The blame game that continued at Tuesday’s City Council meeting is another reminder of how poor our city’s leadership has been in being strategic about Trenton’s budget deficit.
All are to blame, from a council that abdicated its responsibility to be stewards of the city’s coffers, to an administration that proposed nothing but short-term budget gimmickry, all the way to the voters, who have failed to make budget planning a priority, whether during public discourse or at the ballot box.
Mayor Palmer continues to scapegoat the state – for occupying city real estate – and citizens who battle the plan to sell the Trenton Water Works, one our last remaining revenue-generating assets.
Sitting in council allowed me to observe the misrepresentations the city is relying on to cast blame in all directions but itself. Mayor Palmer blurred reality by claiming that he met with citizens on many occasions, when as petitioner Algernon Ward pointed out, there was a single meeting that yielded nothing except unfulfilled promises of a five-year strategic plan.
Councilwoman Lartigue requested this plan on Tuesday, but it seems late.
We are already three-quarters of the way through this budget, despite promises to get an early start on this year’s process.
Now Trenton faces a devastating 80-cent tax increase that could have been avoided with careful budgeting and a rejection of decisions like the one that handed city officials 10-percent salary increases.
Trentonians are left with little faith in their government.
This can only be resolved by sending a strong message in this year’s election, when the electorate should vote out anyone who wants to continue the ways of one-shot gimmicks and short-sighted budget planning.