Volunteering is an important part of what makes our community such a great place to live. Donating your time can sometimes be more valuable than simply donating money. When you volunteer, you are spending time enriching the lives of those less fortunate in our community.
The town of Cicero is committed to recycling and to reducing what is called our “carbon footprint” on the Earth. This is a goal that we hope you share with us. The town certainly isn’t yet where it needs to be; we have vehicles that aren’t as fuel-efficient as possible, we use oil-based products extensively on our roads and are working for better solutions, and our use of paper needs to be curtailed. Those challenges face us and this will be a time of transition to better use of our Earth’s resources. We believe this direction will also make us more effective, as finding ways to reduce resource consumption should also streamline what we do.
Former County Legislator Dave Stott has had enough. After losing two close elections to Republican Judy Tassone, Stott decided against running against her for a third time when she defends her Fourth District seat in November. Instead, he has his eyes on the Salina Town Council where he hopes to take over for incumbent Democrat Jim Magnarelli who has represented the second ward since 2010 but is now considering stepping down. Stott had served one term on the county legislature after beating incumbent Republican Legislator Jim Farrell in 2007. Meanwhile a new candidate has emerged to challenge Tassone this year: Democrat Carol Sinesi.
It is hard to believe it has been five years since our country was thrust into a recession. Unemployment is still over 8 percent and consumer confidence is not entirely back to normal, but there are shades of promise that the economy is rebounding. The best indicator is when companies choose to expand their businesses, especially if that expansion takes place in Central New York.
Property tax rates in the village of Liverpool will remain the same as last year if the Village Board of Trustees approves a proposed $2,328,210 budget for 2013-14. Village residents and business owners are invited to comment on the proposed budget at a public hearing set for 7:01 p.m. April 15, at the Village Hall, 310 Sycamore St. The budget will be available for review at the Village Hall starting on April 9, Sims said.
Michaels Farms LLC is once again looking to construct a senior complex on Morgan Road near Waterhouse Road in the town of Clay. The developer is looking for a zone change from RA-100 Residential Agricultural to R-SR Senior Residence District at 8073 and 8097 Morgan Road, on the west side of the street opposite Waterhouse. Michaels Farms has previously applied for the zone change on these parcels twice; both times, they withdrew their application amid widespread criticism of their plans.
April is Autism Awareness Month. This month-long observation aims to educate the public about autism and the many services available to help the 1.5 million American individuals and families dealing with this developmental disorder. There’s a growing incidence of autism spectrum disorders across the state and across the country, and we need to ensure we’re making the proper accommodations for those individuals. This month draws needed public attention to a serious and often under-treated condition.
An unusually full agenda kept village of Liverpool trustees busy at their monthly meeting on March 18. The 22 agenda items included the unveiling of the proposed 2013-14 village budget, discussion of Johnson Park and discussion about property concerns. Later, the board entered into an executive session to talk about personnel issues. Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims said the total tentative 2013-14 village general fund is set at $2,306,565.32, about $24,000 more than this year’s budget which came in at $2,282,663.10. The 2013-14 village sewer fund budget is $207,313, as compared to this year’s sewer fund budget of $253,305.
According to local traffic experts, I-81 is nearing the end of its useful life. The highway was originally constructed in the 1950s and 1960s to provide an alternative to I-95 for traffic from Canada to Pennsylvania through New York state, as well as to provide a route for local traffic in and out of the city of Syracuse. Now, the roadway, particularly the elevation portion running through the city, is deteriorating, and within the next decade, significant action needs to be taken to repair or replace it. Onondaga County Legislator Kathy Rapp, who represents the fifth district, spoke to the Salina Town Board Monday, March 25, about the various options to reconstruct the I-81 bridge. In addition to representing a portion of the town of Salina, Rapp is policy chair of the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), which has been researching the project for several years.
Clarence Rycraft was one of the good guys. “If our representatives in Washington were more like Clarence, there would be less gridlock,” former Clay Town Supervisor Mark Rupprecht said. “Clarence would argue his points effectively and passionately but no matter how the vote turned out or whether he prevailed or not, after the meetings he was as friendly and cordial to his colleagues as possible.” Rycraft, known to colleagues and friends as “Rye,” passed away Saturday, March 9. He was 85.
Violence and crime are big problems in many regions of the country and the world. In Onondaga County, specifically within the city of Syracuse, crimes take place on a daily basis, many of which are committed with a firearm. As a community, we have become desensitized by the gun violence that takes place within the city. The city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and the state of New York need to invest in real solutions to the escalating crime and gun violence. The New York SAFE Act is not a solution to the gun violence that takes place in the city of Syracuse. If I thought for one minute the SAFE Act would make the public safer, I would have been in full support. Unfortunately, without the input from law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and the general public, a hasty law was adopted that does little to prevent violent crimes and turns law-abiding citizens into criminals.
Onondaga Lake is one of the most valuable assets in our community. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been dedicated to the clean-up and renewal of this lake. As the county gets closer to improving the lake’s quality, questions of the lake’s usage and mission have become important components to its recovery. FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc. was commissioned by the county to sort through 54 previous studies. FOCUS then conducted interviews and surveyed stake-holders on their aspirations for the lake. Taking into consideration the 54 previous studies, combined with the new information from the current stake-holders, they compiled an all-encompassing report that clearly defines a mission for Onondaga Lake moving forward. This report is not meant to be a final plan, but a guideline for determining the future of the lake.
As you may know, March is Women’s History Month, a time when the contributions of women around the world, both past and present, are recognized. Many of the women and events that have shaped women’s history came from, or occurred in, Central New York.
Just recently, the Cicero Town Board passed a resolution that will clear the way for a new development called Lyons Farm just west of the hamlet of Bridgeport. I began working with the developer of this project several months ago to pave the way for this approval. This is exciting news for the Bridgeport area and the town of Cicero as a whole.
Town of Salina Third Ward Councilor Jerry Ciciarelli will be hosting a Third Ward Community Meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Mattydale Fire Department, 173 E. Molloy Road, Mattydale.