Tax Interest Amnesty Program Incentive Proposed at City Council Meeting

By Stephen E. Lipken


New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson convened the February 21st City Council Regular Legislative Meeting (RLM), beginning with the Consent Agenda.  A significant Resolution was Proposed Property Tax Amnesty, allowing residents to pay principal and waive any interest due, if paid in full by December 31, 2023.


The first Item was an agreement with Soulful Synergy to provide vocational training for 60 individuals, providing equitable access for all underserviced and marginalized communities within the City. 


“Soulful Synergy will increase minority and gender representation by implementing a community outreach and engagement plan focused on the local sourcing of individuals utilizing minority and women community-based organizations to help in establishing a pipeline and identify worthwhile leads to interested individuals.  The City shall supply Soulful Synergy with a vocational training facility located at 173 Huguenot Street.


“The City shall pay Soulful Synergy the fees in their proposal not to exceed $483,357.68 during the 12-month period.  Payments will be made on a monthly retainer basis in equal installments of $26,875/mo. with $40,857.68 for teaching and office equipment.”


Next, the City entered into a Consulting Agreement with Barton & Loguidice, DPC, relative to the Complete Streets Project, including an analysis of Pinebrook Boulevard. 


An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 192, budgets the replacement of Engine 23 with a two-stage pump (needed for high-rise buildings), costing $1,189,910 and replacement of Ladder 12, $1,899,244.  Of the above cost, $2,825,000 is funded in the 2023 Capital Plan. The remainder would be a re-purposing of funds from another project using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds at $290,000.


The Fire Department was also awarded a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from FEMA of $1,679,796 to cover full salaries and benefits for 6 new Firefighter positions for the first three years of employment.  No matching funds are required; only incurred costs will be training and protective “turn-out” gear, totaling $80,000.