Two Citizens Speak on $176.1 M City Budget.Council Upgrades 4th City Judge to Full-time. Fuel Oil Air Quality Law Tabled. Lawyers Rehired to Fight NYC Water Rates



Two persons spoke at the public hearing on the 2014-15 City Budget last night.

Madeleine Zevon, speaking for the League of Women Voters said the League endorsed the city budget, praising the city for keeping the city tax increase a “modest” one (2.3%), and keeping the city tax levy under the state-imposed 2% tax levy cap. Her statement urged the city increase its efforts to find areas where it and the school district and other entities to find more ways expenses could be consolidated.

Steve Hochman, delivering the Budget and Management Committee Report  praised the budget for staying within the 1.46% % state tax levy cap, and for the third year, not borrowing   to pay tax certioraris or pension expenses. The Committee praises the city for paying its $1.8 Million in tax certiorari refunds with half from reserves and  half from operating revenues.

The Committee is pleased the city is moving to paying self-insurance costs in part with $700,000 from the General fund, and doubled its cash contribution to rolling stock replacement.

Hochman observed “the city will continue to face budgetary pressures stemming from increasing costs for pensions and other benefits, a flat-to-declining property tax base and the State property levy tax cap.

The Committee, Hochman said recommends in the future:

Continue to manage total head count through consolidations and technology; expand use of cash for capital programs to reduce interest payments; the city should continue to increase its unassigned fund balance, and reducing use of the fund balance in the future if the city’s finances continue to improve.

The Committee recommends expanding use of garbage containers for commercial garbage pickup and the use of sideloaders for early garbage pickups on Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue, reducing the number of garbage pails commercial establishments are allowed from 6 to 4.

The Committee urged the city to put out a Request for Proposals to hire “actuarial services that would deliver a more comprehensive  Post Employment Benefits report” to make the city “ahead of the curve in understanding this obligation, the implications for future years’ budgets and the ramifications for the city’s ongoing fiscal health.”

Consolidations of Services Eligible to Qualify for Municipal Property Tax Rebates Retroactively.

The Mayor said that the New York Conference of Mayors he just attended had obtained assurance from the Governor’s office that previous consolidations of services that cities and towns had achieved prior to the passing of the 2014-15 state budget, would be eligible towards determining eligibility for tax rebates in 2015 when the 1% property tax rebate measure cities are subject to becomes available.

Fuel Conversion Air Quality Legislation Tabled

John Martin Council President requested the Air Quality Statute on the agenda that would require approximately 55 buildings, 6 to 10 stories, the majority residential co-ops and rentals to eliminate use of Fuel Oil No 6 in one year, and eliminate No 4 Fuel Oil by 2020 should be tabled. It was tabled.

Fourth Court Judge becomes Full-time.

The Council passed legislation upgrading the fourth City Court Judge to a full-time position. It does not cost the city any money because the New York State Court System funds all four positions.

Water Lawyer Turned Back On

John Martin, Common Counsel President, explained the city was rehiring the law firm that had represented the city in previously successful attempts to lower water rates thrust upon the city by the City of New York.

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