Onondaga County’s wet day fund is thrice larger than ordinary, weighing in at $200 million or so. Setting apart $71 million for emergencies leaves $100 million or extra to spend or save. We requested: What would you do with all that cash?

County Govt Ryan McMahon is aware of what he would do with it: construct an aquarium and a few housing, ship $200 checks to senior owners and supercharge the wet day account.

Dozens of readers supplied concepts that had been by turns formidable and down-to-earth. Amongst them: a botanical garden, extra bushes, grocery shops in each neighborhood, group policing facilities, free faculty lunches, pothole repairs, a property tax rebate, and a lot extra.

Here’s a choice of your responses to our name for strategies. They’ve been edited for size and readability.

Public security

Neighborhood policing facilities: We must always spend a few of the funding on group policing facilities. I used to be an AmeriCorps employee on the former Northside Neighborhood Coverage Middle on Wolf Avenue and run by Officer James Clarke. It was a real group police middle. Volunteers of all ages staffed it. There was a clothes middle, tutoring, meals pantry, Christmas get together for youths, neighborhood picnic, books, video games, tenting journeys, ropes course actions, and many others. Clarke knew all the youngsters within the neighborhood and their households and so they trusted him. It will be nice to have these varieties of group policing facilities in Syracuse and even in suburban areas. … We have to create safer communities via true group policing that integrates regulation enforcement into neighborhoods in order that relationships between residents and officers are developed. — Marissa Pleasure Mims, Manlius

An Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputy writes a ticket for dashing to a driver on Seventh North Avenue within the City of Salina, Jan. 27, 2015. Extra patrols would “assist cut back the variety of purple mild runners, aggressive drivers, speeders and inattentive drivers,” writes Paul Campanella, of Liverpool. (Stephen D. Cannerelli | The Put up-Commonplace)

Site visitors enforcement: Take $20 million of it and arrange 4 sheriff’s deputies, one for every quadrant of the county, and activity them solely with automobile and site visitors management. That ought to assist cut back the variety of purple mild runners, aggressive drivers, speeders and inattentive drivers and would profit everybody within the county from law-abiding drivers to bikers, joggers and pedestrians. As it’s now, there may be nowhere on this county the place a driver can drive the posted velocity restrict with out being harassed. It’s excessive time the county was proactive on site visitors management moderately than reactive to the continually occurring flaunting of our site visitors legal guidelines and laws and its ensuing penalties. Everybody in our county deserves to be secure on our roads, streets and byways. — Paul Campanella, Liverpool

Counseling for troubled youth: On the identical day you requested for strategies on methods to spend the county surplus, one other article concerning juvenile crime caught my consideration (”Teenagers who kill: Syracuse’s alarming demise toll spreads heartbreak throughout metropolis.”). It acknowledged Syracuse’s price for teenagers charged with murder is 13 instances the nation’s price. These statistics are unbelievable and unacceptable! The reply is to not construct an $85 million aquarium. Significantly? These youngsters and households clearly need assistance. It’s unbelievable to me that it’s OK that youngsters maintain killing one another and we settle for that! We have to be proactive, not reactive. We want packages and counseling for these youngsters and households. These juveniles additionally have to be held accountable and that’s not occurring proper now. … I labored within the felony justice system for 14 years as a counselor at Hillbrook Detention Middle and as a educating assistant at Beard Different Faculty. I do know what these youngsters are able to with an opportunity at success. I labored with many youngsters who may have simply been the president and CEO of an organization versus being accountable for a significant drug-dealing operation. Youngsters be taught what they dwell. They want optimistic position fashions and mentors of their life We are able to’t begin serving to these youngsters when they’re of their teenagers. We now have to become involved when they’re younger so that they have an opportunity to dwell their finest life. — Kimberly Briggs, Syracuse

Neighborhoods, youngsters, elders, households

Repair meals deserts: I might put a grocery retailer in each a part of our county. All components of Syracuse want a grocery retailer that’s straightforward to get to for everybody; not everybody has a automotive. Subsequent, I might put a playground on each faculty property, and ensure each a part of our county has one. A playground jogs my memory of my childhood, a less complicated time, and at this time’s youngsters want them. Third, I might give some huge cash to meals pantries and college lunch packages, and locations that give away system and diapers. — Patrice Granger, Syracuse

Coronavirus: Picking up school lunches

Youngsters and oldsters went to Bellevue Elementary Faculty Tuesday, March 17, 2020 to choose up faculty lunches and homework as colleges are closed within the Syracuse Faculty District because of the coronavirus. Each little one ought to get free breakfast and lunch, writes Jennifer Wells, of North Syracuse. (N. Scott Trimble | strimble@syracuse.com)N. Scott Trimble | strimble@syracuse.com

