Meeting Minutes Archive: May, 2006

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434
www.ongov.net
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EDUCATION AND LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
MAY 8, 2006
JAMES DIBLASI, CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  *Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Chaplin, Mrs. Winslow

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman DiBlasi called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Winslow to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.OCPL:  Ms. McCaffrey

a.     Abolish Computer Repair Technician, Grade 9 @ $35,760 - $39,629, effective upon completion of the incumbent's probationary period in Information Systems Coordinator

     Create Computer Equipment Maintenance Specialist, Grade 7 @ $30, 161 - $33, 408 effective June 24. 2006

Ms. McCaffrey said they are asking to abolish the Computer Repair Technician, Grade 9 position (responsibilities will be handled by someone at a lower grade).  The incumbent in the Computer Repair Technician position will move into an Information Systems Coordinator position, that has been unfounded, at the Central Library.  Ms. McCaffrey said the person who will be filling this position has been working out of title for years; they need him to do the higher level things that he is capable of doing, and, to some extent, has been doing.  Ms. McCaffrey added that they would be unfunding a Library Clerk 2 position (Grade 5-A).

Chairman DiBlasi asked if there is a total cost savings regarding the positions.  Ms. McCaffrey said there would be a cost savings for 2006; in 2007 there will be an increase (about $6,000).

A motion was made by Mrs. Chaplin, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman DiBlasi adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

FISCAL WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
MAY 8, 2006
CHAIRMAN WILLIAM H. MEYER

IN ATTENDANCE:  Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Farrell

ALSO:  see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.

COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT - Mr. Donald Colon, Comptroller

Mr. Colon thanked Mr. Calogero, Mr. Maturo, Mr. Squires and their staff for their work on the CAFR.  Mr. Mareane and Mr. Seitz also contributed a lot of time and effort.  The CAFR is posted on Ongov.net.  There are several financial institutions who accept the electronic version instead of mailing out hard copies, have reduced the number printed by 80 or 90 copies.

The CAFR was issued on April 4, one week after the City issued theirs--City's fiscal year ends 6 months before the County's.  The County has received an unqualified opinion from outside auditors.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • General Fund ended with $13.6 million increase--there was a one-time elimination of Medicaid accrual due to new State Legislation--savings of $6.7 million.  Union contracts were not settled, leaving $2.9 million in provision for wage adjustments.
  • $472,000 shortfall in sales tax revenue compared to budget; $11 million surplus last year.  The unreserved general fund balance at year-end was $60.3 million.
  • Cash on Hand - $200 million for all governmental funds; $60.1 million in general fund.  Partially do to sales tax disbursement on quarterly basis rather than monthly.
  • Van Duyn - unrestricted assets have decreased fro $3.1 million to - $3.7 million
  • Overall--did better than anticipated, but urged great caution as 2006 progresses and 2007 budget process begins. 

 Mr. Colon referenced the statistical section for an un-audited 10-year comparison of revenues and expenditures.

 A contract for GASB 45 actuarial valuation for Van Duyn and all county government will be awarded.

Mrs. Rapp asked about actual surplus--if the $10 million one-shot were taken out.  Mr. Colon stated that the County basically broke even -- sales tax projections were a little aggressive.  The change in Medicaid cost, actually gave about $7 million to other municipalities.  However, if Medicaid had not been capped, the $7 million, that would have been received, would have been used for Medicaid expense--one offsets the other. Now know the formula is known, Medicaid cap is in place, and the additional 2-year authorization that took Medicaid offset away from sales tax formula is now fixed in the legislation.  There will still be an increase in Medicaid cost.

Mr. Stanczyk questioned Mr. Colon's opinion of sales tax revenue for this year.  Mr. Colon said that he has modified viewpoints.  Gas is $3/gallon--$.08 on sales tax revenue.  Difficult to project total impact on sales tax revenue, but as of today it is meeting projections.  The big hit is from Thanksgiving to end of year.  He pointed out that the County receives no sales tax revenue on public utility sales.

Mr. Stanczyk said the budget has settled in the black for many years.  Mr. Colon said the Budget Office controls expenditures aggressively.  Mr. Stanczyk questioned cash on hand.  Mr. Colon said that with sales tax being paid on quarterly basis, a very large piece is in the last quarter of year--a good amount of money doesn't come in until mid-February.  Also, the County is aggressively pursuing monies owed to them by other governments - cash coming in timelier.  Mr. Colon referenced audits performed in the last 5 years - i.e. Sheriff, Human Rights, and Community Development, etc. wherein departments were criticized for not putting in for state and federal aid in a more timely fashion.

Mr. Stanczyk referred to increase in sales tax - visible that sister governments are building -- has concern that the county's generosity has caused extravagance on the local level.  Mr. Colon said that it is important to remember that all towns, except one, take sales tax as a credit against the county tax rate.  They do not get it in cash - it is not driving their budgets.  It is a small piece of the school district budgets; it is a large piece of most of the village budgets.  Also, the State has been more generous with State aid.

Mr. Stanczyk asked if the actuarial evaluations will be a cause for concern.  Mr. Colon said that the actuary evaluation is dependant on the number of employees, age, spouses; many factors are involved.  Once the contract is awarded, he will have the number within 2-3 months.  It has to be updated every 2 years.  The cost appears to be between $10,000 - $15,000 per year.

Chairman Meyer asked about standards in GASB that the actuary has to follow.  Mr. Colon said that GASB provides direction.

Mrs. Baker asked about Van Duyn being separated out.  Mr. Colon explained that Van Duyn is an enterprise fund - similar to a private business.  OCC issues their own financial statement and will have to follow the same standards.  The RFP does not include OCC.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 a.m.

