Monday, November 9, 2015

The City Budget for 2016

Sounding as if he were still campaigning and speaking in a voice that seemed unnecessarily loud, Mayor William Hallenbeck presented the proposed budget for 2016--the work of the BEA (Board of Estimate and Apportionment, made up of the mayor, the city treasurer, and the Common Council president)--to the Common Council this evening, in a session that was supposed to take ten minutes but lasted twice as long. Here are the highlights. There will be a 1 percent increase in City property taxes (the state imposes a 2 percent cap on property tax increases). Two capital reserve funds will be established with money allocated from the fund balance: $600,000 for replacing the Ferry Street bridge, and $150,000 for a new tower truck for the fire department to be purchased in 2020, leaving $2.2 million in the fund balance.

The proposed 2016 budget can be viewed here. There will be a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday, November 17, at 6:30 p.m., immediately preceding the regular monthly meeting of the Common Council.


  1. I never understood the "fund balance" when I was on the school board and don't understand now. I've heard it described as a "rainy day" fund (i.e. emergencies) and a fund that doesn't affect the operational budget. But the bottom line is that it is taxpayer money. Just because it is not part of the operational side of the budget doesn't mean we aren't paying for it and thus we should have some say on how it's spent. $2.2 million is still a lot of money and perhaps could be better be used to keep a lid on property taxes.

  2. The Mayor' salery is not fixed. Mayors have been paid as much as $60k recently. Dick Tracy was first paid $60k, then reduced to $45; Rick Scalera took only $30K with a $15K open spending fund (he was precluded from taking more due to limits imposed by his State pension); and Bill Hallenbeck received $45K. These are all annual figures.

    1. Rick Scalera took $30,000 only AFTER he had retired from the Hudson Correctional Facility and started collecting his State pension. Scalera was the mayor when the Common Council, by writing it into the budget, increased the mayor's salary to $60,000. If memory serves, this was in 2003 or thereabout.

    2. Rick Scalera just sent this comment to me in an email regarding the mayor's salary--in particular, his salary over the many years that he was mayor--and I thought I would share it with you all:

      Amazing how twisted your stories are. My first 6 years in office I was paid 8300. Some people said it was part time but they were not next to me working every night late and most weekends. Cranna elevated it to 17000 for his years 2000 and 01. When I returned in 2002 I receive that salary for two years and then after public discussion including approval from those such as Sam Pratt and Co. Everybody agreed it should be full time and it was established not by me to be 60g. The following year I took 58.5. Next enter Dick T and he lowered to 45 because he was receiving a full pension paid for by the city. That lasted 2 years and I returned only to be allowed to take 30 for the next four years. Should the mayor be paid more than the 45g budgeted, damn right if he or she does the job right. My average salary over 14 years is around $ 21,240. Quite a bargain even you would agree.
      Now that's the rest of the story!!!!

  3. That's a lot of money for never answering emails, snail mail or visiting Warren Street businesses.

    Is there a reason Mayors Hallenbeck and Scalera were rarely seen casually interacting with the community?

  4. If Tiffany Martin Hamilton is elected, the mayor's salary should be increased to provide a living wage. Ms. Hamilton has a family to support.