Syracuse Common Council

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A vote this week to give the Syracuse Police Department $1.6 million for new vehicles became a lightning rod for a bigger issue. Some Syracuse Common Councilors say various spending items should be delayed because of the financial health of the city.

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Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York starting June 29th. But some in Syracuse want the city to opt out. 

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The city of Syracuse is looking for public input regarding a new proposed telecommunications ordinance. It could mean stronger cell phone connections for certain customers.

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Green Party candidate Eric Graf, 25, announced he is running for the Syracuse Common Council. Graf works for the Syracuse City School District and said he wants more funding for schools and smaller class sizes. He said he supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more bike lanes and more worker-owned businesses.

To pay for their progressive platform, Green Party candidates, including Graf, say they want a progressive income tax on city workers and residents.

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The Syracuse Common Council has voted to override the mayor’s veto and defund the Syracuse Land Bank of $1.5 million in the city's recently passed budget. Some councilors called into question the land bank’s performance of maintaining foreclosed properties.

Rich Puchalski with Syracuse United Neighbors offered candy to councilors who would vote to return land bank funding.

“Most of you, don’t experience what we experience day in, day out,” Puchalski said.

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In one council district in Syracuse another candidate is stepping into a race that has already seen four other candidates fight for the Democratic Party’s endorsement. It is continuing the trend of young people entering politics.

At the Green Party office in Syracuse, Serena “Rahzie” Seals, 33, candidate for the city’s fourth district, posed for pictures with supporters. Seals is trying to follow in her father’s footsteps, who once held the same seat. Seals said she is excited for the election because so many people in her generation are standing up to do something in the city.

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Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank / City of Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council will soon have to decide if they want to override Mayor Stephanie Miner’s veto to a number of amendments the council added to the budget. Those amendments include cuts to the funding of the city’s land bank.

Miner released a list of 60 properties scheduled for demolition that will have to be put on hold unless the council restores funding to the land bank, which takes over tax-delinquent properties. Many of the properties on the list have had a number of police calls and complaints ranging from drugs, trespassing, arsons and shots fired.

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Four Democratic challengers are vying for two open city-wide seats on the Syracuse Common Council. Now they will be joined by Green Party candidate Frank Cetera, who is making another run after an unsuccessful attempt in 2015. Cetera is supporting a number of progressive issues. He said the Greens are continuing to build on their movement.

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Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti has won the Democratic Party's designation in the race for the city’s next mayor. Nicoletti will likely have to face a primary in September.

Nicoletti has made several unsuccessful attempts at running for mayor before, but he has insisted that just shows his commitment to Syracuse. Nicoletti has previously said he will work to improve the city’s relationships with the county and state governments if he is elected.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says she is planning on vetoing the budget approved by the Syracuse Common Council this week. One of her big beefs with the budget is the elimination of funding for the Greater Syracuse Land Bank.

The city has subsidized the land bank for the last four years, at the rate of $1.5 million a year. The agency, which is not a city department, buys tax delinquent properties seized by the city and either demolishes them or puts them up for sale. It also is funded through state grants.

Tom Magnarelli

The Syracuse Common Council has passed a budget that includes some controversial changes to what Mayor Stephanie Miner had proposed. Miner said she will veto the changes.

The council has cut overtime from Syracuse’s fire and police departments by $1 million each. But Councilor Steven Thompson said the money cut for police overtime has been shifted to hire new officers.

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A deficit of more than $18 million currently exists in the proposed budget of the city of Syracuse. About $13 million dollars is being allocated in overtime to the police and fire departments. Some councilors say the way to reduce overtime is to hire more staff.

Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz said the department has 28 firefighters in training.

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The Onondaga Creekwalk is a 2.5 mile pedestrian and bike trial along Onondaga Creek that runs from Onondaga Lake to downtown Syracuse. A new phase of the Creekwalk will extend the trail another two miles from downtown Syracuse to the city's south side.

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Four diverse Democratic candidates are competing for a diverse, open district council seat in Syracuse. The district encompasses Syracuse University, a burgeoning downtown and some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city.  

The candidates are all close in age, ranging from 29 to 31, but they are all bringing something different to the race. Jeremy DeChario runs a food cooperative in the Westcott neighborhood.

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Two more Democratic candidates are running for two open councilor-at-large seats in the city of Syracuse. Although they come from different backgrounds, both share hopeful visions for the city’s future.

It's Kyle Madden’s first time running for office. A native of Rochester, Madden, 30, oversees Syracuse's public parking garages and ran Mayor Stephanie Miner’s reelection campaign.

