Mayor unveils proposed $25 million budget in Oneida
ONEIDA — The Oneida Common Council received the mayor’s preliminary budget for 2023 at Tuesday’s meeting with a zero percent tax increase.
The $25 million spending plan for 2023, if passed as is, would mean a home worth $100,000 would have an annual tax of $1,094.69 in the inside district and $553.46 in the outside district.
Addressing the city in her budget message, Mayor Helen Acker wrote:
“You have all worked tirelessly and adapted to the daily changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected all our lives in ways we never imagined,” she wrote. “We are dealing with supply chain issues and high rises in costs of materials, food, gas, and housing, to name a few.”
“This is a very challenging time for all of us moving into the future. We, the employees of the city, are fine-tuning our spending, strengthening our city services, and working to continue to provide the best possible service during this difficult and competitive economic environment.”
“We will continue to strive to maintain our core services, continue to fine-tune our spending, and give [the residents of Oneida] the best services we can,” she added.
Acker went over a number of programs and accomplishments over the 2022 year. These include the upcoming dog park expected to be completed by the end of spring in 2023, the new flooring at the Recreation Department, disc golf installed at Allen Park, upgrades at Veterans Field, the Waste-Water Treatment Plant is ahead of schedule and expected to be finished next year, a new website, and more.
More than anything, Acker urged residents to shop local in Oneida.
“The highest source of revenue for our budget is sales tax,” she wrote. “We receive 2% of every taxable item you buy and it makes of 41.5% of the budget. We strongly urge you to continue to buy local and support Oneida businesses.”
Among capital projects, the two with the biggest price tags include a $2.3 million serial bond for a second clearwell for the wastewater treatment plant and an increase in the serial bond for the Glenmore Dam rehabilitation totaling around $3.8 million.
During the regular meeting, Karing Kitchen Program Coordinator Melissa King addressed the council’s decision to pursue legislation that would “...prevent the unreasonable interference with the public’s use and enjoyment of public property from the erection and use of tents and related activities associated with camping on public property not otherwise designated for such activities.”
In short, this legislation forbids people from setting up tents on public property. City Attorney Nadine Bell said this legislation came about after someone had set up a tent in a right-of-way. With no laws on the book regarding this situation and no way to enforce it, the current law was proposed.
“I understand safety, but we don’t have a homeless shelter in Madison County and this legislation just makes it even harder for them,” King said. “It’s hard enough for people who are homeless to admit what’s going on. They’re not going to get a permit from the Recreation Department and they’re not going to have that conversation with a police officer. It takes years to build relationships.”
King said she knows homeless families or families on the verge of being homeless in the area or just living in unsafe situations.
“For me, if I were to see you pass this, I’d like to see some sort of safety in place and some someone from the Codes Department to ensure there’s safety for this individual,” King added.
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