The Cicero Town Board will hold a special budget workshop and town board meeting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 in the hopes of passing a budget with a tax increase of less than 14.5 percent, which was the budget the board accepted at its last meeting
Supervisor Judy Boyke presented a modified budget Wednesday, Nov. 16, with a more reasonable tax increase of 2.75 percent. However, board members Jim Corl, Vern Conway and Jessica Zambrano voted against the proposal, forcing the town to revert back to the preliminary budget, which was approved earlier in November. Taxpayers will have to pay an additional $440 per $100,000 of assessed value.
“I was dumbfounded,” Boyke said of the vote. “I was just shocked. How can you justify that? What are you thinking?”
The budget Boyke offered Wednesday included cuts of $38,000 from the police department, $336,000 from the highway department and $45,000 from the parks department. It also cut a special district from the town.
Corl could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but he did tell other news outlets he refused to vote for Boyke’s revised budget because it called for a tax increase.
“Whether it’s a 2 percent, a 3 percent, or 5 percent, it’s still a tax increase and that’s what I’m most concerned with and we can’t afford tax increases and I think with proper planning we could have gotten to zero percent,” he said.
Boyke said she was calling the special meeting in the hopes that the board members could be convinced to reexamine their votes.
“I’m hoping to get them to change their vote,” she said. “This is our last chance to try to resurrect for the residents before we have to file it.”
Boyke said such an increase, if it stands, will be hard to swallow for Cicero residents.
“These people are going to experience a horrific increase,” she said. “A lot of them have the new high assessments, then you whack them with this high property tax – somebody’s going to kill somebody.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.