Utica, NY (WIBX) - The new regional medical examiner's office has been established, as the Oneida and Onondaga County Executives met to sign the contract.

Anthony Picente and Joanie Mahoney inked a one year contract to move medical examiner services to Onondaga County, beginning January 1st.

It also includes the hiring of five assistant forensic investigators who live in Oneida County, but are employed by Onondaga County.

Mahoney says the deal helps both counties save money in the long run.

"This is a big day for Oneida County," Mahoney said. "It helps us in Onondaga County, because we have this facility that we've invested in and now we have a broader base to serve."

Picente agrees, saying the county is eliminating its antiquated coroner system for a newer, more modern system. Though he says the cost is roughly the same, the new contract offers a package deal.

"In the coroner system we were paying so many different facets," Picente said. "This puts most of it, with the exception of transports, all under one roof, if you will, and puts it on Onondaga County for $487,000."

The program was not always supported. In November, several Oneida County Legislators threatened to vote down the program saying it was rash and not cost-effective. Picente fought back, saying it was too late to start over.

But, others have taken advantage of the opportunity to partner with Onondaga, including Madison, Oswego and Cayuga counties.