Immediate Release

 For Information Contact: 

Thursday, March 28, 2020

David Andrews
Community Services Coordinator

Eannace: One-Stop Social Services Center
Considered at County Office Building

Oneida County Executive Ralph J. Eannace, Jr., today announced that county officials are exploring the creation of a One-Stop Social Services Center on the First Floor of the Oneida County Office Building.

"We have seen the tremendous synergy that has resulted from the creation of the Working Solutions One-Stop Career Center just a block away at the State Office Building, organized by the State with Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties and other partners" Eannace said. "A similar concept that brings together all of the various customer connections for our Social Services and Human Services programs would improve our service to county residents and also improve connections among departments and agencies that are now in separate buildings or on separate floors."

Eannace said that on Thursday, March 28th, he and Social Services Commissioner Theodore Mohr visited The Albany County Family Support Centerís Satellite Office, which works with Albany-area families who interact with a wide variety of social services programs.

"Many families who interact with our Social Services Department need assistance from many parts of that department, and with other important agencies who have strong connections to Social Services," Eannace said. "To serve our residents better, we can bring together the key areas of public interaction such as public assistance, employment assistance or job readiness assistance, food stamps, HEAP, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, and Medicaid as well as other county departments, such as the Office for the Aging and Continuing Care and also have space available for community agencies. I would love to see a project where we could include not only agencies that focus on critical issues such as domestic violence and child care, but also neighborhood groups or even schools."

A Services Center would greatly help county residents by eliminating a need to go from office to office on various floors of the County Office Building, Eannace said. "Our goal in County Government is to serve our residents in the best possible way. A Services Center on the first floor of our County Office Building could do just that."

First-floor space will be available because of an on-going $2.4 million renovation and asbestos abatement project, part of approximately $3.4 million County Government has spent in recent years to upgrade the County Office Building and nearby areas.

When the renovation project begins this summer, The Board of Elections and Department of Motor Vehicles will move to new homes at Union Station, joining other county departments such as Planning and Probation at the historic landmark.

"The space currently occupied by Motor Vehicles and Board of Elections on the first floor of the County Office Building could become our Services Center," Eannace said. "Because we bought and demolished eyesores to increase parking, we have the facilities in place to support a Services Center at the County Office Building."

Eannace noted that the renovations taking place this summer at the County Office Building are part of long-term improvements to the County office "campus" in downtown Utica.

Other work moving forward this summer includes:

    • Continuation of the Oneida County Courthouse renovations, a $24 million project begun in early 1997. The next phase of renovations will be a $4.4 million project to renovate the 4th and 5th floors of the historic structure.
    • Conversion of Uticaís former Central Firehouse to house the Supreme Court Law Library and offices for the civil and criminal public defendersí offices, a $3.1 million project. The Law Libraryís move across Elizabeth Street is a spin-off of the Courthouse project.
    • On-going renovations to Union Station that have converted formerly unused space into offices for several county departments, and are also upgrading the landmark to serve the regionís rail transportation needs. About $12.1 million in work has been done to date, with another $1.25 million planned for the coming year.

"A Services Center is an exciting concept that would benefit county residents and the community," Eannace said. "Commissioner Mohr and I will be exploring this idea in detail so that we can continue to maximize County Governmentís efficiency and uphold our commitment to provide top-quality services to county residents."