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2013 New Rochelle Proposed Budget Raised Tax Levy

The City Manager's proposed budget exceeds the state's tax cap.

The City of New Rochelle released its proposed 2013 budget Friday, calling for a tax levy increase of 5.57 percent, well above the state tax cap allowable for the city of 2.49 percent.

City Manager Charles Strome III said the proposed budget saves about $750,000 by cutting $300,000 in fire department overtime, $200,000 in police-force reduction by attrition and $250,000 by requiring residents to bag leaves for collection in the fall.

Total spending in the proposed budget is $153,551,034, an increase of $5,110,249 from the revised 2012 budget.

Strome said the budget, if approved as presented, will require the City Council to override the state's tax cap with a supermajority of five votes.

He said if the city had to operate under the cap there would be a $1.5 million shortfall in the budget, requiring a reduction in staffing and services.

"We would have to rely on the elimination of major services if we were to stay within the level of the state tax cap," Strome said.

He said, under the tax cap legislation, the increase in property taxes allowed would not even cover the $1.75 million of state-imposed pension increases.

"The state has put an imposition on the municipalities while sending us a bill we cannot pay," Strome said.

He said the tax-rate increase would be about 6.99 percent, or an overall tax bill increase of 1 percent for the average taxpayer, or $207 per year. The city's tax base fell by another $3.6 million during the past year.

The budget does not call for any layoffs, but proposes to eliminate curbside loose-leaf pickup, cut two already vacant police positions and reduce fire-fighter staffing at certain times.

Strome said the city currently brings fire fighters on the job, paying them overtime when staffing levels dip below 27.

Under the proposed budget, there will be no overtime until the staffing level falls below 24.

The three cost-savings were recommended by the Citizens Panel on Sustainable Budgets.

Strome said he wasn't comfortable with any of the material he was presenting.

"I would like to have a fully staffed police department," he said. "I would like to provide leaf pickup to residents.

"The state of New York and the economy have come together with a perfect storm," Strome said. "Most communities stayed within the tax cap last year, but I think we will be the first in a line of dominoes to fall.

"The math has set us up to fail," he said.

Copies of the proposed budget are available in the City Clerk’s office, at the New Rochelle Public Library and on the City’s website www.newrochelleny.com/2013proposedbudget. The City Council will conduct budget review meetings in November and hold a public hearing on Dec. 4 in advance of the adoption of a tax rate in December.

