PATERSON, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) on Monday granted all municipalities in the state an extension of its deadline for submitting applications for Transition Aid.
The reprieve comes in handy for Paterson. The City Council on Friday night did not approve an introduced city budget, a step that the state requires be taken before the city can file its application for the transition aid. So there was no way the city could have met the deadline.
So far, only Camden has filed a Transition Aid application, according to DCA spokeswoman Lisa Ryan. But the agency expects applications from Paterson, Trenton and Union City, Ryan said.
The state extension gives Paterson and other cities until Friday. Officials said they likely would try again to get council approval for the introduced budget at a special meeting sometime this week.
Council members who voted down the preliminary budget on Friday said they were not willing to sign off on a document that included a 11.5 percent tax increase. But administration officials insisted that cuts would be made before the budget were finalized and that the tax hike would not exceed 3.5 percent.
Paterson has received almost $50 million in total over the past two years in transition aid. The program is designed to help cash-strapped cities make their way through financial crises. But the state also expects municipalities to find ways to become self-sufficient so they no longer need the special funding.