Public Hearing on Budget That Officials Say Carries Average Tax Increase of About $200
Sunday, March 10, 2013 • 10:03am
PATERSON, NJ – City residents will have a chance to offer their opinions on Paterson’s finances during a public hearing on the 2013 budget on Tuesday night.
Officials have not yet announced exact numbers showing what impact the budget would have on individual taxpayers, but they estimate that the average homeowner – someone whose property is assessed at $350,000 - would face an increase of about $200.
That doesn’t include an additional increase that would be included in the next two tax bills to compensate for the city’s loss of about $400 million worth of ratables through last year’s tax appeals. Officials also have not announced the size of that increase.
About $137.4 million of the city’s $237.7 million budget would be covered by property taxes. The rest would come from municipal fees as well as state and federal aid.
The budget does not require any layoffs. But city officials did have to borrow money to cover about $8.4 million worth of this year’s bills, including retirement and debt payments. That’s a practice akin to a family using a new credit card to pay off balances on other credit cards and then using it to cover routine expenses, like buying groceries. Officials said they were not happy about incurring the debt, but also said they had no other way to balance the city’s budget.
The state provided Paterson with $22.4 million in Transition Aid – including $2.4 million more than what city officials had expected to get. But as part of that aid, the state is imposing tough new requirements on municipal officials, including the threat of a 25-percent pay cut for the mayor and city council members if they engaged in fiscal practices that the state believe show “reckless indifference” to the agreement covering the funding.
The council meeting on Tuesday is scheduled to start at 7 pm.