The Oswego Common Council has voted five to zero to amend its taxi cab law, after working on it for more than a year. The law originally barred people convicted of felonies from driving taxi cabs within Oswego city limits, but sparked a lawsuit from the Workforce Advocacy Center, a group opposing job discrimination.
It's been about six months since the city of Oswego launched a mobile app allowing residents to report problems directly to city departments. The app, which cost $5,000 to build and $2,000 to maintain, has had a reduced number of reports recently, but Common Councilor Eric VanBuren said it has still been helpful for the city.
VanBuren helped get the app passed by the city last fall and said there are more than 400 users of the program. He said the app has been a good investment even though the winter season has reduced the number of reports received.
The Oswego City Common Council is pushing a more aggressive agenda to help prevent a repeat of last year's 43 percent property tax increase.
Common Council president Ron Kaplewicz says the prospect of another year with massive tax increases scares everyone at City Hall, and is prompting the council to get more creative with the decisions it makes and the revenue sources it taps.
The Oswego Common Council passed its 2014 budget plan last night, including a more than 40 percent property tax increase. But instead of the boos and anger seen last Thursday night, councilors heard cheers from the hundred or so people who watched the event.
In a seemingly surprise announcement to the crowd just prior to the vote, council president Ron Kaplewicz broke the news about the city's 15 Department of Public Works jobs that were placed on the city's chopping block.
Hundreds of residents from the city of Oswego packed the gym at Oswego Middle School on Thursday to voice their concerns about the city's proposed budget. The $34 million budget originally included a property tax increase of more than 80 percent. But the Common Council cut $2 million from the budget earlier this week, dropping the possible tax increase down to about 43 percent.
William "Billy" Barlow, Jr. says age has not been a major factor during his campaign for Oswego's fifth ward Common Council seat.
Credit Gino Geruntino/WRVO
Two candidates from vastly different backgrounds are attempting to become the new voice of Oswego's 5th ward, after Common Councilor Dan Donovan's retirement. It's the only open Common Council race in the November 5 election.
One of those candidates is William "Billy" Barlow, Jr., 23, who is a small business owner and recent graduate of Arizona State University. Barlow, a Republican, says the city could benefit from making Oswego's downtown more vibrant and welcoming to out-of-town visitors.
The September 10 Democratic primary for two city-wide councilor-at-large seats in Syracuse puts the spotlight on crime and the economy.
The four-way race pits two incumbents, Lance Denno and Jean Kessner, who were not endorsed by the city's Democratic Committee and who have been at odds with the administration of Mayor Stephanie Miner at times, are running against two party favorites, Pam Hunter and Jeff Wright. Three of the four joined Grant Reeher for a forum on the Campbell Conversations.
Three candidates running for Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large in a September primary joined Grant Reheer's Campbell Conversation to talk about the role of the city's legislative branch of government.
A few days after a state audit criticized a long-used Syracuse hiring practice to get around civil service laws, the Common Council probed the issue, but councilors came down more on the side of the mayor's office than the auditors.
Money the Syracuse Common Council added to Mayor Stephanie Miner's budget for a new downtown senior center, a small business loan program and teaching assistants may never get spent, despite Miner saying she'll sign the budget as passed.
The make-up of the Syracuse Common Council was different when Thomas Valenti and his firm, Cameron Group, first approached it six years ago, but the opposition to the proposed project is still the same.
Valenti wants to develop a new off-campus bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University.
In order to do that, he's requesting a 30-year property tax break from the city.
And therein lies the sticking point.
"If you have all of these grand ideas, then you should be able to finance this project," councilor-at-large Helen Hudson says. "We just can't keep excepting all of these entities."