To Deliver City Services Effectively, Efficiently, and Equitably

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 2019 to improve our delivery of city services.

Supplemental Sidewalk Snow Removal Pilot Program • Snow Removal Seminar for Contractors • Smart City Initiatives • Skaneateles Lake Watershed Collaboration/HABs • Fire Department Alarm Response • Credit Cards for Payment for City Services • Bikeshare • Road Reconstruction • Road Ratings Map

Supplemental Sidewalk Snow Removal Program

The supplemental sidewalk snow removal program was successful after being launched for the second half of the 2018-2019 winter season. The initial test pilot included the removal of snow on both sides of sidewalks on 20 miles of streets throughout the City. The program was renewed into the 2019-2020 winter season with the contractor, JSK Snow Services, and the sidewalks were expanded to 38 miles of streets.

Syracuse University partnered with the City to plow sidewalks on 2.2 miles of Syracuse streets near the university. The support provided by the private university will free up the City’s contractor to plow new routes, increasing public safety. While the program is free to taxpayers, the onus was still on property owners to clear the sidewalks in front of their properties.

Snow Removal Seminar for Contractors

The Department of Public Works (DPW) hosted one of two educational seminars for private operators as required by the revised legislation for snow removal contractors. DPW staff provided information outlining the rules governing snow removal in the city, in addition to the requirements to have a snow plowing license. The Common Council included the provision to foster a standard and fair snow plowing process in order to maintain public safety during the winter months.

Smart Cities Initiatives

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) established Syracuse as New York’s flagship smart city in February 2019. The $500,000 NYPA grant will fund censor nodes in the recently acquired street lights purchased by the City from National Grid. The technology will help the City better monitor infrastructure, identify where services like plowing are needed most, control street light brightness and more.

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Protection

Mayor Walsh and the Common Council approved a $13,500 grant to be matched by Skaneateles Lake Association for its Boat Launch Stewardship Program. The additional boat resources will allow the association to hire more stewards to visually inspect boats to reduce the risk of invasive species entering the lake.

The City of Syracuse was the recipient of the Environmental Steward Award given by the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program. The Program, an alternative filtration option, helps to maintain the watershed’s natural benefits to many communities, primarily farmers.

Fire Department Alarm Response

The Fire Department responded to 22,000 calls for assistance in 2019, an increase of 673 alarms from the previous year. The department responded to 100 structure fires, including 67 major structure fires.

Credit Cards for Payment for City Services

Permit application fees can now be paid using a credit card at the Permit Office as opposed to before when the only accepted form of payment was a check or money order. A goal in 2020 will be to allow the fees to be paid online.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services can now accept credit card payments for summer and winter programming that require registration fees. The use of credit cards was also implemented at the Clinton Square Ice Rink, a location that has received a lot of traffic during the winter season but only accepted cash.


The Gotcha Syracuse Sync bike share program launched in July 2019, giving users access to the 200 seafoam green bikes available through the Gotcha app. The electronic pedal-assist bikes offered the Syracuse community an alternative transportation method. Thirty-five bike hub and rack locations throughout the city made house the bikes which are able to navigate year-round weather elements and hilly topography.

Road Reconstruction

The FY 2020 budget included increased funds to support a Department of Public Works street repair crew tasked solely with paving road and filling potholes around the city. Crews paved 67% more roads in 2019 than in 2018, totaling 48 miles of street repairs.

Road Ratings Map

The first citywide comprehensive road rating map was created by the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) on behalf of the Department of Public Works. The map was made available to the public in early November 2019. The condition of the more than 400 miles of roads was rated on a New York State Department of Transportation scale classifying roads from excellent to poor. 

The assessment ranked 50.72% of city roads in good to excellent condition; 25.73% of city roads in fair condition; and 22.76% in poor condition. The map will guide road reconstruction project priorities in 2020 and in the years to come as SMTC will update the map annually.

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