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Rome Mayor proposes 5% property tax hike

By HILARY LANE

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - In order to balance the 2013 Rome City Budget, Mayor Joseph Fusco says he is proposing a 5% property tax hike.

Mayor Fusco says that as a result of rising health care and pension costs, teamed with decreasing state aid, the tax hike is the only way to balance the $40.9 million budget without compromising the city's services.

"Unfortunately, now the reserves are to the point where we just can't keep taking out of the bank," Mayor Fusco said. "We've got to start putting something into it. We got to start rebuilding our revenue."

The proposed property tax hike would mean a $1 increase for every $1,000 that an individual home is worth.

The average home in the City of Rome is assessed at $63,000, which equals out to an increase of roughly $63 a year.

Some local residents said the proposed hike is just too much to handle.

"I think we are going to have to move to a smaller house in a smaller county because we can't afford it anymore," said resident Drew Savoie.

The last thing Savoie wants to do is move off his quiet street, but he says the Mayor's proposal may leave him without a choice.

Due to state law capping property tax increases at 2%, the Rome Common Council will need to vote in order to override the cap. As of now, Mayor Fusco said he doesn't have the support.

However, he said he will have to work with the Council to reach some sort of a compromise.

The council will be voting on whether to override that 2% property tax cap on Wednesday, October 24 and then the final budget must be passed by December 31.

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