Councilman DeFusco Calls for Forensic Audit of Finances, Organization as Hoboken Attempts to Bond for $4.7 Million
HOBOKEN, N.J. — Last night, the Hoboken City Council held a special meeting to discuss the city’s looming multi-million dollar municipal budget deficit. During this meeting, an ordinance was introduced that would allow the administration to accept $4.7 million in cash from the Hoboken Public Library’s surplus and in return the city would bond for the same amount to be repaid over the next 20 years, with interest. Under state law, a municipality is not permitted to bond, in any amount, to cover a shortfall in its operating budget.
Councilman Mike DeFusco, one of four Council members to vote against the bond ordinance on first reading, is now calling for a complete forensic audit of city finances and operational costs to ensure future budgets are responsibly and ethically sound before being presented to Hoboken taxpayers. Additionally, he has asked the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs to review the legality of this financial maneuver.
“Despite countless requests by the City Council to be presented with a municipal budget, the mayor has outright refused to hold transparent conversations about the troubling state of Hoboken’s finances,” said Councilman Mike DeFusco. “Instead, Mayor Bhalla has resorted to an old-school political gimmick, injecting one shot revenue at the expense of future taxpayers. Even more alarmingly, the mayor continues to blame a global health crisis for pre-existing budgetary woes that are a direct result of his rampant overspending. I call on the mayor to work with the Council to conduct an independent forensic audit of city finances and organizational structures to ensure we are cutting the politically connected contracts and patronage jobs that continue to bloat our budget.”