Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration submitted a spending and revenue plan to the state on Monday that includes the possible layoff of as many as 250 municipal employees in order to keep spending to a level where taxes do not increase for homeowners.
Torres wrote in a letter to the state the city will also have to impose a 2-day furlough per month beginning in January on non-uniformed employees to produce enough savings to work with a $147.7 million tax levy.
His administration also intends to slash overtime by $2 million, workers compensation by $3 million, other expenses by $2.1 million, vacant positions by $1.2 million, and garbage pick-up by $300,000, according to the plan.
Torres plans to borrow money to pay for large workers compensation cases, according to his plan.
On the revenue side, the city plans to institute a police night detail that will issue 30,000 traffic tickets to generate $2.5 million. It also plans to increase the fee a person pays to obtain a police accident report from 5 cents to $5. There will also be an increase in the administrative fee for off-duty police officers.
All of this will generate $5.8 million in revenue. The city’s spending cuts, 16-percent expense reduction in every department, will generate $10.2 million. And $4.8 million will be saved by reducing reserve for uncollected taxes, according to the mayor’s plan.
“Of particular concern to the administration is the severe impact that a layoff and furlough plan would impose on the welfare and safety of the residents of the city,” Torres states in his letter to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
Torres’ plan will be presented to the city council for discussion at its regular meeting tonight. Council members approved a $147.7 million levy inclusive of the library spending two weeks ago.
The state has to approve the levy for the city to send out its August bills. However, the director of the division of local government services Timothy Cunningham told the city he could not in good conscience approve a levy that will create severe cash flow problems for the city.
Cunningham requested the administration provide a revenue and reduction plan. Torres’ plan states he can avoid layoffs and furlough with a $149.2 million levy.
The council is expected to vote on a tax levy tonight at its regular meeting.