Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Utica Budget-What I would do if I were in charge.

Hello Friends!
My last post discussed the sorry state of both the Utica City and The Utica School District budgets. Since that time, the Utica City deficit has risen from 5 to 7 million dollars!
Really? Former Mayor's Roefaro and Julian should be taken to task for the mess that they created. A total disaster.
When I ran for mayor in 2007, my campaign slogan was "Condition Critical." How much worse it is today!
So, If I were Mayor (God Forbid!) here is what I would do:

1. Efficiency Study-  In 2010, I found a consultant to undertake an efficiency study of the City of Utica Public Safety -both Police and Fire. After a presentation to Mayor Roefaro and then Public Safety Commissioner Labella, it was agreed that we needed to retain the services of this company to finally determine if our resources were being spent as efficiently as possible on public safety.

Guess what? Not one hour after the presentation, Roefaro called our committee and changed his mind. He did not want any study done. He did not care.

Today, we are paying the price for his decision. Never mind that we had a grant that was willing to pay for more than half the 100,000 cost for the study. So what that the company we had found had a track record across the country with numerous studies accomplished, saving cash strapped communities millions of dollars.
Not in Utica. Not under Roefaro and Labella.

2. Eliminate Civil service.
Why do we continue to maintain a separate Civil Service office when Oneida County could easily take over this function? Remember the department of Weights and Measures? We consolodated that as well many years ago. The same should happen to Civil Service.

3.Sales Tax
When was the last time the local sales tax formula was looked at? The '80's? The current split is unfair and does not reflect the ratio of what is collected versus what the city receives. We need to DEMAND that the city get a bigger split.

4. Economic Development:
Enough GLDC/ Griffiss/EDGE development already! Put the resources into the city where they belong! HSBC, Harza, M& T Bank, Security Building, Adorondack Bank Building-all in need of tenants. Downtown needs a REGIONAL redevelopment initiative-we need to DEMAND IT NOW!
Downtown could be a high-tech corridor-if only we could get the EDGE big-wigs to realize it!
Put the resources downtown!
Well friends, that's it for now. Let's see of any of my ideas are ever enacted or even discussed!

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