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Fall 2010 Update from Councilman Fulop
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This Fall marks 350 years of history for our city. Founded as the City of Bergen in 1660, Jersey City is the oldest continuous European settlement in the state. Through the Revolutionary War, through many decades as a key industrial center, and through the ongoing changes that make this a place of incredible diversity and vibrancy, Jersey City has always been a vital American city.

I hope this newsletter finds you well. It is meant as a resource?a way to tell you what I am working on in the ward and what is happening in the city. As always, a lot is going on and a lot is at stake. I hope you?ll read on.

Should you have any questions about the topics covered in this update, or about things that are not covered, please shoot me an email and I will be happy to address them.



Section 1 ? Tax and budget issues
Section 2 ? Legislation
Section 3 ? Special Initiatives
Section 4 ? Infrastructure and streetscapes
Section 5 ? Traffic and street lights update
Section 6 ? Open & green space update
Section 7 ? General
Section 8 ? Crime & Safety
Section 9 ? Council Office


Tax Increase and Temporary Budget

On September 29, the city adopted a six-month budget that included a tax increase. The vote was 7 to 1 in favor, and I voted no. This temporary budget was necessary because Jersey City is making a transition from a fiscal year to a calendar year. In my view, a temporary budget represented an easy opportunity to keep taxes flat.

Unfortunately, the council and administration saw it as an opportunity to introduce yet another tax increase. The mayor and the council people from his team clearly don?t understand that people are near their breaking point on taxes.

Read more:

Jersey City council passes 6-month "transition" budget that will raise taxes

The overall budget situation looking forward remains challenging, and my sentiment is that the city can?t continue to indicate that these are tough times while also giving promotions and raises.

Jersey City mayor's penny pinchers are being nicely paid: Earl Morgan

Councilman Fulop calls for restructuring after 5 firefighters promoted

Fulop's rebuttal letter: Jersey City Fire Chief presents a false choice

Property Tax Appeals

If you are a homeowner, you should be aware that there is a process for appealing your property taxes should you feel the assessed value of your property is too high.
Every January, homeowners receive a postcard with information about the assessed value of their homes. Property taxes for the year will be based on that number. Forms and instructions for filing an appeal can be obtained from the Hudson County Board of Taxation, located on the third floor of 257 Cornelison Avenue in Jersey City.
The deadline for 2011 property tax appeals is April 1, 2011.


We pride ourselves on leading the charge on quality-of-life improvements by sponsoring and passing more legislation in this area than any other council office. Council people do not have direct input on city personnel issues or resource deployment, but I focus intently on quality-of-life issues via constituent services and legislation.

Elimination of Healthcare "Aggregation" for Municipal Employees

I never stop being amazed at how disconnected the practices of municipal government can be from fiscal responsibility. At the last council meeting, I sponsored a change to the long-standing city practice known as aggregation of health benefits.

The city provides lifetime health benefits to employees (and often their spouses) who retire after completing 25 years of municipal service. If you think that means they have to have worked for Jersey City for all of that period, it doesn?t. That?s aggregation: employees need only to finish their careers in Jersey City to receive this extraordinarily valuable taxpayer-funded benefit. They can work 20 or more years in other cities and merely cap off their careers here, and Jersey City taxpayers will pick up the tab.

Clearly, entitlements like this need to be revisited. Under the change that I have proposed, the city will take the most conservative and highest thresholds for future employees to receive this benefit. I think it only makes sense.

Jersey City council eyes limiting health benefits for future municipal employees

Food Truck Legislation

Earlier this year, the city employee who was responsible for issuing vendor permits for food trucks was arrested and charged with selling hundreds of illegal permits over the years. This glut of permits has created a dramatic increase in the number of street vendors, which has in turn caused territorial conflicts between food trucks as well as between food trucks and bricks-and-mortar businesses. I am leading a committee with the city?s Commerce Division, the mayor?s office, and fellow council members to reform the ordinance governing food trucks.

