Oneida County's executive unveiled his budget proposal for 2014 this week. It's getting at least luke-warm acceptance from both sides of the aisle in the legislature. YNN's Andrew Sorensen gives us a breakdown of what could be good news for county taxpayers.
UTICA, N.Y. -- It's a bit of a rare thing when a politician pitches a budget and gets the same reaction from both parties.
"Oh, I'm very happy. I'm very optimistic with his statement. I'm very excited with future development," Democratic Oneida County Legislature Minority Leader Frank Tallarino said.
Majority Leader George Joseph agreed, "We address some of the concerns and needs of the past and it's a good foundation that I think we're all going to be able to work with."
That's the response to Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente's budget proposal Wednesday. It called for no new taxes. He said it's a product of some hard work.
"In looking at six budgets that came in under budget with surpluses, this year, if we're able to do it, I always said when we're able to do it, we would freeze the levy," Picente said.
They basically moved money around to avoid going to the taxpayers, a popular move. More controversial is a line for $17.5 million in capital projects.
"It is a large number. But some of it is projects that have been ongoing," Picente said.
Among them: Asbestos abatement and parking at the county office building, bridge and road work and the biggest, leveling Griffiss bunkers for a new $5 million building.
"Those that have been rehabbed," said Picente, "They were still old military structures that can't accommodate future growth that I see happening at Griffiss."
Picente said the building will be a mixed-use building that will eventually become the airport's new terminal, but legislative leaders aren't sold yet.
"That's been long anticipated. But the problem is that the carrier that we had in mind, Allegiant Air, has been captured by Syracuse and now located in Syracuse," said Tallarino.
"We may have to re-address that and see if there's a way we can either phase that or redefine a little bit, more acutely what our needs are," said Joseph.
The budget could see some fine tuning before adoption, how much is unclear.
The budget will be up for public comment at three different meetings. The first is at the Oneida County Legislative Chambers on Monday, October 7th at 7 p.m. The second will be at the Rome courthouse on November 11th at 7 p.m. The third is scheduled for November 12th at 7 p.m. It's also at the legislative chambers.