NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Citing "considerable opposition", the City of New Rochelle has withdrawn a proposal to increase the 2017 Budget and appropriate $180,000 to jump start a bike share program first proposed last Spring so that it could launch over the summer of 2016. The program is now likely delayed until 2018.
The opposition stems from a promise from the Mayor that no taxpayer dollars would be used to fund the program.
As originally announced by New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson in May 2016, P3 Global Management was to secure $180,000 in sponsorship fees to pay for the bike share program at no cost to the taxpayer. The hope had been to launch in the second half of 2016.
The company is now near but short of its goal. As P3 requires a 4 month lead time to acquire the bikes, the City Manger was willing to front the money to allow bike acquisition to move forward while P3 locked down the balance of the funding.
Bramson preferred the City Manager's plan to front the money but is willing to wait.
"I don't think an early launch is of such importance that it justifies pushing through the measure over considerable opposition," said Bramson. "I am confident that we will eventually secure the requisite private support, even if it takes a little longer."
"Given the choice between an early start under a cloud of division or a later start with a broader consensus, I prefer the latter."
The issue came up after City Council received a memorandum dated February 24, 2017. In the memo, Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon had recommended that the New Rochelle City Council authorize a budget amendment to move forward with the program while the City's partner, P3 Global Management attempted to secure a sufficient amount in corporate sponsorships.
The Council was told, the company had not been able to "secure commitments for the full amount necessary to roll out the program in 2017.
Strome told Talk of the Sound that P3 has commitment for $100,000 to $150,000 already and is confident that the funds will be secured.
"The City and the Company are in the process of raising private funding," said City Manager Charles B. Strome. "In order to have the program launched this Spring, we would have needed to up front the money due to the lead time necessary to purchase the equipment."
"We are confident that most, and most probably all of the $180,000 will be raised through private contributions," said Strome who noted that not proceeding with the upfront money will likely ensure that the program will not be implemented this year.