PATERSON, N.J. - After months of Temporary budgets, the Paterson City council adopted the $278.86 million budget it approved last week.
This is the first budget in recent years that lowers the property tax on homeowners, lowering the total they hope to levy on homeowners by $5.44 million. Homeowners on average can expect about $200 in annual savings on their property taxes depending on the value of their property.
The budget was able to accomplish the responsibility hailed by the council due in part to a surplus from tax lien sales at the end of 2016 which helped start the 2017 fiscal year with $11.4 million. City court revenue, ambulance fees, construction permitting fees, municipal services, and city employee health care contributions all also grew revenue.
Councilman Andre Sayegh commended the plan because it cut overtime pay in half, something he had advocated in favor for years. He called the plan a "significant victory" for the taxpayers.
Every council person voted in favor of adopting the new budget except for Councilman Kenneth Morris who was absent and Councilman Mike Jackson. Jackson said he would like to see pay increases for the clerks in the City Clerk's Office and Council Office.
Jackson asked for data on the increased court revenue to see which divisions are creating that revenue and whether the increased enforcement in the Community Improvements division under Director Dave Gilmore played a role. Torres indicated it may not be possible to break it down that data by division.
Although the plan was applauded council members said they would like to see the same fiscal responsibility in the next budget for the fiscal year starting in four months. Paterson had been operating on temporary budgets for the last 8 months.