Just about a month ago the city of Hoboken suffered the ignominy of having the state of New Jersey take away our ability – and our right – to handle our own finances. Or did it?
Rather than squarely taking the blame for this financial embarrassment and offer to work with the city council on a solution, Mayor David Roberts was only too eager to embrace a state takeover. In fact in the weeks leading up to the takeover, the mayor and some of his city council supporters were gleeful in their expectation that the state would come in and make everything okay with city’s failing finances.
It seems that rather than dealing with the job they were elected to do, Roberts and his supporters on the council were quick to hand over the problem to someone else.
Unfortunately, that someone else is the state with one of the worst financial records in the nation. The state Local Finance Board, which is seeking to take control of Hoboken, is managed by former Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria, who had an abysmal record managing the town and left the city deeply in debt. Is that who we want running Hoboken?
Moreover, it is questionable that the state has the authority to take over the city’s finances. That matter will be resolved in court on August 14, and I am hoping the state takeover is stopped.
I strongly believe that the city council – not unelected state bureaucrats – should solve the city’s financial problems. That’s what we were elected to do. And I believe the city council, working with the community, can solve our own financial problems, which have been years in the making.
The voters of Hoboken elected us to make decisions about how and where to spend their tax money. They elected us to set the city’s priorities. Why should we simply hand over our duties and our authority to a state with a shockingly abysmal financial record? Do we want Hoboken managed the way Trenton manages New Jersey? I don’t think so.
More importantly, with the lack of disclosure that Trenton is famous for, how will we ever know how truly bad the city’s finances are? Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the state doesn’t want us to know the depth of Hoboken’s financial problems and who is responsible for the financial mess the city is in. A political cover up is not what we need. We need to know the truth.
I encourage anyone interested in maintaining local control of our community to attend the August 13 city council meeting and let your feelings be known to the mayor and the council. It is important that our city’s financial future be charted by the people who live here – not by faceless bureaucrats on loan from Trenton.