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Politics and Government

Onondaga County to use part of ARPA funding for economic development

Jessica Cain
Onondaga County legislature votes to loan money to OCIDA

Onondaga County is hoping to use some of its money from the American Rescue Plan Act to lure more jobs to the area.

The vote by the Onondaga County Legislature this month was 10-to-5 along party lines with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats voting against it.

The proposal allows the legislature to authorize a $20 million loan to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency. The agency would be able to use the money on an as-needed basis to try to attract new business in the county.

The funds would come out of the money the county is receiving from the federal government to help with relief in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republican Legislator Brian May voted in favor of the resolution. He says economic development is a highly competitive arena, and it’s crucial to have money ready to draw in potential employers.

"Everybody wants an employer to come and to build,” said May. “Everybody wants an employer to come and employ and build a tax base."

However, some lawmakers said the money isn’t meant to be used for potential projects. Democratic Legislator Mary Kuhn said she’d like it to go to services directly affected by the pandemic.

"Our services were cut tremendously,” said Kuhn. “Mental health, public health. Public health is still down. There are many things our community needs."

While specific projects have not been chosen, yet, for the funding, Kuhn said one is expected to be a chip manufacturing facility that could end up in the White Pine Commerce Park in Clay.