 Respectfully submitted,

 DEBORAH L. FICHERA, Clerk

 Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES
May 9, 2006
JAMES A. CORBETT, CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Farrell, *Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer, see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 9:33 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Ms. Sue Miller

a.  ACJ Update:   

  •       Clinton:  responsiveness summary was mailed out, copy filed with Clerk; sent letters to all that attended stating that it was complete; those that spoke received a copy; it is on the website and in the library.
  •        Sewer Separation:  next to be done is in the Bissell, South Ave, Sentinel Drive area; fact sheet sent to 120; bid has been awarded; contract amount is $1.9 million; construction to start later this month or in June; availability session held at Southwest Community Center--no one came; are only 66 residents in this area
  •        Midland:  newsletter mailed to 700-bringing them up to date on current construction; have paid $25.8 million to date, 48.4% of total contract; 67% of total contact poured; final sheet piling is done, dewatering wells are done--will begin to install the pipe; Midland Bridge will remain closed through the fall--emergency services and schools have been notified.

 

Mr. Kraft asked if there is a detailed breakdown of costs when a contractor bids.  Mrs. Miller stated that there is-bid documents spell out how much is needed of everything and the contractor spells out how much it will cost.  Mr. Kraft requested to be provided with a copy of contractors bid. 

*Mrs. Chaplin arrived at the meeting.

3.   OCRRA:  Mr. Tom Rhoades, Mr. Andy Brigham

Report on Supplemental Waste:  Mr. Rhoades stated that OCRRA negotiated the contract with Covanta, that they could handle the special waste but have to receive police evidence, police records and confiscated items, at no cost to the community.  There were about 5.33 tons of supplemental waste processed at plant last year, only .72 tons was from the industry; the balance was police evidence, police records, and destruction of secure materials (i.e. marijuana).  OCRRA serves a roll to provide disposal needs for the community, which include some materials that need assured destruction, i.e. pharmaceuticals manufactured in trial.  They are taken from the manufacturer with a police escort to the plant and there is a witness of those materials being destroyed.  Unfortunately,m the people trying get rid of special materials don't want the formulation known, as they are potential trade secrets.  Common practice is to mark files as confidential for purposes of FOIL.  There was some overzealous stamping.  They were submitted to DEC, and then someone from general public asked to see what was burning.  They were denied because they were confidential.  Covanta and DEC went through a lot of time and effort to identify records of content when it would not impair a trade secret.  This is a good program, it all used to be trucked away.  All materials are approved by Covanta's and DEC's environmental engineers; a full environmental review. 

Chairman Corbett said the report is very well laid out as to what is burned and what is acceptable. 

2.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Mr. Richard Elander, Commissioner

a.  Authorizing the acquisition of real property to enable the County of Onondaga to comply with requirements set forth in the Onondaga Lake Amended Consent Judgment (ACJ) for the construction, operation, and maintenance of Phase III of the Midland Avenue Regional Treatment Facility and Conveyances Project ($304,800)

Last month the legislature approved the purchase of property form Mr. Horton.  There are 4 additional properties; will be bringing in a number of easements as a package.  All properties have been appraised by Pomeroy. 

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.

Mr. Kraft asked if they are one family units.  Mrs. Chaplin stated that one is a 2 family, with a business in front.

Mr. Kraft asked for a description of the properties for the Ways and Means Committee and a copy of any an appraisal.

The offers have not been accepted yet.  It is easiest to talk to the people and sign a documents that says they will accepts "x" amount of money if approved by the County Legislature.  If the legislature doesn't have a problem, Mr. Elander would like to have an amount of money listed when he talks to the property owners.  It would include a statement that it is subject to approval of the legislature.  Chairman Corbett felt it was a good idea;  it would take a step out; doesn't feel it would be harmful.  Discussion continued and Mr. Elander asked the committee if anyone had a problem with it; no members were opposed.  It was suggested that the same question be asked at the Ways & Means Committee also.

A vote was taken on the motion to approve this item; passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Calling for a public hearing for the purpose of considering an increase in the cost of proposed improvements for the Midland Avenue Project

Public hearings are set for July 5th prior to session; will come to June committees with details of projects and hopefully be acted upon in July.  Bond Counsel prepares resolutions with the titles always reading the same; changes will be made to identify the projects (Midland and Wetzel).

Mr. Whelan questioned where the money will be coming from.  Mr. Elander stated that some is coming from additional state aid, some federal aid and some local.  All aid is reimbursement; all is spend, apply and get money back.  Midland project is an ACJ project.  These are additional dollars, but as aid come in, they can earmark it for projects.  Going back 1997 estimates, the $380 million in 2012 is projected to be $589 million for exactly the same project.  Mr. Elander does not believe they will exceed that number if nothing changes. 

Mr. Farrell questioned why the 1997 numbers was not factored in knowing it would be extended for more than a decade.  Mr. Elander said that there was discussion and projections were made at that time.  Mr. Farrell requested a spreadsheet that reflects actual dollars spent and anticipated, projected costs.  Mr .Elander said that they can show it as another column.

Discussion continued on the money.  There is no indication that there will be more money from the State.  A lot of EPA money was received by the Feds, and now the bulk of money is coming from Corp of Engineers.  The money is 70:30 and the Corp gets an administrative fee.

Mrs. Chaplin asked if any fines have been paid.  Mr. Elander said that they have not; ACJ contained a bunch of dates that have come and gone.  Believes there needs to be stipulation to the ACJ, which they have been discussing with DEC and Attorney General's office for last 3 years.  The dates have not been met for a number of reasons and expect all dates to be adjusted.

A motion was made by Mrs. Winslow, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

c.   Calling for a public hearing for the purpose of considering an increase in the cost of proposed improvements for the Wetzel Road WWTP

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mrs. Winslow to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

d.   A local law providing for the establishment of plumbing fees collected by the Department of Water Environment Protection

Mr. Elander introduced Mr. Nick Capozza, WEP; and Mr. Don Geisser, BBL.  BBL was hired to review existing fee structure.  They hired BBL to review existing fee structure and make recommendations.  Before had fees that weren't tied into with the work that WEP does, as a result, total revenue covered about 75% of cost of conducting the plumbing control section.  These changes are intended to remedy that.  Trying to encourage people to become journeyman and master plumbers.  Thes fees were passed by the Plumbing Board of Examiners, who are primarily plumbers. 

