New Rochelle City Council Passes 2013 Budget, $153.5 MM With 6.99% Tax Increase

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New Rochelle City Council Passes 2013 Budget, $153.5 MM With 6.99% Tax Increase

December 12, 2012 - 04:37

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle City Council voted tonight in a 5-2 party line to approve a $153.5 million budget for 2013 . Republicans Lou Trangucci (District 1) and Al Tarantino (District 2) voted against the budget citing the failure to adopt any product spending reductions to lower the tax rate. The budget will require a 6.99% tax increase. Two controversial cuts to the budget, a $300,000 reduction in overtime for the fire department and a $250,000 reduction in the sanitation budget for loose leaf pick up, were added back to the budget.

Council Members Shari Rackman (District 6) and Lou Trangucci proposed restoring the fire department overtime, a proposal that was supported by all members of Council except Mayor Noam Bramson who voted "no".

Council Members Barry Fertel (District 5) and Trangucci proposed restoring the Leaf Pick-up.

In a bitter exchange, following a testy executive session, Bramson, a Democrat demanded to know how Trangucci, a Republican, proposed to find money elsewhere in the budget to add back funding for the fire department overtime and leaf pick-up. When Trangucci responded by pointing out that he had also proposed the reduction or elimination of other spending items, Bramson was dismissive. Bramson claimed that summing up all of Trangucci's cuts and increases still left a $200,000 hole. Trangucci challenged the Mayor's arithmetic skills, pointing out that net difference was $100,000 or half of what Bramson claimed. Bramson then admitted he had failed to count Trangucci's proposed to eliminate the position of Deputy DPW Commissioner Position which pays $93,750 plus benefits.

Bramson made no similar demands on Rackman, who also proposed restoring the fire department overtime, or Fertel, who had proposed restoring leaf pick up. Ivar Hyden made three budget proposals, all increases and spending and was not challenged by Bramson. Jared Rice made one proposal that would increase spending by $175,000. Rice was also not asked to offset his proposed spending increase.

Every spending increase proposed by Rackman, Fertel, Ivar Hyden (District 4) and Jared Rice (District 3) was added into the Budget. None of the spending reductions proposed by Trangucci were taken out of the budget.

The total additions to the budget are $935,000. They will be funded by increased fees and raising the City's rainy day funds. $500,000 was taken from the Contingency Budget and $150,000 was taken from the Fund Balance. Marina Fees will be increased to generate $125,000, Tennis Fees will be raised to generate $10,000 and Health Insurance Savings will generate $150,000.

While casting their votes on the budget, each member of Council made a brief comment

Lou Trangucci voted "no", noting that all of his proposed spending reductions had been rejected.

Al Tarantino voted "no", echoing Trangucci's concerns and noting that every spending increase had been approved.

Jared Rice voted "yes", calling the budget part of the "new normal", noting that core services had been protected, there were no layoffs, the fire department overtime and leaf removal had been restored and that key investments had been made.

Ivar Hyden voted "yes", commending the Citizens Budget committee, criticizing unfunded state mandates which he says forced the City to go over the tax cap and calling on residents to complaint to their state representatives.

Shari Rackman voted "yes", commending the Citizens Budget committee.

Barry Fertel voted "yes", expressing concerns about the psychological burden placed on Council Members by Governor Cuomo's tax levy cap. Fertel took a shot at the Republicans saying "it's easy to vote no when you don't get what you want."

Mayor Noam Bramson voted "yes".

Firefighters on hand for the vote came away pleased with the restoration of overtime sufficient to keep manning levels at 27 per shift.

Calling it a responsible budget, UFFA Local 273 President Byron Gray questioned what has become an annual ritual in his four years as union head.

"Since I've been in my position, we've borne the brunt of the budget cutting," said Gray.

The union was particularly unhappy with the approval of $175,000 for a "fire study".

Gray recalled past studies which did not support cutting the fire department, that they were either buried or adopted but ignored.

"We have 200 years of experience running the department," said Gray. "Why are they ignoring that?"

UFFA Local 273 Treasure Peter Miley questioned why the fire department was being singled out for a $175,000 study.

