Monday, March 31, 2014

WEEK AHEAD: Bus route changes; Thurston improvements; RCSD and state budgets; Land Bank meeting

Posted on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 10:32 AM

A public information session will be held on proposed RTS service changes. The RTS is proposing to adjust the bus lineup schedule and route structure as a result of the new transit center, which is supposed to open later this year.

The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 3 in the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, 320 North Goodman Street. It is accessible via RTS Route 9 — Bay/Webster.

More information:

Rochester City Council members Adam McFadden and Matt Haag will present and discuss final design aspects and solicit feedback for the Thurston Village Revitalization Project.

The project includes the design and construction of right-of-way improvements on Thurston Road between Ravenwood and Brooks avenues. The city will explore opportunities for improvements in aesthetics, lighting, safety, trees, walkability, traffic, signs, and gateway features.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, at Rochester Presbyterian Home, 256 Thurston Avenue. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

Rochester school Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and the school board will hold a public meeting to discuss the 2014-2015 proposed budget.

This is the public’s opportunity to comment on the $784 million budget, which emphasizes full day pre-kindergarten, reading proficiency, and expanded learning. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, at 131 West Broad Street. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Over the weekend, the four men in a room finished up state budget negotiations. Members of the State Senate and Assembly will begin debating and voting on the bills today.

Today is the last day for lawmakers to pass and enact an on-time state budget, since the 2014-15 fiscal year starts tomorrow, April 1. Though there are questions about whether that’s technically possible, since the bills have to be available for legislators to read for a certain length of time.

The budget includes:
• $94 million in aid for the City of Rochester, a $6 million increase over the governor’s proposal;
• $510.1 million in aid for the city school district, up from $478.5 million in 2013-14;
• $1.5 billion for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to freeze property taxes. Under the proposal, property owners will get a tax credit if their local and county governments develop plans to consolidate services;
• $162 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, an amount that is $9 million higher than last year;
• Funding for the Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice, which will be tasked with reviewing the state’s approach to prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds.
• A pilot public campaign finance program for the 2014 comptroller’s race. But good government groups and public campaign finance advocates say the plan is ineffectual;
• $1.5 billion over five years for universal pre-k; the Rochester district would get $10.8 million under the 2014-15 budget plan.

At 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2 City of Rochester officials will hold a public meeting to explain how the Rochester Land Bank Corporation will bid on properties at an upcoming tax auction.

The Land Bank will use money it received from the State Attorney General’s Office to purchase properties at an April 11 auction. Prior to the auction, land bank officials will develop a list of properties they’re interested in and present it to the city treasurer.

By statute, the land bank gets first dibs on foreclosed properties. The land bank can acquire the properties for the minimum bid, even if another bidder offers more. It plans to purchase 50 properties at the upcoming auction.

City officials formed the land bank to help return vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties to productive use. It plans to turn the houses over to the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership's HOME Rochester program. Through the program, houses are rehabbed and sold at market value to first-time homebuyers.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held at Rochester Central Library's Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Avenue. BY JEREMY MOULE

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