On Friday, Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri announced the proposed 2016-2017 City Budget. As Eyewitness News Reporter Nicole Todd shows us live, the North Utica Neighborhood Association gathered tonight to talk about its concerns for the future of their city.
With many concerns and questions, community members came out tonight to talk to the Common Council Finance Board for their budget.
The proposed budget is 68.4 Million Dollars. Including salary increases in union contracts and an increase in lease purchases….increasing your taxes 1.75%. But the concerns taxpayers had focused on the pay raises and lack of street lamps throughout the city.
“That’s a very big thing, but is it the right way to be doing business? I don’t know. I mean that’s what we got to look at,” Mark Williamson Councilman at large said.
The proposal from mayor Palmieri keeps the city under the 2 percent property tax cap. The budget includes a program that has been a topic of discussion at the open forums for the community….our roads. The Infrastructure Improvement Program will give the city the ability to fix deficient roads and bridges.
“I think we do a very good job with our expenditures, but our problem is our revenue keeping up with that. We got to continue to grow Utica, New York as we’ve seen over the past four years and continue to have people living here, eating here, and building here and as you saw open vacant building that are now being occupied, that’s the driver that we really need. We need economic development,” Mayor Palmieri said.
The Common Council will meet with department heads in the next month to determine how the budget will impact the city…and what they can and cannot change.
“Salaries for unions are pretty much dictated by contract, union contracts. So there are some things are hands will be tied where we really can’t affect, but the things that we can, we certainly will look at everything and nothing will be left off the table that we can have any controlled impact on,” Finance Chair Ed Bucciero said.
The Utica City Common Council has until March 20th to pass the budget.