Syracuse Common Council

Syracuse Common Councilors have agreed to begin foreclosure proceedings on more than two dozen addition tax delinquent properties, that will be turned over to the land bank. This is the third round of foreclosure decisions by lawmakers in the last month. But, there is an end game in sight.

(Editor's note: Common Councilor Jean Kessner was invited to participate in the panel, but was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict)

Syracuse Common Councilors started the process of turning over tax-delinquent properties to the new Land Bank of Syracuse and Onondaga County on Monday, beginning a new era as the city tries to get rid of many dilapidated or abandoned properties that have been a blight on some neighborhoods, and a burden for tax collectors.

The city of Syracuse is cracking down on property owners who don't pay taxes. But, as lawmakers prepare to vote on whether the city should seize over 100 tax delinquent properties, there are some concerns about those properties that aren't vacant.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse lawmakers have begun weighing the economic benefits and potential uses of drones with the surveillance and privacy concerns that arise simultaneously.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

An increasingly disgruntled Syracuse common councilor accused the mayor's office of misleading taxpayers about the city and Onondaga County's merger of their planning departments.

Just as Monday's routine pre-meeting study session was wrapping up, councilor Lance Denno called the mayor's press secretary, Alexander Marion, before them.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Just a handful of Syracuse residents turned up to the Common Council's first public hearing on the lengthy and divisive debate over the future of Interstate 81 through the city's core.

Previous public forums hosted by transportation planners brought out hundreds of people and generated an equal number of comments and different opinions.

Connective Corridor

Concerns over tax increases for businesses along the Connective Corridor in Syracuse have derailed plans to keep the new infrastructure maintained.

When it was time to vote on creating a new Special Assessment District for the businesses on the eastern end of the Connective Corridor, Councilor Lance Denno tabled the resolution, essentially blocking a vote at today's meeting. He says some businesses would see their city tax bill double if this new district is created.

elh70 / via Flickr

It looks like The Sound Garden, a popular new and used music and videogame store in downtown Syracuse, will be staying put after all.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Friday afternoon announced a deal has been reached on proposed legislation that would exempt games, videos and music from the provisions of the city's new secondhand dealer law.

Those provisions had forced the owner of the store to make plans to close down the Armory Square fixture. The Sound Garden has a second location in Baltimore, Md.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Audio Pending...

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan has officially announced that he'll join the primary for mayor of Syracuse.

Hogan says this election will paint a clear difference between him and Mayor Stephanie Miner, who's running for re-election.

"It's a choice between collaboration or combativeness, constituents or cronyism, community or concentration of power and transparency or closed door deals," he said.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

One of the sitting Syracuse common councilors who failed to get support from the Syracuse Democratic Committee this spring, has announced a primary run.

Syracuse Councilor at Large Jean Kessner will soon begin gathering the 1,000 valid petition signatures she'll need by mid-July to wage a primary election to hold on to her seat.

While Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is busy rallying Democrats across New York state as part of her role as co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, one Syracuse Democrat is accusing her of dividing the party in her hometown.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Democratic party activist Gary Morris has dropped his bid to become president of the Syracuse Common Council and endorsed current president Van Robinson Monday.

For the second time in less than two years, back taxes have been paid on the Hotel Syracuse, effectively scuttling plans for the city of Syracuse to take control of the property, and sell it to a developer. So, city officials are now looking at a "Plan B."

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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Southeast University Neighborhood Association has been fighting back against an invasion for decades.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse lawmakers Tuesday got an earful about the pros and cons of closing down a fire station as the Common Council held a hearing on the future of Station 7 on the city's east side.

quinn.anya / via Flickr

Syracuse will begin going after the roughly 19,000 drivers with multiple unpaid parking tickets in a few months thanks to a new deal to ramp up "booting."

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The son of a former Syracuse Common Councilor has announced plans to run for the Syracuse 1st District councilor seat. Joe Carni is the latest of a crop of young candidates Republicans are hoping will revitalize their party in the City of Syracuse.

mrsmecomber / via Flickr

A group of private jet owners will build and operate its own hangar at Syracuse's Hancock Airport.

The Syracuse Common Council has temporarily pulled the "Ban the Box" legislation in order to conduct more public outreach and rework the legislation.

Syracuse's Director of Planning and Sustainability Andrew Maxwell accused the Syracuse Common Council Monday of "moving the goalposts" on enacting the city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which would be a guide to future zoning and land-use policies in the city.

The Syracuse Common Council is considering legislation that would prohibit businesses from screening prospective job applicants about their history of criminal convictions, early on in the hiring process. It's a concept meant to stop discrimination against potential employees with a criminal record.

The city of Syracuse has reduced the number of city workers it has on the rolls of a non-city run agency as a way of skirting civil service rules.

The Syracuse Common Council voted Monday to give the city's newly formed land bank a loan for startup costs and to share property tax revenue so the land bank can function over the long term, but some felt the details of those plans left a lot to be desired.

Jinjian Liang / via Flickr

It began sending out foreclosure notices for the first time last month, but a long-term funding source for Syracuse and Onondaga County's newly formed land bank is just starting to come into focus; though some details remain to be worked out.

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.

Syracuse Common Councilors are expanding the reach of the city's living wage ordinance. The changes will apply to about 50 workers at the Hancock International Airport.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse is the latest community in New York state that has banned bath salts and other synthetic drugs.  Legislators are taking a two-pronged approach to fight the substances, that can cause violent and unpredictable behavior among abusers.

Bob Dougherty is new to politics, but in his first year on the Syracuse Common Council, he's been drinking from a fire hose.

Given the current political climate- both national and local- why did he choose now to become involved?

Pages