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Syracuse Common Councilors Work Within Mayor Walsh's Modified Spending Plan


Syracuse Common councilors are now working with what’s being called a modified spending plan released late Friday by Mayor Ben Walsh.

"Over the past weeks and months,  I've indicated that without direct federal aid to Syracuse, the city will be forced to take more significant actions to offset the impact of COVID-19 revenue losses.  Unfortunately, that time has arrived."

The city is facing $41 million in losses.  The mayor's office has already trimmed $23 million.  Friday, he announced the most draconian so far.  Council Finance Committee Chair Tim Rudd says there are no easy decisions, but at least they know what they're working with.  

"It feels much better to have a plan and to authorize spending in and adjusted plan than it is to be evaluating spending that is going into a budget that we know is too big for our revenue."

Rudd and his colleagues had pushed the Walsh Administration to develop an adjusted budget, and even held spending items earlier in the month.  The mayor’s plan slashes $18 million through long-term, seasonal, or two-day per month furloughs, as well as hiring freezes and cuts in city services.  Rudd says harder decisions might be yet to come. 

Credit Screenshot
The Common Council continues to hold meetings virtually.

"I don't think we're going back to normal anytime soon.  Our revenue will be low for quite some time.  If nothing comes from the federal government...nothing is coming right now, we have to act on our own behalf."

Councilors did approve several spending items that will be funded within the modified budget.  They include bonding for city hall security upgrades, a series of purchases for the fire department, and a mental health wellness app and diversity training for police officers.  Councilors also approved a parking ticket amnesty program, increases in certain parking ticket fines, (See p. 94-97 in the link), and an early retirement incentive program for city workers…all of which could bring in some much needed revenue.  See the story below.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at