Chronicles of the Jersey City Water and Waste Pickup Bill

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Dear Editor:

The lack of independent leadership in our City Council is hurting the residents of our city financially. The responsibility to be a public servant has been unseen in our municipality for the last eight years. This is a fact based on our representative’s track records and their prioritizing developers over the well-being of the residents of our city.

The City Council is ready to approve in the next council meeting in July a water and waste pick up tax which adds on to the current gentrification and the financial stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. As affordability is one of the main issues affecting our Jersey City residents, the lack of independent leadership and advocacy of some of our current city council members display clearly that they are always aligned with the will and pleasure of this administration and totally forgot their duty to advocate for the prosperity of all our residents

The new water and solid waste tax is a reality which will bring another nightmare for the Jersey City household financial budget. The architects of this new bill are indeed not concerned with the financial struggles our Jersey City families are facing with high numbers of unemployment, small businesses closing and the lack of funding of our public schools.

The main character on this new water and waste pick up bill is a company by name Regional Industries LLC. A statement on the city site says: “Jersey City has traditionally provided garbage collection to the residents and businesses of the City through a private vendor retained by the City pursuant to a public contract. In August 2020, the City awarded a contract for garbage collection to Regional Industries, LLC. In January 2021 the garbage collection contract with Regional Industries, LLC was assigned to the JCMUA. Pursuant to the assignment of this contract, the JCMUA will now bill residents and businesses directly for garbage pick up, similar to the way that water and sewer services are billed”.

Jersey City residents have increased the cost of the water and waste pick up from $10 to 15 million dollars annually. It is horrible to see the annual cost has been increased by 50 percent and we are witness to how inefficient the waste collection has been in the last 5 years. Additionally, residents citywide have complained greatly about poor garbage pickup services. Our streets and neighborhoods are filthy, and our municipality renewed their contract and will pay them more money.

If you are happy that our property taxes are not increasing this year, this is due to $7 million dollars leftover from President Biden’s federal stimulus CARE Acts. It is irresponsible to double dip our small businesses and property owners on the water bill. This additional tax stress on our residents will be around $300 per household. The fact that is horrendous on this new water and waste pickup tax is that if you own a $1 million dollar property downtown and $200,000  property in Greenville taxes are equally paid in both areas.

Taxes do not discriminate against anyone in our city whether you are African American, Asian, Latino or Caucasian. Taxes must be paid,unless you are one of the 175 tax abated buildings owned by the multinationals in downtown Jersey City.

Elvin Dominici