The Hoboken Housing Authority owes the city of Hoboken more than $400,000 in back payments, because it stopped paying fees to the city in 2008, according to HHA chairman Jake Stuiver.
According to a 1949 cooperation agreement (which was amended in 1953), the Housing Authority owes the city 10 percent of its annual rent revenue, in lieu of tax payments. In return, the city provides the area served by the housing authority with municipal services.
The issue came to light at a Hoboken Housing Authority meeting last week during a discussion of the authority's annual audit.
In what seems to have been an unwritten agreement, the HHA stopped paying the annual cost to the city in 2008 and stopped budgeting for it in its annual budget, Stuiver said. In total, that has lead to a $417,000 debt.
Stuiver said he didn't know why the payments stopped. The city, he said, has also stopped counting on the payments as a form of annual income.
A special HHA meeting will likely be called at some point in the coming weeks to deal with the issue, Stuiver said. A resolution was tabled at last week's meeting to ask the city to forgive the annual payments. The reasoning behind that request is that the HHA pays an annual $540,000 to the city of Hoboken for its police bureau and that should offset the annual obligation, Stuiver explained.
While an amount of $41,000 has been budgeted to pay the city this financial year—the number represents 10 percent of the HHA's annual rent revenue, minus the utility costs— that doesn't solve the problem of the back debt, said Stuiver.
Almost half a million dollars, Stuiver said, is "not insignificant."
He said he may have to ask the Department of Housing and Urban Development for emergency appropriations.
Stuiver recently became the chairman of the HHA, succeeding Jean Rodriguez.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that she didn't yet know what a good solution would be and that she would have to talk to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia.
"Clearly there are some misunderstandings and I look forward to meeting with the director to determine the best solution," Zimmer said.