As Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered her state of the city address at Dr. Weeks Elementary School in Syracuse, you couldn't ignore the sea of orange shirts lining the perimeter of the building. They were members of the firefighters union protesting the potential closure of station number seven on University Hill.
The mayor addressed their presence after her speech.
"The issue of fire station 7 has become premature and blown out of proportion. It's part of putting together our budget. I shared with you tonight that we have a $21 million budget deficit. We can't borrow, we can't do anything else. We're going to have to make tough decisions," says Mayor Miner.
The Vice President of the Local 280, Paul Montondo, says it was an opportunity for firefighters to show solidarity.
"Essentially the decision is going to come down to the city and the common council and the mayor for keeping station 7. Station 7 is essential to the entire city," says Montondo.
The mayor delivered a positive speech touting several development projects in Downtown Syracuse, a vacant property registry to address empty eye sores, and an $8 million surplus for the new budget year.
Mayor Miner's choice to deliver her speech at the newly renovated Dr. Weeks Elementary School was no accident. It was an opportunity to showcase the improvement at several Syracuse schools and introduce phase two of a school renovation program for at least 20 new city schools.
The audience was made up of new faces like Dr. Joan Hillsman who said the speech helped her become more familiar with her new city.
"This is my third year in the city. I'm a music educator from Washington, D.C." says Hillsman.
There were also familiar faces like Michael Stanton, the President of the Southeast University Neighborhood Association.
"I think I've been to all of the mayor's state of the city addresses and each one gets a little better," says Stanton.
The audience seemed to receive the speech well and walked away feeling confident in their mayor, but inevitably scared about the future with a major budget deficit looming.
"It's remarkable to see all the good things coming but there is a spectre hiding the shadows and that's the financial situation. It's encouraging to see were have an $8 million surplus this year but its discouraging to see what's going to be cut after that," says Stanton.