Thursday, November 10, 2022

News of the 2023 Budget

In a special meeting that lasted all of six minutes, Mayor Kamal Johnson presented the proposed budget for 2023 to the Common Council earlier tonight.

The good news for property owners is that there will be no tax increase. This is attributed to "the strong performance of sales tax, lodging tax, and other revenue sources." 

Mayor Johnson quoted Council president Tom DePietro as saying this was "the smoothest budget season in history" and explained it was "due in part to department heads understanding the needs of their departments and their commitment to our city."

Johnson told the Council that ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds were being used to pay for a new finance, budgeting, and billing system. He explained that mayor's aide was now a full-time position because there were thirteen capital projects requiring oversight, hence the increase in salary for the position. He also noted that the salary for the housing justice manager was "fully funded by the Housing Trust Fund." DePietro later clarified that the money was coming from the ADLN (Anti-Displacement Learning Network) grant. 

Johnson spoke of "a greater commitment to our parks, with the inclusion of funding for trees, soil, and landscape architect consultants."

The entire presentation can be viewed here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very critical of our local government and I will always advocate for charter reform to create a city manager style system that's more appropriate for the size of our small city. That being said, I will continue to commend the mayor, council president and treasurer for keeping the budget cost neutral three years in a row. And if the mayor's aide is truly a full-time job, then they should be paid as such.

    I still think the housing justice director to be a frivolous, feel-goody platitude role, but as long as it's grant funded, so be it. That's what grants a for sometimes. I do not think this should ever be considered a regular civil service position and should come under the fullest scrutiny of the council if there's any attempt to fund the role from the general budget, directly or fungible with some other part of the budget.

    Also, it looks like our booming tourism economy had a big role in filling the budget gaps. Great, that's what it should be doing. We should continue to look into alternative revenue streams and help ease the burden for residents. We should also enforce the lodging tax as many STR don't register. Also, we should look at replacing the parking meters with something like a muni-meter that can be paid online, as well as making all of Warren ST paid parking. Furthermore, we should get ahead of the incoming parking flood when all of the new hotels and "depot district" apartments come online and look into a resident street parking permits. Keep it to a reasonable annual fee, but increase enforcement and ensure tourists use the meters, municipal lots or paid spaces at the hotels.