Free lunch: Onondaga County faculty breakfast and lunches needs to be free for all youngsters no matter revenue {qualifications} for the 2022-23 faculty yr. — Jennifer Wells, North Syracuse

Little one care: We actually want some reasonably priced little one care. Extra ladies may work and there could be much less of a burden on the working class. I might commerce an aquarium for these providers all day lengthy. My daughter pays $270 per week for a 3-year-old. That is greater than the mortgage on her home. — Lori Corridor, Fayetteville

Extra bushes: Spend it on planting bushes and design sustainable environmentally pleasant landscaping for the poorest neighborhoods. Inexperienced areas present secure resting areas for residents. They assist ease psychological stress and cut back nervousness. Trees and crops assist take away air pollution from automotive fumes. Trees and crops present privateness screens for homes. They’re enticing and so they make folks really feel pleased with their atmosphere. They cheer up folks. They present that somebody cares about their atmosphere. They supply shade from sizzling climate. They appeal to birds and wildlife. They assist enhance property values. — Adrienne Neff, Syracuse

Money for all seniors: There are a variety of seniors who don’t personal a house and subsequently usually are not eligible for the $200, which is a low quantity. There are lots of seniors who lease properties. How about serving to out all seniors? They pay the identical quantity on the pump as younger working people. The identical on the register of a grocery retailer and sadly an excessive amount of on the pharmacy. There needs to be a greater means to assist seniors, particularly those that lease properties. They may use help with sustaining their properties. We now have a fiscal disaster on this nation and Onondaga County can’t determine methods to spend the cash? Not on aquariums. How about serving to people who dwell in Onondaga County? — Shawn Kosdrosky, Liverpool

Assist youngsters. Please spend the cash on colleges and youngsters’s packages. Of all of the demographics, the kids had been most adversely affected by the pandemic. — Gabe Alberry, Auburn

Beautify blocks. Why not put money into turning deserted blocks round and beautifying so many areas that want consideration? The flexibility to draw younger folks to lifeguard at native swimming pools that aren’t open as a result of they’ll’t be staffed? I’m certain every considered one of us may consider a challenge their neighborhood wants. I simply don’t see an aquarium as a main attraction right here. Was any survey completed to see what number of of us within the space would truly go to such a constructing? I hope the aquarium just isn’t already a completed deal. This county can do higher with its $200 million. — Karen Stearns, Syracuse

Companies and employees

Important employee bonus: I really feel that a few of that surplus cash needs to be used to offer important grocery retailer employees within the county to thank us for being there for all of Onondaga County because the pandemic started. Most individuals have forgotten in 2020 when nobody knew what Covid was and the way harmful it was that grocery shops had been open. We had been risking our lives and our households’ lives so residents may purchase meals. A big majority of the U.S. stayed residence secure, getting $600 every week, whereas we acquired nothing and took all of the dangers. We had been known as heroes and combating a conflict we didn’t join. — David Marshall, Onondaga

Rides to work: Allocate $2 million to supply transportation to work. So many roles can be found and other people can’t get to work. Our Shuttle to Work program may develop and 1,000 extra residents may have transportation to and from work. Firms would have lots extra workers. This offers an ongoing Service for our neediest residents lastly to interrupt poverty. Our program generates $47 within the native financial system for every $1 of our grant. This could maintain giving extra financial revenue for our native financial system. — Deborah Hundley, Shuttle To Work, Syracuse

Covid reduction: Among the cash needs to be given to native companies for dropping their income due to Covid. — Baljit Singh, Onondaga

Restaurant vouchers: The most effective methods to spend a few of the $200 million could be to have not less than one or two rounds of restaurant vouchers. This not solely helped so many Onondaga County eating places but additionally so many residents. Spending $5 million of the $200 million would assist so many. — Ellie Childs, Bridgeport

Points of interest

Botanical garden: I might a lot moderately have a botanical garden to go to than an aquarium within the Interior Harbor. A botanical garden adjustments with the seasons and would supply respite from the Northeast’s lengthy, chilly winters, as effectively. An aquarium would eat enormous quantities of power and as soon as considered it just about stays the identical, so it’s a one-and-done factor. A botanical garden may present a dwelling classroom for college kids at SUNY ESF, Syracuse metropolis colleges, Le Moyne and Onondaga Neighborhood School to make use of. I can simply think about it now: a fantastic glass dome stretching across the Interior Harbor full of crops offering greenery and oxygen. It may additionally embody a particular exhibit about our great eagles that go to Onondaga Lake yearly. Christmas time could be magical at our Botanical Backyard! — Ellen L. Tillapaugh, Liverpool

