The Oswego Common Council passed its first tax cut in 20 years last night. The 2019 budget reduces property taxes by 2.4 percent without dipping into the city’s fund balance.
Council President Robert Corradino said it is the result of fiscal responsibility on the part of the council and Mayor Billy Barlow. But he said an increase in sales tax revenue from new businesses and more visitors to Oswego is also playing a part.
“It’s almost a perfect storm in the positive if you can use that analogy," Corradino said. "It’s a lot of good things happening and also having our finger on the pulse of where we need to go as a community.”
The Oswego Common Council approved the $46 million spending plan with unanimous support. It represented a slight increase from the 2.1 percent tax cut Barlow presented to the council two weeks ago. Much of the $45,000 in additional savings the council found came from the snow removal budget, which was lowered to reflect the reduction in road salt costs.
Barlow said this budget is conservative, but it still capitalizes on the rise in sales tax revenue through investments in new snow plows, upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility and repairs at city hall. Barlow said that is how he plans to sustain the lower tax cut long term.
“With the level of investment, we won’t get behind like the city did before I took office and be staring at $2, $3, $4 million of needed emergency investments every single year," Barlow said. "If you get on a path, you can sustain it, you can schedule it, plan it and you can more accurately budget.”