Syracuse taxpayers will not pay more in new proposed budget

Syracuse taxpayers will not pay more in the new budget proposed Tuesday by Mayor Stephanie Miner.

The more than $660 million budget for 2014-2015 does not increase property taxes, water rates or sewer rates. The property tax levy will decrease .2% to $33,392,950. "We still continue to address the unprecedented challenges facing the City of Syracuse in this budget," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. "This budget continues to exercise discipline while making important investments in our neighborhoods, education, and public safety."

The proposed budget adds 25 new police officers and 25 new firefighters.

Expenses for active and retiree healthcare continue to increase. Costs for retirees will outpace those for active employees by $3.4 million.

Other highlights include:

· Land Bank: The Greater Syracuse Property Development will receive $1.5 million in city funding. The overall revenue from the past year's collection of taxes and their associated fees and penalties stands $5.9 million. This is a major gain since the beginning of the Land Bank program.

· Pensions: The City's projected pension bill across all funds is estimated to be $28.5 million. The rate is expected to decrease in Fiscal Year 2016.

· Say Yes: The City of Syracuse will once again contribute $1 million to the Say Yes to Education program.

· Imagination Library: The City of Syracuse will contribute $50,000 to making the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County program citywide. The Literacy Coalition currently has a family literacy program and mails out books each month for all referred children from birth to age 5. The program currently sends books to approximately half the children in the City and this will make it possible to expand the program citywide. A $50,000 3-year commitment will make it possible to do that.

· State Aid: AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities) funding will remain flat at $71.8 million.

· Parking: Revenue from parking garages and meters will increase $284,000 due to the continuing residential and commercial development of Downtown.

· Sales Tax: The City anticipates an increase of $2.8 million in sales tax for a total of $82.4 million.

· Pre-K: The School District will receive funding for 450 additional slots for full day pre-kindergarten.

· Employment: The City will budget for no raises in police, fire, and crossing guard bargaining units which currently operate without contracts.