By Staff –
Mayor Lovely Warren has recently released her 2018-19 budget proposal, which includes investment in new neighborhood police section offices, maintaining fire and police services, and funding for public infrastructure, the city said.
The $539.6 million spending plan has increased 2.4 percent over last year’s budget, and taxes would increase by $43.37, or 1.85 percent, for the typical homeowner under the plan.
“This budget was prepared with significant citizen input, and was designed to limit the burden on taxpayers while still investing in infrastructure, public safety, and important programs and services,” Mayor Warren said. “This budget year was not easy and, while comparable cities in New York face similar challenges as Rochester – with some proposing significant lay-offs of police officers and firefighters, other major reductions in workforce, service reductions, tax increases and even the complete depletion of reserve funds – we are able to deliver a balanced budget that maintains services, uses appropriate fund balances, and applies efficiencies while relying on only a modest tax increase. Despite our financial challenges, we continue investing in our citizens, and in important job-creating growth for our city, all while maintaining the highest levels of fiscal management and discipline.”
According to Warren, the city plans to invest $59 million in public infrastructure, in addition to new police and fire recruitment efforts.
The state will also invest $50 million in “ROC the Riverway” projects, the city said, possibly including capital investment at the convention center, arena, and public infrastructure along the Genesee River.
Yet, Mayor Warren also noted that the city will continue to face a deficit, as a result of its state-mandated Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding, through which the Rochester City School District consumes $119 million of the total $178 million in property tax dollars collected by the city.
Buffalo and Syracuse receive enough state AIM Aid to more than fund their respective school districts’ MOE expenses, she stated, while Rochester’s share creates a deficit.
“Flat AIM Aid allocations, coupled with the mandated Maintenance of Effort payment, continues to present Rochester with a major fiscal challenge when preparing a balanced budget,” the mayor said. “If Rochester were to receive AIM Aid commensurate with the ratios used in either Buffalo or Syracuse, our mandated Maintenance of Effort expense would not create yearly budget deficits. We will continue to work with state leaders to achieve a similar funding ratio as our peer cities.”
Warren’s proposal also includes funding to renovate city recreation centers, as well as increased staffing for city libraries.
The budget will go to city council for review, then the council will hold hearings on Monday, June 4; Tuesday, 12 and Wednesday, June 13, before voting on the proposal at its June 19 meeting.
Visit http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=21474838053 to view additional information regarding the proposal.