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Home Government Rye City Council Passes 2011 Budget: 0.97% Tax Rate Increase

Rye City Council Passes 2011 Budget: 0.97% Tax Rate Increase

Rye City Council 12-15-2010

At 10:28pm Wednesday night the Rye City Council passed the 2011 budget. The budget was passed with a 2.16% increase but then with amendments the final tax rate increase was reduced to 0.97%.

Councilman Sack was a lone wolf pushing for additional cuts and fees that we have resulted in a zero increase. The council rejected his suggestions in a 6-1 vote.

Budget cuts were the subject on contention, especially cuts in the Rye PD. At the meeting City Manager Scott Pickup had words with omnipresent Rye resident Jim Amico who tried to make an issue around the police commissioner not being in attendance. Pickup said department heads were asked not to attend and called Amico's comments disingenuous and unfair.


  1. Yes, the city plans a less than 1% tax increase for 2011. A heroic effort has been put in by many – the council, the city manager, the finance director, and the members of the public who commented, analyzed, etc. Thanks to everyone who participated. Your tax bill will soon be in the mail and it will be lower than it would otherwise have been.

    While there was a significant change this year to how the budget was developed and explained to the community – a big thanks for the on-going dialog to Doug and Scott – there did not seem to be a fundamental re-assessment of the city’s scope of services. While material, changes appear to be trims here, there, everywhere. That’s not the way to achieve sustainable change in the cost (or services) in city operations. For the NEXT cycle (both BUDGET and ELECTORIAL), questions of policy and services scope need to be addressed.

    I made reference to a couple of points tonight at the “open mic”; e.g.,
    1. Should the city be in the “recreation” business at all? We’ve got lots of clubs (I’m a member of none other than the Rye swim/golf club, by the way). Maybe we should just close up what’s going to be left of Rye Rec. Alternatively, maybe it should be spun off like the Swim / Golf club. Clearly issues of “equity” for low-/fixed-income residents will arise, but isn’t consideration of these types of options a logical consequence of seeking close to 100% cost recovery from Rye Rec?

    2. Should the city be providing any subsidies to the library? Why don’t we make the library responsible for raising taxes directly? While this approach would create another governance group in Rye, it would simplify the annual city budget debates. It would also make clearer the trade-offs between taxes and services as far as the library goes.

    3. What is the real intention of raising fines for parking and sidewalk snow clearance? Public safety (compliance with the law) or revenue raising? The attempt to classify the fine increase as a focus on safety missed the point made by the city manager that there is no intention to increase enforcement. Assuming (remember the old Odd Couple joke?) that the number of tickets written remains the same, there should be some revenue increase, but this would certainly NOT be about increasing compliance / safety. And if I heard correctly tonight, snow clearance tickets are only written when someone complains. That means that enforcement of this particular ordinance has been outsourced to all of us.

    Lots of “opportunities” here.

  2. Happy the Budget has been finalized!

    Next time a point is made to OUR invisible Commissioner we won’t be RUDELY INTERRUPTED by our City Manager Scott Pickup!

    3 years ago there was a UNANIMOUS “VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE” against then acting City Manager Paul Shew and THE INVISIBLE MAN – Commissioner Connors. We all know what happened to Paul Shew, what we don’t know is why was this NEVER ADDRESSED in reference to Commissioner Connors???

    The point I was trying to make last night is this; Fire Connors and PROMOTE a LT. to his position!
    It is that simple!
    The Commissioner and the Lt’s make comparable base salaries. Thank these officers for their time (30 YEARS), DON’T SLAP THEM IN THE FACE!!! You kill 2 birds with one stone….GET rid of the problem (Connors) and you are still eliminating a Lt. position!

    3 months ago on award recognition night, ONLY 2 RPD Officers showed up to show support of Connors while he handed these awards out…2 weeks ago, Connors was MIA at the City Council meeting while his ENTIRE force was their fighting for their positions and possibly their jobs, last night, again Connors was MIA.
    When I was at the podium 2 weeks ago I asked why Connors was not present to support his officers, Scott Pickup said;”I personally requested he not to show for in best interest, it was my decision”, last night Mayor French and Scott Pickup said; “it was done by design that the Department heads not be here”….which is it gentlemen???
    Scott Pickup openly admitted there is a problem and real friction between the Commissioner and the members of the RPD by requesting Connors to STAY AWAY….So Scott, how about ADDRESSING the issue instead of BABY SITTING it?????????????

