Last night, the City Council unanimously approved a budget for 2017. Here’s the full document (as initially proposed by the City Manager, and only slightly modified prior to adoption.)
Overall, the budget reflects New Rochelle’s improving economic condition, with record-high sales tax receipts and a robust fund balance to provide for fiscal stability going forward.
The budget also proposes modest new staffing in public safety and public works, reversing some of the painful cuts made during the Great Recession, with an eye to improving the quality of core municipal services.
The most notable feature of the budget, however, is a significant boost in capital and infrastructure investment, focusing on key priorities such as roadway & sidewalk improvements, economic growth & business development, neighborhood resiliency, and parks & natural resources. There’s much more detail beginning on page 253 of the budget.
This 10-year infrastructure program, perhaps the most extensive in New Rochelle’s history, will be funded by a one-time property tax increase above the State cap. How much? Our overall tax bills will go up 1%. (Looking at only the City portion of the bill — about a fifth of the total — the increase is 4.84% above the cap.)
While no one wants to pay (or impose) a penny more in taxes, in my opinion, this is a good deal. In exchange for that 1%, we’ll get significant value: visible improvements that can be experienced every day, solutions for many of the most common concerns and complaints about our city’s physical condition, a healthier housing market, and a foundation that enables New Rochelle to grow successfully in the future.
More than any recent municipal budget, this is a strategic blueprint for strengthening our community, and I look forward to seeing its positive investments produce tangible results in the years ahead.