By Staff –
Mayor Stephanie Miner said she plans to veto the city budget Syracuse Common Council passed Monday, which would reduce funds for the Syracuse Landbank, in addition to overtime pay for city police and firemen.
“Today’s disheartening actions from the Common Council demonstrate a lack of understanding for the serious challenges affecting the city of Syracuse,” Mayor Miner said in a statement. “I will be vetoing the disingenuous and fiscally irresponsible budget passed today by the council. The Land Bank has repeatedly demonstrated its success revitalizing our neighborhoods, returning more than 450 tax delinquent properties back to the tax rolls. Its future is reliant upon the city’s continued support, and our shared commitment of neighborhood revitalization.”
Miner said she will veto a total of 17 amendments to the city’s recent budget proposal, within the ten-day allowable time period for vetoes.
In the revised proposal, councilors have reduced overtime pay for city police and firemen by $1 million for each department, and have increased salaries and benefits for police by $1.5 million.
However, according to Miner, the city would not use the additional funds to hire a new class of police officers this year.
“The thought of having a class of new recruits is very attractive; however, to do so at the expense of cutting our overtime budget would have a crippling effect on our current operations,” Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler stated. “Each year, the calls and the demand for police services increases. Our only way of meeting these high demands is through the use of overtime. A cut of this size would pose an adverse effect on our immediate operations by decreasing our ability to man much-needed crime fighting details, and minimum staffing. When we hire a new police officer it takes about a year before they are properly trained, and legally eligible to function on their own.”
“It sounds good to tell the public they are cutting overtime when in fact, they are not,” Fire Chief Paul Linnertz stated. “The councilors know, or should know, that they are not actually cutting funding from the overtime line of the operating budget. The overtime line is one of the only expenses that can operate in the red. To balance the fire department’s budget, operating funds will have to be cut to reconcile the overtime deficit. It is my opinion that the Common Council reduction of the fire department’s budget by $1 million will have a significant impact on the day to day operation of the department.”
Following Miner’s vetoes, the budget will go back to city council for another vote. Councilors voted 8-to-1 to reduce funds for the land bank on Monday, and unanimously to reduce overtime pay for both the city and fire departments.