UTICA -- Utica's Common Council voted in favor of a 4.41% property tax increase Tuesday.
The increase is down dramatically from Mayor Robert Palmieri's 7.8% proposed increase.
Council members debated at the meeting about making changes to Utica's 2018-2019 budget.
A $72 million budget was finalized with a vote of 7-2.
The finalized budget increased by nearly $2 million. The budget includes a 4.41% property tax increase, which means property owners will see a tax increase of 61 dollars for the year.
Councilman Bob Desanctis says the budget hike is necessary.
"Nobody really likes any increases but we have to go up some each year," DeSanctis said. "The last couple years we actually had a
negative number on the property tax. Property tax brings in about $29 million a year. With this increase we'll bring in about another $1.2 million. There's lots of need in this city. I would have liked to have gotten it down below the tax gap but I didn't feel that I could cut anymore than I did cut."
The meeting began with public commentary. Many Utica residents were upset about the budget.
Prior to finalizing the budget, there was controversy over what some council members are calling a miscalculation in the budget. A $700,000 gap raised concerns but was later clarified as a mistake. That gap being fixed contributed to lowering the mayors proposed increase.