The city of Utica has climbed its way out of near bankruptcy to post a sizeable budget surplus.
Utica’s government is smaller, shedding about 100 jobs in recent years. "Fire had cuts, police had cuts, city hall employees, we had cuts," said Mayor Robert Palmieri in an interview. "So we really had to do some soul searching and employees now are doing two and three different jobs."
But Palmieri says his government in leaner and more efficient than ever. After many years operating in the red, Utica has completed a three year fiscal turnaround plan. Two years of surpluses have built its fund balance up to $3 million, an amount mandated by city law.
"We took some hard decisions. We obviously had to raise taxes, we had to make some cuts, we had to consolidate," Palmieri said.
Now the city is in a good spot, he said. Sales tax revenue is up and the city has sold several properties it owned.
The $66.4 million budget for the next fiscal year, which doesn’t include a tax increase, is being debated by the Utica Common Council. They have to vote on it by March 20, to go into effect April 1.