The Council held a special 15-minute meeting May 6, and voted unanimously to approve the budget, with the exception of two fundamental changes, including a $250,000 increase in demolition funds for abandoned properties, and an increase in the water department’s budget by about $500,000, in order to assist in paying for water pipes and other city infrastructure.
Council members took the demolition funds from the $1 million Miner’s budget had reserved to pay legal claims for the city. In addition, they also increased the city’s sewer fund by $100,000.
The council raised its delinquent property tax estimate to pay for the expenditures.
Miner said she will sign the budget, with the council’s amendments.
“This budget keeps Syracuse on track to be a twenty-first century city on the move,” she said in a statement. “By keeping taxes, as well as water and sewer rates stable, we continue to preserve an affordable quality of life for city residents, while making important investments in programs that make a difference, like Say Yes to Education. This budget also realizes savings from prudent decisions in past years, such as not participating in the NYS Pension Rate Stabilization Program.”
“I am glad the council passed this budget without major revisions. While we have made progress, there is still much work to be done to help the city’s fiscal situation. We still have to address challenges, including working with our state and federal partners to develop new ways to finance infrastructure investments, and I look forward to working in the fiscal year to address these issues.”
Miner’s proposal also included $283 million for city operations, as well as $391 million for the Syracuse City School District.
The budget did not include increases in taxes, water rates, or sewer rates; however, the budget has projected a $9.2 million deficit for the city.
And, although it will be the smallest Syracuse has seen since 2010, the shortfall will be paid for out of the city’s cash reserves.
As a result, the city will have spent 38 percent of its reserves in the past three years.
Prior to its approval of Miner’s budget, the council held several public meetings throughout the month of April.