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Jersey City, New Jersey

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Jersey City is a city in the state of New Jersey. It is the second largest city in New Jersey and has a population of 247,597.[1]

Last rated on Jan. 30, 2012

Budget

The 2011 budget is $477,320,913.[2] Mayor Healy delivered his budget plan to the City Council in March, but there has not been a vote cast on the document.[3] In place of the budget the city council has been voting for temporary appropriations. Without a budget in place the city has to estimate expenses and some residents are blaming this process for the higher property tax bills they have been receiving.[4]

Stimulus

Jersey City has received $23,131,015 from the economic stimulus package. ARRA FUNDS RECEIVED TO DATE BY THE CITY OF JERSEY CITY[5]:

  • $4.6 million for Street Resurfacing (Newark and Sip Avenues)
  • $2.67 million for Emergency Shelter Grants
  • $1.17 million for additional Community Block Development Grants (CBDG) funds
  • $1.83 million for Department of Justice – Byrne Assistance Grant
  • $7.8 million for the Jersey City Housing Authority to demolish and rehabilitate public housing
  • $2.3 million for Energy Efficiency Grants to upgrade municipal buildings and improve traffic and street lights

Public Employees

Elected Officials

Districts[6]

  • 6 wards and 3 at-large

Responsibilities The City Council passes legislation[7]:

  • Budgets
  • Salaries

Council Terms

  • Terms are four years in length[8]
First Last Position Ward Term Expiration
Peter Brennan Council President 2013
Kalimah Ahmad Member At-Large 2011
Radames Velazquez Member At-Large 2013
Michael Sottolano Member Ward A 2013
David Donnely Member Ward B 2013
Nidia Lopez Member Ward C 2013
William Gaughan Member Ward D 2013
Steven Fulop Member Ward E 2013
Viola Richardson Member Ward F 2013

Mayor

The mayor serves as the executive of the city and is elected every four years in a nonpartisan election. The mayor of Jersey City is Jerramiah Healy was first elected in a special election in 2004, and then re-elected in 2005 and 2009.[9]

Healy was arrested and convicted for resisting arrest and obstruction of justice in 2006. Healy claimed he was trying to break up an argument outside of a bar owned by his sister and was then pepper-sprayed and arrested by the police for disrupting a police investigation.[10] Healy allegedly tried to have the charges "swept under the rug" and also attempted to have the arresting officers charged.[11]

Healy's pick and incumbent candidate to lead the Jersey City Democratic Organization suffered a defeat to Hudson County Freeholder Jeff Dublin in June of 2011. The selection reportedly showed how little confidence local Democrats have in Healy and how his election chances in May of 2013 are diminishing.[12]

Healy is a founding co-member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and also passed a one handgun a month ordinance in 2006.[13]

Response to Christie Pension and Health Plans

Mayor Healy and Jerry DeCicco, President of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, have been fierce critics of Governor Chris Christie's plan to reduce pension and health benefits. DeCicco has called Democrats who voted with Christie "turncoats."[14][15]

Pensions

See also: New Jersey public pensions

The 2011 budget spends $39.372,827 on the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) and $2,530,841 on the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).[16]

Jersey City is estimated to save $457,283 in the first year and $20,435,712 by the seventh year according to Treasury projections of Governor Christie's pension plan.[17]

Public employee salaries

See also: Jersey City employee salaries

Mayor Jeremiah Healy is the second highest paid mayor in Hudson County at $112,000.[18]

In 2011 Jersey City received an $8.1 million federal grant that will be used to pay for 65 firefighter candidates' salaries and benefits for two years.[19]

Employees of the Jersey City Parking Authority, the organization that deals with parking tickets and booting, earn $35,000 per year on average.[20]

Lobbying

See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying

Jersey City has not paid for lobbying since allocating $10,000 for the services of Reed Smith LLP in 2009.[21]

Year Amount
2009 $10,000
2008 $60,000
2007 $60,000
2006 $40,000
Total $170,000.00

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.

To request public information from the City of Jersey City you must submit an OPRA request form to the City Clerk.[22]

A request for an open records form can be found here.

Taxes

The city raises revenue through property taxes and various fees.[23] Residents can be taxes only through this form

Website evaluation

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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Mayor and city council members are listed with contact information. Term limits are also noted.[24][25]
  • City Council meeting schedule is provided.[26] Agendas and minutes are also posted.[27]
  • Local tax information is posted and payment methods are provided.[28][29]
  • RFPs and public contracts are posted.[30]
  • Administrators and contact information are listed for each department.
  • Open Public Records Act information and form are provided.[31]
  • Zoning information is available in the city's municipal code, but permitting information is not provided.[32][33]
  • Latest audits are posted.[34]
  • Budget is posted.[35]

The bad

  • Lobbying activity information is not provided.
  • Check registers are not posted.

External links

References