Looking back at Mayor Fusco’s first year
When the newly elected mayors of Rome and Utica stepped into office at the beginning of the year, we asked them what they hoped to accomplish. Our Andrew Sorensen sat down with both of them again to see if they were successful. First, he shows us what goals Rome's mayor reached.
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ROME, N.Y. -- When Rome's Mayor Joe Fusco highlighted his plans for his first year in office, he put economics high on his list. One of his biggest concerns was the budget, but the city just passed a budget with a modest 0.7 percent tax increase. So now he's back to one of the main tenets of his campaign.
Fusco said, “Boosting up business, job creation, that's going to be the number one top priority from now until the end of time.”
Despite rising unemployment in the region, Fusco says he's been moderately successful on that front.
“We've got a couple of new businesses that opened up in town this year, put a few people back to work. We had some of our local businesses, established local businesses, have gotten involved with the CFA grant program,” Fusco said.
It's at places like Griffiss where the mayor says they've seen the most grants, but he's trying to push more businesses to get involved.
“It's difficult in New York State to do business, it's getting better and we're optimistic for the year to come,” said Bill Guglielmo, Rome Chamber of Commerce President.
Guglielmo agrees that Fusco is supportive of local business, but he says taxes are still too high for their tastes.
The mayor's next big priority is noticeable as soon as you walk out of the local businesses he says he's trying to help. In fact, it's right underneath your feet.
“The price per square foot, if we can drive that price down we can get more mileage out of the same money,” Fusco said.
The mayor promised to rebuild infrastructure and decrease the budget, so he's hatched a plan to kill two birds with one sidewalk.
“We're going to pick and choose parts of projects that we can do,” said Joseph Guliano, Superintendent of Streets.
The DPW is starting minor sidewalk and piping work in-house, which they hope will eventually save a good deal of money.
So on the mayor's goals for the year, how did he do?
“We're hanging in there,” he said. “We've got to work together. It's a matter of cooperation and determination.”
And for what he didn't get done, there's always next year.