City council approves recommended 2022-2023 budget and tax levy

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester City Council approved the recommended 2022-2023 Operating budget, 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget and maximum tax levy of $86,823,881 during the September 20, 2021 City Council meeting.

The Council also established the public hearing for adoption of the final tax levy for December 6, 2021. The City has continued to make improvements to the budget process, including additional steps this year toward a two year budget, which reflects an ongoing commitment to fiscal sustainability and transparency.

Once adopted, the 2022 budget will serve as the basis for spending and the 2023 budget will be the starting recommended budget. The two year budget process provides a longer runway for more strategic dialogue guiding final adjustments to reflect updated forecasts, additional strategic priorities, and fiscal policy enhancements necessary for a supplementary adjusted budget in the second year.

The Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) Board approved an operating budget that would include a proposed increase to general electric rates and general water rates for 2022 by 2.5%, however projected electric rates are expected to be lowered by 1% before final adoption. In response to the pandemic impacts, there were no electric or water rate increases in 2021. There will be no increases to parking ramp or transit fares for 2022.

In June 2021 the City Council adopted a framework for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that included allocating all of the funds, $17.4M, to revenue loss per the ARPA qualified uses identified by the Federal Act. At that time, the Council approved $6,162,537 in programmatic investments in phase one and $7,423,000 to mitigate lost revenue. Currently, the Long Range Financial Management Plan only relies on $6,262,224 of budget stability funding with $1,467,446 specifically programmed in 2022 to reduce the impact to taxpayers. This leaves $10,010,776 currently allocated to support for people, innovation, reopening and resiliency, and facility investments targeted at long term fiscal sustainability.

The City of Rochester has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting for almost 50 years, the longest in the state. It also maintains a AAA rating, which makes it a City of Financial Distinction and assures investors that the city has virtually no chance of default.

The flipping book versions of the recommended 2022-2023 Operating budget and 2022-2027 CIP can be found here.