Council Majority Leader: "We have a city government citizens can not afford"

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Common Council Majority Leader Lorraine Arcuri distributed a memo Saturday to Utica Mayor David Roefaro, as well as other members of the common council, where she said the city of Utica has become a municipality its citizens can no longer afford.

Originally, the Mayor had proposed a budget that included an 11% property increase and a .5% sales tax increase. After meeting with Assemblywoman Roann Destito and Senator Joe Griffo and assessing the support on Utica’s Council, the sales tax increase was been eliminated under Roefaro’s new proposal.

“Never before have I seen such a disparity of what is proposed and what we can actually afford,” Arcuri stated in her MEMO. “City Government continued to spend money like there was no tomorrow with some officials justifying each expenditure as improving the quality of life, investments for the future and in the case of public safety, shamefully scaring people into believing that their very lives are at stake. Well, tomorrow is here. We now have a city government that its citizens cannot afford. We must now think in terms of what we need only, not what we want.”

Among the items in her memo, Arcuri has called for the elimination of health care benefits for part-time employees, including the Council and the elimination or reduction of costs associated with Public Safety and the Office of the Mayor.

She has called for job cuts in other areas and a reduction of DPW Foreman positions, city vehicles and cell phones. She has also called for the elimination of city funding for Utica Monday Nite.

“We cannot afford to spend money on programs that are controversial, not needed or cost effective,” Arcuri said. “There can be no sacred cows or positions that are not touchable. The old way of doing business in city government must stop now. Officials have to understand—it’s over.”

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