Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal throws a bone to cities. It lets them fix pension payments over time.
But Syracuse Mayor Stepahnie Miner thinks that’s just kicking the can down the road and one expert predicts cities will end up overpaying on their pension obligation.
Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy told her if she doesn’t like the proposal, say hello to a financial control board. The New York Times reports:
On Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy traveled to Syracuse for a previously scheduled meeting with journalists at The Post-Standard of Syracuse.
At that meeting, Mr. Duffy suggested he had an option in mind: “I would say to the mayor, if this is not sufficient, then I would suggest one viable option she would have is to request a financial control board,” he said — which would assume many of the mayor’s powers.
That drew a sharp response from Ms. Miner.
“I think that’s a false choice, to say to the people of New York State you either have to borrow more or give up democratic control of your city,” she said in an interview.
Good for Mayor Miner.
Upstate’s cities are struggling. They’ve been crushed by decades of people fleeing to the suburbs. That sprawl was aided by state and federal policies that subsidized and encouraged highway and infrastructure development, home-buying, company relocation to suburbs, and segregated school districts.
Cities have been left with a poor and needy population that needs more services and is unable to pay huge amounts of taxes. Cities are pockmarked with vacant lots and empty factories.
Of course our Upstate mayors have had it. The governor’s budget did not provide an increase in state aid. It’s not unreasonable for them to seek help from the state and federal government.
“I’m working on balancing a budget without anything, and it’s going to hurt like hell,” the mayor said Wednesday, adding later: “Every year since I’ve been here, we’ve reduced our employment. And if we don’t get any help this year, we’re going to do it again.”
Richards recently wrote an op-ed in City Newspaper explaining why cities are so important. The state can ill afford to have its cities fail. Whatever the state does or does not do to help its mayors, don’t blame them for trying.
Links of the Day:
– Rochester has a list of designated buildings of historic value. It’s a little arbitrary and hasn’t been updated in some time. (The house I grew up in and the house I live in now are both on the list.)
– Wegmans plans to build a store in Buffalo and residents say it looks too suburban. It sounds like the East Ave. store fight. The Buffalo store will also have an adjacent wine shop. (Surprise, surprise.)
– To cut down on vacant houses, Syracuse may fine owners.
– The NYPD is testing a device that can spot concealed guns.
– A former Jillian’s in Albany is being turned into a church.