My proposal, which I hope will attract support, will implement a monthly fee for food trucks. That will put the trucks on a level playing field with businesses that have more conventional cost structures. However, the food truck fees will be 100% reimbursable at the end of three years should the vendors open a storefront in Jersey City. The objective is to encourage the transition into vacant storefronts in the various districts.

The council hopes to have the legislation by the end of November. Furthermore, we will recommend to the administration changes to how, and by whom, fees are handled.

Entertainment Ordinance

In the next month, council and the administration will begin the process of considering changes to the city?s entertainment ordinance. Our office is encouraging involvement from stakeholders in the community. Should you wish to participate in the process, please email our office at

Reusable bags ordinance

At the October 27 council meeting, I introduced an ordinance that could change the way consumers shop in Jersey City. Basically, this ordinance will phase out the use of virgin paper and plastic one-time-use bags at large supermarkets and retail chain stores. The goal of the legislation is to encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers in order to minimize the impact of disposable bags on our environmental and waste management systems.


Our city is full of community initiatives undertaken by citizens who care deeply about their neighbors. Below are postings from several individuals and groups.
If you have a special initiative, group, or meeting that you would like us to know about, please contact us at

Free Jersey City Public Library
Residents and users of our library system should be aware of two wonderful initiatives in which they can participate.
The first is an opportunity to donate directly to the Library through three Amazon wish lists set up for the Book mobile, juvenille and adult reading sections.
When purchasing for the holidays, please take a moment to consider donating to your local library by going to, Library's Amazon Wish Lists
The Library?s digital collection:
Using your library card, you have access to multi-media downloads for your home computer or mobile device including cell phones, laptops, and mp3 players. Check out books, music, and more at your convenience.
Don?t have a card, sign up for one now!
You can follow what is happening at your local branch or at the Library in general by joining their Facebook Page or following them on Twitter.

Farms In The City - Know Food, Know Freedom

Farms in the City (FITC) is a grassroots initiative run by The Jersey City Green Team. The Green team is a combination of five groups: Washington Park Association , Jersey City Food Coop, Riverview Community Gardens, Greater Good Giving, and Jersey City Green Map.
The objective of FITC is to create an urban agriculture/food access document and action plan that is realistic and easy to implement and empowers citizens to take action toward environmentally beneficial projects in Jersey City. The group focuses on the many aspects of what sustainability and the "greening" of Jersey City means.

If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, through which people and organizations can connect to collaborate on and promote activities related to open space creation and conservation, gardening, food security, and ecology in our community, please contact Gillian Allen at 646-388-1825 or or go to Jersey City Green Team.

Gas Pipeline Group

Spectra Energy Pipeline Status Update: The mayor has legally declared his intent to intervene in December, when Spectra Energy files its formal application to run a natural-gas pipeline through Jersey City. We need EVERYONE to call Governor Christie?s office at (609) 292-6000 to demand that the governor instruct the New Jersey Attorney General to declare now to intervene like our mayor. Only intervenors have legal standing and may sue in Federal Court to have Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rulings overturned. The Connecticut Attorney General sued FERC successfully in 2007.
If allowed to move forward, this gas pipeline threatens our health, our property values, future jobs and development in the area. You can join the cause and find out what you can do to safeguard your community at No Gas Pipeline.

You can read more here:
Drawing the line on pipeline

Local Pols Line Up Against Gas Pipeline as Public Meetings Get Underway

Texas company courts property owners to construct natural gas pipeline in Jersey City, Bayonne

Liberty Humane Society

After a few difficult months, LHS has made a remarkable turnaround for improving the shelter and the lives of the animals under its care. Since August, a new board and a revitalized staff have rescued hundreds of abandoned dogs and cats, instituted numerous vaccination protocols, and launched a successful capital campaign for a new facility. This December, LHS expects to re-open its popular Wellness Clinic, run by Dr. Cindy Thornton, that will offer low-cost vaccinations, nail clipping, micro-chipping, and spay/neutering services for the pets of all Jersey City residents.

