Jason Molino's last act as city manager: A proposed budget with 3 percent tax reduction
On Friday Jan. 12, City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino delivered to the City Council a 2018/2019 Recommended City Budget. The budget supports quality City services; sustained investment in infrastructure; reasonable and reliable employee wages and benefits; and a budget that proposes a 3 percent tax rate decrease to $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Proposed Budget supports total expenditures of $24.3 million (an increase of 1.9 percent). It meets the City Council’s budget goal of staying below the City’s tax cap. Due to a substantial 4.1 percent increase in the City’s tax base, half of which is due to the Genesee County nursing home becoming privately owned and taxable, the budget contains a property tax rate that will go down, to $8.99 per $1,000 -- a reduction of 3 percent.
This is the lowest City tax rate since 2006. Under the Proposed Budget, the City property tax bill for the owner of a home valued at $90,000 would decrease by $25.20.
“The Proposed Budget is a result of growth in our tax base,” said City Manager Molino. In his budget message to City Council he said, “We are committed to our focus to an unabashed “all in” approach to growth.”
Last year the City set a path to achieve $100 million of new investment through the efforts of four distinct priorities: FOCUS on growth, operational excellence, neighborhood investment and BIG Collaborative projects. While the City has made significant gains with all priorities, none are more noticeable than the City winning the Governor’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
“Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the City of Batavia will accelerate the redevelopment of existing buildings, and create additional business and residential opportunities downtown,” the manager states.
“By investing in the entrepreneurial climate and downtown environmental qualities, and by encouraging ethnic diversity and active lifestyles, Batavia hopes to foster a creative class of workers who will spur continued job growth.”
Currently, the City has made significant movement towards our goal of $100 million. As of Dec. 31, the City’s “I’m All In!” Scoreboard revealed over $8.8 million in completed investments, $15.8 million in-progress for completion in the next two years and another $58.8 million planned by 2022. In total, after just one year of commitment, we have over $83.5 million on our horizon for completion by 2022, and more still to come.
The Recommended Budget includes:
Completion of Healthy Schools Corridor sidewalk project, a $1 million federal grant for the construction of over 12,000 linear feet of new sidewalk;
Completion of Highway PM grant, $2.55 million federal grant for the resurfacing of six streets;
$256,000 of additional annual street resurfacing;
$285,720 of additional annual sidewalk replacement;
Resurfacing of the East Parking Lot at the City Centre;
Supporting the Town of Batavia in the construction of the Ellicott Trail;
Sales Tax: The budget projects that sales tax collections will increase slightly, .4 percent for next year, a somewhat improvement from the past two years of decline.
Water & Sewer Rates: The proposed rate adjustment for FY18/19 includes a water rate increase of $.18 or 3.5 percent. In addition, the plan includes a capital improvement fee increase for all meter sizes. The impact to a typical residential customer with a 5/8-inch meter will be $.54 per quarter. The proposed water rate for a typical residential user is $5.30 per 1,000 gallons and the capital fee per typical residential user is $5.99 per quarter. The total impact to a typical residential customer (approximately 95 percent of customers) from the proposed rate and fee adjustments is approximately $4.49/quarter. There is no rate increase proposed for the sewer rate this year.
“I wish to thank City Department Heads and Bureau Chiefs, and their staff, for their professional approach to the challenges that mark every budget,” Molino said. “They continue to serve the community with highest standards, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them.”
The 2018/19 proposed Budget is posted on the City website at http://www.batavianewyork.com/office-of-the-city-manager/pages/city-budget.
Public copies of the Proposed Budget are available for review at the City Clerk’s office, One Batavia City Centre (1st Floor).