The City of Rye is likely to approve, at its final meeting on December 19, a 2013 budget that calls for a 2.7 percent tax increase to pay for $44.9 million in spending.
By Jon Craig
The City of Rye is likely to approve, at its final meeting on December 19, a 2013 budget that calls for a 2.7 percent tax increase to pay for $44.9 million in spending. The proposed levy remains $117,000 below the tax cap.
At the December 5 Council meeting, the City Manager’s original budget proposal was amended to provide for two additional crossing guards, bringing the total to nine, and an additional $30,000 for the Rye Free Reading Room.
The budget, as now proposed, would increase taxes for an average homeowner, paying $26,200, by $86. If the current version of the budget is passed, the property tax rate would be $148.91 per $1,000 of assessed value. Revenues, as projected, would be $30.9 million, or 3.3 percent higher than budgeted in 2012. Expenses are forecast to be approximately $31.7 million; $1.6 million more than last year’s budget. Seventy percent of the increase is for mandated increases in pension and other employee benefits.
At the meeting, Library Director Kitty Little warned the Council that it could not keep the library open its current hours with flat funding. Hours would have to be reduced from 46 to 42 hours a week by closing another morning. The library is already closed on Tuesday mornings.
To give the library more money ($30,000 or an approximate 3 percent increase in operating funds), and to provide the two additional crossing guards, the Council cut $5,000 from Fire Department overtime, $20,000 from Police materials and supplies, and $5,000 from the Engineer’s Department. In addition, the Council raised its estimates of building permit revenues and sales taxes.