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Elizabeth, New Jersey
|Transparency grading process|
- Main article: Evaluation of New Jersey city websites
- Meeting agendas, minutes and notices are posted.
- Contact information for elected officials is available.
- Contact information for administrative officials is posted.
- A Request for Government Records form is available.
- Zoning and building permit forms are posted.
- The city ordinances regarding building and land use is posted.
- Rules regarding contracts is available, but current bids are not posted.
- Budget is not available.
- Audits are not posted.
- Current contracts and bids are not posted.
- Lobbying information is not available.
- Tax information is not posted.
The budget for the current fiscal year which ends in July is $210 million with $118 million coming from local taxes. The budget raises the total tax burden by 5.6%. The tax increase is blamed on Governor Christie for taking away $5 million in aid.
The city operates under a Mayor-Council government. The Municipal Council consists of six members representing city wards and three members elected at-large. The Council acts as the legislative body while the Mayor acts as the executive.
The current mayor is J. Christian Bollwage who is in his fourth term. Bollwage, a Democrat, is considered a fierce critic of Governor Christie and a possible gubernatorial challenger in 2013.He described Christie's 2 percent property tax cap by saying that the "math doesn't work" and that it “runs the risk of driving urban communities in New Jersey back to the ’60s, when we had urban violence.” Bollwage has recently made appearances on PBS and ABC on the issue of budget cuts.
See also: New Jersey state government salary
The city council passed an ordinance in 2009 to raise the salary for council members and the mayor. It was signed by Mayor Bollwage.
See also: New Jersey public pensions
Mayor Bollwage has publicly come out in favor of public employees contributing 50% of their health care costs and twice as much to their pension.
See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying
Elizabeth is not on record as having paid for lobbying according to Open Secrets.
Transparency & public records
The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) was passed by the NJ State Legislature in 2001 and guarantees citizen access to a wide variety of government documents. For more information on OPRA and public records see OPRA Central.
The website provides a form for requesting government records here.
The Fiscal Year 2010 budget has $118 million in revenue coming from local taxes. The local tax rate and tax forms are not posted on the website.
- "American Fact Finder" Census
- Government Records
- Mayor (dead link)
- Political Ticker "Bollwage blasts Christie over budget priorities"
- NJ.com This mayor says the property tax cap won't fit
- PBS "The Nation's Mayors and Their Budget Battles" (dead link)
- Newsbusters "ABC Touts Liberal Mayors Demanding Less Defense Spending, More Money for City Projects"
- News Record "Politician Pay Hikes Pass"
- NJSLOM "Jersey's tax cap at risk of capsizing"
- [www.opensecrets.org Open Secrets]