Chairman Corbett said that this has been looked at for 1.5 years and the people that make up the board are representative of those that hold plumbers licenses. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if cameras are used inspections; it was answered that they do--have 2 kinds; inspect every sewer lateral.  Septic tank replacement - inspected by Health Department.  However, where it goes out of the house into the sand, system have become more complex and there is a need to shut off water if the tank overfills; WEP works closely with Health Department.

Mrs. Winslow stated that the fees are passed onto the consumer in one form or another, and didn't feel the plumbers would be opposed.

A vote was taken on the motion.  AYES:  5 (Winslow, Farrell, Rhinehart, Chaplin, Corbett);  NOES:  0; ABSTAINING: 2 (Whelan, Kraft).  MOTION CARRIED.

e.      Authorizing the standardization of Morris Pump type MF Model 42 X 42 - 42 4V for the rehabilitation of the low lift pump station at Metropolitan Syracuse WWTP for the reasons of efficiency and economy

Pumps need to be replaced for efficiency and energy purposes; would like to standardize on Morris Pumps (attachment no. 1).  These pumps are less expensive; $1 million less than the 4 other manufacturers.  They will pass a 6.5" sphere, the others will only pass 3.25".  Have received a letter from the manufacturer that gave a price to be held until the end of year,  $923,000.  Standardizing will get away from vendor and contractor issues.

Mr. Farrell said that this can all be put into bid documents; is opposed to sole sourcing in any way; it limits competition.  Mr. Elander encouraged legislators to read the packet of information; there is no pump equal to the Morris; no other will serve the County as well.  They are required to pump 240 million gallons at maximum flow - Morris pumps will do that;  it is very question if the 4 others can do that.

Mrs. Winslow asked if there was an additional cost to going out to bid:  Mr. Elander said it is mostly a timing issue - have engineering costs; it is possible that somebody will just provide a Morris, but the history is that they generally get a substitute.

A motion was made by Mrs. Winslow, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Winslow, Corbett, Whelan, Chaplin, Rhinehart)  NOES:  1 (Farrell);  ABSTAINING: 1 (Kraft).  MOTION CARRIED.

4.      Confirming reappointment to the Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Mr. Wowelko)

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. FICHERA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
MAY 11, 2006
JAMES M. RHINEHART, VICE CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kraft, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Laguzza

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer and see attached list (Attachment 1)

Vice Chairman Rhinehart called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Laguzza to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

The agenda was taken out of order.

3.   OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENT:  Mr. David Coburn, Mr. Paul Berry

a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget with regard to an action against 701 Fairmount Auto Center Limited and 703 Onondaga Auto Center Limited and authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements to implement this resolution ($65,000)

Mr. Coburn introduced Mr. Berry, Assistant District Attorney.  Mr. Coburn said the DA's office has successfully prosecuted a pollution case against some privately owned Midas Muffler shops.  The DA's office negotiated a settlement of $65,000 - funds to go to environmental projects.  The County Executive would like to use funds to leverage additional federal highway funds for the Loop-the-Lake Trail around Onondaga Lake (80% federal and 20% local.  This would be a Parks project administered by DOT - funds will offset the local match.

Mr. Berry said there were a number of Midas Muffler shops in area that were found to be polluting in different ways (some minor, some serious).   With plea agreement, of the total $75,000 fine, $65,000 would go to the County in the form of a Supplemental Environmental Project, $10,000 would go to the State.  Because the harm was done by a series of different shops (individually franchised) in different areas, they looked for a way to compensate the County for potential damage.  This money will help improve the lake and the use of the lake - the lake is the central watershed collection point for probably all of the individual items of pollution.

In answer to Mr. Whelan, Mr. Berry said there would not be any legal or court fees coming out of this money.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve this item.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.      TRANSPORTATION:  Mr. Mark Lynch

a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget and advancing 100% of the federal aid eligible costs at a maximum amount of $240,000 and authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals of the Factory Avenue at LeMoyne Avenue Intersection Safety Improvement, PIN 375388

A federal pass-through project for the safety improvement of the intersection at Factory Avenue and LeMoyne Avenue.  Project would include installing turning lanes on Factory Ave. and signal work and re-designating lanes on LeMoyne Ave.  This resolution is for the design phase - total design cost is $300,000 - local share would be $60,000 (no Marchiselli money for design).

Mr. Whelan expressed his concern regarding timing and coordination of County road projects with State road and bridge projects - understands state plans out 10 years in advance.  Mr. Lynch said their goal is to get together with them and try to coordinate work, but doesn't always work out - sometimes State delays bring projects closer to County projects.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.     Authorizing replacement of the Onondaga County Department of Transportation's North Area Maintenance Facility salt shed, at a maximum estimated cost of $350,000 and authorizing the issuance of $350,000 serial bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof

Money for a new salt shed for the North Syracuse facility.  Presently have salt sheds in their other three facilities.  Capacity of existing structure is small and it is not enclosed - currently 14 hundred ton capacity looking to build either a 500 or 600 thousand ton facility.  They have had issues with DEC about open storage of present facility.  Looked at possibility of coordinating with other municipalities in area, but all have facilities.

Mr. Kraft questioned the $350,000 cost of facility.  Mr. Lynch said it is the standard shed - hip roof, foundation, wood structure, not heated with just a few lights.  Mr. Lynch said the canvas roof structures are about the same cost.

