State of the City 2013
Bramson Extols “New Season of Possibility and Promise”
Offers Upbeat View in State of the City Address
Mayor Noam Bramson, citing a range of positive trends in his annual State of the City Address on Thursday, February 28, said that New Rochelle was emerging from the “tough times of recent years” and entering a “new season of possibility and promise.”
Acknowledging that challenges still remained, Bramson argued that the City’s fiscal and planning strategy had given New Rochelle the “lowest municipal tax rate among all the urban centers of Westchester,” while also providing for essential investment in economic growth.
To chart a course of continued fiscal responsibility, Bramson emphasized the importance of three partnerships:
- With other communities in the region – to share public services and bargain for private contracted services together in pursuit of “better service for less money.”
- With municipal employees – “to provide for responsible, measured compensation consistent with the challenges of our time.”
- With the State – to provide cities with the tools to fight property taxes, including relief from the fire hydrant maintenance expenses that cost New Rochelle taxpayers nearly $1.5 million every year.
Bramson outlined a comprehensive planning and development strategy to “grow our economy, create jobs, and enhance our tax base,” with specific measures to:
- Improve the City’s capacity to attract investment. “A policy of austerity alone is doomed to failure,” said Bramson, as he urged implementation of the suggestions of the Citizens’ Panel on Sustainable Budgets to “focus on strategic investments in the future,” including infrastructure, marketing, and creative talent.
- Unlock the potential of New Rochelle’s waterfront. Bramson described New Rochelle’s Echo Bay project as “the biggest expansion of access to the waterfront and the largest new park in more than a generation.” He reminded the audience that the proposed project will provide housing, retail, and recreation; reclaim contaminated land; help pay for modernizing the City’s public work yard; and be a net winner for taxpayers.
- Team with businesses for the success of downtown. Praising the entrepreneurs who continue to revitalize New Rochelle’s business district, Bramson promised to “use every tool at our disposal to make New Rochelle more business-friendly,” including grants, targeted incentives, and community events that attract shoppers.
- Take the lead on planning for the future. Noting that population trends and climate change favor growth in the northeast, Bramson described how New Rochelle is taking the lead with visionary planning. He looked ahead to the completion of the City’s new Comprehensive Plan “to envision and promote a prosperous, healthy New Rochelle for years to come.” Bramson also underscored the importance of New Rochelle’s award-winning Sustainability Plan, as well as efforts to examine zoning options in the transit district to take advantage of New Rochelle’s easy access to Manhattan.
Bramson concluded his remarks with high praise for the individuals, businesses, and community organizations that enhance New Rochelle with their spirit, commitment, and creativity. “A season of challenge is ending,” he said. “A season of opportunity is beginning. May we each, in our goals and our deeds, rise to this occasion and prove worthy of this moment.”
The annual State of the City Address is sponsored by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. For the complete remarks click here.