Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dawn Zimmer-Mayor of Hoboken-Celebrates One Year in Office-August 12, 2010

I've been wondering, "What has Dawn Zimmer been doing to make things better in Hoboken?" As it turns out, quite a lot. Now all she has to do is start lowering taxes and we'll all be in great shape. Take a minute to read below, it's very interesting.

One year ago this week, on July 31, 2009, Dawn Zimmer became Acting Mayor of Hoboken. Due to the events leading up to that day, many residents had lost faith in their government. The City was under state fiscal supervision managed by a Fiscal Monitor and had suffered a backbreaking property tax increase the year before.

“Through the hard work of our City employees, led by our directors, the City Council, and concerned residents who have offered their time and talent to improving our community, Hoboken has come a long way in just one year,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I’m proud to represent such a resilient community that is so focused on positive change.”

Mayor Zimmer made it a priority to restore integrity and fiscal discipline to government while enhancing quality of life for residents. Despite only being free from oversight of the state fiscal monitor for less than three months, Hoboken has already made significant progress under Mayor Zimmer’s leadership.

“In just one year, we’ve made incredible progress for Hoboken on so many fronts,” added Mayor Zimmer. “We’ve established a strong foundation for continued progress, and I’m looking forward to working with the City Council and the community to make our City even greater.”

Below are highlights of the Zimmer Administration’s accomplishments over the past year.

Restoring Integrity, Accountability, and Competence to Government

1. Conducted an open interview process, solicited resumes, and hired the most qualified professionals to serve as department directors.
2. Appointed a highly qualified Business Administrator with extensive experience, including a 25 year public safety record.
3. Conducted an open and honest budget process with public workshops that included presentations by every director, as well as the Fire and Police Chiefs.
4. Successfully argued for Hoboken to be released from state fiscal monitor oversight.
5. Conducted internal audits to end the illegal use of parking transponders and City Hall perimeter parking permits.
6. Returned Zoning Board appointment power back to the City Council.
7. Reestablished City Council advice and consent for Rent Control Board appointments.
8. Implemented free text message and email updates for residents available through
9. Council meetings are now broadcast on Verizon FiOS in addition to Cablevision and online.
10. Held numerous public meetings to solicit community input for projects including the 14th Street Viaduct, Transportation & Parking, Newark Street safety improvements, playground at the Boys and Girls Club, and Church Square Park. Planned future meetings to discuss Observer Highway safety improvements, a Pedestrian and Bike Master Plan, redevelopment in the Western Edge and Southwest Hoboken, and the design of parks at 1600 Park and Hoboken Cove, among others.
11. Replacing single space meters with multi-space meters that will dramatically improve the auditing and accountability of cash/quarters payments.
12. Invited by the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership to participate on a panel on ways to end unethical practices in the public sector.

Restoring Fiscal Responsibility

1. Immediately upon taking office, cut Mayor, Council, and Director’s salaries by 10 percent.
2. Ended longevity pay for Directors so salary increases are based only on merit.
3. Passed a budget free of one shot revenues and gimmicks which reflects the true cost of government and paid off many of our legacy costs due to past mistakes.
4. Entered into a shared services agreement with Weehawken for storing public works vehicles.
5. Reduced overtime costs by closing the mechanic garage earlier on weekends.
6. Saving more than $150,000 annually by replacing light fixtures throughout City facilities with energy efficient lighting as a result of energy audit and grant.
7. Joined Governor Christie’s call for a cap on property taxes and local government “toolkit” needed to control costs.
8. Conducted due diligence and paid off $4.2 million in legacy costs for an unapproved early retirement plan implemented by a prior Administration.
9. Secured option for funding the Observer Highway municipal garage site through low-interest HCIA bonds, potentially saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.
10. Made progress towards privatizing Hoboken University Medical Center and removing taxpayers from the $52 million bond guarantee.
11. Worked with Hudson County and Jersey City officials to secure a $350,000 study to improve traffic flow and address transportation concerns in Southwest Hoboken.
12. Collaborated with local community organizations to secure funding for a $100,000+ pedestrian and bicycle master plan study.
13. Created several new revenue streams through the Parking Utility including Corner Cars and new “monthly limited” and “vacation park” garage parking rates.
14. Saved $146,000 per year via scaled back salaries and benefits of municipal court appointments.
15. Secured $80,000 in additional grant funding for pedestrian improvements at Hudson Place.
16. Restarted the stalled process for remediation of 1600 Park and Hoboken Cove, saving more than $1.1 million in grant funds in the process. Public meetings will soon be held to create designs for the parks.
17. Restarted the stalled process for 9/11 Memorial, saving $97,000 in grant funds from being lost.
18. Reduced recreational operating expenses by 20% without eliminating any programs.
19. Expanded and enhanced recreational programs by utilizing $61,000 that would otherwise have been returned to OJJDP.
20. Secured $1,000 grant funding for recreational equipment.
21. Moving forward with tax maps needed to conduct revaluation.
22. Hired an experienced consulting company to move forward with an analysis of the Fire Department.
23. Immediately implemented 1.5 percent healthcare contribution for all employees after legislation was passed by the State, saving the City more than $500,000 per year.
24. Enforced prorated vacation policy and State law 2-year limitation of vacation days carry over, potentially saving taxpayers significant costs over the long term.
25. Replaced a number of Parking Utility vehicles with eco-friendly electric vehicles costing half as much and 10 times less expensive to maintain.
26. Switched to a paperless purchase order system for better accountability and efficiency.
27. Collaborated with a Stevens Institute spin-off technology company to develop low-cost, high-tech transportation solutions including GPS shuttle tracking.
28. Collaborated with Rutgers University to conduct a pedestrian safety study at no cost to the City.
29. Brought in college interns to help with automated garage to keep operational costs low and provide students with unique exposure to advanced technology.
30. Transitioning budget from fiscal year to a calendar year.

