Possible Problems with City’s Budget Data

I should point out the central fact that is in dispute in the Mayor’s speech on March 30th.

Mayor Palmer claims that the State should be paying us $155M if they were taxed at our rate (~let’s say 3% effective). That would equate to a valuation of state property of roughly $4.5B.

However, DCA estimates the value of all public property in Trenton which includes State, City and Federal buildings (but doesn’t include schools and the arenas) at $1.4B. Based on this number and some analysis by TDA and my guestimate, I’d say the State valuation is more like $1.2B. With that valuation in mind, the State would owe more like $36M/year in PILOT.

Trenton’s actual ratable value is $2.1B (the number our property taxes are based on).

A disagreement about this basic fact would lead to two radically different positions. If the Mayor is right, then the State is a deadbeat like he said. If my calculations are right, then we’ve been receiving aid for a long time because the State currently funds us to the tune of $340M ($250M for schools and $90 for municipal).

Where we agree is that a sudden $42M decrease in aid (or whatever you call it) would be disastrous, just as the Mayor said. The big difference is the negotiating position we go in with.

I’ll stress that the above are my numbers (so far). The Committee to Fix Trenton’s Budget is working to get to the bottom of this and develop a group position and then an approach.

In light of this evening’s speech, I thought it useful for my neighbors to have this perspective. Look for a more for the FixTrentonsBudget.org group.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

Leave a Reply