Ben Walsh

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

5G wireless technology from Verizon is coming to the city of Syracuse, which would make it one of the first cities in the country with the new facilities for faster connectivity. But the vote to pass the measure did not go smoothly.

At a council meeting to approve the deal, Davy Campbell and other Syracuse residents voiced their opposition to the new technology to councilors, because of health concerns and risks from radiation.

City of Syracuse YouTube

The city of Syracuse is delaying a vote to deploy 5G wireless technology from Verizon, a priority of Mayor Ben Walsh. One common councilor said it’s to make sure they are doing all they can to protect the workers installing the new facilities.

Sam Edelstein, chief data officer with the city of Syracuse, said 5G has the potential to allow new technologies, like autonomous systems.

“The kind of connectivity, the low latency and the high bandwidth 5G offers is what enables that," Edelstein said. "Certainly, being one of the first cities to enable 5G is exciting.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse homeowners will continue to get their STAR rebate checks, now that the city’s common council has approved a budget that keeps a property tax increase below the state’s tax cap. But to make up for the lost revenue, the city is going to raise the parking meter rate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh were briefed by the New York State Department of Transportation on why the DOT chose the community grid as the best option to replace the Interstate-81 viaduct in downtown Syracuse. While Walsh and McMahon were on different sides of the debate, both came together in a show of unity as the project enters the next phase. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As the Syracuse Common Council continues to go over Mayor Ben Walsh’s proposed budget, the council rejected a proposal to waive New York State’s 2% tax cap. Those against it said it would essentially authorize the city to go over the cap. But supporters of the proposed law said it would protect the city from additional penalties.

John Tann / Flickr

Syracuse residents are optimistic that a growing deer and tick population can be brought under control with the latest plans from city officials.

Nina Andon-Mclane lives near Nottingham High School on Syracuse’s Eastside. She looks forward to tending to her garden this time of year, but ever since a herd of seven deer moved into her back yard, not much is left.

"The tulips are gone. The hostas are gone. Our vegetable garden is no more," said Andon-Mclane.

More importantly, the deer leave behind thousands of ticks, which carry Lyme disease.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Surge is getting a boost from its biggest private sector contribution yet. The city has won a $3 million grant as part of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities Challenge.

City officials call this is a pivotal moment for the Syracuse Surge, Mayor Ben Walsh's plan to boost the city's tech sector. This funding will help advance the initiative, at the same time making sure that prosperity from it is shared among the poorest city residents. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has a few issues with Mayor Ben Walsh’s proposed budget. Lawmakers are concerned about a 3.5% tax increase included in the spending plan.

Councilor Joe Carni said he’s not comfortable with taxpayers footing the bills for new programs and initiatives that are pushing up taxes. And when it comes time to vote, he said he’ll be proposing some amendments to the budget. 

"We need to make sure we are spending our tax dollars as efficiently as possible, and focusing on an austerity budget instead of pushing the bill on our taxpayers," said Carni.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

One of the ways climate change can affect our health is through the spread of harmful algal blooms in lakes where people swim and get their drinking water. The blooms can cause adverse health effects and have been occurring more frequently in recent years.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is proposing tax increases in the next budget to avoid cuts to staff and services, the first since 2011. But some councilors question if savings can be found to avoid raising taxes.

Walsh presented his budget to the Syracuse Common Council, saying the 3.5% property tax and 4% water rate increases were decisions not made lightly.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has put together a package of initiatives meant to attack the issue of housing instability.

WRVO Public Media

A little over a year ago, Ben Walsh rewrote Syracuse history, assembling a diverse bipartisan coalition, and winning the 2017 race for mayor as an independent for the first time in over a century. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Walsh about his first year in office, and what's to come in the next three, including his notion of a coming 'Syracuse Surge.'

