Stephanie Miner

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The head of the Syracuse public school teachers union and the superintendent of the district will sit down this week in hopes of repairing a fractured relationship. 

Mayor Stephanie Miner, a former labor lawyer, will mediate the discussion. 

Ken Hawkins / Flickr

Syracuse police officers have reached a new labor contract with the city, more than three years after the old one expired.

It's not uncommon for police union contracts to lapse, but this one stretched on for a while, mostly over health care costs and coverage.

The new contract is for five years, but it applies retroactively to when the old one expired at the end of 2010. The 428 Syracuse police officers will have to pay about twice as much for health insurance, but will get two percent raises for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse's public school teachers have overwhelmingly said they no longer have the confidence in Sharon Contreras to lead the city's school district.

The president of the Syracuse Teachers Association, the union representing 2,800 teachers in the district, kicked off what turned into a lengthy and raucous board of education meeting Wednesday evening at Dr. King Elementary School.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There will be skating at the Meachem Ice Rink in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood starting in October.

The rink closed earlier this year after a series of mechanical problems made it impossible to make ice. State Sen. Dave Valesky and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli combined forces to get more than $450,000 from the state’s capital budget to pay for installation of an ice mat.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says it is the latest innovation in the ice rink world.

A 1.5 percent property tax increase will stand in the City of Syracuse after the Common Council overrode Mayor Stephanie Miner’s budget veto today.

Finance Committee Chairwoman Kathleen Joy says the city can’t continue to cut it’s way out of yearly budget deficits, so lawmakers felt the time was right for this increase.

State, local and federal elected officials have created a new coalition meant to bridge the digital divide in central New York, as they say a lack of quality high speed Internet has become an economic development issue in Syracuse.

About two years ago, Bob Slivinski of Encompass Technologies  and Syracuse Innovations Group decided they wanted to move their office out of East Syracuse. But when they looked at offices in the city of Syracuse, the lack of fiber optic Internet stopped them cold.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse's Common Councilors are raising taxes in the city in a way they say won’t be painful.

Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget didn’t include any tax hikes, but the one the Common Council passed Wednesday does. The tax increase they are instituting is ultimately a wash because of a new state program that reimburses taxpayers for any tax increases they pay this year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The sports stadium expert advising Syracuse University in the recent debate over building a new stadium on Syracuse’s east side, says the future of a stadium for Syracuse sports is still under discussion. The urgency of the plan now is nowhere near what it was earlier this year, when a potential pot of state money could have become available.

Irwin Raij, of Foley and Lardner, the law firm SU hired as a consultant, says the stadium study conducted late last year was worth it for a couple of reasons.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says she's not involved in picking a replacement to help run the state Democratic Party. She stepped down from her role as co-chair of the party last week.

Miner had the job for two years, but left to, as she puts it, give someone else a chance.

Since taking the post, though, she publicly disagreed and had a falling out with the state's most powerful Democrat and person who appointed her to the post: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Public works crews have already patched 2,000 potholes on Syracuse streets in April, but there are so many more, they now have their own email address.

City officials Tuesday unveiled a new pothole repair truck and called on residents to help report potholes around town. A quarter of those repaired so far came from city complaints, officials said.

Finding more shouldn't be a problem.

The Syracuse Common Council is getting its hands on the mayor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which doesn’t call for a tax increase.

More than half of the city’s $660 million budget goes to the school district.

For the rest of the budget, on the upside, the mayor’s office expects to see increased revenue from sales tax, parking fees and property tax collection -- thanks to the land bank, the agency tasked with handling the cities massive list of vacant properties.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

If Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget is approved as is by the Common Council, the city will soon beef up its police and fire departments.

Miner says even as the city budget continues to be tight, it’s time for the new officers, with more than 200 potential police and fire retirements looming this year.

"You always are trying to manage, and manage and looking at how many retirements you're going to have and how many you’ve already had, where your needs are and how you can balance those needs,” Miner said.

mrsmecomber / via Flickr

Syracuse's Hancock International Airport, the region's major passenger airport, is now under the control of a private authority after an official handover from the city of Syracuse.

The hope is the airport will be more cost-efficient and creative.

Hancock airport was the last in the state to transfer to private control. It was a long process, said Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is touring the state, talking with cities about aging infrastructures, hoping the state can come up with some help for communities plagued by collapsing streets and broken water mains.

It’s been a really horrible year when it comes to water main breaks in the City of Syracuse, said water department superintendent Paul Trovato.

"Between the cold and being old that’s what the problem is,” he said.

