Camden mayor Dana L. Redd has announced that the city will have to reduce its budget by 24 percent. Hard-hit by state budget cuts because its own tax base is so paltry, Camden will likely face cuts in each city department, including police and fire, when the budget is made final on August 10.
Redd deserves credit for being realistic about her budget. In the past, Camden mayors have simply relied on bailouts from Trenton, much to the chagrin of taxpayers in other areas of the state. Redd's plan takes into account the state's dwindling capacity to supply funds to municipalities.
In making its cuts, though, the city should try not to unduly harm essential services. It should seek out other funding sources, such as grants that may be available to support police and fire authorities in impoverished cities. Budget cuts are necessary in Camden, but it’s also vital that residents don’t lose safety and security.