Mr. Whelan asked if the present site is geographically the best location to have a salt shed - asked if is there a township that would be better suited for the expenditure so everyone could benefit, including the town.  Mr. Lynch said there is an advantage to having it where the highway garage is - there are people there to man the loader - if at another location would have to station a person there, and heat it.  Mr. Whelan said there would be heated buildings if it were at a town facility.  Mr. Lynch replied that they looked at Salina, Cicero and Clay - they all have barns built to the size they need.  They do share in the town of Tully and Pompey.  Mr. Whelan asked about the potential of moving the maintenance facility out of that geographic area at some point.  Mr. Lynch said they have ongoing discussions - it is a huge facility - have other tenants (Health Dept., Board of Elections).

Mr. Laguzza asked the cost of the Marcellus barn, built a few years ago.  Mr. Lynch replied $350,000.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve this item.  Ayes:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Laguzza; abstained:  Mr. Kraft; MOTION CARRIED.

c.      Authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement for costs associated with the replacement of the Manlius Pompey Center Road (Pompey Center Road) bridge over Limestone Creek, C.R. No. 10, C-97, BIN 3312650, PIN 3754.33 ($9,600)

Mr. Lynch said the need for a temporary bridge for a project is usually based on traffic volume or the detour length.  This bridge didn't fall within those criteria - a temporary bridge adds between $300,000 to $350,000 to a project, plus design costs.  Mr. Lynch said there is a fire station directly adjacent to the bridge.  Mr. Lynch said they have had discussions with the fire department and had a public hearing - there has been and outcry from people living south of the bridge that their protection would be hindered by the closing of the bridge.  The suggestion is to store two trucks south of the bridge closure.  They are in the process of working out an arrangement to use a private barn, with some improvements made (driveway work, addition of a concrete floor), during the period of the bridge closure.  Federal or State would pay for ninety-five percent of the cost of improvements.  Cost for two overhead doors ($8,000) could not be included.  Village would lease the barn.

Mr. Whelan asked why the County is responsible.  Mr. Lynch replied that the argument, as a result of the public hearing, is that it is a safety issue because the fire department is directly adjacent to bridge.  Mr. Whelan asked if it is a heavily populated area.  Mr. Lynch said there are a couple of developments just south.  Mr. Whelan noted that when the County ends the project, the landowner will have a new driveway, set of overhead doors and concrete flooring.  Mr. Whelan expressed concern that this could be precedent setting.  Mr. Laguzza asked where mutual aid would come from if this firehouse could not respond.  Mr. Lynch said Fabius, Pompey or Delphi.

Mr. Lynch noted that if this isn't approved, the options are to put a temporary structure in or tell fire department they are on their own.  Mr. Lynch said the town has another station that could respond, would have to take a different route, response time would probably be five minutes longer.  Mr. Whelan requested information concerning what the response time would be and the types of calls that have been made within that district (not mutual aid calls) before Ways & Means.

Mr. Kraft questioned the cost for the Village of Manlius to lease the barn.  Mr. Lynch said there is no cost.  Mr. Kraft suggested going back to the village concerning the cost of doors.

Mr. Rhinehart said that this item would be tabled for one month.

d.     Amending the 2006 County Budget and advancing 100% of the non federal aid eligible costs for the right-of-way acquisition phase of Jamesville Road Bridge over Butternut Creek, C-26, BIN 3312910, PIN 3753.33, at a maximum cost of $3,000 and accepting title to the acquired right-of-way

Mr. Lynch said right-of-way needs to be purchased - State of New York has agreed to do the actual purchasing.  There are four parcels - three from Hanson Aggregates and one from National Grid.  Prices are the appraised amounts - total is $20,000 - State would upfront the federal share of $16,000 - asking to agree to upfront $4,000 ($3,000 would be state share, local cost would be $1,000).  Mr. Lynch said the State is negotiating with the owners.

Mr. Laguzza asked why the County would upfront the State $3,000.  Mr. Coley said the State is not eligible to be reimbursed by their own Marchiselli funds - if the County fronts the money, the County gets it back through Marchiselli funds.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.   PARKS:  Mr. Chuck Doyle

a.      Abolish Senior Zoo Attendant, Grade 9 @ $35,760 - $39,629 (2004) effective upon successful completion of the incumbent's probationary period

Abolish General Curator, Grade 29 @ $36,560 - $51,753 (2004) effective upon successful completion of the incumbent's probationary period

Create two (2) Curator of Animal positions, Grade 10 @ $38,480 - $42,652 effective June 10, 2006

Mr. Doyle distributed information regarding the proposed position changes (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Doyle said that the zoo operated with two Curators of Animals with four Senior Keepers up until 1976.  In 1977, they decided to go with one General Curator and five Senior Zoo Keepers.  Mr. Doyle said, with 900 species, there is a need for more than one Curator, and suggests going back to the old way of doing things.  There would be a cost savings of $7,438 annually and a number of other advantages.

Mr. Whelan asked if they would use existing staff.  Mr. Doyle said they would be moving people up - the last position would be a new employee.

Mr. Kraft questioned the cost savings after the first year.  Ms. Hann said a new hire would take five years to move up to Step Z.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.     Quarterly Report - Special Events Fund

Ms. Cheri Haskins distributed the Second Quarter Special Account Report (on file with Clerk).  Ms. Hann said they are looking at closing accounts that are to be incorporated into the operating budget along with those that are not being used or not bringing in money - hopefully by the next report they will all be closed.  The Oneida Shores account will be kept open for now due to the Bass Tour event.  Mr. Whelan requested a list of the accounts that will continue to be maintained.

c.      Discussion:  Status of Friends Agreements

No discussion.

d.      Discussion:  Interagency Marketing

No discussion.

e.      Discussion:  Plans for each park

No discussion.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES
MAY 10, 2006
KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Warner, Mr. Meyer, Ms. Mulroy, Mr. Laguzza, Mrs. Winslow

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Sweetland, Mr. Stanczyk and see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

A motion was made by Ms. Mulroy, seconded by Mr. Warner to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Ms. Mulroy, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.     MENTAL HEALTH:

a.   Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept funds from the New York State Department of Mental Health and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($778,487)

Mr. Brownell distributed an information sheet regarding this item (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Brownell said this is an amendment to their 2006 Budget for State Aid that was appropriated in the last quarter of 2005, after the 2006 budget was adopted.  This will allow them to meet their contractual obligations for 2006.

