Renewing the push for modernizing Onondaga Co. government

Local News

The head of CNY’s economic development group plans to take to Facebook Live this week to make the case for modernizing local government.

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson says the 50 recommendations put forth by the Consensus Commission will lead to lower property tax bills and better government services.

“What we’re doing today in Onondaga County isn’t working.  The results aren’t there; we have to and must do better for our economic future.”  Simpson says.

He points to some simple facts on the status of growth in Onondaga County, or lack thereof, for the need for modernizing local government.

  • Onondaga County has seen no population growth since 1970 
  • It has the 14th highest property tax rate in the nation 
  • Job growth ¼ of the rate of the US average since the recession 
  • Syracuse ranks last out of the top 100 cities in economic growth

The Chair of the Onondaga County Legislature has convened a committee of City and County lawmakers to study 49 of the Commission’s 50 recommendations.

Ryan McMahon has said #50, a Metropolitan Government, is not going to be considered.

“I think the biggest single push back to this point is actually from a number of elected officials themselves who frankly stand to benefit from keeping the process and the system exactly the way it is.”  Simpson tells NewsChannel 9.

The most direct way to get a Metro Government plan on a public referendum is for local lawmakers to put an item up for a public referendum.

Simpson says another way is to seek State Legislature approval to clear the way for public petitions to force the measure up for a public vote.

“A phone call, a letter, an email to your elected official telling them to engage on this issue, explain to them why we can do better can have a tremendously powerful impact.”  Simpson says.

Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. Simpson will host a Facebook Live discussion on the Consensus report.

The following Wednesday April 12 at 7:00 p.m. the first public debate on Consensus will be held at Syracuse University’s Maxwell Hall.

Consensus co-chair Jim Walsh and Commission member William Byrne will participate in a public debate with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci.

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