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McMahon highlights state of Onondaga County: 'We're seeing growth'

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Poverty, infrastructure and economic development was the agenda Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon laid out during his first State of the County address Tuesday night. McMahon emphasized his accomplishments so far, like signing a new sales tax agreement with the city of Syracuse, and outlined his vision for the future.

“We’ve spent the last 120 days building up for this moment to talk about our platform and talk about what we’re going to do the rest of 2019,” McMahon said. “It felt good to tell our story, tell the community’s story. We have a positive story. We’re going to cheerlead and talk about it all day long.”

McMahon said the county wants to consolidate ownership of the sewer pipes owned by the city of Syracuse and towns and villages, to fix the county’s wastewater system. By 2022, he said he wants 20 percent minority representation of the county’s workforce. And he is also proposing a countywide school dedicated to science, technology, engineering, the arts and math or STEAM.

“These suburban students don’t receive the P-Tech type training that our city kids have," McMahon said. "When you look at what this can do, is we’re truly preparing our workforce for the jobs they’re going to need.”

McMahon said the takeaway should be that the community is on the right trajectory.

"We’re seeing growth," McMahon said. "We’re tackling issues that our community didn’t talk about years ago. Now, we’re talking about them and now we’re trying to fix them. That’s going to position us for generational growth and we think population growth.”

McMahon said Onondaga County will also front the funding to start a plan to combat harmful algal blooms on Skaneateles Lake, this summer. Another proposal includes $250,000 in planning and development grants for town centers and hamlets. 

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said McMahon’s vision for the county is exciting and he said all too often, the issues affecting the county are characterized as either city verse suburban interests.

“All of those issues, the city and the county are inextricably connected,” Walsh said. “I think that that’s really where the focus of the county executive has been and my focus has been, in identifying those points of convergence and opportunities for partnership and we’re pursuing them aggressively.”

Walsh and McMahon are also both supporting an expansion of the business incubator, the Tech Garden, in downtown Syracuse.

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.