SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The city of Schenectady passed next year's budget with a vote of five to one Tuesday night.
Property taxes will be raised by 1.7 percent, but that was not the only big decision on the table.
During Tuesady's meeting, the council decided to keep the police commissioner position in the budget.
Council President Denise Brucker says removing the position was just part of an informal discussion amount council members, but ultimately had no support.
"It was never on the table in a formal manner," says Brucker.
"A lot of people were just asking questions," says Councilman Carl Erikson. "Do we need a police chief? Do we need a police commissioner? Can the police commissioner and the police chief be the same person? So we asked all those questions to make sure we understood what the law required."
Commissioner Bennett sat in on the meeting Tuesday night, telling News 10 earlier in the day he had no idea his position was being discussed. Bennett says while the thought is unsettling, he won't let the council or taxpayers down.
"I'm anxious to get going again," says Bennett. "Was it was a little blip on the screen, a distraction? Yes. But in less than 24 hours, how can you go wrong."
But the budget vote was about more than just Bennett's position. For two hours, Council members grappled with the numbers, finally agreeing on a 1.7 percent tax increase. The mayor had originally proposed a 4.18 percent tax increase.
"Everyone on the council worked really, really hard," says Erikson. "The changes we made today corporated everyone on the council."
To balance the budget, council members pulled all raises that are not contractual and cut two assistant chief positions, calling the budget responsible.
"Sometimes what happens in municipalities, if a tax rate gets dropped too much, a couple of years go by and that tax rate, as you see in Albany and other municipalities, jacks up eight or 10 percent," says Brucker.