‘That’s the real story’

To the Editor:
Last week’s news story about the future Bayonne Crossings mall contains several serious errors. Unfortunately, the reporter got the story wrong.
This letter is an attempt to set the record straight.
To begin with, the headline, “Bayonne to give $23M to build mall,” is false. Bayonne is not giving $23 million to build the mall. The first sentence in the story is also false. That sentence states incorrectly that the City Council “voted unanimously to give $23 million to Cameron Group toward the construction of a $120 million big box mall on Route 440.” That is not true. In reality, the City Council voted to have the City of Bayonne act as a back-up guarantor of bonds being issued by the state. This guarantee was required by the state. The City Council did not appropriate $23 million in municipal funds for the mall.
Later, the news story states incorrectly, “This is the second time in two years that the project has received a gift (sic) of money.” That is false.
The City did not present a gift to the mall on this occasion or on a previous occasion. The Bayonne Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) did approve a loan of $2.5 million for the mall. This is a loan, not a “gift.” The UEZ must be paid back. This is a clear difference between a loan and a gift.
The article states falsely, “The city will issue bonds to guarantee the loan.” That is not true. The City of Bayonne is not issuing bonds to guarantee the loan. That is not the municipality’s role in this project.
The news story asserts in several places that tax dollars will be “diverted” away from the City of Bayonne by the mall. In reality, the mall project will yield millions of dollars in revenues that the City of Bayonne does not currently receive. The story overlooks the fact that an unproductive property with environmental problems will be converted into an economic engine for the City of Bayonne. That’s the real story.

Public Information Director
City of Bayonne

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