Tue, Aug 5, 2014

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Newark to ask state for $28M to close budget gap

BY lyanne

city of newark chambers

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s largest city is submitting a budget, ending months of speculation about whether the state would take over the city’s finances.

Recently-inaugurated Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is expected to submit a budget to the state Tuesday that asks for about $28 million in transitional aid to close a budget gap.


Baraka said Monday the city faced a budget deficit of approximately $93 million. About $30 million of that is a carryover operating deficit from 2013.

Baraka tells The Associated Press the focus is on new revenue sources and more efficient collection of revenues from existing sources rather than on widespread cuts. He says police and fire personnel won’t be cut.

The state threatened to take over Newark’s finances this spring when the city missed several deadlines.

On Wednesday, the Newark city council to approved Mayor Ras Baraka’s resolution calling a memorandum of understanding and state supervision in exchange for financial assistance from the state.  It is unclear as to what requirements, the state will required.  Additionally, yesterday State Senator Kevin O’Toole stand the funding needs for the states largest city.

The Republican senator from Essex County wants Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to convene a special meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee “to better understand Newark’s budgetary situation and needs.”

In a letter he sent today to Sweeney, State Sen. O’Toole (R-40) cited Newark’s possible request of $28 million to $30 million in transitional aid, as well as a $63.4 million budget gap in the city’s 2014 budget.  “As a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, I believe that it will be beneficial to the members of our committee to better understand not only the financial needs of Newark, but also to obtain a more in depth knowledge of their finances.

Baraka stopped short of speculating about what kind of requirements the state may impose for helping the city or how long oversight would last. He said he hoped the city would eventually get to a point where it no longer needs the state’s financial help.


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