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. This file is a work paper for me, and I share it for anyone else interested in digging into the details. I’ll have follow-on analysis as I find areas of interest to write about. Please contact me through this form if you have questions or feedback, which I welcome.
Some initial insights:
- The 2023 budget is mostly “people cost” (salaries & benefits) driven primarily by public safety (police, fire, EMS, etc)
- 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.
- 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.
- I used Adobe to cover the original PDF budget online here to Excel.
- I then cleaned the dataset (removing merged cells, non-used rows, etc) to create a row/column table.
- 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.