This past Mother’s Day, I enjoyed walking along the Hudson River with my mother-in-law, and my wife and children enjoying our family holiday, along with many other Hoboken families, taking in our waterfront parks and spectacular NYC views, celebrating Mother’s Day and appreciating our special city on a beautiful spring day.
I was thinking how lucky we are to live in such a great community, when I read Councilwoman Terry Castellano’s letter questioning what has changed for the better with Dawn Zimmer as our Mayor.
Here's a few important things Terry seems to have forgotten:
Today the Mayor’s administration presents fully-funded on time budgets to the City Council for approval, and reduced our tax levy by almost 10 percent since taking office.
Four years ago, a State Fiscal Monitor ran the City's finances and imposed an 80 percent municipal tax increase because Mayor Roberts’ administration overspent the budget by over $10 million, while selling off City assets to pay operating expenses.
Today we have an independently owned and operated Hoboken University Medical Center providing us with quality health care and employing hundreds of Hobokenites, with no related liabilities on the City's books.
Four years ago, the City owned the Hospital, as it teetered on the brink of financial collapse, with taxpayers on the hook for almost $100 million should the Hospital fail, with both the future of the hospital, and our fiscal solvency in peril.
In October, Mayor Zimmer appeared on CNN Live with Anderson Cooper in the midst of Hurricane Sandy's devastation, driving home the need for state and federal resources in Hoboken. Mayor Zimmer's leadership led to:
- the national guard establishing a 24/7 operation center out of City Hall,
- PSE&G establishing a 24/7 emergency operation center a block from City Hall,
- FEMA operating a help center for residents a block from City Hall
This all happened before Sandy's floodwaters even receded. Mayor Zimmer slept in her office in City Hall the week Sandy struck, helping us every way she could – even speaking on the phone with President Obama, letting him know Hoboken's needs, telling Washington we needed mobile backup generators so the Hoboken Housing Authority could be powered up. Her tireless efforts accelerated the restoration of Hoboken's power long before other affected communities, and accelerated aid to thousands of Hobokenites in their darkest hour.
Four years ago, Mayor Cammarano appeared on CNN in handcuffs, a national symbol of corruption in Hudson County, after the FBI arrested him on federal charges, before he was sent off to federal prison, just as Mayor Anthony Russo went to prison on federal corruption charges, a few years earlier.
Councilwoman Castellano is correct that Hoboken's residents are very intelligent. When they think about where we have come in four years, I think they will agree that our City, and its government, has changed for the better.