UTICA, N.Y. – Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri discussed his plans for the $72.5 million 2020-21 budget at a meeting with the Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Monday.
Palmieri said there could be a 1.9% property tax increase due to rising costs of health care, pensions and public safety efforts.
He said the increase is an improvement and is a sign of economic development in Utica.
"Our sales tax are up, our foreclosure rate is down, our tax base has increased -- and all the buildings that were vacant are now infusing with lofts, people living there, businesses coming to the city of Utica. So, that is a great testament to, over the past eight years, the city having sustainability going through a very difficult time to where we are at this point," said Palmieri.
A top priority for Palmieri will be infrastructure improvement, including repairing roads, sewers, parking garages and focusing on flood mitigation.
In an effort to become more innovative and efficent, the mayor says the city will be replacing over 7,000 street lights with LED bulbs, which will save the city about $84,000 a month.
Another priority is investing in and promoting public safety.
"Without a strong public safety, police and fire, you will not have economic development, it is crucial," said Palmieri.
"What it adds to the other avenues, some features and benefits of having this type of light, the capability of providing and monitoring crime, traffic, and flooding with this new technology," said Palmieri.
The board will vote on the budget proposal next week, before it goes to the Common Council. The council must receive the proposal by Feb. 20, and members will have roughly one month to vote on the budget.