Bayonne outlines debt case to Finance Board

TRENTON – Bayonne officials made their case Monday before the Local Finance Board for handling the heavy debt load of the Local Redevelopment Authority, which is largely defunct.

Officials presented their case to the board, which is expected to render a decision at some point. Today’s hearing was strictly to collect testimony.

The authority is being abolished because Bayonne has sold much of its 432-acre military ocean terminal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other entities, but the authority still has approximately $75 million worth of debt on its books.

Bayonne seeks approval for the sale of bonds to cover approximately $60 million in debt being transferred from the authority to the city.

When the military terminal closed in 1999, the city planned to develop the property, but the economic downturn put a halt to much of that.

Some 450 housing units have been developed

Going forward, the property is expected to be the site of container freight operations.

City business administrator Steve Gallo and other officials outlined for the board the steps the city has taken to save money and become more efficient.

Dissolving the authority is projected to save the city about $2 million per year. 
Chairman Tom Neff said he believes dissolving the authority is the right step. 

He said the board would not vote today, but wanted to gather testimony and then have legal counsel review all aspects of the situation.

The matter is complicated as there is ongoing litigation involving allegations of abandoned redevelopment plans and the dissolving of the authority, a prime defendant in the matter.

Bayonne outlines debt case to Finance Board