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February 4, 2015

Legislature Chairman Appoints Task Force to Address Community Health and Poverty Reduction in Oswego County

OSWEGO – Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner today announced the appointment of a special task force dedicated to improving health and reducing poverty in Oswego County. The Community Health and Poverty Reduction Task Force will serve as a steering committee to work with CZB consulting group of Alexandria, VA to guide a comprehensive study of programs and services available to help those in need in Oswego County.

The task force is chaired by County Legislator Roy Reehil (District 5, Constantia). Members include Legislators Marie Schadt, Vice Chair (District 19, Oswego), Jacob Mulcahey (District 15, Oswego) and Daniel LeClair (District 8, Pennellville), and school district representatives Stewart Amell, Superintendent, Sandy Creek Central School District; Anita Murphy, Superintendent, Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District; Lisa Roman, Counselor, Oswego City School District; and John Shelmidine, Board President of the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation (CiTi) and Sandy Creek Central Schools. Advisors to the group are Legislator Shane Broadwell (District 17, Oswego), Chairman of the County Legislature’s Human Services Committee; Oswego County Administrator Philip Church; Chris Todd, District Superintendent of the CiTi; and Oswego County Commissioner of Social Services Gregg Heffner.

“The root causes of poverty are complex, involving economic, cultural, literacy, educational and generational factors which are often cyclical in nature,” said Legislature Chairman Gardner. “In December, the County Legislature hired CZB to inventory public and private programs that serve people in need, analyze the county’s poverty statistics, and make recommendations for changes in programs and policies. The goals of the task force will be to improve health and reduce poverty in Oswego County and to report findings and recommendations back to the Human Services Committee.”

The county is partnering with local school districts and community foundations in the project.

Legislator Reehil is optimistic about the project.

“Poverty is growing in Oswego County and current practices have not been able to reverse that trend,” he said. “Our task force will be trying to expand on current services, first by quantifying all of the public and not-for-profit services available, and then by developing a community-wide network with which to connect those in need to the programs that might help them become less dependent on governmental support. We’ve noticed that issues regarding unhealthy behaviors are often intertwined with issues regarding poverty, so another part of our mission will be to provide assistance that can improve health as we work to reverse the trends of poverty. It will be a bold effort, but one that is too important not to attempt.”

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