PATERSON, NJ - In the past week, city hall has shut down for the holidays and a blizzard. Now it's shutting down because of the municipal budget crisis.
January 4 is the first of 10 furlough days, when city workers, other than firefighters and police officers, are being forced to take the day off without pay. That means city services, like the libraries, recreation programs, health offices, will be closed.
 
Officials estimate Paterson will save about $900,000 through the furloughs. That represents a small portion of the city's 2011 budget shortfall, which officials say stands at about $55 million. 
 

Unless additional cuts are made in the $251 million budget, the owners of a $350,000 house face a tax increase of almost $2,000.
 
Mayor Jeffrey Jones' administration has promised to present its plans for the budget at the January 25 meeting. City officials on December 22 began discussions with 17 municipal employee unions in an effort to get contract concessions that might help close the budget.