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Utica Common Council Shelves Tax Cap Vote

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Utica’s Common Council voted to table last night’s proposed two percent tax cap vote, 5 to 4.

The local law still has not gained enough support to warrant a vote and will be shelved until the February 20th meeting. Among those hoping to vote on the tax were Councilmen Frank Vescera, Jim Zecca, Dave Testa and Jerome McKinsey.

Councilman Joe Marino elected to keep the tax cap legislation tabled, because he has nothing to base it on yet.

“Where I stand right now, I have not been given enough information by the administration to properly make that determination to go above, so therefore, I’m going to stay below,” Marino said.

He also says there is no reason to hand over the reins to the Mayor, especially when his constituents don’e know what kind of tax increase they’re looking at.

“I can’t tell people that I’m blindly putting my faith in the mayor, that’s why I need to vote above 2 percent” Marino said. “I can’t just say, ‘Hey everyone, I have faith he’s going to do the right thing.’” So, if I give above two percent without knowing anything, that’s carte blanche. That means it can go to 80 percent. I’m not saying it will, but it’s carte blanche… there’s no ceiling. So, I can’t just say on good faith to the people that I represent that you get a tax increase, but I’m not sure what it is. This two percent is guaranteed. It’s going to have a ceiling.”

Councilwoman Samantha Colosimo-Testa was also against a possible vote on the tax cap.

“I think if we can wait till the 19th to get our budget, then we have our Council meeting on the 20th, I think we can make a better determination on whether somebody wants to override a tax cap,” Colosimo-Testa said. “I think if we have a three percent tax increase, the people will be happy, rather than cutting service detrimentally to the point of no extent. But, I think we can handle waiting until the 20th before anybody makes a decision.”

As of now, not even the Council knows which way the vote will fall.

“I really have no clue, I think everybody’s decision is up in the air,” Colosimo-Testa said. “I know where I stand. I don’t know why we’re going to hold ourselves to something.”

The voting deadline is during the first week of March, but the Council says it expects Mayor Palmieri to release his budget by the next meeting.

Also voted down was a resolution sponsored by Frank Vescera that would hold all 6 p.m. Council meetings in the Council chambers. It was defeated 4-5.

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