Russ Pry Reports on the County of Summit
Update: You can find audio of the full State of the County addresss at the end of this story.
Successes in working with local communities on major sewer issues in the county and finishing 2015 with a budget surplus -- for the second year in a row -- were among the positives County Executive Russ Pry reported.
He also told the gathering of more than 600 people at the John S. Knight Center not to expect new tax initiatives in 2016.
“We don’t have any plans right now to go for an additional tax increase. I looked at where the results were the last time. Without broad community support, doing the same thing over and getting different results…what do they say…’that doesn’t usually happen.'”
Pry said struggles to address epidemic heroin addiction and a high infant mortality rate are continuing challenges for the county.
He also stressed the growing value of public-private partnerships in dealing with community issues. As an example, he cited a joint effort with an organization called “CONEXUS” to create a skills database to link employer needs with potential employee abilities.
“It’s very, very important to try to move this forward. The more jobs, the more training we can get people, the more that will help people out of poverty. And that has been my No. 1 goal since becoming county executive: How do we get more employment, how do we get more people into jobs? because they have a better quality of life.”
Russ Pry was appointed county executive in 2007 to finish an unexpired term. He has since been elected, and re-elected to the office and is running for a third time this fall against Republican Bill Roemer.