Utica Common Council overrides state property tax cap


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council voted to override the state's mandated 2 percent property tax cap Wednesday night, allowing the property tax rate for the 2013-2014 tax year to go over the state mandated amount.

Six council members voted in favor of the override and three voted against it. Those who voted against the measure included Frank Vescera, David Testa and Jim Zecca.

Zecca and Vescera both said they had many motivations for voting against the measure, but their main motivation was to avoid further strain on area taxpayers.

"Here comes the property tax tidal wave," said community member and advocate Timothy Trent who attended the meeting.

Earlier this week, Mayor Robert Palmieri proposed a city budget that included a 3.75 percent property tax increase. And, for the average home assessed at $50 thousand, that amounts to an additional $42 per year.

If the council does not make cuts or changes to the budget the property tax rate will stay at the mayor's proposed rate.

"Show-up" pay for Utica Police was an issue for some council members.

Common Council President William C. Morehouse said if the mayor’s exclusion of the $620 thousand in “Show-up” pay for Utica Police officers doesn’t stick it could drive the rate higher than the proposed amount.

“Make no mistake, the mayor has done a great job with the budget, but there’s no way the police officers are going to give up “Show-Up” Time,” Morehouse said. “I think it’s very dangerous for the mayor to equate that into the budget.”

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