Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney have voiced that collaboration between city and county governments is close at hand.
After being in office just over a month, Walsh said cooperation between governments is one of the key elements of his Syracuse Rising agenda. In his state of the city speech, he said work has already started finding ways the city can collaborate with Onondaga County.
“Our team has met with county representatives more than a dozen times since Jan. 1,” Walsh said. “We have discussed areas where cooperation and shared services are possible.”
Relations between the city and the county have improved and worsened through the years, often dependent on the leadership styles of the people at the top and a natural tension between urban and suburban interests.
After a high point earlier this decade when the two governments agreed on a city-friendly sales tax distribution formula, relations between the two governments turned sour. This was just as talk of government collaboration was being pushed by the Cuomo administration, with Onondaga County embarking on a county-wide shared services initiative.
Mahoney said she is optimistic that a new mayoral administration will provide a shot of adrenaline in efforts to bring the cost of government down by working together. She said Walsh has already embraced some of the projects that have been talked about for years.
"He comes to the table with an understanding and recognition that we represent the same people,” Mahoney said. “The people that are represented by Mayor Walsh in the city are also constituents of county government, and we want the same good things for the people that we represent."
Walsh said he expects there to be results sooner rather than later.
“We’re not quite to the point where we’re ready to talk about what specifically we’re going to move toward, but we’re moving towards that,” Walsh said. “We look forward to sharing some details hopefully shortly about where we can find some wins and deliver services better to everyone.”