Fourth Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer today became the first candidate to announce her run for Hoboken mayor for the May election.
Some believe her candidacy may split the “reform” vote in town, as 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason also plans to run. Both women’s supporters had a war of words last year after an election; see their comments in this article about why.
In her announcement today, Zimmer said, "I am running for mayor because we can't afford business as usual. The recent 84 percent tax increase is just the most visible result of years of wasteful spending and backroom dealing. Our sewers don't work, our traffic doesn't flow, and some neighborhoods have no parks. Despite these challenges, Hoboken is a unique and wonderful city with incredible potential. I will reach beyond the political establishment to draw on the skills, talents and energy of all of our residents to set a new direction for our city. I will bring people together to get things done."
(Note to readers: While the overall property tax increase that Hoboken taxpayers pay quarterly was 47 percent, that includes the city budget, schools, and county. The city portion of taxes alone rose 84 percent from last year to this year, the most significant rise of the three portions that make up your tax bill. One reader called in last week confused about the two numbers, so we wanted to clarify for our readers going into the election.)
Here is the rest of the release, verbatim:
Zimmer went on to say, "Many city offices lack voicemail, won't accept e-mail, and close at 4 p.m. I will change the old ways: Restore fiscal responsibility, improve customer service, and reduce the tax burden that is crushing our citizens. We need to go cold turkey on financial gimmicks and live within our means. Together we will bring an end to the abuse of PILOTS and one-shot revenues that pretend to balance our budget while mortgaging our future.”
According to the release, “As a Councilwoman, Zimmer has led the way, helping expose $10 million in illegal overspending, and working with her council colleagues to set an example and save money by reducing salaries and benefits for elected officials and directors.
A leader on the Council in offering innovative solutions to our flooding problem and pushing for quality of life improvements, Zimmer pledged to make Hoboken a model for the use of new cost-cutting green technology. "We have the potential for major cost-savings in the areas of flood prevention, garbage disposal and energy." Zimmer said, "Hoboken should be leading the way towards a green future, not dragging its feet."
Zimmer believes that Hoboken needs to seize the moment and embrace green technology now to benefit from federal and state grant funds, since it is a priority for the Obama Administration.
She would change the City's focus on residential development, which she said has resulted in more flooding, more traffic, and a costly increase in demand for City services. Zimmer said, "I believe in a different approach, one that emphasizes responsible commercial development that brings jobs to our community, and helps us create the parks, ball fields and shops that make urban communities thrive. We need to assure that all new development comes with the necessary traffic controls, parking and infrastructure improvements."
Zimmer said she will be unveiling plans and proposals on the major issues facing the City and further outlining her vision for Hoboken as the campaign unfolds.
She will be kicking off her campaign at a fundraiser to be held Thursday night at McSwiggins. A full-time campaign manager, Sam Briggs, hits the ground this week. Zimmer will be running with a full slate of at-large council candidates, and will introduce her running mates in the next few weeks.
Councilwoman Zimmer is married to Stan Grossbard and has two sons who attend school in Hoboken.