County Exec. Mahoney Releases Budget Proposal; Also Asks for $49.5 Million for Amphitheater

Sep 15, 2014

Spending will decrease, taxes rates will fall, and water and sewer rates will go up if Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s budget goes through as is.  She delivered her $1.24 billion spending plan Monday to lawmakers. 

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney delivers her budget address. Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon is in the background.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
   Mahoney says the property tax levy will drop by 1.2 percent, to a historic low.  

 "With modest growth in assessed values, which is good news for homeowners, no increase in the levy means that once again the property tax rate will be reduced.  We are continuing to drop the rate in a careful, methodical way."

 Mahoney says this is where sales tax revenue comes in.  She says that, not property taxes, is key to keeping the county budget healthy enough to meet growing infrastructure needs.  

Mahoney says her 2015 budget uses $4 million in fund balance..compared to the current year’s $7 million.  She says water and sewer rates will go up as part of a 5 year plan to gradually increase user fees to continue the county’s obligation to maintaining its infrastructure.  Mahoney says there are forces on both sides of the ledger:  Lower pension costs, past due property tax collections, pilot payments, and sales tax revenue are driving revenues up.   At the same time, Mahoney says a $3.5 million increase in wages and  lower reimbursements due to fewer federal inmates  the Jamesville prison are pressuring the ledger to the negative side.  

BONDING FOR THE AMPHITHEATER

 Separate from the budget, Mahoney asked lawmakers to approve nearly $50 million in bonding for the proposed amphitheater.  

In addition to considering  the amphitheater bonding, lawmakers will spend the next few weeks combing through Mahoney's spending plan.  A vote is expected in mid-October.