Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency Approves 2014 Budget

The Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency has approved its budget of more than $1 million.

During the agency’s annual organizational meeting, the board approved a budget of $1,004,231. This budget is $41,102 less than the budget approved last year during its organization meeting. The 2013 budget approved last February was $1,045,333, according to an article printed last year in The Post-Journal.

”As a service operation, the vast majority of expenses are in salaries and retirement costs,” said Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor. ”As with any service business, most of the budget is tied into personnel.”

Teresi said there are pressures on the agency’s budget similar to those that are on the city’s budget, which was approved in December. He said health care benefits and state retirement system payments have increased. Also, revenues have decreased. The money allocated by the city to the agency was decreased by $8,000 in the 2014 budget.

”The Urban Renewal Agency’s budget is being squeezed at both ends of the equation,” Teresi said.

The amount of money from the Jamestown Local Development Corporation is also down compared to recent years, Teresi said. The corporation’s contract with the agency is for $75,000. In the past, Teresi said the contract was more than $100,000 in some years.

”The Local Development Corporation isn’t making as much on investments and that is reflected in how much it is paying the Urban Renewal Agency,” he said.

Teresi said the agency’s staff did a good job ”whittling” down the budget.

”This budget will require close day-to-day monitoring at every level,” he said. ”They have to be committed to being flexible to modifications to the budget as the year unfolds.”

In other business, the agency accepted two grants from the Gebbie Foundation. One grant was for $619,578 for programs like the block challenges for areas downtown and residential neighborhoods. The second grant was for $175,000 to pay the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation to execute the programs. Teresi said he is glad the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation accepts the responsibility of running these necessary city programs.

”They handle the implementation on our behalf,” he said.

The board also approved a $34,900 contract for work to be done at the Fenton History Museum. The mansion will be adding Americans With Disabilities Act accessible restrooms.

The agency also approved Vince DeJoy, city development director, as its executive secretary and Samuel Price Jr. as its legal counsel.