Hearing Set On Fulton Budget, Resolution For Common Council Raise

FULTON, NY – The city of Fulton’s 2018 budget will be up for discussion at a public hearing set for Tuesday, December 12.

The $16,492,000 budget will be available on the city website or at the Clerk/Chamberlain’s office a week prior to the public hearing.

Members of the public can review the budget and weigh in at the public hearing on December 12, opening after the public comment portion of the regular common council meeting to begin at 7 p.m. at the Fulton Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.

Despite a preliminary tax increase of 6.5 percent, Mayor Ron Woodward and City Clerk/Chamberlain Dan O’Brien worked with city department heads to make reductions resulting in a 0.5-percent increase, though all were hopeful the end result would be a zero percent increase.

From there, members of the common council reviewed the budget line by line to suggest areas of improvement and address any concerns.

A cut of $40,000 from medical insurance was possible due to over projected estimates, enabling the budget to reach a zero percent change in tax rate, the second year in a row.

The tax rate remains the same as 2017 at $20.62 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Common councilors have requested a more transparent budget process by being included in initial meetings with department heads in years moving forward.

Majority spending continues to come from public safety at 42 percent of the city’s appropriations and an additional nine percent in police and fire retirement system. Medical insurance is the next largest spending source at 19 percent.

The majority of city revenue stems from real property taxes and tax items at nearly 46 percent of the city’s income. Non-property taxes make up roughly 39 percent of the city’s revenues with state and federal aid the next largest revenue source at nearly 12 percent.

O’Brien said he is “confident” in the budget being presented and both he and Mayor Woodward said they see no concerning or alarming areas of the budget.

However, debate erupted among the council after First Ward councilor, Tom Kenyon suggested a pay raise for the six members of the council.

A request for a $250 raise for each councilor totals $1,500 and raises the councilor’s annual salary to $7,995 each, which does not affect the city’s tax rate, O’Brien said.

Sixth Ward councilor, Larry Macner strongly opposed the request, noting that the city is still labeled as moderately fiscally stressed by the NYS Comptroller’s Office.

“I just don’t feel it’s right,” Macner said. “Take it out, please. We are still moderately fiscally distressed, our police department took a zero percent raise for four years. With all the zero percent and moderate stress, I feel we should pull it. We shouldn’t be in this for the money, and it’s not a lot of money but it’s a principle thing. I feel horrible, I really do.”

Kenyon suggested Macner vote no to the resolution, but in the event that the raise goes through, to donate his money to a cause he supports instead.

“It’s been 15 years since the council received a raise. We went to everything in this city out there, spend a lot of gas because we drive our ward. There’s no perfect timing for it, but it comes to $5 a week and I think it’s foolish to argue about it,” Kenyon said.

Due to the disagreement, as well as the absence of the fourth and fifth ward councilors due to illness, Mayor Woodward has included a resolution for a roll call vote on whether to approve or decline a raise for the Common Council at the December 12 regular meeting.

The raise is included in the projected 2018 budget, but can be removed in the event that it is voted down, O’Brien said.

Despite the council disagreement, council president and Second Ward councilor Dave Ritchie is pleased with the budget overall.

“I think it’s great, everyone did a good job working on it hard and trimming it down. We got all of our answers on the council and are pleased with the result. Anytime you’re at zero, you can’t complain,” he said.

Mayor Woodward agreed, saying “I’m happy with it, I only wish we could get it lower. We understand the tax burden on the people of Fulton, that’s why we strive to get the tax rate as low as we can while still providing all the services we do.”

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5 Comments

  1. Sorry no raise for you guys it is stupid.in fact fo away with a few,have 2 for east side and 2 for the west side.
    Is bad as things are here Tom and you xant more money?
    Remember you telling me to my face “We need to cut costs?” and now you want a raise? How about I bring you my back taxes and you help me finish paying them off ?
    I’m very disappointed in you and anyone who votes for the raise.
    You will see me so be ready and I don’t want BS
    My shack wiill be the burden of this city if this crap don’t stop.
    P.S-By the way WAY TOM I had to make a $200.00 co pay on one med with and Rx plan.What do yo pay?

  2. Here we go again…REALLY you want a raise..this is complete bull…..take your raise from the beautiful campground that the city owns and runs……so glad I’m outta there…just sucks I can’t get all the kids to leave this hell hole…I saw a fender bender..no one hurt…but send the east side over to the west side …WHY…have we got that much money? Pay all those men and woman …to stand and watch the law and meters people…really boys…I know of about at least to cut about a dozen jobs….its time to face it guys,the city is a gonner. When I’m in fl.I tell them I’m from Mayberry n.y….let me say this I get a lot of free beer telling them all bout Mayberry….at least we have a topic to talk about….truth is boys,how come everyone else makes cuts..and hundreds of people out of work and you guys never get touched..bout time to start making cuts and you can start at the mayors office….Wake up Fulton..they want all those wheat pennies we have been collecting for years….you will not get a Nichol from me

  3. I followed a huge city fite truck one day.Pulled out of east side station,went across the bridge turned right on to’ 481,went up to old K mart turned left then went all around the glen.It then went by the houseing project place,turned right at Bryne Dairy, tuned on to Oneida Street went across the bridge and turned in to Price Chooper where 3 got out of the truck and went inside.About 20 mins later came out with their grocery bags.Is this waste? ?? Forgot the truck was running all this time.
    You dare to ask for a raise in anyting.
    All we hear is the Nestle site will have all kinds of things going in. BULL

  4. No raises for the police officers who put their lives on the line every day, for at least 4 years. However, the mayor can find money to give raises to his common council buddies.

  5. Tony O Big difference between a police officer thats making $80-$100,000 a year with overtime in a city with the average annual household income being a little over $36,000, going for four years without a raise and increase of six people of $250. for a grand total of $1,500. that has no impact on the budget, and have not had an increase in the last 15 years !

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