Earlier this month, I delivered my annual State of the Town message to the Town Board and to the community. The state of the town of Brighton is strong, not only in traditional measures like public safety, financial stability and rising home values, but Brighton is also strong as a community. As I prepared my message, I considered the significance of the many connections that make Brighton the best community it can be.
As we focus on enhancing Brighton’s core values of diversity, education and sustainability, we also focus on remaining financially strong. Brighton has a very strong AA2 credit rating from Moodys. Year after year, Brighton receives a clean financial audit, and the NYS Comptroller has given Brighton the strongest rating on fiscal stress. People often ask me about lowering taxes, and in the 2018 townwide budget, we did just that. Redevelopment of properties along our commercial corridors is one of the most important ways we can grow our tax base in a sustainable manner. Through incentive zoning, and state assistance, we have also been able to add to our trail and sidewalk system, a healthy and sustainable community connector, without unduly impacting town taxes or finances.
Our schools in Brighton excel at every level. Brighton is served by five outstanding public school systems. Brighton is also home to many fine private and faith based schools, which draw students not only from Brighton, but from across the Rochester area. Our students experience diversity in their classrooms that will serve them well in the real world. Brighton is also home to a number of colleges and universities. Monroe Community College trains students for careers and is a highly regarded school for students wishing to attend two years of college close to home and then transfer to another school. The Brighton regional campus of SUNY Empire State College provides both classroom and online educational opportunities to adult students. The University of Rochester has begun development of its South Campus, starting with a new imaging building on East River Road, bringing jobs and connecting new residents to Brighton. Thanks to an incentive zoning agreement with Brighton, the U of R will make payments in lieu of taxes to help keep town taxes lower, even though it is tax exempt.
Town staff works hard throughout the year to provide high quality services for your tax dollars. Whether it is a plow driver, keeping Brighton streets open in the worst weather, or the staff in the Town Clerk’s office, who answer resident questions all day, while being the hub for many town services, you can count on Brighton’s employees to go above and beyond to get the job done!
I look forward to sharing more of our vision for Brighton’s future in my next column.