Spotlight on dairy farms at county legislature

Published Jun 14, 2014 at 4:00pm

The spotlight shone on the county’s dairy farms at Wednesday’s Oneida County Board of Legislators’ meeting.

With June being observed as Dairy Month around the country, the 23 legislators adopted a resolution recognizing the contribution dairy makes to the local economy and the nutrition of people. That was after Oneida County Dairy Princess Kristen Gallagher spoke to board and was presented a proclamation by County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.

Legislator Brian P. Mandryck, R-17, Lee, noted that Gallagher is a member of the local team that will represent New York state at this year’s national Dairy Bowl competition in Iowa. The team will be competing against states from all over the U.S. at the National Holstein Convention.

Annual milk sales in the county are nearly $62.8 million. There are more than 200 local dairy farms, according to the resolution.

Legislators were served a yogurt and granola treat prior to the meeting.

Also Wednesday, lawmakers:

  • Heard from six opponents of the Oneida Indian Nation settlement reached last year by the state, Oneida and Madison counties, and the tribe. They also directed some of their comments at the county’s casino revenue sharing contracts with the City of Sherrill, Town of Augusta and Village of Vernon that were being considered by the board later in the meeting. The money being shared with municipalities comes to the county from the state under the 2013 settlement. When it came time for lawmakers to vote at the end of the session, the revenue sharing resolution passed 14-8. Not voting was Legislator Philip M. Sacco, D-9, Deerfield, who left prior to the vote.
  • Passed the annual contract with Mohawk Valley EDGE for economic development services. Legislator Colin Idzi, R-2, Oriskany Falls, voted against it. He offered no explanation for his vote from the floor. However, he said prior to the meeting at the GOP legislative caucus that he was going to vote no because he said the EDGE response to the closing of the Covidien plant in Oriskany Falls several years ago came up short. Nearly 200 local jobs were lost because of the closure.
  • Renewed a lease for four years, plus options for two additional years, for space in the Adirondack Bank Building in Utica. The Health Department is based out of this location.The annual rent is $139,050.
  • Authorized a $17,751 settlement to satisfy a claim stemming from an accident involving a county-owned vehicle. According to the resolution, a county driver failed to stop at a red light and the vehicle struck a United Auto vehicle.
  • Approved a license agreement between the county, through its Sheriff’s Office, and Griffiss Local Development Corp. for use of a small arms firing range at Griffiss.
  • Approved a capital project for Mohawk Valley Community College to resurface the track and tennis courts at the Utica campus. The college foundation will pay the local share of the $150,000 project. State aid covers the other half of the cost. County dollars normally fund the local share of capital projects at the college.