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Re: Jersey City Budget
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Quote:

Yvonne wrote:
However, you missed the point, the budget process happened after most of the money was spent.


I wasn't addressing any issues about the way the city operates its budgets, just correcting misinformation about whether or not the budget had been "passed."

That was all.

Posted on: 2009/3/12 22:00
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Re: Jersey City Budget
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I have been to many budget hearings. If there is another budget hearing the public can speak on the new admendments to the budget. Mr. Byrne, the city clerk will not allow you to speak on the general budget. This process happened because, the tax collector needs to advertise delinquent taxes on property in the newspapers. However, you missed the point, the budget process happened after most of the money was spent. Under the Faulkner Act, which our city adopted in the early 1960's, the mayor runs the city and the council votes on budget matters. The council is not doing its job if the money is already spent.
Yvonne

Posted on: 2009/3/12 21:43
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Re: Jersey City Budget
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Yvonne wrote:
Yesterday, the city council passed the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. The budget should have been in placed last July 1, 2008 but as usual the money is already spent and the council must "rubber stamp" the approval of the budget.


Correction there: The city did NOT pass the FY09 budget last night. They opened -- and closed -- public comment on it.

It will be voted on as a second-read ordinance at the next council meeting (3/25), and if approved, will then be "passed."

Posted on: 2009/3/12 20:52
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Jersey City Budget
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Yesterday, the city council passed the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. The budget should have been in placed last July 1, 2008 but as usual the money is already spent and the council must "rubber stamp" the approval of the budget.
Jersey City was on a calendar year (January to December) but JC changed in 1991 to a fiscal year and bonded $128.9 Million called the fiscal year adjustment for missing state aid. We are still paying millions every year on that fiscal year gimmick.
The idea of having a fiscal year instead of a calendar year was to match the state calendar so Jersey City would know how much money it would receive from the state. It never happened.
On Wednesday, our government approved a budget without fully funding the pension. The Healy administration is hoping Trenton will pass legislation that will allow municipalities to fund 50% of pension obligation for this fiscal year, meaning $ 14.8 Million is missing from the budget. What happens it Trenton does not pass this legislation? Former Governor Whitman also played with the pension obligations and many towns and county governments were hurt by the process. Many legislators in Trenton will put up a fight to stop this gimmick.
The city is hoping to pay this $14.8 million in bonds payable over fifteen years, but my question is how will the city fund the pension obligations next year?
What is Plan B, if Trenton stops this gimmick? By the way, fiscal year 2009-2010 is already in a $20 Million hole. Due to the slow economy, the pre-payments of abatements are drying up and other one-shot deals that are in this budget will not be available next year? Jersey City is heading in the same direction as Hoboken and West New York.
Yvonne

Posted on: 2009/3/12 19:04
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Are you suggesting that because a newspaper reports the faults of an incumbent that they are biased in favor of a challenger? The newspaper is supposed to report news. They cannot justifiably be accused of bias one way or another because they report the news that the candidate provides them with. Healy is an extreme case for proviing them with bad news. Lets recap:
1) Bradley Beach incident
2) Tax increases
3) Naked photos
4) Crime increases
5) Municipal Court Scandal
6) Nepotism
7) Drunkenness in administration
8) Lack of accountability
9) Lawsuits against city
10) Eminent domain issues (Golden Cicada/Flamingo)
Thats just off the top of my head. Perhaps you could mention some downsides to Manzo or Smith.Quote:

Charon wrote:
The Jersey Journal is biased in favor of Manzo. Healy is not perfect, but he is far better than Smith or Manzo. And Levin, though well meaning, simply has no experience in government.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 12:46
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Quote:

Charon wrote:
The Jersey Journal is biased in favor of Manzo. Healy is not perfect, but he is far better than Smith or Manzo. And Levin, though well meaning, simply has no experience in government.


The Jersey Journal is simply pointing out the obvious.What motivation would the local newspaper have to criticize the
well funded incumbent without good cause?

I respect your right to favor one candidate over another but
Healy would certainly not be my preference or the preference of many of my fellow friends/property owners especially with the huge last quarter property tax increases
levied by his administration.

