Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. delivered his proposed 2019 budget to the county legislature and department heads Friday morning. For the sixth year in a row, the proposed budget carries no property tax levy increase.
In his proposal, Picente outlines initiatives he wants to see enacted, or at least begun, in 2019. Among them: an Oneida County Stabilization Center, where people struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues can go, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for help; an alternative to wandering the streets.
"It is not a long-term stay type facility. You could look at it as a sort of triage for services for people," said Picente.
Another 2019 goal-building Skydome at Griffiss International Airport. It will be an indoor, instrumented environment for year-round UAS/drone technology development. Senator Joseph Griffo announced $500,000 for the facility this summer. On the tech front, UAS seem to have replaced nanotechnology in terms of the county's long-term economic landscape.
"UAS is growing, and while the job numbers haven't leaped out," said Picente, after his address. "We had, just about a month ago, 300 people at Griffiss from all across the globe looking at what capacity and capabilities we have up there."
While the county has enjoyed several years of no property tax levy increase, Picente cautioned that that will likely not always be the case.
"In my years here, I have never sugarcoated any situation, nor have I forgotten my own words. While the new revenue source allowed us to hold the line on real property taxes, these zeroes cannot be sustained," warned Picente. "Revenues have been strong, yet the demands keep growing. This budget grew by about $12 million over last year."
The county legislature votes on the proposed budget November 14th.