Stephanie Miner

Courtesy Andy Daddio / Colgate University

Hours after Hillary Clinton formally announced her campaign for president Sunday, several New York officials and fellow Democrats quickly threw their support behind the former Secretary of State, who also served as U.S. senator from New York from 2001-2009. 

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The ornate metal street lamps that line downtown or some Syracuse city streets aren’t free to keep on. Property owners are supposed to pay the electric bill, but for decades the city has been. Now, city hall wants to change that.

Business districts and neighborhoods in Syracuse that have upgraded or ornamental street lights are in what the city calls "special lighting districts." Problem is, many of them were put in place decades ago and the city either hasn’t been fully collecting those fees, or hasn’t increased them in decades either.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is calling on Congress to replenish the highway trust fund, to fix and upgrade the city’s interstates, saying the fund’s stability has implications for the future of Interstate-81.

Whatever the decision on I-81 in Syracuse is, money to rebuild or remove it will come from multiple sources, one those being the federal government. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named former Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll as New York’s next commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

This announcement comes as the DOT is trying to narrow down possible options to replace the aging viaduct portion of Interstate-81 that goes through downtown Syracuse.

The decision over whether to keep the route through downtown or to divert traffic around Syracuse has been controversial.

Current Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said it's always helpful to know people in positions of authority when decisions like this are being made.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has released what she calls a good, strong budget to the Common Council. The spending plan shows a city that’s emerging from years of fiscal uncertainty. 

The $674 million spending plan won’t raise taxes or water or sewer rates. There are no layoffs of city employees; and there’s increased revenue from building permits, parking garages and meters. There is still a $9 million deficit. But that pales in comparison to the numbers the mayor was throwing around a few years ago, when she suggested the city could go broke. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is taking a stand against Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law. Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city is banning any official travel by city employees to Indiana.

“I think it’s an important step particularly given our history of being an open and welcoming community, and saying that we value all people and the decisions that all people make.”

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the recently approved state budget took an important first step towards fixing water systems across the state. 

Miner was happy to see a $200 million fund earmarked for fixing water and sewer systems in the spending plan. Getting state support to fix aging infrastructure, is something she, other municipalities and a statewide coalition have been vocal about for months.

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As budget discussions in Albany rumble towards a conclusion, supporters of the Rebuild New York Now coalition are pressing their case, that surplus money in the state budget should fix roads and bridges and water systems across the state.  

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have joined forced to try to get more funding for urban school districts.

Miner says the leaders of the two cities believe the state has a moral and legal responsibility, to come through with just over $5.8 billion for municipalities across the state which they say is mandated from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuits several years ago.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse’s mayor says the state government is reversing a long tradition of supporting infrastructure investments in its cities.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner told the Thursday Morning Roundtable that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reluctance to help Syracuse rebuild its water main system is “completely and totally at odds with New York state’s history.”

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has found a warmer reception to her request for funds to fix her city’s underground infrastructure.

Miner met with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) while she was in the capital for a conference. The mayor’s office says it was a productive meeting and the senator was understanding of her plight.

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Syracuse’s mayor is calling on its regional public transit system to preserve its current level of service, even as the bus service faces budget shortfalls.

The Centro bus system is considering eliminating late night and Sunday bus service to close a large budget gap. Such cuts could make it hard for low income riders without a car to get to work or make other errands.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The mayor of Syracuse says her city’s high poverty rate is always on her mind, even if she didn’t mention it in her 2015 agenda.

A third of Syracuse residents live in poverty and half of Syracuse’s children are poor. That has ripple effects like a high school graduation rates that hovers around only 50 percent.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner has laid out her agenda for 2015. It focuses on the fundamentals of local government and recurring themes from her.

Miner, a Democrat, is entering her fifth year in the city's top elected office. In an address at the studios of public broadcaster WCNY, she talked about the successes the city saw in 2014, such as its high school graduation rate finally rising above 50 percent. 

Then she touched on the tension within the Syracuse school district that has embroiled it for much of the past year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The political jockeying in New York state is well underway, as special interests vie for part of an approximately $5 billion budget windfall, courtesy of settlements with the banking industry earlier this year. There’s a vocal contingent of state and local lawmakers, including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who believe that money should be used to fix crumbling upstate infrastructure. But not everyone in central New York is entirely on board with this plan.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The city of Syracuse is continuing its fight for accurate FEMA maps that will cut down on the number of homeowners who have to buy expensive flood insurance, and they have a powerful ally.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will soon have an innovation team to help develop new ways to solve city problems.

