Difference between revisions of "Trenton, New Jersey"

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'''Trenton''' is the capital city in [[New Jersey]]. It is one of 22 cities in the state. It has a population of 84,913 as of 2010.<ref>[http://factfinder2.census.gov/main.html "American Fact Finder" Census]</ref>
 
'''Trenton''' is the capital city in [[New Jersey]]. It is one of 22 cities in the state. It has a population of 84,913 as of 2010.<ref>[http://factfinder2.census.gov/main.html "American Fact Finder" Census]</ref>

Revision as of 18:23, 18 January 2014

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Budget
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials N
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Administrative Officials N
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Permits, zoning
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Audits
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes
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Transparency grading process

Trenton is the capital city in New Jersey. It is one of 22 cities in the state. It has a population of 84,913 as of 2010.[1]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of New Jersey city websites

This website was last evaluated on 11 February 2012.

The good

  • Trenton citizens can request public records online. [2]
  • Information on bids and proposals are available [3]
  • Agendas and minutes are available for City Council Meetings. [4]
  • The Mayor and city council officials contact information and detailed biographies are posted online.[5]
  • Zoning information is available [6]
  • Building permit information is available.[7]
  • Budgets are posted.[8]
  • Audits are posted.[9]
  • Local tax information is posted and taxes can be paid online.[10][11]

The bad

  • Lobbying information and ethics is not noted
  • Individual salaries are not posted
  • Pension plans are not outlined

Budget

The adopted 2011 budget is more than $271.7 million with $214.9 million going toward the general budget.[12] In the beginning of 2011, Trenton was facing a $55 million deficit and lost $43 million in state aid.[13]

Recently, Law Director Marc McKithen was asked to resign by Mayor Tony Mack. In February, McKithen had voided a city contract the Cooper Levenson law firm, saying it was pay-to-play because of donations from the company to Mack's campaign.[14] Mack responded by saying the contract was legal, but ultimately the company its bid.

Public Employees

Elected Officials

There are seven members of the City Council that act as the legislative body while the Mayor acts as the executive.[15] The current Mayor is Tony Mack.[16]

First Last Position Ward Term Expiration
George Muschal Member South 2014
Phyllis Holly-Ward Member At-Large 2014
Alex Bethea Member At-Large 2014
Kathy McBride Member President[17] 2014
Marge Caldwell-Wilson Member North 2014
Verlina Reynolds-Jackson Member East 2014
Zachary Chester Member West 2014

Mayor

Tony Mack officially took office on July 1, 2010 succeeding long time Mayor Douglas H. Palmer who served for 20 years.[18] In his first year as Mayor, Mack had trouble filling cabinet positions. He had seven Business Administrators in seven months and had many positions unfilled.[19] He attempted to appoint a convicted felon to be his economic development chief, but was forced to withdraw it when the press reported on his criminal activities.[20]

Mack's home faced foreclosure after the election and it was found out that Mack loaned personal money to the campaign instead of paying his mortgage on the home.[21] His campaign also doled out $50k to Mack and other family members.[22]

During his first year Mack had to balance a budget that had a $55 million deficit, but struggled with a revolving door of cabinet members, including eight business administrators, and legal controversies of the lawfulness of the Mayor's actions.[23] Trenton Water Works was left understaffed and at one point the Works had to issue a boil-water advisory to customers. Stanley Davis, Mack's half-brother, worked at the Water Works and was indicted for performing side jobs while clocking in payable hours at the plant. Mack's former Business Administrator, Bill Guhl, accused Mack of firing qualified civil servants and replacing them with political supporters. He also alleges that Mack changed overtime rules at the Water Works to benefit Davis.[24]

Mack has recently been accused of withholding public records after two activists requested public documents for two different employees and did not receive official responses. The activists have filed lawsuits against Mack.[25]

Five residents have filed paperwork to begin the process of recalling Mayor Mack.[26]

Salaries

See also: New Jersey state government salary

The budget outlines salaries in each individual department.[27]

In 2010, the Mayor's salary was docked $25,000 when a Judge ruled that it must adhere to the 2005 pay scale.[28] Mayor Mack would now make $126,460 instead of the expect $149,000. Later in 2010, Mack gave raises to many of his associates and then rescinded them after it was made public that 61 firefighters were being laid off.[29] As a result the city council presented an ordinance that would let the council set salaries for city employees.[29][30]

Pensions

See also: New Jersey public pensions

The adopted 2011 budget allocates $4,467,026 to the Public Employees Retirement System and $12,341,107 to the Police and Firefighters Retirement System.[31]

Lobbying

See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying

Lobbying information is not posted on the website. According to OpenSecrets, Trenton allocated $10,000 to lobbying firm Ferguson Group in 2011 which was down from $120,000 in 2010.[32] A sample lobbying report filed by Ferguson group for Trenton, NJ is here.

Year Amount
2011 $10,000
2010 $120,000
2009 $80,000
2008 $90,000
2007 $80,000
2006 $30,000
2001 $20,000
Total $430,000

Transparency & public records

The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) was passed by the NJ State Legislature in 2001 and guarantees citizen access to a wide variety of government documents. For more information on OPRA and public records see OPRA Central. The website provides information on public records and proves a form to request government records here.[33] Two citizens are suing the city for not responding to public records requests about city employee's payroll.[34]

Taxes

Trenton raises revenue through a property tax. Local tax information is posted and taxes can be paid online.[35] The online form for tax payment is here.

Revenue Source Amount
Local $71,930,285
Miscellaneous $133,537,456
Total $205,467,742

External links

References

  1. "American Fact Finder" Census
  2. Request for Public Records
  3. Bids and Proposal
  4. Agenda and Minutes
  5. Mayor and City Council officials
  6. Zoning Information
  7. Building Permit
  8. Budget
  9. Audits
  10. Taxes
  11. Tax Payment
  12. 2011 Adopted Budget
  13. NJ.com, Mack's first 12 months defined mostly by turmoil, June 26, 2011
  14. NJ.com, Trenton's law director is asked to step down by Mayor Tony Mack, council president says, June 9, 2011
  15. Council
  16. Mayor
  17. NJ.com, Trenton city council elects Kathy McBride as president, Marge Caldwell-Wilson as VP, June 29, 2011
  18. Tony Mack
  19. "Trentonian" Trenton Mayor Tony Mack working to fill his bare cabinet
  20. "Trentonian" Trenton Mayor Tony Mack dodges real questions, but promotes his 30 days of 'accomplishment'
  21. "Trentonian" Trenton Mayor Tony Mack faces foreclosure as sheriff posts sale of home
  22. "Trentonian" Trenton Mayor Tony Mack's campaign paid $50K-plus to Mack & Mack family
  23. "Trentonian" Mack's first 12 months defined mostly by turmoil
  24. "Trentonian" Mack's first 12 months defined mostly by turmoil
  25. "Trentonian" Trenton activists sue over Mack's failure to respond to Open Public Records Act
  26. "Trentonian" Trenton Mayor Tony Mack is target of a recall effort by city residents
  27. 2011 Adopted Budget
  28. Trentonian, Judge slashes Mayor Mack’s salary by $25K, Aug. 4, 2010
  29. 29.0 29.1 Trentonian, Trenton City Council to put squeeze on city salaries, Dec. 28, 2010
  30. NJ.Com, Trenton salary revisions in works, Dec. 29, 2010
  31. 2011 Adopted Budget
  32. Open Secrets
  33. Government Records
  34. NJ.Com, Trenton activists sue over Mack's failure to respond to Open Public Records Act, June 30, 2011
  35. Taxes