Mayor Zimmer Provides Updates On Various Issues

Hoboken, NJ - Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

City Hall
In a memo to the City Council, Mayor Dawn Zimmer provides an update on public safety, the waterfront, and anti-wheeling legislation. The text of the memo is included below.

Dear Council Members,

Here�s a brief update on public safety and our waterfront prior to tonight�s meeting:

Matrix Fire audit update: Business Administrator Liston provided a draft of the report to the Council on Monday. The report, along with a response from Chief Blohm, will be posted on the City�s web site when it is finalized. Based on both of these reports, my Administration will be making final decisions with regard to staffing levels shortly.

Police Update: In light of concerns from the community on various public safety issues, my Administration has determined it is important to provide Class II officers as a strategy to ensure the highest level of public safety as cost-effectively as possible.

Class II officers could supplement the work of our sworn Police officers on busy weekends when we have many visitors to Hoboken going to our bars and restaurants and visiting Hoboken during our numerous special events. Especially in the summer months, many municipalities implement a class II officer system, often employing retired officers, working on a part-time basis.

This would enable us to provide significant additional security in a cost-effective manner estimated at $15.00 per hour versus $65.00 per hour for sworn officers. Please understand that these Class II officers would not replace any of our existing Police officers. They would supplement our staffing during busy times and enable us to use our sworn Police officers as effectively as possible.

In addition to this proposal, my Administration is working closely with Chief Falco to evaluate strategies to increase the Police street presence. We have had retirements in excess of our desired staffing levels established by our reorganization last fall. We will be hiring new Police officers in order to maintain the staffing level established last year.

Furthermore, I have asked Chief Falco to consider redeploying officers working at different locations such as the prosecutor�s office so that we can move these officers to patrol.

The waterfront: After the evaluation of RFP responses, my Administration asks for the Council�s support on the following contracts:

1. Appointment of Boswell Engineering as our City engineer. All departments are extremely pleased with Boswell�s performance, and in the interest of moving so many important projects ahead, we ask for your support of this appointment and contract. (The attached memo from Boswell provides an overview of the numerous projects they are currently working on). Dr. Boswell and his team will be at the meeting tonight if you have any questions.

2. Waterfront engineer: After extensive testing, and informal reviews with the DEP by Boswell, we will soon be at the point where actual construction can begin on Sinatra Park and Castle Point.

Given the importance of these projects from a public safety, quality of life, and economic development standpoint, we hope that you will approve the contract for Boswell that is on the agenda without delay.

The proposed contract is for Boswell to continue work on Sinatra Park, Castle Point, as well as to provide oversight of Hoboken�s northern waterfront (Please note, this expenditure has already been approved by the Council through the approval of the Sinatra Park bond).

My Administration is continuing its evaluation of other firms that might be proposed to act as a second city waterfront engineer for Pier A and the waterfront area south of Sinatra Park.

Your approval of the Boswell contract will significantly enhance the City�s ability to follow up on an important on-site visit to Hoboken by a high level DEP representative that was held last week. Boswell participated in the meeting that included a review of Castle Point, the Stevens Walkway, and Sinatra Park projects. Afterwards a conference call was conducted with the DEP team in Trenton to coordinate on all issues and move these three projects ahead as expeditiously as possible through the DEP review process. It is important that we have continuity in our professionals to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Boswell Underwater Engineering has completed their inspection and report of the condition of Hoboken�s waterfront. This includes both the city-owned/city-leased as well as the privately owned sections.

The report on the city-owned properties includes Castle Point, Pier A, the seawall between Sinatra Park and Pier A, and the section just south of Pier A to the NJ Transit property. It is available for viewing on the City website:

As soon as we have an approved contract by the Council, we will be meeting with the property owners of the privately owned sections of the waterfront and presenting them with the report findings relevant to their properties. With the approval of Corporation Counsel, the report that concerns the privately owned sections of the waterfront will be released publicly after the meetings with the property owners.

Anti-wheeling: The ordinance being introduced has been made more comprehensive in response to criticism that it did not address money that might be wheeled through Hoboken PACs other than political parties. This loophole has now been addressed by limiting Hoboken PACs that get more than half their funding from sources outside Hoboken to $500.

Recent events make passing this legislation more important than ever. We need to do this to restore the public�s trust. As you know, a Council member was recently shown on tape scoffing at pay to play, despite public assertions of support for pay-to-play. This raises legitimate questions in the public�s mind as to the sincerity of each and every one of us. We must make sure that our actions are at least as strong as our words so that we can regain the public�s trust.

We should welcome the input of POG, and any other citizen or group that sincerely cares about these issues and provides constructive input. But let�s be clear � it is our job, as the elected representatives of the people of Hoboken to complete this important work.

Happy holidays to everyone, and thank you and best regards.

Mayor Zimmer

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