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Syracuse budget passes with amendments reallocating funds toward housing initiatives

The Syracuse Common Council voted on the $341 million city budget with 30 amendments.
Ava Pukatch
The Syracuse Common Council voted on the $341 million city budget with 30 amendments.

The Syracuse Common Council passed Mayor Ben Walsh's $341 million budget with 30 amendments for the upcoming fiscal year.

Council Pro Tempore Pat Hogan said the 30 amendments reflected the council's priorities on addressing the city's housing crisis.

"What we did is we looked at the other city departments and we carved out money where there were vacant positions," Hogan said. "And used that in order to fund Home Headquarters, give them a half a million dollars, give the Land Bank a half million dollars and a half million dollars to our housing trust fund."

The council cut 14 vacant positions, either unfilled or newly proposed, and reallocated $1.5 million to housing initiatives in the city.

Walsh said despite the amendment changes, he views the council and his administration as aligned in their priorities.

"From the Land Bank to the Housing Trust to Home Headquarters, this administration has a long track record of supporting those organizations and initiatives," Walsh said. "I'm certainly not opposed to additional funding, but again, in order to make that funding available, cuts were proposed and again, we wouldn't have had them in the budget if we didn't think that those positions and those programs were important."

Other changes the council made included cutting a $200,000 union salary study. The council moved $5 million in AIM funding from the state government for the city to the general reserve fund. The council did not touch Walsh's proposed 2% property tax hike.

Walsh has until May 20 to review and veto any of the amendments. Hogan said if the mayor does veto anything, he's confident the council will override the veto.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.