The New Rochelle City Council adopted its 2012 budget Tuesday, wrapping up a month of discussions and difficult decisions.
The general fund spending will be $108,322,635, resulting in a tax rate of $185.53 per $1,000 assessed value.
Because of lower than expected final state insurance costs, the council was able to trim the tax rate from $186.23 per $1,000 assessed value as originally proposed.
Six fire fighter jobs were reinstated, along with keeping Ladder 12 Company on Webster Avenue open. Also saved were two community service officers for the police department and 18 part-time school crossing guards. The crossing guards are financed only through June, however. The loss of a recreation department supervisor position for the Office for the Aging was spared.
The city had originally proposed the reduction of 54 full- and part-time positions. The final number of jobs eliminated was 27, mostly through attrition and by not filling vacant jobs.
Calling the talks "a season of hard choices," Mayor Noam Bramson said he took no pleasure in the budget.
A last-minute addition of a $100,000 development financing consultant and the addition of larger utility repair fees lowered the amount of money the city was going to put into its undesignated fund balance from $140,000 to $96,051. The fund balance currently has about $2 million.
Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth was asked, at a previous meeting, to look into adding a position in his department that could bring more retail businesses to the city.
He told the council that a better idea would be engaging a consultant to do cost benefit analysis on potential projects.
"We would pay a fee," Freimuth said, "but they would go out in the marketplace and get us the best deal."
A point of contention during the budget discussions was the increase in the refuse tax from $66 per unit to $223, except for qualifying seniors who will remain at $30.
That lead to the only two votes against adopting the budget—Councilmen Louis Trangucci, R-District 1, and Richard St. Paul, R-District 4.
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