Utica City Councilwoman Samantha Colosimo Testa is willing to waive her cost of living allowance (COLA) salary increase. But she wants the mayor and other elected counterparts to do the same.
"Any time you have a tax increase as high as you do, 7.8% tax increase inside the city, you would think you would lead by example. Obviously the administration and any elected official is entitled to a cola based on how our charter is written. "However, being entitled to that and setting an example as leadership, you would think that you would take that waiver and eliminate that 5% increase," says Colosimo Testa.
In his proposed budget, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri would get a roughly 5% salary increase, taking his yearly pay from $77,015 to $80,480. The mayor's chief of staff would see a roughly 10% increase, from $63,250 to $69,504 annually. We asked the mayor for his view. His chief of staff sent a series of emails, some dating back to the Hanna administration, indicating that the city charter requires that a cost of living allowance be appropriated in the annual budget. Asked whether the mayor would waive his increase, there was no response.