Palmieri addresses memo sent to council
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says he doesn't expect this year's budget cuts to be nearly as bad as last year's when the city laid off 50 employees, and he is already preparing to keep cuts to a minimum. Palmieri told NEWSChannel 2 Monday afternoon he will not make cuts to police, fire or DPW crews that would put the city in jeopardy. "We're going to advocate to trim as much as we can, but still provide the services that the people desire, and what they need. I want this to be a city that is open for business, and not one to fear to come into." Palmieri, now in his second full year as mayor says the budget process is never easy, and this year's definitely won't be either. As far as what kind of deficit the city will be facing, Palmieri says he and his budget team have not completed those figures, so he was kind of stunned to hear some council members tossing around a potential $4 million dollar hole. Because of that figure thrown about, Palmieri sent out a memo to council members this past week. That memo took into account discussions he's had with the city's police chief, fire chief and DPW commissioner. He asked those department heads what it would take, in terms of jobs to cover such a $4 million dollar gap, if the city stuck to the state's 2% property tax cap. The numbers in that memo were 20 police officers, 20 firefighters and 15 DPW workers. Palmieri said he wanted council to know what that would do to the city, and he says there will be no way he would make such cuts after so many positions were eliminated last year. 4th Ward Council member Joe Marino says the memo was definitely an eye opener, "You know, I'm concerned that we're heading down the path, of doing the same thing over again, but with that said, we've got a lot of great council people, and we got a great budget staff with the mayor's office, so we're really working diligently to work through this one." Palmieri says he expects by Thursday to have the estimates from each department head of what it will take to run their department this next budget year. He will present those estimates to the City Board of Estimate and Apportionment. His full budget is expected to be complete in three weeks.