Several decisions made by the Council majority are leaving residents and business owners in the lurch
TRENTON, N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today excoriated the City Council majority members, led by Council President Kathy McBride, for neglecting its responsibilities and creating dangerous conditions for residents and business owners in the City.
As Council President, McBride has refused to take departmental hearings on the City budget or to put it before Council for a vote. State law requires municipal budgets to be adopted by April 29.
Without a budget, the Administration is forced to ask for Council approval of temporary appropriations to continue funding City operations. At their docket meeting last night, the Council majority voiced strong opposition to the temporary funding that goes before the body for a vote on Thursday.
"This Council majority is playing chicken with worker's jobs and crucial resident services. They are threatening to shut down the government coming into the Fourth of July weekend. That means City employees aren't going to be getting paid. That means City services -- other than public safety -- will be shut down," Mayor Gusciora said. "They don't want to pay the bills and they haven't held hearings on the budget we introduced in April. Municipally, we have no tax increase. What are they waiting for? Council is failing to perform its required duties."
The Council majority has also declined to make debt payments on bonds that are due June 7, 2022, which are ultimately covered by the State under the Qualified Bond Act..
"These are decisions that will unnecessarily harm the City of Trenton," Gusciora said. "Financial institutions are going to turn a blind eye on investment and City financial operations will likely suffer."
Council’s inaction regarding the City Clerk position has jeopardized City businesses on a number of fronts. The Administration has had to take responsibility for processing and filing a backlog of nearly 500 business licenses. The backlog, which only grew larger during the Clerk's extended absence, left business owners facing fines or periods of inoperation if not for City Hall intervention..
The absence of a City Clerk has also left alcoholic beverage licenses at a standstill. Unless the Council takes action to address the problem, liquor establishments throughout the City fear their licenses will lapse on July 1, 2022, just as summer business is taking stride.
"The City Council hires exactly one position, and we are currently working with a deputized temp to fulfill the many duties of that position," Gusciora said. "The situation is untenable, to say the least."
Some establishments are already seeing problems arise due to the delay. Some distribution centers are currently barring scheduled deliveries to Trenton locations come July 1. The Council is required to pass a resolution affirming each license before it is restored.