Last week, I presented to the town board the tentative 2018 budget, also known as the Supervisor’s Budget. Developed in consultation with our comptroller’s office and other senior staff in our administration, this fiscally responsible spending plan furthers the discipline that residents have come to expect from Town Hall. Moreover, this budget affirms our collective commitment to investing in the amenities and services that enhance our quality of life in Irondequoit.
The 2018 budget contains no increase to the real property tax rate, and the town once again will stay well below the state-mandated property tax cap. This budget avoids a tax rate increase even as non-discretionary costs, over which the town has little control, have risen substantially.
We are proud to provide town employees with adequate health insurance. This expense — which includes coverage for our retirees — will increase by $409,000 next year. Despite these challenges, this budget only increases overall spending by $276,709 — a rate of 0.8 percent, which is less than half the rate of inflation. This was accomplished only by scrutinizing every line item in the budget to ensure its necessity towards fulfilling our core mission of serving the taxpayers of Irondequoit.
Fiscal discipline is a laudable goal; however, residents are always just in questioning: “What am I receiving in return for my hard-earned tax dollars?” I have always been aggravated when government officials boast that a budget simply maintains vital services. Nonsense! It is incumbent on elected officials to hold the line on taxes, while also finding efficiencies to afford additional services for residents.
I am pleased that this budget continues to make critical investments in our police department, ensuring they have the equipment necessary to keep our streets safe. We will continue to invest in our DPW fleet, adding more sidewalk plows to ensure our children are safe in the winter. Under this budget, we will finally phase out the unfair charge for residents to utilize fields at McAvoy Park. And finally, I am proud that this budget makes critical investments to allow our new town library to offer enhanced programming for residents.
Irondequoit’s financial health is strong, as was verified by the state comptroller’s recent report that the town’s fiscal stress is negligible. I am confident that this budget builds on previous efforts to make our wonderful town an even better place to live and raise a family. I look forward to working with residents, the town board and town staff to implement a 2018 spending plan for the town of Irondequoit.