Common Council passes Utica budget, 7.43% property tax hike

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Its been a long process but after several different proposals, and many cuts the Utica City vote on the budget passed Thursday night.  The final city budget is $64.6 Million Dollars, and it means property taxes will go up 7.43% in Utica.
    
Not everyone was in agreement at the final vote. Six council members voted in favor of the budget while three voted against it. 

In favor:
-Jim Zecca
-Rocco Giruzzi
-Joan Scalise
-Jerome McKinsey
-Jerry Kraus
-Edward Bucciero.
 
Opposed:   
-Frank Vescera
-Dick Lawler
-Lorraine Arcuri.

Several amendments where also adopted.  Amendments in this case were additional cuts to larger city departments.
    
The head of the finance committee, Joan Scalise says the outcome of this vote comes with mix emotions.
    
"I really feel bad that we are giving this tax increase to the people,"  Scalise said.  "I don't like it, I'm not happy with it but we did the best we could with what we had, we've cut it to the bone."

Scalise says that while the budget may have passed the work isn't over.  Starting April 1, 2010 the council is going to look for new sources of revenue, and they're going to make sure that department heads keep their spending in line.
    
Scalise also says she wants a zero base budget for next year, and she hopes they can avoid a tax increase.  However a zero base budget could mean additional service cuts, as well as cuts to non profit organizations.

 

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