New Rochelle's Proposed Budget Would Raise Taxes

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New Rochelle City Manager Charles Strome (right) and city finance Commissioner Howard Rattner release the proposed 2013 city budget Friday.
New Rochelle City Manager Charles Strome (right) and city finance Commissioner Howard Rattner release the proposed 2013 city budget Friday. Photo Credit: Justin Stock

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m. The tax rate would go from $167 per $16,000 of assessed valuation to $206 next year, which would not cover $1.75 million in pension increases from New York State.

Original: 

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – New Rochelle’s proposed 2013 budget, which totals $153,551,034, would preserve most of the city's services but would require a more than 5 percent property tax increase, officials said during a briefing Friday.

The proposed budget would eliminate curbside loose-leaf pickup, cut police staffing by two vacant positions and reduce firefighter staffing during certain times, especially at night, based on recommendations by the city’s Citizen’s Panel on Sustainable Budgets.

The city hopes to prevent a $1.5 million shortfall through property tax increases and reductions in city expenses, officials said.

To accomplish this, the budget calls for a real estate tax levy increase of 5.57 percent, a 1.89 percent increase from last year’s budget.

The tax rate would go from $167 per $16,000 of assessed valuation to $207 next year, which would not cover $1.75 million in pension increases from New York State, the city said.

“The city will continue to provide our extraordinary level of service to our citizens,” New Rochelle City Manager Charles Strome said. “This budget proposes an appropriate blend of property tax increases and expenditure reductions that will carry us through these challenging economic times."

He also explained the need for a proposed tax increase.  

“Adopting a budget within the tax cap legislation produces a $1.5 million shortfall that can only be met with the type of programmatic and personnel cuts that I cannot recommend,” Strome said. 

“In a debilitated economic environment, we continue to be subject to State-imposed mandates for pension, health insurance and employee binding arbitration costs that are impossible to be funded under the parameters of the tax cap legislation,” he said.

“Many of the city’s historical major revenue sources, such as sales taxes, mortgage taxes, building permits and State aid, have been negatively impacted by economic conditions, necessitating greater reliance on  the local property tax or other revenue sources,” said Strome. 

“The 5.57 percent increase to the tax levy equates to a tax rate increase of 6.99 percent because our tax base fell by another $3.6 million this past year,” said Strome.

The proposed tax increase for the average homeowner would be $207, or about 1 percent of the total tax bill, he said.

The budget will be presented to the New Rochelle City Council at 6 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall. The council will be able make changes before adopting the budget, which goes into effect Jan. 1.

The public can comment on the proposal at a hearing Dec. 4.

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Not only does this budget raise taxes, it raises them 3 times what's allowed under the tax cap law so basically we're getting 3 years worth of tax increases in 1 year.

And that's on top of last year's 10++% increase, why can't we get any reporting on this? Where's the story?

Why can't Bramson get a handle on this? Maybe if he concentrated on the budget mess instead of Echo Bay the city could make some headway, but no he'd rather figure out how to borrow New Rochelle into bankruptcy.

Is he out of his league? I guess a Harvard education doesn't guarantee much these days.