The weak economy continues to impact the City’s fiscal health. In order to meet this challenge, the City Council and Administration have already taken several significant steps, including: cutting dozens of positions in City Hall, freezing municipal salaries, adopting a new retirement incentive, scaling back capital expenditures, and deferring non-essential programming. Nonetheless, declining revenue continues to outpace the savings achieved through cutbacks.
The latest monthly report from Finance Commissioner Howard Rattner projects that the City’s expenses for 2010 are likely to be about $1 million less than anticipated at the time we adopted our budget, but that revenues will fall short of expectations by an even larger $1.5 to $2 million. The difference is made up by drawing down our fund balance (basically, the City’s savings account).
Fiscal challenges in New Rochelle mirror those experienced by municipalities throughout the country. In relative terms, New Rochelle is probably weathering the storm better than many others, but this is small comfort in the face of the financial stresses placed on many taxpayers and the difficult choices needed to balance our budget.
The City Manager will present his draft 2011 budget in mid-November for consideration, possible amendment, and then adoption by the City Council in December. I will have much more to say about this critical subject as our budget deliberations unfold.