ROME — Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo’s proposed 2018 budget for the city includes no tax increase for residents.
The city’s general assessment roll has increased by $6 million, which increases the amount of property tax levy available to the city for next year, she said.
The budget does include a 3.5 percent increase for sewer users and a 7.5 percent increase for water users. Izzo said the increase is because of upgrades that are ongoing at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is nearing the end of phase two of the water expansion project.
“The actual budget property tax levy is $15,672,316, resulting in the 2018 budget being $404,503 below the mandated 2 percent tax cap,” she said. “The sales tax is trending very nicely as of September, it was 4.43 percent ahead of the 2017 budget forecast combined state and county sales tax of $9,240,000. Although we are very pleased with this development, we are still going to be conservative with our 2018 budget forecast of $9,614,560.”
Izzo presented her proposed budget to the Rome Common Council Wednesday afternoon in a special meeting at City Hall in Rome.
Still not included is potential revenue from the city’s two solar projects, because there has yet to be a year’s worth of credits since the panels were turned on. Izzo said she does not feel comfortable including that as a revenue item until the city can concretely show accurate potential savings.
In keeping with the city’s attempts to be more green, however, the city is installing an LED lighting replacement program throughout City Hall that is expected to result in savings to the city’s electric bill, Izzo said.
Another change for the city was the health care plan it uses for employees, which will be changed from Slocum Dickson to United Healthcare. Izzo said the switch will result in a savings of $111,284 in premium costs to the city.
There are a few personnel changes being made, as well.
Included in the proposed budget, Izzo made the decision to cut four part-time positions from the Liberty/George Street parking garage, reducing it to only two employees.
Izzo said that change will result in a savings of $56,640.
The city also is eliminating the cleaning services contract for City Hall and bringing the contract in house, which will save about $19,000.
Members of the council were happy to see a zero increase budget proposed for 2018, but since they had just received the full document, none of them have had a…