City coun­cil works on 2019 bud­get

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By Charles Pritchard cpritchard@onei­dadis­patch.com

Tax­pay­ers are look­ing at an in­crease in taxes for 2019 should the pro­posed bud­get pass.

ONEIDA, N.Y. >> Oneida city tax­pay­ers are look­ing at around a 2.5 per­cent tax in­crease should city coun­cil pass the mayor’s pro­posed $18.8 mil­lion bud­get for 2019.

The to­tal tax levy pro­posed is $4.36 mil­lion, an in­crease of around $120,000 from 2018.

That amounts to $9.83 per $1,000 of as­sessed value for home­own­ers in the In­side Dis­trict, and $4.97 per $1,000 of as­sessed value for home­own­ers in the Out­side Dis­trict.

Mayor Leo Matzke said in his 2019 bud­get mes­sage that home­own­ers in the In­side Dis­trict will see a 2.5 per­cent tax in­crease, or about $2 a month for a prop­erty to­tal­ing $100,000. The Out­side Dis­trict will see a tax in­crease of 2.75 per­cent, or $1.01 a month for a prop­erty to­tal­ing $100,000.

“This in­crease will con­tinue to pro­vide our res­i­dents with year­round, 24-hour po­lice and fire pro­tec­tion, as well as the many es­sen­tial ser­vice pro­vided by the DPW, Water and Sewer De­part­ments,” Matzke said.

A num­ber of cap­i­tal projects are slated for the 2019 year, in­clud­ing $220,000 in fund­ing to re­pair the Mu­nic­i­pal Pool at Vets Field, $50,000 to resur­face Allen Park’s ten­nis and bas­ket­ball courts, $100,000 to re­place the gym floor at the Recre­ation Cen­ter, and more. Among the cap­i­tal projects is the Glen­more Dam-Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project to­tal­ing $7.35 mil­lion. The cost of the project is not coming out of the gen­eral fund, but the water fund Ward 4 Coun­cilor He­len Acker said to the Dis­patch. Acker said $7.35 mil­lion

se­rial bond for the dam is coming out of the water fund and has al­ready been paid into.

In at­ten­dance for coun­cil’s first bud­get dis­cus­sion meet­ing were Oneida City Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Cassie Rose and Oneida Fire Chief Den­nis Fields Jr.

Rose said Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment has started to work with the Cen­tral New York Re­gional Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Board in Syra­cuse on a down­town plan that the city could use as a ba­sis for an ap­pli­ca­tion for the Down­town Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Ini­tia­tive grant. Worth $10 mil­lion, the grant is awarded to com­mu­ni­ties that show they are bring­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount of jobs into the area.

“We haven’t been able to show that,” Rose said. “There would have been no way to do a com­pet­i­tive ap­pli­ca­tion, but now we have Green Em­pire Farms just a few miles down the road from city cen­ter.”

Green Em­pire Farms is look­ing to ac­quire more than 200 acres of prop­erty in the greater Oneida area and build a se­ries of green­houses to grow crops year­round. The project would build in four phases, with Phase 1 bring­ing around 200 new jobs to the com­mu­nity, Rose said.

“That, com­bined with ev­ery­thing we’re do­ing in down­town from the street light­ing pro­gram to the streetscape ini­tia­tives, will give us a strong ap­pli­ca­tion for the DRI,” Rose said.

Rose said Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment is fin­ish­ing up the Green Em­pire Farms project and get­ting ready to move for­ward. Water and sewer in­fra­struc­ture is still an on­go­ing is­sue, Rose said, and more than likely will be un­til the mid­dle of next summer.

Meet­ing with com­mon coun­cil, Fields dis­cussed the need to in­crease Ad­min­is­tra­tive As­sis­tant Kathy Erdo’s salary.

“This has been talked about for two years now and noth­ing has hap­pened,” Fields said. “I’m sur­prised she’s still here with what she makes when com­pared to other peo­ple of the same po­si­tion.”

Fields said the plan at the mo­ment was to cre­ate a new po­si­tion for Erdo. At the mo­ment, Erdo is con­sid­ered a se­nior typ­ist. Fields said an ad­min­is­tra­tive aide po­si­tion could be cre­ated and Erdo has agreed to take the pro­mo­tional exam needed for the new po­si­tion.

“The salary would be set by the coun­cil,” Fields said. “But a salary we talked about would be an in­crease of around $7,000 to $8,000.”

Comptroller Lee Ann Wells said the po­si­tion is an ap­proved civil ser­vice ti­tle by the city, but is not cur­rently a po­si­tion used.

Fields said Erdo does most of the work in­volv­ing codes and in his opin­ion, she is not com­pen­sated enough. Cur­rently, Erdo makes $31,787 ac­cord­ing to the 2018 adopted bud­get.

“Kathy has been here for 25 years,” City Clerk Sue Pul­v­er­enti said. “Se­nior typ­ist is a higher grade ti­tle than ac­count clerk and she makes less money than the ac­count clerks we hired last year.”

“I would bud­get for it,” Deputy Mayor Jim Cham- berlain said. City coun­cil agreed with Chamberlain, with Ward 1 Coun­cilor Al Co­hen say­ing he didn’t see any is­sues.

Res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to give their feed­back on the ten­ta­tive bud­get. Pub­lic Hear­ing days about the bud­get are sched­uled for:

• Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. at Oneida City Hall in Com­mon Coun­cil Cham­bers

• Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. at Oneida City Hall in Com­mon Coun­cil Cham­bers

• Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. at Oneida City Hall in Com­mon Coun­cil Cham­bers

The next meet­ing for bud­get dis­cus­sions will take place on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

CHARLES PRITCHARD - ONEIDA DAILY DIS­PATCH

City coun­cil meets to dis­cuss the ten­ta­tive 2019bud­get on Thurs­day, Nov. 8, 2018.

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