No Government Shutdown for Paterson

Paterson has just over 1,700 employees, a number that swells to over 2,100 in the summer. Credits: City of Paterson

PATERSON, NJ- After nearly two hours of, at times contentious, discussion, the Paterson City Council voted unanimously to approve an emergency measure to keep the local government running through February. Requiring six votes to pass, the measure failed at a meeting earlier this month, necessitating the special meeting, and, with Council Members Davilla, Mendez, and Morris absent, the support of all in attendance.

The appropriation, totaling just over $23 million, comes as part of the city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which began on July 1, 2017, and runs through June 30, 2018, and, according to Business Administrator Nellie Pou, covers costs associated with employee salaries for part of January and February, certain statutory requirements, and “other obligations.”

While working off of temporary appropriations isn’t efficient, a source knowledgeable about the process told TAPinto Paterson, it is necessary as the State of New Jersey has yet to announce how much transitional aid it will provide to the city.

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In offering his vote in support of the measure, 6th Ward Councilman Andre Sayegh expressed hope that Governor Phil Murphy’s Administration will look favorably on Paterson’s request for $27 million in transitional aid, an increase of $2 million over last year’s budget.

These sentiments were echoed by Pou who told the council that she spoke with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs again on Tuesday and hoped for a “prompt and favorable response.”

Speaking prior to casting their votes, each of the council members expressed similar sentiments that, while they didn’t necessarily support the budget in its entirety, they were obligated to act to keep Paterson operating. His decision, 2nd Ward Councilman Shahin Khalique said, was not one to raise taxes, but rather to support “a measure to keep government open.”

Concluding his comments 5th Ward Councilman Luis Velez, perhaps throwing a jab at his absent colleagues, urged all in attendance to consider who was present to “make a decision to move the city forward.”

The City Council’s next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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