we have a much broader and deeper discussion about property taxes and other sources of city revenue coming down the pipeline.


Completely agree, and therein is the reason the State forced JC to move forward with this long overdue reval. The State wants to shift as much spending as it can back to JC (and a few other municipalities). Obviously they can't proceed until the reval is completed. Doing otherwise would inflict undue economic harm and probably be illegal (disparate impact), if the present wide variations in tax rates across neighborhoods isn't fixed first.

Yes, the reval will be overall revenue neutral for JC, but the actions of the State shortly thereafter wont be. Think for a minute what happens if the State shifts even 10% of the roughly $500 million they provide, about $50 million, for schools back to the JC taxpayer.... And all those arguments about fairness and equity across JC neighborhoods, those arguments sound just as compelling when applied across other school districts and towns as well. Of course it should be fair and that means JC is going to pay more of it's own bills.

No doubt you'll remember the tax hike Fulop implemented when he was elected mayor, well get ready for another one following the next mayoral election. This time it won't be Healy getting the blame, it will be the State.

Posted on: 5/19 10:55
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Re: PATH (pathetic attempt at transporting humans)
#3
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Quote:

WhoElseCouldIBe wrote:
Also, this will not be popular but I would be in favor of removing seats from the subway cars. Not an ideal situation but I'd rather stand on the PATH than wait on the platform. (You could still keep a few priority seats available for the truly disabled).

Strap hangers across the entire car would help too.


PATH should look at this, but be careful what you wish for... increasing the number of people in a car can have the opposite to intended effect. With more passengers “loading and dwell” times increase, causing trains to stop longer at stations. This can ripple through the entire system limiting overall train movement, resulting in a net decrease in passenger capacity.

It would be reassuring to know that PATH officials have already carefully considered all this. I don't any see any harm from making such information available if they have. One downside might be developers can't push the canard that JC will remain easily “accessible” to NYC during rush hour. But since money talks, I'm not expecting we will learn anything from the PA about this any time soon.

Posted on: 4/7 10:51
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Re: PATH (pathetic attempt at transporting humans)
#4
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Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Please, spare us the hysterics.


Yes, please spare us.... Unfortunately, the only thing hysterical is denying the serious PATH overcrowding that won't be fixed anytime soon. But you don't need to take my word for it, it's obvious to just about everyone, including the PA spokesman, PA Chairman and JC Mayor, all on the public record acknowledging the problem.

Here's what that PA spokesman was reported to say at that 2015 Hoboken meeting: “According to Coleman, the severity of the overcrowding at the Journal Square PATH station in particular was such that it had become a potential public safety problem...,”

And here's what the PA Chairman, John Degnan, himself says (from the WSJ June 5th, 2016): “Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said Jersey City shouldn’t approve new developments along the PATH’s route without making sure the system can handle the expected growth in riders. 'It’s irresponsible for a city to allow indiscriminate growth that’s going to tax public infrastructure beyond its capability,' Mr. Degnan said.”

JC Mayor Steve Fulop concurred a serious problem exists and blamed inadequate planning by the PA. Here's what Fulop said in that same WSJ article: “Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop faulted the Port Authority, which is jointly controlled by New Jersey and New York governors, for failing to properly plan. 'At the end of the day it’s Port Authority’s responsibility,' Mr. Fulop said. 'They should stop putting blame elsewhere. Every surrounding municipality has grown.' ”

Serious injuries resulting from over-crowding on narrow PATH station platforms are foreseeable and avoidable. The kind of problem any reasonably competent transit agency should anticipate and prevent. Consequently, I fully expect to see PA Police implementing access restrictions during rush hour in the near future. They certainly know how – they done it many times in the past, and do it today as needed.

But what I really want to know is where are the credible detailed projections, plans, timelines and $$'s from all the responsible parties to fix this mess....? There's nothing hysterical about it, it's a serious problem for residents of Jersey City and all the towns serviced by PATH.

Posted on: 4/6 10:21
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Re: PATH (pathetic attempt at transporting humans)
#5
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Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
PA definitely have issues with responsiveness and transparency, and some of the large projects they work on go way over budget.

However, the PA does put out a 10 year capital plan. It includes adding cars ($150m), signal replacement ($278m), Harrison expansion ($142m).... Might be worth reading if you want to know what they're up to.
http://corpinfo.panynj.gov/pages/capital-plan/


Thanks, I see 50 new cars in the capital plan for the next 10 years. They have about 340 cars now, so 50 new cars is slightly under 15% increased capacity – when all cars are in service at the end of 10 years. That seems insufficient to me, given past and anticipated growth in JC, and other towns along the line – Harrison, Newark, Hoboken.

Where does the 7 to 10 car increase come from? I don't see anything about that in the PA document. 10 car trains are not possible on the 33rd line due to the constraints previously mentioned. The WTC line 8-car trains could go to 10 cars AFTER the station upgrades complete. Last I looked nothing much was happening at Grove St....

