Members of the Trenton Residents Action Coalition would like to lend their voices to those of many other city residents in saying that the proposal to spend $200,000 of the city’s funds on new handguns for the police department is unnecessary, given the current weapon supplier’s offer to replace all of the department’s weapons for free, and becomes ludicrous, given the city’s projected $7 million deficit.
It is time for belt-tightening, and not the time for approving unneeded city expenditures. The $7 million deficit projection comes with the assumption that the city will raise the tax rate by double digits again, following this year’s increase. City council should operate under the assumption that there should be no tax increase at all, and act accordingly.
One suggested area for budget cuts is the city’s bloated administration, where Mayor Douglas H. Palmer uses a multitude of drivers, aides and even a chief of staff who serves as a proxy mayor during the real executive’s frequent absences from Trenton. This is not the city of New York, Boston or Moscow. The mayor does not need these ridiculous perks, which come at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and benefits.
City council should also institute a stronger vehicle policy that ends the use of city vehicles by city contractors and residency-exempt employees who commute to places outside of Trenton.
The legislative branch of the city government needs to step up and make the difficult, but necessary cuts to shore up this great city’s finances.