WXXI AM News

Mayor Lovely Warren "proud" of her budget proposal

May 19, 2017

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has outlined her 2017-18 budget to members of City Council.

"This is a budget that lowers taxes for residential homeowners, maintains critical programs and services, all while investing in job creation, safe and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities," she said Friday morning at City Hall.

She says the $525 million dollar plan raises spending just 1.3 percent, while closing a $50 million dollar gap.

Warren says the average homeowner will see their tax bill lowered.

"The typical homeowner will see a reduction of $34 dollars and 91 cents in their taxes," she said.

Residents will see about a three percent increase in their refuse and water bills, under the proposal.

Mayor Warren in City Council Chambers Friday morning

Warren says the city is investing in an additional police recruit class in the fall, new fire apparatus and school fire safety education.

Budget Director Chris Wagner says they closed a $50 million dollar gap by adjusting the capital program, department reductions and efficiencies and other cost saving measures.

"But again, overall investment by the city is very consistent year over year, about $54 million dollars. We benefited from additional revenues.  We have those departmental reductions efficiencies I talked about, about $5.1 million dollars there. And we raise some fees.  Refuse, local works and water."

Those staff reductions totaled 11 positions, but Wagner says many were vacant, and jobs were found for the remainder, resulting in no layoffs.

She also notes the state has not made a permanent adjustment to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities, or AIM Aid, so the city will continue to face financial challenges related to the Maintenance of Effort law, which requires the city to maintain funding levels for the City School District.

Mayor Warren says her spending plan is designed to keep faith with residents by lowering the tax burden and continuing to invest in programs and services.

City Council will review the plan, then hold hearings in June before a vote on June 29th.

Here's a link to the budget proposal