April 15, 2024, Mayor's Column

It is that time of year again when Village government must craft the 2024-2025 budget due to the state by May 1st.  To that end, our Village Treasurer, Lori Voss and Village Administrator, James Palmer, have worked with every branch of government and department head over the past two months to gather and assess their needs.

Their findings were presented to the Bronxville Board of Trustees, which held an open public budget workshop on April 3rd.  Following soon after at the April 8th monthly Board of Trustees meeting, a public hearing was held on the proposed budget. The opportunity for on-camera oral comments ended at the close of the Trustee meeting on the 8th but we have left the hearing open for any additional written resident comments up until the close of business on April 17th.

The budget in its entirety, with explanations, is available on the Village website at www.villageofbronxville.com and comments should be directed to our Village Administrator, James Palmer at jpalmer@vobny.com.

The following is a synopsis of the budget and the drivers of both expenses and revenue.

  • As currently proposed, the budget requires a tax rate of $3.648 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, resulting in a 1.68% increase in real property taxes for the next fiscal year.
  • In real dollars, the impact of this tax rate increase on our residents is $61 for every million dollars in assessed home valuation.
  • The budget has a total general fund appropriation of $20,363,995, representing an increase of $777,255 or 3.96 % from the 2023-2024 adopted budget - this increase is in lockstep with the current rate of inflation.
  • We anticipate a non-real property tax revenue of $6,752,203 which is a decrease of $79,537 from last year.  One of the drivers of this decrease is a projection of a decline in sales tax revenue growth at the county level, mirroring a nationwide trend.
  • As is practice, we are using funds from the unappropriated balance, which, even after use of $700,000, still retains a balance representing 43% of our unassigned fund balance which is well above what Moody’s requires for our AAA bond rating, the highest bond rating, along with Scarsdale, in Westchester County.
  • The 2024-25 baseline of taxable value in the Village is at an all-time high of $3,466,444,130 representing an increase of $165 million from last year.
  • In addition, as part of the budget, is a general fund contribution of $1,645,909 to the library fund representing an increase of $87,321 or 5.6% above last year’s number.

The net result of all of the above is a real estate tax levy increase of 6.73%.

Net-net, the 2024-25 budget is being largely driven by mandated increases in our employee retirement contribution up an unprecedented $250,000, an increase in our Workmen’s Compensation premium of 20% and an increase in our debt service for ongoing large and small capital projects, chief among them flood mitigation and traffic safety improvements.

In addition to supporting existing staffing levels and services, this new budget does include the funding of two additional police officers to bring the complement of officers to 25. This addition was prompted by so many of you who asked for more police presence in the business district to help curtail double parking and double yellow line crossing as well as increasing in foot patrols and general monitoring of speeding throughout the Village. Additional, police presence was clearly the most requested improvement to the Village’s quality of life concerns for many residents (As background when I first started in government, our police force numbered 26 officers). Also in the budget is provisions for the new contract terms negotiated between the Village and Police Benevolent Association. Continuing the tradition of very collegial, fair and professional discourse, we came to a four year agreement with annual raises of 2% plus a tweaking of the retirement health care contribution.

Two new officers you will see out and about in the Village are New York City transfers, Police Officer Dimitri Gallard and Police Officer Brandon Serrano.

Officer Dimitri Gallard grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in New Rochelle with his girlfriend. He graduated from Hunter College with a degree in Biochemistry and is currently working towards a degree in Applied Psychology from SUNY Canton. Dimitri started his career with the NYPD in October 2018 and has more than 5 years experience in law enforcement.

Officer Brandon Serrano grew up and currently lives in New City, NY with his family. He graduated from Saint John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.  Brandon started his career with the NYPD working in the 49th precinct in the Bronx in 2020. He has more than 3 years experience in law enforcement.

Please introduce yourself to these new gentlemen in town.

We believe we have crafted a very lean conservative budget and welcome your comments in earnest before it us finalized in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks the Village Board will also discuss the on-going five year  capital plan for the Village. Projects for the 2024-25 fiscal year include:

  • Ongoing sanitary sewer mapping, cleaning, repairs and lining at various locations
  • Stormwater improvements to address flooding in the Hamilton Sussex neighborhoods, areas in the Crawford Drainage Basin and also areas along Paxton Ave an Parkway Road
  • West side traffic and pedestrian improvements
  • Charging stations in the Cedar Street parking lot
  • Energy efficiency upgrades for Village facilities
  • Ongoing paving on various Village streets
  • Upgrades to the Library offices