A motion was made by Ms. Mulroy, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.      Confirming the appointment of Stanley Long to the Community Services Advisory Board

Mr. Brownell said that Mr. Long will be a good addition to the Board - they have a harder time attracting people who represent the chemical dependency field.

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Ms. Mulroy to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.      Confirming the appointment of John Toennies to the Onondaga County Council on Environmental Health

Mr. Sauda said Mr. Toennies was a previous member (term expired in 2002).  Will fill the term of someone who is leaving the Council (term expires at the end of 2006).

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  MOTION CARRIED.

4.   A Local Law adopting the special notification requirements for commercial and residential lawn applications of pesticides (Mr. Stanczyk)

Mr. Stanczyk said that pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are chemicals specifically formulated to kill things - mentioned the public hearing and noted that the most prominent, in terms of expert testimony, were the two medical doctors.  Mr. Stanczyk said there is a link between pesticides and adverse effect on human health - every populated area in New York State, other than Onondaga County, has passed this law.  Mr. Stanczyk added that he hopes there will be more awareness of concern of pesticides and use of less aggressive and non-toxic pesticides.

Ms. Mulroy said she is keeping an open mind - still gathering information regarding this issue.  Ms. Mulroy said the argument that pesticides are meant to kill is a bold statement, but misleading - a lot of forms of chemotherapy are meant to kill, but killing certain cells that are causing problems - there is a lot of environmental good that comes from pesticides.

Chair Rapp introduced Rich Rima, from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Pesticides Management, Region 7.  Mr. Rima said he regulates pesticide from production, use and misuse up to, but not including, disposal.  Ms. Rapp asked what has changed in regard to regulations in the last five years.  Mr. Rima said the major change is that New York State requires commercial applicators of pesticides to be certified.  In 2000 the regulations were changed requiring additional training and continued training over the course of the certification and re-certification process.  Mr. Rima said the training is fairly extensive just to take the test - three different levels of certification, the lowest being apprentice.  A commercial applicator is required to have eight hours of classroom training and an additional 40 hours of onsite supervision by a fully certified applicator, before they can go out on their own.  An apprentice cannot apply products without direct supervision.  The next level of certification is Technician and last is the fully certified applicator (who can apply any types of pesticides, restricted or general use, in the category they are certified in).  There are twelve different categories.  Ornamental turf is the category that most commercial lawn care companies are certified in.

Mr. Warner asked about homeowners purchasing chemicals and spraying their own yards.  Mr. Rima said there are only certain types they can purchase.  Pesticides are sold under classification of Caution, Warning or Danger Poison.  Only a certified applicator can purchase and use a pesticide labeled Danger Poison. 

Chair Rapp asked if a homeowner could apply a pesticide to his lawn and not tell his neighbor if this law was to be passed.  Mr. Rima said the label directions on pesticides are federal law  - legal to use according to label directions.  If a homeowner sprays on a neighbor's property without notification they could be in violation of federal law.  Enforcing is difficult because homeowners are not required to keep records, difficult to get on the property.  Mr. Stanczyk said it is his understanding that it would not be in the traditional way - neighbors would be more aware of what is going on and inquire about it, rather than sending out inspectors to inforce it.  Mr. Stanczyk mentioned the registry in Erie County for those who want to be notified of spraying by commercial applicators.  Mr. Stanczyk said ¾ of people who signed up were not contacted by the commercial applicators.  Chair Rapp has requested information from Erie County regarding their experience and will share it with the committee members.

Mr. Rima said, if this law is passed, the homeowner will have to post their property, but will not have to notify ahead of time (even if they spray).  Mr. Meyer asked if it would be a violation if a homeowner sprayed along his property line and 40% went on his neighbor's property.  Mr. Rima replied it may not be a pesticide violation, because he is a homeowner.  Mr. Rima added that if a homeowner puts a chemical on another lawn, it is not contamination (even if neighbor complained) - can't do anything as far as contaminating the lawn, because it is labeled for that use.  Best he can do is warn the homeowner if it is only getting on the grass - if it gets on an area off-target, such as a garden or sidewalk, it can be enforced as a violation.  .  Mr. Meyer said a commercial applicator potentially gets a misdemeanor and a fine; but nothing happens to an individual homeowner doing exactly the same thing.  Ms. Mulroy understands, the way the law is written now, that the people with the least experience have the least burden of notification.

Chair Rapp asked Mr. Rima to explain the Integrated Pest Management concept.  Mr. Rima said it is a program they have been working with for a number of years.  The DEC has embraced it - don't have a requirement for it - it is not the elimination of pesticides, but the judicious use of them.  It may not even be the least toxic pesticides - sometimes may use a more toxic pesticide one time as opposed to a less toxic used eight or nine times.

Mr. Meyer asked what the scientific basis is for having different rules and different notification for liquid versus granular.  Mr. Rima suggested that liquid is more likely to drift.  Mr. Rima said 17 years ago they would get hundreds of calls every summer concerning complaints about lawn care applications.  Back then; it was mostly spraying with very fine droplets (airborne easily).  After several enforcement actions, the applicators changed the droplet size so that it was less likely to drift.  Chair Rapp asked about the tree spraying.  Mr. Rima said there is not much any more - most tree applications for fungicides and insecticides are now injections.

