Utica approves 2019-20 budget

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 8, 2019

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UTICA — The Utica City Council approved the city budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year during a meeting June 11.

The overall size of the budget is $8,016,575, and of that budget amount, $6,592,830 is for the general fund and operating expenditures.

For the first time in multiple years, the city of Utica has balanced its proposed budget at the time the council adopted it.

“I am very proud to be able to be a part of (a) process where our City Council was able to balance the budget for fiscal year 2020,” said Utica Mayor Thom Dionne.

“Over the past two budget years, the city of Utica has adopted a budget that … showed a net expenditure. Through careful management of our funds and responsible spending, the city actually appreciated a net revenue to the general fund over the two previous years. City Council and our department heads worked very closely to fine-tune their budgets. The end result was … the first balanced budget that (the) city has seen since 2009,” said Dionne.

For the 2019-20 general fund, the proposed general fund total operating revenues for the city of Utica are $6,604,250, and of those, property taxes account for $4,143,030.

In 2019-20, major expenditures will include $2,750,320 for the Police Department, $432,990 for the Fire Department, and $570,450 for the Public Works Department. Capital outlay is projected to be $657,200.

The city projects a surplus for 2019-20.

For the fiscal year that just ended June 30, the city projects a surplus — accumulated across prior years, including an estimated $64,313 in the 2018-19 fiscal year — of $1,404,993. The projected surplus at the end of the 2019-20 budget year is $1,416,413. The budget anticipates a surplus in the general fund for 2019-20 of $11,420.

The city’s total millage rate is 21.0182; the total summer personal residence exemption rate is 37.5549; the total summer non-personal residence exemption rate is 46.1360. Last year’s city millage rate was 21.2867.

“Millage rates are lower, but taxable values are higher than the previous year.” said Phil Paternoster, the Utica treasurer.

The summer tax bill for the average homeowner, including the property tax administration fee and rubbish fee, is approximately $2,500. The City’s levies are approximately $1,500, including the property tax administration fee and rubbish fee.

The average home market value is $81,145, and the average taxable value is $60,365.

Pasternoster said the Headlee Amendment rollback will reduce tax collection by $93,684.

“The (millages) are the maximum we are allowed to levy under the Headlee rollback,” he said.

“Last year’s taxable value prior to Board of Review and tax tribunal adjustments (was) $191,101,115. This year’s taxable value as of March Board of Review prior to Board of Review and tax tribunal adjustments is ... $203,529,621 and an inflation rate of 1.8204,” said Paternoster.

There will not be any staff positions eliminated or added in the new budget.

A few public works projects are being planned, such as Van Dyke Avenue curb repairs, Summers Street rehabilitation (between Cass and Van Dyke avenues), and the new dog park.

Paternoster said that the challenges of creating a balanced budget this year were controlling payroll costs and prioritizing maintenance and replacement costs.

City Councilman Gus Calandrino said that obtaining a balanced budget is a big achievement for the city of Utica.

“Finally balancing the budget is a huge accomplishment for the Utica taxpayers. I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am about this!” said Calandrino.

For more information about the budget, call Utica City Hall at (586) 739-1600 or visit www.cityofutica.org.

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