A Failure of Leadership

Even before he tweeted an end to negotiations over a federal stimulus and relief package, it was painfully clear that the President had no interest in a comprehensive recovery strategy and a special hostility to state and local aid, which is urgently needed in cities like New Rochelle.  At a moment when we need our nation’s leader to rise to the challenge and bring us together, this President is doing the opposite.  I made my opinion crystal clear in this interview with Yahoo Finance.


City To Offer One Month Extension on Next Tax Bill

Recognizing that many residents and businesses are experiencing significant financial challenges, the City Council plans to offer a one-month extension on the next property tax payment.  This payment — which covers the County portion of our tax bill — is payable starting on June 1st, with interest and penalties ordinarily kicking in after June 30th.  The new schedule pushes the interest and penalty deadline back to July 31st, providing a little extra time for those who need it.

School District Extends Tax Deadline to May 31

Recognizing the difficult financial pressures facing many property owners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Rochelle Board of Education has granted a one month extension on the April property tax bill, which will now be due on May 31st.  Taxpayers can still pay this month on the usual schedule and are encouraged to do so if possible, but anyone who needs a little extra time will have it.

City Manager Proposes Draft Budget for 2020

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.

New Rochelle Aces Fiscal Stress Test

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.

Downtown Development is a Big Win for Taxpayers

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.