ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – City Manager Michael Collins unveiled the City of Elmira’s 2024 Budget Proposal on Wednesday at City Hall. Mr. Collins said the proposal was finalized after months of work with City of Elmira Chamberlain Charmain Cattan and approved by the City’s Budget Committee. In addition to City Manager Collins and City Chamberlain Cattan, the budget committee includes Mayor Dan Mandell and Deputy Mayor Joe Duffy, who is also a Council Member representing the Third District. The $37,836,913 proposed operating budget represents a 5.7% increase from the 2023 operating budget. The budget also includes $16,612,589 in funds from the Covid-19 American Rescue Plan and $506,057 from a New York State CDEP Fund (Community Development Enterprises Partner). The total 2024 budget proposal is $54,927,196.

“Just so everybody knows, when Charmain and I started the process, there was a 4.1 million dollar gap on where we needed to be today,” Collins told a room full that included Mayor Dan Mandell, City Council Members, and heads of City Departments.

To close that $4.1 million gap, Mr. Collins announced he is proposing a 2% increase in property taxes next year.

“If your home is assessed at $100,000, you’re going to see an annual increase of $55.86 which is $4.65 per month. So, I think we have to focus on what does 2% actually mean. It’s not going to be thousands and thousands of dollars. Revenues are very difficult to generate for the city of Elmira. 45% of revenues do come from real property taxes.”

Mr. Collins said the 2% increase translates into about $313,000 in new revenue for the City.

“It’s a modest increase. Certainly, you know, rates affect us. You have to keep in mind we’re not only a government entity, we’re also a business. So our costs go up. 2% is very very minimal. I would say over the last 10 years, from 2015 to 2024, the average tax increase in the City of Elmira has been about 3.72%,” Collins told 18 News.

The City says it will also use $1.9 million from its General Fund to balance the budget. The Sanitation Fee will remain flat. The City says it also expects to receive a larger share of sales tax revenue from Chemung County. Even with these changes, the City says it expects to break even in 2024. Revenue and Expenses are projected to be exactly the same at $37,836,913.

“As revenues come in, our expenses go out, so we’re budgeting that we’re going to make no money in 2024. If sales tax comes in, and we budgeted $6.1 million for example, and sales tax comes in at $6.2 million, we’ll be plus $100,000. However, other expenses could increase to offset that $100,000.”

Mr. Collins says other budget priorities include continuing to provide reliable services for residents and filling all vacant positions in City Departments. The budget also calls for more Capital projects that are paid by a mix of federal and state grants. That includes $7,674,449 to keep improving the City’s roads.

You view the full budget presentation and budget breakdown below: