The recent budget deadlock and government shutdown was emblematic of major problems with the way Paterson city government deals with managing city finances. A main root cause is lack of early planning.
Consistently, the city is spending money through temporary appropriations and budgets are adopted at the end of the fiscal year, when most of our money has already been spent. A full budget should be finalized and adopted at the beginning of the fiscal year, not 2/3 into it.
We need to get started much earlier in the process.
The City Council should require a preliminary budget from the administration within the first month of the fiscal year, using anticipated revenues and expenditures based on the previous year.
Budget hearings should be held in each Ward by the administration and Council to allow for maximum public input. The lack of both oversight and foresight has led to Paterson’s current budget problems, including the large amount of overtime payments that city taxpayers have had to cover for too long.
Where legitimate abuse of taxpayer money occurs, the appropriate agencies and law enforcement should investigate and hold accountable those responsible. For the long-term, sound planning with an eye towards the future will help bring Paterson back from the fiscal cliff.
These past few months I have talked to residents at nearly 1,000 doors, and they all demand – and deserve – a Paterson that is accountable and responsible when it comes to their tax dollars.
Council candidate for the 6th Ward