Utica Approves New Budget, 2% Tax Decrease
Homeowners in Utica will see a slight reduction in their next city tax bill.
The Utica Common Council voted 7-1 to approve Mayor Rob Palmieri's spending plan, which included a 2% property tax decrease. It amounts to a savings of 57-cents per thousand, officials said.
The lone 'no' vote came from Samantha Colosimo-Testa who represents part of North and East Utica. Colosimo-Testa put forth an amendment that would have redirected the city's $600,000 surplus to invest in other projects, rather than the tax reduction.
Colosimo-Testa argued that such a meager tax reduction, attributed to $600,000 in unexpected revenue from a one-time property sale, would amount to roughly $40 for most homeowners.
''What's going to happen next year when we don't have that property to sell? So if [the city's] budget stays the exactly same we're going to be negative $600,000 next year. Why not invest that money into things that need to be invested in. Look at our parks, our parks are deteriorating - look at our roads our roads are terrible - sidewalks, lights, you name it. The city needs help.
''To bring that money back to the city residents when they're just going to get taxes [[raised] again next year in a non-election year is really frustrating as a councilperson,'' she said.
Her amendment failed, as did Councilman Joe Marino's - which called for reallocating the money to a matching sidewalk repair program for residents.
Marino, who is challenging Palmieri for the mayorship, ultimately voted in support of the budget.
The nearly $72 million spending plan takes effect on April 1.