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Miner asks SUNY Upstate to help pay for Syracuse services

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse University President Kent Syverud and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announce a tax deal in April.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is asking SUNY Upstate Medical University to enter into a service agreement with the city, to help cover the cost of providing city services to the hospital. Miner has reached service agreements with other large nonprofits in the city, which do not pay taxes on their properties.   

Coming off the heels of the announcement that Syracuse University will provide $7 million to the city over four years for general services, Miner said she wanted to strike while the iron is hot and try to reach a deal with another big entity.

“SUNY Upstate cannot be a number one institution unless it can guarantee to its users that it’s going to receive high quality services from the city of Syracuse,” Miner said. "All of those services are vital to the future of SUNY and they’re very expensive and that’s why I’m saying SUNY should help pay for those costs."

Services such as police, fire and the department of public works; services that Miner said the city cannot keep providing for free to the 50 percent of properties in Syracuse that are off the tax rolls.

"Nonprofit institutions are very important to our economy,” Miner said. “This is really a discussion about equity, if you are receiving services, then you need to pay for those services. The city of Syracuse cannot afford to indefinitely continue to provide these very expensive services to institutions who are not helping to pay for them."

Miner attempted four years ago to reach an agreement with SUNY Upstate but is trying again now that the hospital is under new leadership. Upstate officials said they are reviewing the issue and Miner said they tell her they are open to the discussion. Miner said she will continue to pursue more service agreements with other organizations. There is still another year left in an agreement with Crouse Hospital, which pays $50,000 a year to the city. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.