The lack of independent leadership on our city council is financially hurting the residents of our city. The responsibility to be a public servant has been unseen from the majority of the council for the last eight years. This is a fact based on their track records and their prioritizing developers over residents.
As things look now, the Jersey City Municipal Council will approve a water and solid waste pick-up tax that will add to the current financial stress impacting most residents due to the coronavirus pandemic. As affordability is one of the main issues affecting the city’s residents, the lack of independent leadership and advocacy of some of our current councilmembers clearly displays that they are aligned with the will and pleasure of the current administration and do not advocate for the prosperity of all our residents.
The new water and solid waste tax will bring another nightmare for residents’ finances as our families are facing high numbers of unemployment, their small businesses closing, and insufficient funding of our public schools.
According to the city’s website, “Jersey City has traditionally provided garbage collection to the residents and businesses of the City through a private vendor retained by the City pursuant to a public contract. In August 2020, the City awarded a contract for garbage collection to Regional Industries, LLC. In January 2021 the garbage collection contract with Regional Industries, LLC was assigned to the JCMUA. Pursuant to the assignment of this contract, the JCMUA will now bill residents and businesses directly for garbage pick up, similar to the way that water and sewer services are billed.”
This change by the current administration increased expenses for Jersey City homeowners by $10–$15 million annually. In some cases, homeowners may pay an additional fifty percent in fees due to this new water and solid waste tax. Even with this increased tax, many residents see how inefficient the waste collection has been in the last five years, including poor garbage pickup services as our streets and neighborhoods are filthy. With all this in mind, our municipality still managed to renew the contract and add an additional tax on our residents.
Our residents deserve leaders who will advocate on behalf of the residents over the wants of the current administration. It is irresponsible for our residents to pay additional taxes during a life-altering pandemic. This additional tax stress on our residents will be around $300 per household. I urge fellow residents to speak up at the next city council meeting against this unneeded additional tax burden.
Elvin Dominici is running for an at-large seat on the city council.