Paterson Top Stories

City Council Gives Thumbs Down to Preliminary Budget With 36 Percent Tax Increase

City Hall



PATERSON, NJ – Balking at the possibility of a 36 percent tax increase, the City Council Tuesday night voted down the preliminary 2012 city budget.

Sign Up for E-News

Under the proposal, the total amount of property taxes collected could have jumped by more than $47 million, to $178.8 million.

City finance officials emphasized that the preliminary budget was merely a starting point and that the document was crafted to highlight Paterson’s fiscal problems in an attempt to get as much state transitional aid as possible.

But a majority of the council members weren’t accepting that strategy and argued that the administration already should have made cuts in the budget.

“Let’s make this crystal clear: there’s no way – insert the proper bleeps – that I am approving a (tax) levy of $178 million,’’ said Councilman Kenneth Morris, the finance chairman. “We need to cut down to the bone marrow – not to the bone – the bone marrow.’’

After Paterson endured a 29 percent tax increase last fiscal year, council member said they not approve another hike for 2012.

The linchpin to the city’s financial fortunes seems to be its state transitional aid application. Paterson is asking for $47 million, enough to eliminate the budget shortfall without requiring a tax increase.

But council members say the request is unrealistic because at present there’s only $10 million in transition aid money available statewide as a result of a budget cut imposed by Gov. Chris Christie back in the early summer. Christie has said he would be willing to boost the transitional aid allotment back up to $139 million where it was last year, but only if the legislature adopts tougher monitoring rules, which has not yet happened.

Last year, Paterson received about $28 million in transitional aid. At their meeting Tuesday night, several council members said they thought the state would be less likely to give Paterson the money it needs now that the state is reviewing city overtime records and other employee payments in the aftermath of the improper overtime checks issued to the mayor and members of his Cabinet.

“It’s unrealistic,’’ said Councilman William McKoy.

“It doesn’t make sense to ask for money that’s not going to be given to you,’’ said Councilman Julio Tavarez.

“I’m still waiting for a sensible budget,’’ said Councilman Andre Sayegh. “If we keep going down this path, state takeover is inevitable.’’

Councilman Rigo Rodriguez joined Morris, McKoy, Tavarez and Sayegh in voting down the budget. Council President Anthony Davis and council members Aslon Goow and Benjie Wimberly voted for it.

City Budget Director Russ Forenza warned the council that he believed the city’s state aid would end up being reduced if Paterson officials made budget cuts before submitting their spending plan to Trenton. He pointed out that the tax levy included in the preliminary budget was far from being the final number.

“This is just the start of the budget process,’’ Forenza told the council.

The city council still has to holding hearings on the individual departmental budgets. The preliminary budget likely will come up for another vote within the next couple weeks. The administration may modify the budget to appease the council, or continue to try to change the council members’ minds. As of Tuesday night, it wasn’t clear which side would prevail.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


‘We Must Not Be Enemies’

May 9, 2018

Dear Editor

I want to take opportunity to congratulate Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh on his awesome election night victory and for running a campaign to unite all Patersonians. His message of “One Paterson” resonated with the electorate. I believe that Paterson's best days are ahead. He will govern the city the same way he campaigned, always putting Paterson and ...

Five Former Salesmen For Morris County Clinical Lab Sentenced For Bribing Doctors In $100 Million Test Referral Scheme

May 18, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. – Five individuals were sentenced today for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, New Jersey, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough, New Jersey, and Kevin Kerekes, 52, of ...

Pascrell Signs Bipartisan Discharge Petition to Force a Vote to Protect Dreamers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) signed a bipartisan discharge petition to force a long-overdue vote on the House Floor to protect America’s Dreamers.

“Thanks to a cruel act by Donald Trump and inaction by this Republican Congress, Dreamers have been living under a cloud of fear and uncertainty,” said Rep. Pascrell.  “I ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

PayPal CEO says Rutgers grads need to "Help Repair the World"

May 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, called on the Class of 2018 to take a stand for social justice as they graduate during a time of unprecedented technological and social change.

He talked about the decision at PayPal to rescind plans to build a global operations center in North Carolina following legislation many considered discriminatory against the ...

Murphy Signs Legislation Championed by Paterson Senator Nellie Pou to Give DREAMers In-state Financial Aid

NEWARK, NJ - Legislation co-sponsored by Paterson's Senator Nellie Pou (D-35) allowing students to apply for state financial aid assistance, joining nine other states nationally to make both tuition and financial aid available to DREAMers, was signed into law on Wednesday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The DREAM Act was a bill created by Congress to allow undocumented immigrants ...

Brownie Troop Donates Cookies to Paterson Military Food Pantry. Joint Effort by Great Falls Rotary and Passaic County Board of Realtors Continues to Thrive

May 19, 2018

Today was such a momentous day in the life of a Rotarian/Realtor and the perfect example of community service and partnerships.

Roger Fields, a fellow realtor and current President of the VFW post in Butler and his wife Joan, when approached by Brownie Troop 96521 Butler-Bloomingdale Service Unit regarding the donation of Girl Scouts cookies immediately provided them with my contact ...