Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Task Force Develops Action Plan for Oswego County

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Community Health and Poverty Reduction Task Force will present its consultant’s recommendations and a draft plan of action to reduce poverty in Oswego County on Dec. 8, at CiTi in Mexico.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and is the culmination of hours of community dialogue, discussion, meetings and research by members of the Task Force and its consultant, CZB, LLC of Alexandria, Va., the same firm that conducted the highly successful “Comprehensive Neighborhoods Analysis” for the Oswego Renaissance Association in 2014.

The task force was established in February 2015 as a partnership of the Oswego County Legislature and all nine Oswego County school districts with support from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. The mission of the task force when established was “to improve health and reduce poverty in Oswego County.”

“That’s obviously easier said than done,” said task force chairman Roy Reehil, County Legislator, District 5, Constantia. “However, rather than being discouraged by the scope of the problems we faced, we divided them into categories and tackled them as teams focused in five areas: economic development; social services collaborations; community development; youth and schools; and fixing broken policies.”

Culminating nearly eight months of work, the task force and its consultant are ready to share their findings at the Dec. 8 event with a presentation of recommendations by CZB staff, followed by reports from the task force’s teams about proposed actions and updates on exciting work that is already under way.

The event is free and open to the public. The Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation is located at 179 County Route 64, Mexico.

The CZB report is titled: “An Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Action Plan” and is also focused in five areas:

1. Creating a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the County

2. Implementing New Strategies for Human Services Delivery and Workforce Development

3. Focusing on Youth and Schools to End Generational Poverty

4. Maximizing the Strengths of Oswego County Communities to Effect Change

5. Establishing a Culture of Constant Improvement that Focuses on Promoting Best Practices and Replacing Broken Policies.

“Oswego County has recently surpassed the Bronx as the county with the highest unemployment rate in New York State,” Reehil said. “We are also last or near last place in many heath related categories, childhood obesity for example, and the trends are not getting better. Our report confronts many of these issues head-on and will help us apply the brakes to negative trends.”

He added, “If our community responds the way I think it can, we can begin to turn things around and that success will be contagious. Anyone who has an interest in this community should attend. There are opportunities to help regardless of your discipline or expertise. Help us light a fire of change that will put us on a path to a brighter future in Oswego County.”

Oswego County Community Health and Poverty Reduction Task Force members are: Reehil, 5th District Oswego County Legislator; Marie C. Schadt, vice chair, 19th District Oswego County Legislator; Daniel LeClair, 8th District Oswego County Legislator; Jacob A. Mulcahey, 15th District Oswego County Legislator; Stewart Amell, superintendent of schools, Sandy Creek Central School District; Anita Murphy, superintendent of schools, APW Central School District; Lisa Roman, counselor, Oswego City School District; and John Shelmidine, board president, CiTi.