Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo spent much of her 2019 State of the County address on Thursday night talking about advances the county has made over the last year and progress expected to happen this year, particularly economic development.
That’s similar to what Dinolfo, a Republican, focused on last year when she gave the address at Frontier Field; this year the address was given before more than 200 people gathered at the concourse of the Greater Rochester International Airport.
A big reason for choosing this venue; to show off the recent $79 million renovation of the airport that was funded by state, federal and local sources.
Dinolfo also listed some recent and upcoming local business expansion efforts that she says will create jobs. One that she noted was Crown Castle, a communications company is involved in a $3 million relocation project at the Riverwood Tech Campus in Henrietta, one that, Dinolfo says, will save at least 190 jobs and add more.
She also says that ITX, a software development company, will be involved in a $1.2 million expansion and relocation to The Metropolitan building in downtown Rochester. Dinolfo says that move will save 50 jobs and add 48 more.
Dinolfo also talked about cutting the property tax rate, but said that more could be done if New York State would stop mandates that she says "handcuff" local governments.
The address by the county executive - and most public officials who make these kinds of speeches often do - focused on the positive, but Dinolfo’s speech this year is also being made in the midst of a campaign season. She is seeking a second, four-year term, facing a challenge from Democratic Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello. The two will face each other in the June 25 primary for the Independence Party nomination, as then again in the November general election.
After the speech, Bello took issue with a number of points that Dinolfo made, including touting several companies that are adding jobs. He says that the region has 11,000 unfilled middle-skills jobs.
Bello also contends that Dinolfo has actually raised taxes, even with the county tax rate having dropped slightly.
Monroe County Democrats have said that while the tax rate is going down, the property tax levy - the total amount that the county will raise through property taxes - is actually going to increase by $11.6 million.