Paterson Top Stories

Budget Battle Puts City Employees' Next Paychecks in Jeopardy



PATERSON, NJ – Next week’s regular paychecks for about 1,600 Paterson employees hinge on whether the City Council approves a temporary municipal budget for September at its meeting on Tuesday.

The city has enough cash in the bank to cover the paychecks, but state law says the administration needs the city council’s approval to spend the money. The council so far has signed off on $38 million worth of temporary budgets for the current fiscal year’s first two months, July and August.

Sign Up for E-News

That money is running out and there’s not enough left to cover the city’s biweekly payroll of about $4 million for the checks that are due on September 14, according to city budget director Russell Forenza.

The administration’s proposed temporary budget for September fell one vote short of approval at the council’s August 21 meeting.  Five council members voted in favor of it – President Anthony Davis, Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, Kenneth McDaniel, William McKoy and Andre Sayegh. Three voted against it Kenneth Morris, Rigo Rodriguez and Julio Tavarez, while one member was absent – Ruby Cotton.

Budget resolutions require six affirmative votes for passage. Cotton could give the temporary budget the sixth vote it needs, but Sayegh has said he would not vote for another temporary budget unless the administration presents the council with a preliminary 2013 budget by September. On Friday, Sayegh seemed to back away from that position, saying he would have to take into consideration the plight of city workers who may not get paid when decided what to do about Tuesday’s vote.

Council members who have voted against the budget have criticized the administration for what they called its lack of progress in putting together the 2013 spending plan. Morris and Tavarez, in particular, have asserted they wanted to try to force the administration to craft its budget as soon as possible.

In each of the past two years, the budget was not approved until about two-thirds of the fiscal year had elapsed. As a result, last-minute cuts had minimal impact on the bottom line because most of the money already had been spent. In 2011, Paterson endured a 29-percent tax increase and layoffs of almost 400 workers. Last year, the tax increase was about three percent.

Forenza said the administration’s budget for the first three months of fiscal 2013 was about $5.7 million lower than was spent during that same time period last year.

Paterson is looking at a structural deficit of $10 million in its 2013 budget, plus the city has to cover a $3.7 million shortfall left from 2012.

Officials plan to begin departmental budget hearings on Sept. 19.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


City Council Candidate to Voters: Let Your Voice Be Heard

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

It is very important for the citizens of Paterson to participate in local city-wide elections because elected officials can help determine the economic, educational and social well-being of entire communities. For example, two very important tasks of city council members include making laws and allocating money.

Elected officials are the gatekeepers for millions of dollars in ...

Dreams for Service Dog for Autistic Montville Resident Become Reality

February 22, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Faith Stanley, a Towaco resident and a single mother of four boys, sought help for her youngest son, Joey, who is almost three years old and diagnosed with autism. Amazingly enough, Faith found the help she needed!

Due to the generosity and help of so many people, Faith has managed to reach her goal of raising ...

Paterson Hosts Statewide Event as National El Sistema Leader

February 22, 2018

PATERSON—On March 10, nearly 300 students from seven New Jersey immersive ensemble music learning programs will converge in Paterson for the 4th annual Fiddlefest and Falala Festival. A day of music making and a celebration of culture and community for both the students and their families, the festival features the Paterson-based program Paterson Music Project (PMP), in addition to the New ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...