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