According to the Republican Caucus on the Onondaga County Legislature, Onondaga County’s 2024 spending plan brings tax relief, added funding for important programs and initiatives After weeks of discussing the proposed 2024 Onondaga County budget, members of the Legislature’s Republican Caucus have once again ensured the adopted budget is fiscally responsible and will bring benefit to all county residents.
The full Legislature voted to accept the proposed 2024 Onondaga County budget, as amended by the Ways & Means report, at its October 10th Session.
From the start, County Executive Ryan McMahon presented a great proposal. His budget included a $9,000,000 cut to the tax levy and a 15% property tax rate cut, saving county homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. There was increased funding allocations for senior citizen initiatives, programs and services for veterans, and additional funding for mental health resources in every school district in the county.
Once again, the County Executive included more funding for lead remediation initiatives, bringing the combined 2023 and 2024 allocations to over $10 million. This funding will address the difficulty finding certified contractors to do the remediation work, the money is also going for public awareness and testing, because the sooner high levels of lead are detected in a child’s blood, the sooner appropriate steps can be taken. Funding in 2023 allowed the Onondaga County Health Department to purchase a new mobile lead testing vehicle, providing on-the-spot testing in areas where access has generally been limited.
The Ways & Means Committee, led by Majority Leader Brian May (1st District), held a week of budget review meetings during which the county’s Chief Fiscal Officer and department heads and commissioners shared specifics and answered questions. After each session, the Caucus met to talk about what they’d heard that day and to look at the overall budget.
The Caucus put an additional $100,000 behind environmental cleanup efforts, primarily for the removal of water chestnuts and other invasive species on county waterways. They put an additional $77,000 behind Shape Up For Veterans, a home repair program. More than $200,000 was added for first responder recruitment and retention and police/fire/EMS initiatives. The Sheriff’s Office got a $50,000 boost to help training deputies in Jiu Jitsu (a popular martial arts technique increasingly used by police agencies to deescalate situations) plus an additional $325,000 to help with the purchase of new vehicles.
In the end, the total change in the Ways & Means report was under $850,000 – impressive, because the budget totaled $1.4 billion when originally proposed – and the Caucus ensured it was fully balanced.
“We enhanced the County Executive’s proposal with key legislative priorities, particularly in the area of public safety,” said Majority Leader May. “Despite adding $1.3 million in structural spending, we kept the budget balanced, sustained the historic 15% rate cut and, most importantly, preserved every penny of the proposed $9 million reduction of the property tax levy, which is a direct benefit to residents.”