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Onondaga County Exec's Proposed $1.4B Budget Banks On Big Projects To Drive Lasting Revenues

Rendering of proposed Hopkins Sports Complex
John Smith
Hopkins Sports Complex is one of the major projects the County Executive proposed in order to create economic activity in the community.

Onondaga County's leadership is betting a new $85 million aquarium could help generate funds for public programs.

The proposed attraction is part of County Executive Ryan McMahon's $1.4 billion spending plan for next year, in hopes it will boost sales tax revenue. McMahon said even just a 2 percent projected increase in sales tax could set up the county for a prosperous future.

"Not only is our 2022 budget balanced, it makes historic investments, it cuts property taxes and invests in our base operations shoring up our departments," McMahon said during a Tuesday presentation to the County Legislature.

Sales tax revenue is a large part of the county's budget, and increases can help fund more social programs, like mental health services. McMahon said investments like an aquarium and a previously discussed sports complex could bring in long-lasting revenues streams.

"It means that as elected leaders we must make investments in industries that will actually generate that sales tax," McMahon said. "Lifting people up out of poverty is the moral responsibility of county government but that too does not generate sales tax to ensure that the proper resources are available to our not for profit partners."

The legislators will begin meeting this week to hammer out the budget’s details.