Sarah Gonzalez, Reporter, WNYC/NJPR
Sarah Gonzalez is the northern New Jersey enterprise reporter for WNYC and NJPR.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker gave his State of the City address Tuesday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
To a crowd of about 500 people, the mayor announced that after years of difficult but necessary budget cuts, Newark can start investing again.
"I am proud to stand here as mayor of the largest city in New Jersey and declare this to be Newark's year of budgetary independence," Booker said. "Our budget is now strong, our budget is now balanced, and our revenues are growing."
He said he wants to start putting money back into public safety, and announced his plan to add at least 50 police officers. But he pointed out that crime in Newark is just a symptom of the problem.
"More police officers can and will reduce crime. But ultimately, we cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem," he said. "We must educate our way out of it."
The mayor estimates adding 50 police offers would cost the city about 4 million dollars a year, at about $75,000 to $100,000 per cop.
He's putting the budget before the city council, and the council will have final say over whether to add more or less officers or spend money elsewhere.