    Scott Pickup and the City Council never educated themselves with the day to day operations of the RPD, hell, they don’t even know the head count of the RPD.
    They are making decisions on all of our behalves that one day we will ALL pay the ultimate price for…OUR SAFETY!!!

    No Police work shop, no public input until 2 weeks ago on the RPD cuts. Our Police Department is a mess and it will stay this way or get worse until the REAL PROBLEMS are ADDRESSED!!!

  3. All of the department heads were basically ordered not to show up at the last 2 council meetings. Several meetings ago the council even had said they did not want to discuss the budget with any of the department heads. The council are our elected officials. Whether it be Police, Fire, Rye Rec, or the Golf Club – the council knew long before the meeting last night what they were planning on doing.

  4. Jim:

    Ironically, the three lieutenants had no problem with Connors when the vote of no confidence was taken in 2008. They didn’t vote for it.

    What was up with Falk telling the City Council last night, while begging for his job from the podium, to not worry because he wasn’t armed. This was hardly a veiled threat. Could you imagine what would happen if someone from the police union said this?

    In my opinion Novak got it right when she said Falk was incompetent and should be flogged on the City Hall lawn when she took away Falk’s administrative duties.

  5. Are any of you aware that the Police Commissioner (Connors) refuses to hire any resident from the city of Rye that is on the police list. And for any of you who say there are young people from Rye not interested in the position, think again! Dozen or more on the list and a handful already in other departments in Mount Vernon and NYC looking to transfer to their home town. But this guy refuses and to make matters worse for someone looking to become a cop in westchester county but a Rye resident they probably won’t get hired from another department because every other department in the county hires their own residents first.

  6. Really,

    FTR – I know it is Falk who is losing his position. I am not defending him or any one certain individual…I am defending the situation and in my opinion the poor decisions being made by our appointed officials!

    I will always be against making cuts in the Public Safety Sector!
    How does one make “PEDESTRIAN SAFETY” a PRIORITY and then turn around and take action that says otherwise??????????????

    I have no problem with them making decisions in any Department….just as long as they EDUCATE themselves first in that department before taking action!
    Obviously this was never done, they don’t even know how many Officers are on the job???????

  7. Need Change,

    I am aware of this and have mentioned it several times in the past during my INVISIBLE MAN BASHINGS!

    If we want a CHANGE in the Commissioner position we need to come together as a community not 2 or 3 individuals!

    I for one would like to know what it is that makes our City Manager shield this guy to no end….what is really behind door #1????

  8. Need Change, without knowing any of the Rye candidates, I will say this: Having local people is not always the best thing in law enforcement.

    Now I am NOT saying that Rye residents should be excluded from RPD. It’s just that when you have officer’s who are from Rye dealing with people that he/she grew up with, it can cause other headaches. As a matter of fact, the NYPD doesn’t allow an officer to work in their home precinct.

    I do not know what percentage of RPD is made up of locals, but I’d be curious to see that number. However, after hearing yesterday’s meeting, I’m not sure if the City knows how many of its officers are long-time Rye residents!!!

  9. How many cops are from Rye? Pickup and French don’t even know how many cops are on the force. How are they making these vital decisions on manpower without this basic knowledge? It is a farce.

    Pickup and French are both in their rookie season and are making bad decisions that will have long term negative impacts on Rye.

    Pickup and French appear to have no idea what they are doing and I believe should not be trusted going forward.

  10. I am aware the NYPD does not allow their officers to live and work in the same precinct. 1. this is not the NYPD and 2. Does not take an outside officer very long to adjust to being in Rye or any new town before they get to know people, become part of the community and start giving breaks or using discretion. Oh and yeah that last hire the City of Rye PD had who WAS NOT a citizen really worked out well for them..I believe she was fired while on probation.

  11. “We have been unfairly and falsely accused of trying to hide the ball, so it was decided that the easiest way to deal with those falsehoods was to put it all up on the website,”

    Rye Commissioner Connors about the hidden 2010 overtime and violation counts?

    Saddly, no.

    Paul Browne, the NYPD’s spokesman, about yesdarday’s WSJ article entitled “Police in About-Face on City Crime Data”



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