Palmieri reflects on three terms as Utica's mayor
With the completion of his third term, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri will leave office after 12 years. Prior to his mayoral election, Palmieri served as a common councilor for fourteen years and held other city positions. Palmieri said the job has always been about serving his community in the best way possible.
“People often ask me, ‘Are you a Republican or a Democrat?’” Palmieri said. “And it’s a very easy answer: I’m a Utican, I’m an American, I’m going to always do what’s best for my community.”
Palmieri said the position has taught him more about what it means to be an effective community leader.
“As a leader, you have to bring people together, you have to motivate, you have to bring that enthusiasm,” Palmieri said. “You have to understand that sometimes there will be very difficult decisions that politically may be very hard, but you always have to do what is legally right.”
Reflecting on his career as mayor, Palmieri said today’s Utica is a far cry from what it was. He said when he entered office, the city’s finances were in a bad place.
“There was no economic development going on, your sales tax was flat, your credit rating was downgraded, a negative $15,000 of fund balance is unheard of and our fiscal stress from New York State was at 75, which is a high risk,” Palmieri said. “All the elements were there that indicated the city was in high stress at that point.”
Now, Palmieri said the fund balance is up to around $14 million dollars, commercial sites are growing and economic development is on the rise.
“The city is in the best position it’s been in maybe in my lifetime,” Palmieri said. “And I owe that all to every one of our employees.”
And although he may not be in office, Palmieri said his time serving Utica is not over yet.
“I’ve got too much energy, I’ve got too much focus,” Palmieri said. “I love this region, so I will continue to stay active.” Palmieri said he hopes to be in a position to continue to help the city soon.
Incoming mayor, Republican Mike Galime, will enter office on January 1.