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State of the County highlights change

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: State of the County highlights change
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County Executive Anthony Picente listed ending the fiscal year under budget as some of its major accomplishments during his State of the County address. And as our Sarah Blazonis tells us, Picente says the ability to change will be key to preserving the county's future.

UTICA, N.Y. -- Change is in the air in Oneida County.

"I believe government has to change with the times, because the structure we inherited from the past is ill-equipped to meet the realities of the present, let alone the challenge of the future," said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr.

Picente said during his State of the County address that means, in part, streamlining. Picente says he plans to propose replacing the county's four coroners with a Medical Examiner's office and said county aid could be on the way to the cash-strapped City of Utica in the form of sharing services.

"The sharing of ideas and brainstorming as one, that's going to be beneficial for the service that's going to keep the people and economic development in this region," said Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri.

But change will also mean expanding. Picente says commercial aviation company Allegiant Air could start operating the first passenger flights out of Griffiss Airport as soon as September.

He also plans to step up the county's effort to protect the military assets in Rome, allocating $100,000 in economic development funds to the Central New York Defense Alliance -- a group aimed at protecting the facilities and jobs there.

"It doesn't appear that DFAS is in danger or EADS, so it's really a matter of looking at the Rome Lab aspect of it, and we have to be a leader in this," said Picente.

"Jobs in this region are going to help this region, and I'm very glad to see that Mr. Picente and his people are working at a regional level," said Rome Mayor Joseph Fusco, Jr.

Picente said it's ultimately that regional cooperation that will keep the county moving forward.

Watch the entire address:

CNY/NNY/S. Tier: State of the County highlights change
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