Miner Releases City Budget for 2016-2017 Fiscal Year

2016-17 Budget Includes New SU Service Agreement, Funding for New Police and Fire Classes, and No Increases in Property Taxes or Water and Sewer Rates

Budget Also Highlights $1.1 Million in Savings from Miner’s Decision to Forgo NYS Pension Borrowing Program

Miner: The City of Syracuse Has Made Significant Progress in Addressing the Reality of our Fiscal Challenges

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mayor Stephanie A. Miner today released her 2016-2017 budget for the City of Syracuse. The spending plan, which totals just over $706 million, includes funding for both the City of Syracuse and Syracuse City School District. Mayor Miner also released a video, which can be viewed here, explaining the details of the budget and discussing the City’s spending priorities.

Syracuse City Hall

Syracuse City Hall

“The City of Syracuse has made significant progress in addressing the reality of our fiscal challenges.  Through innovative thinking, creative strategies, and making tough decisions, we have been able to save money and make important investments in our future,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner in her budget letter sent to Common Councilors. “We have made much progress through right-sizing government, responsibly addressing our expenses, and investing in program priorities that make our community stronger. We have been recognized by our credit ratings agencies for our efforts and rewarded with more affordable rates for bonding. There is still much work left to be done, especially when addressing our largest cost drivers: employee benefits, pensions, and state mandates. I look forward to continuing a productive, healthy discussion of these issues with the members of our Common Council and the people of our community in the fiscal year ahead.”

The Mayor’s spending plan provides $706, 576,926 for City and School District operations. The School District receives 59% of these funds and the City receives 41% of these funds. Highlights from the proposed budget include:

  • Pensions The City’s pension bill will decrease by $1.1 million.  The decrease in this bill will be made possible by the Mayor’s decision not to participate in the New York State Pension Rate Stabilization program, also known as pension borrowing and a decrease in rates.
  • Taxes, Water, Sewer Rates The Mayor does not include any increases in property taxes, water, or sewer rates.
  • Land Bank Due to increasingly aggressive tax collection resulting from the City’s ability to sell delinquent properties to the Land Bank, the City of Syracuse has received $5.6 million in back taxes and associated penalties and fees. The City will provide the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation with $1.5 million in funding.
  • Sales Tax Sales tax revenue is currently down $1.6 million based on projections. Onondaga County has provided the City with a projection of an increase of .6% for FY 2016-2017.
  • CHIPS Funding The City will receive $1.7 million in CHIPS funding from New York State for road reconstruction, street cleaning, and associated equipment. They will also reimburse the City for employees and consultants working in our traffic control operations.
  • Departmental Expenditures The City will see an increase of 1.6% in departmental expenditures, or $2.5 million. This slow rate of growth is made possible by innovative governing strategies and doing more with fewer resources.
  • SU Service Agreement Mayor Miner and Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud announced a service agreement between the City and University yesterday, which will result in $7 million being paid to the City over five years. $800,000 will be added to the City’s general fund for services in FY 2016-2017 and $500,000 will be used for neighborhood organizations under the guidance of the University Neighborhood Service Agreement Advisory Committee (UNSAAC).
  • Increased Assessments The City will see the tax levy increase by $387,587 and the School District will see an increase of  $695,174 resulting from increased assessments on properties.
  • Reserve Funds The City will use $12.1 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.
  • Say Yes The City will make a $1 million contribution to the Central New York Community Foundation to support Say Yes to Education.
  • Demolitions The City of Syracuse will spend $500,000 on planned demolitions during the year.

The budget is now submitted to the Common Council for review and approval. The Council must vote on a budget by Monday, May 9, 2016. The City’s fiscal year begins on July 1, 2016. The full budget can be viewed online here.