Utica Councilman says budget can be trimmed to below 2% tax increase
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - At least one Utica City Councilman believes he can further reduce Mayor Robert Palmieri's proposed 3.75% tax increase. District #1 Councilman Frank Vescera want to try to go even below the state-mandated 2% property tax cap and maybe even shoot for a tax decrease. Vescera says he wanted to eliminate the Utica Police show up pay last year but the council largely voted down that proposal. This year, the mayor did take the show up pay, approximately $620,000, out of his proposed budget. Vescera says similar, structural, changes should be examined elsewhere, including the city fire department. "One of the other proposals I've been advocating for is also look at the 24 minimum manning clause at the fire department and I think it's only fair to look at that also and not just single out the police department," says Vescera. Vescera also believes the city council should have ratification powers regarding labor contracts with the city. Fire Chief Russell Brooks has not yet returned our call for a comment on Vescera's position regarding the fire department manning clause. The UPD union is disputing the city's right to eliminate the department's show up pay.