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Mayor Jay Ruais Requests Sale of Surplus City-Owned Lots for Affordable Housing Initiative to Address Homelessness

Published: 04/15/2024 1:36 PM

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Mayor Jay Ruais Requests Sale of Surplus City-Owned Lots for Affordable Housing Initiative to Address Homelessness

Manchester, NH - Mayor Jay Ruais has taken an important step towards tackling the shortage of affordable housing in Manchester by initiating the sale of surplus city-owned lots. In collaboration with key city departments including Tax Collector, Assessing, Planning and Community Development, Public Works, and the Solicitor’s Office, the City has identified 23 lots, comprising of 16 sites, that can be deemed surplus to the City’s needs.

Mayor Ruais outlined the primary objectives behind the proposed sale, stating, "This initiative aims to transition these properties into productive use, single family, and multi-family homes while also alleviating the City of maintenance responsibilities and generating tax revenue. Additionally, 50% of the profits from the sale will be allocated to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund."

Acknowledging the urgency of the affordable housing crisis and its impact of homelessness, Mayor Ruais emphasized, "We recognize the pressing need for affordable housing in Manchester. By utilizing a portion of the sale proceeds to incentivize the construction of affordable housing units, we will make a difference on behalf of those in need."

Accompanying the list of surplus lots is a proposed ordinance that authorizes their disposal and directs half of the net proceeds from the sale to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, with the remaining half deposited into the Special Revenue Account.

Mayor Ruais expressed confidence in the initiative, stating, "This effort will not only enhance the utilization of city-owned resources but also foster tangible progress in addressing the affordable housing crisis in Manchester. I want to thank all of the departments for their work these last several months for bringing this effort to fruition.”

Background:

This initiative begins this evening in the Committee on Lands and Building in the Aldermanic Chambers at 5:15 p.m.

Mayor of Manchester Applauds House Passage of HB 318 to Address Bail Reform Laws

Published: 04/11/2024 12:37 PM

Mayor of Manchester Applauds House Passage of HB 318 to Address Bail Reform Laws

Manchester, NH — Mayor Jay Ruais expressed his support and gratitude following the passage this morning of HB 318 by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The legislation, aimed at reforming existing bail reform laws, marks an important step towards ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of Manchester.

"I am thrilled to see the passage of HB 318 by the House of Representatives," stated Mayor Ruais. "This legislation will be instrumental in addressing the shortcomings of our current bail reform laws and reaffirms our commitment to prioritizing the safety of our community."

Emphasizing the non-negotiable nature of citizen safety, Mayor Ruais encouraged the State Senate to consider this legislation and work to find common ground. “It is essential for the City of Manchester that we make progress on this issue to protect our residents, businesses and visitors.”

Mayor Ruais extended his gratitude to the House of Representatives for their efforts on this critical issue and underscored the importance of bipartisan cooperation in advancing legislation that serves the best interests of Manchester residents.

HB 318 represents an important step forward in enhancing public safety and addressing the concerns of the City of Manchester. Mayor Ruais reiterated his commitment to working collaboratively with state legislators and Governor Sununu to ensure the safety of Manchester.

 

 

**Background:**

-As of March 2024-there have been 817 arrests, with 306 (37%) individuals released on bail.

- Over the past 12 months, the Manchester Police Department conducted 4529 arrests, with 26% of arrestees being out on bail at the time of their new arrest.

Mayor Jay Ruais Presents FY 2025 Budget

Published: 03/28/2024 6:31 PM

Mayor Jay Ruais Presents FY 2025 Budget

Manchester NH-This evening, Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais delivered his FY 2025 budget address before a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Ruais outlined the tough fiscal challenges our city faces this budget cycle and the difficult decisions made to address them while setting our city up for long term financial health and success.  He stated, “As I was putting this together, I consulted with Chairman Levasseur, and Alderman Long, and we have agreed that this is a strong bipartisan framework that sets the stage for smooth enactment as it goes to the Board of Aldermen. I appreciate both of your efforts, and leadership in our city and thank you for your collaboration.”

