Oneida County Budget Passes
Oneida County's spending is up significantly, but property taxes and the county's 8.75% sales tax will remain unchanged in 2015.
On Wednesday, the Board of Legislators voted to approve the $391,624,233 spending plan, which is up about $15-million from the current year. The county will see some $15 million dollars this year from its revenue agreement with the Oneida Nation.
County Executive Anthony Picente says he wants to put the money into programs that city, town and village taxpayers will be able to see in use.
''So the people of the county can see it in public safety, in education, in areas of economic development and infrastructure. And, areas of quality of life, the arts,'' he said.
Legislator Richard Flisnik (R-Marcy) says the county investment in economic development projects jumps by 70% next year and urged fellow legislators to trim the increase to just 35%.
He says in 2015, the county will pay off $13-million in debt and then bond for another $17 million in new debt. He proposed four amendments to reallocate some of the spending into looming pension costs and to pay down the county's bills, but all four were defeated.
Defending the spike in economic initiatives, Picente explained one of the programs that will give incentives to developers in Utica and Rome.
''[The program] pays off the interest rates on the loans local banks would provide to developers that commit to rehabbing downtown structures to apartments, or lofts or mixed use buildings, '' Picente said.