UTICA — In a presentation Monday before the city’s Estimate and Allocation Board, Mayor Robert Palmieri presented a proposed budget of $74.4 million for the city’s 2022-23 fiscal year.
Palmieri said that despite the economic difficulties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, there will again be no increase in property tax if the budget is approved with few changes.
“It was a lot of hard work” to come up with the budget and it was a team effort, Palmieri said, adding that as mayor, “When things are bad, I take all the hits. But when It’s okay, it’s teamwork.
Palmieri said factors helping his administration craft the budget include a $7 million increase in the tax base from last year, driven in part by sales, rehabilitation and refurbishment. of 800 properties seized since 2012.
In addition, the city has completed the establishment of a self-insurance health plan that covers approximately 400 city employees.
“If the city had not obtained the fiscal means to implement self-insurance, our health insurance rate would have increased by 15% this year, which is equivalent to a 4% increase in the property tax” , Palmieri said.
Breaking down proposed budget spending, 38% of the spending plan comes from the police department, 28% from the fire department, 13% from the Department of Public Works, Parks and Street Lighting, and 21% from all other expenses.
Once the E&A board reviews the proposed budget, makes revisions, and adopts it, the budget goes to the common board and it has until March 20 to pass any amendments.
The mayor has a deadline to sign or veto the amendments. If there are no amendments – or if the mayor signs the adopted amendments – the budget is adopted and goes into effect on April 1. Utica’s fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31.
At several stages of the budget process, if the mayor vetoes amendments, the Utica Common Council is given a specific time frame to override any vetoes.
The mayor’s budget address and proposed budget will be posted online Tuesday at: www.cityofutica.com.
Earlier this year, a completed financial audit of the city showed an operating budget surplus of $2.6 million, and it was noted that the city council and mayor’s administration had restricted $2 million for the paving and capital improvements. By achieving a ninth straight surplus, the city’s previously depleted unrestricted fund balance now stands at more than $11 million, according to a city statement.
While the city’s fund balance has yet to reach $12 million; the minimum level recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association, this is a tremendous achievement given that the city’s fund balance was in deficit by $15,000 when Palmieri took office in 2012, Palmieri said Monday.
Last year, the mayor’s proposed budget of $72.7 million finally passed and there was no property tax increase for city residents.