2018 Oct 22
City of Port Jervis Mayor’s Proposed Budget
The past 4 years I have presented to the Common Council a challenged proposed budget. I have asked them and the citizens of our city to trust the process of recovery for our city. I have also asked for them to understand that there would need to be substantial increases in our budget, to recover from the negative direction that our city was heading. I predicted that year 5, this year, would be a little bit better than the past 4 and that year 6, next year, would have us back on track with average growth.
In just two years we have gone from fiscal distress to undefined. We have gone from less than $200,000 in our fund balance 5 years ago to nearly the recommended 10% that New York State and fiscal monitors want to see. In the last 5 years we have seen taxable growth in our city, we have seen new businesses, we have seen demolition and new construction, and we have created contracts with sustainable income to our city.
The 2018 rough draft budget given to me was 7.84%. I worked line by line with Mrs. Waizenegger and with department heads to whittle that number down.
Initially, I wanted to make sure that our revenue line increases were conservative in nature from what is predicted. I wanted to make sure that the growth of our city continues its momentum forward and future councils can rely faithfully on these numbers. Next, line by line I wanted to make sure that the requests by our department heads are fulfilled when reasonable and feasibly possible. For instance, the New York State laws for Raise the Age and Centralized Courts will have a dramatic effect on our police department personnel and its budget. Our police chief believes that with this budget proposal he is in a comfortable spot when these two huge impacts go into effect.
There was a thought to take our capital note, that allows for larger purchase items approved by the council each year by taking a loan, and put it directly into the budget this year. I decided keep the capital note purchase to be done the way it has been for years as we are just not to that point of immediate purchase, just yet.
As for water and sewer, I took the finance committee’s recommendation to increase the water by $10 each quarter and the sewer by $10 each quarter as to begin to satisfy the State of New York in regards to the city’s ability to request low interest loans and grants for water and sewer infrastructure projects. After expenses for both funds were calculated, we are now able to put money in a Reserve for Capital Expenditures for the Sewer.
I made sure that there was money to maintain our current staffing with only one exemption and that was to cut 1 seasonal position in DPW, that can be filled if current planned revenues come in higher than expected. I have offered 2% increases across the board to all non-contract negotiated members except for the mayor, councilman-at-large, and council persons who will all remain at a zero percent increase.
I offer the Mayor’s proposed budget at 2.92%