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Mahoney wants to close amphitheater account, Antonacci says no money is attached to it

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
The St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview.";

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney requested that money set aside to get the county’s amphitheater going, be returned to the legislature because it is no longer needed. But the county comptroller said no money would actually be returned to the general fund.

Mahoney said the legislature originally appropriated $1.9 million during the 2016 budget process and the plan was the money would be used and returned with revenue generated by the amphitheater. About half of the money was spent on things like video screens. But she said now that tickets are selling and revenue is being shared, the amphitheater does not need the rest of the money.

“It’s validated what we knew was true," Mahoney said. "It is successful to the extent that we don’t even need to use the money that we were going to use, to get it up and running.”

Mahoney asked Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci to close the account and she said the legislature can use the remaining balance however they see fit. Antonacci said the county spent about $850,000, but there is no money attached to that account. He said it is a mere paper entry, a wish list, a statement of intent with no money allocated, so no money would be returned.

“Where’s the $850,000 that the county taxpayers have fronted for the operations of the amphitheater?" Antonacci asked. "When are we getting the $850,000 back?”

Antonacci also questioned what he said are expenses hidden in other departments to operate the amphitheater. Mahoney said no taxpayer dollars are used in amphitheater operations.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.