Lawmakers block vote on Connective Corridor maintenance

Jun 10, 2013

Concerns over tax increases for businesses along the Connective Corridor in Syracuse have derailed plans to keep the new infrastructure maintained.

When it was time to vote on creating a new Special Assessment District for the businesses on the eastern end of the Connective Corridor, Councilor Lance Denno tabled the resolution, essentially blocking a vote at today's meeting. He says some businesses would see their city tax bill double if this new district is created.

"Quite frankly, I don't think it's advisable," Denno said at Monday's meeting. "I don't think it's good policy, and I think we have to protect small businesses that we have and encourage them to grow."

Owen Kearney, of the city's sustainability department, says the extra tax dollars would pay for extra maintenance. He also adds these are things the city typically doesn't do, like new landscaping along the sidewalk. Kearney says the Connective Corridor is already having a positive impact on businesses in its path.

"This corridor is increasingly well positioned and I think has started to benefit from the development around it," Kearney said.

This move could put at risk $500,000 Syracuse University was giving the city to pay for equipment involved in taking care of the corridor. Lawmakers could revisit the issue in coming weeks.

The Connective Corridor is a strip of cultural development meant to connect SU with downtown Syracuse.

The 'Sound Garden amendment'

Councilors also made a change to the city's secondhand dealers law today that would exempt popular Armory Square music store, The Sound Garden, and prevent it from leaving town.

The amendment cuts back on the reporting The Sound Garden needs to do when accepting used media for resale. The prospect of the store leaving Syracuse caused uproar among fans, who quickly amassed 5,000 signatures on a petition to keep the store open.

The owner of The Sound Garden had threatened to leave the city because of the new law. Mayor Stephanie Miner and Councilor Khalid Bey announced the compromise Friday afternoon.