I certainly agree about opacity and obfuscation at the PA. Where are their projections for service needs based on expected population and employment growth and commuting patterns? I didn't see any substantiating data with the capital plan. And what's the timeline? I haven't seen any announcements those 50 new cars are on order. I could have missed it, but I don't think so....

In the meantime, in my opinion and supported by remarks from the PA official quoted in the Hudson News report I cited, PATH is becoming overwhelmed. In the near future I expect to see PA police at station entrances during rush hour controlling the number of people entering. Why...? To prevent platform over-crowding and resulting serious public safety hazards, and to limit lengthening “dwell-times” as people try to get off and on.

As an aside, it was interesting to see the 78 million riders per year number in that PA document. PATH's overall annual deficit is over $400 million. Doing the math, that's about a $5 per ride deficit. Over 10 years, about $4 billion. Roughly the same amount as it cost to build the new WTC station the station Patrick Foye called “a monument to waste”. Think how much bond money $400 million annually buys, and what a properly run Agency could do with that money to improve the system.

What a mess...

Posted on: 4/5 10:17
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Re: PATH (pathetic attempt at transporting humans)
#6
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Just can't stay away


Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
Quote:

erstrecs wrote:
Quote:
Once the number of trains in maxed out, then they're going to go from 8-car to 10-car trains. That's another 25 percent increase in capacity in addition to the 29 percent increase from the signaling upgrades.


But the current 8 car trains stretch the entire length of every station I'm aware of, how would a longer train pick up and drop off people?


The plan is to extend platforms at PATH stations. The NWK/WTC route should be able to accommodate the longer trains once Harrison is rebuilt and Grove is modified. For trains on the 33rd St lines, the platform elongating effort may prove too difficult/costly for it to happen any time soon.


Does anyone have a reliable source for the purported 29% increase in service after the signal system is complete? The most I recall seeing is 20% and ominously even that seems to have disappeared from the PATH website. Any more than a trivial increase will require more trains sets, and I haven't seen anything about new trains cars on order. Anyone seen that anyplace?

When PATH finishes the Harrison and Grove upgrades to accommodate 10-car trains, in theory there could be a 25% capacity increase on the WTC line – if they run the same number of trains with 10 cars in each train. That will also need more trains. So, again, anyone seen any orders for new train cars? Or even anything about that in the PATH capital budget plan....? I haven't.

On the 33rd line, I've read conflicting reports – some say 8 car trains are possible, others say 7 is the max because of the station lengths AND the clearances through the points – especially the multiple crossing points immediately to the north of Newport. Anyone have any verifiable information about that?

I've also read there's no feasible way stations on the 33rd line will ever be lengthened due to complex cost / engineering / environmental / safety concerns. If they want to extend the platforms, then one narrow egress isn't permitted on safety grounds, so they'd need to build additional entry/exit tunnels.

Train cars don't come cheap or quick, and with the Gateway tunnel and Midtown bus terminal rebuild projects sucking up vast amounts of PA cash over the next decade or so, I'm not holding my breath for any improvement in PATH service.

It is very difficult to find reliable, trustworthy information about PATH. Too many vested interests, with too much money at stake for folks to be telling the truth....

Posted on: 4/4 18:25
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Re: PATH (pathetic attempt at transporting humans)
#7
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Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

JCGuys wrote:
[quote]
PATH has never increased service? Lol. Just lasy year they increased service on the JSQ to 33rd line. They do it very gradually and only when capacity hits critcal levels.

Do you have any articles on that? I haven't seen anything, only discussion that signal work on the 33rd line ended in January or so.


My understanding is Federal regs preclude PATH trains running more frequently until the signal system has been updated. So it seems a fine point to say the signal upgrade is not mandated. But mandate or no, more reliable and frequent PATH service is badly needed.

On other fine points, there was no net increase in overall service (total number of trains running) with the May 2015 timetable change increasing trains from JSQ. The increase in JSQ trains was matched by a reduction on the HOB line. I'm not aware of any increase in service in 2016 (last year).

Here's what PATH was reported as saying at the time – if you believe them:
http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/fu ... rains-?instance=more_page

There are a lot of vested interests at play in discussions about PATH. Which developer wants it known that the PATH is a mess now, let alone what it will be after thousands more apartments are finished - in JC, Harrison and Newark, not to mention the EWR extension...

Posted on: 4/3 15:36
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Re: Hard-Wired Fire Detectors
#8
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Quote:

ConstantReader wrote:
I currently have two working battery-operated smoke detectors in my unit, so I'm interpreting this to mean that I've been found in violation for not having a hard-wired fire detector in my unit.

Can this be right? I thought hard-wired fire detectors were required only for new construction. My building was constructed in the 1920s and converted to a condo in the 1980s.


ConstantReader, the confusion the Inspector created by mistakenly stating you have AC powered-alarms leads to exactly the kind of situation that SixthBoro raises. Think about it for a minute.... You don't correct the record about the alarms, and in 12 months when the JCFD gets their Bureau of Fire Prevention up and running, another Inspector arrives at your doorstep with the records and says – look it has right here that you have AC connected smoke alarms, where are they? At that point you'll be tearing open walls to have electrical cable run so you can get the resulting violation abated..... Get that violation notice corrected to indicate you have battery-powered alarms and have the Inspector sign it.

