BATAVIA – With its finances back in order, the city’s 2014-2015 budget presented Monday to the City Council will concentrate on “enhancing the quality of life” while offering a slight decrease in property taxes, City Manager Jason R. Molino said.
Molino detailed a $23.5 million spending plan, with a general fund of $16.6 million, which is close to the previous year. A total of $5.1 million will come from real property taxes and $6 million in sales and use taxes.
That will decrease the tax rate from $9.30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $9.27 despite raising about $119,000 more in taxes.
Molino proposes that the Public Works Department get more than $1 million this year for street resurfacing and sidewalk improvements. This comes after seven years in which the city piled up operating losses before turning the tide in recent years.
Additional economic improvements include setting up Wi-Fi spots and providing an electric car-charging station downtown, which Molino said would be “additional amenities to visitors and residents.”
The budget includes 2 percent raises for union employees, 2.75 percent for police and 2.5 for management employees. Negotiations with two other municipal unions are still pending. In two of the largest items, the police budget is up 4 percent while appropriations for the Fire Department are down slightly.
The position of assistant city manager will be restored to “work on departmental projects to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations,” Molino said. However, some City Council members think the long-vacant post is no longer needed.
The Council often makes minor changes in the budget, which goes into effect April 1.