SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon used his budget address to the county legislature Tuesday to defend against naysayers critical of his plan to spend money to build an aquarium.
Tuesday, McMahon explained how he plans to allocate his $1.4 billion budget next year.
He says property taxes will go down 6 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and the sewer unit rate will stay the same, saving families money in total.
Instead, McMahon says his county budget will rely on a 2% increase in sales tax based on people’s spending in 2022.
McMahon will also rely on left-over money from the 2020 and 2021 budgets, which was the result after McMahon cut services and staff in case the pandemic caused a worst-case economic scenario.
The $85 million aquarium planned for Syracuse’s Inner Harbor will be paid for my 2021 left-overs and some 2022 budgeted money.
The $25 million multi-sports complex planned to be built on Hopkins Road in the Town of Salina will be paid for by federal stimulus money.
Both projects, McMahon hopes, will result in people spending money and more sales tax revenue. Some of his constituents ask why the money isn’t being spent.
McMahon answers, “That’s an either/or proposition. That’s suggesting we don’t invest over $20 million for roads in this budget. The either/or opposition is what the naysayers like to do.”
McMahon says projects that bring people in to spend money result in sales tax. Sales tax results in the county’s ability to spend money on services like mental health, helping the homeless, public safety and the health department.
The legislature will review and debate different aspects of the budget over the next three weeks and will vote on it on Tuesday, October 26.