By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
May 4, 2022: The Village staff and trustees have been working on the 2022–23 budget, department by department, since February. We held a budget work session on March 28th with a public hearing on April 11th, leaving the public comment period open until April 22nd. The budget we passed on April 25th will become effective on June 1. It has a property tax levy of $11,321,400 equating to a tax rate of 3.5064 per $1000 of assessed valuation, resulting in a levy increase of 3.75%.
Translating into real dollar terms for the Village, the median home value of $2.2 million will see an increase of $26.08 in the Village portion of your total tax bill for a village tax amount on a home of this value of $7714.08 to provide municipal services.
The above is based on a Village taxable value of $3,228,772,575 representing an increase of over $100 million from last year. Taxable value has increased to its highest level in at least 10 years and reflects the strong housing market in 2021. Residential rental properties are also in high demand resulting in a reassessment and re-value of this property class.
We purposely reduced our use of fund balance as a method to lower the tax rate because we want to ensure that we maintain a healthy fund balance to provide maximum flexibility when we need to bond for capital projects. A very healthy fund balance translates into preserving our AAA bond rating, the highest a Village of our size can attain.
This budget, in both revenue and expenses, reflects the impact of Covid, the 2020 shut down and subsequent slow reopening effecting all our last three budgets.
The impacts are most visible on the revenue side as the shut down in 2020 affected meter revenue, ticket revenue, issuance and fines and even recreational fees.
Revenue growth in the new budget is projected conservatively, recognizing the continued uncertainty around our revenue streams with commuter parking a major variable.
Expenses in this new budget also take into account the increase in inflationary pressures and the direct impact it has had on heating oil and all fuels needed for cars and equipment.
We are projecting a revenue growth of 2.49% vis a vis our last budget, largely based on sales tax revenue and parking revenues.
Sales tax revenues are budgeted at $1,375,000, an increase of $75,000 over 2021–22. We are being relatively conservative given the reduction in the federal stimulus, the current rate of inflation and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to reduce the rate of inflation.
The budget does increase the off street meter revenue slightly to $425,000 and on street parking revenues to $900,000, as both are reflective of the slowly increasing growth of commercial traffic in the business districts. Parking permit revenues are being left unchanged due to the vagaries of resident commutation versus at home working patterns. Parking ticket revenues are budgeted at $785,000, an increase of $35,000, largely reflective of our court reopening.
There have been no increases in annual parking permit prices, meter rates or parking fines for the last several years and no increases are planned for 2022–23.
As point of information, parking permits account for $1.1 million or almost 50% of our parking revenues. Residents with reserved spaces make up half of the above revenue. While the commuter permit sales dropped off precipitously during Covid, our pivot to offering hybrid permits, (commuter parking for only a few days per week), along with the sale of some very limited non-resident rentals added to the bottom line. Merchant permits have remained relatively stable which is a good sign.
Building permit revenues have been increased by $25,000 to reflect the recent uptick in the volume of both residential and commercial construction projects.
Both the Police Benevolent Association and Teamsters have current contracts so departmental salary lines have been adjusted to reflect 2.95% and 2.5% increases respectively. Despite the increase, the Police Department’s overall salary line saw a minimal decrease due to the resignation and retirements of more senior officers and bringing new hires as second year officers.
The current mortgage tax revenues are strong and will easily exceed budget, however, we anticipate that rising interest rates in conjunction with limited housing inventory will result in return to a more normal revenue year.
The Village does anticipate receiving an ARPA payment of $327,000 but we did not fold it into operating as we anticipate using it for capital projects as it is only a one time revenue source.
We currently have an unassigned fund balance of 40.05% of our operating budget which is projected to be at 36.12% at the end of 22–23. This is an extremely comfortable position that would guarantee our AAA bond rating as we plan a very aggressive capital projects commitment in the coming years.
Our pension obligation for the 2022-23 fiscal year is going down by $130,000 which helps to offset some other budgetary increases. This decrease is directly attributable to the equities market performance as of March 31, 2021.
We receive but $64,710 from the State of New York despite all the taxes we send in their direction and all the unfunded mandates we must absorb. This number has remained unchanged for well over a decade.
On the bright side, we do anticipate being eligible to apply for more clean water funding for sanitary and storm sewer improvements and we anticipate receiving some additional monies for paving and pothole repair.
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Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
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