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Rye City Council Passes 2012 Budget

RYE, N.Y. – The Rye City Council passed its 2012 budget on Wednesday at its regularly scheduled meeting in City Hall. The budget passed with a vote of 6-1, with council member Suzanna Keith being the only member to vote against the budget.

According to the council, the budget the tax rate will increase by approximately 2.92 percent with an estimated levy increase of about $500,000 raising the total tax levy to $19.5 million. City Comptroller Jean Gribbins added that although the 2012 tax rate exceeds 2 percent, the levy increase does not exceed the 2 percent state cap.

Proposed amendements to the budget from council members Joe Sack, Catherine Parker, and Keith were all defeated. Among those proposed amendments were attempts by both councilmembers Sack and Parker to increase the vehicle and traffic revenue.

"Although we don't have, and shouldn't have quotas for traffic violations," Sack said, "The drop in numbers is staggeringly low".

Council member Peter Jovanovich shared both council members Sack and Parkers concern, but "regrettably" voted against the amendment.

"The sentiment expressed (by Sack) is absolutely right. We just can't continue to see a decline in enforcement of the activity that is the greatest peril to the community," Jovanovich said.

Gribbins, along with the recommendation of City Manager Scott Pickup, recommended that the council pass a resolution to override the 2 percent tax cap although the adopted levy is $800,000 below the levy limit.

Gribbins cited the uncertainty surrounding the certification process of six budget items, and feels that passing the override would act like a security blanket for the city.

"It seems a little like the cart before the horse," Councilwoman Parker said, "While I understand the extra piece of security, I think we've been very prudent".

Council members Sack and Keith echoed Parker's sentiment.

"I'm not in favor," Sack said, "We’ve worked hard to get underneath the tax cap and this will just be confusing to the public".

"It doesn't make good financial sense to me,"Keith said, "I don't feel comfortable with something that leaves things wide open".

Although Mayor French called the resolution prudent, it was ultimately defeated by a vote of 4-3.

Among other items passed on Wednesday was a resolution to transfer $40,000 to the Department of Public Works to purchase salt and a resolution to transfer $50,000 to the risk fund for legal and stenographer services for judgments and claims. Both passed with supermajority.

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