Ruais went on to outline the fiscal realities presented in this budget. Including the need to last year’s use of $1.7 million in one-time funds, closing a $1.4 million gap in healthcare funding, a significant shift in new revenue from $4.5 million last year to a $166,373 this year and a historically high 4% Cost of Living Adjustment. When adding in the budget request from the school district and departmental asks, the city was facing an 8.25% spending increase. Ruais summarized the efforts to reduce spending by stating, “with a lot of hard work and tough decisions, we were able to cut that number down to 3.86%.”

Ruais then detailed several of the decisions made to reduce spending including a reduction in funded vacancies of $600,000, elimination of $792,957 from the Cash CIP project line, and did not allocate funding for $1,839,748 in department requests.  Additionally, he stated that, “the hiring freeze will continue for non-emergency personnel until our fiscal condition dictates otherwise.” To set our city up for long term financial health, Mayor Ruais proposed in this budget a reduction in bonding by 10%, “in order to keep our debt service low so as not to burden future generations of Manchester residents.” 

Ruais declared that this budget prioritized that which is important. This includes providing for Cost-of-Living Adjustments, merits, longevities, and retirement benefits for our city workers.

Ruais highlighted the school budget, “we were able to invest an additional $1 million into our School District. The $227 million we are proposing to allocate this evening represents the most ever allocated by the City of Manchester.”

With regard to public safety and first responders, he listed the following, this budget will fund Fusus and ShotSpotter, mental health clinician for Manchester Police Department and 10 police officers previously funded by the federal government. This builds off the city already hiring 6 new police officers since Ruais’ swearing in.  Ensuring those that protect us have the proper protective gear to do so this budget covers the $100,000 request from the fire department to provide for this. Ruais stated, “the safety of our citizens is non-negotiable, you have our backs, and this budget has yours.”

Ruais discussed homelessness, “From prevention to case management, to sheltering, to transitional living, job placement, mental health and substance use disorder treatment our support runs the continuum. 

This budget allocates money from the FY 2025 CDBG and ESG programs to end homelessness such as Families in Transition which will receive $70,000 for family emergency housing, WayPoint will receive $89,000 for their homeless youth shelter, YWCA will receive $70,000 for Emily’s Place and 1269 Café will receive $50,000 to double their residential room capacity. 

He went on to state, “ARPA has fully funded the engagement center since its inception; and those funds run out on June 30th. I don’t believe cities should be in the shelter business, and we do not have the resources to fund this in the long term. We should take this opportunity to transition from a city run shelter, to that of a nonprofit. 

What I am proposing today is that we take a portion of the ARPA money we have left to build a transitional bridge to the nonprofit that will take over. This is an important strategy allowing us to address these real challenges without having the taxpayer bear the full burden.”

Ruais outlined the need to plan for the future: “This budget is a governing document. And throughout its construction, I constantly asked, where do we want to see Manchester in 5-10-15 years and where can we make the investment today to get there.”

With that in mind, he highlighted the importance of infrastructure, roads, sidewalks, parks, youth sports and bringing the community together:

 

 “We are investing $5.3 million in road infrastructure and improvements around the city. Well-maintained roads not only improve commute times but also contribute to economic development.

 

We are allocating $1 million towards sidewalk maintenance and upgrades promoting pedestrian safety and accessibility. Sidewalks are vital for creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

 

And we are investing $1 million in park renovations, upgrades, and maintenance that benefits the community by providing recreational spaces for residents of all ages to enjoy. This includes significant playground renovations at Livingston, Wolfe and Howe Parks. Parks contribute to public health, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability, making them essential assets for any city.

 

Building off the theme of Manchester's next generation and using our parks as a catalyst to grow our civic pride, we have identified youth sports as an important function of this. I’m thrilled to announce that we are allocating $200,000 for a league partnership program to further upgrade specific parks in which our youth sports are active.”

