Onondaga County

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?

USDAgov / Flickr

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Onondaga County, local governments are trying to find the best strategy to deal with the invasive pests that will ultimately kill all the ash trees in the area. One of the county's biggest challenges lies in one of the busiest public green spaces in central New York, at Onondaga Lake Park.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

Columbia City Blog / Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, has been discovered in Onondaga County a special task force will begin making decisions about the future of ash trees, which account for 13 percent of the trees in central New York.

The EAB can kill an ash tree in as little as two years. Central New York Emerald Ash Borer Task Force member David Coburn says the result is that many trees will either be treated with pesticide or chopped down.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

On a muggy morning next to the American Steel and Aluminum Company in Liverpool, four people clad in orange vests look through binoculars at the vegetation that surrounds the warehouse.
         

Gravitywave / via Flickr

The conventional wisdom is that it's going to be a bad year for mosquitos, because of the very rainy June. But, whether that means more incidence of mosquito born viruses, is debatable.

Stephanie Miner/Facebook

The focus in the race for mayor in the city of Syracuse at this point is on a September 10 primary. Three candidates have turned in petition signatures this week to get on the ballot in September. Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says history shows whoever wins that race, will be victorious in November.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's been almost two years since Onondaga County lawmakers approved funding for renovation of the Central Library in downtown Syracuse. Now the first steps in revamping the facility are starting.

The Central Library has been ensconced in the Galleries of Syracuse for 25 years now. When it opened up, the Galleries was a retail hub, that's now morphed into what amounts to an office building. Central Librarian Doreen Milcarek says the facility needs to downsize, a move that will reflect staffing cutbacks and the changing needs of library patrons.

Cornell University Cooperate Extension Onondaga County

The emerald ash borer is getting closer to Onondaga County. The Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash trees, and are as close to central New York as Rochester.  Now, Cornell Cooperative Extension is recruiting volunteers for a program in Onondaga County that could  let wasps sound the alarm that the devastating bugs are here.

So how does a wasp tell us that the Emerald Ash Borer is in town?  Simple. They eat them.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

An increasingly disgruntled Syracuse common councilor accused the mayor's office of misleading taxpayers about the city and Onondaga County's merger of their planning departments.

Just as Monday's routine pre-meeting study session was wrapping up, councilor Lance Denno called the mayor's press secretary, Alexander Marion, before them.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County planning departments have officially merged. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed an inter-municipal agreement Thursday that brings the planning agencies of both governments under one roof.

Onondaga County lawmakers have taken the first step towards creating a new joint city of Syracuse-county planning agency. Current city and county offices that both have planning duties will be combined into one.

Legislator Kathleen Rapp says the consolidation of the two planning departments will streamline the current planning process, easing the regulatory burden for businesses that deal with zoning issues.

Former New Venture Gear plant may have new tenant

Jun 4, 2013
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The old New Venture Gear auto parts factory in suburban Syracuse could have a new tenant much quicker than county economic development officials expected.

A newly formed company called American Intermodal Container Manufacturing Inc. wants to use about half of the large factory to make shipping containers.

New Venture Gear concluded a long shutdown of its DeWitt plant in August. It once employed 4,000 people making parts for SUVs.

Onondaga County residents who want to get a pistol permit, are still seeing waits of more than 14 months to get an initial interview needed to get that permit.  But, county officials are expediting the purchase of a computer program that should move things along.

It'll be about a month before new software replaces the index cards Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies now use to process pistol permits, and start to make a dent in the wait for a permit hearing. County Legislator Kevin Holmquist says one of the reasons it took so long to award a contract for the software, was the state's new gun control law, called the NY SAFE Act.

As the deadline for the "opt-out" portion of the New York SAFE Act passed Wednesday, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department was still wading through thousands of forms from gun owners who don't want their pistol permit information available to the public.  

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time since before the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra went bankrupt two years ago, musicians will play a full season of symphonic music. The Symphoria's "Music in the Key of CNY" series marks a big moment for the fledgling musical group.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Democratic party activist Gary Morris has dropped his bid to become president of the Syracuse Common Council and endorsed current president Van Robinson Monday.

When it comes to health, what does the region do well, and what does it do poorly? What are the next frontiers in making the community healthier? In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow reflects on recent statistics about the county's health, discusses different approaches that communities and government can take toward improving health, and speculates about possible futures.

Juvenile records are automatically sealed in New York state, so they don't prejudice a prosecutor or judge, but state Sen. John DeFrancisco is proposing an exception. He wants those records be available to court officials if they involve sex crimes.

In March, the federal government awarded Chenango County, northeast of Binghamton, foreign trade zone status. That means county businesses can import goods without paying a tariff. They also pay a lower tariff if those goods are sold within the United States and no tariff if the final product is exported.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed election year budget includes no increases in taxes or fees; there are also no proposed layoffs. But despite spending cuts and consolidations, the city's fund balance takes a big hit, in order to fill a multi-million dollar budget hole.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It'll be easier for police to recover stolen goods from pawn shops and second-hand stores throughout Onondaga County, if a law approved by the county legislature goes into effect. The legislation is aimed at closing a loophole that pushes criminals outside Syracuse city limits to sell stolen goods.

There could be changes coming to the human services agencies and departments in Onondaga County government.  County Executive Joanie Mahoney says there's a two-fold reason for a proposed realignment.

Central New Yorkers want a public park available to everyone along Onondaga Lake. That was the upshot from the latest survey on the future of what was once the most polluted lake in the nation.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department has received the go-ahead to do whatever necessary to ease the pistol permit backlog that's mushroomed in central New York, because of the dramatic increase of the number of permit applications coming into the Syracuse office.

Unlike many other local governments in New York state, Onondaga County has weathered the recent fiscal crisis, and come out on firm financial footing. In her State of the County address Tuesday night, County Executive Joanie Mahoney credits recent budget cutting tactics for the difference.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is the latest county government in New York state to call on Albany to repeal the SAFE Act.  The county legislature voted Tuesday to ask the state to scrap the new state law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the toughest gun control law in the country.

The Onondaga County Legislature is expected to join a growing list of county governments cementing their opposition to New York's new, stricter, gun control laws.

The Onondaga County sheriff’s office is speaking out on New York’s new gun control rules for the first time.

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