Senate & Assembly budgets restore $300 million for new hospital in Oneida Co.

Upcoming votes will ensure that funding is part of budget process

UTICA – State Senator Joseph Griffo, State Senator David Valesky and State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi announced Thursday that the New York State Senate and Assembly will restore $300 million in funding for a new proposed hospital in Oneida County.

After this vital funding had been left out of the Governor’s Executive Budget earlier this year, Senator Griffo, Senator Valesky and Assemblyman Brindisi said the $300 million for the Mohawk Valley Health System will now be included in both versions of the budgets proposed by the Senate and Assembly in their respective houses.

Although the Governor has repeatedly offered assurances to restore this funding after the money had been reallocated for other purposes in his Executive Budget, Griffo, Valesky and Brindisi said their corrective action will ensure that this funding is now part of the budget process.

Senators Griffo and Valesky will be voting in the Senate on Monday to restore the $300 million. The Assembly is also expected to vote on their proposed budget next week to similarly restore the funding.

Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said: “Initially, I was dismayed and disappointed that the Executive Budget had left out the state funding for a new hospital that the Legislature had worked so hard to secure last year. The Mohawk Valley Health System has shown its vision for a new state-of-the-art facility, and they’ve been doing their best to put together a budget, timeline, location analysis and re-use plan for the current facilities to ensure that this hospital project is well-thought-out and accomplished in the community’s best interest. But in order to move forward, Mohawk Valley Health System must be confident that the state will fulfill its promise. By now taking this corrective action in the Legislature, we’re hopeful that the Governor’s administration will stand by its stated commitment and agree to the necessary funds we have budgeted for this important community project to improve the healthcare services of Oneida County.”

Senator David Valesky, D-Oneida, said: “As a Central New York senator who also serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I have made restoration of the $300 million commitment to the Mohawk Valley Health System a high budget priority. I am pleased that working together with my colleagues in the Legislature, we have been able to restore these important funds in the legislative budget resolutions. Our singular focus now turns to including this critical appropriation in the final budget agreement with the administration.”

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, said: “I am very pleased the Assembly and Senate will be including the funding for the new healthcare facility in our one house budget proposals. This funding is critical because we are in need of a new state-of-the-art hospital to better serve the healthcare needs of our community. When I first learned the Executive Budget did not include the state funding for a new hospital, I immediately contacted Speaker Carl Heastie to express my concerns. The Speaker was very supportive of the project and a key partner in working to include the funding in the Assembly’s budget proposal. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, the leaders of both houses, and my legislative colleagues, to make sure this funding is included in the final budget.”

Scott Perra, FACHE, President & CEO of Mohawk Valley Health System, said: “Assemblyman Brindisi, Senator Griffo and Senator Valesky have been working diligently to restore, through the Legislature, the $300 million in the New York State budget. We also appreciate County Executive Picente and Mayor Palmieri for supporting their efforts. We are now hopeful that Governor Andrew Cuomo will demonstrate his commitment to this project by approving the budget so we can move forward with the new hospital and significantly improve healthcare for our community.”

Griffo, Valesky and Brindisi also thanked Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. and City of Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri for their continued support, and for the actions they’ve taken to see that this hospital project becomes a reality.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said: “I am pleased to see this action by our legislators is taking place to move this project forward.”

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said: “Today's announcement is a testament to bipartisan leadership and a result of everyone working together for the betterment of our community. I commend and thank Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi for their tireless and effective advocacy in re-securing funding for a state-of-the-art Utica hospital. This is an important step forward, and we will continue to work with our partners in government, the MVHS Board, business leaders and residents to ensure this once in a lifetime opportunity and transformational project comes to fruition.”