Improving Quality of Life

1. Successfully lobbied to have the most important Southwest wet weather pump station built first, and ground was broken on this pump which is expected to significantly alleviate Hoboken’s flooding problems.
2. Listened to community feedback at public meeting and coordinated with a highly respected Hoboken architect to redesign the fa├žade of the pump station.
3. Installing a state-of-the-art wireless censor system in our sewers to gather the data needed to fully tackle the flooding problem.
4. Helped reduce the number of cars impacted during flood events by providing free parking and conducting crisis communications to warn residents to move their cars.
5. Partnered with Connect by Hertz to launch Corner Cars, the country’s first city-wide car-sharing program to alleviate the parking problem by taking hundreds of cars off our streets. Residents who switch could save thousands per year.
6. Reintroduced the Crosstown Shuttle and expanded it into a mini-transit system renamed “The Hop,” with three routes, increased frequency, and with GPS and text messaging technology to track online or by phone.
7. Expanding parks and open space: Thanks to collaboration with the county and a public community process, the replacement of the 14th Street Viaduct will include a beautiful space beneath the structure with a dog run, playground, active recreation court, and multi-purpose space.
8. Took immediate emergency action to reinforce our previously neglected and crumbling waterfront piers. The pier reconstruction project is underway, and all avenues are being pursued to minimize the cost to taxpayers.
9. Joined City Council colleagues to oppose legislation in the New Jersey State Senate to permit New Jersey Transit to unilaterally change the character of our City by building 50 to 70 story towers over the rail yards without our consent.
10. Became the first city in Hudson County to develop and deploy a POD (Point of Distribution) site in the administration of H1N1 vaccines.
11. Worked with Hudson County to make pedestrian safety improvements to the 14th Street Viaduct replacement.
12. Strictly enforcing widespread taxi and limousine violations that had previously gone unenforced.
13. Brought back car-free Sinatra Drive Summer Sundays so residents have a safe space for recreation.
14. Implemented multi-space meters to increase available parking space.
15. Doubled the number of bike racks throughout Hoboken.
16. Secured funds from NJDOT to repave various streets throughout Hoboken.
17. Opened the municipal pool earlier and for longer than ever before.
18. Launched Hoboken’s first wrestling and girls basketball league.
19. Provided new activities for senior citizens including yoga classes, computer classes, and Wednesday night bingo.
20. Contracted with the Liberty Humane Society for a more humane solution to animal control.
21. Advocated for the Monroe Center for the Arts by making the City’s position clear and coordinating with the court appointed trustee.
22. Implemented recycling in City Hall, and through partnership with the Committee for a Green Hoboken, implemented recycling at City events.
23. Continue to implement inexpensive, but effective traffic calming measures including paint and bollards to make our streets safer.
24. Through funding acquired thanks to Mayor Zimmer, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority kicked off a Sub-regional Transportation Study in Southwest Hoboken to address traffic and congestion.
25. Secured an inter-local agreement with Secaucus so Hoboken residents can use the Secaucus municipal pool at reduced rates.
26. Initiated and gathered volunteers for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), an extensive training program. Graduates have volunteered for various community events.
27. Planted 75 trees throughout the City through grant funding.
28. Coordination with Police and enhanced communications efforts resulted in a better managed St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
29. Implemented an effective community service program prior to St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
30. Coordinated with Hudson County to provide a “water buffalo” truck with water for Housing Authority residents during a water outage. This policy is ongoing.
31. Installing a new HVAC system at the Multi-Service Center through grant funding.
32. Moving forward with plans to replace park equipment at the park adjacent to the Boys and Girls Club.
33. Clarified residential parking policies to end abuses and arbitrary policies.
34. Focused parking enforcement resources on previously neglected pedestrian safety concerns.

Information provided by:

Kevin Dowd
Broker Salesperson
Prudential Castle Point Realty
203 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Cell: 201-606-5957

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