Recently Mayor Healy brought to his constituents his elite plan of attack, concerning the escalated problem of illegal apartments in Jersey City. This ingenious, well thought, mapped out sketch of ineffectiveness and surrender is basically the standard operational procedure, and calling card of the Healy Administration. Their philosophy is plain, straight forwarded and uncomplicated, which is as long we can collect substantial revenue from these dwellings, then why not turn our heads and profit from them. Sounds good doesn’t it, but let’s evaluate before we start counting.
These unapproved dwellings are being justified to increase tax revenue. It’s absurd for a number of reasons. Does the Tax Collector’s Office have in their procession a pertinent, legitimate up to date list of all known illegal apartments presently in Jersey City to reassess the property and place an additional tax levy, on the owner?
If they decide to grant amnesty to these individuals, offering numerous perks and grandfathering them into the system, using the velvet hammer approach, what would be the anticipated percentage of anyone actually volunteering to pay an escalated property tax? Will the City’s building inspectors go to each and every Home, Multiple Dwelling, Store Front or Place of Business to verify that each one is up to code, with the correct number of legal apartments, I don’t think so?
The land lords who participated in adding additional living space to their property, without the proper permits and inspections are obviously well informed on the City’s inefficiencies. Most of them have been on easy street with the illegal supplemental rent for years. Chances are they will call the City’s bluff, without giving their hand away by holding their cards close to the vest.
This is not a new unique concept of human beings trying to save money by passing the bureaucratic burdens placed upon them, especially in repairing or improving their own possessions. If the governmental leeches were a little bit more compassionate to the property or business owner by simplifying and speeding up the renovation process, reducing the cost and number of permits, having timely inspections and quickly granting certificates of occupancies, it may have solved part of this predicament. Naturally there are always exceptions to the rule and some will never conform unless they are persuaded to do so. Alas, the damage has been done; which exceeded anyone’s expectations, and has reached epidemic proportions.
I’m no way advocating anyone to circumvent the law by condoning any illegitimate action. If these apartments are not up to code, they are a safety hazard, and a catastrophe waiting to happen. Some also have an excessive illegal amount of individuals occupying these rooms. They also affect their neighbors being so close in proximity to one another, everyone suffers. We must do more besides washing our hands of these dangerous conditions in the name of the almighty dollar. The City has no clue and definitely needs our input. What’s next? Taxing all the illegal driveways and carports, now that’s hitting the jackpot?
William P. Frasca
Jersey City, N.J.