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Syracuse budget passed by common council

The Syracuse Common Council passed the city budget Wednesday, including some controversial items.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse Common Council passed the city budget Wednesday.

The most controversial item was an extra $1.6 million to the Syracuse Fire Department, which the council unanimously approved.

The funding would maintain current staffing within the department and cover overtime.

Mayor Stephanie Miner said, “I disagree with them on funding overtime positions for firefighters and pursuant to my power in the charter I will not be spending that money.”

The mayor still stands with her decision on closing station seven, which she says will likely happen on July 1.

One thing the mayor and common council agreed on was much-needed redevelopment around the city.

That plan includes Hotel Syracuse. There's a Friday deadline for back taxes to be paid on the building or there will be authorization to sell to a developer.

If the developer closes on the transaction, the city will sign the deed over to them and then building begins.

Ed Riley, with Pyramid Hotel Group, the development company planning to work on the historic hotel, said, “If everything proceeds as the city plans, we hope to see some work begin in October.”

Pyramid is looking for $60 million to make renovations to the hotel exterior, along with creating 66 new guest rooms. They plan to use the space for the hotel and not add residential space.

Another priority of the council was adding funding to the Land Bank by aggressively collecting back taxes from local home and business owners.

Katelyn Wright, the city’s land use planner said, “Its going to bring in a lot of revenue from the folks that do pay and avoid foreclosure and that will be revenue that's shared by the city and the county.”

As of Wednesday, 400 properties have received notices and nearly a hundred have paid, but there are hundreds more that are in danger of foreclosure if they don't make the July 1 deadline.

Click here for a map of the areas that will be targeted.

The city wants to keep people in their homes and they hope this program eliminates tax delinquent properties which in turn will grow the city's tax base.

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