ROME, N.Y. - David Halpin, the democratic candidate for the Rome mayoral race, reacted to Mayor Jacqueline Izzo's budget address.
Izzo gave her budget address for the city of Rome Wednesday night at a special common council meeting.
Opponent Halpin says he agrees with some of the aspect of the proposed budget.
"I'm very happy that there is no tax increase for the city of Rome, for the citizens," Halpin said.
Some things in the proposed budget concern Halpin, like the leasing of vehicles rather than buying them for the city.
In Izzo's proposal, she says vehicle expenditures are one of the most expensive endeavors in any municipal budget. She says the city spent the better part of this year researching leasing rather than continuing to purchase vehicles under the Capital Impvoement Plan.
The mayor says that by leasing vehicles instead, the city could save up to $1 over 10 years.
Halpin says likes the idea of saving money as long as its done the right way.
"You can save money by leasing vehicles, but you have to also be concerned about the actual cost as far as repairs go but if we're going to lease vehicles, we can save money, that's a good thing," Halpin said. "I want to make sure if we do lease vehicles, we give the city of Rome the opportunity to bid on those."
Another thing Halpin touched on is health insurance. Izzo says health insurance spending for municipal employees will drop in 2020 and she says by controlling costs, there will be a decrease in health insurance expenses.
"We're talking about savings and health care benefits but that concerns me a little bit, are we really making sure we take care of the workers who work for the city, who take care of everything that has to go on," Halpin said. "We need to make sure that they are well taken care of, their health care cost is not sky-rocketing going out of proportion."
Halpin also has concerns about retirement. Izzo says retirement contributions is another substantial cost driver to th budget. She says after analyzing the city's retirements and new hires, she forcees a decrease of a $10,000 and retirement contributions for 2020.
"I want to make sure that the city employees who have a retirement with the city are taken care of and their out of pocket expenses stay the same and we contribute to their retirement savings plan, its very important that we make sure we take care of them," Halpin said.
Halpin also discussed other things in the city that he would like to see, such as considering a central hub with bathrooms, heating, and facilities to accommodate all of the people that are expected to come to Rome after the apartment complexes that are being worked on are complete.
"If we get more people in the city of Rome, I firmly believe we will have increased ridership in the central busing situation especially with the downtown apartment complex coming because there's going to be no parking for there, so maybe they'll take the bus instead," Halpin said. "I think its extremely important that we do have a central hub for the city of Rome"
Halpin also touched on capital expenditure.
"Capital expenditure is taking care of your infrastructure, taking care of your roads, taking care of the water-mains.," Halpin said. "I want to make sure that there are certain sections of the city that are taken care of also, like South Rome. I want to make sure to look at the sidewalks, the roads, the infrastructure as far as the sewer system goes because they have had some problems with collapsing of sewer pipes and that has caused flooding issues and aggravation the citizens."
There will be a public hearing on the proposed budget on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 6:50 p.m. at Rome City Hall.
The mayoral election is on Nov. 5.