As the city of Paterson faces yet another year of budgetary crisis, new and creative business practices need to be adopted to save taxpayers money and still provide essential city services. No longer can taxpayers be expected to pay any price and bear any burden. At the same time Paterson is confronting a crime spree that has resulted in a 19 percent increase in violent crime that has impacted upon every neighborhood in our city.
There is clear need to reinstate the 125 Paterson police officers who were laid off last year to reinforce our already over-stretched police department. As good stewards our elected officials need to spend tax dollars in smarter and more cost-effective ways that balance Paterson revenue sources with expenditures required to provide critical municipal services like police protection and overall public safety.
One such policy path to pursue is the fiscal concept of shared -services agreements and joint purchasing of goods and services between inter-governmental agencies. Historically, the city of Paterson and the Paterson school district have had a long-standing joint venture agreement regarding recreational services that is both productive and cost-efficient. Another example would be a shared-service agreement between the city of Paterson and the Paterson school district on garbage pick-up and disposal.
This partnership alone would save Paterson taxpayers between three and five million dollars. This issue was raised earlier this year and clearly needs to be re-examined for potential cost-savings for the taxpaying public. By implementing the basic economic principle of purchasing goods and services in greater volume the cost savings would be financially significant, provide taxpayer relief for overly burdened Paterson property owners and make available the necessary funds required to bring back our Paterson police officers who were laid off last April.
While our financial resources may be limited, the public policies and programs we choose to pursue are limited only by our intellectual curiosity and our willingness to work together for the betterment of Paterson. The plan I present provides potential taxpayer relief, cost-effective spending for municipal services and funding for an understaffed police department that needs to be acknowledged for their dedication. It is time to acknowledge that the men and women of the Paterson police are highly respected by our city and not forgotten.
Dr. Joseph Atallo