Is it time for New Rochelle’s not-for-profits to pay for fire, police, and city services?
In a eye-opening Wall Street Journal article “Strapped Cities Hit Nonprofits With Fees.” published 12/27/2010, http://on.wsj.com/ew1Iav. **(The WSJ url does not work. Key word search the article’s title on the Wall Street Journal’s website.)
Non-for-profits such as colleges, churches, and charitable organizations across the country are loosing automatic tax exemptions, and are being required to pay property taxes, and for municipal services such as fire and police protection. The loss of automatic non-profit exemptions is seen as a necessary source of revenue to pay for essential city services in these tough economic times. The question that needs to be asked is, should non-profits pay for municipal services in New Rochelle?Read more
Our country is still suffering the effects of the worst economic slow-down since the Great Depression, with serious impacts on major municipal revenue sources and simultaneous upward pressure on major municipal costs. In this difficult economic climate, there are no easy or pleasing choices, but there are better and worse choices, and we have a responsibility together to distinguish one from the other.
It has been the City's goal to balance several important interests: (1) respect the financial pressures confronting taxpayers; (2) preserve investment in essential services; and (3) safeguard the longer-term health and stability of our community. These are seemingly straightforward objectives, yet they are often in tension with each other - and now, more than ever, impacted by factors that local government cannot control.Read more
UPDATE: Budget passes 7-0.
Meeting Agenda is below.
Mayor Bramson opens the meeting with a review of Amendments to the City Manager's Proposed Budget
Package of Additional Expenditures and Savings/Enhanced Deferrals
Add $27,000 to fund community celebrations -- 4th of July, Memorial Day Parade.
Add $27,000 to Hudson Park Beach account -- keep beaches open on Monday and Tuesday over the summer.
Add $20,000 for Day Labor Site -- keep day labor site open.
$74,000 in new spending.
$700,000 - Financing of Tax Certioris
$400,000 - Parking at New Roc, raise hourly rate form 75 cents to $1.00 at New Roc City garage (Parking Board met today, do not object, with caveat that the cost )
$25,000 Marina Pilot Payment
Total is $1,125,000 less spending
Net is $1,051,000
Noam Bramson sat for a half-hour interview for the Cablevision program “Meet the Leaders” in which he cast doubt on a key provision of the City Manager's proposed budget.
The first segment was about dealing with budget issues. The Mayor talking about the hiring freeze, cancelled or deferred non-essential programs, seeking outside grants. While defending the decision this year, the Mayor says City Manager decision to borrow money to pay for the pension increase is "not a good long-term fiscal practice".
The Mayor went on to talk about cutting services like traffic calming and rehabilitating monuments as well as scaled back capital expenditures, getting rid of DARE and other programs.Read more
Lower bond rating will make it more expensive for the City to raise funds.
The affect of Wall Street has undoubtedly had an affect on Main Street. However, the fiscal woes of New Rochelle are unique to the City itself and are due mainly to negligent decisions made by the previous and current Democratic majority ruling City Councils. The recent downgrading of our Bond rating by Moody’s Investor Services will increase the cost to taxpayer for bonding initiatives, which have become an important part of trying to minimize the city’s tax increases.
The basis for the downgrade has essentially resulted from failed development policies that gave wealthy developers tax abatements, that ultimately led to a policy of raiding the City’s rainy day fund. To date the City’s rainy day funds are less than 1.5% of the City’s total budget or about 1.1 million dollars. In fiscal year 2009 the City’s rainy day fund was 7% of the City’s budget or about 7 million dollars.Read more
NEW YORK, Dec 3, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2 the general obligation rating on the City of New Rochelle's (NY) $108 million currently outstanding debt. The debt is secured by the unlimited property tax pledge of the city.
The downgrade to Aa3 reflects the city's weakened financial position driven by declining sales tax and mortgage tax revenues. The Aa3 rating also factors the city's sizable tax base that is expected to remain stable over the long term, above average wealth indices and moderate debt burden which is expected to remain manageable.
CHALLENGED OPERATIONS WEAKEN RESERVESRead more
Writing on his own blog, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson expressed his disappointment over the downgrade of the city's debt by Moody's Investor Services, announced earlier today.
City’s Bond Rating Slips a Notch
Lousy News Is Unsurprising Sign of the Times
DECEMBER 1, 2010
Budget & Finance
The persistent weak economy and its impact on our finances has led Moody’s Investor Services to downgrade New Rochelle’s bond rating. Many other municipalities are being similarly reevaluated. Fortunately, our new bond rating of Aa3 is still quite good and defined as “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk,” so the City’s access to and cost of capital should be only minimally affected. Nonetheless, I won’t conceal my disappointment, particularly since this news comes only a few years after we celebrated an upgrade in our bond rating. It is an unfortunate sign of the times — lousy, but unsurprising.