Over the past 15 years I have been employed in both the finance sector on Wall Street and as a Finance Director at a Fortune 40 Corporation. At present, I serve as the CFO of a Westchester-based non-profit. Academically, I have multiple graduate degrees—in financial economics, public administration and American history. I mention this because it is relevant on two fronts. Firstly, I am both educated and extensively experienced to the nuances of large-scale budgeting, general management (both private and public) and the policies that impact them. Secondly, I am the paradigm resident who bears much of the burden of the New Rochelle budgeting process. While I enjoy very much hearing about how national and local politicians are constantly "working for the middle class," I write this letter as an established middle-class member. As such, I am demanding that the City Council execute the following initiatives so as to truly “work” for us.
2) Publicly remand and striking from the record of inflammatory September 2012 comments made by the Citizens’ Panel for Sustainable Budgets regarding residents’ acceptance of taxes and decreased services as serving some “higher public purpose.”Read more
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The City of New Rochelle is advocating further slashing its emergency responder protection, if the proposed 2013 city budget is not rectified. Under the proposal, the minimum on-duty firefighting contingent to protect the entire city would be reduced to 24 firefighters. In 2008 the minimum protection level to keep the city safe was 29 fire fighters per shift, meaning a 17 ¼ percent cut to public safety staffing minimums in less than five years.
These cuts would result in fire department brown-outs, eliminating one fire engine from service on a rotating basis in different parts of the city. This will lengthen response time and compromise the NRFD and its fire fighters’ ability to safely respond to emergencies.
The proposed cut was suggested in a report by a citizens advisory committee advising the city manager on how to relieve some of the city’s fiscal woes. The members of this committee have no public safety or government management experience.Read more
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- City Manager Charles B. Strome is calling for a 6.99% tax increase based on a 5.75% increase in the City's levy, far in excess of the 2.49 tax levy cap required by New York State. As a result, the City will be required to hold a Public Hearing on the budget and secure a super-majority vote on Council.
Strome and City Finance Commissioner Howard Ratner met with reporters on Friday at City Hall.
The three major changes highlighted by Strome was a reduction in sworn police officers to 158 through attrition, an effective reduction in manning levels for the fire department and an end to loose leaf pick up. The police department is down from over 180 officers three years ago, according to Strome. The fire department manning levels were 31 several years ago but since reduced to 27. Under the current budget the City will not pay overtime to add manpower on a given shift unless the manning level falls below 24 and will only then bring them level up to 24, not 27. As a result, Ladder 12 will likely be out of service on a recurring basis. Residents will be required to bag all leaves starting next year.Read more
I have heard several people suggest that the Larchmont tax exemption request is no big deal because it amounts to “only” $38,000 each year. To them I ask, do you want to give $38,000 every year to Larchmont? How about Rye, or Scarsdale, or Pelham? And if so, why?
It is a trick to compare the $38,000 against a budget of $230 million in order to “prove” that is such a small number as to not matter at all. But it matters enormously.
Every year many New Rochelle residents go to City Hall to contest their property taxes, arguing that their homes are overvalued. And in many cases, their assessments are lowered and they owe New Rochelle less in taxes. But that does not mean that New Rochelle receives less tax revenue. It means the tax burden is then reapportioned among the other residents.Read more
Cameroon debt forgiven, Churches for a dollar, City Yards to be moved at great expense, sweetheart deals for developers and colleges, what else is next? We have a city management system with no accountability that can only accomplish thing with deals and give-a -ways. New Rochelle City Management is nickel and diming the citizens to a point where hard working families can’t afford to live in New Rochelle where they were born and raised any longer. Residents are forced to make some hard choices while management makes one bad decision after another. That is not what they are paid for and paid very well for I might say. They receive great salaries and benefits while working and in their retirement. The citizens will be paying for poor performances for a life time. It is time for a reality check.Read more
Simply said, I am toxic, and a mere glance at the newspapers, blogs, or lending an ear to the cable news indicates I suffer from a malady shared by most of world. It is rampant, a disease of the soul and spirit and it must stop NOW! Rationalizations about "critique", will of the Founding Fathers, ideology is no longer helpful. the patient is sick, very very sick and we have not diagnosed the cause of this illness.Read more
December 22, 2011
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Honorable Governor Cuomo,
I contact you as 56-year old New Rochellian who had to move from my city of birth due to high taxes. I am now faced with the task of maintaining our New Rochelle family home in hopes of keeping my 80-year-old mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, in familiar surroundings until her time comes.Read more
I got to wondering about this yesterday and this is what NRs 2012 budget means to me.
My home is assessed at $17,000 so the city portion of my property taxes will be $3,154.01 (multiply the assessment by the new tax rate off $185.53 and then divide by 1,000 because the tax rate is per $1,000 of assessment) then add on the garbage tax of $223.00 to bring my total tax bill to $3,357.01. Now in comparison, I paid $3,042.68 last January. To calculate the percentage increase over last year, take the difference ($314.33) and divide it by the amount of tax paid last year or 10.3307%.
This example is for properties assessed at $17,000 so if your property is assessed lower; your tax % increase will be higher because the garbage tax is fixed. Likewise, if your assessment is higher than $17,000 the percentage increase will be lower, also because the garbage tax is fixed.
Let’s all give a big thanks Noam & Chuck for the gifts they’re taking from under everyone’s tree this year.Read more