I hope this email finds you well. My administration is moving things forward at an impressive pace and delivering on the promises that were made. We've started the process of dissolving the Jersey City Parking Authority, delivering the promise of streamlined, cost-efficient services. We've created a Citizen Public Safety Advisory Board - delivering the promise of accountability from your city government. We collected $2.3 million dollars from a developer through contract enforcement, delivering on the promise of fiscal health. We are now a designated "Let's Move City" and are part of the "Mayors Wellness Campaign" - programs that deliver the promise of a healthy, vibrant city. Lastly, and most remarkable of all is the passage this week of the paid sick days ordinance, making good on the promise of a city that provides opportunity and justice for working families. It's been an incredible three months and I look forward to building on the progress we are making.
Passing of Paid Sick Days Ordinance
In what I consider to be a monumental victory for Jersey City and working families, we have passed New Jersey's first municipal paid sick days legislation. I recently talked with Brian Lehrer and told him that this is a women's issue, a minority family issue and a human dignity issue and that this kind of legislation is the right thing to do. I hope you'll take a minute and listen to the interview if you haven't already.
First Step toward Dissolution of the Parking Authority
The Law Department has taken the first step in the process to dissolve the Jersey City Parking Authority. The process begins with a study of the operations of the autonomous agency as a way of informing the City Council as to how best to proceed. Generally speaking, autonomous agencies create unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and duplicative services. This will be a win for the taxpayers and residents and this was a campaign pledge that we are committed to moving forward. The resolution to retain an independent law firm to conduct the investigation was passed by the Council at the September 25th meeting.
Citizen Public Safety Advisory Review Board
Last week I announced the creation of this board to review public safety reports, crime reports and incidents involving Department personnel. The board, established by Executive Order, will also make programmatic, legislative and training recommendations to improve public safety. This board creates a forum for the public to have an ongoing voice in the dialogue on public safety and provide a mechanism for community engagement to facilitate checks and balances on the Police Department.
A Healthier Jersey City
Jersey City is now a "Let's Move City" which sets five actionable goals for reducing and reversing childhood obesity rates. We've also signed on to the Mayors Wellness Campaign, an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and a partner of the League of Municipalities. I am passionate about health and fitness, getting our youth and adults active and eating healthier is something we have pledged to do through both our Health Department and our Recreation Department.
Recovery of $2.3 million from Developer
Together with Jersey City's Law Department and the Jersey City Tax Department, I conducted an aggressive audit of tax abatements and recovered $2.3 million from a developer who had failed to make payments owed as part of its tax abatement with the City. What we are finding is that the prior administration literally left millions of dollars on the table, failure to collect this money is unacceptable and we are going to hold these developers accountable. We anticipate taking similar actions against other developers in violation of their abatements. These are tax dollars that could be used to better serve our residents.