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NY Mayors Release Results of City Budget Survey

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-955174.mp3

Albany, NY – The New York State Conference of Mayors has released the results of its annual "City Budget Survey," which shows that pension and health insurance costs are forcing property taxes higher while "crowding out" taxpayer priorities ... Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

NYCOM polled municipal leaders with a series of questions about fiscal condition, property taxes, health and pension costs, and workforce reductions. Survey results show those skyrocketing costs forced 88% of cities to raise their property tax levies in 2011 by an average of 4.8%; and in the crunch to make ends meet 82% of cities cut their staffing levels over the past decade, by an average of 11%.

NYCOM Executive Director Peter Baynes says the data shows cities are in the "express lane on the road to fiscal ruin" - he warns Albany to either roll out reform or do nothing and watch cities decay further. NYCOM surveyed 61 cities outside of New York City: Survey responses were received from 43 cities which served as a representative cross section of cities of all sizes and all regions of the state.