Creating tax relief, fixing old infrastructure and building a tunnel for I-81 are three ideas that Danny Liedka, the Republican candidate for District 7 of the county legislature, says can boost Onondaga County.
Liedka, R-East Syracuse, is running for a second term in District 7. He was first elected in 2011. Liedka faces Lorene Dadey, a Democrat from East Syracuse. In 2011, Liedka defeated Dadey by about 200 votes.
District 7 is in the central region of Onondaga County, including a small northeastern part of the city of Syracuse, most of the northern and western parts of DeWitt and all of East Syracuse.
Democracywise posed two questions on some key issues to the candidates in some of the contested races in the November election. Here are Liedka’s responses:
The Future of Interstate 81
Q1: What should be done with I-81 and why?
Liedka: “First off, a more collaborative approach needs to take place. One concept was forced down everyone’s throat. I think all three options need to be vetted properly. If I had to decide today and funding was available, the tunnel would be the best option as it serves both purposes that the boulevard and the existing 81 provide. First off, you could redevelop a boulevard through the city on top of the existing site, and the tunnel would provide the means to thru traffic to eliminate the traffic issues a boulevard would create.”
Recession, Unemployment and Poverty
In September, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Syracuse and Onondaga County have not yet recovered from the 2008 recession. In the city, unemployment was 14 percent and in 2012 more than a third of city residents lived in poverty. For children, 55 percent were living in poverty. Those figures are a four-year high, according to the Census Bureau. And in Onondaga County, median family income in 2012 was $64,324. That’s compares to $67,661 in 2008 and $65,666 in 2011.
What specifically would you like local government – the County Legislature and/or the Common Council –do to improve the local economy and help reduce poverty? Why do you think your proposal would help?
Liedka: “Creating jobs is the number one issue at the doors as I campaign. Phase one is tax relief, and we just passed our 2014 budget, which for the second straight year lowers taxes. In fact the tax rate is the lowest since the early 1980’s! We also passed a local law to create an economic development fund to be used for small business creation, or as a carrot to projects that are stalled due to lack of funding. Last year we invested in our Clay Business Park to install much needed infrastructure to attract new companies to the area.
I also am sponsoring a project on the Northside of Syracuse to redevelop a commercial corridor to attract new businesses and increase property value in that area. All in all we have tools in place to impact economic development. Our Township 5 project in Camilus will create hundreds of new jobs, and address aging infrastructure at the same time. And finally we have funded our CVB [Convention and Visitors Bureau] to a historic level this year to promote travel and tourism to the area which grows sales tax revenues.”
(Sean Farrell is a junior with dual majors in broadcast and digital journalism and political science.)