TRENTON — Closing out the year with a continuing budget battle looks like the capital city holiday season everyone has been waiting for.

Mayor Reed Guschiora, fresh off a decisive victory at the ballot box over Council President Kathy McBride, said the city would face “multimillion-dollar consequences” if the council fails to pass a budget by Friday’s deadline, so he “issued an executive order amendments to the city budget, and at the same time he asked the Council to rescind his order by meeting again this week to finalize the budget,” a city spokesperson said via email. “Administration is sending Council members notice of an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 25.”

Gusciora scheduled a budget meeting for Friday morning after they failed to pass a budget Wednesday night, the last scheduled budget meeting for 2022.

The administration’s statement Wednesday night said “the city faces a bond default, disqualification of future bond applications, among other consequences” because the 2022 budget has yet to pass and the end of the year is just weeks away.

“Council leadership is intent on hurting taxpayers on the way out the door,” Gucioro said. “I will not allow this. Anything I can do to protect our citizens, I will.”

In April, the Council passed a resolution on Gusciora’s proposed budget without a municipal tax increase, but they missed a state-mandated deadline for passage. As of Oct. 1, all six city council members were assessed fines of $25 a day for failing to meet their obligations to pass a municipal budget on time under state law.

“The budget is one of the primary responsibilities of the legislative branch, and that duty was completely abrogated in Trenton,” Gucioro said. “Even the reprimands they received at the ballot box did not stop this group from hurting taxpayers for political payback. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

In 2021, the city transitioned from a fiscal year budget to a calendar year budget, so the 2022 budget proposal represents an unprecedented 30-month period where the city has not had to raise the municipal portion of tax rates.

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