Utica Comptroller primaries turn co-workers into opponents


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Tuesday's primary makes opponents out of two democrats currently serving together on Utica's Common Council.
At-Large Councilman Jim Zecca and Council President Bill Morehouse each say they have the experience and background to take over as city comptroller.
"Am I a professional businessman who can do the job and get the right people in place? That's my strength," says Morehouse. "I was a sales manager, I was a business owner. I get people in place who will work hard for you and be excited about doing it and that's my strength that I bring to the position."    

"I actually prepared, managed and administered 25 municipal budgets in my career as a Director of Solid Waste for Madison County," says Zecca. "I basically started a department from scratch, municipal governmental agency from scratch."

While Morehouse is the endorsed Democrat, both candidates have other lines which ensure them a place on the ballot in November.
"Again we just move on. I went out, spoke to the people went out and got signatures.," says Zecca of his "Utica United" line. "It was a lot of hard work, it wasn't easy but we were out there, we did it, spoke to folks and they signed the petition to get on this line."
"This was a situation where multiple people came to me and asked me if I would run 'Bill would you run, would you do this for the city of Utica? And I said you know what, I will do it for the city of Utica," says Morehouse. "I love this city and I'm in a position now in my business life where I can do it."

The new comptroller will inherit a recently dismal but improving financial picture in the city of Utica.  A year ago, the city had to borrow money in order to meet its payroll.

In March, a bond-rating agency downgraded the city's credit rating, continuing its negative fiscal outlook.  But also in March, the city ended fiscal year 2012 with a surplus of around $1.8 million.

The city currently has a $700,000 fund balance.  Streamlining and downsizing of government, including multiple layoffs, are partly responsible for the city's improving fiscal condition.
Primary Day is Tuesday, the 10th, noon to 9pm.

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