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James Giannettino

Auburn Councilor James Giannettino announces his support of an increased city reimbursement rate for the Arterial Highway. 

AUBURN — In two separate resolutions, the Auburn City Council called on the state Legislature for city assistance. 

The council passed a resolution Thursday requesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to consider bills that would adjust the reimbursement rate for maintenance on the Arterial roadway. 

Currently, the maintenance reimbursement rates for Auburn sit at 85 cents per square yard and 95 cents for every elevated square yard. These rates haven't increased since 1987, despite rising costs. 

These bills, introduced by State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and State Sen. Timothy Kennedy, would set a new reimbursement rate of $1.87 per square yard and an additional 20 cents for elevated yardage. The bills would also allow the rates to be adjusted annually, consistent with the percentage change in the consumer price index.

In March, Auburn Mayor Michael Quill joined a coalition of 34 other New York mayors to call for higher reimbursement rates. The rates have been "sitting stagnant since 1987 and nobody at the State has addressed the matter," Quill said in a news release. 

"This is the fourth or fifth resolution we've passed in support of this," said Councilor James Giannettino Thursday. 

"The budget process in Albany is — if I had to pick one word — I think I'd use 'ridiculous' ... every year," he added. "I think this year it's a new level of ridiculousness, if that's even a word." 

Giannettino then expressed disappointment when he slammed the state for working on a plastic bag ban rather than providing "necessary funding" to Auburn. 

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"It really is beyond a point of comprehension," he said "I hope that they're listening to us."

The council requested the state take additional action Thursday through another resolution. This resolution announced Auburn's support of a separate bill that would amend the state's real property tax law. 

The bill, according to a memo sent by the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials, would shorten the redemption period for tax delinquent properties that have been abandoned and "establish a procedure for certifying that a property is abandoned." 

The memo added that "If adopted, this legislation would prevent further deterioration of abandoned properties, thereby mitigating the impacts on surrounding properties and the communities in which they are located."

In other news

• The intersection at Lansing and North Lewis streets will convert from a two-way-stop intersection to a four-way one. Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler said the conversion is "long overdue" for safety reasons. 

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.

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