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Colosimo-Testa: Astonished Over Budget Tactics

Kristine Bellino, WIBX

The feedback from residents on Utica’s recently passed budget has been pretty good, according to councilwoman Samantha Colosimo Testa.

The council met Friday to override several vetoes from Mayor Rob Palmieri. Councilors made a handful of cuts to reduce the tax increase from the proposed 3.75, to just under two-percent.

”I have not heard one complaint from one resident about a 1.99% tax increase.”

”You have to cut your services because the taxpayers can’t deal with a 10-percent tax increase. If you’re on a fixed income in your house and you have a set budget every year, you have to stay within your budget,” she said.

There has to be a five year plan. Capital improvements are very important. We shouldn’t be purchasing police cars, that’s should be a capital investment. Maybe look a leasing options in order for the city to not have to look at a 3% tax increase worth of cars every year,” Colosimo Testa said.

Can the city handle all the services, doing it with less?

”I think people are realizing there is no other choice than to do more with less,” she said.

During her interview on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning, Colosimo-Testa expressed disgust with pressure being put on the on the council over funding cuts for new police vehicles.

”I get very offensive when [they] say that I’m taking out police cars and putting police officers life in danger, and if he gets in an accident and dies that’s something we’ve got to rest on our shoulders. I think that tactic is just absolutely horrible. I would never in my life think that somebody would say that. That’s just astonishing.”

You have an administration that got two new vehicles last year, whether they were leases or not…don’t put that on my shoulders, because that would have been two less cars – if we [used] them for patrol – that we could have purchased.”

Colosimo Testa said she didn’t yet apologize to the Mayor, but felt bad saying it that way.

“I shouldn’t have let my emotions get the best of me, but I felt personally attacked,” she said.

Council Cup

Colosimo-Testa is putting together a golf tournament on June 10th with all the proceeds to  be donated to the youth bureau, because the city had to cut back funding to the youth bureau.

Furlough Program

”I could say I want to put a Ferris wheel in the middle of Genesee Street, but I need a legal authority,” she said. ”There’s just something that you can’t do. That’s an executive branch decision.”

”The mayor is the only one who can enforce the furloughs,” she said.

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