Finance committee meets Monday to look for potential budget cuts

By By EMMA WRIGHT

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - After weeks of back and forth, the Utica Common Council Finance Committee still can't reach an agreement on the proposed budget.

Over the past few weeks, the finance committee has held several Saturday sessions to try and work out a budget that can be agreed on - the major problem, of which, is the city's multi-million dollar deficit.

Mayor David Roefaro said that he's done all he can. He said he cut 19 jobs and $900,000, and that an 18-percent property tax increase is the only way to balance the budget.

Initially, the mayor had proposed an 11-percent property tax increase and a sales tax increase as ways to make up for the multi-million dollar deficit, but those ideas were shot down.

Finance committee members believe there are other ways to trim the fat.

City Comptroller Michael Cerminaro suggests restructuring public safety departments, and Common Councilors said they will continue to make cuts until the property tax increase is a single digit number.

Councilman Dick Lawler said he's confident a reasonable budget can be obtained soon.

"You want to make sure the city has all the services that people want and need," Lawler said. "If we can't fund it. If we can't do it....if you don't have a quarter and a nickel, you can't spend a quarter and a nickel."

A finance committee meeting is set to get underway Monday night at 5:45 p.m., and there will also be another meeting Tuesday night.

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