As far as Healy being far better than Manzo or Smith,both accomplished state legislators,that is your opinion and not proven by his record.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 6:53
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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What is wrong with viewing a Mayor's tax position with a healthy dose of skepticism especially when Jersey City property owners have experienced what most people would characterize as a huge quarterly tax increase?This 28 percent or so tax increase is just the latest tax increase since Healy took office.I am not a mathematician but adding this 28 percent tax increase onto previous
increases during Healy's time in office would seem to be a inordinate increase in property taxes owed by homeowners.A valued principle of our country is the ability of the citizenry to hold elected officials accountable for their performance and I see no sour grapes as you comment.The only thing sour here is this ridiculous 28 percent plus tax increase.

As for State Senator Sandra Cunningham and the comments you say she has made being sour grapes---well
maybe she was on to something and had a valid reason for her comments!

Posted on: 2009/2/16 6:18
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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What I am saying is that when Business administrator O'Reilly is defending the Mayor's tax position, we should view his thoughts with caution and with a grain of salt.


O'Reilly is a great Business Administrator. As for his brother, your comments sound like the same sour grapes that came from Sandy Cunningham.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 3:55
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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The Jersey Journal is biased in favor of Manzo. Healy is not perfect, but he is far better than Smith or Manzo. And Levin, though well meaning, simply has no experience in government.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 3:48
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Ok, so it is an election year and the politicians are pulling budget shenanigans, we may not pay more this year? but these deferrals will add up to property tax raises in the future.


Actually it's even more insidious. The state lets municipalities defer their pension obligations to the already bankrupt state pension fund. (by bankrupt i mean far more obligations than assets in the fund).

When time comes to find the money to pay the super-fringed retired government 'workers' the state can get the money from other sources. So it rams another huge state income tax burden on the real workers and lets the municipalities off for free.

This maneuver benefits the municipalities with huge patronage schemes like jersey city, and punishes the efficient municipalities that have less workers in the fund and more private sector jobs in their towns.

State legislators from responsible districts are predictably having a cow over this (again) . . .

http://www.politickernj.com/johngorma ... -review-pension-deferrals

. . . but nothing will happen. NJ is controlled by the patronage cities and their guv.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 1:23
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Ok, so it is an election year and the politicians are pulling budget shenanigans, we may not pay more this year? but these deferrals will add up to property tax raises in the future.




Jersey Journal Editorial

Pension deferral is budget's big 'if'

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Monday, the Jersey City City Council introduced a nearly half-billion-dollar budget by an 8-0 vote. This newspaper must assume the unanimous vote was out of courtesy because as it stands, this fiscal year budget that ends June 30 may bring future fiscal problems.

This $460 million spending plan is on its face illegal, if approved. The introduced budget makes a big assumption - and municipalities can not legally make such a huge supposition.

City officials took into account a deferral of half its pension funding obligations for the year. By excluding payments into pension accounts, Jersey City hopes to save nearly $15 million.

There is one problem. The state Legislature has yet to approve a bill under consideration that would allow municipalities to defer those pension payments. This is no small oversight.

The city is anxious to avoid the multimillion-dollar obligation, which would translate into a tax increase that would sting in an election year.

Still, it is hard to believe the city is acting unilaterally. Can local officials believe that the state would OK the city's budget with a pension deferral as a component of the calculations?

The measure in Trenton faces stiff opposition by legislators who believe the already underfunded public employees pension system has been hurt by recent ill-advised state investments. More investment losses are expected as the national economy and Wall Street continue to stagger. Critics rightfully charge that Gov. Jon Corzine's plan to allow municipalities to not pay a half-billion dollars into pension accounts over a three-year period could put the system in danger of collapsing.

Jersey City officials should also be aware that Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, is against the bill. Here in Hudson County, veteran Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-North Bergen, is a big opponent of the measure and Jersey City should take any promises by the state administration that Sacco will agree with the bill with a big grain of salt.

Also lined up against the proposal are the state's police and fire unions, a formidable lobby.

