City Manager Chuck Strome has just released his proposed budget for 2016. As a whole, the document reflects steady improvement in New Rochelle’s fiscal condition, with sales tax revenue projected to hit a record $28 million, and with an unappropriated fund balance (basically our municipal savings account) at a healthy $8.2 million.
Nonetheless, our municipal operations continue to be very lean with staffing down about 11% from the pre-recession level. And our investment in infrastructure remains inadequate, with the lion’s share of the capital budget assigned to vehicle replacement.
The City Manager proposes a tax levy increase of less than 1%, consistent with the State tax cap. He also proposes a minor adjustment in the residential refuse fee to cover total sanitation costs. In total, the average homeowner would see his or her annual expenses rise by about $56.
During the next few weeks, the City Council and I will have an opportunity to review the budget in detail, pose questions to members of our staff, hear from the public, and possibly suggest amendments. We expect to approve a final budget in December.