Water park: I might do what it could take (discounted land, tax reduction) to lure an distinctive indoor water park themed lodge to the Interior Harbor. How does the world’s largest, most enjoyable indoor water park journey sound? That, in itself, as a privately owned attraction, would appeal to extra in a single day vacationers than the aquarium, which as proposed would require county possession. In a single day friends certainly are many instances extra prone to help native companies than those that would come, go to an aquarium and be on their means. Many of those friends would even be staying a number of nights as a lodge water park may draw vacationing households from a better distance. To me this could symbolize a superior return on a lesser funding vs. the aquarium. Additionally, if the aquarium had been to realize help, this could complement it properly. Couldn’t the aquarium theme fittingly be carried over into the design of the water park and lodge? Each sights principally aspect by aspect would sweeten the providing to potential vacationers, and profit every. — Brian Meany, Liverpool

For sale sign on Toggenburg Mountain

The paths at Toggenburg Mountain ski resort in Fabius are a lonely place, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. It closed in 2021 and is on the market. The county can purchase it as a result of “we’d like each alternative for youths to be concerned in optimistic, out of doors actions, writes Wendy Millard, of Jamesville. (Rick Moriarty | rmoriarty@syracuse.com) Rick Moriarty

Parks and recreation

Purchase Toggenburg: Onondaga County has some superb parks. However we just lately misplaced a recreation space that has had fairly an affect on our younger folks: Toggenburg Mountain. Everybody from each city round loaded up the buses and went to “Tog.” Security was key, and children from elementary faculty to highschool ski golf equipment would ski all afternoon and night and eat dinner with their associates. Tremendous enjoyable! I’d purchase my youngsters season passes, and so they’d be exterior within the contemporary air with their associates as usually as they might. We want each alternative for youths to be concerned in optimistic, out of doors actions. Tog is now on the market. I do know county residents from many cities would help the county shopping for Toggenburg Mountain. What an effective way to put money into our younger folks. — Wendy Millard, Jamesville

Burnet Park golf: Metropolis-owned Burnet Park par 3 golf course is a diamond within the tough. Its reasonably priced greens charges and membership charges make it a super course for a fast 9 holes. You can not discover a better-maintained course for $6 a spherical! One gap stands out as practically unplayable in its present situation. No. 3 is 191 yards with a inexperienced slope that makes it practically inconceivable to maintain the ball on the inexperienced from the lengthy tee distance and simply as inconceivable to make a putt on as soon as you’re on the inexperienced. — Andrew Gill, East Syracuse

LaFayette park: I want to see a brand new city-county park on the former LaFayette Nation Membership. The property is partly within the metropolis of Syracuse and partly within the city of Onondaga. I envision a wildlife-learning nature middle, with actions together with horseback driving, mountaineering, cross-country snowboarding, snowshoeing, swimming, an outside shuffleboard courtroom, a restaurant, and maybe a tram-trail loop across the property. Metropolis youngsters may find out about farming and spend time with donkeys, goats, alpacas and cows. A year-round vegetable and herb greenhouse might be a studying middle, too. Plant flower gardens, orchards, and an indoor conservatory; all with a spectacular view of our stunning, inexperienced metropolis! — Betsy Worth, Jamesville

Parks and libraries: Parks and libraries are the final really democratic areas that present equal entry to all, no matter financial standing. Our group deserves high quality public areas. I want to see the county put money into each of those areas by increasing entry to communities that want it essentially the most. Put money into a bookmobile/tech van and workers that may present providers and sources to the underserved communities — each city and rural. This may assist shut the digital divide and enhance digital literacy — vital for varsity success in addition to employment. Put money into continued partnering between these two community-based establishments to advance the well-being, each bodily and psychological, of Onondaga County residents. — Glenna Wisniewski, Skaneateles

Lake causeway: To assist with challenge of “looping the lake,” construct an offshore walkway-biking causeway alongside the jap aspect of Onondaga Lake. This could maintain actions off of the parkway and be a singular attraction. The world between the causeway and shoreline could be wetlands and act as a buffer between causeway and railroad tracks. One other proposal could be as an alternative of the brand new sports activities facility being positioned at Hopkins Area, use the massive open discipline that’s east of the interior harbor facility, bounded by Photo voltaic Avenue, Bear Avenue and Spencer Avenue. — Gene Cheetham, Liverpool

Splash pads: How about utilizing a few of the surplus so as to add splash pads or kiddie swimming pools to current playgrounds for toddlers and preschool kids to play in on sizzling summer season days? — Karen Rumore, Fayetteville

Infrastructure, atmosphere, and many others.