Posted on: 2/9 21:15
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Re: Hard-Wired Fire Detectors
#9
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Sixthboro, the hypothetical situation you raise – someone replaces their hardwired alarms with battery operated alarms – would be a problem, if it happened. However, if an inspector believed that it had in fact happened, then it would not be appropriate to issue a violation using 5:70-3. The provisions at 5:70-3.1 (d), further highlighted in the DFS Bulletin 2010-4, are very clear in that regard. Your hypothetical example cannot be handled by issuing a violation under 5:70-3. Additionally, 5:70-3.1 (d) clearly states how such a violation must be cited. The fact that a trained, certified, empowered NJ state inspector used 5:70-3 is in and of itself clear evidence the Inspector did not conclude any problem such as raised in your hypothetical example exists in the OP's situation.


Posted on: 2/9 20:52
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Re: Up to 3" of Snow likely 2/8 (Wed night into Thursday)
#10
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T-Bird, the National Weather Service posts totals from NJ locations. Hoboken is closest to JC that I see.

Here's the link:
http://forecast.weather.gov/product.p ... &issuedby=OKX&product=PNS

Scroll down and you'll see NJ, and a bunch of other places and observations.

Posted on: 2/9 19:35
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Re: Hard-Wired Fire Detectors
#11
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You're welcome Brewster. My thanks to the OP for posting the question and providing the code reference cited in the violation.

I've never asked NJ DCA about the Fire Code, so I'm not sure how they'd respond. What I do know is when I asked DFS, their response was so unprofessional it amounted to thinly veiled extortion in my humble opinion, basically telling me: “Do what we say, or you'll pay....”

One point I neglected to mention in my prior post might be important down the road. There is an error in the original citation – if the OP's facts are accurate. It seems the Inspector mistakenly indicated there are already AC connected alarms inside the OP's apartment. Since this is not accurate (according to the post) OP needs to correct the record by noting the error. Leaving it stand could lead to difficulties later on: “... the inspector wrote at the time, and you did not disagree, there is a hardwired alarm in your apartment....” My approach is to put everything in writing with these people. A simple statement now, along the lines, “The apartment has existing, battery-operated smoke alarms” should do.

There is also a very limited amount of time to “appeal” an alleged violation – 15 days from memory – it's someplace on the back of the notice. So any objection needs to be filed promptly. And as an aside, whatever the OP does the one thing NOT to do is say anything like: “Oh, I need some more time to sort this issue out.” Any request for an extension will be taken by the Inspector (and court...) as an admission that the original violation has merit, and you've agreed to it. If memory serves me, the back of the violation notice indicates this issue clearly enough – at least that's my recollection.... If not, it's in the code.

Posted on: 2/9 8:05
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Re: Hard-Wired Fire Detectors
#12
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Quote:

brewster wrote:
I would speak with the NJDCA inspection office about this, sounds fishy, to my knowledge is only required as part of a major reno.


I wouldn't bother asking NJ DFS anything. I spoke to them a few years back about a “fishy” issue arising from “over-enthusiastic” interpretation of the fire code by JCFD officials. The response from NJ DFS was even more fishy than the JCFD's. It took me several trips to Municipal Court to educate the Fire folks and Court about the code they are responsible for enforcing, and have the violations and several thousand dollars in fines withdrawn. In retrospect, it seems to me they use the code to harass homeowners into undertaking expensive, unnecessary work in order to keep up a flow of income for their contracting businesses and buddies.

Posted on: 2/8 21:36
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Re: Hard-Wired Fire Detectors
#13
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Disclaimer – the following is my opinion – an informed opinion, but nevertheless an opinion. You need to do some work to determine your exact situation and requirements. My apologies in advance for the lengthy, detailed nature of this response. The devil is in the details. Unfortunately, there's no way around it.

Since the violation is cited under 5:70-3, it would appear all you need to do is repair something that isn't working as it should. 5:70-3 can't be used if something or other needs to be newly installed. (See below for link to NJAC 5:70-3) For example, if you have a battery operated alarm that isn't functional, then you'll need to make it functional. The additional 907.20.1 in the citation refers to a section of the 2006 International Fire Code – you can find that code via the DCA website, Division of Fire Safety section. Here's the link to that 2006 IFC code: http://codes.iccsafe.org/app/book/con ... 0Protection%20Systems.pdf

The language at 907.20.1 states:
907.20.1 Maintenance required.
Whenever or wherever any device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection or any other feature is required for compliance with the provisions of this code, such device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection or other feature shall thereafter be continuously maintained in accordance with applicable NFPA requirements or as directed by the fire code official.



BTW, if ever you need previous editions of code, you can find the old codes in the JC Public Library.

See the following Bulletin from the Division of Fire Service for an explanation of NJAC 5:70-3:

http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/a ... etins/bulletin_2010-4.pdf\

Here is N.J.A.C. 5:70-3.1 (d) – reproduced below with my added bold and italics.


