At Wednesday night’s Hoboken City Council meeting, an amendment sponsored by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, which would have reduced the municipal tax rate by 4.5%, was voted down by a vote of 5 to 4. The vote was the first action taken by the Council since Mayor Ravi Bhalla unveiled his proposed budget nearly two months ago.

Following the meeting, Councilwoman Fisher issued the following press release criticizing the Council’s action:

Team Bhalla plays Campaign Monopoly, Voting Down Tax Decrease and Good Governance Measure
Hoboken, N.J. – At last night’s Hoboken City Council meeting, the Hoboken City Council voted 5-4 against a budget amendment that would have given Hoboken tax payers a 4.5% decrease in local taxes in the year following the highest increase since the City of Hoboken was under state monitor.  The amendment that was voted down also called for restoring the city’s Rent Control office that has been dramatically reduced by the Bhalla administration.  The proposed amendment was the first action taken on Hoboken’s 2021 Municipal Budget since Mayor Bhalla introduced his flat tax budget two months earlier on April 7th.
                                                                                                                              The dissenting voting Council members, considered aligned with the mayor, quickly moved to vote against the measure, avoiding any public discussion.  The same Council members also voted 5-4 against a measure that would reduce litigation risk for the City of Hoboken by making one of Hoboken’s municipal boards more ethically sound and conflict free.  Councilwoman Fisher releases the following statement:
“Good governance has not been the hallmark of this administration and delaying the budget only hurts taxpayers. I am heartened that at least three of my City Council colleagues put the interests of our taxpayers and ethics ahead of politics last night.” said Councilwoman Fisher.
“The dialogue about doing better for Hoboken taxpayers and residents during this most difficult time was started publicly last night which is important.  I am confident that when all is said and done, in the year when most needed, the City Council will deliver a 2021 Municipal Budget that includes a sizable reduction in local taxes and a fully staffed Rent Control office.”
About the resolution to separate the attorney for Hoboken’s Alcohol and Beverage Control Board from the mayor’s “liaison” to the Hoboken’s bars and restaurants, both roles currently held by Mayor Bhalla’s former Chief of Staff, Councilwoman Fisher offers the following statement “By voting against this good governance measure, apparently team Bhalla are saying this questionably ethical practice is ok.  And it is anything but ok.”
The votes on both measures:
Four ‘Yes’ – Council President Ramos, Council Vice President Giattino, Council members Fisher and DeFusco; Five ‘No’ – Council members Jabbour, Doyle, Falco, Cohen and Russo