WXXI AM News

Rochester budget proposal: $43 average tax & fee hike; some new initiatives

May 18, 2018

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Friday released her budget proposal for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The nearly $540 million spending plan is 2.4% higher than last year’s budget.

It includes a property tax increase of just under $4.2 million. Warren says it wasn’t easy coming up with this budget, but she says it overall, is providing a balance between fiscal prudence and investment in the community.

“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.”

Warren says the typical homeowner will pay about $43  more per year including taxes and fees. 

The mayor says there are no layoffs in the budget. Nine people whose jobs were displaced are being moved into other positions within city government.

Budget Director Chris Wagner says says the city closed a $47.6 million dollar budget gap through a combination of expense reduction, revenue increases and use of fund balance.

Warren says the budget will add $59 million for capital improvements including funding for police section offices.

She says the budget also supports the ROC the Riverway project, Inner Loop development, and a state of the art nutrition center at the Public Market. 

Warren says the city has also had to grapple with no increase in state aid, as it worked to fill a nearly $48 million budget gap. She says that was done through a combination of moves, including cutting capital spending by just over $12 million, some efficiencies, and using about $10 million from the city’s fund balance.

City Council will now move forward with review of the budget along with public hearings before voting on the plan

Mayor Lovely Warren at City Hall introducing her budget that she says was difficult, but still invests in infrastructure, public safety and important programs and services, while relying on only a modest tax increase: