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Syracuse mayor proposes $341 million city budget for 2025

Ava Pukatch

For the third time in his administration, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is proposing a property tax hike in a proposed budget.

Walsh said the city continues dealing with a $30 million structural deficit, and raising taxes by 2% is one way to deal with it.

"We understand that many of our taxpayers are already burdened with significant household costs," Walsh said. "So we don't take this lightly, but we also know that those same taxpayers, those same residents, deserve good city services. And in order to do that, we need to make sure that we can pay for them.

"Increasing their taxes is something that I loathe, but the only thing that I could see worse than that is not being able to provide the critical services that we do to them every day," the mayor said.

It’ll also take $25 million from a savings account, all the city’s leftover pandemic relief funds, worth about $5 million, and increases in city and water rates, to balance the budget.

On the spending side of the ledger, there aren’t many new initiatives. There’s $2 million for the city’s new Syracuse Housing Trust Fund, and $800 thousand for summer jobs and job training for the city’s youth. There are new police and fire classes for recruits and increased aid to the city school District. But Walsh emphasizes, even though overall expenses are up 10%, this is a basic budget.

“For departments that was basically maintaining the status quo there isn't a whole lot new or extra that we're doing when we're adding positions," Walsh said. "The goal is to eliminate a position first. So again, this is an anything extra or extravagant. This is the cost of doing business in city government."

Syracuse Common Councilors have begun the monthlong budget process, with a public hearing May 1. Lawmakers will then approve their version of the spending plan in May.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.