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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.

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 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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