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Syracuse’s Youth Council, a group of young people learning how the city’s government works, sat in on their first Common Council meeting in March. The youth council is expected to recommend topics the Common Council should take action on.

Allana Moore is a freshman at the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School in Syracuse. She said she joined the Youth Council because the problems in the city are critical. She lives on the west side of Syracuse and said she has seen a lot of violence in her area.

The Syracuse Police Department is updating the way they keep track of gangs and gang violence in Syracuse.

At the city’s common council meeting this week, the council approved the department’s request to purchase a new software system called Gangscope. The program is an online database that allows authorities to closely monitor gang activity. Syracuse Police Department Captain Richard Trudell said their current database is outdated and sees this new technology as a way to be more proactive against gang activity.

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Syracuse Democratic Councilor Khalid Bey is looking to expand his influence by running for an open at-large seat on the Common Council in November. Bey is the chair of economic development in a city where growth is lacking.

The city of Syracuse is ranked last in economic growth out of the top 100 municipalities in the U.S., according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

Bey said it is at the discretion of the mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner, to negotiate and enter business contracts and to decide how to spend the city's money.

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After months of speculation, Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti announced his candidacy for mayor. With more than 30 years in public service and several attempts at running for mayor before, Nicoletti said he is the right guy at the right time.

Nicoletti’s Republican opponent for councilor-at-large in the 2016 election said Nicoletti was only in it to become mayor; that it was a lifelong dream of his. Republicans now looking towards the mayoral race say voters are sick of career politicians. Nicoletti said that's frivolous.

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The Syracuse Common Council has approved a $49 million renovation to the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority has a goal of 30 percent local hiring for the project.

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The Syracuse Common Council unanimously approved a request that the city’s school board require new employees in the district live in the city. Currently, almost 60 percent of Syracuse City School District employees live outside of the city. The statistic is worse for teachers and administrators. School Board Chair Derrick Dorsey said it would be great to have high level employees living in the district.

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The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on a request that the city’s school board require new hires to live in the city of Syracuse. Nearly 60 percent of all employees in the district do not live in the city.

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After an unsuccessful bid for the Onondaga County Legislature, Democrat Timothy Rudd is running for Syracuse's Common Council. Rudd said he is not opposed to the idea of one day merging the governments of the county and the city.

Rudd said he opposes the current Consensus proposal to merge the governments.

QPK Design

Changes will soon be coming to the Marshall Street area near the Syracuse University campus. The city of Syracuse approved the demolition and new construction of some iconic university hotspots.

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Local activist and musician Joe Driscoll is running Syracuse’s Common Council. Driscoll is hoping to win the Democratic nomination for an upcoming open seat.  

Driscoll helped organize a large protest at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport Sunday night against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. Driscoll livestreamed the protest on Facebook. He said he has progressive ideas that he wants to bring to the city council.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority is asking the Syracuse Common Council to approve a nearly $49 million renovation to the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the promise of a new makeover of the airport at his State of the State address in Syracuse last month.

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There are going to be several changes in Syracuse City Hall next year. Because of term limit legislation, there will be a new mayor, and a new common council president.  But the next council president could be a familiar face in council chambers.

At-large councilor Helen Hudson announced Tuesday that she wants to run for the seat of council president.

“I am doing this because where people see a ceremonial role, I see an opportunity for action,” said Hudson.

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The Syracuse Common Council and the Syracuse City School District are looking for more applicants to fill the city’s newly created Youth Advisory Council. The goal is for the Common Council to receive recommendations from young people on proposed legislation.

Common Council President Van Robinson said the Youth Council will resemble the city’s council with various committees.

“What we’re looking for is a recommendation or suggestions from the youths themselves,” Robinson said. 

And he said those could be issues that councilors would not think of on their own.

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As she prepares to step down at the end of the year, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will give her state of the city speech on Thursday outlining her priorities for 2017. While the field is wide open for who will be the next mayor, some Syracuse Common Councilors are weighing in on what they would like Miner to focus on in the meantime.

Councilor Helen Hudson made her thoughts clear about running for mayor.

“Absolutely not, absolutely not,” Hudson said.

Syracuse Fire Department

The Syracuse Fire Department said it is in desperate need of two new fire trucks after two trucks reached the end of their useful life last year. The trucks will cost $1 million each and take one year to be built. Fire Chief Paul Linnertz said there are parts from the old trucks in great shape that can be reused on the new trucks. That could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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