 

Ruais concluded: “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, ours is a city filled with undeniable and unquantifiable promise, and this budget responsibly funds our potential. Let us remember the core values that unite us as citizens of Manchester. Let us not falter in our commitment to investing in our community while ensuring every resident has the opportunity to thrive. Let us seize the opportunities that lie ahead, harnessing the collective strength of our diverse and vibrant city. And, as Bill Belichick would require of us- let us continue to do our jobs in service to the people of Manchester. I am confident that with prudent management and the dedication of our citizens, Manchester will continue to prosper and flourish. “

FY 2025 Budget Highlights

5.6% Allowable Tax Cap:

  • Mayor’s Budget-3.86%
  • 1.77% under the allowable tax cap

Municipal Spending:

  • Total City Spending- $189,153, 835
  • Covered a $1.7 million surplus deficit from prior years' one-time fund use
  • Covered $1.4 million in increased Healthcare Costs over plan
  • Eliminated $600,000 in unfunded vacancies
  • Eliminated $792,957 from Cash CIP Project line
  • Did not fund $1,839,748 in department requests
  • Continued the hiring freeze for all but emergency requests
  • Reduced bonding by 10%
  • No city employee layoffs
  • Did not expand the city staff compliment
  • Level funded city departments while providing for 4% COLAS, Merits, longevities and retirements

School District:

  • Increased budget $1 million from $226,982,601 to $227,982,601
  • The most ever allocated by the city

Capital Improvements: Roads, Sidewalks, Parks and City Fleet:

  • $5.3 million in road infrastructure and improvements
  • $1 million towards sidewalk maintenance and upgrades
  • $1 million in park renovations, upgrades and maintenance
  • $3 million in upgrades to city fleet including MTA, Police, Fire and Highway Departments

Affordable Housing:

  • Allocates $1.65 million of federal funds to help construct 45 units of affordable housing on the Pearl Street parking lot.

CDBG and ESG Programs to End Homelessness:

  • Families in Transition receives $70,000 for family emergency housing
  • WayPoint receives $89,000 for their homeless youth shelter  
  • YWCA receives $70,000 for Emily’s Place
  • 1269 Café receives $50,000 to double their residential rooms

Community Improvement Program:

  • Funding to a league partnership program to further upgrade specific parks in which our youth sports are active: $200,000
  • Funding to Manchester Police Athletic League CHOICES program: $50,000
  • Funding to Hillsborough County Child Advocacy: $20,000
  • Funding to Manchester Community Resource Center: $110,000
  • Funding to Meals on Wheels: $42,000
  • Funding to Fun in the Sun for summer camp for students in grades 1 to 7: $100,000
  • Funding for six agencies to provide youth services counseling: $150,000

First Responders:

  • Protected 10 police officer positions currently funded by expiring federal COPS grant program
  • Hired 6 additional police officers since January 2nd
  • Funding the mental health clinician for our police officers
  • $100,000 for much needed firefighter protective gear

Mayor Jay Ruais will present his FY 2025 budget to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen

Published: 03/26/2024 9:51 AM

 

Media Advisory

 

Mayor Jay Ruais will present his FY 2025 budget to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen

 

When: Thursday, March 28th, 6 pm

What: Special Meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen

Where: Aldermanic Chambers, One City Hall Plaza, Manchester

 

Mayor Ruais Hosts Mayoral Summit with 12 Mayors Across the State

Published: 03/25/2024 1:54 PM

Mayor Ruais Hosts Mayoral Summit with 12 Mayors Across the State

Today, Mayor Ruais convened a Mayoral Summit to discuss issues related to cities around the state. He released the following statement: 

“I was thrilled to convene a meeting today with 12 New Hampshire mayors for the first of our quarterly meetings. We covered a lot of great ground about how we can work together to collaborate, advocate and advance issues of mutual importance to our municipalities. We discussed a host of topics such as homelessness, bail reform, education and affordable housing among others. I look forward to continuing our discussions and relationship building while identifying solutions to the challenges we are all confronting.”

Mayor Ruais Announces Ward 11 Town Hall

Published: 03/07/2024 8:47 AM

Mayor Ruais Announces Ward 11 Town Hall

 

Manchester NH- Mayor Jay Ruais will be holding a Ward 11 Town Hall on Wednesday, March 13th at Gossler Park Elementary School, 145 Parkside Avenue from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Aldermen and School Board Members representing Ward 11 have also been invited.

