ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — County Executive Adam Bello Thursday night delivered his annual State of the County address at Monroe Community College.
The audience was filled with lawmakers and public officials hearing Bello’s assessment of the region, and his vision going forward.
Bello said the state of the county is strong as it emerges from the pandemic, but “in order to fully recover from the COVID pandemic, we have to focus on our four priority areas.”
He wants to focus on four pillars as we move forward: Workforce development, infrastructure, public health, and public safety.
“So we connect those four pillars in a meaningful way,” he said. “We can really move this community forward and come out of the pandemic stronger than when we went into it.”
Public safety is a huge component of all this. Bello is proposing a 5-year $8.5 million increased commitment to the sheriff’s office to work with the city, along with 11 new sheriff’s deputies, overtime patrols, and an ATV enforcement team.
“By proposing additional funding so that he can push in and provide that support to RPD… looking for illegal gun trafficking and the felony investigations,” he says, adding, “Protecting the community has got to be the top priority for us.”
Bello also said, like many parts of the US, we have more jobs than we do skilled workers. He wants to train more workers and keep them here. He announced $144 million in federal funds to invest in workforce development and training.
He also proposed a new MCC applied technology education center at a cost of $35 million. This will upgrade other aging facilities and will train workers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math ‘STEM’ careers, and industrial jobs.
When it comes to infrastructure, Bello talked about road and bridges projects, and funding for public parks– but the big one is expanding the Seneca Park Zoo with $121 million in funds, creating an indoor rain forest, and a 220,000-gallon aquarium with sharks.
“We need something nice here in Rochester. We deserve to have a world-class attraction: The Seneca Park Zoo,” adding it will be a year-round top destination even in the winter.
He also announced upgrades to Frontier Field at a cost of $15 million to give the Red Wings a ‘major-league’ home.
Bello also said our credit rating here is the best in a century and is looking forward to the next 200 years of Monroe County history.