N.J.A.C. 5:70-3.1 (2017)

§ 5:70-3.1 Code adopted, scope and applicability

   (a) Pursuant to the authority of P.L. 1983, c. 383, the Commissioner hereby adopts the model code of the International Code Council, known as the "2006 International Fire Code." This code is hereby adopted by reference as the State Fire Prevention Code for New Jersey, subject to the modifications set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:70-3.2.

(b) Copies of this code may be obtained from the Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety, 101 South Broad Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0809 or from the International Code Council at 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, Illinois 60478-5795.

(c) For purposes of this subchapter, the group definitions shall be those adopted under the Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23.

(d) This subchapter establishes fire prevention requirements governing the safe maintenance of all buildings and premises subject to this code. It is not the intent of this subchapter to require the installation or upgrading of any system, equipment or building component not already required by N.J.A.C. 5:70-4 or by the Uniform Construction Code in effect at the time of construction of the building or at the time of installation of any existing system, equipment or building component. This subchapter shall not be cited as the basis for any retrofit requirement. A lack of compliance with N.J.A.C. 5:70-4 shall be cited by the fire official under N.J.A.C. 5:70-4. A suspected lack of compliance with the provisions of the Uniform Construction Code in effect at the time of construction or installation shall be referred to the local construction official for appropriate action.

(e) Violations of this subchapter shall be cited by giving the New Jersey Administrative Code citation for this subchapter, N.J.A.C. 5:70-3, followed by the section number of the 2006 International Fire Code, as amended by N.J.A.C. 5:70-3.2.

1. Violations of this subchapter shall be cited under the previously-adopted State Fire Prevention Code, the 1996 BOCA Fire Prevention Code, until February 1, 2009. Effective on that date, all violations shall be cited under the 2006 International Fire Code, as amended.


Trust all this helps - Good luck.

Posted on: 2/8 20:34
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Re: Property Registration
#14
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JadedJC, things may have changed recently. Nice new revenue stream for the City and Fire Department.

The property registration form may arise from Ordinance 14-117 (new since 2015) establishing a Fire Prevention Bureau in the JCFD. Requirements include registration, annual fees and annual inspections of even small multi-family properties. See sub-section §3-88.2, et seq., for details.

§3-88.2. Non-Life Hazard Use Registration.
All premises not classified as "life hazard uses" pursuant to the Uniform Fire Code (with the exception of owner-occupied detached Use Group R-3 structures, used exclusively for dwelling purposes) shall be classified as "Non-Life Hazard Uses". Non-Life Hazard Uses shall be registered and have an annual registration fee with the Jersey City Fire Prevention Bureau, which will conduct annual periodic inspections.


Here's the link to the Ordinance: https://www.municode.com/library/nj/je ... _ordinances?nodeId=688951

Use Group definitions (fyi):
http://www.bridgewaternj.gov/wp-conte ... ads/pdf/other/Use-Occ.pdf

Posted on: 1/26 19:11
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Re: Jersey City mayor-elect orders end to citywide reval
#15
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Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
How did you arrive at the total tax levy of $448.7 million?

See page 2 http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploa ... tion/CY2016_USF_Intro.pdf

Another tidbit from that doc, the properties that Yvonne is always howling about getting a free ride paid $129m in 2015 PILOTS, vs $212m they would have paid in tax. But compared to the legacy properties paying 50% or less of their market based tax, these developments at 60% are actually paying a higher rate than Yvonne did for her fabulous brownstone on VVP!


Thank you for the link! I was trying to locate this info and was coming up empty.

For 2015, the effective rate was 2.07%, but for 2016 it drops quite a bit, down to 1.79%.

I came up with those numbers by using the EV totals for 2015 and 2016 from the state links I posted and dividing the tax levies for 2015 and 2016 from the user friendly budget for which Brewster provided a link (again, thanks!)

I guess we will need to wait and see what is the total EV calculated for JC after the reval. Even if the rate stays at 1.8%, you would see lots of homeowners with massive increases (those currently paying effective rates of under 1%) but that rate is definitely magnitudes better than the bandied about 2.2% rate that most people seem to assume will be the final one.


I wonder what the rate will be after the state cuts some (or all...?) of the $420 million or so it currently pays JC schools each year? 10% of that amount is roughly 20% of taxes raised – PILOTS are out of the mix. Recall the state has a huge budget hole to fix - $140 billion (and counting) unfunded pension liabilities. A 20% increase would bring that 1.8% up to about 2.15%

I suppose we 'll find out when a future legislature and governor agree on details. But it's clear a reduction is schools funding for JC is the long game. Won't happen till after the reval and JC property taxes are more equitably distributed, which conveniently is after the next election.

http://observer.com/2017/01/nj-democr ... m=New%20Jersey%20Politics

Posted on: 1/12 8:14
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
#16
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Just can't stay away


Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:
Bamb00zle wrote:
As I said, it's going to get ugly... Oh wait, it already did get ugly.

