Utica, NY (WIBX) - Utica Mayor David Roefaro is holding his final "Tax Talk" for the 2011 -- 2012 budget season. Roefaro said the talks are an effort to educate the community on his budget spending plan, cutbacks and the reason for the 3.9 percent increase, as well as answer questions from concerned citizens.

Roefaro said, "We have worked long and hard on this budget--for about 10 months--with the cutbacks from the state , the cutbacks in our AIM funding, cutbacks from the federal government, to have this low of a tax increase was really on myself, my department heads, my budget directors, I mean we worked long and hard on this."

Roefaro said the legislature will soon vote on the governor's proposed 2-percent property tax cap, and unless something is done about the unfunded mandates, layoffs of emergency first-responders, and cutting of other crucial services, will be unavoidable. He said people have to prepare to do more with less. The mayor's final "Tax Talk" was held at the North Utica Senior Center.

Roefaro, during his second and final "Tax Talk" on the current budget season, said the feedback he has received from the public since releasing his budget proposal 3 weeks ago has been positive. The mayor proposed a 5-percent cut in his salary as well as a 2-percent salary reduction of his department heads. The current budget also includes a 3.9-percent property tax increase, which is not in line with Governor Cuomo's push to cap property tax increase at 2-percent. Roefaro says the 2-percent cap is unrealistic considering the unfunded mandates the city is burdened with.