Right here’s an inventory: Restore all of the damaged roads within the metropolis, potholes, and many others. Repair up a few of the deserted buildings (there are loads) and use them for homeless veterans and others in want. Rent extra cops. Make the bridge greater on the Onondaga Lake Parkway so no extra idiots drive their vehicles into it. Rent summer season assist to go round and clear up the streets and roads across the metropolis. Pay the Onondaga County employees who labored two jobs over the pandemic. — Mary A. Manfredi, Syracuse

Right here’s one other listing: Free remediation of lead paint and different sources of lead poisoning as a relentless incentive to all county residents. A seaside at Onondaga Lake, if the cleanup permits it, and transportation from metropolis websites in the course of the season, plus all supportive providers (lifeguards and good safety, and many others.) Wi-fi upgrades all through rural areas. — Dave Pasinski, Fayetteville

Roads and pipes: It’s a no brainer: The cash ought to first be spent on repairing the roads, as many haven’t been repaved in a number of years and they’re in dire want within the county and metropolis. Second, the antiquated pipes that ship water to the town of Syracuse. Among the cash needs to be allotted for once they do break or will be repaired earlier than it occurs. I don’t assume we have to have an aquarium, as we aren’t thought-about a big metropolis. The place do the politicians assume all of the income goes to come back from to help it as soon as it’s constructed? — Invoice Goodwin, Syracuse

Reader praises Centro (Your letters)

A Centro bus on the hub on South Salina Avenue. Onondaga County ought to electrify its fleet and assist Centro do the identical, writes David C. Ashley, of Syracuse. (Megan Craig | The Put up-Commonplace)

Electrify the whole lot. Onondaga County has a purpose of their final 2017 Local weather Motion Plan of decreasing their fossil gasoline use in all their departments by 25% by 2036. The issue with that’s that the Worldwide Panel on Local weather Change has decided that we have to cut back our emissions from burning fossil gasoline by 45% by 2030 — solely 7½ years from now — to be on monitor to carry local weather temperature enhance to 1.5 levels Celsius by switching from oil, gasoline or coal to electrical energy use generated from renewable electrical sources like wind or photo voltaic. As a result of these will likely be one-time, costly expenditures, beginning to change all of the county autos and buildings to electrical is an ideal match for the excess. We’re going to should do it anyway and later we might not have the cash and can cry poverty. And all of the buildings have to be transformed to electrical warmth pumps for heating and cooling which suggests, in some instances tearing out completely good boilers. And if we may assist the a whole lot of Centro and college district buses — they might not have the cash — to be electrical, that may be an enormous assist. The subsequent step could be to look towards doing what our little neighbor Ithaca is doing: go Web Zero for the entire group. — David C. Ashley, Syracuse

Give it again to taxpayers

Governments can’t have a surplus. They earn no cash. They take cash from taxpayers. Give the cash again to the individuals who earned it. Give it again to the taxpayer. Not a subsidy for everybody however a refund to the individuals who earned it. — Alan Pack, Manlius

That surplus cash ought to return to the tax-paying residents of Onondaga County — a lot of whom both misplaced their jobs, family members, or in some instances each, in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. With New York state being some of the closely taxed states within the nation, this looks like a no brainer to me. Ryan McMahon might imagine {that a} $200 test received’t minimize it however desires to justify constructing an $85 million aquarium that nobody is asking for. — David Gallardo, Baldwinsville

The very best thought could be a property tax rebate. Property house owners on this county get little or no reduction for the outrageous faculty taxes and property taxes. The STAR program doesn’t go far sufficient. This could be the best choice for the cash. Would it not ever occur? It will be extra possible for an individual to flee the jaws of an amazing white shark. — Michael P. Russo, Syracuse

The cash needs to be returned to the taxpayers within the type of a residential property tax rebate. These are the individuals who truly give to the group. These are the people who find themselves taxpayers and supply capital to help Onondaga County. These are the individuals who deserve a break, for a change. — Dave Haller, Liverpool

MORE COVERAGE OF ONONDAGA COUNTY SURPLUS

Swimming in $200 million in money, Onondaga County appears for methods to make use of it

Onondaga County to ship senior residents $200 in the event that they qualify for Enhanced STAR

How Ryan McMahon plans to make use of Onondaga County’s overflowing $200M wet day fund

Right here’s how Onondaga County ought to spend its surplus (Your Letters)

close

Sign up to receive your exclusive updates on our latest Tips & offers!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.