RYE, N.Y. – A proposed $44.98 million city budget for 2013, with a 3.03 percent tax rate increase, was introduced Wednesday night by the Rye city manager at a budget workshop of the Rye City Council.
“This budget is pretty much a stand-still budget,” said City Manager Scott Pickup. All programs and services would be “essentially unchanged from the current year,” according to the proposed budget. Pickup added that the city is not looking at any alternative revenue sources at this time.
The total proposed general fund budget is $31,706,181 – an increase of 6 percent over the 2012 budget. The property tax levy of $20,628,240 accounts for 67 percent of the city’s general fund.
The proposed property tax rate is $149.38 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up 3.03 percent from this year. The owner of a home assessed at the city average of $26,200 would pay $3,286 in city property taxes, up $97 from this year. In Rye, a home assessed at the city average has a market value of $1.44 million.
The main cost drivers for the 2013 budget include a 7 percent increase to employee health insurance expenses; 15 percent increased New York state employee retirement expenses; a 19 percent increase in police and fire retirement expenses; and, thanks to a recent workers compensation claim, the city’s workers compensation expenditure in 2013 is up 51 percent from 2012.
Another cost driver for the city is a 4 percent increase in salary payments to city employees. A city engineering position that was not budgeted in 2012, but fulfilled by the city’s contingency funds, will now be part of the city’s budget. In addition the city is budgeting for a full-time fire lieutenant/inspector, a half-year assistant city engineer and some additional part-time employees for the Building Department. The budget authorizes a total of 147 positions, down from last year’s approval of 150 employees.
The budget calls for using $310,000 of the city's reserve fund balance to offset some of the increase to the workers compensation expenses. About $290,000 of the fund balance would also go toward basic capital equipment costs for fixing sidewalks, roads and sewers as well as purchasing a police vehicle and a Department of Public Works vehicle.
Acting City Comptroller Joseph Fazzino said the city expects $1.4 million in revenue from sales tax, mortgage tax, building permit fees and $300,000 in federal reimbursements from Hurricane Irene.
“The city is in a good position for 2013,” Fazzino said in assessing the overall budget. In the future if pension and health insurance costs continue to rise, the city will have to reduce expenditures or figure out new ways for revenue, he said.
The City Council will hold a budget workshop at 8 p.m. Nov. 26 in addition to its next regular meeting at 8 p.m. Nov. 28.
Details of the proposed 2013 budget are available online.