New Rochelle’s fiscal challenges — driven primarily by State-imposed mandates and recession-induced revenue stagnation — are not likely to go away anytime soon. Despite reducing the City’s municipal workforce to its smallest level in our modern history and scaling back, deferring, or cancelling a variety of important programs, the financial burden on taxpayers and residents continues to escalate. Cities throughout the country find themselves in a similar situation, but it is our responsibility to find creative solutions that will best reflect our local priorities.
While the Citizens’ Panel on Sustainable Budgets is undertaking a comprehensive and in-depth look at local service levels and options, the City Administration continues to search out meaningful efficiencies to save taxpayer dollars.
This month the City Council approved a resolution to partner with Pelham Manor in seeking bids for repaving streets in both municipalities. The intermunicipal agreement would allow us to bid out a larger overall contract for repaving, resulting in a lower rate for the work. In this particular case, the amount of money New Rochelle is set to spend on repaving is already fixed in our budget based on the receipt of a formula-based State grant called CHIPS, but a lower rate would mean that the community could pave more roadway.
I hope this agreement can work as a model for other partnerships with nearby municipalities. We all share common challenges, and may be better able to meet them together.