Candidate: McMahon’s stimulus plan does not invest enough in residents (Your Letters)

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon’s State of the County address. He outlined a $142 million stimulus plan for the county in the speech that he said would “invest in our residents.” A large portion of the funding from the stimulus plan goes to tourism, around $38 million. This plan includes a $25 million sports stadium, $5 million for the OnCenter, $3 million for tourism marketing, and other initiatives. This $3 million for tourism marketing alone is more than the measly $2 million planned to invest in a men’s shelter to help with homelessness. There is a weak plan for transportation for only 350 residents through a CNY VANPool Program when more efficient and available transportation is badly needed.

McMahon said nothing about investing in affordable housing for people to reside in, even after the recent revelations about terrible housing conditions in the Skyline Apartments. Many housing units are unfit. The Skyline Apartments reveal a much deeper crisis of affordable, safe housing in Onondaga County.

Further, McMahon said little about restoring the cuts to human services. Budget cuts have led to departments like the Department of Child and Family Services being understaffed and putting children in Onondaga County at risk. McMahon only briefly mentioned shoring up county departments. He went on to say, “Additional dollars were sought from our fund balance to restore positions in the Human Service departments. We did not disagree with this goal, but only with the timing and where the money was coming from.” McMahon disagreed with using our “rainy day” fund for these exact types of situations. He also opposed the timing of restoring positions when we needed them most during a terrible health crisis.

As Covid-19 remains an issue, unemployment soars, food assistance needs skyrocket, and a housing crisis is around the corner, we must genuinely invest in residents to fix these problems. We do this by investing far more in our health services, social services, affordable housing and transportation.

Joe Bennett

Candidate for Onondaga County legislator, District 15

Syracuse

Related:

McMahon’s stimulus plan is a start, let’s aim higher (Editorial)

County should spend $142M windfall on things that last for generations (Your Letters)