Ryan McMahon (center) proposed a $1.4 billion budget Thursday. It increases spending just more than 3% over last year's budget. Credit: Chris Libonati | libonati@centralcurrent.org

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon proposed a $1.4 billion budget on Thursday that included more money for kids’ mental health care, increased lead testing and a property tax cut.

McMahon’s proposed 2023 budget would increase spending by about $47.4 million, or about 3.5% over last year’s budget. While the county’s spending has increased, so has its revenue: The county is projecting see sales tax revenue will grow 2% this year and 1% next year.

For the fifth year in a row, the county will not use money from its general fund to support the budget. That leaves $135 million in the county’s account.

The Onondaga County Legislature is expected to vote on the budget on Oct. 11.

McMahon addressed other key topics in his Thursday presentation:

Support for I-81 removal, Blueprint 15

McMahon proposed spending money on the removal of the Interstate 81 viaduct, and the razing and rebuilding of public housing in Syracuse.

Under the proposal, the county would spend $5 million on the Children Rising Center, which would be located on Syracuse’s South Side, near where Pioneer Homes, Central Village and McKinney Manor currently stand. It would have a YMCA and an early childhood learning center, among other amenities.

The project is part of Syracuse Housing Authority’s plan to remake public housing in the South Side.

McMahon also proposed the county spend $500,000 on a consultant to study the potential impacts of the removal of the Interstate 81 viaduct on communities outside the city.

The city commissioned a similar study, though that was done by an urban planning firm.

Increased lead testing

The proposed budget includes an additional $5 million to increase lead testing and lead remediation.

Part of McMahon’s plan is to add a mobile lead testing van. Those who work the van would test the blood for kids up to 6 years old for lead levels.

Some of the $5 million would be used to cover fees contractors pay federal agencies to be certified to remediate lead in homes. It would also go toward the recruitment and training of existing and new contractors to remediate lead in homes.

During McMahon’s pitch to put an aquarium in the Inner Harbor — a battle he ultimately won — residents proposed spending significantly more money to fight Syracuse’s lead crisis.

Funding for kids

The proposal included spending for several initiatives the county executive said would support children in Onondaga County:

  • $2.3 million for the Early Childhood Alliance, about $1 million more than previously had been spent on the organization
  • $5.5 million for mental health care in county schools
  • $2 million for the Jon Diaz Community Center, planned for Nedrow by NFL running back Latavius Murray

Tax cut

McMahon proposed cutting property taxes 11% in 2023.

That means taxes on a property assessed at $200,000 would fall about $100. The tax rate would fall from $4.79 to $4.26 for every $1,000 of assessed value on a house.

This tax cut would be just the latest of many in the last 10 years. McMahon said property taxes would be down 27% since 2012 if his budget is approved.

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Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.