County Executive Joanie Mahoney led an open community forum last night in Manlius, finishing up with a Q&A session for residents. This is the first time a county executive has been to the village of Manlius for this type of event, said Manlius Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin, who invited Mahoney to speak.
"It was very informative on both sides," Serafin said. "She was very forthcoming on her support of villages and the value of villages to the county. She really is for eliminating duplicating services but her overall tone was one of partnership with villages -- and to reduce tax burden on all residents. I agree with that."
Topics Mahoney addressed to a crowd of about 25 people included the county sales tax agreement, growth and development, state mandates and shared services.
"I think the County Executive did a tremendous job of explaining some difficult issues the county is dealing with, in a simple and easy manner," said former Manlius supervisor Hank Chapman using the recent county sales tax agreement as an example. "The news has been flooded on the sales tax issue and the effect it has on municipalities, but I'm not sure everyone fully understands all the negotiations that took place. She broke it down in very simple terms, the reason it went the way it went and the affect it has on all of us."
Mahoney's take on the the settlement plan, which the county established years ago to discuss its infrastructure in order to facilitate growth and development, is to review it with potential updates, particularly since population growth is at a standstill yet development continues to increase. This detail creates increased financial burdens on county residents.
Chapman said he was impressed with how Mahoney is also mindful about making changes to help municipalities that rely on development for revenue. Rather than penalizing areas such as Pompey, Fabius and Tully for less structural growth, the county might instead reward them for staying green.