State OK's big property tax hike in Camden

January 29, 2011 2:32:41 PM PST
Plans to raise Camden's property taxes by 23 percent have cleared another important hurdle.

The state's Local Finance Board agreed Friday to lift the city's cap on property-tax increases. That means the hike, which could raise $4.2 million, would take effect once the City Council approves the municipal budget.

That will likely happen on Tuesday.

The state panel's vote came just days after the city government slashed it work force, laying off 400 employees including nearly half the police department.

Mayor Dana Redd has said the tax increase - which would be the city's first since 1996 - could help the city rehire some laid off firefighters and police officers.

City spokesman Robert Corrales estimates that 30 to 35 officers could rejoin the force, while eight to ten firefighters could be rehired.

But no formal decisions have been made.