Rye City Acting Comptroller Joseph Fazzino presented a $44,986,350 proposed 2013 budget to the City Council on Nov. 14. The budget represents a 3.03 percent tax rate increase over the 2012 adopted budget. The proposed 2013 property tax levy is $20,628,240, which is $657,730 over the 2012 budgeted tax levy.
The proposed property tax rate would be $149.38 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The average Rye homeowner would pay about $97 more in property taxes next year under this proposed budget. The budget does not propose to significantly change any programs or services for 2013. The proposed levy tax is about $52,000 under the tax cap.
“The budget is tight,” said city manager Scott Pickup. “It is pretty much a stand still budget. We are not looking at ways to increase revenue,” he said.
Fazzino explained the city has received an unanticipated profit in 2012 of about $1.5 million. Sales tax revenue was up $210,000, the mortgage tax was up $155,000, building permits up by $388,000 and FEMA reimbursements were up $300,000. But the city faces about $1.3 million in increased expenses in 2013 due to rising health insurance, worker’s compensation and retirement costs, and salary increases, Fazzino said. “These are costs not controlled by the city,” Fazzino said.
The 2013 budget proposal also would not fill three city positions: a police sergeant, public works employee, and firefighter, Fazzino said.
Personnel costs are expected to increase by about $1.3 million, 6.7 percent over the current budget; salaries and wages will increase about $378,441, 4.1 percent over 2012 budget; and employee benefits and taxes would increase $843,524, 10.6 percent over 2012 budget.
The budget allows for the city to use $195,000 from the capital projects fund for annual street, sidewalk and sewer projects. The city will pay for the street and library improvement referendums that voters approved by issuing bonds $1.78 million in bonds.
The 2013 budget proposes to use $485,000 in unassigned fund balance for police and computer equipment, police and DPW vehicles and capital projects and workers compensation costs. In 2012, the city anticipated no use of the fund balance because of a lower fund balance at the end of 2011, Fazzino said.
City staff has considered three outstanding labor agreements in the creation of the 2013 budget proposal. The labor agreement with the CSEA Public works unit expired on Dec. 31, 2009 and a new agreement has not yet been reached; The agreement with the PBA expired Dec. 31, 2008 and is in binding arbitration; and the IAFF contract expired on Dec. 31, 2009 and a new agreement has not yet been negotiated.
“Our union settlements will certainly impact our cost of labor,” Pickup said.
The 2013 proposal does not budget for traffic safety improvements, but some such improvements will begin in 2013 and will be paid for by the bond referendums.
Read the City Manager’s full letter to the council detailing the 2013 budget proposal and the full 2013 Proposed Annual Budget document in the PDF attached to this article.