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Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update - $86, 4 Years, Dragon Coaster, No Mulligans

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update – $86, 4 Years, Dragon Coaster, No Mulligans

Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French

2013 Budget Approval Set for December 19th

The City has again delivered a solid budget that keeps taxes low and continues to deliver the same level of services.  No small feat when for years the economy continues to lag and Mother Nature repeatedly shows herself.  The revised tax rate increase is proposed at 2.7% with a property tax levy of $20.5M and an overall City expense budget of $31.7M.  The tax levy is well under the New York State property tax cap.  The increase is roughly $86 to the average home in Rye or $148.91 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The latest changes included the addition of two school crossing guards and a small increase to the Rye Free Reading Room as part of the City’s annual funding.  Most other budget line items are holding flat.  This is a solid budget when compared against other municipalities and when compared to the financial trend the City had been heading.  During the period of 1999 to 2009 when government grants were plentiful and City property values were growing rapidly, property taxes still rose 6.3% on average per year or an increase in the property tax levy of $1M per year for 10 years.  There has been a renewed focus on holding the line on spending the last few years.  During the period of 2010 through the proposed budget of 2013, the property tax increases have been on average just 2% per year or a total property tax levy increase of just $1.1M during the entire 4-year period – a time when property values decreased in consecutive years and governmental assistance dried up.  This is also impressive when the impact of employee costs continues to dramatically shift the expense pie.  10 years ago in 2002, $3.1M was spent on employee benefits and that was 32% of salaries and wages and about 15% of the City’s overall annual expenditures.  Today, that number is $8.8M or 72% of salaries and wages or 27% of the City’s annual budget.  The Council will vote on the 2013 Rye City budget at its next and last public hearing on December 19th.

City of Rye 4-Year Planning

The City has actively engaged its Citizen’s Finance Committee the last few years to look at financial and operational issues and make recommendations for the City to consider for its long-term financial sustainability.  Last week the Committee presented an initial draft of their findings which showed that the City with all things being equal and trends continuing as they are in revenues and expenses, that by 2016, the City could be running at an annual operating deficit of $2.4M on a roughly $33M budget.  While assumptions can vary, it is a stark reality that although the City has done an excellent job at managing through the economic downturn, we need to continue to look at all options in how the City operates.  The Council will be discussing and reviewing analysis and recommendations with staff and the Citizen’s Finance Committee throughout 2013.

Support for Sustainable Playland

Years ago when the County first proposed putting together a request for proposal (RFP) to “reinvent Playland”, I put together a Playland Strategic Committee to make recommendations to the City in what Rye and Westchester residents would like to see at Playland.  They came back with a number of core values that in turn the County highlighted in the RFP that ultimately went out.  Those values included the importance of financial sustainability for the park, continued open access, historical preservation, environmental preservation, and more.  The County was a great partner in listening to the concerns of Rye as the host community to Playland.  As I go around Rye and Westchester, many people are very excited about the opportunities the Sustainable Playland proposal can bring to our community.  At the next meeting of the Council, we will propose a resolution in support of the County’s decision on the agreement with Sustainable Playland.

Rye Golf Club

The Council’s investigation of the Club Manager is ongoing and we will follow any findings wherever they lead.  The matter is very serious that requires proper due diligence and we hope to inform the public of the status of the investigation as quickly as possible.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. “..we will follow any findings wherever they lead.”

    OK. Let’s begin doing that.

    RYE POLICE COMMISSIONER CONNORS AUTHORIZED $250,000 IN FUNDS FOR RM STAFFING AT RYE GOLF CLUB IN 2011

    “Recently, City Manager Scott Pickup, and Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson, announced that the Rye Police Department had been conducting–and would continue to conduct–an investigation into the events surrounding the suspension of RGC’s general manager, Scott Yandrasevich.

    Now, five weeks later, LD10580 has learned–according to public records pried from the city manager’s hands–that Rye Police Commissioner William Connors Jr. had personally signed off on a $250K purchase order for RM Staffing just last year.”

    http://www.lausdeo10580.com/lausdeo10580/2012/12/police-commissioner-connors-approved-250000-in-additional-funds-for-rm-staffing-in-2011.html

  2. More news that didn’t cost a time to find…
    Rye Police Commissioner Connors Authorized $250,000 in Funds to RM Staffing in 2011–Conducts Investigation into RGC One Year Later
    -also-
    Public Records show City Mngr Pickup authorized $4,000,000 in funds for RM Staffing since 2008. RM Staffing billed RGC $7,200,000 over past five years.
    http://www.lausdeo10580.com/lausdeo10580/2012/12/police-commissioner-connors-approved-250000-in-additional-funds-for-rm-staffing-in-2011.html

  3. Anybody recall the days when Rye management bragged about holding tax increases to less than CPI ? Wave good bye to that one ….. now they just announce whatever increases they want and claim its ‘low’ …….

    We are a walking talking fiscal disaster . But maybe French is on to something with issuing bonds to fix things like roads .

    Why not .

