Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo focused on the local economy for a good portion of her State of the County speech Monday night.
Before Dinolfo started talking about jobs in the address she delivered at Frontier Field, she got to talk a little baseball.
There had been concerns earlier this year about whether a new lease for the Wings to continue play at Frontier Field would be reached, but they did ink a new long term contract. Both Dinolfo and Rochester Community Baseball President & CEO Naomi Silver sounded positive Monday night about the relationship between the county and the Red Wings moving forward.
Most of Dinolfo’s speech focused on jobs, including plans by Amazon to put in a distribution facility in Henrietta this year. The number of jobs to be created has been somewhat vague up to now, but Dinolfo did say in her address that hundreds of jobs will be created.
WXXI News asked Dinolfo if that means under or over a thousand jobs?
“I can’t, you know that’s going to come from the company itself but I know that they are hiring currently and we’re thrilled to have here to partner with Monroe Couny.”
Dinolfo says that Amazon will not be seeking a property tax break for that project.
Dinolfo touted the number of jobs created or retained in the county over the last couple of years, and also mentioned programs to help train people, and get them back in the workforce, such as Paths to Empowerment which links at-risk households with job coaching, childcare and other services.
“To help people who are looking for jobs, find those jobs, and remain successful on the job; that program provides wraparound services to ensure that once one of our neighbors is placed in a job, that they stay in that job, that they have the opportunity to succeed and to advance in their career to support their families for a lifetime.”
Monroe County Legislative Minority Leader Cindy Kaleh says she would like to get a better idea of just how many people that program can help.
“I need to see how many people that’s actually going to cover because we have more and more people that are going to food banks, more and more people that are looking for services, and we have a very limited amount of people that can work with them at the county level that feel they are being overworked as well.” Kaleh says her district in the northwest part of Rochester includes some of the poorest neighborhoods.
Dinolfo also announced a new program called “Make Monroe Home” to help get rid of so-called "Zombie Homes, "houses that are vacant or abandoned.
“The Housing development Fund will work with Monroe County to perform environmental remediation; determine the work scope; select contractors and oversee construction progress, to make the properties affordable, livable and energy efficient," Dinolfo said.
That new program will be $375,000 in funding from a federal housing program as well as $350,000 from the county’s Industrial Development Corporation.
In terms of the opioid crisis, Dinolfo said that the county is launching a new website at www.monroecounty.gov/opioids dedicated to providing vital information about dealing with those addictions.
“From learning how to get help, to where to find treatment centers, to how to properly dispose of prescription drugs, everything our residents need is now available in one place. You can even learn how to administer Narcan and save a life using our convenient new online training tool.”
Dinolfo touched on a number of other areas as well , including services for veterans, investments in public safety, and the opening Friday of the Seneca Park Zoos new “Cold Asia” exhibit which will feature red pandas.
Dinolfo is in her third year as county executive. She would be up for re-election in November of 2019, assuming she runs for a second term.