Mayor Eddie Sundquist‘s $38.68 million Executive Budget proposal included no tax increase. The tax levy is proposed to remain at $23.69 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which it has been since 2020. It has a 0.06% increase in the overall levy.
Council members have raised concerns over a proposed parking meter rate increase. The budget has on-street meters rates rising from 25-cents to 50-cents a half hour, for a total of $1 an hour. The parking revenue budgeted for 2023 is $245,000 versus $127,000 for 2022, a 31% increase.
Police Chief Tim Jackson also raised concerns over the SWAT Team, training, and K9 handler being underfunded.
There are also have been concerns over the need for additional staff for Information Technology Services. Information Technology Director Mark Dean informed Council that his request for an IT Specialist was not funded in the Executive Budget. He said the $42,634 for the additional position is needed to handle cyber security needs and network hardware-software needs.
Finance Chair and Council member at Large Kim Ecklund had expressed concern over departments doing their own tech work when there are staff assigned to handle that already.
Council must vote on a budget by December 1 or the mayor’s proposed budget goes into effect.
Council also will vote on several American Rescue Plan funded projects that have been languishing on their agenda for months.
Resolutions to be approved include $1.5 million for a Non-Profit Assistance Program program, $1 million for the Chautauqua County Land Bank Post-Pandemic Housing Initiative, $750,000 for a Business Expansion & Building Acquisition program, and $500,000 for the 19A Homeownership Program.
The proposed amount for the 19A Homeownership program has been reduced by $250,000 with another resolution re-appropriating that amount to the very popular Senior Citizen Home Improvement Incentive Program.
Council also will vote to approve a local law on the Reapportionment of Ward Boundary lines.
City Council will hold a work session at 7:00 p.m. in the 4th Floor Police Training Room with the full voting session taking place at 7:30 p.m in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building. The meetings are open to the public with the voting session being livestreamed on jamestownny.gov.