Elizabeth, New Jersey

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Budget N
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Meetings
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits N
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Contracts P
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Lobbying N
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Public Records
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Local Taxes N
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Transparency grading process
Elizabeth is a town in New Jersey. It has a population of 124,969 as of 2010.[1]

Website evaluation

The good

  • Meeting agendas, minutes and notices are posted.[2][3]
  • Contact information for elected officials is available.[4]
  • Contact information for administrative officials is posted.[5]
  • A Request for Government Records form is available.[6]
  • Zoning and building permit forms are posted.[7][8]
  • The city ordinances regarding building and land use is posted.[9]
  • Rules regarding contracts is available, but current bids are not posted.[10]

The bad

  • 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.

Budget

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.[11]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

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.[12]

First Last Position Ward
Edward Jackus Member At-Large
Frank Cuesta Member At-Large
Patricia Perkins-Auguste Member At-Large
Manny Grova Jr. Member First
Nelson Gonzalez Member Second
Joseph Keenan Council President Third
Carlos Cedeno Member Fourth
William Gallsman Jr. Member Fifth
Frank Mazza Member Sixth

Mayor

The current mayor is J. Christian Bollwage who is in his fourth term.[13] Bollwage, a Democrat, is considered a fierce critic of Governor Christie and a possible gubernatorial challenger in 2013.[14]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.”[15] Bollwage has recently made appearances on PBS[16] and ABC[17] on the issue of budget cuts.

Salaries

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.[18]

Pensions

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.[19]

Lobbying

See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying

Elizabeth is not on record as having paid for lobbying according to Open Secrets.[20]

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.

Taxes

The Fiscal Year 2010 budget has $118 million in revenue coming from local taxes.[21] The local tax rate and tax forms are not posted on the website.

External links

References