Ithaca Mayor proposes lowest tax levy since 2000

By Jillian Marshall

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 12:21 AM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Ithaca's Mayor wants to lower the city's tax levy to 2.08 percent. If it's approved, it would be the lowest rate residents have seen since 2000.

Mayor Svante Myrick presented his 2014 proposed budget Tuesday afternoon.

The $64.5 million budget includes a nearly $8 increase in taxes per year for the average Ithaca home, which is worth $180,000.

The city has a deficit that's approaching $2 million, Myrick said. To close that gap, Myrick is proposing to increase sales taxes to 1.4 percent, he is anticipating more revenue from parking violations in city garages and selling some city owned properties.

"Because of some smart management moves we've made to streamline our processes to automate wherever possible, we've been able to continue to deliver services and that's what I think this budget will allow us to do," Myrick said. "It closes the deficit, lets us continue delivering services and it only raises taxes 2 percent."

Also proposed, following recent discrepancies with the Ithaca police force, is the addition of a Deputy Chief of Professional Standards. This person will be in charge of internal and external investigations.

Myrick hopes this will rebuild trust between residents and their police department.

"I think this new position is going to be a way to show the public what a great job IPD does, and in the moments when we don't live up to our missions and we don't live up to our values, we'll be able to spot that and correct it," Myrick said.

Myrick also said that he hopes this year Cornell University will give more than historical $1.25 million they give each year to the city.

He says this will help fund and support the area for off-campus students.

Myrick presented his budget to Ithaca City Council Tuesday night.

Council will have six weeks to approve the budget.