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City's financial woes make selling houses in Utica a tough task

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A huge tax increase of 18.19% and 38 job cuts, including deep gashes to public safety, loom in the city of Utica. Add possible massive teacher layoffs to the mix and you have a bit of a marketing hurdle to overcome when trying to market and sell homes in the city of Utica.

"Large increases are a real problem. Yes, we do watch, it doesn't matter if it's the city of Utica, New Hartford, Clinton or wherever it is it impacts our business and it impacts the ability of people to afford those homes," says Jerry Orsaeo of Weichert, Realtors in New Hartford.

Which of the three matters most to prospective buyers? Orsaeo says, that depends. To someone who doesn't have school-aged children, school district cuts aren't of paramount importance. But things like property taxes and public safety are universal.

Orsaeo hopes the proposed tax hike in the city of Utica will be whittled down before it is passed at the end of the month. He says even if taxes go up in the city, it would still be on par with or even more affordable than some upscale suburbs, including New Hartford and Clinton.

Orsaeo says the bigger challenge is wooing out of state buyers, who sometimes end up having to pay more taxes in New York's cities than they did in their home state, and for less house.

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