June 6, 2018

Mayor Bhalla Proposes Plastic Bag Ban and Rent Control Reforms

Hoboken, NJ - Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla is advocating strongly for two key ordinances being introduced at the City Council meeting on Wednesday. 

The first is a city-wide ban on single-use plastic bags. Bhalla had worked on the ordinance as a council member alongside Councilman Jim Doyle. The ordinance is now sponsored by Doyle and Councilman Michael Russo. 

“Single-use plastic bags are incredibly wasteful and destructive to our community and the environment,” said Bhalla. “The US wastes hundreds of billions of these bags every year. This ban is a reasonable way we as Hobokenites can do our part to cut down on litter and pollution.” 

On average, an individual uses 500 single-use plastic bags each year. 

If passed, the ordinance would ban retailers from bagging groceries and goods into single-use plastic bags, though plastic bags protecting produce, meat products, and newspapers would still be allowed. The ordinance would also apply a minimum fee of ten cents per paper bag used. In addition, retailers would be required to sell reusable bags for customers to be able to purchase if they wish. 

The second measure is an amendment to Hoboken’s Rent Control Ordinance that would close a major loophole being abused by landlords to raise tenant rents by hundreds of dollars. The loophole permitting this unconscionable practice is the ability to apply for a property tax surcharge using 1988 as the base year. The amendment will change the base year to 2014, minimizing the possible surcharge increase for renters, and also prohibit any surcharge from being implemented in the middle of a term of a lease. 

“I have had tenants with tears in their eyes, in fear of displacement, handing me property tax surcharge calculations that will make living in Hoboken unaffordable,” said Bhalla. “The purpose of rent control is to protect tenants. Period. I urge the City Council to advance this purpose by closing this loophole without further delays.” 

The ordinances will go through first readings on Wednesday, June 6. The second readings for potential passage of the ordinances are scheduled for Wednesday, June 20.