The mayor has also released a video, at https://youtu.be/UoBM06WyGhk, explaining the details of the budget.
“The city of Syracuse has made significant progress in addressing the reality of our fiscal challenges,” Mayor Miner stated in a letter to Syracuse’s Common Council. “Through innovative thinking, creative strategies, and making tough decisions, we have been able to save money, and make important investments in our future. We have made much progress through right-sizing government, responsibly addressing our expenses, and investing in program priorities that make our community stronger. We have been recognized by our credit ratings agencies for our efforts, and rewarded with more affordable rates for bonding. There is still much work left to be done, especially when addressing our largest cost drivers: employee benefits, pensions, and state mandates. I look forward to continuing a productive, healthy discussion of these issues with the members of our Common Council, and the people of our community in the fiscal year ahead.”
According to Miner, the school district will receive 59 percent of the funds, while the city will receive 41 percent.
Here are some highlights from the city’s proposal:
- Pensions: The city’s pension bill will decrease by $1.1 million. The decrease in this bill has been made possible by the mayor’s decision not to participate in the New York State Pension Rate Stabilization program, also known as pension borrowing.
- Taxes, Water, Sewer Rates: No increases in property taxes, water, or sewer rates.
- Land Bank: Due to increasingly aggressive tax collection, resulting from the city’s ability to sell delinquent properties to the Land Bank, the city of Syracuse has received $5.6 million in back taxes, and associated penalties and fees. As a result, the city will provide the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation with $1.5 million in funding.
- Sales Tax: Sales tax revenue is currently down $1.6 million based on projections. Onondaga County has provided the city with a projection of an increase of 0.6 percent for FY 2016-2017.
- CHIPS Funding: The city will receive $1.7 million in CHIPS funding from New York State for road reconstruction, street cleaning, and associated equipment. They will also reimburse the city for employees and consultants working in traffic control operations.
- Departmental Expenditures: The city will see an increase of 1.6 percent in departmental expenditures, or $2.5 million.
- SU Service Agreement: Mayor Miner and Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud announced a service agreement between the city and university yesterday, which will result in $7 million being paid to the city over five years. The amount of $800,000 will be added to the city’s general fund for services in FY 2016-2017, and $500,000 will be used for neighborhood organizations under the guidance of the University Neighborhood Service Agreement Advisory Committee (UNSAAC).
- Increased Assessments: The city will see the tax levy increase by $387,587, and the school district will see an increase of $695,174, resulting from increased assessments on properties.
- Reserve Funds: The city will use $12.1 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.
- Say Yes: The city will make a $1 million contribution to the Central New York Community Foundation to support Say Yes to Education.
- Demolitions: The city of Syracuse will spend $500,000 on planned demolitions during the year.
Miner has submitted the budget to city council for review, and the council must vote on the spending plan by May 9.
The city’s fiscal year begins July 1.
Visit http://www.syrgov.net/uploadedFiles/2016-2017_Proposed_Budget.pdf to view the full budget online.