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Utica Councilor Anticipates $4 Million Budget Gap for 2013

Branden Block, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – During tonight’s Utica Common Council meeting, Majority Leader and Councilor at Large Frank Meola urged City Department Heads to submit uninflated budget requests for next year’s City budget.

Meola says that in years past, Department Heads have submitted inflated requests that were later trimmed down by both the Mayor and the Common Council. Meola also went on to urge Department Heads to cut some of their expenses and include revenue generators that will help close the anticipated budget gap. “According to estimated figures, we are anywhere between $3.8 Million to $4.2 Million deficit coming next year” said Majority Leader Meola, adding “that means we’re in a hole.”

Utica Police Chief Mark Williams, whose department experienced a reduction in staff due to budget cuts this year, says it sounds like Public Safety Departments might be reduced again. “If you look at our budget lines, they’re stripped as it is, the only way you can get to the figure he’s talking about, the $3.8 Million is you’re cutting more bodies.” said Chief Williams, adding “So what he’s basically saying is that he’s in favor of cutting the Police Department or the Fire Department again”.

Chief Williams went on to add that the 3 budgets he’s submitted all have been so watered down and thinned out, that there’s no “meat on the bone”. City budget talks are expected to heat up in 2 or 3 months.

In other budget news, the Common Council sent to committee a resolution calling for Mayor Palmieri to require all department heads to submit their draft budgets to the Mayor’s office and the Common Council no later that January 2nd, 2013.

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