East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman announced the proposed 2013-14 budget at a public hearing on April 15 to a crowd of East Syracuse village residents who were less than pleased with the numbers. Under the proposed budget, residents would be paying $17.01 per $100,000 of their property’s assessed value. This jump in taxes would make East Syracuse the highest-taxed municipality in the county (Solvay had the highest in 2012-13 with a $13.61 tax rate) and would cost residents about 26 percent more each year.
“People can’t afford to live here,” said village resident Larry Mosley. “Do you pay your taxes or put food on the table to feed your kids? That’s what it’s coming down to.”
Tackman said the board spent many nights up until midnight working on the proposed budget, which, at a total of $5,122,311, saw about a $200,000 increase over last year. Wages and benefits make up about 53 percent and debt accounts for another 13 percent. The village currently has about a 10 percent fund balance and the individual department and sewer budgets make up the remaining 24 percent.
When residents asked what could be done to offset the tax increase, Tackman responded by saying that the budget is still a work in progress and that he is planning another round of meetings with each department head to go through a deeper review of their individual budgets. He said that when the board started working on the 2013-14 budget, the tax rate was listed as a 60 percent increase from last year and that residents would have had to shell out around $22 per $100,000 of assessed home value.
“We know the village can’t look like what it does today going forward,” Tackman said. “It has to change, and we know that.”
A couple residents voiced their displeasure with the results of the village’s vote to keep its police department, which was held last October. If residents had voted to consolidate the East Syracuse department with the town of Dewitt, it could have saved the village over $1 million each year.