The City of Syracuse, like local governments across New York, is facing continuing problems with deficits. YNN's Bill Carey says just how deep the problem is will become clear as the mayor lays out a new budget plan this week.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The mayor of Syracuse delivering a lecture at Onondaga Community College. Much of the discussion dealing with the challenges of running a city. And those challenges are mounting.
By the end of the week, Stephanie Miner is due to unveil her budget plan that will again be aimed at erasing millions of dollars in red ink.
"We're looking for revenues anywhere we can find them. We're trying to be as creative as possible. Pushing the envelope. We'll continue to do that," Mayor Stephanie Miner said.
Common councilors will receive the budget plan on Friday. They, too, are bracing for tough times.
"It's going to be a very tight budget. We're going to have to sharpen our pencils and see what we can do. The priority, though, is to keep the level of service that our citizens expect," said Syracuse Common Council Majority Leader Kathleen Joy.
Again and again, city officials say the most important steps to resolve the city's budget problems in the future lie not at City Hall, but in Albany.
At the state Capitol, lawmakers have yet to act on any significant relief in the mounting costs of state mandates. Those mandates include restrictions on the way governments deal with public employee unions, restrictions that city leaders claim add millions to their costs every year.
"We're really going to end up with a limited workforce and we're going to be looking at other ways of being able to deliver the services that we have traditionally delivered. My guess is that will be a real sacrifice in those services, the way they are delivered," said Syracuse Common Council Minority Leader Ryan McMahon.
For the time being beyond cuts, the city can borrow again from its reserve funds, the city's savings account. The one thing lawmakers and the mayor are ruling out is any significant jump in property taxes.
"We can't hit the small property owner. Our gap, that is being caused by Albany, is so big that we can't raise it through property taxes. And so, there's no appetite to do it, but even if we wanted to, we couldn't," Miner said.
Making the mayor and other city officials experts on dealing with challenges.
Once the common council receives the budget, it will begin a department-by-department review of the spending plan. A final vote on the package is due by May 9th.