Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon returned to legislature chambers Friday to present his first budget to his former legislative colleagues. He says his previous time as a county lawmaker is valuable as they consider his $1.336 billion spending plan…
"Having that experience prepares me well to address some of the issues I know that they're concerned about in advance. But also through the negotiation process, one might say I have a leg-up on them."
McMahon says spending is up less than one percent. The budget will use no fund balance for the second straight year and is projects a $6.6 million surplus. He says that means they’re able to reduce property taxes to yet another historic low of $5.00/$1,000, and make strategic investments.
"With the success we're having in the local economy now, this allows us to try to pinpoint areas where we can drive further process on the human services side and on the infrastructure side. That's where this budget is really targeted."
For example, McMahon wants to continue to consolidate the sewer system, and is asking lawmakers to approve an 83 cent increase in monthly sewer unit charges to cover maintenance costs. On the human services side, McMahon told legislators that he’s increasingly concerned about the strain on the foster care system that’s forcing some children to be placed out of state.
"The status quo is not something I can live with. That's why I'm asking you to help me open a new county-run group home called the Syacmore House. This home will house our most vulnerable children, keeping these kids connected to their families, their schools, and their neighborhoods."
McMahon says the children, most of them teens, will get the supports they need. His budget also includes a proposal to create an office of diversity and inclusion in an effort to build on early successes of diversifying the county’s workforce. Lawmakers will soon begin spending several weeks combing through the proposed spending plan. The county's fiscal year begins January 1.