Budget battles in Geneva

Former city of Geneva supervisor Charlie Evangelista stood before Council earlier this fall and implored his government to find ways to cut spending and taxes.

Without reducing the size and price of city government, warned Evangelista, who now serves as Democratic commissioner for the Ontario County Board of Elections, Geneva will not be able to attract the development it needs to grow the tax base.

Council made a start on that effort this past week, adopting a $17.43 million general fund spending plan for 2019, a number reached after Council cut $219,000 in a raucous session Wednesday.

The session featured a number of 11th-hour cuts proposed by Council members, some of them aimed at the city’s Office of Neighborhood Initiatives, for which City Manager Sage Gerling has served as director.

The tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — is nearly $6.98 million, a 2.24 percent decrease from the 2018 levy of $7.14 million.

The tax rate for 2019 is $17.26 per thousand of assessed value, a 3.14 percent decrease from the 2018 rate of $17.80. Assistant City Manager/Comptroller Adam Blowers said the tax cut will result in $54 in annual savings for a property assessed at $100,000.

Adding in the water and sewer budgets — which will see no rate increases in 2019 — total spending is $27.01 million, compared to $26.41 million in 2018. That’s about a 2.3 percent increase.

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