Oneida budget talks begin to wind down after hearing

Four more hours of work session, a public hearing and a special meeting with the mayor all revolved around the city of Oneida budget this week.

All in all, the council has cut around $495,000 from the budget, which if implemented would make the proposed tax levy increase 4.65 percent.

This is if the council decides to take $1.4 million from the General Fund Balance, a number that makes the council, and especially the mayor, worried.

Throughout the meetings in the past two weeks, Hedglon has brought up the dangers of relying on the fund balance.

Many residents took the opportunity to speak at the public hearing on Nov. 18, including four residents (Charles McMahon, Randy Schaal, Don Skinner and Cliff Woodward), who along with former mayor Army Carinci and Randolf Skinner, met with the mayor personally on Nov. 21 to ask more questions.

At the hearing, Hedglon decided not to challenge any speakers, but rather, allow everyone to speak for as long as they felt necessary. This includes Armand Routhier, who spoke for nearly 45 minutes.

"This is the first time I have been so disturbed in 40 years," he said.

He went on to condemn the city for purchasing new equipment and not informing the public of how budget decisions are reached.

After he spoke, councilor Marcia Rafte mentioned that all of the budget meetings where the council went through the budget have been open to the public.

At the end of the meeting, Hedglon said that just because some of the public statements weren't challenged, does not mean he agreed with everything said.

Later in the week, he invited some in attendance to meet with him. Six gathered for a three-hour meeting in addition to city engineer Jim Bacher, Comptroller Joan Cukierski and members of the media.

The discussions included potential city layoffs in the coming years, the general fund balance and the purchase of the Herb Phillipson's building.

For more details about the cuts and last week's meetings, visit cnylink.com.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment