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      81% property tax increase proposed in Oswego

      Oswego mayor Thomas Gillen is proposing an 81% property tax increase for the city. For a $70,000 home in the city, taxes would go up about $575 next year.

      Gillen says Oswego has not raised taxes enough in several years and that the increase while dramatic would put Oswego at a similar tax rate compared to other cities.

      "We've had mandated fire, police retirement pensions we've got to fund, even the Affordable Healthcare act means we've got to fund another $400,000 for that," said Gillen. "We decided we needed to start regenerating that cash reserve so when these things come up we can be responsible about our commitments."

      There is a public budget workshop Thursday night at City Hall from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

      Gillen says members of the public can ask questions and see why the tax increase is necessary.

      There will be a public hearing and a vote on the budget sometime later this month. Gillen says that when he explains the numbers, people understand the need for the increase but many Oswego neighbors CNYCentral met on Thursday were extremely skeptical.

      "Some of the people that are on the edge of moving out of Oswego are going to do that and we're going to be stuck with an awful lot of property that there's nobody living in," said Oswego resident Gail Goebricher.

      "If they keep increasing the taxes on us, Oswego will be nothing but a ghost town," said Robert Mason from Oswego.