By Chris Thomsen SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Syracuse mayor Ben Walsh formally announced his proposed 2018-19 budget on Monday, outlining the main points of the fiscal plan to the Syracuse Common Council.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the budget:
- Mayor Walsh plans on freezing salary increases and the hiring of non-essential personnel for six months.
- The city wants to increase funds to recruit police officers and firefighters to the city. This follows Walsh’s approval of hiring over 25 new police officers. The mayor also plans to expand the police department’s body camera program.
- $750,000 will be reallocated to the Greater Syracuse Land Bank, the entity responsible for restoring abandoned or unused properties in the city. The Land Bank lost $1 million in funding in last year’s budget, formed by Mayor Stephanie Miner’s office.
- The budget asks for $1 million to support mental health initiatives in Syracuse city schools.
- The mayor is proposing increasing spending for technological efforts, including an updated website that will be optimized for all platforms including computers, tablets and mobile phones and a new point-of-service system that will allow residents to pay bills with their credit cards for the first time.
- The city aims to purchase around 17,000 lights from National Grid and replace them with LED lights. Not only will Syracuse avoid payments to National Grid, who owns the lights; the new technology will save the city thousands in energy costs.
- Mayor Walsh has big plans for downtown including a $20,000 increase in security, $47,000 for economic development and $85,000 for environmental maintenance, including landscaping and design.
Hearings on Mayor Walsh’s proposed budget began on Tuesday, April 10 and will continue for two weeks. The Common Council will be reviewing the plan for three weeks before submitting its own budget. You can view Mayor Walsh’s full proposal here.