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Friday, October 7, 2022
Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update - Finances, (Parking) Fees, Flooding, Fore Future

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update – Finances, (Parking) Fees, Flooding, Fore Future

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

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City Council Updates by Mayor Douglas French

City’s “Triple A” Rating Reaffirmed

The City received more good news about its financial position last week which again reflects the hard work of the staff, Mayor, Council and Finance Committee to be fiscally conservative during the period of the great recession and municipal fiscal stress.  Moody's Investors Service has assigned the Aaa rating to the City of Rye's public improvement bonds and its previously issued general obligation debt.  “The application of Moody's highest-quality rating reflects the City's affluent residential tax base, low debt burden, and healthy financial position with sound reserve levels.”  Strengths noted in the report include the sizable tax base with strong socioeconomic demographics, strong financial reserves with formal policies, and low debt and pension liabilities.  Challenges include increasing pension costs and open union contracts.  What could make the rating move down?  Significant reductions in fund balance reserves and material increases in the debt burden.

The 4-year Financial Plan

The Citizens Finance Committee assisted the City in producing a 4-year financial plan that outlined revenue and expenditure trends and assumptions over the upcoming 4-year planning period.  With all assumptions being equal in terms of staying within the tax levy cap, flat variable revenues and fees, modest increases in state aid, and modest increases in expenses and capital – the City could be facing an annual operating loss of $1.9M in 2016.  The Finance Committee, City staff and Council will explore long-range options.

MTA Parking Lot

The City is beginning to look at options to upgrade the deteriorated condition of the train station parking lot through small increases in commuter parking fees over the next two years along with potential bonding, grant money, and money from Metro North in order to do a significant project at the railroad.

Sluice Gate Ribbon-Cutting

The City along with the Village of Rye Brook and Westchester County was pleased to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Bowman Avenue Sluice gate which will help regulate water flow from upstream.  The sluice gate is an important part of the City’s mitigation plan that also includes potential additional detention at Westchester County Airport, downstream preparation and safety measures, and identifying additional locations for regional upstream detention.

Rye Golf Club Work Sessions

The City kicked off a series of workshops with the Rye Golf Club Commission and the Rye Golf Club Strategic Committee formed by the Mayor and Council late last year to assess strategic models for the Golf Club.  Options range from keeping a General Manager model to run all operations, leasing out the restaurant/catering operations, or re-organizing all of the operations.  Municipal procedures make it difficult for the City to operate the restaurant and catering operation.  Questions posed by the Committee: Should the roles and responsibilities of the Golf Commission be clarified further and/or expanded; should there be a modification to the composition of the Commission; should governance be passed to a Board of Directors; or, should governance and management be passed to an external organization.  Questions raised regarding management were:   Should Club operations continue to report directly to the City Manager, to another department, or directly to the City Council; should the Club outsource the food and beverage operations and consider reporting changes for the golf/pool operation; and, should all operations be outsourced and be managed by a third party.  Additional sessions will be held prior to or during the regularly scheduled Council meetings in July and August. 

Boat Basin Dredging Project

The City successfully completed a much needed dredging project in the boat basin removing roughly 20,000 cubic yards this past month and will determine if permits can be obtained to remove an additional 20,000 cubic yards in the fall cycle.

IT Committee

Future investments need to be directed in information technology, and the City’s newly formed body is up and running to assist and advise the City.  Their work will include recommendations on the following:  IT Standards to enable data integration, procurement processes, staff on-boarding & training procedures, effective & transparent financial management, improved resource management, effective management of outsourced IT suppliers, and strengthen risk management of our City Services.


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