Billy November 09, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Strome should double check the tax cap legislation as pension costs are exempt from the calculation. If he's wrong on that basic fact, what else is he wrong on? BTW, leaf bagging will cost all residents (those w/yards & trees anyway) time and money to buy & fill the bags and they aren't cheap. Why is the budget go up $5 million? How about we offset the savings against the pension increase & leave everything else the same? Numbers seem to be all over the place, but I'm not surprised. How's he make a 7% increase only 1%? Slight of hand? What are they doing with the garbage tax? Are they allocating any money to the city yard project? There really doesn't look like there's any money to spend on the city yard project, and everyone should think twice about projects that we have nothing to invest into and plan to BORROW all the money.
Vera November 10, 2012 at 04:11 PM
The manager and rest of crunies shoud cut there income by $100,000 each and help our budget. I don't get it why someone needs $250,000 income tht we pay in when most of us who pays this taxes survive with much less.
Tom lang November 11, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Tom There is no easy answer to this very complicated dilema. As I recall, this will be the third cycle of staff cut backs in as many years. Cutting Police, Fire and Sanitiation...as well as expecting the departments @ City Hall to do more with less staff has run it's course. Perhaps its time for the School budget to be as closely examined as the City Service Overtime budgets. That seems to be what's driving the need to raise residential taxes rates... Just curious....what are we spending for K through 12 and what is it producing. Which school district have the greatest yr to yr increses; and why..? Did the mayor's Citizen Budget Advisory Board address the escalating cost of education. What were their recommendations...? Cutting staff is not the answer. Investigating how we can more wisely apply our tax dollars to cover city costs must be explored. Lets cut out the nonsense and address our problems head-on. Enough with the BS and Political Waltz's.
newrochellesouth November 11, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Now the real effect of the Gerrymandering of the City Council Districts is finally coming to fruition. With a permanent Democratic supermajority guaranteed by the new council districts expect that the Cuomo tax cap relief will be overidden every year. Thank you Mayor Bramson and Arnold Klugman for creating a permanent one party city that will address rising costs by punishing our first responders and homeowners and rewarding the cronies and political supporters of the ruling elite in the city. Ask yourself, how long can you afford to live in New Rochelle? Then ask yourself, could you actually sell your house if you had to?
Billy November 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
et, don't get them confused which is easy to do. here's an idea though, cut any position with the words coordinator or facilitor & I bet you bag 3 to 4 $100k (not including benefits) salary employees that don't contribute much.
Sad4NewRochelle November 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Maybe everyone should look way way way back into the past...two names...Paduano and New Rochelle Mall...how many years left of the 99 year deal?
Billy November 13, 2012 at 03:01 PM
What's that have to do with the price of tea in china? My bet is they reinstate leaf pick-up & push the tax increase to 7.5%. This will pass 5-2 down party lines. Has everyone read that we now need $19 million for the city yard BS? Talk about your fiscal gimmicks, Bramson now offsetting the $8.5 million 20 year pilot payment agreement to the city yard. Any way you look at this it's bad for the average tax paying citizen.
Sad4NewRochelle November 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Really Billy? You don't understand my reference and its significance? Look at New Rochelle and then look at White Plains. Actually White Plains owes its retail success to New Rochelle. This retail/business tax base it what helps take the strain off the residential tax base. New Rochelle has an almost non-existent retail tax base. What they do have is now a day late and a dolllar short.
Billy November 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I'm still lost, but it's 1st day of work this week, maybe I'm missing somehting, but then again I only moved here 15 years ago & you're going back 20 + years. Too bad, our city leaders chased away Wal-Mart 8 to 10 years ago when the Trump Building was in the planning stages. That would've helped, but they didn't want to put those thriving dollar stores out of business.
Sad4NewRochelle November 13, 2012 at 08:39 PM
In the early 70's the mayor at the time made a deal with Macy's that gave them exclusivity to downtown New Rochelle. This exclusivity was for an approximately 1+ mile radius around the New Rochelle Mall(this site where NewRoc City is located). This exclusivity was for any retail establishment and it was a 99 year deal. Now you may ask "Macy's is no longer in business in New Rochelle"? or "Macy's went bankrupt and was bought out by Federated many years ago"? Well it seems that that doesn't matter because the deal, all 99 years, still stands in. Which is why the NewRoc City has absolutely no retails shops/stores as part of the development. This is also why there are no large retail establishments in the downtown area. The chasing away took place when this 99 year deal was inked decades ago. These retailers know this and the next best and closest thing to downtown New Rochelle is...you guessed it White Plains. This is also why whatever large retail there is in New Rochelle is well outside the downtown area. Home Depot, Costco, etc are located in the south end of town. So with no business tax base to form a foundation for New Rochelle finances it is all bourne on the backs of the residential property owners because someone needs to pay for all the stuff that the city offers(public services, infrastructure, schools). So this seemingly ancient history item is the "tea in china". New Rochelle has never really recovered from this debacle.
Billy November 13, 2012 at 08:50 PM
but i don't think more residential development such as Echo Bay is the answer either. The new residents are going to want services also but the project will be tax abated. Yes, they'll make payments in lieu of taxes (pilot) but that'll hardly cover the services and the mayors already allocating the pilots to the principal & interest payments to the bond for the city yard. And I haven't even mentioned the schools. We'll be paying their school taxes too. Echo Bay is a NO win situation so let't not build it.
Billy November 15, 2012 at 05:42 PM
So if they get rid of curbside leaf pick-ups, why aren't they reducing the DPW staffing? Something seems fishy, but it always does in New Rochelle.
Michael Woyton (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Sorry, folks, veiled attempts at vulgarity—including abbreviations—are not allowed under our terms of use. http://newrochelle.patch.com/terms
Billy L November 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Up and up they go! I said this would happen last year. After a 35% increase in the city portion of my taxes last year when include the raised refuse collection fee, and now another 7% this year. I hope all my other fellow landlords take note of this and raise their rents. I just raised mine, quite significantly too. It's the only way to keep the business afloat.

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