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Home Government Rye Projecting $2.9 Million Budget Shortfall Due to Pandemic

Rye Projecting $2.9 Million Budget Shortfall Due to Pandemic

It is a moving target.

But Wednesday night, Deputy Comptroller Joe Fazzino and City Manager Greg Usry reviewed Rye’s 2020 budget situation with the city council. It was not pretty.

The current estimate puts Rye at a $2.9 million budget shortfall. “This is a bit of a moving target on revenues,” said City Manager Greg Usry. “We are going to have to look at deferrals,” continued Usry. And even then, the city may also have to look to using its reserves.

The $2.9 million represents about 7% of the city’s 2020 $42.5 million budget.

Fazzino and Usry emphasized how dynamic the situation is, and promised rolling updates during the July and August council meetings. “I believe this is our worst case scenario,” said Usry. Unless he said, we experience a recurrence of COVID-19 in the fall. Then all bets are off.

The budget detail shown, shown below, shows a $1.8 million revenue shortfall and a $1.1 million increase in expenses.

Rye, NY 2020 Budget shortfall 1

Rye, NY 2020 Budget shortfall 2


  1. Simple solution: Stop bellyaching and simply stop the stealing.

    November 2016 -“Builders Rule – You Get a Tax Hike. Construction Goes Wild While Building Permit Revenue Falls.”


    From the article –

    Builders: Trust Us

    In May I wrote a column using my background as a CPA and former Rye City auditor to showcase a gaping internal financial control weakness in the building department. That MyRye.com article – “Rye’s Political Assessments – Found Money” begins with the following proposition – “I’d like to reduce everyone’s property taxes. Interested?” The official silence from city hall was unfortunately both predictable and deafening.

    In June I followed up with a more detailed analysis, doubling down on these lapses in financial controls favoring the largest political donor industry in the city and proposing easy to implement solutions to inject accountability and transparency using 3rd party proof to prevent shortchanging and fraud.

    That June MyRye.com article – “Trust, But Verify? Nyet So Fast” – makes the case for reform, does the long math showing overall annual city budget financial impacts, and analyzes the tangible impact of an actual case of apparent serious ongoing building and assessment fraud by one of the city’s largest political donor family’s. The official city hall silence to these revelations was again predictable and deafening.

    Residents: Pay Up

    So now we’ve arrived at official annual budget season and for the 3rd year in a row city management is forecasting a DECREASE in building permit and license fee revenues while on the very same page noting cheerfully that “Building activity has seen tremendous increases and has rebounded from the recession. This trend is to continue in 2017.” (See attached 2017 Budget schedule here)

    I believe that by adding a single clerical position under the supervision of our excellent City Comptroller Joe Fazzino we could easily internally proof check all of these building and permit final cost affidavits against the basic 3rd party documentation that builders can supply. Habitually honest builders would see zero permit cost increases.

    And since the 2nd largest revenue line item in our entire city budget behind Property Taxes is this area of Licenses & Permits, I believe it’s reasonable to predict substantial and material compliance related permit revenue increases. After all, everyone knows these large dollar ‘I Swear” final cost submissions are not being policed. And this I suspect is also why the local building industry and certain political class individuals perhaps contribute so heavily and so consistently to all the city council election races in Rye.

    I think they’re probably getting real value for their money. How about the rest of us?

    Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.


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