City Auditor says Syracuse employee health care costs growing at an alarming rate

Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole issued a report on Thursday saying employee healthcare costs in the City of Syracuse are growing at an alarming rate.

Masterpole says this problem has been building up for years, and that their projections for 2013 are a cause for concern. The 2013 projected cost of health care for the 8,213 active and retired employees is $48.3 million, while the 2013 property tax levy for the city is $33.5 million.

"Here's what the true costs are," Masterpole says. "This is what we're experiencing, they're high, there's no question about it."

The city agrees with his concern.

"The health care costs along with pension costs..will ultimately make this city broke," City of Syracuse Chief of Staff Bill Ryan says.

Both Ryan and Masterpole say they cannot tax their way out of the problem, and that a solution must come either by increasing costs to employees, allowing for fewer benefits or the possibility of cutting jobs.

Masterpole says they are looking at a variety of solutions, but will need full cooperation from the unions, the city and most importantly the employees when it comes to making a decision about the future of Syracuse.