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MAYOR RELEASES BALANCED BUDGET
Budget focused on reinvestment in parks and maintenance with a 0% rate increase
In his inaugural budget proposal, Mayor Rosenquest releases a balanced budget with a 0% increase to the City’s property tax rate.
“Considering inflation rate rising in excess of 5% and the overall increase to the cost of doing business, this budget is being delivered with a 0% increase to the tax rate and just a 1.98% increase in general fund appropriations (expenses) over 2021.”
With an eye on increased infrastructure improvements and efforts in maintenance, this budget requests a number of additional staff in Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Recreation Complex budgets along with a Technical Support Program Manager who will be charged with overseeing and managing the City’s wide variety of construction and infrastructure improvement projects.
“In the first months of my administration, I proposed a variety of revenue generating projects that focused on infrastructure improvements and park and green space investments. That included an increase to services we already provide, investments into the City Beach, and expanding our marina. The vast majority of our residents showed support of these initiatives but have also asked why the City has such a hard time maintaining the things we have. This budget addresses both.”
PARKS AND RECREATION
In the early months of 2021, Mayor Rosenquest released a “Parks Report” that outlined a number of concerning issues caused by the deferred maintenance of the City of Plattsburgh 20-plus parks. This report outlined the amenities, location, and the state of each of those parks.
“After we released the parks report, it became abundantly clear that over the last several years the City took a very austere approach to running city government. Ripping out playground equipment because it’s too dangerous to use isn’t a viable ‘cost saving’ plan. Having to do this was a direct result in the neglect and deferred maintenance of our parks and beach. As I’ve maintained from the beginning: parks and green space are a quality of life issue as well as an investment opportunity. If we keep our outdoor spaces attended to and attractive, residents, visitors, and businesses will be attracted to our City.”
The Mayor’s proposed budget includes a number of permanent full time as well as temporary labors spread across Recreation Complex, Parks and Beautification, and DPW. These laborers will be tasked with maintaining our parks, downtown greenery, and the beach.
CITY WIDE MAINTENANCE
This year City Hall heard outcries of crumbling roads, impassable sidewalks, municipal buildings unavailable for use, along with a myriad of other concerns.
“When park users can’t use our restrooms or when beach goers have to walk half-way down the beach to find facilities, this becomes a problem. This is a problem for all of us, but for our customers and residents who require ADA accommodations the City falls embarrassingly short. Our focus needs to be on accessibility for all. Anything short of that we fail,” says Rosenquest.
“My hope is that our Council and community can see this budget as addressing these shortcomings and start the process of changing our mindset when it comes to investing in our municipal facilities like our parks and other municipal buildings. The steps on City Hall are broken and in disrepair and there are holes in the roof… What does that say to people?”
Throughout 2021, the Mayor has directed a number of resources to address City wide needs to address derelict buildings and accessibility.
“When we need to use port-a-johns to offset the inoperable bathrooms and park facilities we already have, we may want to reprioritize what we’re putting taxpayer money towards,” adds Rosenquest.
BUDGET AT A GLANCE
Under the current economic impact, the City saw an overall increase of doing business in 2021. This is no difference going into 2022. Even with increased inflation, rising commodity prices, and increased professional service costs, Rosenquest’s 2022 proposed budget represents just a 1.98% increase in general fund appropriations.
The City will also see an increase in revenues by 6.34% over 2021. This year marks the first time the City’s taxable assessed values will top $1.023b.
According to the proposed budget, the tax rate will remain at 11.37% with an increase to the levy by a modest 2.4%. This budget stays well below the mandated tax cap.
This budget also projects that at the end of 2022, the city will hold a projected unassigned unappropriated fund balance of just over $4m. A 2016 Council resolution mandates the general fund balance be maintained at 10% of the City’s annual expenses. A general fund balance of $4m represents 16.57% of annual expenses.
View The Mayor’s 2022 Proposed Budget here
Public Hearing on the Mayor's Proposed Budget, Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 5pm in the Common Council Chambers.