Tripodi says: Taxes are down, but Zimmer should have released budget
Oct 28, 2009 | 4229 views | 5 5 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print

HOBOKEN--Judy Tripodi, Hoboken's state-appointed, council-approved fiscal monitor, said Wednesday that in Hoboken, taxes will be going down for residents this year. She wouldn't yet say how much they will drop.

The issue is significant in that political opponents of Hoboken Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer have charged that Zimmer is “hiding” the proposed budget until after election day, Nov. 3, so that people won’t realize that there is a tax increase. Tripodi says there is no increase.

But Tripodi did give life to another complaint from Zimmer’s opposition – that Zimmer, based on past campaign promises, should have released the rough draft of the budget by now.

Zimmer has been claiming that the release of the draft-form spending document would compromise ongoing labor negotiations between the city and its six unions (including police and fire unions).

But Wednesday, Tripodi said in an interview with the Reporter that releasing the budget would have no compromising effect on negotiations between the city and four of those six unions. The city has yet to engage in negotiations with the other two unions, she said.

The city is still doing some revenue analyses, so the document isn't ready to be formally introduced to the City Council, Tripodi acknowledged; four more weeks are needed. But in the meantime Tripodi doesn't see any problem with putting it out there.

She said the city has a plan for negotiations. She said that the accompanying costs "have been accounted for in the budget and can be changed” should negotiations change. "There's no hiding anything," Tripodi said. "We can't allow the budget to drag on waiting for negotiations."

Couldn't Tripodi herself just release the information as fiscal monitor?

"No. I can't release it to the council," she said. "It's the mayor’s budget."

Zimmer: Can't agree on negotiations

When presented with Tripodi's comments on Wednesday, Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer was taken aback. "Well, that's not what she said in the past,” Zimmer said.

In fact, Zimmer said she was advised by Tripodi and by the city’s attorneys not to release the budget. The budget - even in its draft form - must by law account entirely for whatever labor offer is on the table by the city, she said. So the document would potentially make the city's offer public.

Zimmer said that although she is not directly involved in the negotiations, she has been trying to impress her wishes about negotiations to Tripodi, who has not been receptive. "We are not in agreement on the union negotiations at all," Zimmer said, "I'm not comfortable with the numbers that are out there."

Zimmer said Tripodi has refused to brief the City Council on the status of the negotiations. "I asked her and asked her," Zimmer said.

Zimmer said many of the residents are feeling the economic crunch, and that municipal workers should share the burden.

"That has not been her position," Zimmer said. -- TJC

Comments
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Dawn Must Go!
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November 01, 2009
This story proves Dawn Zimmer is hiding the budget. Zimmer doesn't deserve a full term. She got us into this mess and she can't get us out.
BokenBart
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November 01, 2009
The Reporter got this story right the first time and Zimmer got on the horn with her party bosses to twist Judy's arm to change her story. Seems obvious to me. Tripodi doesn't want to lose her $135,000 a year job.
Hobo87
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October 28, 2009
Dave F, a bit more directly, your accusation makes no sense. Talking about Zimmer 'lying' about ability to release budget info depends on there being something in that information that would make Zimmer look bad before the election, like the 15% tax increase Mason has dreamed up and put in her fliers as what Zimmer was 'hiding'. Tripodi says it doesn't exist, so disagreements about publicizing it can't be called lying.

Beth Mason OTOH is clearly lying, again, in those fliers (I got one just today), according to what Tripodi just said. She's saying things that aren't true for her own gain, no possiblity of honest mistake or disagreement.
WESTY
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October 28, 2009
I would think that if Acting mayor Dawn Zimmer was able to release a City Budget that shows taxes will go down she would have done it.

It would have been a big plus for both Zimmer and Hoboken.

The only reason that sounds reasonable is that Dawn Zimmer was told that the budget should not be released.

Dave Fetterman
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October 28, 2009
Are you serious? Does this mean Dawn has been lying to us all along saying she couldn't release the budget when she actually could?