Rochester City Council votes to pass the City’s budget

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The Rochester City Council voted to pass the city’s full city budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year on Tuesday night.

Mayor Evans $627.5 million spending plan passed tonight. The plan is about 10% or $55 million higher than last year’s budget.

Mayor Malik Evans said the city will use money from the American Rescue Plan to pay for some of the increases and more than 8 million will go toward public safety.

“This was a really a monumental budget just from the process started out a very collaborative just it the first time we’ve ever done and the council chair and president put out to their colleagues the budget and a lot of what you see in the budget is reflected back from that collaborative process, so we’re excited," Mayor Malik Evans said.

Mayor Evans’s budget passed 6-3 with council members Stanley Martin, Mary Lupien and Kim Smith voting no.

The meeting got heated at one point between council member Willie Lightfoot and the community arguing over amendments made to pull funding away from Rochester Police.

The City council also voted no on passing the Rochester City School District’s budget.

The budget was passed by the board of education back in May, so it will still be upheld but the no vote shows a lack of confidence in the district.

“Our finances are tied and we need to make sure that we’re continuing to build a better process,” Gruber said. “But when the finance chair of the board doesn’t vote for the budget, it’s probably a pretty good sign that it’s got a lot of problems. So I think you saw a 0-7 vote in council and so it was a reflection of what the budget was.”

City Council President Miguel Melendez made a statement that the Police Accountability Board will get to keep their funding but with a condition.

“We’re giving them half the budget upfront and we want to see results, and we’ve had this conversation with the board, we will be revisiting their budget around December of this year,” Melendez said. “This was a way to not also react to the current crisis. We want to make sure that we’re making sound decisions.”

Other significant moves the council voted in favor of include a resolution declaring June 19 as Juneteenth and endorsing its establishment as an official paid holiday of the City of Rochester, as well as getting rid of Columbus Day to officially recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

They also voted in favor of reimbursement for Arson Task Force, Peacemaker Fellowship Program & summer youth program.

The Rochester City council has voted in favor of the resolution declaring June 19th as Juneteenth and endorsing its establishment as an official paid holiday of the City of Rochester.

In total, the $627.5 million spending plan is about 10 percent higher than last year’s budget.

About $8.4 million is going to other public safety initiatives including Pathways to Peace, the Office of Neighborhood Safety, youth enrichment programs, and the new Rochester Peacemaker Fellowship.