NEWARK - The dispute over pending layoffs of police and firefighters in Newark is coming down to the wire.

A judge is scheduled to rule this afternoon on whether to halt the layoffs temporarily to allow city and unions to continue negotiations.

Mayor Cory Booker set today as the day more than 150 police officers and 24 firefighters are to be laid off. He has blamed the layoffs on an $11 million gap in the city's budget.

A lawsuit filed last month seeks to stop the layoffs on the grounds that the city hasn't engaged in meaningful discussions to find alternatives.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit this week, but an appeals court sent it back for a rehearing.

The suit claims gang members are celebrating the pending layoffs by wearing T-shirts printed with today's date.

AP wire services contributed to this report.