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Politics and Government

Consensus and economic development in Onondaga County dominate State of the County

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Ellen Abbott
/
WRVO News

In a wide ranging State of the County speech last night, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney went on the defensive, saying many economic development projects, proposals and plans are often unfairly represented by critics across Central New York.

When defending economic development, Mahoney used tactics including humor with pictures of her and Onondaga County Legislative Chairman Ryan McMahon.

“We can either, as I say, sit atop our white horses, and refuse to offer incentives, and there’s me and ryan doing that,” Mahoney said, to laughter.

And tactics like tutorials or how different the city of Syracuse and the county economic development agencies work.

“In the city, the mayor appoints the SIDA [Syracuse Industrial Development Agency] members. In the county it’s the chairman of the legislature.”

Mahoney suggests that citizens can’t be apathetic about many of the controversial economic development issues facing central New York. Among them, an often vacant film soundstage that was supposed to usher in an era of movie making to central New York.

She laid out a plan that would create 350 jobs at the film hub in DeWitt, Mahoney noted the often criticized Lakeview Amphitheater has cost county taxpayers absolutely nothing, and has spun off millions in economic impact. She saved the biggest defense for Consensus, which champions government consolidation, including the creation of a metropolitan government, and has few supporters save Mahoney.

“When we have conversations like Consensus, tough conversations, then we immediately retreat to our corners and start throwing rocks at each other, and fail to recognize, the county’s not really that big a place, we’re one community," Mahoney said.

Mahoney suggests too much government in central New York, including the city of Syracuse, is simply unsustainable, and there will be changes sooner or later.