And yet, you're still here. Hmm.

And again, where do you plan to go, that you imagine you can avoid increases in state taxes, or pension crises? California? Mexico? Belize? Somalia?


Quote:
Some taxes went down – estate taxes are being reduced to align with the Federal exemptions.

Uh huh... Not really a reason for you to stick around, though. Unless you are caring for a wealthy parent. (Remember, the inheritance tax didn't change; only the direct heirs get this exemption.)

Heck, you don't need to even live in NJ to benefit from that. Only the deceased person needs to be a NJ resident.


Quote:
But please understand, I'm not paying for someone's irresponsible promises.

First, the promises weren't irresponsible. They were perfectly sustainable, until Gov Whitman started the habit of underfunding the pension system -- in 1995.

Second, if you move somewhere else, you will still be paying for someone else's pensions. Oh, I mean "irresponsible promises."

Third, I don't know where you grew up. Those of us who grew up in NJ were actually educated by those teachers and protected by those police officers and sometimes even helped by state employees, and I have no problems paying what they are owed.


Quote:
And I don't think you or any else should either. There's nothing the state of NJ can do to prevent people from leaving and escaping the onerous taxes here. Thousands have already.

You sure about that?

Resized Image


Quote:
My bags are packed ready and waiting by the front door....

Promises, promises


Quote:
There are plenty of interesting, fun places to go other than NJ.

And yet, you keep not leaving. Huh.

Don't get me wrong, I agree there are many other fine places to live, and I don't plan to live in NJ forever. However, I'm not planning to bolt the door in the slightly ridiculous attempt to avoid paying state taxes, especially since so many other states are facing the same issues, or making matters worse for their citizens by cutting taxes.


Yes, I am still here for the moment. I'll stay as long as it suits me, and when it doesn't any more I'll leave. Raising taxes to pay absurd pension promises will change the calculus for me, and for a lot of other people as well I expect.

Undertakings over the years from both sides – successive governors and unions - regarding pensions were irresponsible. So yes there's plenty of blame to share for this mess. But please understand, at this point it is immaterial to me who is responsible. I've paid enough over the years and I am not going to pay even more to fix this mess – my bags are packed.

A graph showing the population has grown is correct, and is also irrelevant. The facts that the population increased as thousands moved away are not inconsistent. It is undeniable these can happen simultaneously. What is also undeniable is the fiscal and economic outlook for the state is dismal. Consequently, the bank of “other people's money” (a chunk of which is mine) is just about out of cash.

Do I feel bad for those who planned their lives around the unrealistic promises and irresponsible actions? Absolutely yes, of course I do. The situation and outlook for these folks is awful, there is no doubt about it. But no matter how dedicated they may have been, I am not paying even more to fund the irresponsible promises and actions that created this mess.

I'm sure those who stay will find a way to address the problems without my continuing contributions. Be certain of this though, any solution is going to involve increased taxes and decreased benefits. It isn't going to be pretty, and it won't involve me.

Posted on: 12/10 21:23
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
#17
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Just can't stay away


Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

Bamb00zle wrote:
Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Me...? Thanks for asking - I'm packed, ready to go.

Gas tax just went up. Send us a postcard from... where are you going, exactly?


Quote:
Sorry, I don't have any painless solutions to advance, nor have I seen any proposed here, or any place else for that matter. Any realistic proposal I've seen involves both raising taxes and cutting benefits. Neither of which will be fun.

And not unique to NJ.

Ironically, the states that are slashing their tax bills are running into different problems, namely they need to slash spending -- including on education -- because the don't have enough revenues. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


Quote:
It's the raising taxes part that has me most concerned. I pay enough tax already and I need my money....

Awwww poor baby

Well, good luck finding a state that pays relatively high wages, has decent job opportunities, offers decent public transportation, a rich cultural life, and doesn't sock taxpayers -- or isn't slashing spending to the bone. That leaves, uh... Houston?

But hey, at least you'll get a bigger apartment. W00t!


As I said, it's going to get ugly... Oh wait, it already did get ugly.

Some taxes went down – estate taxes are being reduced to align with the Federal exemptions. And I don't drive so the gas tax doesn't directly affect me. The miniscule reduction in sales tax, I'll take it. For the moment, I can stay put.

But please understand, I'm not paying for someone's irresponsible promises. And I don't think you or any else should either. There's nothing the state of NJ can do to prevent people from leaving and escaping the onerous taxes here. Thousands have already.

My bags are packed ready and waiting by the front door.... There are plenty of interesting, fun places to go other than NJ.

Posted on: 12/6 18:29
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
#18
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Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Me...? Thanks for asking - I'm packed, ready to go. The minute my taxes go up any more I'm out. No need to be concerned for me.

Sorry, I don't have any painless solutions to advance, nor have I seen any proposed here, or any place else for that matter. Any realistic proposal I've seen involves both raising taxes and cutting benefits. Neither of which will be fun.

