Utica common council agrees on budget
After days of deliberations and amendments, the Utica common council has agreed upon a budget. On Wednesday, they unanimously passed a $64.2 million budget. Cara Thomas has more.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- Common council members say this budget process, like every other year, wasn't easy. A lot of cuts had to be made. But city representatives say it was worth it. After making more than 50 amendments to the mayor's original plan, they cut more than $380,000 additional dollars and brought the proposed tax increase from 3.75 percent, all down to under two percent.
Most of those cuts came from reducing overtime pay for police, fire fighters and the DPW, as well as a $143,000 cut to the police department for new vehicles. And while these cuts were painful for everyone, common council members say this year's budget is much better than years past.
"Last year's budget was just horrible. You were talking about 100 job cuts on the line. We went from 630 employees to 510 employees. This year’s, there are no employees that are at risk right now that are losing their job. And I think that puts some sort of stability back into the City of Utica," Common Councilor Samantha Colosimo-Testa said.
"What we tried to do here today is we tried to get into that two percent, under that two percent tax cap. That was a real goal of the council people and myself," said Edward Bucciero, Council at Large.
The budget process isn't over yet. It's now up to the mayor to either accept or veto the amended budget.