New Rochelle’s City Council on Tuesday decided to preserve six firefighter positions as well as New Rochelle’s 18 crossing guards in 2012, reversing cost-saving plans to cut the positions.
City Manager Charles Strome III told council members, who are finalizing the 2012 budget, the city would have to spend about $1 million less than anticipated on health insurance for its employees. As Strome explained, the state-determined health insurance rate increase would be about 5.5 percent, well below the 16 percent he’d allowed for in his proposed budget. He said that figure had been based on early estimates from state officials.
City Council members agreed to use the money to preserve the positions. Byron Gray, head of the firefighter’s union, called the reversal “unbelievable” and said, “Some anxiety has certainly lifted from my shoulders for awhile.”
The move will not affect the proposed tax-rate increase of 6.36 percent.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post mistakenly swapped “tax-levy increase” with “tax-rate increase.” It now reads correctly. Apologies for that.