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City of Oswego Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget Message

City of Oswego Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget Message
By Thomas W. Gillen, Mayor

Dear Council Members:
The proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Budget for the city of Oswego, NY, is hereby submitted for your consideration.

The Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget is $43,316,588 for all funds; an increase of 1.407% compared to the original Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $42,059,851.

This reflects an increase of $1,256,737.

This increase is due primarily to retirement, healthcare costs and contractual raises.

In 2014, we committed to acknowledging the financial reality of a slow economy and the rising expenses that our city had to deal with.

This proved to be unpopular but it was the responsible thing to do.

The practice of avoiding making tough financial decisions over the years had placed our city in a financially vulnerable situation.

The economy of the city of Oswego has begun to emerge from the overall financial malaise experienced throughout the country.

We begin 2015 with the continuing challenge of controlling our spending as well as a strong commitment to growing revenue and improving the quality of life for our residents.

Our current Consent Decree has placed a significant financial hardship on every one of our residents.

It is our moral duty as well as a legal mandate that we provide a safe and clean environment for all residents of our city.

And, I am happy to state that there will be no increase in the Enterprise Fund rate for 2015.

This means that there will be no increase in water and sewer rates.

The 2015 Requested Tax Rate requires an increase of 1.407%.

This translates into an annual tax increase of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

A typical home with an assessed property value of $70,000 would see an annual increase of $20 or $1.17 per month.

On a continuing positive note, there are no layoffs or any loss of services to our residents.

The traditional practice of downsizing and the underfunding of equipment repair and replacement over the past decade, in lieu of raising taxes, has resulted in a diminution of the very services that our residents count on and define us a community.

I want to thank the department heads for the timely submissions of their requests and I especially want to thank our city chamberlain, Deborah Coad, for her knowledge, professionalism and comprehensive preparation of the attached budget proposal.

Thanks, also to councilors Ronald Kaplewicz and Eric VanBuren for their invaluable input and support of this document.

As proud Oswegonians, we all celebrate our spectacular natural resources, our historic past and our bright future.

But, in fact, our greatest resource has always been and always will be the people of Oswego themselves!

We believe that, while we will have many challenges ahead of us, we will deal with them as Oswego families have always done for generations – with strength and a total commitment to our strong family values.

And it is with pride in our accomplishments and our people that I, Thomas W. Gillen, as mayor, submit the proposed city of Oswego 2015 Operating Budget to the Common Council for consideration.

Thank you, gentlemen. It is an honor to serve with you.

Thomas W. Gillen