Jersey City needs Oren Dabney and the JCIA

CASID Editorial

Dear Editor:

Despite their good intention to streamline government, those who endorse folding the Jersey City Incinerator Authority are condemning Jersey City to a future of filthy neighborhood streets filled with litter, debris, and unaddressed garbage dumping.

Under CEO Oren K. Dabney’s leadership the JCIA has been an exceptional partner to Jersey City’s small business community over the years. Efficiently managing litter, garbage, and graffiti is essential for every large city and the JCIA has managed this task admirably under adverse circumstances. Vibrant neighborhood-commercial districts like Central Avenue have extensive sanitary needs and in cooperation with the JCIA the CASID has successfully managed a sanitation program for nearly two decades. Main street merchants, not the City, maintain the seven days-a-week sidewalk sweeping operation through SID programs in Jersey City’s commercial districts. The JCIA complements SID service by cleaning the adjoining roadway six days a week with their mechanical street sweeper and picking up an average of 46 full bags of litter each day from Central Avenue. For those counting that is 322 bags a week and nearly 17,000 thirty-gallon bags a year or approximately 500,000 gallons of trash annually. Yes, there is that much litter and debris accumulating on the Avenue due to the large volume of pedestrian traffic our shopping corridor enjoys. Residents and shoppers may not always be aware of it due to the priority given to sanitation concerns.

For years Oren and his staff have consistently been responsive to the needs of Central Avenue; they quickly respond to phone calls and reply to letters and emails promptly and kindly. The JCIA’s Environmental Compliance division inspects illegal dumping on the Avenue daily. With the utmost professionalism they inspect each and every incident to correctly identify violators so they may reasonably enforce the laws. When it comes to the importance of municipal services, especially sanitation, Oren and his staff get it.

Reading the news reports of the JCIA’s $7 million deficit was disheartening. The deficit should not surprise anyone who knew that the JCIA’s revenue was slashed by the City each of the last two years. Did administrators actually believe the City was over paying $4 million annually for sanitation services? Can you imagine the conditions of our streets and the outcry from residents if the JCIA had further reduced services two years ago? The news reports suggest the City essentially cut JCIA’s funding and railroaded them into debt. Now administrators have given themselves an excuse to fold the agency most responsive to the daily needs of the City and its residents.

Jersey City and its suffering small business community is being pushed to the breaking point. The City’s waning investment into its commercial districts is exacerbated by the Jersey City Parking Authority’s very effective “shopper deterrent” parking paystations, reduced police manpower, and underfunded sanitation programs.  

The partnership that exists between the JCIA and the CASID is a model for how organizations and municipal offices can collaborate to address fundamental public needs in Jersey City. More than anyone else, CEO Oren Dabney and the JCIA have aided the CASID in our mission to sustain a clean and robust main street community on Central Avenue. This balanced private-public partnership should be preserved, recognized, and emulated across Jersey City.

Respectfully Submitted,

President Michael Yun and the Board of Trustees