It's the raising taxes part that has me most concerned. I pay enough tax already and I need my money, so I'm all set to leave. But I understand thousands are stuck, waiting for a pension that is never going to come – at least not in the promised amounts. I certainly feel their pain.

As numerous Listers have noted in this thread, and elsewhere, it's a huge mess, with lots of blame to spread around.

Posted on: 12/6 7:34
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
#19
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Interesting string about an intractable issue...

Dolomiti says the state is legally obligated to pay that money.... and that's right, but allow me to finish that sentence so it's abundantly clear: The state is legally obligated to pay that money BY FURTHER INCREASING TAXES ON THE TAXPAYERS OF NEW JERSEY. That's the only way the state can get money. And, just in case you haven't noticed, we already pay the highest property taxes, among the highest income and sales taxes, have the most under-funded pension, and second lowest credit rating of any state in the country.

Now that we've established all this money is coming from NJ taxpayers recall the amount needed, $160 billion, is growing each day so we need to address a second, related issue. JCman8 says “the state will eventually declare bankruptcy...” Well that's not quite correct. States can't “legally” go bankrupt. “Legally” all states can do to meet their obligations is raise taxes. What I think was meant is that there simply isn't enough money available to make good on the promises.

What next then.... Perhaps NJ's long suffering tax-payers could turn to the Feds for a hand out.... Imagine that, red states propping up the pensions of blue states public workers. I don't give that much chance.... It just doesn't look good at all.

My suggestion: leave the state – thousands have already. If you must stay, and own a place, sell it NOW and rent instead. That way any value it has today is preserved. Ask yourself, how attractive is NJ real estate going to be in a few years time under any plausible scenario – pensions paid or not. And don't worry about rents going up. With all those people leaving to escape the income, property and sales taxes, there will be plenty of apartments. You just need to accept that you'll pay punitive taxes as a NJ resident to fund somebody else's pension.

Bottom line: start planning your escape strategies now people, because it's going to get very ugly before it's all over. No matter which way you look at it, or who is to blame, we're just about out of other people's money.

Posted on: 12/5 12:00
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Re: Battle against the "Bayonne Box" in The Heights
#20
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Quote:

MDM wrote:
There is a lot of demand for say a 2 bedroom at $1,200, but it is impossible to offer something in that price range when you can only build 2 units on a 25' x 100' lot.


Aside current zoning rules, don't overlook the impact of fire code requirements on new construction design. Installation costs for fire code requirements add up VERY quickly, with on-going expenses as well.

Anything more than 2-family, and even certain 2-family buildings, need sprinkler systems. If mains pressure is insufficient a pump may be required, adding to costs.... The on going costs are for central monitoring, back-flow preventer inspections / certification, maintenance, yearly registration fees to JC Bureau of Fire Prevention, Fire Department inspections, and so on.

The impact of these requirements is very substantial in money, time and headaches. For a small building, 3 or 4-family, the economics are marginal – too few apartments to share the additional costs.... So even if zoning rules are changed I can't see 3- or 4-family buildings becoming the design of choice for those lots, replacing 2-family structures, anytime soon.

Fire code requirements need to be simplified for new construction 3 and 4-family buildings to be economically viable. That is done at the State level, beyond direct control of the City. And it's the opposite of what the Fire Prevention industry thinks we need. They want sprinklers mandated for everything, including single family homes. There's a good deal of money at stake so expect a big fight before any changes.

Posted on: 2016/11/23 19:44
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Re: Vote No for 2 city questions
#21
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Mr. Mayor, City Council,

WHAT THE....!! You want me to vote yes, so I can pay even more tax? Are you crazy...?! I'll definitely be voting NO.

Why don't you ask me again after you collect this extra tax from all those developers with 25 and 30 year abatements you hand out. You said something about it being "pennies a week" and for "a good purpose." That being the case it won't be difficult for your developer friends to pay it as well.

Check in with me again after you've made some progress in getting EVERYONE to pay.


Posted on: 2016/11/5 7:39
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Re: Trees for the future....
#22
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BE WARNED. The JCIA / DPW uses street trees as a revenue raising opportunity.

I've lived in DTJC over 15 years, dutifully tending a tree that is on City property in front of my house. It's a lovely Bradford pear, a beautiful tree, although the roots do raise the sidewalk some. I clean up around the tree, weed when needed and trim the suckers that shoot up each year. Have done so for 15 years.

Last year, without any initial request or warning, the City fined me before I had an opportunity to trim the suckers. And before you ask, no they weren't obstructing the sidewalk in any way. Recall I've cared for this tree for 15 years. In all that time I've never seen a City employee go anywhere near the tree.

I called the JCIA, spoke with the Inspector and explained how I care for the tree year in and out. I very respectfully suggested, under the circumstances, they consider issuing a warning rather than a fine. I was bluntly informed “we don't issue warnings.”

I'm done. I will NEVER plant another tree in Jersey City on the sidewalk where the JCIA or DPW staff can use it as an excuse to extract a fine.

Posted on: 2016/10/29 13:31
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#23
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itgirl's post made me wonder who is doing what without permits over on Bentley. I trust the City's inspectors go and check things out.

