Onondaga County's top Politician gave a pretty positive review as regards budget matters, progress and taxpayers. The State of the County address also gave Joanie Mahoney a chance to review her impacts and legacy as she enters an election year.
Mahoney gave a number of reasons why over her tenure in office property tax levies have been reduced by some 22 %. She credits belt tightening, increased sales tax revenues due to some wise investments and activities, as well as reduced mandates such as Medicare.
"We recognize that we are all in this together and have a shared balance sheet. It doesn’t do our taxpayers any good if we can reduce county taxes only to have taxes for other municipalities increased. So we’re looking to consolidate outside of county government.”
She says further consolidating can continue to save money. She cites working together with the city and 47 different municipalities on shared services to save money.
Mahoney updated some major concerns of the area...The completion of toxics dredging in Onondaga Lake is allowing a corner to be turned.
“And the debate now is about new parks and trails on the west side, rather than pollution. It’s kind of amazing to me that we’re debating things right now that were really unimaginable just a few years ago.”
And a different lake issue - the number of sewage overflows - also showing progress
The Amended Consent Judgment requires that we capture 95 % of our overflows by 2018. I am happy to tell you that with our recalibrated and validated storm management model, we are already exceeding that capture rate.”
Mahoney further touted a range of infrastructure improvements, even during recession. That included working with the city to pave some roads, acknowledging how important the center city is to the county's well being.
INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETED BY ONONDAGA COUNTY
- War Memorial: New roof, Seating, Locker Room improvements
- Onondaga Community College: Athletic Fields and Sports Arena, Completion of Classroom/Music Program space.
- Rosamond Gifford Zoo: Elephant Exhibit, HVAC upgrade, Save the RAin projects
- Covering Water Reservoirs
- 9-1-1 Interoperable Radios
- County Buildings: New Windows in Civic Center, Justice Center New Roof
She wrapped up with a grand plan for the state fair, including the amphitheater project...and a rebuilding of parking lots across from the fair entrance.
“We want to create main street, a mixed-use development with residential , commercial, restaurants, retail; we really want to show people who come here from all across the state and all across the country to the Great New York State Fair what it’s really like to be in Central New York.”
Governor Cuomo already included 50 million dollars for fair upgrades in his state budget.
Mahoney beckoned to legislators to finish a development guide and come up with a plan for the Carnegie building. But the core message was how well the community is doing, as Mahoney enters a possible reelection year with no stated opposition as yet.