Syracuse is one of a dozen cities to win a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create an innovation team. Miner says they’ll look at using big data to solve some of what she calls the city’s "intractable problems."

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Look for a feeding frenzy in Albany next spring, when lawmakers have to figure out to do with about $5 billion in unexpected cash.  A group called Rebuild New York Now is creating a coalition of government leaders, organized labor and private business to urge Albany to spend the windfall on fixing the state’s declining infrastructure.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The city of Syracuse has joined Rochester and Buffalo in approving "Ban the Box" legislation. This was the third attempt by city common councilors to pass the legislation.

The new ordinance would prevent the city, and any contractors doing business with the city, from asking a job applicant about criminal convictions unless that person has received a job offer.

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Some of the hand-me-down gear the Syracuse police force has received from the Pentagon is harmless - and in fact pretty useful: First aid kits, 40 pairs of long johns, 50 pairs of winter boots, even electrical tape and bungee cords.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

What would the city of Syracuse do with $1 billion? Syracuse City Hall has put together a series of projects that it hopes could be the basis for a Syracuse Billion agenda, based loosely on the state funded Buffalo Billion.

Mayor Stephanie Miner says topping the wish list is replacing a 550 mile, 100-year-old water system that constantly breaks down. The project would cost $750 million.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The city of Syracuse is ready to jump into a competition for more state funds meant to spark the upstate economy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to announce a competition based on the model of the Buffalo Billion.

Cuomo, during an political stop in Syracuse last month, said he’ll start talking up the program in his State of the State speech in January.

“We’re going to ask for a billion and a half dollars to bring the Buffalo Billion type program to other cities across upstate New York," Cuomo said.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is one of the most influential Democrats in central New York, serving for a time as co-chair of the party's statewide operations. She's also one of the most outspoken. 

Miner sat down with WRVO Wednesday afternoon to discuss the city's loss of $3 million in federal funding for lead remediation from its aging homes. She discussed a number of other topics, including the increasing negativity of the race to represent the region in Congress. 

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Syracuse has lost out on federal funding for lead removal in city homes for the first time in two decades and will have to now rely on the county’s program.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, didn’t give any reason why Syracuse's application for $3 million was denied, the city said today.

"Our program funding will run out at the end of this year," said Mayor Stephanie Miner. "And then the program will be over."

HUD has given the city millions of dollars to inspect homes and remove lead every year since 1993.

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Some members of the Syracuse Common Council are at odds with Mayor Stephanie Miner about how certain landowners pay back taxes. The dispute centers on just who can use tax trusts to repay overdue bills.

The city used to allow all property owners, owner-occupied homeowners and absentee landlords alike, to use tax trusts to pay bills over time. But Miner says the policy ultimately turned into a tax loophole for some landlords, with several delinquent properties.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The federal government is dropping plans to house children fleeing violence in Central America and coming to the United States in temporary shelters, including one considered in Syracuse.

WRVO has confirmed the news, which Syracuse.com first reported this afternoon. A spokesman for the mayor said government officials had notified the mayor of the decision.

It's affective for all sites in the country considered for temporary shelters.

When Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sent a letter to President Obama offering to host undocumented Latin American children at a former convent, a spirited version of the immigration debate erupted in the area.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his interview of both Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  They discuss the  hosting decision, and also have a more general conversation about leadership and politics in the region.

Syracuse is facing a host of challenges and opportunities; front and center among them are the replacing of I-81 and the economic development of the city.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney sit down together with host Grant Reeher to discuss these key issues. 

Note: See the transcript below for highlights of the conversation.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

While Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner wants the city to be a temporary shelter for Central American children fleeing to the country, there is a vocal opposition against it.

There are strong opinions on both sides over whether Syracuse should become a temporary shelter site for the children.

The mayor was interrupted often Thursday evening by a boisterous crowd at a North Side meeting with shouts of "legal!" and applause for comments both for and against.

It took back-to-back sessions to accommodate an overflow crowd of a few hundred.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse could be a potential landing spot for unaccompanied immigrant children who’ve been crossing the Mexican border in droves in recent months. Mayor Stephanie Miner is hoping a letter to the president can bring those kids to central New York sooner rather than later.

Miner is asking President Barack Obama to consider forming a partnership between Syracuse and the federal government to help with the humanitarian needs of the kids, who are waiting for deportation hearings.

She says dealing with immigrants in the past, and in the present, is in Syracuse’s blood.

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