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Syracuse Common Council overrides veto from Mayor Walsh on city budget

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

The Syracuse Common Council overrode a veto from Mayor Ben Walsh which would have included a compensation salary for certain union employees in the city as part of the upcoming fiscal year budget.

Councilor Chol Majok said the council believed it was incumbent upon them to keep the city budget the way it was passed by the council. The council passed the $341 million budget with 30 amendments.

"Anything outside of that was just something we were not willing to entertain," Majok said. "So the amendments, we wanted them to stand as they are. Of course there are arguments around [the] mayor's veto that are valid. But at this point, we think that as a unit, we made the right decision."

“We made a commitment to our employee labor leadership to conduct a compensation study for certain union employees," Walsh said in a statement. "It’s consistent with our goal of ensuring fairness and equity in compensation among all city workers. We will now consult with labor leadership about potential paths forward recognizing that the next rounds of labor negotiations are scheduled to begin next year.”

Other business from the council included passing $100,000 for a comprehensive mental health program for the Syracuse Police Department. Majok said it is crucial to make sure the officers are at their best, especially following the loss of two law enforcement officers in the community.

"We know that mental health is a phenomenon that affects so many people, especially the first responders, considering that they care for so many officers being part of that group," Majok said. "We want to make sure that especially as they serve our community, that they are healthy, that they are being taken care of."

Additionally, the council passed a home rule resolution supporting a 2% hotel tax and filled a First Council District Representative Vacancy on the Citizen Review Board. Common Council President Helen Hudson also removed herself from the position of Majority Leader and the council selected Councilor Rasheada Caldwell to serve as Majority Leader.

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.