City Budget: OK, let's look at what Roberts has done - and hasn't

OK, let's look at what Roberts has done - and hasn't
11/03/2002  Hoboken Reporter

Dear Editor:

In his letter in the Oct. 27 issue, Hoboken's Chief Financial Officer Michael Lenz asks that the we judge the Roberts administration "on what we do". I agree. Let's look at their fiscal record.

Councilman Roberts used to rail against high spending at the Board of Education. Yet in the last election, Mayor Roberts took no position on the budget? How should we view his silence?

Mr. Roberts used to talk about conducting a nationwide search for a Business Administrator. He hired two experienced individuals, Laurie Cotter and Kathy Stack as the Business Administrator and Revenue and Finance Director respectively. Now they're both gone, (is Ms. Cotter still collecting a salary?) and our top financial positions are staffed by people who are inexperienced in those positions. How should we view this?

Let's look at the 2003 budget. First there was an $8 million excess of expenses over revenues and Mr. Roberts asked the City Council to approve an increase of 5 percent in the spending cap. Shortly thereafter the expense excess was $4 million and the request for an increase in the spending cap was dropped. Now we are told that with refiguring the revenues and an additional $500,000 in aid the budget is balanced. If our financial people went back and sharpened their pencils would they coming up with a few million bucks more for a tax cut? Simply put, how can anyone have any faith in Mr. Roberts and his budget team?

Mr. Roberts promised fiscal responsibility. He made headlines about reducing police overtime, cell telephone expenses, as well as legal and accounting fees. However, none of this has flowed through to the taxpayer. Instead of talking about tax cuts he now parrots the tired Russo line about "stabilizing taxes".

I don't want my taxes stabilized. I want them cut. We've given Mr. Roberts over a year to get his fiscal act together and he has failed miserably. But he still has time to correct the error of his ways and give us a tax cut, which I strongly urge him to do.

In these tough economic times Hoboken families have to tighten their belts and make do with less. Why shouldn't Hoboken?

Jonathan R. Gordon

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