May 9, 2024

Picente Delivers 2024 State of the County Address

News Photo

VERONA — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. delivered his 2024 State of the County Address today at the Event Center at Turning Stone Resort Casino, announcing measures aimed at crime and youth violence, mental health and Fort Stanwix. 


Citing the ineffectiveness of state government to deal with crime, and the hindrance its laws have placed on local law enforcement agencies, Picente vowed to take matters into his own hands through a series of actions. 

  • $2.5 million to install cameras in high-crime and high-traffic areas throughout the entire county that serve as a visual deterrent and can be used to monitor roadways and intersections for traffic issues and help maintain the safety of major community events.

“We need to create deterrents to criminal behavior and assist law enforcement in gathering vital evidence allowing us to prosecute those who commit crimes in our neighborhoods and commercial corridors,” Picente. “Fights, shootings, illegal drug trade, car thefts, shoplifting, whatever the case may be; if you engage in illegal activity in this county, we will see you and we will arrest you. Enough is enough.” 

  • Two proposed local laws to combat the proliferation of illegal smoke and head shops.  
    • The first will regulate, license and create density and distance requirements for shops that pretend to be selling just paraphernalia when they are actually selling marijuana through a state-created loophole. It will give the county the ability to regulate, fine and padlock places that are in effect running illegal marijuana dispensaries.
    • The second will authorize inspections and enforce regulations. This will give the county the power to conduct civil proceedings to bar unlicensed activities; identify owners and place sanctions against those violating the law; collect fees from enforcement proceedings and request police enforcement of permanent injunctions against unlicensed dispensaries.

“I want to be clear,” Picente said. “I am not talking about legally-licensed establishments that have taken the proper steps to run their businesses. I am talking about the blatantly illegal shops that have sprouted up on every corner in every community. We are going to take action to close them down.”

  •  A four-year $10 million fund to address youth violence, to include:
    • After school programs
    • Mentoring opportunities
    • Job opportunities
    • Education and recreation programs
    • A comprehensive gang assessment study

“Youth violence continues to affect our communities and schools every day,” Picente said. “These senseless acts happen far too often and impact everyone. Together as a community, we can give our children the opportunities to be whatever they want to be. They don’t have to resort to gang activity or violence. There will be more programs and places for them to learn, play, grow and make life-long community connections instilling pride in who they are, where they are from and what they have potential to be. All while having respect for themselves and others.”


The County Executive emphasized the importance of strengthening the mental health system in the following ways:

  • Expanding mental health telemedicine in schools, instituting a program to make rapid referrals and working with the school districts to create mental health clinics for their students.
  • Collaborating with agency partners to establish voluntary, short-term stay Crisis Residence Centers in the community that serve as an alternative to hospitalization by evaluating and stabilizing those in crisis and linking them to additional services.
  • Working with Upstate Caring Partners to establish a stabilization center.
  • Creating a workforce pipeline through training, internships, residencies, increased rotations and the fast tracking of educational programs.

“Homelessness, substance use and mental health issues in our children are all because of a broken mental health system,” Picente said. “We must do more. We cannot just continue to say, ‘There isn’t enough.’ We must change the trajectory and it starts today.”


A legacy of mid ‘70s federal urban renewal projects, Picente said he believes much of the problem with Fort Stanwix lies with the way it divides the downtown corridor, hindering traditional main street development. He suggested reestablishing the street grid and re-developing the area surrounding it.

“Fort Stanwix has always been simultaneously a point of pride and derision in Rome,” Picente said. “I believe it is time for the County and City to engage with the National Park Service to reinvigorate the monument, build on what it does well and create new opportunities to make this the tourism attraction it should be. New programing, more events and more reasons to be there on a daily basis.”

You can watch the full video of the address here.

You can read the speech here.

To watch the special "Dreamers" video that played during the address, go here

Oneida County Partners