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Oneida County executive outlines goals in state of the county address

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. outlined his plans for economic growth, safety initiatives, supporting agriculture, and more in his 2023 State of the County Address, given Wednesday night, April 5. (Photo courtesy of Oneida County Executive)

UTICA, N.Y. — Economic growth spurred by the high tech and tourism industries were among the topics addressed by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. during his 2023 State of the County Address, given Wednesday night, April 5 at Munson.

“We must continue to be bold,” Picente said. “Vision combined with action makes progress. In the past, I have said there is a bright future ahead. Well, it isn’t ahead anymore. It’s here. The accomplishments are real. The progress is real. The positivity is real. We are no longer the community that asks, ‘What if?’ Instead, we ask, ‘What’s next.’”

Picente noted the county is poised to capitalize off recent successes including the Utica University Nexus Center and the growth of the region’s semiconductor industry led by Wolfspeed.


To keep that momentum going, Picente announced two new incentives for private development. A challenge, similar to the television show “Shark Tank,” for potential developers to pitch their ideas will help spur private development in and around the U-District in downtown Utica. Similarly, the creation of an opportunity zone in the Bagg’s Square Improvement District will include property-tax reductions and incentive packages to spur development.

Picente hopes to support the semiconductor industry, which currently employs nearly 2,000 people in the area, with a plan to attract and create supply-chain companies. The plan will include measures such as a package of work-training incentives and assistance in accessing the next round of federal funding in the CHIPS Act for companies that choose to locate in Oneida County, as well as a one-year tuition stipend at Mohawk Valley Community College in studies related to the semiconductor industry.

“The goals are simple, you bring your semiconductor supply chain company here and you have a partner in Oneida County,” he said. “We will help you obtain the federal funding available, train your workers and educate new ones.”

Picente also plans to focus on strengthening the county’s agriculture industry in the coming years.

“I know the hardships faced by our county dairy farmers,” he said. To assist them, he proposed creating an emergency fund, commissioning a feasibility study for additional dairy-processing plants, and a program to utilize nonprofit agency partners to create a farm-training program to match the differently abled community with agriculture work.

Safety is also on Picente’s agenda with plans to install security cameras on all county-owned or affiliated facilities and on high-crime, high-density main streets in various communities.

“As we fight an opioid epidemic, combat homelessness, face a mental-health crisis, and protect our schools and neighborhoods, we are dealing with a bail-reform law that simply doesn’t work,” he contended. “It makes our streets less safe and is an unworkable burden for an entire criminal-justice system. I refuse to sit back and wait for this to be resolved by Albany.”

Other proposals in the county executive’s address including surveying Nexus visitors to assist the county and developers capitalize off its success, an inner-city outreach program to connect young adults to workforce training, a mobile American Job Center to travel to rural communities to recruit for youth programs and other services, flood-mitigation mapping analysis, developing a certified homeless and warming shelter in Rome, conducting a housing-market inventory, and the installation of GPS-tracking equipment on snow plows to show the public when and where county roads are being cleared.

“The state of Oneida County is strong,” Picente said. “Stronger perhaps than any time in our history. Strong because we built a foundation of fiscal stability that has allowed real investment. Strong because we take care of all our people. Strong because when we are challenged, we respond, and when we are told it can’t be done, we don’t buy it for a minute.”


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