Paterson Top Stories

Fiscal Gloom and Doom: Falling Revenues Put Paterson $3.7 Million in the Red



PATERSON, NJ – The city’s government finished the 2012 fiscal year with a $3.7 million deficit, a shortfall that’s three times larger than the gap that confronted municipal officials at the end of the previous year.

The deficit puts the city in an even deeper hole for the 2013 fiscal year than what officials previously had expected.

Sign Up for E-News

Under state law, the city will have to cover the $3.7 million deficit in its 2013 budget. On top of that, the state already has said that Paterson faces a $10 million structural deficit for this year because of one-time financial maneuvers used to balance last year’s budget, like the use of money from an Urban Enterprise Zone fund that’s now almost depleted.

Altogether, city officials are looking at a gap of almost $14 million, and that doesn’t take into account other factors that could widen the shortfall, like the anticipated reduction in state transition aid.

“I’m flabbergasted,’’ said Councilman Andre Sayegh. “It seems like it’s Ground Hog’s Day,’’ he added, referring to the movie in which a character played by Bill Murray he keeps reliving the same day. “I just hope it’s not Doomsday.’’ learned that the city had a deficit at the end of the 2012 fiscal year from a report that municipal officials recently filed with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The report said the 2012 deficit resulted from the loss of anticipated revenue, such as delinquent tax collections and non-payments on municipal court fines.

The three-page report is supposed to outline city officials’ plans for how they intend to wean Paterson off the state transition aid. But for the most part, it paints a sobering picture of Paterson’s finances and offers little in the way of specific proposals for replenishing the municipal coffers.

“The idea that the city of Paterson can achieve property tax stabilization when it faces a consistent decline in revenue streams with simultaneous cost increases (many of which are mandates) should come to a screeching halt,’’ the report says. “The balancing acts have used up all of the “one-time” solutions, such as the sale of City-owned properties. Even with one of the largest single layoffs in the City’s history, which occurred two years ago, the cost savings achieved bore little real budgetary savings but did create other negative ‘quality of life’ issues that have no real solutions.’’

The report described Paterson’s ongoing loss of property tax ratables and the ever-growing number of tax appeals filed by city property owners. The report calls the state transitional aid – of which Paterson received $21 million last year – a form of “life support.’’

“The City’s annual process of balancing the revenues and expenditures always comes up short,’’ says the report. 

Among the “fiscal recovery objectives” outlined in the report were the recent hiring of a new economic development director whose job will be to attract new businesses to the city and the fact that some savings will be achieved because of the retirements of senior members of the fire and police departments who were replaced by lower-paid employees.

Councilman Kenneth Morris, chairman of the finance committee, said the administration had not provided him a copy of its transition report.

“I don’t think the administration has gotten the concept of what transition aid means,’’ said Morris. “They look at the state transition aid as a permanent revenue, when it isn’t.’’

Morris said the administration has scheduled a series of budget hearings on various municipal departments between September 5 and October 10.

The 2013 fiscal year began on July 1.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar


Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...