Courtesy of NJ.com
Jersey City taxpayers won’t get a tax cut or tax hike this year, with Mayor Steve Fulop announcing this morning that he will present the City Council with a budget that has a stable tax levy.
In a statement, Fulop said stable taxes will be possible thanks to an increase in property tax ratables, a boost in revenue from the city Municipal Utilities Authority, a jump in tax abatement revenue and more. The extra revenue will allow the city to pay for 50 new cops, 30 new firefighters and an “aggressive” street repaving program to begin this spring, he said.
“We are being smart and responsible with our taxpayer dollars and are planning for the future,” Fulop said.
The budget announcement comes the day before Fulop is set to give his second state of the city address.
Last year, the Fulop administration presented the council with a budget that lowered taxes about 2 percent. This year’s budget is worth $535 million, $19 million more than last year.
Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, a frequent Fulop critic, said he hasn’t seen the city’s proposed spending plan and wants to hold off discussing it until it is given to him. Yun was one of two votes against last year’s budget, along with Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano. At the time, both men said they wanted to see a more significant tax cut.
This morning, Yun said he’d be happier if this year’s budget lowered taxpayers’ bills as opposed to keeping them stable.
“We’d like to see a tax decrease, no question about it,” he told The Jersey Journal. “That’s what people are looking for.”
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said city officials “agree with Councilman Yun,” and added, while noting that Yun has been on the council for nearly two years, that they “eagerly await his first legislative proposal or work product.”
In response, Yun referred to Morrill’s past bashing Fulop as a spokeswoman under former Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
“At least I’m not a double talker,” Yun said.
In his statement, Fulop said the city has saved $2 million from changes to the city’s pension system and by eliminating the Jersey City Parking Authority. Meanwhile, the city gained $7.1 million from selling property and $1 million more in construction permit fees, Fulop said.