City Manager Chuck Strome has submitted a draft budget for 2020. The proposed budget includes significant investments in infrastructure as part of our 10-year capital plan, modest increases in public safety, and a healthy fund balance to ensure long-term fiscal stability, while keeping the property tax rate within the State tax cap. Here is the full budget proposal.
In the weeks ahead, the City Council and I will review the budget in detail, accept public comments, and have an opportunity to adopt amendments, with an aim toward approving a final budget in mid-December.
Every year, the New York State Comptroller evaluates the “fiscal stress” of municipalities statewide through a comprehensive review of local budget trends, debt levels, fund balances, and other factors that impact short and long-term fiscal stability.
New Rochelle aced the most recent test, with a score of just 9.6 on a 100.0 scale. (Lower is better, and to put our score in perspective, you have to exceed 45.0 to be judged susceptible to stress.) Here’s the full breakdown.
Congratulations to the City’s management team for their consistently responsible oversight of our municipal finances. Along with our best bond rating in 80 years, and our recent “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award” from the Government Finance Officers Association, this latest report from the Comptroller is excellent validation of New Rochelle’s fiscal health and stewardship.
When New Rochelle adopted its innovative downtown development plan in 2015, we made a firm commitment that taxpayers would come out ahead. Now, with almost thirty projects approved, the fiscal impacts of economic development are coming into clearer focus . . . and New Rochelle’s taxpayers are the big winners.
To be more specific, the projects so far receiving incentives from our local Industrial Development Agency will generate nearly $180 million in additional property tax revenue during the twenty year lifespan of those incentives and a whopping $500 million in additional property tax revenue during the subsequent twenty years. Our School District also does very well, with new revenue far exceeding the cost of educating additional students. These charts illustrate trend lines over twenty years, aggregate impacts in twenty year increments, and aggregate impacts over forty years.
In fact, this analysis actually understates the fiscal benefits of downtown development, because it ignores other enhanced revenue sources like sales tax, permit fees, and fair share mitigation payments for capital and infrastructure needs.
Downtown development is a complicated subject about which many people have strong feelings, pro and con. (It’s no secret that I’m a big supporter.) The fiscal effect of development is only one of many ways to evaluate the growth and evolution of our city center — but it’s an important one, and, by this test, New Rochelle’s plans are succeeding.
Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon and I spent yesterday in Washington, DC seeking federal support for New Rochelle planning initiatives by meeting with Department of Transportation officials and with our federal representatives. Good, productive conversations, and we are grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representative Engel — as well as their staffs — for their strong support.
In recent years, New Rochelle has secured millions in competitive federal and state grants for local priorities, including downtown revitalization, complete streets, traffic signalization, sanitary systems, and more. Maintaining constructive relationships with our state and federal officials is essential to our continuing success.
Please be sure to vote in today’s important School and Library election. The polls are open from 7:00am to 9:00pm. In addition to the School and Library budgets, voters will choose two candidates for the School and Library Boards. If you don’t know your polling place, you can find it here.
The quality and reputation of our Schools and Library are vitally important to all of New Rochelle, so please be certain to participate, and please remind your family and friends to vote, too.
In case you missed the hard copy in your mailbox, here’s New Rochelle’s Spring newsletter, filled with updates on local initiatives, helpful tips, and information about municipal services. Thank you to the City’s Marketing & Communications team for putting the newsletter together.