Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri announced he is running for a third term, this week. Palmieri is highlighting the city's successes over the last eight years, while he tries to deflect a challenge from a member of his own party.
Palmieri and a narrow majority on the Utica Common Council passed an extension of the term limits for mayor, comptroller and council from eight to 12 years in 2017. But the issue has been divisive in the community and attempts have been made to reverse the extension.
“It’s still the fact that you have to run in a race," Palmieri said. "The bottom line is going to be, the residents will make that final decision.”
Palmieri said people petitioned to extend term limits because they are excited about what’s going on in Utica and they wanted him to run again.
Since taking office, he said Utica has been rebranded as a vibrant city, infusing millions of dollars into its downtown, upgrading its financial rating to an “A” designation, while building up its fund balance.
"There is a feeling in the city at this time that, quite frankly, hasn't been felt in years and years," Palmieri said. "It's a very positive, upbeat city of Utica."
But an opposing petition drive is trying to put the term limits issue to a public vote. It failed to happen last year, but a measure to reverse the term limit extension could be on the ballot this year with Palmieri.
“What would transpire at that point, it would take effect at the next election, four year from now,” Palmieri said.
Palmieri already has an opponent in this race; Utica Councilman Joe Marino. Both are Democrats and Marino has been a critic of the mayor, saying if elected, one of the first things he would do is reverse term limits back to eight years.