 

 

Mayor Jay Ruais Urges Immediate Legislative Action on Bail Reform to Enhance Public Safety

Published: 03/06/2024 11:38 AM

Mayor Jay Ruais Urges Immediate Legislative Action on Bail Reform to Enhance Public Safety

“The Safety Of Our Citizens is Non-Negotiable and We Can’t Continue To Allow Our Community To Face This Repeat Criminal Activity”

Manchester, 3/6/2024— Today, Mayor Jay Ruais stood alongside Fire Chief Ryan Cashin, Assistant Police Chief Peter Marr, and the Aldermen to address a critical matter affecting the safety and well-being of the community. Mayor Ruais stated the following:

“Despite an overall reduction in crime, the failure to comprehensively address bail reform is contributing to significant challenges within Manchester. With the approaching spring season, we need to be proactive in addressing these issues. The safety of our citizens is non-negotiable we cannot allow our community to experience this repeat criminal activity. 

I implore the legislature to take immediate action on two specific proposals: first, the elimination of Personal Recognizance (PR) bail for felonies, and second, the introduction of a provision requiring individuals rearrested while out on PR bail to go in front of a judge. I appreciate the legislature’s, previous efforts to find compromise on this issue and the steps they took in January. Know that the city of Manchester stands ready, willing and able to help in any way we can to find a solution to this. But the time is to act now, and I urge the legislature to consider these proposals as a crucial step, it is of utmost importance to act swiftly to ensure a safer and more secure future for the residents of Manchester.”

 

 

 

Background-

  • Year to date, there have been 817 arrests, with 306 (37%) individuals released on bail.
  • Over the past 12 months, MPD conducted 4529 arrests, and in 26% of cases, the arrestees were out on bail at the time of their new arrest.

Mayor Jay Ruais Delivers “State of the City” Address Focused on Homelessness

Published: 02/14/2024 10:04 AM

Mayor Jay Ruais Delivers “State of the City” Address Focused on Homelessness

Manchester, NH – Today, Mayor Jay Ruais delivered his first “State of the City” address. He specifically chose to address the issue of homelessness. Marrying words with action, he announced 8 new proposals that will be delivered in the coming months, on top of the 5 actions already underway since the beginning of the administration. 

Proposed:

  1. Strengthen Ordinances- Directed the City Solicitor to review all ordinances relating to congregating, sitting, sleeping or lying on city streets so that we can identify areas we can strengthen. We will move with all available haste to strengthen our ordinances.
  2. Banning Camping- The Supreme Court is set to take up this issue, with a ruling coming this summer. If this ruling is overturned, Manchester will move to outlaw camping in our city.
  3. Recovery Residences-
    1. Lobby the state to develop a licensing and certification process to ensure the highest operational standards. Creating this process will provide consistency and regulatory understanding, which will reduce the imperative of these residences being created in, and people being sent to, Manchester.
    2. Call on all recovery residences in the City of Manchester to become certified through the New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences which is based on a national standard set by the National Association of Recovery Residences.
  4. Zoning Ordinance to Promote Housing Construction –
    1. Building on the success of last year’s ADU ordinance modification, we now propose further changes that would eliminate a Planning Board review entirely, making it easier for homeowners to construct various types of ADUs on their properties. The requirements regarding the ADU structure will still be in place, they will be outlined in the ordinance; this proposal simply aims to expedite the process, recognizing the importance of swift action to address our city's housing needs. 
    2. Currently, our Zoning Ordinance imposes minimum lot sizes for the construction of up to three dwelling units per property, with additional square-footage requirements for each unit beyond three. Our proposed change seeks to permit an additional unit (four) within the same lot size that was previously limited to three.
  5. Creation of Homeless Courts- Those who are experiencing homelessness, may have misdemeanor criminal quality of life charges, or citations, making it difficult to get a job, a license or a roof over their head. Thus, it will be difficult to break the cycle of homelessness. Homeless courts are special court sessions held in local shelters or community sites with a volunteer judge, typically taking a few hours per month at no cost. This meets the person where they are, and is an effective way to address crime, and divert the individual into a better life, thus breaking the cycle they are currently trapped within. 
  6. Opioid Rewrite- The City of Manchester is undertaking a crucial initiative – the update of our "2016 City of Manchester: Response to the Opioid Crisis" with the unveiling of the "2024 City of Manchester Overdose Prevention Strategy." This strategy is not merely a document; it is a comprehensive blueprint that reflects our collective determination to address the opioid epidemic head-on. Those experiencing homelessness accounted for nearly half of all overdoses last year, addiction is a major contributing factor. Therefore, addressing addiction has to be a key component to address the homeless crisis.
  7. Leveraging City Properties to Promote More Housing- The Department of Water Works and the Tax Collector identified suitable city-owned land that can be made available for development. The Department of Water Works has already deemed a parcel of land as surplus and the Board of Mayor and Alderman will take this up shortly. Our Tax Collector and Assessor have identified 14 vacant lots. Our goal is to work with reputable developers, and community partners, who share our commitment to creating housing options that cater to the diverse needs of our community. The process will involve community input, and we will prioritize developments that align with our values and meet the needs of our residents.
  8. State Grants- We are actively working with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature to secure an appropriation of $5.23 million for the Farnum and Waypoint projects over the next few months. This additional funding will have a dramatic impact on the sustainability of these programs, which do such great work in our community. 

