Hoboken special council meeting announced

Budget, art, and affordable housing on the agenda

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Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has called for a special meeting of the Hoboken City Council on Wednesday June 24 at 7 p.m. to discuss the municipal budget for this year which has not yet been introduced.

Hoboken faces a multi-million-dollar budget gap this year, first announced in February at $7.4 million due to a variety of factors, including an anticipated increase in employee medical benefits,  a state-issued pension bill which is higher than last year’s, and anticipated increases in salary for all the city’s six municipal labor unions as well as a variety of revenue shortfalls.

The $7.4 million has grown to what Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who chairs the council’s finance subcommittee, estimates is roughly $20 million due in part to lack of surplus regeneration and the loss of revenue due to the public health emergency.

As for some of the COVID-19-related spending, the city hopes to get reimbursed from federal and state aid.

No supporting documents for the “CY2020 Budget Discussion” agenda item were available online as of Friday June 19.

The special meeting which will be convened via Zoom and live streamed for the public will also include a public hearing for a utility art box proposal from the Hoboken Arts Council and two introductory ordinances.

The first ordinance is a bond ordinance authorizing renovations at the Hoboken Public Library, appropriating roughly $4.7 million and authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds for the principal amount.

The second ordinance would amend the city’s laws on affordable housing “to strike an appropriate balance between meeting its affordable housing obligations and providing other significant and necessary public projects or community contributions within the City of Hoboken,” according to the ordinance.

should the ordinance pass on first and second reading, Hoboken could exempt certain increases in bonus density from the affordable housing set-aside requirements “in exchange for the construction of or contributions to the construction of other significant and necessary public projects or community contributions, including but not limited to the construction of or contributions for the construction of recreation facilities open to the public, public schools, community centers, senior housing, or affordable housing projects through either off-site construction or a contribution to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.”

The meeting will have a public comment portion.

To watch the meeting go to  http://hobokennj.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx or stream it live on the city’s Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/pg/Hoboken/videos/

To speak during the meeting follow this Zoom link
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86387085060?pwd=dTJtVVIrZWdKdXBZdUxBcjVmTHZiUT09

The Meeting ID is 863 8708 5060

You may also use a direct phone line to connect to the Zoom meeting by calling  646-876-9923, entering the Meeting ID and the password: 153578