By: Nicole Ogrysko
Mayor Svante Myrick hosted his second of three public forums to discuss the City’s budget and its $3 million deficit.
He detailed the City’s expenses before listening to concerns and suggestions from community members. The attempts the City has made this year — like offering early retirement incentives, changing City vehicle usage policies and enacting other employee and department cuts — haven’t been enough.
“We’ve cut non personnel costs to the bone,” Myrick said. “Supplies — gone. Travel — gone.”
Myrick talked about one way to combat the deficit. He said he plans to appeal to Cornell University to contribute more to the City, as he said the university greatly impacts the City’s infrastructure.
“Their existence creates a burden on our infrastructure and on our personnel,” he said. “If they can afford to pick up the tab on that burden, I feel they are morally — if not legally — obligated to do so.”
One community member voiced her concerns about paying taxes for services that other towns in the area also use, like the TCAT.
“Right now, we’re tied by deals that were — I don’t know when they were hatched — but they need to be renegotiated,” she said. “We can’t just throw up our hands and say its a done deal and there’s nothing we can do. It’s really unfair. All of the municipalities are strapped, but I don’t want to pay for their services.
Myrick agreed and said in the future, he hopes to encourage more collaboration between the area’s municipalities.
Much of the forum was spent discussing possible changes to parking downtown. One community member brought up the idea of charging drivers to park downtown after 5 p.m., bringing in more revenue to the City.
Myrick said he plans to propose his ideas on the City budget to the Common Council in three weeks.