Mayor Ben Walsh Speaks at a SU Roundtable
By Benjamin Schiller
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – City of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh spoke this morning to members of the S-U community virtually. The 2021-2022 Fiscal year budget was recently approved and Mayor Walsh broke it down to some faculty members and students.
Let’s take a look at the objectives behind this year’s unique budget. There was a huge emphasis put on achieving financial sustainability during the final months of the pandemic. Walsh also wanted to increase economic growth and neighborhood stability.
This goal comes in mind months after the death of a 93-year-old woman at the Skyline apartment complex. The complex serves as housing for the city’s poorest residents. Let’s take a listen as to what Walsh said about murder’s impact in the community.
“We’ve been battling the owners of the Skyline since I took office. I have a long list of actions that we’ve taken, like code enforcement and law enforcement. The reality is that it wasn’t enough to stop the horrific murder of Ms. Touri,” Walsh said. “We’ve defined new and different ways. We’ve used every tool in the toolbox for this one and it hasn’t been enough, so we need to create some new tools.”
The total budget is worth 265-million dollars. Highlights of the budget include no increase in the city’s property tax rate and resuming normal operations from pre-pandemic times. Also, the budget focuses on supporting COVID-19 relief efforts in the city, including an increase of funding for online public education.
Recently, the city has seen calls for police reform. Walsh says the city is already listening to residents on how to change some of Syracuse Police Department policies.
“I think this an opportunity to support a number of other efforts that we’ve been undertaking including police reform and to advance some priorities that we’ve heard from the community starting with city residency,” Walsh said.
Walsh spoke about how the city is planning to resume normal operations in a short amount of time. 38-percent of Onondaga County residents are fully vaccinated for coronavirus, while 50-percent of residents have received at least one dose. But, the Mayor is calling on all residents to schedule their appointments now.
“I’ve mentioned the vaccine. It’s critically important that people get vaccinated. I understand that there continues to be some hesitancy. I tell people to don’t listen to me. I’m a politician. Listen to your healthcare provider. Listen to your doctor and you will hear that it is, in fact, safe,” Walsh said.
Walsh is optimistic that by the Fall, we could all be back to pre-pandemic times.