Mayor Warren Presents Budget to Achieve Equity, Expand Pandemic Relief & Reduce Average Tax Bills

(Friday, May 14, 2021) – My 2021-22 budget proposal includes critical investments designed to reverse structural inequity; expand pandemic-relief programs, increase home ownership and hold taxes and fees at levels that result in reduced payments for homeowners.

We stand at a very pivotal moment in our community. We can look forward to the future, with determination and a clear vision and move full-speed ahead to build upon our past successes. The goal is to shape a brighter future with more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and greater educational opportunities. By doing so we will achieve equity and fairness for everyone. My proposed budget continues to invest in these goals without adding any additional burden to our taxpayers.

The $560.8 million budget proposal keeps the tax levy and service fees at the same level with a combination of reserve funding, deferred capital projects, and better-than-expected revenue collections from sources such as sales taxes.

This spending plan reflects my commitment to reversing the effects of historic racism and structural inequity. It provides funding to fulfill the goals listed in the Equity and Recovery Agenda (ERA) and addresses the recommendations of the Race and Structural Equity Commission. The plan was prepared using the City’s new Budget Equity Tool to align both the spending and equity priorities.

The budget also moves forward progress on police reform with the creation of a Public Safety Commissioner and a sharper focus on crime and violence reduction in the Rochester Police Department. It fully funds the civilian Police Accountability Board (PAB) and gives it autonomy to hire staff and begin investigating allegations of officer misconduct.

The spending plan also expands the Person in Crisis teams and the Victim’s Assistance Unit and funds an Office of Neighborhood Safety, which will coordinate a community-authored Violence Reduction Strategy and administer a Peacemakers Fellowship to develop leadership qualities in residents who live close to violence.

The budget includes a “Buy the Block” initiative that promotes home ownership in neighborhoods that were historically segregated by race or redlined, replacing it with an investment process dubbed Greenlining. It also creates a Day Laborer program designed to provide job training for residents who have been pushed to the margins of society, including panhandlers and the homeless.