Hmm... interesting case.

The City already permitted the complete demolition of an historic building in the new district. That demolition, occurring after the ordinance passed, was apparently OK. By coincidence, in a stroke of remarkably good timing, the application for the demolition was submitted just before before passage of the new ordinance. See user1111's post #63 below in this thread, and also: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ue_tears_down_buildi.html

So, what surprised me is that the suit has no argument related to the City's powers in respect of historic preservation. The NJ enabling legislation (“MLUL”) is clear in that it permits Cities to regulate “historic preservation and conservation”. Those are the words from the legislation, thus, it is those activities the City can regulate, at least in respect of a matter like this. Implicit in the meaning of the words “historic preservation” is the idea that something from the past still exists today to be preserved. Put another way, if it's not there now, then there's nothing to “preserve.”

So, if the siding this guy removed from his house wasn't the original historic siding then it's over-reach by the City to demand he “re-create” the historic wood siding for the house. They would be acting beyond their legal authority - “ultra vires” - because there isn't anything historic to preserve. However, if the siding he removed was the original historic wood siding, then he's out of luck and will need to go to the huge expense of replacing it with “new” historic wood siding. Seems like a contradiction in terms, “new” historic siding.... Oh well.

Of course even when legislation limits the City's authority it doesn't always work like that in practice. In Jersey City here's how it actually goes down: The Historic Preservation Officer / Commission withhold permit approvals until a property owner gives them what they want, even when there's nothing historic left to preserve. There's nothing the HPC likes more than to spend other people's money, lots of it, on expensive “re-creations” of late 19th and early 20th century buildings.

In theory, homeowners could appeal, but that gets expensive and time-consuming. Oftentimes the path of least resistance is to comply with whatever the HPC demands. If a homeowner is broke and can't do what the HPC wants, then they can (must) sell and move – try living in a house you can't heat because of defective windows or siding you're not permitted to fix.... Now that makes me wonder if there isn't a “disparate impact” suit hiding in here someplace.... See: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1371_8m58.pdf *

I'd never buy in a historic district for reasons related to the above. The power the City has – not based in law, but practically speaking by denying permit applications – makes it very uncertain as to what work an owner will be permitted to undertake on a property and also drives up the costs considerably. Those long, historic wood widows are as much a $3,500 a piece!!


* In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the Court held that disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act. This allows plaintiffs to challenge housing laws and practices that have a discriminatory effect, even if there is no intent to discriminate.

Posted on: 2016/10/5 21:51
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Re: Fulop won't run for governor, will back Murphy, sources say
#24
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Hmm..... seems like a bunch of spin to me jerseymom. I am very curious to see what might happen next. Too many sudden announcements makes it look out of control imho. Could be nothing I'll grant, but my curiosity has been piqued by events of the past few days....

Posted on: 2016/10/3 22:47
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Re: Fulop won't run for governor, will back Murphy, sources say
#25
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User1111, thanks for posting the cartoon. I found Sheneman's accompanying remarks every bit as entertaining (if not more so) and I wouldn't want anyone to miss a good laugh....

Here you go folks:

Like a bottle rocket that fails to slip the surly bonds of Earth and instead skitters off the driveway and underneath a bush, such is the nascent gubernatorial candidacy of Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop.

A moment of silence for what might have been.
 
Earlier this week Mayor Fulop announced to an audience in the tens of people that he would neither seek or accept the Democratic nomination for governor of the great state of New Jersey. His stated reason for abandoning his once promising campaign is to avoid dragging the Democratic party into an ugly primary battle with opponents Phil Murphy and (probably) Senate President Steve Sweeney.

That's mighty kind of ya, Steve. Truly a magnanimous act.

The real reason he's not running is that he got caught up in the Bridgegate debacle and a bunch of other unsavory New Jersey political shenanigans like trading favors and awarding contracts to cronies.

He made his name dismantling a corrupt machine in Jersey City but it turns out he was only using it for parts.

The announcement certainly came as a blow to the several dozen people who could recognize him without a name tag.” 

Posted on: 2016/10/1 19:05
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Re: Fulop won't run for governor, will back Murphy, sources say
#26
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Quote:

Monroe wrote:
Brutal read for Fulop supporters.

http://www.njbiz.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar ... r-fall&template=mobileart


Did y'all see the Sheneman cartoon on NJ.com?

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2 ... n.html#incart_river_index

Best reflection on Fulop I've seen so far: “He made his name dismantling a corrupt machine in Jersey City but it turns out he was only using it for parts.”

Posted on: 2016/10/1 15:11
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Re: New Jersey and New York at war over replacing Port Authority Bus Terminal
#27
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I so concur - it is VERY discouraging. The figure I recall for the PATH extension to EWR was over a billion to go less than a mile on track that already exists.... And then there's the $4 billion cost of the "what were they thinking" WTC transit hub - described by none less than the former PA Executive director Pat Foye as a "symbol of excess".... Such a mess.

