Wednesday, April 23, 2014

News
Today marks deadline for Utica council to adopt proposed budget
By JOLEEN FERRIS


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - On Wednesday, March 20, is the deadline for the Utica Common Council to adopt the mayor's proposed budget.

Council Finance Committee Chair Ed Bucciero says that, after twenty 12-hour days, the council has whittled the mayor's proposed 3.75% tax increase down to around the state-imposed 2% cap. It's how the council accomplished this task that gives some cause for concern.

"Most of the amendments are 10% reduction in all the overtime lines. Those are the majority of the 51 amendments," says Bucciero

The areas that will be most impacted by that overtime reduction are public safety and public works.

Utica's police chief says he told the council he will do his best, but he doesn't know how he will provide the city with adequate coverage in the face of a 10% overtime reduction when the department is already down nine people, with five more vacancies expected in the near future. The chief added that, just because staffing shrinks doesn't mean the workload follows suit.

The council will vote on their 51 amendments to the budget. Then, they will adopt the spending plan, putting it back in the mayor's hands.

Mayor Palmieri can accept it or veto any line, in which case the plan would go back to the council, where a 2/3 majority would be required to override a mayoral veto.

The regular council meeting is Wednesday night at 7 pm.