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Utica city and school officials collaborate to find solutions

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica city and school officials held an open forum Wednesday night to start planning how they can work together to address common challenges.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and School District Superintendent Bruce Karam led the discussion with city department heads, members of the Common Council, and Board of Education members.

Both Mayor Palmieri and Superintendent Karam agreed that by sharing services and collaborating, the city can save money and even enhance services.

"I mean budgets are not good right now," says Karam. "Most of these municipalities in New York state and upstate New York are running deficits, school districts across the state are running deficits, it only makes sense right now to combine resources to save money."

Palmieri says it's important school and city officials begin looking into sharing services to find solutions as they both serve the same people.

"Some of the same areas and problems that they're having we're having," says Palmieri. "The same parks that they use we're using, the same salt that they buy, we buy."

Officials outlined four topics to focus on in upcoming meetings including utilizing the Thomas Lindsey Public Safety building on James Street, expanding on city parks, exploring additional grants, and coming together to market the city of Utica as a great place to live.

Now that issues have been identified, school and city officials plan to start researching city and education laws, as well as collective bargaining agreements to make sure they are moving forward correctly.

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