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East Syracuse village board prepares for a year of transformation

60 percent of board will change after March elections

— Last week’s village board meeting at the East Syracuse municipal building was spent mostly preparing new programs and previewing some big changes to come in the village post- election season. This will be the first year since 2002 without current Mayor Danny Liedka present at board meetings as he is not running for reelection. Two trustees, Jodi Gehrke-Turner and Chad Tolhurst, have also announced that they will be stepping down in March.

Mayor Liedka began his political career in East Syracuse when he was elected as a trustee 11 years ago and became mayor 6 years ago, in 2007. Gehrke-Turner and Tolhurst have been on the board six and four years respectively, and their seats will be taken by newcomers next month. Feb. 5 kicked off the week for prospective candidates to file Independent Nominating Petitions and ended on Feb. 13. The new candidates are expected to be announced on Feb. 14.

Budget

The board also began discussions for the 2013-14 budget, which will need to be decided by May 1. The new mayor will have a lot on his or her plate as the budget will be under tough conditions this year because the village does not have the same amount of available fund balance as it did in previous years. When you add on the fact that pension costs and worker’s compensation rates are increasing, that puts the board down by about $600,000 before it even starts to plan the budget.

“It’s going to be a tough year and we will not be able to maintain the status quo,” said Village Clerk Pat Derby.

Bridge closing

Perhaps the issue that will be the most apparent to residents is the partial closure of the bridge connecting Bridge Street to West Manlius Street expected this summer. The bridge, which provides East Syracuse residents a quick and easy way to get over to Bridge Street and to Erie Boulevard and back, will be reduced to one lane for about 30 days this summer in order to repair the bridge joints.

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