Posted on: 2016/8/12 15:59
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Re: New Jersey and New York at war over replacing Port Authority Bus Terminal
#28
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Wouldn't it be great to co-mingle PA's strong desire to get rid of PATH, NY's strong desire to get rid of the PA bus terminal, and the critical need for better transit, at a time of record low long-term borrowing costs into a single mega-plan to:

1. Extend the subway(s) across the Hudson river into NJ
2. Move the PA bus terminal into NJ next to the new subway line/s
3. Extend that subway further into NJ to allow removal of the overcrowded JSQ / HOB / 33rd line
4. Transfer “ownership” of the WTC line to the MTA – basically making it another subway line.

It could be that everyone gets something they want. The long-suffering, transit riding public gets the subway extended into NJ, with increased capacity to match demand. NYC gets rid of the mid-town PA bus terminal forever. Bus riders get a new terminal next to the new subway to get into NYC, and PA gets rid of PATH.

And how to pay for all this? PA getting rid of PATH saves them $400 million a year. Surely some of that saving could be used to pay interest on a bond issue to fund a portion of the work. Long-term interest rates are at record lows, so a couple of hundred million a year would go a long way. And just how much is that NYC real estate the PA bus terminal sits on worth...? It might pay for a good amount of the work. Maybe a modest $1 surcharge on trans-Hudson subway trips will sweeten the deal for the MTA. Some of the gas-tax increase that will eventually happen.... Dream on....

Posted on: 2016/8/12 15:09
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Re: Historic Preservation Overreach?
#29
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Here's my take on the HPO/HPC in Jersey City.

A lot of what the HPO/HPC demands is ultra vires. The enabling provisions in the MLUL are for “preservation” but the HPO/HPC demands “restoration” and “reconstruction” work. They get away with it because they have power over issuing approvals, and most people just give in or go away. The appeal process – first the Zoning Board then the Courts – is too expensive, cumbersome and time consuming, and the HPO/HPC knows it.

So in response to the OP's question, given how the HPO/HPC operates, it would come as no surprise to me if they are attempting to extend their reach into interior spaces of historic buildings. Per ordinance, every permit application (yes, including water heaters....) for work on a building in a historic district must first be signed off by the HPO. This provides plenty of opportunity for “regulatory creep.”

In general, with very few exceptions (for example, National Register listing) interiors in privately-owned historic buildings in NJ are beyond the HPO/HPC's grasp, provided the work has no effect on anything visible from a public right of way. However, I'm certain the limits of the enabling legislation won't stop the HPO/HPC once they get started. No, it will take a Court case. On the other side will be an army of “preservationists” determined to spend other people's money to “reconstruct” the late 1800's in an historically accurate manner – lead containing paint and all, no doubt.

For additional information, here are a few useful links: For a collection of some (not all...) of the relevant MLUL provisions see this download at: www.nj.gov/dep/hpo/3preserve/mlul_7_07.pdf and another a download at www.nj.gov/dep/hpo/hpo_article.pdf Additionally, a link to the State Historic Preservation Office: http://www.nj.gov/dep/hpo/ and download presentation about the NJ MLUL: www.preservationnj.org/site/Ex ... /pdfs/NJHistPreseMLUL.pdf

Brewster said it all in an earlier response: “Thank God I am not in a district...”

Good luck – you'll need it!

Posted on: 2016/7/25 20:15
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Re: Proposed Development at 8th Street/Division
#30
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Quote:

JCGuys wrote:
It's great these contaminated sites are being developed. DEP regulation require the soil to be remediated prior to residential development. Had it not been for the strength of our realty market, these sites may have remained contaminated for a very long time because there is no public funds for cleaning up, especially on private lands.


I understand you believe it's a "great idea these contaminated sites are being developed", but there's no way I'd ever live in a building over a site contaminated by gasoline.... And I wouldn't ask anyone else to either without letting them know about the history of that site on Newark and Division.

The developer was asked a series of questions by one of the Zoning Board members who is an environmental law attorney. The Zoning Board also spoke about long-term monitoring of the inside of the building, after construction. It sounded as though they're not certain they've removed all the hydrocarbon pollutant. It didn't do anything for my confidence in the effectiveness of the remediation efforts, notwithstanding DEP involvement. I wonder if the NJ DEP is any better than the Michigan DEP? You know those were the experts who tested the water in Flint for lead and said it was fine.

Oddly, when you go to the City web-site for the minutes of that meeting (Oct 29th, 2015) to see what transpired they're not available - the link takes you to the September minutes instead.

In any event, according to the public notice appearing November 5th, the application was ultimately approved “with conditions”. I wonder what those conditions might have been...? Would be on file with the City. And I'm still very curious what disclosure requirements apply for prospective renters / purchasers when the development is completed. When I have a spare moment I might do a little work trying to find more out. I'll post if I learn anything of interest, so stay tuned.

The whole thing makes me wonder about that part of downtown and just why it stayed so "under-developed." What is the history of land use there? So much of Jersey City has some history of industrial use at one point or other.

Posted on: 2016/2/15 20:14
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