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Syracuse lawmakers approve city-county sales tax plan, table vote on sidewalk snow removal

Ellen Abbott
The Syracuse Common Council votes on a sales tax revenue sharing agreement with Onondaga County Tuesday

The Syracuse Common Council put the final stamp of approval on a sales tax distribution agreement with Onondaga County Tuesday that will last for the next 11 years.

City lawmakers unanimously agreed to extend the current sales tax deal. Finance Committee Chair Tim Rudd called it a smart move.

"I think it’s a fair agreement for the city and it’s more than we could get if collected our own sales tax," Rudd said.

Coming to terms about who gets what percentage of sales tax revenue in Onondaga County has to be agreed on every ten years.  It’s been divisive in the past, intensifying the suburban-urban tensions that exist in the county.

The last deal was a good one for the city. This time around, county and city leaders agreed to the extension of that agreement more than a year before a 2020 deadline. Rudd said he hopes it exemplifies an era of cooperation between the city and county, on a number of projects, including Mayor Ben Walsh’s Syracuse Surge initiative, that includes bringing the empty Central Tech high school back to life as a county-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) school.

"How will we renovate the school, how will we pay for it," Rudd said. "There’s a lot of need for collaboration on that front.  That could be a really regionally transformational asset.”

County lawmakers approved the deal earlier this month. 

New sidewalk snow deal?

Common Councilors yesterday also put off a decision on a new deal to clear snow from some sidewalks in the city. A deal reached by the city and B and T Landscaping in North Syracuse fell apart earlier this month, after the company said they had agreed to clear 12-14 miles of sidewalk, but the city asked them to clear 40 miles.

The city now has a deal with JSK Snow Services to clear 40 miles of sidewalk. Councilors said they wanted some time to review the new deal before voting on it. They’ll hold a special meeting on Friday to vote on the deal. If it's approved, it could go into effect February 1.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.