Mayor leaving city in secure financial position
Ironically, Mayor Matt Driscoll's major legacy is exactly what is lacking in today's world. In the midst of New York State's ongoing financial woes - Syracuse is a beacon of fiscal responsibility.
As an entrepreneur, Driscoll took those skills to municipal management. Gov. David Paterson has been warning New Yorkers about the bond rate slipping even lower; meanwhile Syracuse's bond rating has improved twice in the last two years. The bond rating is one's ability to borrow money. It takes money to not only make money, but also to save money. "I'm a fiscal conservative," the mayor said.
When Driscoll took office GOP Mayor Roy Bernardi left the city with $19,000,000. Dem Driscoll will leave Syracusans with more than $30,000,000.
He said he was chided, "That guy will pick up a nickel." And he retorted, "That's right because 20 nickels make a buck."
While others might be green with envy, Driscoll is green when it comes to energy. It's just part of his mind set because it makes financial sense. For example he switched the city to LED light bulbs for a savings of $166,000. Syracuse is rated the 15th greenest city in the nation, and number one green city in New York State.
He set up a development board, so that a developer will run plans by all the appropriate departments in the same room, at the same time. This streamlines the process saving time, which translates into money.
Two new buildings were developed downtown, but also nearly 470 units of market rate condos were developed in renovated downtown buildings. "We used our existing infrastructure," he said. Driscoll is also proud of SyraStat an audit and management accountability based program that saved the city $60,000,000 during his tenure (syracuse.ny.us/uploadedFiles/City_Hall/Syra-Stat%20Booklet.pdf).
His administration operates as a team, and that team has been going straight to the people in the form of town hall meetings since he took office. He is the only mayor of Syracuse who has ever taken this approach. "(I) Went to the public, and I said ask me anything, and trust me they did," Driscoll said. "We've done a lot of things that were ideas from those meetings."
Ultimately this mayor used a team approach. He believed in delegating and empowering his administration.
"I think they've all done a hell of a job," Driscoll said.