"Rather than focus on the fire department," said Miley. "Why not look at the whole city?"

$175,000 could pay for three firefighters for a year.

There are 9 Comments

New Rochelle Firemen remember Mayor Bramson voted no to restore 300,000 to maintain 27 men. All residents in New Rochelle should remember this the Mayor voted to put your lives at risk. Again this city council failed the residents of this city the democrats have failed all residents.Lou should have told the Mayor off.

The city wont allow farm animals, but that's one jackass sitting at the head of the table.

Martin Sanchez's picture

One way to find a $200,000 savings is to do away with office of the Mayor. Note - his salary is above $90,000 - his fully burdened benefit and expense to the New Rochelle community + his salary is certainly at $150,000. Why is he in the position to make so many demands and create a putrid process for managing a city like ours. Don't we have an able City Manager, who as the Chief Executive of this city, is singularly mandated to move the City Council and negotiate with them the course of action. I think the overwhelming majority of residents in New Rochelle are embarrassed by Noam Bramson's silly and inmature outtakes pretenting to be a capable leader, when in fact, he is and has always been a professional politician since graduating from college with no capacity or capability to manage budgets, manage people or even the social skills to speak with working class people without offending them. By eliminating his position, you have $200,000 savings.

Robert Cox's picture

I listened in disbelief as Noam petulantly demanded that Lou Trangucci justify his proposed changes to the 2013 City Budget.

Here are the facts:

Hyden -- proposed to increase spending by $385,000
Rackman - proposed to increase spending by $300,000
Fertel - proposed to increase spending by $250,000
Rice - proposed to increase spending by $175,000
Trangucci - proposed to increase spending by $100,000
Tarantino - no recommendations made, supported all of Trangucci's recommendations to increase spending by $100,000.

Simple math would indicate that Lou was proposing the LEAST amount of spending increase.

Of course, simple math is not a Bramson priority as evidenced by his incorrectly claiming that Trangucci changes added up to $200,000 (Lou graciously corrected him).

Yet there is Noam hectoring Lou, trying to somehow paint Lou as fiscally irresponsible, because he has proposed net changes amounting to an increase of $100,000.

Meanwhile, Noam says NOT A WORD about his fellow Democrats on the Council who proposed LARGER spending increases to the budget and not a single cut in spending.

And this is Noam "winning" on the City Budget.

You have heard of sore losers? Meet New Rochelle's number one sore winner...Noam "Let It Burn" Bramson who votes to a keep a car for himself while voting to reduce manning levels for the fire department.

I agree with Martin Sanchez...back to the strong City Manager system. Let Bramson perform the ceremonial duties at a lower salary as spelled out in the City Charter. Also, a city car is a little
excessive for the mayors activities, unless he and Fertel are seen driving into the sunset.
Accolades to Trangucci & Tarantino for attempting to make sensible budget cuts. Bigger government doesn't mean better government...just more bloat.

Why does the Mayor feel the great need to attack Trangucci? When I was young we used to say the truth hurts. Does the truth hurt here? Only last week the Council discussed how raising fees could easily result in less people joining teams or renting at the boat yard, resulting in lowered income for the City. Apparently the Democrats are gambling with the additional amount of tax that many be required if this happens.

Poor Barry, the stress of being council court jester and village idiot must be weighing on him. Perhaps Barry can use those gold plated health benefits he receives, for his part time work on council, to get some first class therapy. His mental well-being needs to come first. The financial stress a New Rochelle property owner might experience when they receive a 7.00% City tax increase is a secondary concern!

As for Jared Rice’s declaration that a 7.00% tax hike is the “new normal” is an impressive statement indeed! If that is the new normal expect the successful and productive to leave New Rochelle en mass. Of course that is contingent on the ability to sell their homes, which will continue to decline in price. Jared’s view is similar to the view of the Detroit City Council. Detroit now stands on the edge of bankruptcy as a result of years of financial mismanagement. A fate that is in store for New Rochelle, so long as Noam and his clowns make the calls.

"Jared’s view is similar to the view of the Detroit City Council."

If you take the time to watch this there are similarity to what could happen here, probaby not...but one never knows 10,15,40 year from now