Onondaga County

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County officials said they are willing to find an operator and developer for the new inland port. This comes after the state announced a $19 million investment to CSX Railways for the improvements to a DeWitt rail yard.

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon said if CSX does not strike a private agreement, he wants the county’s industrial development agency to keep the momentum moving on the project.

Onondaga Citizens League

The Onondaga Citizens League is trying to get a sense of just how plugged in central New Yorkers are to their community with a year-long study that found some issues, and suggestions on how to improve things. Researchers found plenty of agencies and organizations that help a plethora of issues, but they also found many struggling. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrat Gail Tosh has worked a variety of jobs during her lifetime - a language consultant for video games, English teacher in eastern Europe and currrently the owner of a small chicken farm in Baldwinsville. But she's never held elected office.

Now is the time for change though, she says, not only for her but for all residents of the 120th Assembly District, which covers parts of Oswego, Onondaga and Jefferson counties.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of the side effects of the opioid epidemic in central New York is the explosion of the number of Hepatitis C cases. Onondaga County now has one of the highest rates of the disease in New York State.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sales tax receipts are up in Onondaga County. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said it shows there has been a return on the investment in things like the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has started publicly making her case over how she would like to distribute the sales tax revenue collected in the county.

Mahoney said she is worried about potential anti-city sentiment ruling the day, in negotiations that create a formula to share sales tax revenue between the county and local governments. So, she turned a portion of this year’s State of the County speech into a primer about ways the county helps town and village governments.

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.

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