 

Underway:

  1. Bail Reform- January 3rd- Press Conference with Aldermen and state legislators in Concord to urge the legislature to vote for the bail reform bills that were on their docket. These passed. Continue to work with the Governor and legislature on future measures as we have more work to do on this issue.   
  2. NH Council on Housing Stability -One of three mayors in the state to have a position on the council which allows us to leverage collective efforts and pool resources to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those experiencing homelessness. This position will also allow for greater communication and collaboration with other communities to help them address their challenges without having to send those in need to our city. 
  3. Continuum of Care- Expanded the Manchester Continuum of Care (CoC) by adding 15 members. This move is a crucial first step towards fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders. it is a commitment to bringing together our community partners, stakeholders, and decision-makers to end homelessness in our city. The CoC will vote next month on moving forward with this process and beginning transition steps.
  4. Anti-Stigma Campaign- The city was chosen as one of one hundred cities nationally to participate in an Anti-Stigma Initiative. It is designed to increase awareness about addiction, improve helping behaviors towards those with SUD, and offer learning opportunities about evidence-based treatment options, signs and symptoms of addiction, and effective engagement strategies. This initiative is not just about combating addiction; it is about addressing one of the root causes of homelessness, demonstrating our commitment to building a healthier and more compassionate community.
  5. City Grants- Recently the city received grants totaling $1.65 million, dedicated to two crucial affordable housing projects which are poised to create 142 affordable housing units. These initiatives mark substantial progress in our mission to address the critical need for affordable housing in Manchester.

 

Mayor Ruais Announces Ward 1 Town Hall

Published: 02/05/2024 9:17 AM

Mayor Ruais Announces Ward 1 Town Hall

 

Manchester NH- Mayor Jay Ruais will be holding a Ward 1 Town Hall on Thursday, February 15th at Webster Elementary School, 2519 Elm Street at 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Aldermen and School Board Members representing Ward 1 have also been invited.

 

Mayor Jay Ruais joins Manchester’s American Medical Response Team AMR for a Ride Along

Published: 02/02/2024 1:25 PM

 

Office of Mayor Jay Ruais

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    

Mayor Jay Ruais joins Manchester’s American Medical Response Team AMR for a Ride Along

Manchester NH- Mayor Jay Ruais joined in on a ride along with Manchester’s American Medical Response team (AMR). He released the following statement:

“I am deeply grateful for our first responders who are on the front lines of some of our city’s greatest challenges, namely substance use disorder, mental health crises, and homelessness. Addressing and fixing these issues will continue to be a top priority of our Administration. I am incredibly thankful for the combined efforts of our city, and community partners, whose efforts have led to the recent report of a decrease in drug overdoses, and overdose fatalities. With the recent launch of the expansion of the Continuum of Care (CoC) and the Anti Stigma Campaign, our efforts to strengthen our community response is continuing to grow.”

 

BACKGROUND:

AMR Manchester provides emergency and non-emergency medical transport service for the city of Manchester and surrounding communities and is CAAS Accredited.

 

 

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