MORT Wants a Fiscal Monitor

Original graph by Eric Kurta, updated by GA

Well, that's my opinion folks. Answer this.

What happens if the City Council can't pass it's budget? And can't even pass EMERGENCY budget appropriations to meet the City's payroll?

The State takes over.  And appoints a Fiscal Monitor, as they did in 2008 when they sent (the late) Judy Tripodi to Hoboken.
In 2008, a state fiscal monitor was appointed to oversee Hoboken's finances after city officials were not able to pass a balanced budget. The monitor, who has the authority to overule city council votes, may be removed if state officials approve the new budget.
Here's what I see, and why I say the Council Minority wants a State takeover.
  • The mayoral race has begun. 
  • Zimmer's opponents are running on "Incompetence".  
  • Zimmer's opponents on the City Council are suing to keep that 5th vote required to PASS a budget OFF.  They LOST their lawsuit but are holding off that 5th vote on the budget with an appeal to the NJ Appellate Court which is not being heard until May.  Since the lawsuit and appeals are being underwritten by Moneybags Mason, she can keep afford to keep it alive all the way to the NJ Supreme Court.
  • Timmy Occhipinti revealed MORT's strategy last Saturday.  Occhipinti said, "Good luck passing a budget."  Tim Occhpinti telegraphed that his 'coalition' has no intention of passing a budget. WHICH WILL TRIGGER A FISCAL MONITOR APPOINTMENT.
  • When the State intervenes, MORT will trumpet  "Zimmer is incompetent" and "Zimmer can't fix a pothole OR pass a budget" campaign themes.  Blame, blame, blame. They will try to make the Mayor look weak.
  • Occhipinti will be (before or after) rolled out as their candidate, and his campaign will promise  a 'solution' to get rid of the Fiscal Monitor.
That's my theory.  And if you don't believe me, just ask Tim Occhipinti who said: "Good luck passing a budget."

The late Judy Tripodi, State Fiscal monitor,  presided over our 2008 and 2009 budgets.  Let's take a look at the 3 budget cycles after the State left.

2010 Budget
Adopted 7-2 
YES: Russo, Giacchi, Bhalla, Cunningham, Mello, Lenz, Marsh
NO: Mason, Castellano

2011 Budget
Adopted 5-4
YES: Bhalla, Mello, Cunningham, Giattino, Marsh
NO: Mason, Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti

Why did the 2011 budget take so long to pass?  

Because of City Council OBSTRUCTIONISTS under the leadership of then-CC President Beth Mason who attempted to ZERO out our budget surplus. Once Reform took back the majority, City operations continued and a balanced budget was passed.
Last month, Councilwoman Beth Mason—then serving as council president—introduced a resolution, zeroing out the cash surplus, with the goal of returning that money to the tax payers.The state, however, had not approved the budget before this amendment was passed, leaving the amendment to the budget meaningless (a budget can't be adopted or amended by a city council before the state approves it).

In the meantime, power shifted on the city council, returning the majority to the hands of Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Zimmer has said that the city needs a cash surplus for unexpected costs. One such cost will likely be the back pay to Hoboken's fire fighters, whose contracts expired three years ago.During the last council meeting, the new majority re-instated a $5 million cash surplus. The municipal tax levy in this budget went down by 3.6 percent, according to Finance Director Nick Trasente.

A final vote, adopting the budget, will be held on Wednesday. It's expected to pass, with at least the five majority council members voting in favor

2012 Budget
Adopted 5-4
YES: Bhalla, Mello, Cunningham, Giattino, Marsh
NO: Mason, Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti 

Why did the 2012 budget pass in "the shortest time frame in over a decade?"

Because the Mayor and REFORM City Council majority worked cooperatively to pass a budget which lowered property taxes a stunning 10% and left Hoboken with a 5% cash surplus (Mason and the Minority wanted to ZERO out the surplus)...  thankfully Reform prevailed because the surplus was CRITICAL to fund Hoboken after the  HURRICANE SANDY disaster.
Hoboken leads way in Hudson in holding line on taxes
City officials in the Mile Square City chopped property taxes a whopping 10 percent last year, according to an analysis that appeared in today's  Star-Ledger.

"I am particularly proud this tax cut was achieved without using any budgetary gimmicks," Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said, noting "fair contracts" recently negotiated with the police and fire departments, as well as the reorganization of several city departments.

While Hoboken taxpayers received some much needed property tax relief, most residents elsewhere in the county saw property taxes rise higher than 2.4 percent, which was the average statewide increase.
So, what do you think?

Tim Occhipinti votes NO on funding to fix hurricane-damaged Pier C Park.


  1. Look for MORTe to claim the budget is "underfunded" because it doesn't include the full amount MORTe would like to pay in retro pay to city employees. The claim is a lie since the contract is still being negotiated so neither the amount of retro nor the terms on which it will be payable has been determined - for example the FD retro is being budgeted and paid over 3 years.

    But MORTe will say this is just like 2008 claiming they won't vote for an "illegal underfunded budget" and hope they can convince the voters that Dawn Zimmer = Dave Roberts just like in that great campaign flyer from 2009.

    It's a stupid strategy with not much chance of succeeding but it allows them to bellow words like "illegal" and "underfunded" and "Dave Roberts" alot and there's nothing Mike Russo likes to do more than to claim the honest folks are really the crooks.

  2. In other news... Major improvements to Beth's wiki page. It no longer lists her a cc president. However, one statement is still unchallenged.

    "A former president of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (NJFOG) and a founding member of the Hoboken-based nonpartisan civic association People for Open Government, Mason has been an advocate for open government and campaign finance reform.[5]"

    That should be amended to read something like, "As a sign of Mason's complete abandonment of reform principles, in recent elections she has so thoroughly abused Hoboken's Pay to Play laws that new a new anti-wheeling law had to be written and passed to stop her. Mason, who firmly believes that money is speech and whoever has the most money gets the most speech, has ignored the law. Most recently the Board of Education ticket Mason supported was ordered by the city attorney to return Mason's 3 times the legal limit donation. It is not known whether Mason's failed BOE ticket ever complied. Rumors that the donation was to cover illegal midnight fliers and the renting of a 'Nazi Truck' have not be substantiated to date....."

    Anyone know who made the last update?

    1. How do you update a Wikipedia entry?

  3. This is the first time the old Guard might be successful in hurting Zimmer and Hoboken. In the past all Mason’s strategies have back fired on her. I would love to see the recall mason effort move forward

    1. Not too sure about that, though it wouldn't be great, as long as the state can 1) step in to approve the budget and step away once that's done and; 2) the Mayor and council majority members - as well as any thinking / function member of the public - would need to get in front of the message so that everyone knows why the state stepped in and who caused the debacle.

      If that were to happen, this would be just another in a long list of attempts to damage the Mayor - Hoboken and its citizens and institutions are just collateral damage for the final failures of the fiendish foursome funded by the Harridan of Hudson Street.

  4. The governor is already well aware of the "cut off their nose to spite their face" stubbornness of our city council minority. Since it required him to shell out $5 Mill of state money to help save the hospital and 1,100 jobs. Maybe our mayor can use that to pre-emptively arrange for state oversight that overrules the council minority, but otherwise stays out of the way.

  5. The State takes over. And appoints a Fiscal Monitor, as they did in 2008 when they sent (the late) Judy Tripodi to Hoboken.

    Media Monitoring


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