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

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.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The city of Syracuse is hoping the state can come through with $12 million to help ensure the cleanliness of drinking water from Skaneateles Lake.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said the money would fund the extension of a water intake pipe deeper and further into Skaneateles Lake. There are a few reasons Walsh said this is necessary.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Panhandlers in central New York will soon have a chance at a job as a day laborer, instead of asking drivers for spare change. In My Father’s Kitchen won the contract to run the Hire Ground program that is expected to begin this spring.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

All 19 town supervisors in Onondaga County have come out against the community grid-only option to replace the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. The other alternatives are a tunnel or a new elevated highway. Supporters of the grid continue to hold events around the city. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh gave his second State of the City address in front packed crowd at the Redhouse Arts Center Thursday evening, and went into detail on what he calls the biggest economic growth initiative in the city’s history.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse have avoided the acrimony that’s happened in the past, when it comes to deciding how to split the sales tax revenue that is generated in the county. Leaders have agreed to extend the current agreement another ten years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County are joining forces to get some chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into a job. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is putting a paid parental leave policy in place starting this month. Non-unionized employees in the city will get the benefit, receiving 12 weeks of paid leave which can be used in the cases of a new birth, adoption or foster placement. The city had no paid leave policy in place before this, according to Mayor Ben Walsh

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Ryan McMahon is the new Onondaga County executive. He took over the position from Joanie Mahoney. The 38-year-old Republican and father of three, who grew up in the city of Syracuse, will get the chance to show the public what his administration looks like before voters choose a candidate for the office next year. 

An early test for McMahon came in 2003. After working at an internship in Albany for an assemblyman, McMahon realized he wanted to run for office. The first time he did, in a race for a seat on the Syracuse Common Council, he lost.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The search for the next chief of police in Syracuse has been narrowed down to three candidates. One has extensive experience in the Syracuse Police Department and the other two come from outside New York State.

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Steven Thompson, who was also a former police chief, was a member of the search committee that asked the candidates questions as to how they would decrease the shootings and violence occurring in the city, as well as how they would structure the police department and interact with other agencies.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Central New York Community Foundation will spend $2 million over four years to help end childhood lead poisoning by making residences in Syracuse lead safe. The investments target new housing construction and existing home renovations.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

A 14-year-old was shot in Syracuse last weekend and it is part of a recent increase in youth violence in the city. Syracuse’s mayor said while the issue of gun violence is not new to the city, the age of the victims and perpetrators of recent crimes has given everyone in the community additional cause for concern.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse remembered 9/11 and those lost in the terrorist attack at a somber ceremony at Forman Park. A moment of silence stretched on for 17 minutes -- the time between the first and second attacks on the twin towers in New York City 17 years ago.

Mayor Ben Walsh says it was powerful.

"Oftentimes we get caught up in our day to lives and daily activities,” Walsh said. “And standing in silence for 17 minutes and reflecting back on that day, on those we lost and those who still serve, it was very touching.”

Sometimes silence says more than words.

City of Syracuse

The city of Syracuse has started taking steps to "demystify" local government, according to Mayor Ben Walsh.

A new performance management program is now online, that can tell citizens of the city what goals government has, and whether they are being reached. It can be as basic as how quickly potholes are patched, to whether the city is duplicating services by sending workers to the same scene more than once. 

Walsh said this tool will help the city be more accountable to taxpayers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As central New York politicians met with Gov. Cuomo and his staff this week for the opening day of the New York State Fair, the topic of a major project that looms over central New York kept coming up.  

It’s one of the biggest public works projects to take place in central New York in a generation. How to deal with an aging section of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse that ferries thousands of vehicles through upstate New York every day. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is calling for the release of full inspection reports completed this month, following the collapse of an elevated railroad sidewall in the city two weeks ago. This comes after a report from last year determined that section of the railroad to be in fair to good condition.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Officials in Syracuse say they are still waiting for safety information from the federal government on all railroad bridges in the city. 

City of Syracuse

The 500 block of Clinton St. in Syracuse remains closed Friday after the sidewall of an elevated railroad track in downtown Syracuse collapsed Thursday afternoon. No one was injured, but the debris did knock over a streetlight. 

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