Tools

Utica Comptroller primaries turn co-workers into opponents

By JOLEEN FERRIS

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.

What's On