Onondaga County

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against pharmaceutical companies and others for their part in the continuing opioid crisis.

The county is accusing drug companies and distributors of painkillers made from opioids of downplaying the risks of those kinds of drugs that have fueled a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Onondaga County in particular has been hit hard by the epidemic, with the number of opioid-related deaths tripling since 2012. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the county bears a cost from this suffering on a couple of fronts.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Town halls across upstate New York are seeing a steady stream of residents paying their 2018 town and county property taxes before the end of 2017. The new federal tax code limits local property tax deductions.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Big animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be getting a new medical treatment facility in the next few years.

Right now, zoo director Ted Fox says the biggest animal that can be treated in the current clinic is the snow leopard.

“So the tigers, the lions, the elephants, the bison, the white lipped deer have to be treated in the field,” said Fox.

The bigger animals could need a variety of treatments without the proper setting to do them.

WBFO News File Photo

Onondaga County is making it easier to pay town and county taxes early with a new online system, and it comes at a time when some taxpayers are considering paying their local taxes early.

A new program called E-Tax launches Wednesday that will allow Onondaga County residents to get an early look at their local government tax bills, before paper copies of those bills are mailed later in the week. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A proposition on Tuesday’s ballot for Onondaga County voters would transfer control of the Jamesville Correctional Facility from the county executive to the sheriff’s department. The move is meant to save money and was approved by the Onondaga County Legislature.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

While the race for Syracuse mayor is getting much of the attention in central New York this election season, politicians say don’t ignore the contests for the Onondaga County Legislature. Candidates aligned with three distinct political factions are all jockeying for votes, and results could ultimately have an impact on the fiscal future of the city of Syracuse.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County shared services committee approved a county-wide shared services plan Wednesday, and local governments could be in line for $5 million in savings, plus a $5 million match from the state. 

The just over two month timeline to get something done that was required by the New York forced towns, villages, school districts and city of Syracuse to spend a lot of time communicating this summer. 

Meesh / Flickr

After three years of advocacy, the Onondaga County Legislature unanimously took a stand this week against the practice of placing juveniles in solitary confinement within the county’s criminal justice system.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers passed an ethics reform law during its meeting Tuesday. The new law stems from a simmering political back and forth between county officials, which has led to the law that will limit outside income for certain elected officials.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County voters will decide in November whether the county’s corrections department will move under the control of the sheriff’s department. Lawmakers voted 13 to 3 to move ahead with the referendum, despite some concerns.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County has firmed up plans for an $8.5 million renovation of the downtown Syracuse War Memorial, and taxpayers will be on the hook for about half the cost.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its 2018 budget proposal Monday, raising property taxes 3.48 percent. Officials blamed the increase on salaries, fringe benefits and health care costs for city employees, which is why they cut city hall staff by 7.5 positions.

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.

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