Utica, NY (WIBX) - In the face of a $7.5 million shortfall, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri is proposing an 18.19 percent property tax increase, and cutting 38 positions.

He said the cuts to public safety, including six fire fighters and eleven police officers, are painful, but are necessary to keep Utica solvent.

"This is what this budget is about," Palmieri said. "It's saving Utica, New York. And, the pain is with the loss of jobs and the tax increases. But, hopefully, we don't have to revisit this ever again."

According to City Budget Director, Peter Fiorillo, without cuts to the city's budget, Utica was looking at a 38 percent tax increase.

Though this is the highest increase he's seen, Fiorillo said the proposed 18 percent tax hike is much more manageable than the alternative.

"It equates to probably about an extra $230 a year for the average homeowner, which maybe is a lot for people in this area, but the city does provide a lot of services," Fiorillo said.

Palmieri's budget follows Utica's recently downgraded credit rating and its inability to pay the Utica School District its tax revenues.

If Utica continues to find itself unable to manage its finances, a state-imposed Emergency Financial Control Board may oversee the city's operations.