The Chair of the Syracuse Common Council's Finance Committee is concerned the Mayor may be relying too much on the city's reserves in her budget proposal. Councilor Kathleen Joy and her colleagues began budget hearings Wednesday to go over the $660 million spending plan line by line. Joy says using 20 million dollars in rainy day funds doesn't seem to address past warnings from the Mayor herself.
Miner's budget would use just under a third of the city's 66 million dollar reserves. For a fourth year, there are no layoffs, and no increases in property taxes, water rates, or sewer rates.
Major highlights of the mayor's proposed budget:
- Taxes and Rates: No increase in water or sewer rates. Property tax levy will decrease .2% to $33,392,950
- Public Safety: A new class of 25 police officers and 25 firefighters.
- Land Bank: The Greater Syracuse Property Development will receive $1.5 million in city funding.
- Healthcare: Expenses healthcare continue to increase. Costs for retirees will outpace those for active employees by $3.4 million.
- Pensions: The City’s projected pension bill is estimated to be $28.5 million. The rate is expected to decrease in Fiscal Year 2016.
- Say Yes: The City of Syracuse will once again contribute $1 million to the Say Yes to Education program.
- Imagination Library: The City of Syracuse will contribute $50,000 over three years to making the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County program citywide.
- State Aid: AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities) funding will remain flat at $71.8 million.
- Parking: Revenue from parking garages and meters will increase $284,000 due to the continuing residential and commercial development of Downtown.
- Sales Tax: An increase of $2.8 million in sales tax for a total of $82.4 million.
- Pre-K: The School District will receive funding for 450 additional slots for full day pre-kindergarten.
- Employment: The City will budget for no raises in police, fire, and crossing guard bargaining units.
Councilors will spend the next two weeks reviewing the spending plan. A public hearing is set for April 30th at 6:00 p.m.