Rye Decreases 2014 Budget, Cuts Police Station Upgrades

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Rye has reduced its 2014 tax rate increase to 1.99 percent, and will defer improvements to the police station and courthouse building. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye has decreased its proposed budget for 2014 and reduced funding for capital improvements at the police station and courthouse.

The tax rate that was originally proposed in November was 2.52 percent. After making some adjustments, the new tax rate will be 1.99 percent, according to Deputy Comptroller Joseph Fazzino.

Early in December the city reached a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with Rye Manor HDFC, an entity created to renovate and preserve Rye Manor as a site for affordable housing. That 32-PILOT agreement decreased the tax rate to 2.38 percent, according to Fazzino. The finance department then made further adjustments, increasing revenue from sales tax by $25,000 and increasing building permit revenues by $55,000, based on current economic activity in the city.

The original budget had also set aside $1.25 million on improvements for the police station and courthouse building. Of that money, $1 million will be kept in the general fund, and $250,000 will now be used for surface improvements at the city-owned portion of the train station parking lot.

"We could do milling and paving, we could make sure the travel services are improved," said City Manager Scott Pickup. Any improvements beyond that would likely require an agreement with the MTA.

The police station and courthouse building has been in a state of limbo for years. The Office of Court Administration had designated the building as being in need of safety improvements back in 2009. The city had considered a new, $27 million facility back in 2006, but plans for that project fell through after the recession hit. The Boston Post Road property where it would have been built was sold last year.

Pickup said that the construction plans and estimates for the police station and courthouse are now three years old, and would likely have to be revisited and updated. The $1.25 million that had been set aside was a show of commitment to the OCA that the city was ready to move forward with making improvements to the building.

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