Onondaga County

WRVO News

Can local governments in New York better share the services they provide in order to improve quality and to save taxpayer dollars? A provision in this year's state budget calls for counties to develop proposals for greater sharing of services. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, about the process of sharing services across municipalities.

WRVO News

A hot topic among local governments in central New York recently, is proposing ways to share services. But one Syracuse mayoral candidate with ties to the Consensus Commission on government consolidation is sharing his thoughts on its most controversial recommendation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There was a light turnout last night for the first public hearing regarding Onondaga County’s shared services proposal.

The first of three public hearings on Onondaga County’s shared services proposal will be held this evening at the East Syracuse Minoa High School. It appears there could be some keepers among a list of 95 ways to share services among governments and school districts.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney turned over a report on shared services to the county Legislature this week, as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shared services initiative. The ideas range from sharing things as divers as pesticide applicators to IT services.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The first draft of Onondaga County’s shared services plan calls for creation of a BOCES-like entity intended to help local governments efforts to become more efficient.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says it was learning the way BOCES facilitates sharing services among local school districts that inspired the proposed Greater Syracuse Shared Services Consortium.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The first Democratic challenger to central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has joined the race. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County has been able to reduce the amount of water that rushes into Onondaga Lake through the Save the Rain Program. The county’s next goal is to get litter out of the lake.

Onondaga County has started a joint initiative with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency called “Block Litter.” It encourages people to take a pledge to pick up litter in the street, or volunteer to recruit neighbors to help clean up trash.

Vipal / Creative Commons

School districts across Onondaga County have met with County Executive Joanie Mahoney to discuss a county-wide effort to share government services. It’s a follow up to a meeting with local municipal leaders, in the effort to save taxpayer dollars through a state-mandated shared services plan.

Mahoney says a recent meeting with school districts was very positive, with officials immediately coming up with suggestions for saving money by sharing services.

Onondaga County Health Department / Facebook

There were more than 150 additional autopsies performed in Onondaga County in 2016 compared to two years ago. The county is contracting medical examiners from New York City to handle some of the casework.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Municipalities in Onondaga County are taking the first step to creating a shared services plan. It’s part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to face governments to work together in order to to save taxpayer dollars. The state is requiring all counties to come up with a plan with their local governments.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney called a meeting of supervisors and mayors from across Onondaga County to outline a timetable for creating this county-wide plan for sharing services.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This year’s soggy spring has farmers in central New York scrambling. Many farms are two weeks behind in their planting schedules.

On a clear day, there’s quite a vista from farmer Dan Palladino’s hilltop farm in the town of Pompey.

"You can see all the way to Sodus, and Chimney Bluffs there. Over there is Oneida Lake, and over there are the foothills of the Adirondacks, and you can see Canastota," Palladino said, describing the view.

But there haven’t been too many of those clear days this rain-soaked spring. And it’s messing up more than the view.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Progress is being made on a nearly $50 million renovation of Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year. The recently passed state budget includes $35 million for the project which will feature a new center lobby, terminal exterior and ticket counters.

Executive Director Christina Callahan said the center lobby will turn into a grand hall and be more modernized.

Tom Sinon / Flickr

Anti-smoking advocates in Onondaga County are pushing to raise the county’s legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 19 to 21. The Tobacco Action Coalition of Onondaga County says this would have a dramatic effect in reducing the number of teens and young adults that get addicted to nicotine. 

Physician Leslie Kohman of the Upstate Cancer Center says the change would restrict the amount of access teenagers have to tobacco products.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With lawmakers in Albany preoccupied with getting the budget done by week’s end, groups have to get creative to gain attention. Supporters of spending for public defense for the poor came up with one way: a “Wheel of Fortune”-style game staged right in the middle of the action.

The New York Civil Liberties Union chose a busy corridor in the Capitol between lawmakers’ offices and the Senate and Assembly chambers to hold a contest featuring a brightly colored wheel styled after the one on the iconic television show.

U.S. Census Bureau / Empire Center for Public Policy

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York's statewide population fell for the first time in a decade, largely a result of upstate population losses outpacing the gains made downstate.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County could soon be the latest county in the state to follow a trend that puts animal abusers on a comprehensive list.

