POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has released his 2021 preliminary budget that lowers the tax rate, stays under the New York State property tax cap, maintains essential city services and avoids layoffs of full-time employees.
The mayor’s $91 million budget plan goes to the Common Council for review and approval.
“These are extraordinary times,” said Mayor Rolison. “The pandemic has dealt us a mighty financial blow, but the city administration has taken a number of steps to mitigate the damage, and we have received a lot of help from our employees. It is our steadfast and resolute commitment that this City not go backward.”
In conjunction with the budget proposal, the administration will be submitting to the Common Council for approval collective bargaining agreements by the Police Benevolent Association and the Civil Service Employees Association that include no salaries raises for 2021. The mayor said the budget provides savings in many other areas but also the expectation of receiving $1 million in federal aid, as municipalities continue to confront the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
“City employees have shown they are willing to make sacrifices to keep us operating at our current levels,” said City Administrator Marc Nelson, who also noted that management employees also will not receiving a salary increase in 2021.
Nelson pointed out that unlike most municipalities, the City of Poughkeepsie has no fund balance to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 crisis but also did not want to borrow money to make up the difference.
“This was a difficult budget to put together, but our finance team has proven up to the task,” he added.
The overall budget proposal represents a 1.9 percent increase over the 2020 budget, with the general fund appropriation of roughly $53.5 million increasing 1.28 percent. Property taxes would increase 1.5 percent, but the homestead tax rate would drop from $13.24 to $12.52 per $1,000 of assessed value, a decrease of 5.44 percent, while the non-homestead rate would dip from $17.16 to $16.44 per $1,000 of assessed value, or 4.2 percent.
The mayor’s budget does include a rate increase for sanitation services, but this adjustment also ensures the continuation of twice-weekly garbage pick-up, seasonal yard debris pickup, and once weekly recycling. Mayor Rolison said other important initiatives – such as funding for youth services programs – will continue under his budget plan.
Mayor Rolison said the city administration will conduct a mid-year analysis in June to consider what other measures might be needed to address the city’s revenues and expenses.
“Our city and our city employees have been through tough times these past months,” the Mayor said. “The city administration has done the hard work to put forth a reasonable and responsible budget proposal during these trying times. The city will weather this crisis and come out stronger as a result.”
The administration will be presenting the budget at a meeting of the Common Council planned for November 9.
Read the Mayor’s full Budget Message at: https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/finance/2021BudgetMessage.pdf
Direct Link to Preliminary Budget at: https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/finance/Budget2021_Prelim_final.pdf