Newark to auction off dozens of properties, amid budget deficit

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 11, 2014

Newark is hopping to sell dozens of city-owned properties such as this one in an auction next week.

 

NEWARK — Faced with a multi-million dollar deficit, Newark is hoping to sell dozens of city-owned properties next week.

Most of the 61 properties the city plans to auction off include vacant lots, residential and commercial properties in the south, west and central wards. Many of them are foreclosed properties.

The starting bids for all of the properties total more than $3 million dollars.

"We are trying to consolidate our buildings in the city," Newark mayor Ras Baraka said in a recent interview. "When that happens and we have free buildings and we're able to sell them we will."

The auction is scheduled to occur on Tuesday Sept. 16th at Newark Symphony Hall at 9 a.m.

In April, Newark officials disclosed the city would need more than $93 million to balance its 2014 budget. Much of that deficit can be attributed to a shortfall in property tax revenue in 2013.

On July 1, the city council introduced a budget of nearly $800 million, but it relied on the city selling about $47 million dollars worth of foreclosed properties by the end of the year--a figure many council members said was unrealistic.

Last month, Baraka outlined a number of other ways to reduce the deficit including asking the state for about $30 million dollars in transitional aid.

Accepting the aid would require the city to go under state oversight, potentially giving the state power over hiring and awarding contracts, among other city operations.

Baraka said Wednesday the city and the state were still discussing terms of the transitional aid.

The proposed 2014 budget would increase taxes for the average homeowner to $5,333 from $5,082.

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