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"We stand at a very pivotal moment in our community," Mayor Warren said as she presented City Council with the proposed fiscal year 2021-22 City Operating Budget. "We can look forward to the future – clear-eyed and determined – and move full-speed ahead to build upon our past successes to build a brighter future with more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and greater educational opportunities. And, by doing so we will achieve equity and fairness for everyone. My proposed budget continues to invest in these goals while protecting our taxpayers."
The proposed $560.8 million budget keeps the tax levy and service fees flat with a combination of reserve funding; deferred capital projects; and better-than-expected revenue collections from such sources as sales taxes.
The spending plan reflects Mayor Warren's commitment to reversing the effects of historic racism and structural inequity. It provides funding to implement proposals in the Equity and Recovery Agenda and the recommendations of the Race and Structural Equity Commission. It was prepared using the City's new Budget Equity Tool to align spending and equity priorities.
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The budget also advances the Mayor's progress on police reform with the creation of a Public Safety Commissioner and a sharper focus on crime and violence reduction in the Rochester Police Department.
It fully funds the civilian Police Accountability Board and gives it autonomy to hire staff and begin investigating allegations of officer misconduct.
The spending plan also expands the Person in Crisis teams and Victim's Assistance Unit and funds an Office of Neighborhood Safety, which will coordinate a community-authored Violence Reduction Strategy and administer a Peacemakers Fellowship to develop leadership qualities in residents who live close to violence.
The budget includes a "Buy the Block" initiative to promote home ownership in neighborhoods that were historically segregated by race, or redlined, with an investment process dubbed "greenlining." It also creates a Day Laborer program to provide job training for residents who have been pushed to the margins of society, including panhandlers and the homeless.
To view the budget, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/budget.
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