Utica Common Council overrides Mayor's vetoes, their budget will take effect
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council voted Friday to pass their proposed budget with their own amendments, overriding Mayor Robert Palmieri's vetoes. With a property tax increase of 1.99%, their budget will decrease the overtime budgets for the Utica Police Department, Utica Fire Department and Department of Public Works by 10%. The cuts in overtime are particularly problematic for the Utica Fire Department, according to Chief Russell Brooks. The department has a minimum manning clause contracted with the city, requiring 24 people to be on duty at any give time. Brooks fears he will not be able to meet that agreement with the new cuts. Another part of the Council's budget was to not give UPD money for new vehicles. Police Chief Mark Williams requested new vehicles for what he says is necessity. Chief Williams says the cars get used around the clock and are in need of replacement as cars have been breaking down on their way to calls. Six votes were necessary for the Common Council to override the mayor's vetoes and all six members in attendance voted in favor of their budget. The three members not in attendance were Rocco Giruzzi, Jerome McKinsey and Frank Meola. Councilman Jim Zecca, who voted in favor of the Council's amendments, said that when this budget process is over, the city needs to consider furloughing employees, giving them half a day off each month. That will save the city $470,000, according to officials.