SYRACUSE COMMON COUNCIL

Syracuse Common Council Considers Park Fee Increases

Mar 1, 2018
Scott Willis / WAER

Syracuse common councilors are considering raising fees on a number of popular parks programs, from swim lessons to skate rentals at ice rinks. For example, swim lessons will jump from $10 to $15 under the proposal. Deputy parks commissioner Julie LaFave told the council’s parks and recreation committee Thursday that it might be a 50 percent increase, but it’s still affordable.

Those are definitely subsidized,” LaFave said. “I mean, you can’t say that swim lessons at $10, a dollar a class, is covering the cost of maintaining a pool, paying for employees.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors jumped aboard a larger national movement that would levy a carbon fee on fossil fuels and return that money to households. The Carbon Fee and Dividend climate change resolution, sponsored by councilor Joe Driscoll, would add a $15 fee to every ton of fossil fuel. He said that figure is based on the environmental costs of CO2 emitted by the fuel.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday threw their support behind a month-long media blitz aimed at getting opioid addicts the help they need.  They also hope the “United to Fight it” collaboration will spur community discussion and action.

Family support navigator with the Prevention Network Jon Crandall says the epidemic is not fading…

"Onondaga County happens to have the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths  among all Central New York counties.  There have been 53 opioid related deaths reported since June 2017."

Scott Willis / WAER News

The President-elect of the Syracuse Common Council says she has high hopes going into a new mayoral administration that will bring a different tone to city hall.  Democrat Helen Hudson publicly supported and campaigned for Independent Ben Walsh over fellow democrat Juanita Perez Williams.  She says she got to know Walsh as a calm, thoughtful person during her time as councilor-at-large, and his six years as the city’s deputy commissioner of business development.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday made a series of revisions to the Miner administration’s budget proposal that affect the police and fire departments, as well as the land bank.  Councilors are shifting a total of $2 million from police and fire overtime budgets to their salary lines in order to cover the cost of hiring more officers.  Council majority leader Steve Thompson was on the force for more than three decades, retiring as chief.  He says the department is already down 41 officers from 2014 due to retirements…

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A fourth candidate has entered the race for two Councilor-at-Large Seats on the Syracuse Common Council, that will be contested this November.  Progressive politics that oppose a conservative Congress and President might play a role in the local election.  The Green Party locally has run numerous candidates for a range of positions in City Hall, including this year's candidacy for Mayor by Howie Hawkins.  None has broken through to get elected yet.  

Jessica Gorman/WAER News

Syracuse police officers are struggling to keep up with the number of calls coming in...and the department is looking for help from the city budget.  Councilors continued hearings on aspects of the proposed budget from Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Chief Frank Fowler pointed out to Common Councilors the workload is putting a strain on staff.

John Smith / WAER News

A Republican intends to challenge a two-time incumbent Democrat for the City Council’s 2nd District seat.  Edward Ott of Syracuse is challenging Councilor Chad Ryan.  As a driver for a wheelchair transport service, Ott feels his job brings “street-level perspective” to his campaign.  It’s something he feels that most city lawmakers never see, especially if they hold office jobs.

He says that people in the district have expressed issues with crime, the Father’s Day Riot last summer and other items they’re concerned about.

The Syracuse City School Board could soon develop a policy requiring new school district hires to live within city limits.  Syracuse Common Councilors passed a resolution today that asks the School Board to create and enact such a residency policy.  The measure was sponsored by Councilor Susan Boyle, who hopes to build on a similar resolution from 2006.

Scott Willis / WAER News

After six months of deliberating, Syracuse Common Councilors Monday passed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from turning away tenants who receive federal assistance.  Long-time advocate for those with disabilities Agnes McCray says the measure is a good first step for residents with any disability to get equal access to affordable housing. 

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