NEWARK, NJ - Residents will have the opportunity on Saturday to review the city's proposed $710 million budget, ask questions and share their opinions. 

This is the first year the city will hold a community meeting ahead of the regularly scheduled budget hearings with each department. The community meeting will be held on July 13 from 10 a.m. to noon at Willing Heart Community Center at 555 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.  

“It is important for Newark residents to understand how we plan their municipal budget, what the budget contains and what its impact will be on the services received by their families and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “In an empowered and educated city, Newarkers must have the opportunity to hear how we spend their tax dollars and how we set priorities.” 

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Residents will hear how the budget was prepared, learn about new services that will be provided and what impact it will have on taxes. The council will most likely adopt the budget after hearings are held with each department and the figures may change. 

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The administration's proposed budget was introduced June 11 to city council. It calls for a $103 increase to the municipal portion of an average homeowner's property tax bill, according to Newark's Chief Operating Officer Natasha Rogers. 

An average home assessed at $176,903 would pay a tax rate of 1.916 under the proposal, bringing the municipal portion of the tax bill to $3,389 annually. 

The increase would help pay for rising health care costs and pensions among police non-uniformed employees. The proposed budget also includes new hires and increased funding for the new Office of Tenant Legal Services. 

City records show last year's final adopted budget was $690 million, but the modified budget came out to $713 million. The council also advanced an ordinance in June that would allow the city to create a cap bank. 

The projected local levy would be $231,740,194 and does not include the open space or library levies. That would be an increase of 2.83% over last year's levy, which was $225,365,800.

Below are the remaining public hearings on the budget for each department. Each hearing will be held in the council chambers of city hall on the second floor. The meetings will also be televised, the city said. 

Hearings for the law and Public Safety departments already occurred. 

Economic & Housing Development: Thursday, July 11 at 4 p.m. 

Finance/Revenues and Unclassified: Thursday, July 11 at 4:30 p.m. 

Recreation, Cultural Affairs & Senior Services: Friday, July 12 at 4 p.m. 

Health and Community Wellness: Friday, July 12, 4:30 p.m. 

Engineering: Monday, July 15, at 4 p.m. 

Public Works: Monday, July 15 at 4:30 p.m. 

Water and Sewer Utilities: Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m. 

Administration: Tuesday, July 16 at 4:30 p.m. 

Office of the Mayor & Agencies: Wednesday, July 17 at 4 p.m. 

Municipal Council & Office of the City Clerk: Wednesday, July 17 at 4:30 p.m.

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