Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lather, rinse, abate

We're running out of reasons why Mayor Steve Fulop, who as candidate Steve Fulop pretty much ran on a plan of NO MORE huge downtown condo tax abatements, continually insists on bleeding the city tax base dry. No more downtown abatements bellowed candidate Fulop, they already have too many. Fast forward to 3 and a half years later and Fulop has broken that promise to all of Jersey City in spades. He continues to give out sweet deals to just about anyone who can still find an unabated lot downtown. One tall square building and a couple project starts elsewhere still has not concentrated on the rest of Jersey City monetarily to what Fulop since becoming mayor has asked his "yes sir" council (Sans Boggiano and Yun) to dole out "in lieu of taxes." Some of these might have been be palatable if any of these new buildings had businesses. Look around. The One has A dry cleaner. A, ie 1. Marbella, nothing. Toll Brothers The Morgan, nothing. These promises of great new taxpaying businesses if a false one. The Igloos (The Art House and The Jokeman on First St.) have scads of parking put in, if you own an electric vehicle. Maybe, maybe 3 spots out of 25 are ever being used (Right now a call from the mayor's office going out to find every Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf within Hudson County to get it there NOW for the media). Sometimes those spots, 3/4 a block, part of "in lieu of taxes," sits empty. Wow, great "giveback" there Shuster. Bet that cost almost nothing to get your deal. If one looks hard enough at that row of empty chargers it would seem the city has outsourced those as well.

So, is Jersey City real estate that unappealing still, after Healy's seed money got things going, for now the budget looks OK, and by most accounts Jersey City is a big old social buzz city? Could just be the mayor rolls over far too easily.

Jobs have come here, and these are exactly where any abatements downtown SHOULD be going to. Those still have to be measured but no more abatements for condos or apartments downtown. How often must this simple idea that less spending is good and right now is the time to make developers, if they want a part of Jersey City, to pay the going rate downtown. The city isn't going to collapse if a corner stays a parking lot. Somebody will pay it, at full tax rate going forward because it's close to NYC. A Chinese company is building the new 95 story tower on Hudson. They could afford going rate rather than "in lieu of taxes," no?

Why is Johnny back on this again?

Terrence T. McDonald, take it away:

Now, city officials are asking the City Council to approve a 25-year tax break for a 52-story, 50-unit high-rise slated for a Columbus Drive parking lot.

AND Fulop wants to loan them money, like Bruce Ratner at the old Pep Boys site. No money for your neighborhoods but actual money to loan a developer. The Goldman Sachs guy in Fulop is on full display here.

The deal would also include $1 million in city-issued bonds, known as redevelopment area bonds, the city said will fund infrastructure improvements on the site, to be known as 25 Columbus Dr.

Oh, that neighborhood gets a new public school kindergarten and first grade out of it (unless the deal is changed and that happens all the time where developers weasel out of agreed to things and council lets them often back out). If you live in Greenville, or say in India Square or along parts of Communipaw, you'll pay for it, but what do you think the chances of your kid going to the new shiny school downtown is?

The answer is pretty clear looking to OUR shared future isn't it Jersey City? You want to open or move your business downtown, we've got office space, we're listening. You want money and loans to build and enrich one tiny neighborhood at the cost of all neighborhoods after all that's been given, yes given, to downtown? No.

Call your councilmember NOW. Tell them to vote responsibly or you'll look to find someone next time who will. Look at Ward B, remind them people aren't tied to they mayor's one-track desires anymore.

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