Although Oswego's residents are facing a nearly 82 percent increase in their property taxes, the city's lawmakers say there isn't much fat left to cut from the proposed budget. They say the changing economic atmosphere in the city is weighing heavily on this year's budget.
Earlier this year, the city of Fulton was placed on New York state's list of fiscally distressed communities. Now it's the first municipality in the state to sign up for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recently created Financial Restructuring Board. The ten-person board offers cities management recommendations and grants to help them implement financial changes and get back on their feet.
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward, Sr., says the city's struggles are the result of several factors, including the loss of two large employers in the area.
Watertown's City Council contest pitted two fiscally conservative incumbents against two political newcomers who want city government to think more broadly about its role. The voters went for one of each.
Small business owner Teresa Macaluso led the pack by a comfortable margin to keep her seat for a second four-year term. She says good budget management will always be her top priority. "Without a budget, a balanced budget, we don't get any of the services that we want, things fall behind, and then before you know it, you're in trouble," she said.
Today marks the first visit by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Syracuse since early October -- and the first public meeting between Cuomo and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner since a widely-publicized difference of opinion between the two.
The disagreement was over how the state should help cities like Syracuse deal with financial stress. Miner calls it nothing more than political soap opera, fueled by the media.
The pleas of Syracuse firefighters pleas were answered by the city's common councilors as they voted to restore cuts to the fire department. But, the vote by the council to shift money in the mayor's proposed budget, doesn't mean the Syracuse Fire Department will get that money.
Syracuse firefighters have made a last gasp attempt to save Engine Company Number 7 from the Mayor's budget ax. Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed budget would shutter the crumbling station, as well as cut four members from the ranks of the firefighters.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed election year budget includes no increases in taxes or fees; there are also no proposed layoffs. But despite spending cuts and consolidations, the city's fund balance takes a big hit, in order to fill a multi-million dollar budget hole.
Syracuse common councilors are trying to get a clearer snapshot of the city's fiscal problems. Lawmakers have been holding a series of meetings to try to figure out how the council can take a more proactive approach to dealing with an impending budget implosion.