Mr. Sweetland mentioned malls that have interior plants.  Mr. Rima said, currently, posting is required for outside, but not inside - that may change once they establish an exam for interior applications.  Mr. Sweetland said that proponents of the law say commercial applicators have gone to granular rather than spray in counties that have already adopted the law, because granular is exempt from notification.  Mr. Sweetland asked if granular needs rain to actually work into the soil - is it better to come into contact with granular rather than spray.  Mr. Rima said that weeds need to be wet when most granular products are applied - granular needs to stay on weeds in order to activate - don't want rain or water right after applied.  Mr. Rima doesn't know if granular is more or less dangerous than spray.  Mr. Rima added that there are no posting requirements for a homeowner applying less than 100 square feet and there is nothing regarding time in the law concerning how long you have to wait to do another area less than 100 square feet - a week a month or 10 minutes.

Mr. Sweetland asked Mr. Rima to expand on what the commercial applicators have to do regarding reports, what level of fines they have to pay if found to be in violation and the difference between commercial and an individual.  Mr. Rima said by February 1st of the following year, commercial businesses have to send information regarding every pesticide application they've made to the Bureau of Pesticides central office where it is all tabulated - gives them a good idea of how much product is being used and exactly where.  Weather conditions are not required to be kept by law - they could check to see what the weather was at the time of an application, and then check the label to see if it says not to apply under certain conditions such as humidity or excessive heat.  Chair Rapp asked if there are more or less pesticides being applied in the counties that have adopted the law.  Mr. Rima replied that they are comparing the previous and following years after a county adopts the law - expected a spike in granular - in NYC it spiked 70% in liquid (thought is that it is easier for the commercial applicators to spray the whole lawn instead of spot spraying because of the amount of notification required - wont have to do the notification for callbacks).

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Rima said he oversees nine counties (one of those, Tompkins County, has adopted the law).  Mr. Rima said it would take a few days to find out how use has changed in that county through the reports that are sent in.  Mr. Laguzza said that pre-notification is a valuable tool regarding awareness of types of applications and possible drifting of chemicals.  Chair Rapp said she spoke to Tompkins County, and was told that they do not have anyone enforcing the law.  Mr. Stanczyk said he doesn't expect an enforcement issue - would get the enforcement from the people next door.  Mr. Stanczyk said he thinks a number of property owners are applying pesticides on their lawns three or four times a year without posting or any knowledge of it - if we pass this law, homeowners will pick up the signs of notification when they buy the product, and the commercial applicators will have to pre-notify if they use spray, dust or powder.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if a commercial applicator could spray without protection.  Mr. Rima said it is according to the label on the product - tells specifically what precautionary equipment they have to wear, not only while you make the application but while you mix and dispose of it - in most cases long sleeve shirt, long pants, socks and shoes are all that are required - depends on the product - most do not require rubber boots for application.

Mr. Warner asked to what degree does a commercial applicator have to notify surrounding landowners under this law.  Mr. Rima said they are still sorting it out - one way is to put a posted sign on the lawns of the neighbors with all the information on it.  Chair Rapp said it was suggested that they could literally send a postcard out in January with dates that they will be spraying in summer.  Mr. Rima agreed that it would fulfill the requirement - alternate dates can be included in case of adverse whether conditions.  Mr. Rima said DEC requires commercial applicators to keep records and contracts for three years - there is no stipulation in the law concerning how long homeowners have to keep records - would be no way to do a records check.

Mr. Warner said this is an issue whose time has come - 74% of the people in the state are already living under this law - thinks it will happen whether now or in a couple of years.  Mr. Warner said this is going to be enforced by complaint, very similar to the smoking legislation.  Mr. Warner added that the County is now paying $92 million local money in Medicaid - how many cases of emphysema, allergic reaction, etc., due to the spraying, require doctor visits.  Regarding a pre-notification registry, Mr. Warner suggested that everyone could be on it except those who call in to say they do not want to be notified.

In answer to Mr. Meyer concerning number of commercial lawn applications done in downstate counties that have adopted the law, Mr. Rima thinks the most telling counties would be Nassau and Suffolk.  NYC would have a significantly higher interior application.  Mr. Meyer asked about the standards for labeling products.  Mr. Rima said any product labeled "Restricted Use" can only be sold in a store that has a certified applicator working there, records must be kept of each purchase made, who buys it and they must report what they sell.  Mr. Meyer asked about disposal - Mr. Rima said it depends on what it is - DEC has had a Clean Sweep program for the past few years - people bring pesticides in for disposal.  Stores are required to dispose of broken bags - illegal to sell if not in manufacturers unbroken container.  In answer to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Rima said that a homeowner would not have to post if applying a pesticide to a vegetable garden - the law only applies to products for trees shrubs and turf (all considered lawn applications) - a rose garden would have to be at least 9 by 9 to require posting - a vegetable garden is agriculture and does not require posting.

Ms. Winslow said that those individuals, who don't have a legal requirement to notify, have the least access to toxic products also.  Mr. Rima agreed.  Ms. Winslow stated that it would be good to have postcards early in the year with dates and alternate dates for applications, and that the postcards would not be tossed away by people with health issues.  Mr. Rima said there are a lot of people sensitive to chemicals - in the past, 80% - 85% of the companies, that he has spoken with, have been very cooperative concerning notifying ahead of time, even when they were not required to do it.

Regarding current notification, Mr. Rima said lawn care companies are required to post just prior to the application.  If the law were adopted in Onondaga County, they would be required to notify in writing 48 hours prior to application  - if notifying by posting, would have to go on the properties of the neighbors with information concerning the product to be used and date to be applied).  Ms. Tarolli said it has to be 48 hours in advance - has to be in writing - reasonably likely to be received (a mailing through US Post Office is considered reasonable likely to be received).

Chair Rapp noted that the committee members are still in the process of researching this issue, and suggested not taking a vote until Session Day, June 6, 2006.