    Lets be like Democrats in Congress and White House and just borrow whatever money fools are willing to lend to us while we can . Hell , anybody with abrain knows NY state and its local governments are dead so why not .

    Lets max out the credit card and go crazy . After all ,w hen Yonkers and New Rochelle and others start coughing up blood and default , you can bet rest of NY towns will get cut off from borrowing .

    So lets be like the 47% that pay nothing in taxes and just run up the credit cards . Why not . Morons lending money to Rye or NY state deserve what they will get .

    Nothing .

    Even lovers of huge government and more borrowing like Richard Ravitch warned NY yesterday its finances are a house of cards and that with the insane public union pensions and benefits promises made , NY can’t possibly meet its future liabilities .

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/nyregion/experts-warn-of-budget-ills-in-new-york-state-lasting-years.html?_r=0

    So go for it Doug French . Lets see how much muni debt we can run up . Hell , lets pave all the streets and make ourselves look real pretty while we can . Why worry about our kid’s futures . Live for the day . Max out the credit cards and spend away .

    By the way , Doug . How about we cancel all property taxes and just start borrowing the money instead . Why force us all to pay into a bankrupt system . You’ll have my vote in next election !

  4. Too bad the GOP majority on Rye city council doesn’t have the stones to make the cuts that Rye Town is doing . We have highest taxes in United States in Westchester and i see little we get in return that people in other states with 1/3 the tax bill get .

    CUT HEADCOUNT . DEMAND REMAINING WORKFORCE WORK HARDER TO JUSTIFY THEIR BLOATED PAYCHECKS / GOLD PLATED PENSIONS THAT NOBODY IN PRIVATE SECTOR GETS BUT WE’RE EXPECTED TO PAY FOR!!!!!!!

    http://rye.patch.com/articles/rye-town-lays-off-seven-employees-adopts-budget

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Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French

2013 Budget Approval Set for December 19th

The City has again delivered a solid budget that keeps taxes low and continues to deliver the same level of services.  No small feat when for years the economy continues to lag and Mother Nature repeatedly shows herself.  The revised tax rate increase is proposed at 2.7% with a property tax levy of $20.5M and an overall City expense budget of $31.7M.  The tax levy is well under the New York State property tax cap.  The increase is roughly $86 to the average home in Rye or $148.91 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The latest changes included the addition of two school crossing guards and a small increase to the Rye Free Reading Room as part of the City’s annual funding.  Most other budget line items are holding flat.  This is a solid budget when compared against other municipalities and when compared to the financial trend the City had been heading.  During the period of 1999 to 2009 when government grants were plentiful and City property values were growing rapidly, property taxes still rose 6.3% on average per year or an increase in the property tax levy of $1M per year for 10 years.  There has been a renewed focus on holding the line on spending the last few years.  During the period of 2010 through the proposed budget of 2013, the property tax increases have been on average just 2% per year or a total property tax levy increase of just $1.1M during the entire 4-year period – a time when property values decreased in consecutive years and governmental assistance dried up.  This is also impressive when the impact of employee costs continues to dramatically shift the expense pie.  10 years ago in 2002, $3.1M was spent on employee benefits and that was 32% of salaries and wages and about 15% of the City’s overall annual expenditures.  Today, that number is $8.8M or 72% of salaries and wages or 27% of the City’s annual budget.  The Council will vote on the 2013 Rye City budget at its next and last public hearing on December 19th.

City of Rye 4-Year Planning

The City has actively engaged its Citizen’s Finance Committee the last few years to look at financial and operational issues and make recommendations for the City to consider for its long-term financial sustainability.  Last week the Committee presented an initial draft of their findings which showed that the City with all things being equal and trends continuing as they are in revenues and expenses, that by 2016, the City could be running at an annual operating deficit of $2.4M on a roughly $33M budget.  While assumptions can vary, it is a stark reality that although the City has done an excellent job at managing through the economic downturn, we need to continue to look at all options in how the City operates.  The Council will be discussing and reviewing analysis and recommendations with staff and the Citizen’s Finance Committee throughout 2013.

Support for Sustainable Playland

Years ago when the County first proposed putting together a request for proposal (RFP) to “reinvent Playland”, I put together a Playland Strategic Committee to make recommendations to the City in what Rye and Westchester residents would like to see at Playland.  They came back with a number of core values that in turn the County highlighted in the RFP that ultimately went out.  Those values included the importance of financial sustainability for the park, continued open access, historical preservation, environmental preservation, and more.  The County was a great partner in listening to the concerns of Rye as the host community to Playland.  As I go around Rye and Westchester, many people are very excited about the opportunities the Sustainable Playland proposal can bring to our community.  At the next meeting of the Council, we will propose a resolution in support of the County’s decision on the agreement with Sustainable Playland.

Rye Golf Club

The Council’s investigation of the Club Manager is ongoing and we will follow any findings wherever they lead.  The matter is very serious that requires proper due diligence and we hope to inform the public of the status of the investigation as quickly as possible.