Syracuse’s recently created stadium task force sat down together for the first time Tuesday. Its job is to take a deeper look at the idea of a new athletic venue in the city that the mayor put the brakes on a few months ago.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner had too many unanswered questions to get behind a new stadium for Syracuse University next to the Kennedy Square redevelopment project on the city’s Near Eastside.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Water department crews have spent a lot more time this winter digging into frozen ground, shoveling asphalt and sifting through mud to find holes in Syracuse’s plumbing as an unusually high number of water main breaks is putting a strain on city resources.

Since the beginning of the year, the city’s century-old water system has sprung more than a hundred leaks. That’s more than two a day that city works crews have had to patch and twice the number the city normally deals with.

Destiny USA

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says giving the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping center a tax break to build a hotel would be “a mistake,” but the mayor actually has little say over those incentives.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO (file photo)

A combined $100 million redevelopment project for the western side of Onondaga Lake will bring new housing and street upgrades to the village of Solvay and a 17,000 seat entertainment venue to the shoreline of the lake.

It's not the project Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney hoped to bring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to town to announce, but when Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner derailed Mahoney's and Syracuse University's idea for a new athletic stadium in the city, the county executive quickly shifted to this one.

"This project hits it exactly right," said Cuomo.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Mayors from around the state -- including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner -- testified before the state legislative fiscal committees. In what’s traditionally known as Tin Cup Day, many asked for more money, while others asked for authorization to collect more money from their citizens.

First up was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came armed with a new report that he says shows how he could enact universal access to pre-kindergarten at a “rapid pace,” in an expansion that he calls one of the largest in the nation’s history.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Mayor Stephanie Miner is putting together a task force to consider the community and economic impacts of a new sports arena in the city of Syracuse. The mayor put the issue, which has had the town buzzing in recent weeks, in her annual State of the City speech.

"I am neither in favor of a stadium nor against a stadium, but there has to be a process where people can get their questions answered," Miner said.
 

The mayor says building a new stadium, to potentially replace the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University, is a huge decision that should be made together.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse are hoping to build on the success of government consolidation projects in the past to make more moves to modernize or consolidate government in the future. How the two biggest government entities in central New York will do this is isn’t quite clear, but they say they want to get the conversation going.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used a snowy day in Syracuse to illustrate the idea of government inefficiency.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse and Onondaga County's local political landscape remains pretty much intact after yesterday's election. Republicans rule the suburbs and County government; while democrats maintain a stranglehold over Syracuse city hall. Mayor Stephanie Miner won re-election easily with 68 percent of the vote against two third-party challengers, and got a surprise congratulations call from Washington.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

The Green Party candidate running for mayor of Syracuse says the that office needs more tools to deal with a homicide crisis in the city.  Kevin Bott says if he is elected, he would fully embrace the concept of community policing to get at the root of this year's rash of killings across the city.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The pool of affordable housing in Syracuse is growing with the development of four multi-family apartment buildings along the James Street corridor.

City neighborhood and development commissioner Paul Driscoll doesn't think there are any other housing projects like it in the city: a mix of market rate apartments with affordable apartments in one building. The city is opening these four new apartment buildings after major renovations, and Driscoll said the affordability factor is key.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A week before hoping to win re-election, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner hosted her first Twitter town hall, one of her few large public engagement efforts this campaign season.

Miner spent just under an hour Tuesday fielding questions on the social media site via the hashtag #AskMayorMiner and responded through the city's official account.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

More than a quarter of all property in New York state is off the tax rolls, according to figures compiled by the state comptroller, who said it's a burden on local finances.

The 27 percent of un-taxed land in the state adds up to $680 billion in property value not being collected on, which is mostly concentrated in urban areas. The city with the most property off-limits is Rensselaer, with 65 percent.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The city of Syracuse is joining forces with a company that turns the remnants of guns and bullets into jewelry, and turns the profits towards helping reduce gun violence.

At a press conference in Syracuse Wednesday, Peter Thum, founder of Liberty United, showed off some of the jewelry that's been created from the remnants of melted-down guns and bullets confiscated by police -- some of them from Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Syracuse's Green Party mayoral candidate, Kevin Bott, met his opponent, current Mayor Stephanie Miner, for the first time Monday night and challenged her to a debate.

Miner said she was willing to listen to what he had to say and that her campaign manager would get back to him.

Bott says the people of Syracuse deserve to hear different viewpoints debate each other in a general election.

The city of Syracuse has joined the federal government in a legal motion that could end up changing the civil service tests that are the baseline for hiring police and firefighters across the state.

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