NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The City government will not be able to deliver on its promise of a bike share program at no cost to New Rochelle taxpayers. This according to a memo presented to the New Rochelle City Council on Tuesday.
The plan, announced last Spring, had been for P3 Global Management to secure $180,000 in sponsorship fees to pay for the bike share program. Instead, the City of New Rochelle will front P3 Global Management the money because, the Council was told, the company has not been able to “secure commitments for the full amount necessary to pull out the program in 2017.
When announced in the Spring of 2016, the program was expected to launch by the coming fall with no cost to the City of New Rochelle. In a post on his blog on May 20, 2016, New Rochelle Mayor Bramson extolled the City’s partners while promising the City would not have pay a dime.
“New Rochelle is creating this program with our partners at P3 Global Management and E3Think who have already founded successful bike share programs in places like Hoboken, NJ,” said Bramson. “Our local program will be funded through private sponsorships, at no cost to taxpayers.”
In a memorandum to City Council dated February 24, 2017, Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon recommended that the New Rochelle City Council authorize a budget amendment to increase the 2017 Budget and appropriate $180,000 to allow the bike share program to move forward while P3 Global Management attempts to secure corporate sponsorships.
According to Aragon, P3 Global Management has advised the City that it takes 4 months to ramp up a bike share program. So, if the City fronts the money in March, there should be a bike share program up and running by mid-July.
“The City and the Company are in the process of raising private funding to offset,” said City Manager Charles B. Strome. “Some has been secured and promised but in order to have the program launched this Spring, we will need 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.
Mayor Bramson echoed Strome.
“Because the program requires a considerable lead-time, the certainty of the City serving as a back-stop will enable us to get things rolling,” said Bramson. “I think that the risk is fairly small and justified by the value of the program.”
“I believe that a bike sharing program would be great for New Rochelle,” said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, a vocal proponent of bike share programs.
“I am hopeful that a bike sharing initiative can also be pursued on the other side of the county - the Hudson River villages,” he added. “The bike lane on the new Tappan Zee bridge and some of the scenic tourist attractions make Westchester an ideal place for bike sharing.”
“I hope that New Rochelle leaders won't be discouraged and will continue to pursue,” said Feiner.
Not addressed by Aragon’s memo are the following questions which we put to the City Manager ( we will update this story with his reply):
- How much of the $180,000 in commitments has been secured by P3 Global Management as of today? If P3 Global Management secures sponsorships, how will the City get back the $180,000 it is fronting? Is there some contract in place for that?
- What is your level of confidence that P3 Global Management will secure commitments sufficient to cover the entire $180,000? What do they say about that?
- As this deal was announced in May 2016 on the Mayor's blog so P3 Global Management has had almost a year to sell sponsorships and has been unable to do so, why are you confident that they will have success over the course of 2017?