Mayor presents $481.7 million Rochester budget

By THOMAS ADAMS - 5/17/2013 3:06:15 PM

The 2013-14 budget for Rochester is 2 percent smaller than the current spending plan and cuts property taxes for typical businesses by nearly $500, Mayor Thomas Richards announced Friday.

The $481.7 million spending package closes a $42.7 million budget gap without cutting services, officials said.

There will be a slight increase in property taxes for a typical homeowner because of a state mandate that shifts some commercial taxes to residential properties.

The shift will result in a tax decrease of $246.37 for a typical business owner and a $23.80 increase for a typical homeowner, city officials said.

The shift, plus fee increases for water, local works and trash collection, means a typical city homeowner will pay an additional $42.32 in property taxes this year, officials said.

“It is vital we have a city budget that closes our sizeable spending gap while still investing in our children, neighborhoods and the business core of our city,” Richards said.

“This budget will not empty our reserves or savage vital services and programs that make Rochester a city worth living in. This budget will allow us the flexibility to manage ourselves in the face of several more years of structural deficits.”

The proposed budget is $10.1 million less than the 2012-2013 version, in part because Richards has decided to take advantage of the state’s pension amortization program and defer this year’s $10.9 million payment to the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

“Paying next year’s bill without amortizing would unduly drain our reserves, force deep cuts to our workforce and slash vital city services,” Richards said. “While this would pay the bill, our city would not be a place where people would want to live, work and raise a family.”

The budget will be submitted to Rochester City Council for final approval.

Richards will continue to lobby Albany to change the way state aid is distributed to its cities and to reduce state-mandated programs and services, he said.

“This budget keeps this city in a position to control our own fate for the next several years while we work to find a permanent, structural solution to our financial future,” Richards said.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email