Over the next year, the city of Syracuse will be sharing its research department to help find grants for the town of Cicero. The agreement started differently than other shared service deals in Onondaga County.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she and Cicero Supervisor Mark Venesky bonded over a mutual love of Ford Mustangs over the summer.
“And through the process of getting to know each other, we talked about the opportunity that our grant writing expertise here in the city of Syracuse would have for the town of Cicero,” Miner said.
In September, the Onondaga County shared services committee approved a county-wide cost-savings plan after months of communication between municipalities. But Miner said the county did not need to be involved in the deal she struck with Cicero. She said this was between two governments working by themselves on the arrangement.
“When you start doing a top-down effort that is frankly, focused more on press releases than substance, and you start pushing this process and you say it’s got to be done in three months, I don’t think you’re going to get an end product that candidly, is as good as the end product that we’re going to sign right now,” Miner said.
A spokesperson for Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said they are pleased to hear Miner recognizing the value of shared services.
"The county executive looks forward to working with all municipalities going forward to find additional ways we can save taxpayer money and keep costs down."
Venesky said they are looking for any grant dollars related to parks and recreation, infrastructure and their senior and veterans programs.
"Kind of a stroke of luck that the mayor and I struck up a rapport and talked about what my needs were, what Cicero's needs were, what the city's needs were, and we came together on something," Venesky said. "We can create a win-win here. I can help reduce your costs because you are paying people anyway. I can subsidize that and in turn, your people are looking for the same things that I'm looking for."
The town of Cicero will compensate Syracuse at an hourly rate for any grant writing done.