White Plains Proposed Budget Calls For Tax Increase

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Photo Credit: Suzanne Samin

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains residents may have to pinch their pennies a little tighter due to a possible tax increase.

Budget Commissioner Michael Genito presented his proposed budget of $176.1 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year to Mayor Tom Roach and the Common Council on Monday, April 7.

The proposed budget calls for a 2.3 percent raise in property taxes, raising the tax rate to $196.14 per thousand, which translates to a $59 increase in city taxes for homeowners.

According to Genito, the increase is largely attributed to labor contracts (two-percent cost of living adjustments and step increases), self-insurance requirements (17 percent), and debt service costs (13 percent.) 

Additionally under this budget, parks and recreation, youth bureau and public clerks fees will rise.

Sales tax revenue is also projected to rise two-percent, based on data from previous months. 

Despite the increases, the city would still manage to stay within the state cap on the property tax levy by approximately $10,000. This is the third year in a row the city has managed to do so. 

Genito said his budget is definitely a lean one, but that it could bode well for coming years.

"I would say we are slowly coming out of a difficult recession. As for seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I think things are still very fragile," he said. 

The proposed budget does not include any cuts or additions in personnel. In the past four years, White Plains has decreased their personnel numbers from 950 to 850 by consolidating positions.

The 2014-15 budget would also begin the city's six-year capital improvement plan. The proposed budget's first year calls for $17 million total, including spending $6 million on public works, $5.5 million on water systems, $2.8 on rolling stock, $1 million on parking, $1 million on sanitary systems and $700,000 on other projects. However, the Common Council will have to approve these projects on an individual basis. 

Genito also mentioned the city is expecting CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) funds from the state budget for highway and road repair after the brutal winter.

The Common Council will be holding multiple work sessions on the budget throughout the month of April, with a public hearing scheduled for May 5, and adoption for May 19.

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