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When Good Faith Isn’t

Over several years the Syracuse community has witnessed a steady deterioration in the relationship between the city and representatives of Onondaga County.

The most recent example of the challenges that lie ahead for Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney relates to Onondaga Creek and the long fight over sewer projects. Prior to leaving office Onondaga County Executive Nick Pirro and Mayor Matt Driscoll came to agree on terms which would satisfy the county’s land needs while insuring mitigation funds for the residents of this long forgotten sector of the city.

Now it seems that the funds are caught up in the delay of these projects. Many people from a number of community groups envision improvements jump started by the funding promised by Onondaga County. “I’m concerned,” said Tom Francis of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation,

Walt Dixie of Jubilee Homes is cautious, “We’ve been pleased with the process that was used now we look forward to receiving the funds I hope that there are no changes and that the elected officials respect what the community has decided.”

I’ve seen some of the plans and they include: creek-side housing for moderate income homeowners, and a green zone where vegetables are grown for urban markets. Another concept has a recreation center located next to a church. After years of being neglected there seemed to be a thawing in the relationship as funds were to be allocated and people were excited about the prospect of neighborhood improvement.

Now there’s uncertainty abound regarding the future of what’s been built already. There’s even a chance that Onondaga County residents may incur fines of at least $5,000 per day if certain pre-negotiated goals are not met. If you think I’m kidding ask officials from New York City and others communities that had to fork over fines paid for by tax payers.

According to Tim Carroll, City of Syracuse Director of Operations, “We (the city) complied with the agreement that engaged these community groups and we feel that the county should honor that agreement regardless of their review process.”

As it relates to these projects residents of these urban neighborhoods; Midland, Tallman, Armory Square, Harbor Brook and others have had to endure dusty streets, detoured traffic, just a general disruption in their lives.

It’s only fair to honor these agreements made in good faith.

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