Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner isn’t backing down from her opposition to a proposal to merge the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County into a metropolitan government. The mayor doesn’t see any benefit to city residents in the 50 proposals included in the final report of the Consensus Commission on government consolidation.
Miner says if followed through, the recommendation to create a metropolitan government, would leave the city in a weak position on a couple of fronts.
"This would doom the city of syracuse to eternal poverty, because of stripping it’s assets and leaving its liabilities."
Miner says city residents would be saddled with a billion dollars in debt that other residents in a new metropolitan government wouldn’t have to pay. And she says such a governmental configuration, would abandon residents along with the Syracuse City School District.
"It also would take away effective advocacy from the school district and for people who live in the city of Syracuse at the time when we need more people to participate in the process, not less.”
Miner’s opposition is also intertwined with a strained relationship between the Democrat and the Cuomo administration. She believes it’s no conicidence that Consensus moved from talk of better delivery of municipal services, to creating a new government structure, at the same time the Cuomo administration began pushing government consolidation.
“By allowing it to become part of the discussion and the hunger games proposal and the upstate revitalization initiative and state of the state proposals and state of the county proposals, the recommendations don’t benefit the people of the city of syracuse. ”
The Consensus Commission final report was three years in the making, it’s made up of 50 recommendations for government consolidation, including creation a new municipal government entity that would include an elected executive and a 33-member legislature.
And Miner says she’s not sure government consolidation actually saves taxpayer dollars. Miner says every consolidation she’s seen has ended up costing taxpayers more money, and not less.
"Because among other things… everybody rises to a higher pay level. And this idea that you can take two budget lines, from two budgets that have similar titles and combine them and get savings, it just doesn’t work that way in government.”
Miner says academics from Cornell and Louisville back her up.