Richards was among mayors from all over the state testifying Monday at a hearing in Albany. They told lawmakers that cities are in dire straits. Richards says they must consider a new way to generate revenue for cities separate from the property tax. He says it is an antiquated method.
"We're caught in this situation, and it's not a comfortable one for the mayor where I basically have to prove how poor we are. I don't like that, I'm not here to do that. The point is, when these numbers and these relationships were set, Rochester was at a different place than it's at today. There's been an evolution in upstate New York over time and we have to recognize that that has occurred," he told a legislative committee.
Under Governor Cuomo's proposed budget, funding for cities is flat. But it includes a new program that lets cities smooth out growing pension costs. Lawmakers have until April to pass a budget.