SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Ben Walsh said last Friday evening on June 2, his finance commissioner discovered a nearly $6 million shortfall in next year’s budget. It was caused by an error in the state’s assessment software.
The software Walsh said, “Inaccurately increased the city’s $4.1 billion taxable property base by 200 million dollars. That’s a significant amount.”
The city budgeted for $5.7 million in property taxes on two properties that were actually tax exempt. The properties in question include St. Joseph’s Health main campus and a parking garage currently being renovated there.
“They’re fairly unique properties,” Walsh explained. “They’ve been re-subdivided numerous times recently and so we think that could have triggered something in the system, but again we’re doing a deep dive to determine how it happened.”
Walsh said at this point, it does not appear to be caused by human error, but his team is working to determine how it happened to prevent it in the future. To avoid property taxes going from 2% to 7.1% he needs the common council to approve a local law to draw the $5.7 million from the fund balance which has more than $100 million.
“It is certainly not ideal but that’s why the fund balance exists.”
It’s important to note this error does not impact revenue going to the school district. Friday, June 9 at 11:00 a.m., the common council will have a special meeting to discuss if they will use the money from the fund balance.
Mayor Walsh said right now, Syracuse is the only municipality this has happened to.