April 3, 2024

City of Hoboken to introduce balanced FY2024 budget overcoming State mandated increases

The City of Hoboken today announced the introduction of the 2024 Municipal Budget, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to both responsible fiscal management and strategic investment in the community's future.

Despite facing multi-million-dollar increases mandated by the State of New Jersey in pension obligations and a significant uptick in healthcare costs, Hoboken continues to prioritize infrastructure upgrades, open space expansion, and quality of life improvements, while maintaining financial stability and an outstanding AA+ long-term credit rating.

“From major open space projects to water main upgrades and revitalizing our waterfront, this budget reflects our ongoing commitment to upgrade quality of life for Hoboken residents,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “While fixed costs beyond the City's control, including multi-million-dollar State pension obligations and rising healthcare costs, continue to be a challenge, I am proud that our operations and discretionary spending continue to be well below the rate of inflation, reflecting our commitment to taxpayers.”

This year's budget allocates capital funds for several key projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life for Hoboken residents. Notable highlights include:

  • Expansion of Southwest Park: Creating innovative green spaces in the City, the budget includes funds to expand Southwest Park, providing residents with additional recreational opportunities and flood-mitigating infrastructure.
  • Rehabilitation of Castle Point Terrace: Addressing critical infrastructure needs, funds have been allocated for the rehabilitation of Castle Point Terrace, ensuring that this historic street retains its charm and significance for decades to come.
  • Investment in Water Infrastructure: Recognizing the importance of reliable water infrastructure, the budget continues the city's commitment to maintaining and upgrading essential water systems, safeguarding public health.
  • Reconstruction of Sinatra Drive: Reiterating the City’s commitment to safer streets, Hoboken has committed budgetary funds to begin construction on an updated Sinatra Drive, which will include a protected bike lane, additional parking, and pedestrian safety improvements.
  • Implementation of Sustainability Projects: Understanding the City’s Climate Action Plan goals to be carbon neutral by 2050 and net zero energy by 2030, the budget provides funding to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure, zero waste initiatives, and more.
  • Commitment to Vulnerable Residents: Reaffirming the City’s dedication to improving quality of life, the budget includes programs to assist low-and-moderate-income residents with home improvement financing, social services, and recreation offerings.

Moreover, the 2024 budget underscores Hoboken's journey toward financial resilience. Approximately 15 years ago, the city grappled with financial mismanagement, leading to State takeover. Today, Hoboken has earned a AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings due to the City’s prudent fiscal stewardship and dedication to sound financial practices. This year, S&P also increased the City’s short-term bond rating to SP-1+, the highest possible rating for a municipality. The outstanding credit ratings allow the City to bond at low interest rates, saving taxpayers significant costs on capital projects.  

The proposed budget for 2024 is $144.3 million, a 5.9 percent tax rate increase from last year which equals approximately $14 per month for the average assessment. It reflects significant fixed cost increases including nearly $3 million in mandated State pension cost increases, a nearly $2 million increase in healthcare costs, and $750,000 contractual increase in trash collection.

While the multi-million-dollar fixed costs make up most of the budget increase, discretionary and operations spending remains below the rate of inflation to mitigate the impact on taxpayers. The City has reduced costs and decreased salaries and wages through a reorganization of City departments earlier this year. The reorganization has eliminated redundancies and streamlined operations throughout City Hall, which has included a 1 percent reduction in salaries year over year.

Since 2018, the inflation rate has increased 21 percent, while the City’s tax rate has increased 16 percent, 5 percent below the rate of inflation. The City of Hoboken continues to have the lowest tax rate of any municipality in Hudson County.

The Administration will host nine budget workshops via Zoom starting each day at 6 p.m., to provide an opportunity for open public engagement. Information on how to join the workshops will be issued via Nixle in the coming days. The workshop schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 15:

  • Administration and Finance
  • City Clerk
  • Corporation Counsel

Tuesday, April 16:

  • Transportation and Parking
  • Parks, Recreation, and Public Works
  • Community Development

Monday, April 22:

  • Water Utility
  • Climate Action & Innovation
  • Public Safety