Camden, NJ Braces for Deep Police, Fire Cuts

Geoff Mulvihill, GOPUSA, January 17, 2011

{snip}

Deep layoffs of city workers go into effect on Tuesday–cutting up to 383 jobs, or one-fourth of the city’s employees.

The exact number depends on whether public workers’ unions make last-minute concessions. In any case, the cuts are likely to be deep–and could be a blow to the quality of life in a city where more than half the 80,000 residents, mostly black and Hispanic, live in poverty.

Worst case, the layoffs could slash half the police force and one-third of the fire department for this city just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Practically every other job in the city is likely to be affected.

{snip}

Camden, rampant with open drug-dealing, prostitution and related crimes, was the nation’s second-most-dangerous city based on 2009 data, according to CQ Press, which compiles such rankings. Camden ranked first the previous two years. The FBI said that in 2009, the city had 2,380 violent crimes per 100,000 residents–more than five times the national average.

{snip}

A police union, meanwhile, took out a full page advertisement last week in the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, warning that Camden would become a “living hell” if layoffs were not averted. Unions have been meeting with city officials, but no job-saving deals have been announced so far.

{snip}

It’s the struggling cities like Camden that could bear the worst of the fallout from the Great Recession as governments at all levels slash costs. Congress has signaled that it will allocate less money to states. And New Jersey, facing its own fiscal crisis, has begun cutting how much money it gives to cities. Camden, where 80 percent of the budget in recent years has come from the state, has the most to lose.

{snip}

Camden was afflicted by race rioting in the 1970s, decades of losing middle-class residents to the suburbs, and an epidemic of drug-related violence. The schools have been partially under state control.

{snip}

Camden received $121 million in state aid for fiscal 2010; it currently gets $115.6 million, of which $17 million is being withheld by the state until the city demonstrates that it’s complying with reform promises.

{snip}

More than half of what Camden gets from the state is in so-called “transitional aid” subsidies to force more self-sufficiency. Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to phase that out.

{snip}

mayor

Camden’s mayor, Dana Redd. The members of the Camden City Council are pictured here.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.