Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has vetoed a last-minute property tax hike the Common Council added to the city's spending plan because she says councilors didn't bring it up for public discussion first.
"When you don’t allow that process to happen, you create cynicism and you allow people to get turned off from the process," Miner said Wednesday.
The council said city residents would have been reimbursed the roughly $12 increase on their property taxes through a state refund program. It was a last-minute add-on, councilors said, because they only learned about the refund program a week before the budget was due.
"The reality is, these are really tough decisions and we are balancing a lot," the mayor countered. "And part of what I have strived to do in making these tough decisions, particularly in the budget, is be open and transparent about the numbers, and the decisions that we make and the reason that we’re doing it."
The mayor did keep the council’s effort to increase parking violation fees in the budget, the profits from which will be given to the Say Yes to Education program.
The mayor also rejected spending increases within a handful of city departments, including the council, law department and parks and recreation.
The council has until June 1 to override her vetoes. The tax increase passed unanimously, so the votes may be there if they decide to bring it up for a vote.