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Finance Committee Chair: We cannot tolerate a tax increase of this amount

By MIKE LaFAVE/GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council Finance Committee met Tuesday night to discuss Mayor David Roefaro's proposed budget and where possible cuts could be made.

Public Safety commissioner Dan Labella, Utica Police Chief Mark Williams, and Fire Chief Russ Brooks were all in attendance.  They were each told to find ways to cut from the budget. 
 
The meeting was held behind closed doors. The Committee Chair, Joan Scalise, decided to hold it as an executive session.
    
Monday, the city's Estimate and Apportionment Board voted in favor of sending the Mayor's proposed budget to the Common Council.  Now the council must find cuts from somewhere, possibly programs, services and jobs; in order to avoid the mayor's proposed 18.62% tax increase.

Scalise says she saw times as bad as these back when she was City Comptroller.  They were able to get out of the mess then and she believes they can again, but it won't be easy.  But not matter what, she says residents can not tolerate that large of an increase.

"We can't take it out of the pockets of the people out there," Scalise said.  "It isn't there anymore.  They don't have it and we can't keep going to them, we have to find new ways."

Scalise says the council needs to think of new revenue sources. 

As for the current Utica Police Department compliment, she says there isn't time to reduce it before the budget needs to be approved.  However, she believes the council should take a serious look at it after the budget issues are resolved.

The Common Council has until March 22nd to pass a budget, otherwise, Roefaro's version will become the actual 2010-2011 budget.

 

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