Trying to close a $70 million deficit, Booker announced that 1,450 non-uniformed city workers will work 4-day weeks starting in September--what amounts to a 20 percent pay cut.
The city's pools will close on August 2, which is expected to save $250 thousand alone, and City council members will no longer have gasoline debit cards. Booker has asked the council members to voluntarily join other employees in four-day work weeks.
However, the cuts announced last night are only expected to save $10 to $15 million dollars, according to nj.com. And Booker will not increase property taxes to make up the deficit. "Taxes cannot be the answer," he said at the press conference.
"I’m going to shut down as much of city government as I can," Booker said. "We’re going to stop buying everything from toilet paper to printer paper. Call me Mr. Scrooge if you want, but there’ll be no Christmas decorations around the city."
The further cuts are in response to Booker's original $600 million budget, announced in June, which involved the establishment of a municipal utilities authority (MUA) which would have given the government control over Newark's watershed holdings and brought the city $50 next year.
The city council deferred a vote on creating the MUA, so Booker, saying yesterday that the budget now has a $70 million deficit, announced the further cuts.
Some on the city council are not pleased. "We continue to try to work with him to lessen the pain of the citizens, but at the end of the day, it's his obligation," councilmember Donald Payne Jr. said to nj.com. When a reporter asked Payne if the Mayor's cuts were an attempt to force the council's hand about the MUA, Payne responded, "You're pretty perceptive."