OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow has proposed a 2.1% reduction in city property taxes in his 2019 Operating Budget, the first tax reduction for city residents in 20 years.
Barlow’s budget is the first city budget since at least 1969 that results in a reduction in property taxes without using the city’s reserve fund to offset operating costs.
Mayor Barlow’s budget reduces the general tax rate from $15.67 per thousand dollars of assessed value in 2018 to $15.33 in 2019, saving approximately $26 per year on an $80,000 house.
The 2019 budget is the third budget constructed by Barlow, his first two consisting of deep personnel cuts to the city workforce, a significant reduction in city overtime and large investments made to the city wastewater facilities, Department of Public Works and creation of a Code Enforcement Department.
The real property tax decrease is largely due to Barlow’s $1.5 million reduction in spending since taking office in January of 2016, and his administration’s return-on-investment-driven strategy bearing tangible results.
“For far too long city residents have fallen victim to wasteful spending by city government. When I took office the amount of city overtime was outrageous, our municipal buildings and infrastructure were irresponsibly neglected and there was no strategy for progress anywhere in city government,” Mayor Barlow said. “Two years later we have cut the city workforce while maintaining essential services, reigned in wasteful spending, intelligently negotiated personnel contracts, and have put ourselves in a position to cut taxes while continuing to properly invest in city buildings, infrastructure, parks and many meaningful initiatives. Our return-on-investment-driven strategy throughout City government has paid off after crafting two budgets and we can now begin to ease the tax burden on our residents.”
Highlights of Mayor Barlow’s proposed 2019 City Budget include:
– 2.1% decrease in City’s tax rate;
– No use of the City’s reserve fund balance;
– $250,000 investment in City buildings and repairs including new elevator at City Hall;
– $60,000 for entertainment to continue the Summer Concert Series and add entertainment at the Market Street Pocket Park due to open in June 2019;
– $15,000 to create a workforce development center at the City of Oswego Section 8 Rental Assistance Program; and
– $50,000 to address technology infrastructure
“We’ve had to make some very tough decisions over the last two years, and made some innovative changes while being strategic in our spending to put ourselves in this financial positions but I am pleased to see it all start to pay off,” Barlow said. “I appreciate the hard work from all our department heads and employees throughout city government and appreciate the cooperation and shared vision of the Oswego Common Council as we work each and every day to make decisions that improve the financial position of city government while reducing the cost to City taxpayers.”
Mayor Barlow will present his budget to the Oswego Common Council on Monday, August 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Oswego City Hall, 13 W. Oneida St., Oswego.