News Release - Warren’s Budget Lowers Taxes for City Homeowners

City of Rochester

News Release

(Friday, May 19, 2017) — Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren today unveiled her annual operating budget for the City of Rochester – lowering taxes for residential homeowners, maintaining critical programs and services while investing in job creation, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities. The average city homeowner would see their tax bill lowered by $63.89 under Warren’s spending plan, a net decrease of $34.91.

The Mayor’s 2017-18 Proposed Budget does not raise the existing tax levy and complies with the New York State Tax Cap. The proposed budget is $525,604,100 which is only 1.3 percent higher than the 2016-17 Amended Budget of $515,842,400.

“My budget was designed to keep faith with our residents by lowering the residential tax burden while continuing to invest in important programs and services,” said Mayor Warren. “After receiving two bond rating upgrades and an award from the Government Finance Officers Association of America for strong fiscal management, we are clearly acting as responsible stewards of the public treasury. I am proud to say that despite our financial challenges, we continue investing in our citizens and in the growth of our city – which should be obvious to anyone as you look at all the progress taking place in every area of Rochester – and I am pleased these investments continue to bear positive results. This budget makes these important investments, cuts taxes and maintains services all while ensuring we live within our means.”

The City will be investing in an additional police recruit class in the fall to maintain higher staffing during the following summer demand peak. Dollars are also earmarked to purchase new fire apparatus and continue school fire safety education.

“I want to thank Governor Cuomo and our local delegation for their ongoing support for Rochester,” said Mayor Warren. “As a result of their assistance, Rochester will receive over $4 million in assistance for our shared mobility, pedestrian wayfinding, LED lighting, road improvement and other ongoing efforts and we will continue working with our leaders in Albany to address our ongoing fiscal needs.”

Once again this year we engaged our citizens through important public input forums which included a telephone town hall meeting, facilitated meeting at City Hall and an online survey. Citizen input is critical as this spending plan is really the people of Rochester’s Budget and as such it should reflect their needs and priorities,” said the Mayor.

The budget continues to focus on the Mayor’s three priorities of more jobs; safer, more vibrant neighborhoods; and better schools and educational opportunities.
Under the “More Jobs” category, there is continued support for anti-poverty initiatives through the Market-Driven Community Cooperative; Kiva micro-lending program to job creators; Vanpool; Bridges to Success; job training for Operation Transformation Rochester (OTR) program participants; RE-Jobs environmental construction job training and placement; City Business Development Financial Assistance and Neighborhood Commercial Assistance programs; Young Adult Manufacturing Training Employment Program; R-Center/Library programming for job search, resume writing and financial and overall literacy; Pathways to Public Safety and Police/Firefighter Trainee Programs; Police and Fire Department recruit classes; the Summer of Opportunity program and City internships.

Under the “Better Schools and Educational Opportunities” category, the Mayor’s investments include: $800,000 additional funding to programs for children and families; capital improvements to Adams Street and Ryan R-Centers in partnership with the Rochester City School District (RCSD); partnerships with RCSD for Literacy Aides in Libraries and R-Centers; continued advocacy through the National League of Cities Education and Families Committee for early childhood education; Books Before Birth, Raising a Reader and Story Time with Style literacy programs; school-based violence prevention services through Pathways to Peace; Beacon School Model at School 17; data sharing between Department of Recreation and Youth Services/Library and RCSD; ongoing support for the Pillars of Hope and My Brother’s Keeper initiatives; Reach Higher college enrollment initiative; completion of a nutrition education center at the Public Market; increased programming at R-Centers including STEM, literacy and health-focused activities; developmental screening for 3-year-olds; pregnancy prevention programs; and partnership with RCSD for the Ready Rosie program; among other initiatives.

Investments in “Safer, More Vibrant Neighborhoods” include: Police Department section offices; Bulls Head re-development; Police and Fire Department recruit classes; Pathways to Peace program; retooling of “nuisance points system;” Roofing Replacement program; creation of a Police Training Advisory Committee; Emergency Assistance and Targeted Housing Repair programs; vacant and abandoned structure demolition; renovations at Genesee Valley Park field house and playground; GIS system enhancements for permitting and code enforcement improvements and transparency; funding for first section of new Eastman Trail; and enhanced staffing at the award-winning Public Market to support additional vendors as part of its transformation.

The budget also allows for the City to seek innovation and efficiency gains through: implementation of a new personnel and payroll system; creation of the Office of Business Intelligence in the Police Department to focus on analysis and transparency through an Open Data initiative; development of a Climate Action Plan designed to reduce our carbon footprint through a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; begin a Climate Vulnerability Assessment to prepare for climate change impacts (like flooding); completion of a seven-acre solar farm at the old Emerson Street Landfill; LED lighting upgrades for street lights and at City facilities including the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, 9-1-1, Charlotte Library and 13 R-Centers; development of shared mobility services including bike share, car share and Vanpool; transition to mixed/single-stream recycling citywide; and continue to work with NYS to implement a Traffic Violations Agency in Rochester.

The budget process began with a $50.1 million budget gap. This sizeable gap was closed through a combination of expense reductions and revenue enhancements, including: adjustments to the capital program and enterprise fund balances to support capital projects within those funds; departmental reductions and efficiencies; fuel and utility savings; and adjustment to debt service among other cost saving measures.

The City used revenues from the additional use of General Fund balance; additional use of the Premium and Interest Fund; additional unrestricted aid from New York State; the use of the Health Care Rate Stabilization Fund; additional revenue from higher collection rates for current and delinquent taxes; the sale of real property; increased PILOT revenue; additional Consolidated Highway Improvements revenue; transfers of refunds and overpayments; increased revenue from issuance of more building permits; and other sources to close the gap.

The Mayor noted that state aid did not include a permanent adjustment to AIM Aid, so the City will continue to face financial challenges related to the Maintenance of Effort outlay for the School District.

“We are reclaiming our city by investing in our neighborhoods, police and fire departments, in our children through our R-Centers and libraries and our future by embracing green initiatives and energy conservation,” the Mayor said. “All while ensuring that a typical homeowner sees a reduction in their taxes.”

Mayor Warren’s proposed budget will go to City Council for review, with Council holding hearings on June 7th, 13th, 14th, and a vote at their meeting on June 20th.

To view the Budget Proposal or for more information on meeting/hearing dates, times and schedules, please visit the city’s website at


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.