HOBOKEN -- In another long council meeting that did not adjourn until approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, the Hoboken City Council voted to introduce the administration's $101.7 million budget, which they will now work with in budget workshops. The budget represents a tax decrease, administration officials have said.
The council also approved police union contracts, amended rent control, and voted to introduce, a $20 million parks ordinance.
The budget totals $101,721,865 and allows the city to keep a "surplus balance for bond rating" of approximately $5.1 million. Budget workshops are scheduled for March 9 and March 23 at City Hall. Before the budget is passed, the city is required by state law to hold a public hearing which cannot occur until 28 days after the budget has been introduced. No date has formally been announced for the public hearing.
Also at the meeting, the council voted unanimously to pass three changes to the city's controversial rent control ordinance. The changes will limit payments for rent overcharges to two years for tenants, allow for alternative documents to prove a vacancy by landlords seeking to implement a vacancy decontrol, and requires landlords to distribute a pamphlet outlining tenant’s rights and to obtain signatures from tenants whenever a change in rent price or tenancy occurs.
Also, in an unusual circumstance, Council President Beth Mason voted against her four council allies, becoming among the council majority to vote to introduce a $20 million park acquisition bond ordinance put forth by the administration of Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Opponents said they wanted more details on the proposed park space, but Mason said she agreed with the ordinance on first reading. It must go to a subsequent hearing and final vote.
For the complete story on all the happenings during the 6.5-hour meeting, pick up a copy of The Hoboken Reporter this weekend, and watch www.hudsonreporter.com for more on the controversies. - Ray Smith