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Letter: Park and rec funding falls short in city budget

Letter to the Editor graphic
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The city of Rochester distributed the 2023 property tax statements. Along with the tax statements is the 2022 current city budget and 2023 proposed budget with differences explained below: 

  • City of Rochester revenue chart when summed shows city revenue is up by 20%
  • New property tax levy pushes property taxes up by 6.85%. My property taxes are up 6.5%. Thus the city is in great shape from a revenue position.

The difficulty is the following:

  • Culture and Recreation (Park and Rec) line item received only a 4.15% budget increase.

Thus the Park and Rec budget (majority funding is property tax) increase of 4.15% didn't even meet the associated 6.85% property tax increase in Rochester. I presented this information to Park and Rec and the City Council.

As Rochester taxpayers continue to be drained, the revenue drain is not going equally into the services that the Rochester city resident taxpayers expect. A Park and Rec 4.15% increase is the crumbs that are falling from the massive city tax and puts Park and Rec in the position, because of funding, to look at, for example, shutting down golf courses, changing the tennis courts to pickleball courts (Tennis Club now expresses concerns), and not even having enough money to open the pools.

Destination Medical Center (DMC) is a robust, 20-year, $5.6 billion economic development initiative. Rochester city budget document is 768 pages, and there is no "property taxpayer responsibility for DMC," line item, and I asked the city council for one.

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Craig Martens, Rochester

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