LHS could use your help. To donate, adopt, foster, or volunteer, please go to:

Make My City

Make My City week was such a success last July that it's happening again this fall. From November 15 through 21, some of the city's best independent businesses will be offering great discounts and holding special events. The organizers? goal: To challenge all of us to spend our money only in Jersey City for seven full days, and in the process discover the colorful wealth of independent businesses just outside our door. While the initiative is currently focused on the Downtown area, we hope that Make My City will become a citywide event. If you operate a business and would like to participate, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Cara Birnbaum ( ). Meanwhile, please attend the kick-off party at LITM on Monday, November 15, from 7 pm to 10 pm.

This time around, Make My City is partnering up with Rising Tide Capital's Global Entrepreneurship Week, which has its own full schedule of workshops and events especially for business owners.



Phase One and Two Streetscape Project - from Coles to Grove:

This project is substantially completed. The contractor is currently fixing a few smaller items and will be replacing any of the sidewalks with large cracking.

Phase Three Streetscape Project - from Coles to Summit Avenue:
Phase three of the project is a continuation of the Newark Avenue phase 1 and 2 project.

Phase 3 was set to start this month. However, with winter shut down fast approaching the major construction will begin this coming spring and continue through the summer of 2011.

Monmouth to Warren Street:

Zuccaro Contractor has finished demolition of existing curb and sidewalk from the westerly (turnpike end) and is completing construction of new curb, sidewalk and underground utilities simultaneously. Once the curb and sidewalks are completed, paving will begin. The new traffic signals have been installed. Paving, with good weather, will be completed by Christmas.

The City is continuing with its application for Federal Stimulus money to fund the extension of Jersey Avenue over Mill Creek and to improvement the Combine-Sewer-Outfall at the location. We expect a decision by January of 2011.

Traffic Lights:
9th & Marin ? The intersection is currently under design.

Bay & Washington ? The intersection is currently under design.

Morgan & Washington ? The intersection is currently under design.

Signals at Grand St. & Center St.; Montgomery St. & Warren St.; Columbus Dr. & Warren St. have been completed.
*While these are the same time frames reported in our last newsletter, the contractor scheduled to construct these lights went bankrupt. The bidding process had to be redone and a new contractor hired to complete the work. This has unfortunately resulted in 3-6 month delay.

Street Lamps:
Flood lights on Grove St. under the overpass between 18th St. and the Hoboken City line and under the overpass on Marin Blvd between 18th St. and the Hoboken City line have been requested to illuminate the area for pedestrian safety. These are scheduled to be installed by end of November 2010 by the Department of Public Works (DPW).

There is a street light being installed at 120 Coles St.


1st Street Park Update
The Village Neighborhood Association (VNA), in collaboration with the Jersey City Parks Coalition, has received the highly sought after recommendation from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund and County Executive Tom DeGise for $295,000 of matching funds for the redevelopment of the Village Park on First Street in the Village section of Downtown Jersey City.

Throughout last winter and spring, members of the VNA, The Jersey City Parks Coalition, and Future Green Studios painstakingly completed the phone-book-sized grant application. On April 8, designer David Seiter (Future Green Studio), Jim Ayers (vice president of the VNA), Michele La Monica-Egar (Jersey City Parks Coalition), and VNA president Rob Crow pitched their formal presentation to the Hudson County Board of Trustees.

The Village Park was one of 17 projects to be awarded this endorsement. With the passage of this introductory resolution, the final public hearing on these awards was scheduled for the October 28 Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting. There is more work to be done and VNA will be reaching out to residents for their support.

The future of open space $6.5 million expected to fund 17 projects this year Read more: Hudson Reporter - The future of open space 6 5 million expected to fund 17 projects this year

6th Street Embankment

The Embankment, running six blocks down 6th Street, represents a unique opportunity for Jersey City to capitalize on an open space within the city. For nearly 10 years, the Embankment Preservation Coalition (EPC) has fought tirelessly to preserve the space and legally gain the right to transform it into a world-class elevated park. The EPC has secured nearly $7 million in grants for acquisition of the property and devoted countless hours of community organizing to this cause. The past few months have both seen progress and setbacks. In midsummer, the city council approved bonding of $7 million to acquire the property. The approval represents a commitment and willingness on the part of the city to set aside funds and pursue the property. These funds are almost entirely reimbursable, thanks to the hard work of the EPC.