Jersey City should come up with a more realistic budget - one that should not rely on one-shot deals or major cuts in social programs. Officials should accept that the use of smoke and mirrors is becoming too obvious.

Posted on: 2009/2/15 19:13
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Please, do you really want us to take what Business administrator Brian O'Rielly says as gospel when it comes to Jersey City taxes? BA O'Reilly, no matter how well intentioned, works at the pleasure of Mayor Healy. It should also be noted that Mr. O'Reilly's brother was hired by Mayor Healy as the Chief of the Jersey City Fire Dept. This was done only after Mayor Healy intervened with the New Jersey department Of Personnel and requested that they waive the requirement that Chief O'Reilly complete a year in service in his previous rank which Chief O'reilly had not yet finished.

From what I have read, Fire Chief O'Reilly did come out first in the testing process administered by the Department of Personnel, but this does not take away from the fact that Mayor Healy intervened with a state agency on behalf of his busines administrators (politically appointed) brother. In no way am I implying that O'Reilly is not a good Fire Chief or a good appointment by Mayor Healy. He may be doing a great job. What I am saying is that when Business administrator O'Reilly is defending the Mayor's tax position, we should view his thoughts with caution and with a grain of salt.

Posted on: 2009/2/15 14:00
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Jersey Journal Editorial
IN OUR OPINION

What can Healy say about city?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
L ater this month, it is expected that Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy will deliver a State of the City speech. There has been no announcement that he will, but he did one last year late in February and, after all, this is an election year.

It will be his most important speech of his political career. The only question is whether he sees the same city that his constituents view every day.

Yesterday, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark gave his report on his municipality. Any positive movement was a big step for a city that once seemed desolate and unmanageable.

Jersey City's neighbor has improved its economic condition, even though it still has one of the highest urban employment rates in the state during a national recession. Crime is down but still exists. Yet, in that city, local residents are developing pride in the administration's achievements.

But is it all true? Obviously, they have a long way to go, but Newark residents say they see life getting better in their city.

In his last State of the City address, Healy called public safety his "number one issue" in Jersey City. The mayor also cited the December 2007 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent - compared to 8.2 percent in January 2004 - as proof of job creation in the city. He wants more open spaces.

While the mayor said the municipal tax rate remained stable, Downtown Councilman Fulop charged at the time that property taxes have increased 35 percent in the last three years under Healy.

Like residents in Newark, Jersey City's people know how well this administration is serving them.

The latest quarterly tax bill is high.The public does not trust city crime statistics. The recession and accompanying collapse of investment firms have not helped the city's unemployment picture. The Powerhouse Arts district vision is blurred,there is not a great deal of affordable housing being constructed, and the Journal Square development is stalled.

It would seem that Mayor Healy has a difficult speech writing task ahead of him. All the people want to know is whether there is any light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted on: 2009/2/12 18:25
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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is the budget posted online?

Posted on: 2009/2/11 17:43
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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NO PROPERTY TAX INCREASE!

Introduced budget won't hurt, city told

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

In an 8-0 vote, the Jersey City City Council introduced a $460.2 million municipal budget Monday night for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

But as introduced, the spending plan - which will now undergo a department-by-department review - comes with a $855,568 hike in the amount of taxes that must be raised locally, city officials said.

Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly predicted yesterday that by the time the budget process is over, city officials will have found ways to cut much of the $855,658 "shortfall" from the spending plan, which will translate to a owner of a property assessed at $100,000 paying just $3 more in taxes for the year.

But even if the shortfall isn't addressed, local taxpayers with houses assessed at $100,000 would pay only $10 more for the year, he said.


The $460.2 million budget is $3.7 million less than last year's introduced budget of $463.9 million. It includes a levy of $152.1 million to be raised by local property taxes, $855,568 more than last year's levy.

Revenue from tax-abated properties is up $9 million from the previous fiscal year, O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly said the introduced spending plan assumes the New Jersey Legislature will pass a bill now under consideration that allows the deferral of pension payments, which amounts to an anticipated savings of $14.8 million.

Councilwoman Willie Flood was absent Monday night.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for March 11, at 6 p.m., at City Hall, 280 Grove St.

