SYRACUSE – The former Syracuse Elementary School will be turned into 50 rental apartments and action taken by the Syracuse Town Council members Tuesday evening will help move that process along.

Council members approved an ordinance rezoning the property from public use district to residential. Marlin Schwartz, owner of the property, was present at the meeting and said part of the building was already rezoned for residential and he was asking for the rest of the property to be rezoned as well.

He told the Council working with what is existing on the property he believes he can develop 50-51 apartment units. Most of the apartments will be two bedrooms but there will be some one bedroom and a couple of three bedrooms.

The rent is expected to range from $1,000-$1,200 a month. Asked by a Council member about maintaining the gym, Schwartz said Eastlake Athletic expressed interest and if that were to happen they’d staff it and they’d work the cost into the rent. If not, Schwartz said he’d figure something out as to how to utilize the space for tenants.

Council President Larry Siegel asked if they could meet the rezoning requirement of having three parking spaces per unit. Schwartz said he thought he could but may possibly need a variance in the future, but as for now he thinks he can meet that.

He was asked the name of his company and he said Ridgestone Development Group and for the building, Artisan Builders. When asked if he has any more multiple apartment complexes he said he’s sold them all and wants to focus on this project.

When asked about the timeframe he replied it would probably take a month to get state approval back.

“Realistically hope to start this in the next two months,” Schwartz said.

2022 Budget

Clerk-Treasurer Virginia Cazier presented the council with the first look at the proposed 2022 budget. The proposed $4.46 million ($4,658,874) budget is $9,034 over last year’s budget of $4,567,840. Council Member Bill Musser said the clerk’s budget was “significantly higher.”

The proposed clerk’s budget is $2,700 over last year’s budget or 6.11%. Cazier said that is mostly due to health insurance increase, which she said was affecting all departments. She said the health insurance is increased 20% over last year because of COVID. Last year, the increase was 3%. She said the trash collection went up due to the fuel shortage. Musser also questioned what he said was a 50% increase in cleaning and mowing.  She said the town hired a new cleaning person.

AC & Furnace Repair

Virginia got approval to have the air conditioner and furnace replaced at city hall. She said it’s currently an old boiler system that has been sporadically working. She said two of the three quotes she received only quoted air conditioner for the clerk’s office, not heating and the third quote from Ritter was the only one that quoted both and they were less than the other two.

Therefore she asked Ritter to quote the entire building and the quote was $39,670. The Council approved having that work done and taking the funds from the Rainy Day fund.

In other business, the Council:

•    Approved the fire department’s 2022 budget of $2,241,891 for operating and another $425,000 for equipment.

•    Approved the agreement with Phend & Brown for work on Main and Railroad streets.

•    Approved replacing a pump at the Burger King lift station with American Pump and Repair at a cost of $59,199.

•    Approved a resolution amending the resolution establishing the Syracuse Technology Park as an economic development area. The amendment designates certain taxpayers within the allocation area.

•    Approved an ordinance allowing additional appropriations for $2,000 for community center lease payment.