Onondaga County Executive Proposes Trimming $15 Million in $1.3 Billion Budget

Sep 15, 2017

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney
Credit Shoshana Stahl / WAER News

The Onondaga County Executive unveiled her proposed budget for 2018 to County Lawmakers today trimming the budget by $15 million over last year.  She feels the $1.3 billion spending plan is a result of many factors including a significantly downsized staff of employees who take on more work.

“This budget that I present to you today continues our proud history of efficiently delivering high quality services.  It is responsibly maintaining our infrastructure rather than kicking the can down the road for our kids to handle and it does all of that in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Mahoney is projecting $ 258 million in County sales tax revenue in 2018 which she estimates is $110,000  more than the County collects in property taxes.  She explains that the county heavily relies on events at the year-old Lakeview Amphitheater and improvements to the State Fair to keep sales tax revenue strong which also impacts property taxes.

“All that effort that goes in as a community to investing things that draw people here is the reason that a $100,000 house in Onondaga County only pays $507 in property taxes.  And that includes your roads, libraries veteran’s services, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and many, many more services.”

She feels the county’s tax sharing agreement with the City of Syracuse could fade away within two years and heavily depends on the outcome of County Legislature races.  Mahoney claims that she’s heard of an internal political effort to support candidates who would be against sharing further revenue agreements with the city.

We are in this all together.  The city cannot fail and have thriving suburbs around it.  We both need to be healthy.  So, I implore everybody to pay attention.”

She encourages voters to ask County Legislature candidates if they support sharing sales tax revenue with the City to make an informed choice.  Mahoney points out that many residents who live in the suburbs work at non-profits in the city which are exempt from property taxes, so they benefit and she feels giving back to the city is essential.  She says the City collects $34 million in property taxes and receives $75 million in unrestricted state aid for operations and $85 million in county sales tax revenue.  Mahoney says if the county’s share was taken away from the city, it would be as though its entire property tax levy would dissolve.