Stephanie Heath, of the Cuse Pit Crew in Syracuse, says right now there’s nothing stopping someone who’s been convicted of animal abuse from adopting an animal from her shelter.

“When an adopter comes to a shelter, they have to do an application. And we can only go so far with an application process, and a home check and a reference check and a vet reference.”

So she is all for creating an animal abuser registry in Onondaga County.

Wayne Marshall / via Flickr

After three years of rejection, the city of Syracuse is again applying for federal funding to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The money would be used to eliminate the hazards in a home that can result in lead poisoning. Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Paul Driscoll said this year’s application will also include inspecting homes for other potential dangers.

"It could be mold, radon, asbestos or pest infestation that leads to asthma," Driscoll said. "We’re trying to address all the health hazards in a house with one visit, one application."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

In a wide ranging State of the County speech last night, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney went on the defensive, saying many economic development projects, proposals and plans are often unfairly represented by critics across Central New York.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO File Photo

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney continues to be one of the only public officials willing to let the Consensus Commission proposal to create a municipal government play out. Mahoney suggests opponents are drowning out many of the facts in the debate over government consolidation.

Mahoney is on a political island locally, when it comes to the Consensus Commission proposal to create a new metropolitan government if a public referendum warrants it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Jazz Fest is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. It will be held June 9 and 10 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano says this anniversary is actually an impressive milestone.

"There are very few festivals in the country that have reached age 35 and they’re all in markets larger than us,” said Malfitano.” Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey[California] Jazz Festival, that’s been around 60 years. Chicago, Detroit, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and that’s it.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner isn’t backing down from her opposition to a proposal to merge the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County into a metropolitan government. The mayor doesn’t see any benefit to city residents in the 50 proposals included in the final report of the Consensus Commission on government consolidation.

Miner says if followed through, the recommendation to create a metropolitan government, would leave the city in a weak position on a couple of fronts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Consensus Commission’s final report on government modernization for central New York is in. There are 50 recommendations that propose government consolidation in the areas of infrastructure, public safety, municipal operations and economic development. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Updated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

More changes are on the way for the New York State Fair. The fair will be longer starting this year, going from 12 days to 13. During a stop in Syracuse Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more specific plans for a $70 million investment in the second phase of a revitalization of the State Fairgrounds.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr (File Photo)

One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature economic development programs is being downsized in his new state budget. Start-Up NY is being rebranded as other economic development projects have suffered setbacks.

The Start-Up NY program — which offered 10 years of freedom from income, business and other taxes to companies that sought to begin a business on a college campus — initially was a centerpiece of Cuomo’s big plans for more jobs in upstate New York.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank recently made its 400th sale after it began selling tax-delinquent properties in 2013. The land bank's goals for the new year are to expand outside the city and address health concerns about their properties.

That 400th sale was a home in Syracuse that was listed in the Land Bank’s Home Ownership Choice program, which requires buyers to live on the property or to renovate and sell to an owner-occupant within a year. Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright said most of the properties they sell are fixer-uppers.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Syracuse Hancock International Airport will be getting a multi-million dollar makeover thanks to the Cuomo administration. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a regional State of the State Address in Syracuse Wednesday.

Consensus CNY

It’s been almost a year since the Consensus CNY creleased more than 50 recommendations for modernizing government in Onondaga County. After months of meetings and public forums early last year, the volunteer group has yet to release a final report, and one local legislative leader says whenever it finally comes out, central New Yorkers won’t see big changes anytime soon.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is being considered for a job in the Trump administration. The Republican says he was approached by members of the Trump transition team to consider a job as the U.S. attorney for New York’s Northern District.

It’s a job in the past that generally goes to someone with experience as a prosecutor. Antonacci is a civil attorney, but says it’s more than the experience in the courtroom that counts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of the goals of the Onondaga County Legislature in 2017 will be updating of the county’s comprehensive plan that guides planning and economic development. Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon will be appointing a special committee that will look through all the comprehensive development plans that have been drafted by various groups and governments in recent years across central New York. McMahon says the idea is to review these plans and the options they present, then move on legislation to deal with future development.

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