For the 10th consecutive year, the City of White Plains’ annual proposed budget falls within the New York State property tax cap guidelines.
On April 5, the $203.4 million 2021-22 budget was unveiled. The budget, up $1.1 million, or .5%, from this year, includes $10.99 million in federal relief aid from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The spending plan, which was later presented to the Common Council, calls for a 2.5% tax increase. For a residential home with a median assessed value of $13,500, the tax hike would be $77.
“We’re comfortable with the continuing strength of the economy that we’ll be in good shape,” said Budget Director James Arnett.
The total General Fund Budget is $183.7 million, an increase of $2.4 million. Arnett explained pension costs account for the entire increase.
There are 837 positions funded in the budget, down 12 from this year. All city services at levels comparable to previous years are maintained.
Arnett said the two hardest hit revenues to the city created by the COVID-19 pandemic were Sales Tax and Parking. For 2021-22, sales tax is budgeted at $41.7 million, which is an increase from $39.9 million projected this year, but down significantly from the $48 million White Plains was receiving prior to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, parking revenues are budgeted at $20.9 million, down from the pre-pandemic level of $27.6 million.
With restaurants and other businesses reopening, Arnett is optimistic of a slow turnaround in Sales Tax and Parking revenues.
“We are expecting next year to be a little higher than this year,” he said. “Parking revenues have been going up each month. Restaurants are opening, but they’re nothing like they were. Malls are open, but they’re nothing like they were either.”
To help offset the losses, White Plains is slated to receive $600,000 in new revenue as part of a 25-year agreement the city entered in to lease property for solar development. Once fully implemented, the project is expected to add approximately $1 million in revenue annually.