Jersey City Municipal Budget, 2023: A visual walkthrough of the proposed budget

I dug into Jersey City’s municipal budget (as introduced on May 10th) and wanted to share a visual that I am using to better understand the budget. The one big constraint I find with Jersey City’s budget is that it is “locked” in PDF; I’m a visual thinker so I prefer to view data through pictures.

Some initial insights:

  1. The 2023 budget is mostly “people cost” (salaries & benefits) driven primarily by public safety (police, fire, EMS, etc)
  2. Property tax is the biggest – but not the only – revenue source. Jersey City is also relying on abatement PILOT fees, state aid, and local revenues.
  3. In terms of change, the city has about $70M less in federal COVID-19 aid this year; this is contributing to an overall property tax increase. I’ll be looking at the change from 2022 to 2023 in a separate post.

I’ll have more to come, but for now I wanted to share an initial view.

A note on how I convert the data from the budget file to Tableau.

  1. I used Adobe to cover the original PDF budget online here to Excel.
  2. I then cleaned the dataset (removing merged cells, non-used rows, etc) to create a row/column table.
  3. I layered in custom fields as needed to achieve certain groupings that could then effectuate the visuals below.

My data table is below, which I used for a tie-out exercise. I’m sharing in case others find it helpful.

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