UTICA, N.Y. – There’s no tax hike included in Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri’s nearly $73 million 2021-22 budget proposal, which he presented to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment Monday morning.
“Our residents made enough sacrifices in 2020 and they shouldn’t be expected to pay more taxes,” said Palmieri.
The mayor says decisions were made early on in the coronavirus pandemic to prevent a tax increase in 2021.
Some of those decisions include:
- Reducing spending on daily operations
- Decreasing major capital purchases by 75%
- Implementing a hiring freeze
- Eliminating 80% of part-time positions and reducing non-essential overtime
- Reducing the salaries of part-time employees
- Looking for voluntary furloughs from full-time employees
- Offering an early retirement incentive to CSEA members and non-union employees
“At the end of the day, it's providing a service to our residents. Keeping taxes as low as we can do. Reality is, should there have been a tax increase? Yeah, there should have been. Sometimes you do things you have to because what we're going through,” said Palmieri. "We're all going through a very difficult time. People are out there sacrificing. Our businesses, our residents, people are having a difficult time just putting food on the table.”
The city will move forward with major projects like the downtown hospital, Harbor Point development, construction of the new Fitness Mill and the housing project at Globe Mill in West Utica.
Palmieri says the city will also continue switching street lights to LED as a cost-saving measure.
The city’s fund balance is now more than $8 million, its highest level in decades, according to Palmieri.
To read the full budget proposal, click here.