Where would the $85 million for the aquarium project come from?; vote on project delayed until next year

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Proposed Aquarium at Syracuse Inner Harbor

The Onondaga County Legislature, in its final meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, December 21, pulled the aquarium vote from the agenda. The issue will be brought up again in the new year.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County legislators plan on voting for an $85 million aquarium on December 21. County Executive Ryan McMahon proposed paying with cash for the aquarium project. Paying with cash, McMahon claims, will save millions of dollars in interest. This also means the county would only need a simple majority — nine votes in favor — to approve the project.

But where is this $85 million in cash coming from?

Money would likely come from part of the county’s 2021 $60 million budget surplus. The remaining funds, $25 million, could be coming from federal money through the American Relief Fund. Onondaga County received a total of $89 million through this program.

The Onondaga County total budget for 2021 was $1.25 billion and gets its revenue from several sources. County Sales Tax makes up 21.1% of the budget — around $264 million. Federal aid and state aid each provide around 9.9%, which is around $120 million. Municipalities and school sales tax consists of 7.1% of the budget, or around $88.5 million. Other sources include interdepartmental revenue, interfund transfers, and other taxes. The extent of the budget and other 2021 budget details can be found on the Onondaga County Office of the County Executive website. We’ve also attached a copy the 2021 budget below. Information on budget sources can be found on page 26.

Check back to NewsChannel 9 for updates on the aquarium proposal.

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