JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi will present his executive 2018 City Budget Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 10 in city hall.
The mayor has already warned members of the Jamestown City Council that this will be a tough budget year, comparable to last year when he was unable to present a balanced budget and instead offered a plan with expenses exceeding revenue by $875,000. The city council eventually approved a balanced budget, but that was based on an anticipated increase in state aid, which the city eventually received.
WRFA talked with Teresi last month about the budget challenges facing the city, which includes not being able to make significant cuts to bring spending down.
“We’re going to be looking and evaluating every operation we have to see if there are areas to be cut,” Teresi said. “But when you’ve already cut over 20 percent of the workforce in the past decade, and you have over 70 percent of your workforce and close to 90 percent of your personnel budget in police, fire, DPW, and parks – the major operations of the city, not only in number but in budget impact – that are under no layoff clauses, cutting in those departments is not an option when we’ve already cut back to legally established bare minimums in those four operations.”
Another major challenge facing lawmakers is an inability to increase property taxes, because the city has all but reached its constitutional taxing limit, which means unless there is a significant increase in the amount of taxable property on the tax rolls, the city can’t raise taxes any higher than where they already are at. And it’s also unlikely the city will see a major bailout from Albany, like it provided this budget year.
The final 2017 city budget came in at just over $35 million.
Once presented on Tuesday, Teresi said the draft 2018 city budget will be in the hands of city council members for their consideration.
“That is the beginning of the rest of the process for putting together a budget, where now, as opposed to the administration working on the budget primarily by itself, the nine members of the city council will now be engaged, working with the administration and getting ideas and input from the public. we have up until Dec. 1 for the city council to pass a final budget,” the mayor said.
Teresi will present his 2018 draft budget at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the conference room of the mayor’s office, 4th floor of city hall. That presentation will be open to the public. Once presented, line-by-line copies of the budget will be available for public review in city hall in the city clerk’s office, the mayor’s office, as well as in the James Prendergast Library.