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"Everything on the table" when it comes to Utica budget cuts

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The paring knife is out, but it could turn out to resemble something more like a hatchet.

Utica's common council is working on Mayor David Roefaro's 2010-2011 city budget, trying to pare down his proposed 18% property tax increase. Council President Bill Morehouse says they can whittle it down to zero, but not without painful cuts.

"They're going to be deep cuts and they're going to be hurtful cuts and some people are going to suffer," Morehouse said. "And there's probably going to be some jobs that we lose."

Morehouse added that everything, including the public safety department, police department complement and take-home vehicles, is on the table.

He says there are places-including the road salt fund-where they can grab money to help find the 3.5 million the 18% tax hike would have provided.

Morehouse is confident the council can get the proposed increase down around 10%, but says he's striving for zero.

It all depends, he says, on how much taxpayers are willing to give up. The public can have their say at a hearing March 17th, 6:30pm at Utica City Hall.

The council has until March 22 to pass the budget. Morehouse doesn't see them voting before that day.

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