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Plattsburgh mayor presents proposed 2022 budget to city council

The Plattsburgh Common Council meets on October 7, 2021
Pat Bradley
The Plattsburgh Common Council meets on October 7, 2021

Plattsburgh Common Councilors reviewed a lengthy agenda Thursday evening. Among the items they considered was a proposal for minimum parking requirements that would require a supermajority to pass. The mayor also formally presented his proposed 2022 budget to the council.

In July, councilors referred a proposed zoning amendment to city law that would revise off-street parking requirements to the County Planning Board. That board issued a disapproval and returned it, forcing a supermajority vote of the Common Council for it to pass. The measure was on Thursday’s agenda. Resident Carol Klepper, who had railed against the proposal during public comments, interrupted Ward 5 Democrat Caitlin Bopp during council debate.

“I came in here tonight ready to have my mind changed from the research I had but the things that came up just didn’t do that.”

Carol Klepper interrupts, "Yeah but once they remove it citywide there is no going back.” and Mayor Rosenquest admonishes her, “Miss, Miss Klepper please. Okay just please just respect the rules of order here in the chamber.”

The final vote was 4 to 2, one short of passage.

The agenda included the introduction of local laws to annex two parcels of city owned land located in the Town of Plattsburgh land, one on Reeves lane and the other on Sharron Avenue. Democratic Mayor Chris Rosenquest read the proposed law into the record and set October 21st for a joint city and town public hearing. There were no comments or debate from the council. Rosenquest later explained that the joint hearings are part of finalizing the process to obtain the parcels.

“They’re fully owned by the city of Plattsburgh and they’re contiguous to the city of Plattsburgh municipal boundaries. The city right now pays about $49,000 in taxes in the Reeves Lane property I believe and then another I want to say $60 or 70-thousand in taxes, in property and school taxes up at the Reeves Lane property," says Rosenquest. "Part of it is also the opportunity to develop and attract developers into the city of Plattsburgh. But also looking at expanded opportunities for regional industrial use as well. But also identifying the opportunities to build housing in that area as well.”

A controversial effort to annex Falcon Seaboard property was resolved shortly after Rosenquest took office.

Rosenquest also introduced his proposed 2022 budget. He praised the input of department heads, the community and council members in the crafting of the balanced fiscal plan.

“This proposed budget includes funding for maintaining parks, capital investments at the beach and the rec center, ensuring operational stability, increased staffing, preparing for infrastructure investment, projects in partnership with the Town of Plattsburgh and the execution of the Comprehensive and Harborside Master Plan," Rosenquest reads from his budget message. "Considering all of these factors this budget maintains a zero percent increase to the tax rate, a 1.9 percent increase in expenses over 2021, a 6.17 percent in increase in revenues over 2021. This proposed budget stays well below the state mandated tax cap.”

Rosenquest says his proposed 2022 $59 million budget includes anticipated increases in sales tax revenues and some higher fees. There is also a zero percent increase in the tax rate.

“When I say there’s a zero percent increase in the rate, which is 11.37 percent, which essentially means for every thousand dollars you’re paying $11.37 I believe that’s how that works. It’s the mill rate. What that means though is as assessed values go up and if you stay the same with the rate your levy will go up," the Mayor explains. "So no changes to the rate but the tax levy does go up. So people will still a little bit more in their tax bill but it will not be as excessive as raising the tax rate to then increase the levy.”

The council must pass the budget as proposed or make revisions by January 14th.