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MAYOR PALMIERI PROPOSES FY 2018-2019 BUDGET

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri today proposed his FY 2018-2019 budget to the City’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

In recent years the City has strengthened its financial position and as a result secured credit rating upgrades by all three of the leading financial institutions, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard

& Poor’s.

In addition to securing credit rating upgrades, the City’s fiscal stress score (as measured by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System) has greatly improved as well.

The City has held the line on spending, seen a large expansion in its tax base and increased sales tax revenue through aggressive economic development initiatives.

 

By implementing conservative budget practices, City taxes increased by only one half of one percent over the past three years and stayed under the tax cap four of the last five years.

Despite these improvements, Utica, like so many upstate communities, faces an uphill battle when it comes to fiscal sustainability as revenues do not keep up with the largest budgetary cost drivers, many of which are not in the City’s direct control.

 

A breakdown of the increases in the following mandated costs are the driving forces behind the proposed budget;

FY 2017-2018 Budget                2018-2019 Proposed Budget          Increase

 

Retirement

$5,240,000

$6,422,831

$1,182,831

Long Term Debt (Paving Plan Included)

$4,830,994

$5,925,518

$1,094,524

Salary

$29,849,324

$30,388.233

$538,899

Medical Insurance

$10,238,365

$10,755,987

$517,622

 

The increases in these four mandated items create a $3.3 million deficit which would require an 11.2% tax increase just to cover this cost.

After countless meetings with department heads, Comptroller Bill Morehouse’s office and our budget team, the proposed budget for FY 2018-2019 is $72.5 million.

Compared to the FY 2008-2009 budget which was $66.8 million, City spending has increased by an average of less than 1% annually over the past 10 years. Given the increases in mandated costs over the past decade, this is a testament to the City’s fiscal discipline.

Expenditures were kept as low as possible, but in order to meet the City’s financial obligations and ensure a fiscally responsible and balanced budget the proposal comes with a 7.8% tax increase.

Mayor Palmieri stated, “While this is a challenging budget given the increases in mandated costs, the track record and credibility of our Administration in improving the finances of the City is strong among experts in the financial community. For the seventh consecutive year, I am proposing a fiscally responsible budget which provides the services needed for continued economic development, funds quality of life initiatives and invests in our City’s infrastructure.

The Mayor continued, “By working together, we have made tremendous progress, and I look forward to continue working with residents and my colleagues in City government to keep Utica moving in the right direction.”

FY 2018-2019 Mayor's Proposed Budget