Thomas Gillen

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Homeowners living in Oswego can breathe a little easier knowing that this year's budget does not include anything close to last year's 43 percent property tax increase.

Mayor Tom Gillen's budget presentation at this week's common council meeting lasted only a few minutes, but spoke volumes. The mayor proposed a $43.3 million budget that includes a property tax increase of 1.4 percent. That translates to about $14 extra for the average $70,000 dollar home.

Democrat Councilor Fran Enwright says this year's budget comes as a big relief for taxpayers.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

On Tuesday the city of Oswego will decide whether it wants to bring back a five percent property tax cap, but many of the city's elected officials warn that it could come with some unintended consequences.

The proposed property tax cap would force Oswego to keep any tax increases to less than five percent. If the city raises taxes more than that, Oswego residents would have to vote to approve the budget. If that fails, the city must reduce the budget to keep the increase below the threshold.

redplanet89 / Flickr

The Port of Oswego is considering a new contract with an energy integration company intended to help the port save money, and possibly become a net-zero energy user.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Property owners in the city of Oswego were hammered last year with a 43 percent property tax increase. But this year, the city's mayor says he expects a much more pleasant result for the city's taxpayers, citing several positive changes in the city.

Nearly one year ago, Mayor Tom Gillen and the Oswego Common Council were heavily criticized for their passage of the massive tax hike.

Takashi Nishimura / Flickr

Harborfest, an annual four-day event that brings more than 100,000 people to the city of Oswego, begins Thursday.

The Oswego Police Department says they are beefing up patrols to prepare for the influx of people and to try to keep everyone safe, but Police Chief Tory DeCaire says they always need extra help.

"We rely heavily on outside agencies and the law enforcement assistance that they provide," DeCaire explained. "We are going to have officers on foot, on bike, on ATVs, as well as marked police cars, and officers detailed at specific venues."

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Homeowners in the city of Oswego will be able to voice their opinions at a pubic hearing on a proposal to reinstate the city's five percent property tax cap. The original limit was removed in 2011, but after the city's common council approved a 43 percent property tax increase in December, support has been growing to bring it back.

But Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen says this year's tax hike was unavoidable.

Cassandra Genua

Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen has vetoed one of the two resolutions passed just days after this year's controversial Bridge Street Run. The Oswego Common Council unanimously passed a measure to bill SUNY Oswego for overtime costs accrued by police, fire and public works department associated with the unsanctioned annual pub crawl.

Nearly 30 people were arrested and two were injured during this year's event. Three students also overdosed on heroin during Bridge Street Run, but police say the event is not to blame.

Leah Landry / WRVO

Students on the SUNY Oswego campus have been taking to social media to voice their concerns about proposals to change the tradition of Bridge Street Run, an unsanctioned bar crawl that draws hundreds of students and others to the city to celebrate the last day of classes.

Leah Landry / WRVO

The city of Oswego Common Council voted unanimously Monday night to ban the Bridge Street Run, a decades-old pub crawl that draws hundreds of SUNY Oswego students to downtown Oswego each spring on the last day of classes. 

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Oswego's Common Council was recently presented with a petition seeking to add a five percent tax cap back to the city's charter, which was removed in 2011. The city of Oswego continues to deal with resident complaints about last year's 43 percent property tax hike, and struggle with balancing its budget.

Lawyer Kevin Caraccioli got more than 500 people to sign the petition. He says the tax cap would work in the same way as it does in school budgets, requiring city voters to approve budgets that surpass the tax cap.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Many upstate New York municipalities are struggling with higher taxes and are scrambling to find additional revenue sources. The city of Oswego is no different and the mayor is trying several approaches to raise money.

Mayor Tom Gillen says the city is examining every nook and cranny of the budget to try to find ways to save money or bring in revenue.

Oswego decides against employee furloughs

Jan 31, 2014
Doug Kerr / Flickr

The city of Oswego is making some changes to the budget it passed in December, by moving away from the city-wide furloughs it had previously imposed.

The furloughs included in this year's budget would have equated to about a four percent pay decrease to every city employee in Oswego. But now those mandatory days off aren't taking place, following the Common Council's decision to dip into the city's enterprise fund.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

The city of Oswego is trying to regain what years of population decline and lost manufacturing jobs have taken away. According to Mayor Thomas Gillen, part of that reclamation means revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.

Gillen said the Oswego Renaissance Association is speaking with local banks to secure funding for small loans, grants or matching funds to assist homeowners in making needed repairs.

The money would also be tied to neighborhood development, encouraging neighborhoods to take on projects together.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

A small crowd gathered at Oswego's Veterans Memorial Park earlier today for a Veterans Day flag lowering ceremony and memorial dedication for members of the military lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cold, rainy weather did not stop veterans and their families from attending the event, where the national, state and POW/MIA flags were lowered, folded and given to Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen for safe keeping through the winter months. The flags will be raised again on Memorial Day.

Gino Geruntino/WRVO

Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin are taking part in a six-week energy reduction challenge, developed by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and NYSERDA.

Energy Challenge Coordinator Samuel Gordon says the idea is to reduce wasted energy.

"It's really not about competing against one another to reduce energy consumption," Gordon said. "We're really competing against ourselves, because about 30 percent of the energy that we use in our homes is wasted."

Harborfest attracts people, dollars to Oswego County

Jul 26, 2013
Oswego Harborfest/Facebook

The city of Oswego's Harborfest began last night, and is estimated to draw more than 100,000 people to the area for a weekend of music, food and fireworks. For Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen, it's also a boon for the city's coffers.

"We hope to make probably $50 million for the weekend," Gillen said. "It's a big impact on the entire community within ten miles of the city of Oswego. Hotels, restaurants, just general sales tax revenue is dramatically impacted over this. So, it's an incredible economic boon to the city and the community. It comes at a cost, though."

Some budget cuts approved for Oswego Fire Department

Nov 28, 2012

The Oswego City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve Mayor Thomas Gillen’s proposed budget. That will mean a property tax rate hike of about 11 percent.