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Fulton City Budget is $300K from Fitting Under State Tax Cap

If the Fulton city budget was approved today, it would have a tax increase of 7.5%.  Between now and the end of the year, Mayor Ron Woodward said he will be going line-by-line through the budget to shrink it to fit under the state’s property tax levy cap.

In the last couple of weeks, he said he and the members of the Common Council have trimmed a $750,000 increase in spending down to $300,000, cutting the tax levy increase from 14% to 7.5%.

The city’s cap is 3% this year because it has an unused 1% from last year to add to the 2%.

Woodward said the city budget has been hit by three things that are beyond its control:

  • A $250,000 increase in health insurance costs;
  • A $160,000 increase in state-mandated pension costs;
  • And the loss of large amounts of tax dollars from the state-ordered reduction in the assessment of the hydropower plants in the city and the agreement to lower taxes on the closed Birds-Eye plant.

The Mayor said he’s made a host of small cuts in budgets to get to the point of a 7.5% tax levy hike.  So far, he said, these cuts will not result in a loss of services to taxpayers.

The city has also reached new contract agreements with its police and fire department unions, which will see union members contributing more towards their health insurance.  Woodward said workers represented by CSEA have rejected a similar contract offer and the issue may have to go to a mediator.

He said he is hoping to make further reductions without cutting either services or jobs.  “We’re lean and mean now,” he said. “And we’re gonna get leaner.”

The city has cut 21 positions in the last five years to come to what Woodward says is “the lowest level in many years.”  He said the city worked hard this year to bring down overtime in the public works department, though it is far more difficult in the city’s fire department, where mandatory minimum staffing creates large overtime costs with every sick day.

Woodward said he doesn’t know yet where he’ll find the last $300,000 to bring the tax levy under the cap, but the search begins today.  He’s got about three weeks.  The Common Council Tuesday agreed to hold the public hearing and vote on the 2013 budget on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council chambers.

6 Comments

  1. I have a wonderful idea to help with this enormous budget gap. Lets dissolve the City and make us a Village. That will eliminate the need for health insurance and pension costs. We have no more to give. If you raise taxes you will see more business and our residents leave. WE CAN NOT AFFORD ANYMORE MONEY. We have no more to give. So please give this matter great deal of thought it may be just what we need to do.

  2. How much further does this community have to sink before the Mayor and city council realize they very soon will be presiding over nothing but welfare residents? Single family home values are being battered by the poor neighborhood conditions and the continued tax increases. People are taking their lumps when they can afford it and getting out of here and yet the city government year after year continues to allow the decay and raise taxes at the same time. When does it all end? When there is no one left to care?

  3. Fulton taxpayers are already paying the highest taxes of any city in the state and this Mayor wants to squeeze more out of us on top of the already ridiculous amounts we are paying, year after year. I heard nothing about cutting more employees in the administrative areas, because we obviously are overstaffed for the size of the city. Mayor cut into your sacred cows, eliminate people, pensions, health insurance cost. There is plenty of us homeowners that are going with out health insurance so we can pay our mortgages, and cutting back on everything. Many of these problems are because you had no foresight in the past ten years you have been running things. Come on sheeple it is time to speak up and let him know what you think !

  4. Come on people wake up! We are already the highest taxed city in NY, and this guy the mayor is snowing us. Do you understand that unless he makes drastic cuts to his staff, we will be facing this problem next year and the year after and then he retires. What going to happen next year to make this better? He messed this city up for his lack of foresight over the last ten years. We all have been cutting back in our families budget some of us don’t have pensions and health insurance either, it is past time he cuts his sacred cows and gets rid of people. He is not telling us the truth and it’s past the time for us to let him know what we think about all this ! We need to be attending these meeting and calling the city to let them know what we think !

  5. Recently it was published that New York State was the highest state taxed. What they didnt mention was that Fulton NY was the highest city taxed.
    I agree with the above comment to have the city form a village and maybe save what residents you have that pay taxes here.
    I for one will be giving one more thing if the tax hike goes threw. Giving the City of Fulton one more house on the market . For I am a working proffesional that lives in the city. I however can not afford to pay anymore taxes here.

  6. i am sick and tired of being and fall guys for all the city problems. the dpw in down at least 10 workers in the last year . the ot in the department is less then last year. if you dont believe me get off your high horse and foil th ot records, as far as insurance goes we what to pay our fair share and we agreed to it we just what it to hurt less 2000 a year more is not right, they are people that what to destory the city of fulton because they dont like the mayor and you know who you are get off you high horse and less work together to save the city

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