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Home Government Speaking French: Rye Mayor's City Council Update

Speaking French: Rye Mayor’s City Council Update

The following is a Rye City Council update from Mayor Doug French

From the desk of Mayor Douglas French

Rye Town Park Opening for the Season

The Rye Town Park Commission continues to meet with residents and staff in preparation for the upcoming season. Here are some of the changes you can expect to see this year:

Security. The City of Rye and Rye Town have worked very closely together to improve public safety in the park. That work continues with the hiring of a new head of security who will work in coordination with the Rye City Police Department. In addition, since last year we have been exploring options to deputize Rye Town Park security. This season, selected park personnel are being considered to be deputized to write summonses for dog-leash and open-container alcohol violations. This should improve compliance and ensure a safer environment for all users of the park.

Leash Law. The City of Rye will be holding a public hearing on May 25th to revise the local leash law that will allow dogs off-leash in designated areas of the park from 5:00 am until 9:00 am. After 9:00 am dogs must be leashed. The Rye Town Park Commission has established this policy and it must be in accordance with the City Code. In discussions with the Rye Town Park Citizens Advisory Committee, the Friends of Rye Town Park, City and Park officials as well as many, many dog owners and residents who use the park, this is an amenable solution to all. The policy will be closely monitored and evaluated for compliance.

The Park. The number of cars that park on the lawn will be reduced slightly and will be designated to a specific marked-off area. Since the 2009 season, almost 300 spots have been reduced to open-up more parkland for users. Further, a mailing has been sent out to increase resident permits. For seniors, only seniors who do not already have a permit but are applying for one need to pay a permit fee. The Rye Town Park Advisory Committee has put together a series of recommendations and initiatives to bring residents back to the park so look for those announcements.

The 2011 Budget. Although last year was a record revenue year, we are projecting lower revenues due to the expected poor weather season. Capital maintenance costs of $50,000 have been correctly shifted out of the operating budget to a separate line item to reflect the different capital contribution split between Rye Town and Rye City of 61%/39% respectively. The operational costs have been fully vetted with staff and reflect the appropriate level of service needs while not scaling back on safety such as security guards and lifeguards. Approximately $100,000 has been reduced from last year's wage levels. There will also be the implementation of monthly budget reconciliation reports and new procedures to count cars and beach goers. The automated parking project is still under review and will be implemented after the season if approved.

City of Rye 2012 General Fund Fees and Charges

Last year the City Council moved to review fees and charges outside of the budget season and hold separate meetings on changes to the fee schedule. The reason for the change was because fees and violations should be dictated by a review of market rates or to improve compliance and not to be reviewed as a budget matter. On May 25th, the Council will hold a public hearing on changes to fees and charges with adoption tentatively scheduled for the June 15th meeting. Most of the proposed changes in the proposed 2012 schedule fall under general engineering fees such as street openings, and the planning department for subdivision and site plan review.

Stewards of the Public Interest

The City celebrated its history as a volunteer government with its annual meeting hosted by the Rye Historical Society at the Square House. Former Mayors, Council, and Judges as well as current members of our boards and commissions came together in honor of our City Manager and volunteer form of government. It was also a time to acknowledge the Department heads and show appreciation for their hard work. Despite many challenges the City has faced in its history, the volunteer government has served the City very well.

 May 24, 2011

  1. Mr Mayor:
    You consistently use the words
    market rate to justify front door fee increases (e.g. parking, recreation activites) The fee increases are nothing more backend tax increases.
    Your market rate rationality is an indicator of little common sense or understanding the broader issue.

  2. Interesting council meeting. On the subject of fees, didja know:

    > some of them are being proposed to go up over 200%?
    > there’s no document explaining the rationale for increasing the fees; e.g., increase public safety, recover cost (not profit) from individual services, OR raise revenue?
    > there’s no document available indicating how many times the fees have been incurred in the most recent year?
    > there’s no document available comparing Rye’s fees with that for surrounding / comparable communities?

    It would seem to me that having the above information is a pre-requisite to conducting an informed assessment of the proposed changes. Assembling it is non-trivial, but necessary.

    Hats off to Joe Sack for asking for a rational for the changes; Suzanna Keith for asking for information about neighboring community’s fees; Paula Gamache for catching the issue associated with delinquent COs and suggesting a much larger increase in that penalty fee.

    It’s not at all clear to me how the public hearing conducted tonight can be considered as “closeable” at the Council’s next meeting without the above info. I also question how the Council can take a principled, informed decision to support the fees w/o this information – but maybe taking it on faith is okay.

  3. Spineless local elected political bench warmers beware. Opening the delinquent Certificates of Occupancy revenue matter in Rye City will now lead directly to the sun lighting of multiple sensitive linked local environmental permitting ”issues” related to Shew, Otis, Plunkett and Wilson and their interaction with specially favored political class homeowners, their false public statements, their concealed violations and their now entrapped attorney enablers. Honest taxpayers and environmentalists should pay attention here. This ball is rolling


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