Hoboken's fiscal future uncertain due to budget mess

Budgetary problems in Hoboken could hit residents hard in the pocketbook through layoffs and higher property taxes.

Mayor David Roberts says the city needs to change the way it does business.

"The cost of running government has gone up in a post-9/11 world in leaps and bounds," says Roberts.

The mayor wants the city to consider a 7 percent property tax hike. The hike would cost the average homeowner around $213 per year, according to his office.

"I don't think there's many other choices of how we can balance the budget," says the mayor.

Roberts is also calling for a small municipal workforce reduction to be achieved through retirements and layoffs. The number of reductions in his plan could range from 30 to more than 90.

The mayor is also mulling the demotion of some police and fire department members to trim more fat off the budget. The firefighters union says that suggestion would impact public safety.

Roberts' office is also eyeballing other ways to add to city coffers, such as a modest charge to businesses for garbage pickup.

The mayor's proposal has to be approved by the city council and the state, as the state is now overseeing the city's finances.

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