Gino Geruntino, WIBX.
Utica, NY (WIBX) -The Utica Common Council continues to examine Mayor Palmieri's proposed budget, last night members heard from some of the city's smaller departments. Department heads from the Clerk's office, Assessment and the Comptroller's office each spent about 30 minutes answering questions regarding staffing levels and reviewing items that could be trimmed or eliminated from the budget.


City Comptroller Michael Cerminaro says his department's staffing levels are at a "critical level" and that his staff actually handles some Human Resource duties. Cerminaro also told council members he anticipates more short-term borrowing next year to help ease Utica's cash flow problem. The Comptroller pointed out that expenses associated with any anticipated borrowing needs to be calculated into this year's budget.

The Council's Finance Committee Chair, Ed Bucciero, says he wanted to start with the smaller departments to ease into the process. "As we go on, we'll start to hone in on some of the larger departments where there are more assets to be attacked, if you will"  said Bucciero in a post-hearing interview. Bucciero added " hopefully we'll find some cost savings in those departments".

The next budget hearing is scheduled for March 6th, council members expect to hear from the Engineering Department, Facilities and Civil Service.