JAMESTOWN – Area residents wishing to comment on Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi’s proposed city budget for 2013 can do so tonight. A public hearing for the $33,452,000 tentative spending plan – which contains a $390,000 increase in spending compared to the current 2012 budget – will take place tonight at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. The budget calls for a tax levy increase of $896,000, which equates to a tax rate increase of 6.44 percent.
In an interview with WRFA on Friday afternoon, City council president Greg Rabb said that since Teresi released his budget on Oct. 9, the city council has been busy holding budget hearings with various departments in the city – with a goal of trying to look for other ways to reduce spending or at least get the tax rate down to a more manageable level.
- AUDIO: GREG RABB INTERVIEW – Nov 16 2012
Rabb said one bright spot in that effort is that the sales tax revenue numbers have come in for the third quarter of 2012, and they are better than initially projected.
“We got some good new because our third quarter payment for sales tax is significantly better than it had been anticipated,” Rabb told WRFA. “So there is at least one thing in revenue that is going up, and when we make projections on the budget we have to sort of make our best estimate as to how much sales tax we are going to get, so this uptick in sales tax is helping us. We might be able to raise that number in the 2013 budget – not a lot – but every place we can think of for cutting and raising we are looking at.”
Rabb said that in addition to tonight’s public hearing, he’s already heard from a couple sectors of the public, and other council members have as well.
“We’ve heard from the chamber of commerce. I’ve heard from several people about the [Prendergast Library],” Rabb said. “Most people realize that there’s not going to be an increase [in library funding from the city] so they have just asked us to keep it where it is.”
Rabb added the council will most likely begin amending the mayor budget after all budget hearings have taken place. That includes the public hearing tonight – which begins at 6 p.m. – followed by several hearings with local agencies, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“That would include the agencies including the Urban Renewal, and the library, the Fenton History Center and the Senior Center. So we actually won’t have the hearing completed until this Monday night and the budget vote should be a week from Tuesday [Nov. 27, 2012].”
Of the agencies that are meeting tonight with the city council, only the Fenton History Center is seeing a funding cut from the city, which amonts to $2,000. All other agencies would maintain the same funding amount under the mayor’s budget.
Copies of the budget book are available for public review in the mayor’s office, city clerk’s office and at the reference desk of the Prendergast Library. The executive summary of the budget is available online at jamestownny.net.
In addition to tonight’s public hearing at 6 p.m. in council chambers and the budget meeting at 6:30 p.m., the council will also hold a Finance committee and public safety committee meeting at 5:15 p.m. and a public works committee meeting t 5:45 p.m.
All meetings are open to the public.