Recently, I presented my proposed 2019 budget to the Town Board, the product of an extensive review with my department heads of every line item of town spending. I am confident that this balanced budget not only furthers our commitment to fiscal responsibility at Town Hall but also significantly enhances the investments we make which are critical towards maintaining and improving our quality of life in Irondequoit.
The “tentative” 2019 budget contains a substantial reduction to the town tax rate, lowering it to $6.04 per $1,000 of assessed home value. This is the lowest our town tax rate has been since we went to full-equalization in 2001. The town once again will stay well below the state-mandated property tax cap, with our overall levy increase below the current rate of inflation. This was a challenge given our contractual obligations and the considerable cost of constructing a new Department of Public Works facility, our largest town-funded project ever.
This budget not only maintains our current levels of service for our residents, but it also contains strategic investments that will provide an even greater return on residents’ hard-earned tax dollars. Our free summer playground program is the pride of our recreation department, and I’m happy to say that this budget provides funding for an additional location for next summer to meet rising demand.
We are investing more than ever in our infrastructure. The proposed spending plan contains over $1.1 million in funding for road paving, a 24 percent increase over our current year’s spending and nearly double than what we spent in 2014. We still have much work to do to account for historical deficient attention to our roadways, but I am confident we are on the right path.
Finally, this budget provides new funding to help meet the growing need to remove the many hundred dying trees in our public right-of-way. Over the past few years, with the advent of the emerald ash borer and the destructive windstorm, the frequency of calls we receive to assess and remove dying trees has increased significantly. This new funding will help us be more responsive to our residents.
Irondequoit’s financial health is strong, as was verified by the state comptroller’s recent report that the town’s fiscal stress is nominal. I am proud that this budget not only reduces the tax rate substantially, but also looks towards the future to ensure that Town Hall is responsive to the needs of our residents, I look forward to working with the Town Board, residents, and town staff to adopt the 2019 budget for the town of Irondequoit.