Fiscal Progress | Neighborhood Progress | Engagement Progress | City Services Progress

The city of Syracuse should reliably deliver services, like filling potholes, in a reasonable time period, and do the work completely, so that revisits for the same problem occur rarely. Read more about specific actions we took in 2018 to improve our delivery of city services.

Street Lights and Technology • Smart City Initiatives • Winter Weather • Response/Sidewalk Snow Removal • Data Policy • Computerized Maintenance and Management System • Zebra Mussel Chlorination System Upgrade • DocuPet • Skaneateles Lake Watershed Collaboration/HABs • Fire Department Alarm Response • Credit Cards for Payment of City Services • BikeShare • GPS Trackers •  Magic Asphalt

Street Lights and Technology

The City of Syracuse bonded to purchase and upgrade street lights to LED. As part of this acquisition, the City is entering into a public-private partnership with the New York Power Authority and other “smart city” vendors. Through the street light investment, the City should save $3 million per year – a $60 million savings over the course of the bond life.

Smart Cities Initiatives

Additionally, with a $500,000 grant from the New York Power Authority, the City will invest in “smart city” technologies that can monitor infrastructure, identify where streets need to be plowed, measure environmental indicators, count people/vehicles, and control street light brightness. All of these potential use cases stand to increase economic investment or increase operational efficiency.

Winter Weather Response/Sidewalk Snow Removal

The City presented a snow safety plan for winter 2018-19 to the Public Works Committee of the Syracuse Common Council in September 2018. The City’s presentation included a planned pilot program for municipal sidewalk snow removal, which focuses on priority areas around the city. Under the program, the City anticipates clearing snow from sidewalks on about 20 miles of city streets. Does this need a current update?

The City also announced plans to improve upon efforts implemented last winter. DPW installed GPS-type devices on all of its snow removal vehicles, providing access to near real-time reporting on plow locations and progress. The snowplow location mapping is available to the public on the City’s website [LINK].

The City will also continue to issue snow safety alerts before major snow events, a program started in 2018 that communicates anticipated conditions and how residents can help. A new webpage on the City’s website includes information on anticipated response times based on snow conditions; parking ordinances and enforcement; sidewalk and fire hydrant snow clearance; and guidance on how and where residents can report concerns about snow removal operations. The City also continued its “Snow Issues Tracker,” an online tool that allows residents to report un-shoveled sidewalks and illegally parked cars.

Data Policy

In tandem with the release of the Syracuse Police Department’s body-worn camera policy, the City issued a Citywide Data Privacy Policy for public comment and review.

Press release –

Computerized Maintenance and Management System (CMMS)

The Water Department is spearheading an overall systemic improvement to work management, service requests, asset management, and utility permitting. This effort includes elements that will further refine and evaluate levels of service and generate reports to improve operational efficiencies. Additional phases for implementation to other departments may be pursued following successful implementation for the Water Department.

Zebra Mussel Chlorination System Upgrade

The Zebra Mussel Control Chlorination System Replacement project for the city of Syracuse Water Department was selected by the Central New York Branch of the American Public Works Association (APWA) to receive the 2018 Large Environmental-Water Project of the Year Award.

The city of Syracuse Department of Water owns and operates two 54-inch diameter raw water intake lines that draw raw water from the north end of Skaneateles Lake and supply water to the City of Syracuse, the Village of Skaneateles, the Village of Elbridge, and the Village of Jordan, serving a population of approximately 165,000 people. Each intake line extends approximately one mile into Skaneateles Lake.

Chlorine solution lines run inside the intake lines and inject chlorine in the intake lines for the purposes of zebra mussel control, disinfection, and harmful Algal Bloom toxin mitigation. These chlorine solution lines had reached their end of life and were beginning to break. The newly installed chlorination lines ensure the integrity of the water system at its source.


On the initiative of the Office of the City Clerk, DocuPet partnered with the city of Syracuse, CenterState CEO, and SUNY Oswego to launch its pet licensing program in the United States, and began processing dog licenses for the City in September 2018. Syracuse dog owners can now register their dogs and renew their pet license online at  

As part of the launch, Syracuse was selected as its U.S. headquarters, with the assistance of the Office of the City Clerk and CenterState CEO. The company opened for business in The Tech Garden in November 2018. The Syracuse office runs shipping, customer service, and marketing operations for all United States jurisdictions.

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Collaboration/HABs

Like bodies of water across the state and nation, Skaneateles Lake is experiencing an increase in frequency and severity of algae blooms. The lake is the source of water to more than 200,000 people in the city of Syracuse and other municipalities.

This year, the City increased its cooperative efforts to address algae blooms. Governor Cuomo increased funding to address this threat and this past summer, he sent help from the State Health Department and DEC to deal with blooms. The City also worked closely with farmers around the lake, who participate in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agriculture Program.

In addition, the City has built working relationships with the Village and Town of Skaneateles and other municipalities around the lake and teamed with dedicated volunteers in the watershed working to address algae blooms and invasive species that threaten the lake.

Fire Department Alarm Response

The Fire Department responded to 21,327 calls for assistance in 2018, an increase of 530 alarms from the previous year. The department responded to 166 structure fires, including 56 major structure fires. Rescue and Emergency Medical Services accounted for over 50 percent of the alarms responded to by the Fire Department, totaling 12,067 in 2018.

Credit Cards for Payment of City Services

The City issued an RFP in September 2018 and selected a vendor in December 2018 for phased implementation to accept credit cards for online in-person payments for city services. The first phase will launch in January 2019. Convenience of paying by credit cards is expected to increase revenues at little to no cost to the City.


The City has selected Gotcha Bike, an experienced vendor that operates in more than 40 communities across the United States, as its bike share operator. The City’s program, called “Sync Cycle” will launch in April 2019 with 200 bikes and 35 mobility hubs located in neighborhoods across Syracuse. All 200 bicycles will have electronic pedal-assist technology that is well suited for hilly topography and designed to face the year-round elements in Central New York.

Gotcha Bike is partnering with local organizations to engage the community and build an experienced team to operate this new transportation tool for those who live, work, and visit the city of Syracuse. More information on the program, including how to sign up, the specific hub locations, and how the system will operate will be provided before launch this Spring. K

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