Progress on Onondaga Lake, strides made against poverty and economic development opportunities are among the priorities for County Executive Ryan McMahon in his second State of the County address Monday night.
Financial matters were front and center in much of Ryan McMahon’s State of the County address. Property owners are likely pleased the property tax rate went down for the 9thconsecutive year. McMahon credited Medicaid cost controls from the state that he says are essential to keep taxes in check. He also recalled his aggressive attack on back taxes, creating an agency to seize and market delinquent properties.
“And our actions have worked,” said McMahon. “We have changed behavior and had a record year, collecting $23 million in back taxes.”
County employees should take note of a program he plans to roll out to offer retirement incentives, including a buyout, and health insurance contributions for those who retire by October.
Central to McMahon’s economic program has been a battle against poverty. He announced the county won another round of state funding. The last Alliance for Economic Inclusion funding focused on job training. This time around: How about a lift to work?
“It is no secret that one of the biggest barriers to many in our community is access to reliable transportation,” said McMahon. “One of the successful proposals, which will launch a van pool program in Central New York. The program will fill gaps in our transit system to connect workers in underserved areas to remote job locations.”
McMahon shared some good news on the area’s troubling poverty rates. He says the area has the lowest poverty level in 10 years, and saw the county’s homeless population dip almost 10%. He’ll ask the county legislature to make more investments in early childhood education and child care, growth for summer youth employment, and more for the Tiny Homes for Good program.
McMahon believes Onondaga Lake is at a running point, with the cleanup Amended Consent Judgment just about finished. He announced a donation of land from Honeywell to continue the Loop-the-Lake trail on the West side.
“Whether it is the New York State Fair, the Amphitheater, Onondaga Lake Park, or the Inner Harbor, the progress was undeniable,” said McMahon. “Certainly the popular Loop the Lake trail is helping to drive this transformation to the next level.”
McMahon also reeled off some economic development projects: JMA Wireless in Syracuse, the huge Trammell Crow warehouse project in Clay, adding to the economy and low unemployment, and concluded the State of the County is good. He credited what he calls unprecedented cooperation at all levels of government, presenting a special moment in time to make more progress on all fronts.
This post has been updated to correct that the featured photo was from McMahon's 2019 address, not his 2020 address.