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Politics and Government

Some Syracuse councilors outraged Onondaga County won’t match city’s $1 million in expanded rent relief

Michael Collins.jpg
Tom Magnarelli
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Neighborhood and Business Development Commissioner Michael Collins speaks in front of the Syracuse Common Council.

New York state has added $125 million to expand eligibility for rent relief, due to the pandemic. Syracuse officials say while that help is appreciated, it’s significantly less than what the need is, and they still want to allocate $1 million in federal stimulus funding to help more renters. Some city councilors are upset Onondaga County isn’t putting in any of its own money into the expansion.

The cap for rental assistance was at 80% of area median income. The city wants to take that to 100% and the state’s new program goes as far as 120%. Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll said it’s egregious the county, which administers rent relief, isn’t doing more to help this bracket of city renters.

“We are one-third of the county,” Driscoll said. “We pay county tax. We have problems unlike any other area and instead, we are building a soccer stadium out in Salina. It’s absolutely outrageous and I cannot believe the county would not match us on this.”

Driscoll is referring to the county's $25 million proposal for a soccer and lacrosse complex, using federal stimulus funds. The Council delayed passing the $1 million in rent relief two weeks ago to try to get a match from the county.

A spokesperson for County Executive Ryan McMahon questioned why the city is even putting up the $1 million, now that the state is allocating money for this expanded income bracket.

The Council is expected to vote on the issue Monday. Eligible renters and landlords can apply for the state’s program next month. It includes up to 12 months in back rent.