Mayor Richards presents his plan for City spending

Posted at: 05/17/2013 2:35 AM
Updated at: 05/17/2013 6:01 PM
By: Ray Levato

Mayor Richards' new budget released Friday is a lot about city residents. It spares a lot of city programs and beefs up crime fighting efforts.

The mayor's new budget is $481 million. Spending is actually down two percent from the current year.

A typical city homeowner would pay about $42 more in taxes and fees like water and refuse collection.

Total city employment would increase by 11 positions, although six library jobs are being eliminated.

Mayor Richards says sevens officers in the city's mounted patrol unit are being reassigned to the police tactical unit. The mayor says this move will help counter city gangs and violent crime. It just puts more officers on the street.

It's not that the downtown mounted patrol wasn't important, Police Chief James Sheppard says it's just that the manpower is needed elsewhere.

News10NBC's Ray Levato asked, “What's going to happen to the horses now that the mounted patrol is being disbanded?”

Chief James Sheppard, Rochester Police Department, said, “Well, obviously that's not something that's going to occur today. We do have a period of time where we will transition. We'll explore reaching out to the people who donated horses to us and see if they'd like to re-claim them. There's a possibility that we may auction them off. But at this point in time, we're not going to rush into any decision.”

The change would take effect July 1. In addition, the Pathways to Peace Youth Intervention Program is getting more staff. The mayor budgeted $200,000 for competitive neighborhood grants to help the police combat crime.

Other highlights in the mayor's budget are there's money for another police recruit class of 25. There would be four new firefighters and $150,000 for faster snow plowing response on city streets. The 311 Calling Center will be closed overnight when it receives few calls.

City Council is expected to vote on the budget on June 18.

City council president Lovely Warren, who's announced she's going to challenge the mayor in a primary, said this about the budget: "It's an election year, and I think the budget reflects that it's an election year."

Mayor Richards responded to that by saying "If you can't find anything wrong with this budget other than to call it a name, I'll take that."

To read more about the budget, click here.