The Bayonne City Council introduced a new, amended budget to be voted on at next month’s council meeting, at which a hearing will take place for the public to voice concerns. The new $135.4 million budget is reduced by about $60,000 from the last budget introduced in April. It takes into account the monetization of future revenue, covered in depth in the August 24 issue of the Bayonne Community News. The new budget liquidates the last nine payments made from the 2010 sale of the northern portion of the Military Ocean Terminal Base in order to make up the lost revenue from a broken development deal on the base in April.
Dissolving Municipal Utilities Authority
The council also voted 4-0 to absorb the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority (BMUA), the city’s water and sewage company, into the city’s Department of Public Works, citing cost savings. The authority will cease functioning as a separate entity December 31. Absorbing the authority would also entail absorbing the authority’s debt and obligations. Chief Financial Officer Terrence Malloy said the city has a deficit agreement with the BMUA which, “just like a parent is responsible for the actions of their children, so are we [for the BMUA].”
“Yes, there may be some bills they are going to inherit,” said Business Administrator Joe DeMarco, “and we are required to make up that deficit in the next budget.” DeMarco has said the dissolution will save the city some $200,000 even while absorbing the BMUA’s obligations.
Peter Cresci, an outspoken critic of the mayor’s administration and an attorney currently involved in two lawsuits against the city, asked the council not to vote to dissolve the BMUA on the grounds the city may be unaware of the authority’s obligations. “All I’m saying is how do you vote on this ordinance if you haven’t been provided the information,” Cresci asked. “In fairness to you, it doesn’t sound like you’ve been provided the information on what the entity owes.”
Council President Sharon Nadrowski assured the public that the council has been informed on the BMUA’s finances, including a $234,920 bond. “From now until [December 31], there will be a lot of activity taking place,” Malloy said. “The city inherited the debt of the $234,000. We have to make a decision. Do we leave the debt as is, or do we refinance that debt? Or do we pay the debt off with the assets of the MUA. We very well may end up paying off that debt.”
“We have to make a decision. Do we leave the debt as is, or do we refinance that debt? Or do we pay the debt off with the assets of the MUA. We very well may end up paying off that debt.” – Terrence Malloy
Bayonne Energy Center tax abatement
The Bayonne Energy Center (BEC) received a 30-year tax abatement for a planned expansion at its current location on Constable Hook Road. The new buildings, which will house turbines on a 6.25-acre plot of currently unused land, would expand BEC’s power-generating capacity, according to a press release issued in February of 2015. According to City Tax Assessor Joe Nichols, the company will make annual payments of 2 percent of its construction costs instead of paying the normal tax rate.
In 2015, BEC was bought by Macquarie Infrastructure Company (MIC), which is managed by Australia’s largest investment bank. In 2014 MIC purchased the half of the International-MATEX Tank Terminals (IMTT) liquid storage containers that it didn’t already own. BEC is located on 7.9 acres of land and 290 feet of waterfront, which MIC plans to use to expand its docks.
CJ Murphy tax abatement
A 70-unit, eight-story residential building, planned for 222 Avenue E, a vacant, half-acre site steps away from the 22nd Street Light Rail Station, was granted a 25-year tax abatement. The developer, CJ Murphy, will pay 12 percent of the building’s gross income over the first 12 years, and 13 percent for the remaining 13 years, instead of the normal tax rate.
Rory Pasquariello may be reached at email@example.com.