A commenter has asked about this below in our breaking news item from earlier today. Luckily, Zimmer’s got a response. So here it is:
“STATEMENT FROM DAWN ZIMMER ON THE BUDGET VOTE
"Last night the Hoboken City Council passed the 2009 budget. I abstained because the council was not provided with the operational audits necessary to make significant cuts to the budget, there is no commitment from the administration to seriously reduce personnel costs as we begin labor union negotiations, and the certified audit that the budget was based on was not provided to the council.
“While I appreciate that the budget was honest, and not filled with budget gimmicks such as borrowing against the sale of the municipal garage to cover operating expenses, or abusive PILOT payments, it failed to make the cuts necessary to reduce the tax burden for Hoboken residents.
“Eighty percent of the operating budget includes personnel costs, including salary levels, staffing levels, and health care benefits. If we don’t address these costs, then we are simply not making the cuts necessary to lower taxes.
“For the last five months Ms. Tripodi has had officials from the State come and conduct an operational analysis of each department, including the Police and Fire departments. These operational audits, which I was long ago told revealed significant issues, were supposed to provide the council with the information that it needed to propose significant and responsible cuts. Even after I submitted an OPRA [Open Government Records Act] request, the information was not provided to the council.
“Going forward, we absolutely need this information so that we can makes cuts that reduce Hoboken's crushing tax burden and ensure that essential services are maintained."