Faced with dwindling state aid and a cap on local property tax increases, New Jersey mayors are seeking federal assistance to maintain police and firefighter jobs.Budget cuts have already forced several New Jersey cities and towns to lay off public safety employees. While federal stimulus money to help hire police officers has run out, local government officials hope the feds will provide them with new grants.But Lambertville Mayor Dave DelVecchio, the president of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, said he’s not sure that will happen.”I don’t have an answer. I can’t predict. But hopefully people will be able to get what they need to deliver the services that they need to do,” he said.Mayors will gather in Washington later this month for their annual conference. They’ll be pushing for additional funds. But Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage is not optimistic.
“The Obama administration in the stimulus funding had money for police officers. The city of Elizabeth, the city of Trenton, and others were successful in getting that for a three-year period,” he said. “But that money has since dried up and to the best of my knowledge there’s not additional funding.”Bollwage wants the state Legislature to require police and firefighters to pay more into their pension plans and have towns and cities contribute less so they can maintain staffing levels