Once again, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is proposing a budget that does not raise property taxes, but it still calls for investments in several new initiatives.
Picente credits a potential fifth year of no property tax increases to the 2013 settlement with the Oneida Nation. Back-tax payments from the Nation's casinos and a share of their annual slot machine revenue has helped Oneida County collect more than $60 million in three years.
"That’s the only way that we have been able to sustain this trend for the last five years because we have an added revenue source," Picente said.
Picente wants to spend some of that revenue on flood mitigation measures. The county was hammered in July by flash floods that destroyed several homes. In response, New York state and Oneida County together committed about $5 million for flood mitigation projects. Picente's budget would build on that, dedicating $12 million over six years.
"We can’t control the weather but we can we can control the flow of the water," he said.
Picente's budget also calls for money to provide legal services for Oneida County's veterans, more investments in local libraries and an expansion of the 911 emergency operations center in Oriskany.