Palmieri no better than Roefaro

Posted in the Utica Forum

guilty

Syracuse, NY

#1 Feb 17, 2013
Utica Mayor Palmieri Discusses What To Expect In His Upcoming Budget
By Jeff Monaski 2 days ago Jeff Monaski, WIBX
Highlights of Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri’s appearance on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning:

Last year the city started the budget process with an $8 million deficit. That doesn’t change overnight, Palmieri said.

“We’re doing everything we can possibly do at this point. We’ve been bare bones. Roughly 85% of our budget is contractual.”
“The unions won’t be happy with me. The people won’t be happy with me.”
“We can cut and cut and cut. But, we need economic development.”
Response to criticism about the lack of a budget, and his absence at council meetings:

Referring to the council,“Some of the grandstanding, it goes with the territory.”
I prefer not to go to the council meetings, that is their meeting.
I speak with five or six councilors on a regular basis.
”My focus is only one focus, moving our city forward.”
Budget will be out on February 19th.
The full interview can be found in two parts here:



We all know what Roefaro did. He spent every dime of the city reserves making for three downgrades by Moody's and made it more expensive for the city to borrow money. He ran up a 8 million dolar city debt. He mis-spent $360,000 of HUD money the city has to pay back. He raised unsustainable public safety contracts beyond what ordinary citizens can pay and he has added a generation tax increase for you, your children and your childrens children, quits office and goes on the road with little cousin Angelo and Schumer who pays him very well with more taxpayers money. What a country we live in and he got away with it all that taxpayers most now suffer for and pay. He did this in the worse economy since the great deppression was his words and now Palmieri is no better justifing leasing a brand new police car for himself while telling taxpayers the city is broke and he's raising your taxes and blames the council for making public safety cuts as the reason there over-budget not the departments heads fault.You wonder why people and businesses are still leaving and can't make it here.
Dale

Utica, NY

#2 Feb 17, 2013
He is worst, at least Roefaro is smart. Palmieri is down right stupid. No education at all.
followin roefaro playbook

Syracuse, NY

#3 Feb 17, 2013
THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF SANTAFARO"S GENOROSITY WITH TAXPAYERS MONEY AND WATER BOARD FUNDS AND HIS POLICIES UTICA STILL IS SUFFERING FROM. THANK DAVE ROEFARO FOR NOTHING

“Our medical costs last year was $10 million,” he said.“So, even at 5 percent, which is reasonable, that’s the tax cap right there.”

Three of the city’s four unions – police, fire and CSE A— are under a health care agreement with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, while the Public Works Department has its own agreement.

“If we were able to pool those costs, we’d save a lot of money,” Meola said.

The agreement covering three unions does not expire until 2015 and the police and fire unions have said in the past that they have no intention of renegotiating that agreement before it expires.

That could leave the door open for the council or the mayor to cut more positions, something that both unions suffered last spring.

The police department is operating at or close to its bare minimum and further cuts potentially will endanger public safety, said Sgt Dominick Nitti, head of the police union.

“There are certainly rumors of cuts, but there always are,” Nitti said.“How are we going to keep the city safe if we can’t keep ourselves safe?”

Robert Wenner, president of the fire department’s union, did not return calls for comment.

The city needs to find a way to come up with a balanced budget without cutting services, said Minority leader Rocco Giruzzi, R-3.

“I’m not looking to cut services because that won’t really resolve anything,” he said.“If they can come up with a balanced budget that’s within the two percent cap, I’m all for it, but I don’t want to cut services.”

On the bright side, the city’s deficit for next year’s budget should not approach the $8 million hole it faced earlier this year.

But it’s still going to be significant.

The budget does not have to be passed until the spring, but department heads and the Common Council are working behind the scenes to get a good idea of what the city will be facing in 2013-14.

Last year, the Common Council passed a $63 million budget with a 9.9 percent property tax increase. With retirements and layoffs, the city has approximately 70 fewer workers than it did a year ago.

Several council members have stated publicly that they want to keep the budget within the state’s 2 percent property tax cap but privately admit that will be a difficult task.

Based on his estimates, the city is facing between a $3.8 million and $4.2 million budget hole and will have to look for more cuts, said Council Majority Leader Frank Meola, D-at-large.

“Realistically, it’s the only thing left in the budget,” he said.“We need to make sure we only purchase exactly what we need.”

Given that the city is facing perennial increases in health care and pensions, the city will have to take a hard look at each department’s budget, said Mayor Robert Palmieri.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

The tax cap

As of now, the city should be within or slightly under its budget this year, said Budget Director Peter Fiorillo.

“We’re on pace, but we’re really hoping for a mild winter,” he said.

But staying within the state-mandated tax cap will be very difficult without substantial cuts.

The tax cap actually is a cap on the city’s tax levy, the amount of property tax it levies each year. So, even though the city’s budget last year was $63 million, its tax levy was $25.3 million.

At 2 percent, not taking into account some deductions that might be available, the maximum increase under the cap is less than $500,000.

The unions

Fiorillo did not have the final numbers for the city’s health and retirement contributions but noted that with even a 5 percent increase in the city’s medical costs, it was going to exceed the tax cap.

“I’m not looking to cut services because that won’t really resolve anything,” he said.“If they can come up with a balanced budget that’s within the two percent cap, I’m all for it, but I don’t want to cut services.”

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