Chair Rapp adjourned the meeting at 10:06 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
MAY 10, 2006
CHAIRMAN ROBERT D. WARNER

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Laguzza, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. DiBlasi, Mrs. Chaplin, **Mr. Holmquist

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Warner took the agenda out of order.

1.  AGING & YOUTH:  Mrs. Marilyn Pinsky, Commissioner, Mrs. Spoto-Decker

c.   Medicare Part D Presentation

The deadline for sign up is midnight on Monday.  The office is geared up to help people: have phone bank going today; people at a number of city and county libraries on Monday.  The office is bombarded with calls.  She distributed a packet of information that MCOA is distributing.  They have a dedicated staff and have put together a unit comprised of office staff, outreach staff, and volunteers.  Have advisors for people that are homebound.  Their roll was to educate the community about Part D.  Do not make decisions for people, but rather give them their top 3 options based on their medications, locations, and what they want to spend.  They worked with seniors, disabled Medicare recipients, and target low-income seniors and Spanish speaking community.  Outreach efforts: 30-second public service announcement on Time-Warner; phone bank show on channel. 9, staff interviews with media; speakers on every half hour TV show; church bulletins, on medicine bags at Price Chopper, posters throughout the county.  Have done a lot of training; have worked well with CMS.  As of 2 weeks ago there were 1,023 phone calls--had hundreds a day; made 54 community presentations with 375,057 attending; counseled 520 people; neighborhood advisers helped 1,825 frail seniors sign up for EPIC and Part D.  Partnered with Social Security Office to reach low-income seniors who qualify for extra help program.  A major sign up day was held in March at the OnCenter - all plans were invited.

The major problem was that people ignored letters that they received in the beginning; they were bombarded with a lot of material from individual plans and disposed of it.  The plans cost between $4.19 - $70.

EPIC covers, depending on income, a certain percentage of drug costs; NY is one of 4 states in country that have EPIC.  Medicare does not cover ordinary drugs.  The President waived the penalty for low-income people ($14,700 with assets worth no more that $11,500).  They can really help low income people.  The penalty is 1% of the plan cost per month for the rest of their lives.  If low income and they sign up, they can change monthly; if not low income, they can change by November 15.  There a 21 companies selling 45 plans.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Chaplin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously, MOTION CARRIED.

a.   Amend 2006 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional grant funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorize the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($116,331)

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Laguzza to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Change salary of Project Director (MCOA Senior Employment Program), Gr. 12 @ $43,904 - $48,678 to Gr. 10 @ $38,481-$42,652 effective June 10, 2006; Change the salary of Project Director (Community Services), from Gr. 13 @ $48,704 - $54,012 to Grade 14 @ $53,938 - $59,827 effective June 10, 2006

*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.

This is a net savings of one grade, about $12,000 per year.  They looked at hiring an additional supervisory person or restructuring the programmatic responsibly of existing program.  There is a lot subcontracting, wherein the people are not on payroll, but have to be supervised.  There will be 6 programs reporting to this position.  Each program involves writing grants every years, negotiate with State on program objectives, and voluminous reporting.  The person has 6 years experience in the department.  The project director position will be filled; it was downgraded, as it needs to be supervised.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Chaplin to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.   SOCIAL SERVICES:

a.      Informational:  Family Place - Commissioner David Sutkowy, Deputy Commissioner Brian McKee

Mr. Sutkowy stated that there are 2 goals in child welfare: safety of children and permanency.  Children have a right to live in permanent environment.  This is a reconfigured program to pursue permanency.  Mr. McKee provided a general outline of the program (attachment #1).  Some children spend a lot of time in the transition phase of foster care.  The purpose of Family Place is to provide a safe place for parents to visit.  Family Place is geared on providing a moderate level of supervision.  Twenty-five families have been phased in; a lot of data is being captured.  The families love it--there is a lot of space and plenty of toys for all ages.  Looking to do a small expansion next year.  The total cost is about $200,000 but is adjoined with a contract with Salvation Army for clinical services. 

Mr. Laguzza suggested that more time be available for persons who work nights and want to visit during the day.  It was explained that the families were surveyed and generally the afternoon was preferred.  There is ability to accommodate other hours--have to make sure the supervision is there.

**Mr. Holmquist arrived at the meeting.

Mrs. Chaplin questioned transporting children; Mr. McKee said that during operating hours, there are 2 vans run by Salvation Army to transport kids.  Foster parents are first asked to transport them. Caseworkers bring parents, or parents themselves are responsible for their own transportation; also on a bus route.

Mr. Sutkowy said that they can sponsor more visitations; the building is great, and there is a need to get more attached the neighborhoods.  The center is a jewel in the community.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. FICHERA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES
May 11, 2006
Martha E. Mulroy, Chair

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Warner, Mr. DiBlasi

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

Chair Mulroy called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting, seconded by Mr. Ryan.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.     STOP DWI:  Mr. Barry Weiss

a.     Amending the 2006 County Budget to reappropriate 2005 surplus STOP DWI funds ($148,987)

A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.

The NYS Stop DWI Law requires that money brought in excess of revenue be rolled over to a project account.  Had encumbered $59,000, as they were not sure what the State would send, and that automatically goes to police agencies; left a balance of $89,987.  The Stop DWI Advisory Bd. will make recommendations to County Executive on what it will be spent on, if needed.

Mr. Ryan asked if this will all be spent on personnel; Mr. Weiss said that some may be.  Mr. Ryan asked if state grant money must be used for overtime; Mr. Weiss confirmed that it does.  Mr. Rhinehart asked how much money is spent on education vs. enforcement; Mr. Weiss replied 25%.  Mr. Rhinehart suggested that more be spent on education. 

There was discussion on bar tenders' responsibilities.  Mr. Weiss noted they have some training; it is not mandated. 

