Finally, there’s a city budget Council introduces $463M plan; approves funding for 45-unit Heights project

The City Council voted to introduce its 2008 fiscal year municipal budget at its Wednesday meeting, although it was due at the end of last summer. The proposed $463 million budget covers spending from last July 1 through June 30 of this year.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 10, and it is expected that the budget will adopted on the same day.

The budget is $20 million more than the amount in last year’s adopted budget.

The reasons for the delay, as reiterated at the council meeting, were making sure the city would receive $15 million as part of a settlement with the Honeywell Corporation to clean up chromium-contaminated land on the western side of the city, as well as $8 million in “special aid from the state.”

That $8 million aid request by the city earlier this year was approved by the state on Wednesday just hours before the meeting.

Mayor Healy issued a comment last week on the $8 million in state aid: “We want to thank Gov. Jon Corzine and his staff, particularly aide Patty McGuire, and DCA [Division of Community Affairs] Commissioner Joseph Doria for their guidance and assistance during this long process.”

City Business Administrator Brian O’Reilly and city Budget Director Kathy Dealy were on hand to answer questions from the council about the budget at the meeting.

O’Reilly said some of the revenues that the city anticipates receiving will come from the sale of several city-owned buildings.

He also said some city departments are expected to freeze any hiring, but there will be some hiring of Municipal Court employees, which will not increase the budget from its present amount.Council approves resolutions for Heights affordable housing

The council passed four resolutions on Wednesday that will benefit a proposed affordable housing project on Summit Avenue.

“Summit Heights,” a $16 million, 45-unit building, will be built at 1201-1217 Summit Ave., between Hague Street and Secaucus Road near the Jersey City-Union City border. City Councilman Bill Gaughan, who represents the area, spoke happily about the project. He said that the land has had previous development problems.

“I’m thrilled; I have been working on this site throughout my four terms in office,” Gaughan said. “All you see is a site that has gone through five or six developers and nothing has happened.”

One of the resolutions approved enables the city to accept $2.5 million for the construction of Summit Heights. The $2.5 million is part of a legal settlement between the city and New Gold Equities, which called for New Gold, a development company that also owns 110 and 111 First St., to build a total of 70 units of affordable housing at 110 First St. and another agreed-upon site.

The other three resolutions allocate funding for the Summit Heights project, including $1 million from the city’s affordable housing trust fund through the city’s Redevelopment Agency, $1 million from federal HOME funds the city will commit to the project, and a subsidy from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Agency. Other funding for the project is expected to come from private sources.

Summit Heights will be built by City Lines Properties, a subsidiary of the West Paterson-based Franklin Development Group, which is also building Harriet Tubman Homes, an 8-unit affordable project on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City.

The entire cost of the project according to Paul DeBellis, a partner in City Lines, is estimated at $16.7 million. It is expected to start construction in late fall.

The 45 planned two-bedroom units include five low-income units, 10 moderate-income units, and 30 “emerging markets” units. The low- and moderate-income units would be available for families who earn between 50 and 80 percent of the median income for city residents.

The emerging markets units would be set aside for those earning up to 120 percent of the median income, specifically designated to entice police, fire, and school employees to stay in Jersey City rather than move out-of-town. Comments on this story can be sent to


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