Jersey City council introduces bond to buy Sixth Street Embankment

Inversely, in late September the city suffered a setback in a ruling at the U.S District court questioning the city?s legal standing.

Judge Rules Against Jersey City and Embankment Coalition in Federal Case

Now more than ever, continued community support and strength is vital. If you have are not currently signed up for updates from the EPC, please send an email to

Hamilton Park

The renovation of Hamilton Park has been a tremendous success for the community. This is now a showcase space?one that is being maintained in a way that is a real testament to the values and spirit of the people of Downtown Jersey City. Hamilton Park resident Diane Webber organizes a group of dozens of volunteers who keep the park clean. Each volunteer commits to roughly two 30-minute shifts per month. Volunteers empty overflowing trash bins (placing bags at the park entrances for collection), replace trash bags, and do a general pickup of garbage throughout the park, in particular the basketball and children's play areas, which are generally the hardest hit. This is a true example of people coming together to make their city better. Should you wish to join, please email Diane at

Van Vorst Park

Despite a very dry summer, our park saw one of the best flowering seasons. Friends of Van Vorst Park (FVVP) is currently working on replacing the turf in the two pet free lawns.

They are asking for more people to get involved in this all-volunteer park, to help with its maintenance and continued improvement; getting more parents involved by suggesting events that can be held for children and helping to pull them together. They are always hoping for donations which are used for continued improvements.

In addition, FVVP and DPW are working together to provide a covered shelter over the circular bench in the dog run and with the Architecture Division to utilize two grants applied through the Jersey City Parks Coalition for a sprayground adjacent to the existing playground.

A fall clean up will be announced shortly, so watch the park bulletin boards for more information.

Wayne Street Park

Angel Ramos Park has historically had problems with loitering and drug activity. Over the past few months, our office has made an effort, in conjunction with the police, to encourage more use of the park by residents and to eliminate aspects of the park that were problematic.
Our office, together with residents from the Van Vorst Neighborhood Association and the Department of Recreation, decided to bring more children?s activities to the park. The first initiative, which has been operating this fall, is a free soccer clinic for kids ages 5 through 7. Kids work with a licensed soccer coach every Wednesday from 3:30 pm to 5 pm. The program runs through Wednesday, November 17. Kids just need to bring a size 3 ball and water. They must wear sneakers and shin guards. For more information please call our office at 201-547-5135.


Leaf bag collection:

Leaf bags are free with proof of residency and can be picked up downtown on the follow Saturdays:

November 20th @ Hamilton Park
December 11th @ Van Vorst Park

For more additional information go to leaf collection nov-dec.pdf

Leaf Bags will also be distributed from October 4, 2010 through December 17, 2010 at the following Municipal Offices:

Jersey City Incinerator Authority
501 Route 440

Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

City Hall
Mayor's Action Bureau
280 Grove St.

Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Block Watch
Friday Nov 12th a downtown wide block watch and training session will meet at 7:30 p.m. in Enos Jones Park with our East District Captain. They will patrol along Monmouth Street, Bright Street, Wayne Street, Grove Street, and Erie Street. In addition, they will be meeting up with various block watches along the way.
Join in on any meet up point or walk the whole patrol. For more information email the Downtown Crime Watch @ Learn how to report suspicious activity; how to make calls with block watcher Id and noting operator numbers; as well as sign up for JCPD block watch training. This training is available to all blocks citywide.

Internships and volunteer opportunities: Our office is always grateful to the wonderful interns and volunteers we have had. If you or someone you know is interested in an internship or independent study, or just wants to volunteer for the summer, please contact us as soon as possible at

Meet & Greets: Meeting with constituents is something I really enjoy. Issues are always changing and the city is facing many challenges. Lately, people have been asking me to come speak to small groups of interested citizens. If would like to host a meet-and-greet, feel free to email me at

In closing I would like to once again say thank you for your continued support and the various ways you contribute to your community.

Councilman Steven Fulop and Staff

Posted on: 2010/11/9 21:23

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