Utica Mayor Palmieri: I Don’t Know Where Else We Could Cut
Utica’s mayor thinks the city is headed in the right direction and has made the ‘hard decisions.’
”When you’ve cut from 630 to 510 [positions]…we’re doing much more with less,” said Rob Palmieri, appearing on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning just days after the city put a budget in place for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
His original proposal of a 3.75% tax increase was trimmed to 1.99%, and the council overrode his veto of some of their own changes. Among them, his plan to purchase some new vehicles for the police department.
”That was in the original budget. On Friday, I vetoed 7 of the 29, the ones I felt would have the largest impact on the budget going forward. I’m trying to run this city as a business. We felt that at least five per year [police cars] would give us the rotation that we need, and that’s how you run a business,” Palmieri said.
”The end of the story is, let’s move on at this point. We made a plea to the common council, it didn’t happen. Let’s move forward.”
Going forward, Palmieri believes the city is making progress. and has acted on recommendations from the State Comptroller’s office.
To the point of savings?
”Let’s put things in perspective. We came into office last year, there was no fund balance and not water reserve money. This year we used no fund balance and very little water money.”
”We’re going to go from a deficit budget of $2.5 million dollars to a surplus. I’m not a CPA or a bean counter, but do I think we’re out of the woods? Absolutely not, but we’re certainly headed in the right direction.”
”We’re changing the course.”
Palmieri also indicated that even if the city lost its case regarding show up pay for the police department, the 1.99% tax increase would not change.
With the upcoming arrivals of a Moe’s restaurant in Utica, Bass Pro Shop and a family friendly dinning/entertainment spot near the AUD coming, Palmieri said good things are happening.
“The only way we’re going to be able to grow out of this is through economic development, we’re not going to be able to cut our way out of this.” Adding, ”Downtown, its a great place…I love this city.”