Councilors hear discussion on budget, police reforms

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One person spoke during a Wednesday night public hearing regarding the proposed 2021 city budget.

Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo has proposed a $44.9 million budget plan for the coming year. The plan includes no property tax increase for what would be the fourth year in a row if accepted.

“For years the Board of Directors of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce has been an advocate for property tax stabilization. We acknowledge that the proposed City of Rome Budget, for the fourth consecutive year, does not include a property tax increase. This is excellent news, particularly in light of the severe city-wide impact of the coronavirus and harmful economic effects the closings have had and are having on local businesses, workers, organizations, families, and individuals,” said William Guglielmo, president of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, in a statement.

Once approved, the plan will mark the fourth year with no property tax increase despite serious economic impacts stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, city officials have said.

In his remarks, Guglielmo noted that this has been beneficial for those who have sought to open businesses in the city.

The 2021 proposed city budget can be viewed online at: https://romenewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2021-BUDGET-FINAL-BEFORE-COUNCIL.pdf

The common council is set to vote on the proposed budget at an upcoming special meeting set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The agenda along with telephone access information to listen to the meeting will be released prior to the meeting.

In other city actions, the common council voted in favor of passing measures allowing the city to place “no parking-drop off zone” signs at 613 and 615 North Madison St. Also approved were sales of city-owned parcels and 109 Lawrence St and 113 Lawrence St. to buyers for $1,000 each.

During a public comment portion of the regular common council meeting Wednesday night, Jacqueline Nelson, the president of the Rome chapter of the NAACP, addressed the statewide call for police reforms and said she would like to see local reviews of the use of force and social media usage by department members.

This, in the wake of activities stemming from the police breakup of an unsanctioned large group activity at a city park in October.

Nelson added that she has met with the city’s recently formed ad hoc diversity commission which is tasked with examining ways to improve on Rome inclusivity. The committee chaired by fifth ward councilor Frank Anderson also includes councilors John Sparace and Riccardo Dursi.

Nelson said she was encouraged by the formation of the commission and felt Rome was, “heading in the right direction.”

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