Christie Tips His Cap To Mayor Jones

Mayor Jeffrey Jones


PATERSON, NJ - During his visit to Paterson on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie tossed some praise to Mayor Jeffrey Jones, but he didn't throw any extra money the city's way.
The governor said his plan to restore $139 million in transitional aid to New Jersey's cities - aid he had cut from the state budget three weeks ago - was contingent on whether the legislature adopts bills that would provide greater oversight of what municipalities do with the money.
"If they don't, I won't,'' the governor said.

Without the restoration of the transitional aid, Paterson is headed for another fiscal crisis. Last year, the city received $28.3 million, including a last-minute boost of $6 million that's being charged to this year's state budget. It's too early to tell how much Paterson would get this year, even if the governor restores the funding.
Under the city's budget, every million dollars amounts to about $38 in annual taxes on a $350,000 house. The loss of all transitional aid would equate to about $1,100 in extra taxes on such a home, unless major spending cuts were made to offset the loss.
Christie, who came to Paterson to highlight an education initiative modeled after the nationally-acclaimed Harlem Children's Zone, briefly discussed the city's finances during the press conference.
The governor said he and Jones were working in partnership "to try to make sure that Paterson has a revitalization under his leadership and I can tell you that he is a serious and fair partner in trying to bring that type of revitalization to Paterson. So mayor it's always an honor to be with you and I thank you for the hard work you've done on behalf of the people of the city.''
After the press conference, Jones said he appreciated the governor's praise, but he pointed out that Christie's comments did not provide any clarity for Paterson's fiscal future.
While Christie mentioned Jones' efforts, he said nothing about state-appointed schools superintendent Donnie Evans, who was seated right next to the mayor in the front row at the press conference. Evans is in the final year of his three-year contract and the governor has until September 1 to let him know whether he will be re-appointed.

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