Administrative Hiccup Delays Newark Budget

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker did not submit a 2011 city budget to the Municipal Council as planned on Thursday because of an administrative hiccup, according to Newark City business administrator Julien Neals.


The budget must first be reviewed by an auditor, reformatted and sent to Trenton before it can be presented to the City Council.  Neals explained that the administration simply ran out of time.

"We had an early council meeting on top of that," Neals said. "If it were a 6:30 Council meeting, we might've been able to finish it, but it was a 12:30 Council meeting."

Instead, the mayor will submit his budget next week in a special Council meeting, according to City spokeswoman Anne Torres.

The budget, which will still include a $45 to $50 million gap, will increase property tax rates by four percent. The mayor had earlier sought a six percent hike, but faced resistance from City Council members reluctant to increase the burden on homeowners following last year’s increase of 16 percent.

Unlike last year, the budget the mayor planned to submit Thursday does not include plans to layoff or furlough employees. Neals said the budget does not include large cuts to services. 

The city is in negotiations with the state for aid in closing the budget gap but can pass the budget before settling on a deal.  The Mayor’s office and the Council will schedule a special meeting next week if the Council's schedule allows.