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Oswego taxes to dip 2.4 percent in new budget

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow signs the 2019 city budget after it passed the Common Council.

The Oswego Common Council passed its first tax cut in 20 years last night. The 2019 budget reduces property taxes by 2.4 percent without dipping into the city’s fund balance.

Council President Robert Corradino said it is the result of fiscal responsibility on the part of the council and Mayor Billy Barlow. But he said an increase in sales tax revenue from new businesses and more visitors to Oswego is also playing a part.

“It’s almost a perfect storm in the positive if you can use that analogy," Corradino said. "It’s a lot of good things happening and also having our finger on the pulse of where we need to go as a community.”

The Oswego Common Council approved the $46 million spending plan with unanimous support. It represented a slight increase from the2.1 percent tax cut Barlow presented to the council two weeks ago. Much of the $45,000 in additional savings the council found came from the snow removal budget, which was lowered to reflect the reduction in road salt costs.

Barlow said this budget is conservative, but it still capitalizes on the rise in sales tax revenue through investments in new snow plows, upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility and repairs at city hall. Barlow said that is how he plans to sustain the lower tax cut long term.

“With the level of investment, we won’t get behind like the city did before I took office and be staring at $2, $3, $4 million of needed emergency investments every single year," Barlow said. "If you get on a path, you can sustain it, you can schedule it, plan it and you can more accurately budget.”

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.