Jersey City voters to decide whether to create new arts and culture trust fund

Emilee Geist

When Jersey City voters cast their ballots in the November election, they’ll be picking more than just the president. © Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal/Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal/nj.com/TNS People have written messages of peace and love on the menorah mural on Erie Street in Jersey […]

When Jersey City voters cast their ballots in the November election, they’ll be picking more than just the president.



colorful graffiti on the side of Berlin Wall: People have written messages of peace and love on the menorah mural on Erie Street in Jersey City, which was made in response to the Dec. 10 violence in Jersey City that left a police officer, three civilians and the two suspects dead.


© Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal/Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal/nj.com/TNS
People have written messages of peace and love on the menorah mural on Erie Street in Jersey City, which was made in response to the Dec. 10 violence in Jersey City that left a police officer, three civilians and the two suspects dead.

Voters will also decide whether the city establishes a new tax to fund local arts and culture. If approved in November, the tax would amount to two cents per $100 of assessed value and its revenue would finance the Arts and Culture Trust Fund.

Mayor Steve Fulop, who supports the creation of the fund, announced in April the city would nix the public question from November’s ballot, citing the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after a series of conversations with Jersey City’s arts leaders, City Council members, and members of the public, Fulop and the Council opted to move forward with the referendum despite the pandemic-related budget challenges.

Last month, the City Council approved a revised $658 million municipal budget that filled a $70 million budget gap caused by the pandemic. The spending plan added millions to the budget that was proposed in January, but did not raise municipal taxes. Instead, city officials made millions in cuts and found other savings across various departments.

“A vote ‘yes’ on Election Day for that small fee will collectively go a long way for the future of Jersey City’s dynamic culture, strengthening our vibrant arts scene and ultimately invigorating the community as a whole” Fulop said. “Now more than ever, we need to establish sustainable fiscal models to provide a strong foundation for our unique arts and culture to grow and thrive, now and for future generations to come.”

The Arts and Culture Trust Fund would support creative and cultural activities, including fine arts, music, dance, graphic design, film, digital media, architecture and urban design, among other mediums.

Because of the pandemic, every registered voter in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot. Hudson County voters should expect to begin seeing their ballots in the mail this week. Voters may cast a provisional ballot at polling stations, but those ballots won’t be counted until 10 days after Nov. 3, after all the mail-in ballots have been tallied.

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