Dataset #1: The User Friendly Budget

Provides MACRO-level views about Jersey City's real estate, including taxable and tax-exempt real estate & MICRO-level views about abatements.

META DATA / CONTEXT

Understanding the "why" is just as important as understanding the "what"

How this budget increases transparency for taxpayers

Starting in 2015, the Division of Local Government Services (a NJ state agency with municipal oversight capacity) required municipalities to produce a “user friendly budget” – in addition to the “regular” budget – which contains new reporting requirements about abatements. This data is valuable for many reasons, including (a) it is compliance-based (the city is required to report this), (b) it is the only public document that lists, for each abatement, PILOT fees vs. what would otherwise be paid if the property were conventionally taxed.

Read more about this budget on CivicParent

DATA DICTIONARY: User Friendly Budget

This file contains multiple spreadsheets and dozens of data-rich fields that can inform taxpayers about the tax base, city revenues, and city spending. I’ve created a partial data dictionary for the User Friendly Budget for worksheets “UFB-5 Tax Assessments” – this provides information about Jersey City’s real estate, including taxable property (aka the “tax base”), tax-exempt property, and the city’s annual equalization ratio. “UFB-6 Tax Abatements” – this provides information about each of the abatements that pay payments in lieu of taxes (aka “PILOTs”) to the city annually.

Access the partial data dictionary here

Issues & Concerns with this Data

While the city has published all User Friendly Budgets since 2015 (as required to by the state of NJ), the only year of data publicly available in an "open" format (Excel, CSV, etc) is 2015. Following years (2016 and 2017) are available in PDF (image) format only.

PRIMARY SOURCE FILES

These are original budget files published by Jersey City per NJ state mandate.

Jersey City’s Financial Data Web Page

Jersey City is required to publish annual financial documents about how taxpayer funds are received and spent. These documents include budgets, audits, and debt statements.

Visit Jersey City's Public Notices Web Page

The 2017 User Friendly Budget (in PDF)

This is the latest available User Friendly Budget, but it's in image-locked PDF Format (not CSV/Excel/Text/etc).

Click to download the PDF Document

The 2016 User Friendly Budget (in PDF)

This is the 2016 available User Friendly Budget, but it's in image-locked PDF Format (not CSV/Excel/Text/etc).

Click to open the PDF document in your web browser

The 2015 User Friendly Budget (in Excel)

This is the 2016 User Friendly Budget, so older than the 2017 data, but available in MS Excel thus can be analyzed / manipulated.

Click to download the MS Excel document (this is available from the Jersey City Public Docs website)

SUPPORT/WORKPAPER FILES From Jersey City

These are files in tabular format created by varying sources, as noted, and related to the primary source documents.

“Chapter 138” Abatements (Condo Abatements) – List Current as of 2015

This worksheet was provided by the Jersey City Tax Office. It is a workpaper that lists condo abatements - Name, Beginning Date, Ending Date of Abatement.

Click to download the MS Excel document from CivicParent.org Google Drive

Rental Abatements (All Abatements other than Condos) – List Current as of 2015

This worksheet was provided by the Jersey City Tax Office. It is a workpaper that lists all abatements other than Condos

Click to download the MS Excel document from CivicParent.org Google Drive

FILES CREATED BY CIVICPARENT.ORG

These files were created research purposes, and blog posts.

In 2015 and 2016 I created maps (shown at bottom of this page) using data from the User Friendly Budgets (shown above). These are the flat files I created to do the analysis.

2015 User Friendly Budget Data + Tax Office Abatement Data

This is the data used to create civic maps, at bottom of this page. It includes select 2015 User Friendly Budget Abatement Data (Tab #6) Combined with 2016 Jersey City Tax Office Data

Click to download from CivicParent.org Google Drive

Data Visualizations

#DataViz - making data accessible, relevant, & useful for taxpayers

I’ve created 2 abatement maps using User Friendly Budget data combined with tax files I received from the Jersey City Tax Office (the tax files from the Tax Office are not yet available on this page, but I can make them available if requested). These maps show just one way we can make this data more relevant / usable for taxpayers. Much more can be done — these maps were created with MS Excel and Google Maps.

2015 Abatement Map on CivicParent

2016 Abatement Map on CivicParent

CivicParent Abatement Maps in the News