Mayor Rolison has released his 2023 preliminary budget that would keep the city under the New York State property tax cap for the sixth straight year, in addition to lowering the tax rate, maintaining essential city services and continuing to put additional resources into key programs and initiatives.
The mayor’s $109 million budget plan, which includes a general fund appropriation of approximately $69 million, now goes to the Common Council for review and approval.
“This budget continues our conservative and thoughtful planning, which takes a balanced and sustainable approach to the dual but competing goals of enhancing and improving city services and infrastructure, while at the same time eliminating our general fund deficit and improving our balance sheet,” said Mayor Rolison in his budget message.
Under Rolison’s leadership, the city is on the verge of wiping away a $13.2 million general fund deficit that the city had accrued by January 2016 when he first took office.
“Today our general fund deficit stands at $2.8 million, and we expect that a small surplus in the current year will further improve that important measure of the city’s overall financial condition,” he said. “In 2023, we will completely eliminate that deficit and begin to re-establish reserves in accordance with best practices in municipal finance.”
As costs have risen due to inflationary demands, city officials said water rates will increase by 4.9 percent, and sewer rates will increase by 4.8 percent, but rates for city sanitation services will remain unchanged.
Moreover, as property values have risen over the last several years, the city has lowered the tax rate to keep taxes in check for residents and businesses. Under the plan, the homestead tax rate would drop from $11.54 to $10.28 per $1,000 of assessed value, a decrease of 10.9 percent, while the non-homestead rate would dip from $16.13 to $15.15 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 6.04 percent decrease.
“We recognize the burdens that have been placed on businesses and homeowners and have developed a budget that provides cushions while enabling our city departments to serve residents in the best ways they can,” said City Administrator Marc Nelson.
The mayor also said the city’s financial picture has been bolstered overall through the renegotiated 10-year sales tax agreement with Dutchess County and the City of Beacon — an effort that rebalances the county’s distribution of collected sales taxes under a much more equitable formula, recognizing the city’s special role as the county seat.
The 2023 budget proposal also includes $8.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that have not yet been allocated. ARPA funds will be used for a number of key initiatives, including:
• Expansion of mental health professionals imbedded within the Police Department.
• New technology and new vehicles for the Police Department.
• Four new firefighter positions.
• Replacement and upgrades to firefighting equipment (including the purchase of new turnout gear and personal ensembles for every firefighter).
• Major improvements to city parks, including design and construction of a new pool house at Pulaski Park.
• Increased funding for the Youth Grant Program established in 2018.
• Additional funding in support of the arts in the city.
• Modernization and upgrades for the City’s information technology infrastructure.
• Equipment purchases for the Department of Public Works.
• Ward-specific initiatives as proposed by City Council members.
The administration will present the budget at a November meeting of the Common Council.
City of Poughkeepsie officials look over the work of the preliminary 2023 budget, which now goes to the Common Council for review and approval. From left are City Administrator Marc Nelson, Finance Commissioner Dr. Brian Martinez, Mayor Rob Rolison and Assistant to the Mayor Stacey Bottoms.