Posted on: 2009/2/11 14:33
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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Don't expect load will lighten later
Why the mystery about tax bite?
Friday, February 06, 2009
T he headline on an article in this newspaper on Monday advised: "Property tax bills not as bad as you think."

Really?

Advertisement





Jersey City property owners recently received quarterly tax bills that are about 28 percent higher than the fall bills.

City officials said they expect to see lower bills go out later this year that should provide an annual rate that's not significantly higher than 2008. The January tax bills are 3.5 percent higher than a year ago. The estimated municipal tax levy for 2009 is $151 million, the same levy as last year, they say.

The officials explained that the January and April quarterly bills are usually higher and then the July and October bills lower the tax rate once the City Council passes the annual budget in the spring.

The question here is that if city officials truly know that the tax increases are bigger at first and will be lowered later, then why not spread it out equally for all quarters? Why put such a burden on taxpayers who have to deal with bills, mortgages and other expenses? They want to know what fixed costs they have.

Comparing a tax bill to a previous year to justify a tax increase is a facetious explanation. Each budget is different. And by the way, the city is acting as if its budget is on a calendar year. Jersey City operates on a state fiscal year, July 1 to June 30.

Although yet to be approved, this budget is already in its eighth month. What is coming that they do not already know?

Most local governments do a draft budget, a temporary spending plan, and send out bills based on this estimate. What Jersey City officials are trying to determine is how much state aid the city will receive. State municipal aid has been reduced every year and considering the state's economic problems, there will probably be no increase.

Last year's budget benefited from a multimillion-dollar lawsuit settlement with Honeywell International. Jersey City received $15 million to plug a 2007-2008 fiscal gap. The city is expected to get $10 million this year from Honeywell, but it is not enough to make a significant impact.

Even if it were, using one-shot deals to balance the budget is a fiscally irresponsible way to run a city.

Yes, the tax bills are as bad as you think.

Posted on: 2009/2/11 5:47
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year
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am I reading this correctly?

"O'Reilly also pointed out that the budget includes $14.8 million savings as the result of deferral in pension payments, which New Jersey municipalities pay into the state's pension system each year"

so in reality, they cut next to nothing and simply delayed making payments to already under funded pensions?

Please tell me I read that wrong or am confused!

Posted on: 2009/2/11 4:18
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year
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I'm glad the passed a budget, however a 3.3% decrease hardly seems like enough cutting. Property taxes are up 3.5% this year, where is the gap?

It would be nice if they could actually cut property taxes in times of continuing trouble for home owners.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 23:10
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Re: JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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So does this mean that property taxes will likely be the same as last year?

"JC council introduces $460.2M budget ... $15.7 million less than last year's"

Posted on: 2009/2/10 17:40
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JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late - but $15.7 million less than last year's
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JC council introduces $460.2M budget - seven months late

Ricardo Kaulessar
Hudson Reporter

The Jersey City City Council voted 8-0 to introduce the city's fiscal year 2009 budget at a special meeting Monday night.

The budget, introduced seven months into the fiscal year (which runs from July 1 of last year to June 30 this year), lists $460.2 million in appropriations, $15.7 million less than last year's budget.

The city's business admini strator, Brian O'Reilly, said while the budget was "untimely" it showed the effort of Mayor Jerramiah Healy and his administration put to give the city a balanced budget. He also said in the budget, $151.2 million will be raised by local property taxes (in other words, the tax levy), almost identical to the amount as in last year's budget.

Also, there is an $800,000 shortfall in this year's budget, which O'Reilly looks to remedy through cuts or increased revenues.

O'Reilly also pointed out that the budget includes $14.8 million savings as the result of deferral in pension payments, which New Jersey municipalities pay into the state's pension system each year.

O' Reilly said legislation pending in the State Legislature to allow municipalities to defer 50 percent of their pension payments for this year will pass in the next few weeks. Jersey City's share is $30 million, but if the legislation goes through, they can cut that amount for now.

O'Reilly also was confident that this year's budget will not close with a deficit. He said that each one has been balanced during his five years as the city's business administrator.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 15:40
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