• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 643 other subscribers

The mayor’s proposed 2012-13 budget lays out how much taxpayers subsidize public facilities. The total comes to slightly more than $2 million, relatively flat compared to this fiscal year. Is that too much money for the quality of life we get in return? Which places you think are most worthwhile?

Riverside Convention Center – $642,800

This amount includes the operation of Pier 45 at the port. The county’s subsidy of the convention center, through the hotel/motel tax is $795,000.

Pier 45 – $178,384

Otherwise known as “Convention Center North,” Pier 45 is run by the convention center as a restaurant and event space. Mayor Bob Duffy wasn’t comfortable leasing out the facility to a private entity, a costly decision. On the other hand, it’s not clear if anyone could have made it work without a subsidy.

Port of Rochester (Terminal Building) – $341,600

The city only collects $99,000 in rent from the tenants, not enough to pay for upkeep. It’s a beautiful facility and I love the clean bathrooms. Perhaps the city will be able to up the retail offerings and rental income when the area is further developed.

War Memorial – $491,300

I hope the budget includes money for new brass letters on the outside of the building. Since I took the picture to the right, more letters have disappeared. I suspect they were sold for scrap.

Soccer Stadium – $416,800

The hope is to have the Rhinos pick up more of the tab as years go by. Should we be holding our breath?

High Falls Center – $186,800

This includes a restaurant, museum and event space. At one point the city explored selling the facility, but that’s not mentioned anywhere in the budget.

(In case you’re wondering, Frontier Field is a county-owned facility not subsidized by the city.)

Links of the Day:

– It’s possible Mayor Tom Richards is trying to scare everyone by suggesting we close the soccer stadium, ax the mounted patrol, close libraries, cut firefighters and forego parking garage maintenance.

He admitted as much. The Democrat and Chronicle reports:

Shuttering the soccer stadium would save the city $415,700 — something Richards points to as an eventuality if the city doesn’t fix its structural budget problems. Garage maintenance costs the city $1.5 million a year. But would Richards really think of not doing it? “I put it on there just to make a point,” he said, “and hope people will look at it and think, (cutting) that is a dumb thing to do.’”

The mayor will present a bunch of options to the public on how to close a $25 million budget gap. As he did last year, he will ask residents to tell him what’s on and off the table. His strategy gives the public input and makes people take the budget very seriously. While the budget gap is a problem, somehow our mayors manage to solve it every year without huge pain.

The police chief told me last year he valued the mounted the patrol in a report I did on the unit. Police agencies across the country were cutting their mounted units, but not Rochester. I guess times have changed.

The soccer stadium is a rather shocking suggestion. The city and state have millions of dollars invested in the facility. It’s home to the Rhinos and Flash and a number of other activities. While it requires a subsidy, so do other assets. The costs of shutting it down may be more than keeping it open. A giant empty stadium in an already-struggling neighborhood would have consequences.

– Maggie Brooks says it’s too early to talk about her positions on issues. Really?

– I am a fan of playing Beethoven to disperse teen loiterers. This is a hysterical look at weird anti-loitering technologies, including harsh lights that expose acne.

– Why doesn’t Rochester debate tax breaks for developers to this extent?