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Trenton's City Budget Dependent Upon Chrysler, UAW Agreement

Chrysler generates about $4 million annually in tax revenue for the city of Trenton.

Trenton doesn't have health care benefits or signing bonuses at stake in the tentative deal between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers (UAW).

But the city's livelihood is at stake.

The Chrysler LLC makes up about 25 percent of Trenton's total annual tax revenue, which works out to about $4 million each year, according to Trenton Mayor Gerald Brown.

"Our dependency on Chrysler is huge," Brown said. "The new agreement would make them the highest tax revenue source, by far."

Before the Trenton North Engine Plant closed in 2011 the amount of annual tax revenue was higher, and Brown said the new agreement could get the city out of a financial hole it fell into when Chrysler closed the plant.

Brown said Chrysler closed the plant earlier than expected, causing a significant drop in annual tax revenue. The plant was supposed to close in 2014, according to Brown.

"The three years caused us to be in a hole," Brown said.

The agreement would allow Chrysler to invest $4.5 billion in its U.S. plants, including the Trenton North Engine Plant, and create 2,100 new jobs, according to the UAW.

Brown said the agreement could increase production at the plant by nearly 150,000 more engines per year. Currently, the plant churns out about 450,000 engines each year.

The new production capacity would require more space and that space would likely be found in the North Plant, which would increase the cities annual tax revenue from Chrysler. Brown did not know the exact amount of increase tax revenue at press time.

"Investing in the North Plant tells me that their (Chrysler's) continuing commitment to Trenton is solid," Brown said.

The North Plant is still considered an idle property in Trenton though in June.

If the two sides fail to make a deal and Chrysler does not invest billions of dollars in U.S. factories, Brown says Trenton will continue to struggle financially.

"We would have to budget and allow for changes in taxes ... sometimes it has been tough," Brown said.

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