Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri prepares to unveil 2013-2014 Budget
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says he has been burning the midnight oil for the last three weeks, not only preparing his proposed 2013-2014 city budget, but worrying about it, "There haven't been too many nights that I have been sleeping. A typical night is 2:00 in the morning because you are effecting people's lives. No one is going to be happy, whether it be the unions, the Common Council, some of the public, because you're making decisions, hard decisions." Palmieri is scheduled to unveil his proposed budget on Tuesday. He says he has been working with his staff to prepare this budget since last April, and they have been working together pretty much around the clock for the past three weeks, including this weekend, and today, President's Day, when City Hall is closed to the public. This morning, in front of a table filled with piles of budget related documentsm he told News Channel 2 he did not want to give away what the potential cuts may be in his proposed budget, but says he doesn't expect them to be quite like last year, when 50 city jobs were cut. Palmieri says the city is in a hole because of several factors including the cost of healthcare for city workers has gone up, and so has the amount of money the city must send to Albany to pay for pensions. On top of that he says a fund balance is no longer available to help, because he says past administrations have used that money to subsidize their budgets, "But again you're trying to change something that's happened over the last ten or twelve years, in a two year period and it's almost impossible. And if you cut too much, then you effect the services that are out there, and you have a city that is out of control. So what we have to make sure, I as the C.E.O. of the City of Utica have to have the proper balance, and I'm taking the responsibility, and I'm sure I will be taking hits from the public, the unions and members of the Common Council, but at the end of the day, I believe the city is in the right direction, is heading in the right direction." The mayor will deliver his budget to the city's Board of Estimate and Apportionment Tuesday morning at 9:00. The Board of Estimate and Apportionment will then vote on whether to pass it along to the Common Council. If the board votes 'Yes', which Palmieri says has been the case in the past, the Common Council will get their hands on the budget tomorrow. The mayor also announced today he is taking his proposed budget to the people. He will be holding three separate Citizens' Budget Forums. He and his department heads will answer resident's questions and get their input on his proposed budget. The first forum is set for tomorrow night, Feb. 19th, at the Jewish Community Center at 2310 Oneida St. in South Utica. The second will be held this Thursday, Feb. 21st at The Utica School of Commerce at 201 Bleecker St. in downtown Utica. The third and final forum will be held next Monday, Feb. 25th at the North Utica Neighborhood Association at 50 Riverside Dr. in North Utica. Stay with News Channel 2 and WKTV.COM on Tuesday as the Mayor Palmieri's 2013-2014 proposed budget is unveiled. We will break down the proposed budget and have reaction from those parties affected. An approved budget must be in place by April 1st.