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Syracuse Common Councilors have issues with Walsh budget

Ellen Abbott

The Syracuse Common Council has a few issues with Mayor Ben Walsh’s proposed budget. Lawmakers are concerned about a 3.5% tax increase included in the spending plan.

Councilor Joe Carni said he’s not comfortable with taxpayers footing the bills for new programs and initiatives that are pushing up taxes. And when it comes time to vote, he said he’ll be proposing some amendments to the budget. 

"We need to make sure we are spending our tax dollars as efficiently as possible, and focusing on an austerity budget instead of pushing the bill on our taxpayers," said Carni.

Carni is the only Republican member of council, so he is simply hoping that Democrats will listen to him. But according to Finance Chair Tim Rudd, those majority members have concerns of their own about the budget. That's because of a potential double whammy for taxpayers.

The 3.5% proposed increase means the city would exceed the state’s 2% tax cap, which would take away the STAR tax credit that homeowners get each year. 

"Myself and a number of other councilors want to not blow the cap, so we’re doing everything we can so that we don’t blow the cap so that people still get their STAR rebate checks," Rudd said.

He said at least six councilors would have to agree on veto-proof amendments to change the budget. 

Hearings on the spending plan continue through next week.  A public hearing on the budget will be held April 30, and lawmakers must vote on the budget by May 8.

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.