Onondaga County lawmakers vote this week on the proposed $122 million 2014 budget. The spending plan includes a slight decrease in the tax rate along with some spending cuts. One additional fund that's being proposed in the budget is a pot of money that would be available for economic development projects.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has seen it before in central New York; economic development projects die because they can't get those last final dollars in place. So what does she the propose in order to correct the problem?
"Our Economic Development fund is a $1.5 million source that we're hoping will give us the ability to be nimble," Mahoney said.
By that she means offering what are called last in dollars in a timely manner, to keep projects alive.
"If there's a need at the end, that's modest, and Onondaga County can benefit from the job growth, we want to be in a position to very quickly make that decision," Mahoney said. "So that we're not losing those jobs to a municipality further away- certainly out of the state."
Mahoney says the idea is for the county to offer money to a project that needs a small boost to get over the finish line, noting the funds could be available at this point in the 2014 budget.
"We're going to try it," Mahoney said. "We're going to see if it works. If it has an impact we're going to look to continue it. But we're always trying new things."
Mahoney says an advisory board would keep central New York competitive with other municipalities that have the capability of moving quickly to help projects that need a last minute infusion of cash, and ensure the money would be used for projects that lead to new jobs.