Newark Municipal Council Votes to Introduce Booker's Budget

The Newark Municipal Council has voted to introduce Mayor Cory Booker's 2011 budget by a vote of 5 to 4.

The $774 million spending plan calls for a six percent property tax increase. The Council rejected the mayor's budget introduction last month after he decided to include a seven percent hike. 

The mayor's office says the lower tax increase was made possible by decreasing health care spending. Booker has said there's no popular solution for closing the city's $57.5 million budget deficit.

Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif voted for the budget introduction but would not say where he stands on the tax hike. He said his main objective is meeting budget deadlines in order to be eligible for state aid.

"What we don't want to have is the state saying "Okay, you guys have taken too long. We have to relook at this aid and we want to play a stronger role because if you guys can't make the tough decisions, we can.'"

Newark may be forced to look to the state for more aid to cover its budget deficit.