Thursday, August 21, 2014

News
Mayor vetoes seven amendments to Utica budget
By NEWSChannel 2 Staff


UTICA, N.Y. - This week, the Utica Common Council approved a proposed budget with numerous amendments that brought the tax increase down to 1.99% from the Mayor's proposed 3.75%.

On Friday, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri announced he was vetoing seven of those amendments to the budget:

These two count as one amendment.

"The Parks Department is already understaffed and has a tremendous work load during the summer months," Mayor Palmieri stated in a release. "in order to properly maintain the city's parks and playgrounds, it is necessary that an adequate amount of overtime be budgeted to accomplish this. Furthermore, failure to properly maintain the city's parks and playgrounds in a safe condition could expose the city to liability."

These four count as two amendments (one DPW, one Demolition).

"The Department of Public Works is already understaffed having had to lay off workers last year," Palmieri stated. "The DPW has a tremendous work load all year long. In order to properly maintain the city's streets and sewers, it is necessary that an adequate amount of overtime be budgeted to accomplish this. Furthermore, failure to properly maintain the city's streets, curbs and sewers in a safe condition could expose the city to liability. The city of Utica is subject to long, severe and unpredictable winters. Overtime expenditures are absolutely necessary to insure passable streets and the safety of the public. Also, in the interest of public safety and quality of life, certain buildings must be demolished, whether they are privately owned or city owned. Failure to demolish these buildings in a timely manner will cause a hardship on the neighborhood and the city as a whole."

These count as one amendment.

"The Fire Department is mandated by contract to have 24 line firefighters on duty each day," Palmieri went on to say. "unfilled positions and firefighters using accrued sick and vacation time require firefighters to be called back on overtime otherwise known as replacement time. Furthermore, a major fire or other disaster will also require replacement time. The budget amendments reducing these lines will cause a budget shortfall later in the fiscal year and are, therefore, irresponsible."

These count as two amendments (one Police Uniform, one on Automobile Equipment)

"The officers who work in the Uniformed Division make a lot of arrests and that requires numerous court appearances, most of which require overtime pay since the officers who work 4 pm to midnight and midnight to 8 am to not work during hours when the courts are in session," Palmieri stated. "With respect to the 'Police Administration Automobile Equipment' line, Chief Wiliams has already explained the issues regarding his aging fleet  of vehicles. Failure to properly update our fleet of police vehicles is irresponsible and will subject the city to liability."


"The city is required by law (General Municipal Law Section 207-c) to provide medical treatment to those officers who are injured in the performance of their duties," Palmieri stated. "underfunding this line will cause a budget shortfall before the end of the fiscal year."

The Utica Common Council is meeting Friday evening to decided which, if any, vetoes by the mayor they will vote to override.