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Issues

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Here you will find a brief summary of my positions on some of the key issues facing the Town of Cicero.  If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to discuss some of these issues in depth, please feel free to contact me.

 

Taxes

 

Taxes are the first issue on the minds of most people that I speak to, and with good reason; as residents of New York State, we're some of the most heavily taxed people in the entire country.  I believe that I can speak for the rest of the Town of Cicero government when I say that we don't like taxes any more than you do.  However, like you, we recognize that some level of taxation is necessary to pay for the services that we use and rely on, from road paving and snowplowing to our Police Department.

 

In order to get a sense of where we're going with regard to taxes, it's important to look back at the last several years and see where we've been:

 

  • In 2010, the Onondaga County Legislature voted to stop sharing sales tax collections with towns, villages, and the City of Syracuse.  They also voted to reduce sales tax sharing with school districts by approximately 75%.
  • In Cicero, this resulted in a loss of over $6,000,000 a year in tax revenue.  All across the county, municipalities and school districts were forced to raise their own taxes and cut services to make up for their losses.
  • One way in which Cicero reacted was to start borrowing money to pay for road paving.  From 2013 through 2016 the Town borrowed millions of dollars, and in 2017, the payment on that debt is approximately $650,000 - out of a $14.1 million budget.
  • The 2017 budget was the first since 2012 that didn't require the Town to borrow money to pay for ordinary operating expenses like road repair.  Our debt is decreasing rather than increasing.

 

In addition to paying down our debt, we have engaged in cost cutting and held our departments to minimal budget growth.  Controlling expenses is a major component of our plan to control the tax burden on homeowners.  The other major component is economic development.  If we grow our tax base in the commercial sector, the additional revenue will enable the Town to reduce the tax burden placed on homeowners.  We have worked aggressively to make Cicero more attractive to businesses and our work is starting to pay off - the 2017 tax roll year shows an increase of business-assessed value of close to $14 million over 2016.

 

Responsible, Sustainable Growth

 

As important as economic development is to Cicero's financial health - and your tax bill - it is equally important that growth and development take place in areas that will not impact the quality of life for our residents or make our traffic issues worse.  To that end, we have been selectively rezoning areas that are suited to commercial development.  I am opposed to the "spot zoning" that has resulted in much of Cicero being a checkerboard of residential, commercial, and industrial zones with little rhyme or reason, which has caused serious inconvenience and loss of property values for many of our residents.

 

Roads

 

Besides taxes, roads are the issue that I hear about most often when speaking to residents.  It's true that a lot of our roads are in a state of disrepair, but our Highway Department is doing a good job catching up with the problem.  Part of why it's taking so long to do so is the cost - we're spending approximately $850,000 on road paving in 2017, and that only pays for repaving of 5.25 miles of road!  In order to increase the miles of road we pave every year without raising taxes or borrowing, we have to increase the efficiency of our road paving program so that we get more miles for your tax dollar.  We have been working with our Highway Superintendent to do that and we will continue to do so.  In the meantime, if you have a pothole on your road, please call the Highway Department at 315-699-2745 and ask them to come patch it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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