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Onondaga County budget proposal includes higher sewer tax, slightly lower property tax

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney in the legislature chambers.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney released her proposed budget for 2019. Mahoney highlighted a positive outlook for the county. She said her guess is it will be a pretty smooth budget process.

“The property tax rate is low, the fund balance is strong, sales tax revenue is growing and our infrastructure is in good working order," Mahoney said.

She said the property tax rate is the lowest it has ever been.

“We continue to do what we can to carefully nudge the rate down and we’ve done so by cutting the size and cost of your county government,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney said the state’s implementation of a hard cap on Medicaid costs continues to provide tremendous relief.

“Some people are using an old talking point about state mandates going up, and the opposite is now true," Mahoney said. "We’re able to keep our property tax rate low because the state took over millions."  

Sales tax revenue is up nine percent, which Mahoney credits to Destiny USA, a masters’ bowling tournament, visitors to the amphitheater and higher gas prices.

Her budget would increase the sewer unit charge by $30 per household. Mahoney said that is needed for ongoing investment in sewer infrastructure.

“#FixOurPipes, is not a responsible infrastructure strategy," Mahoney said. "Investing and fixing our own pipes is what Onondaga County has always done and the proof is in the good working condition of our vital infrastructure.”

The budget has funding for new snow plows, paving, the Onondaga County Agriculture Council, and to expand juvenile justice reform. The county’s film commissioner would also be moved to Visit Syracuse.

Onondaga County maintained an AAA credit rating. 

The legislature will vote on the budget next month.

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.