Vote was taken on the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.     CORRECTION:  Commissioner Tim Cowin

a.   Abolish Correction Sergeant, Gr. 11 @$41,184-$45,655 effective after completion of incumbent's probationary period as Correction Lieutenant; Create Correction Lieutenant, Gr. 12 @ $43,902-$48,676 effective June 10, 2006

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.

Mr. Cowin said that the position is for computer information administration and development; most departments have someone for this.  A person took the lieutenant's test; is on the list.  If a civilian were hired, he/she would have to be a gr. 14 or 15, $10,000 more.  Position would have little overtime; will fill in on the blocks if needed.

Vote was taken on the motion; passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

Discussion followed re: parolees plan.  Mr. Cowin said that there was an overcrowding situation downtown and 2 of Jamesville dormitories were used to house them; it cost about $750,000/year.  Parolees have been moved from downtown to Jamesville and his people are watching them.  It is working out well; should save near $750,000; has been in place for 3 weeks.  The Committee thanked the commissioner for this work on this.

The meeting was adjourned 9:17 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. FICHERA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES
SANDRA L. BAKER, CHAIR
MAY 8, 2006

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Whelan, Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Stanczyk, Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Sweetland and see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chair Baker called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Whelan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

The agenda was taken out of order.

2.            COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:

a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to file the 2006 action plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant, American Dream Downpayment Initiative and Emergency Shelter Grant Programs ($4,293,469)

Ms. DeFichy distributed the 2006 Community Development Action Plan (on file with Clerk)  Ms. DeFichy said that the program is down about 9% overall.

Community Development Grant - down about 8% from last year - cutting back this year on Housing Rehab out of this block grant because they have had a second $3 million Lead Grant and hope to get another this year - allowed them to put additional money into Capital Projects.

Float Loan - for accounting purposes in case they are behind - can bring the money in and pay it back.

Home Grant went down by about 5% from last year, American Dream Downpayment went down by about 50%, and the Emergency Shelter Grant went down 1%.  The total of all grants - $4,503,469.  Ms. DeFichy mentioned that the Action Plan also includes the Capital Projects and the distribution of the Emergency Shelter Grant.

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. DeFichy explained that the $300,000 under Program Income comes from houses they sell, repayments from people who sell a house before the mortgage term is up and repayment from those who sell a rehab before the five-year lien is up. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked about the Commercial Rehabilitation.  Ms. DeFichy replied it is façade work - done in distressed areas - do about ten a year.  There is a fifty percent match.  Chair Baker requested a list for the Commercial Rehabilitation.

Chair Baker asked how much was requested for Capital Projects.  Ms. Andon-McLane replied $3.5 million.  Chair Baker asked why they are down 8.7%.  Ms. DeFichy said it was reduced in the Federal Budget, but they are actually up a little on the amount they spend, because they decreased the Housing Rehabilitation.  In response to Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. DeFichy said they are not downscaling Housing Rehabilitation - have a $3 million Lead Grant, a Home Ownership program where the County lends them money and they repay (almost $2 million), and several other grants from the State.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Meyer asked if there are changes to the Lead Program.  Ms. DeFichy said the Lead Program is countywide for anyone who has a child under six and lead hazard in the house.  Ms. DeFichy said there something on TV every day regarding the program.  Regarding contractors, Ms. DeFichy said there were some problems, the work is going forward, and they think they will be in line to get another grant.  Mr. Meyer requested some brochures regarding the Lead Program.

1.SYRACUSE-ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCY:

a.   Calling for a public hearing on the inclusion of viable agricultural lands within certified agricultural districts pursuant to Section 303-B of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law 25-AA

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.     Calling for a public hearing for renewal of Agricultural District No. 3, Towns of Camillus, Clay, Cicero, Elbridge, Lysander, Manlius and Van Buren

Chair Baker announced that the date of the public hearing would be changed from Monday, June 26, 2006 to Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Whelan requested to be a co-sponsor.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Whelan introduced Mr. Paul O'Connor, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Mr. O'Connor said the Forest Service, under USDA, has some new products out to help municipalities with reforestation management.  The Forest Service will be voting on involving Cornell Cooperative Extension in a pilot project (at the local level) regarding the new technology that will affect how reforestation is done nationally.  This would be a $40,000 grant over two years to be matched dollar for dollar.  The purpose of the technology: to set up protocol regarding how to value trees damaged by the Labor Day Storm as well as protocol regarding future storms and damage to trees.  They will be working with all municipalities.

Chair Baker adjourned the meeting at 11:20 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

 

JOINT WAYS & MEANS/EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEES MEETING MINUTES  MAY 8, 2006
JAMES DIBLASI, CHAIRMAN, EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE
WILLIAM H. MEYER, CHAIRMAN, WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE

 

EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:  Chairman Meyer, Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Chaplin,

Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Winslow

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:  Chairman DiBlasi, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Rapp,

Mrs. Baker, Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Baker

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

The meeting was called to order at 10:20 a.m. by Chairman DiBlasi.

1.      ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE:  Dr. Deborah Sydow and Mr. Bill Emm

a.      Presentation of 2006-2007 Onondaga Community College Budget

Dr. Sydow highlighted recent accomplishments

  • Renovation of Gordon Student Center - complete
  • Renovation Farante Hall
  • Establishment of preventative maintenance plan and schedule; in place and supported by on line tracking system
  • Student Central established - one stop service center
  • Using technology to track calls and better serve students
  • Competed ADA audit - students with special needs and developed an action plan
  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chapter designated with a 5 star chapter, top international achievement; Chapter President John Koegel honored as distinguished chapter president
  • Partnership venture with local arts organizations--Arts Across Campus produced over 40 events, 60,000 attendance
  • Investment in critical information technology and instruction technology demonstrates commitment to operational efficiency and educational excellence.  Have developed an IT master plan
  • Virtual OCC - a priority in coming year - all key administration, academic and student support services available on line
  • Strategic enrollment management, a priority:  Middle States Reaccredidation, without it students are not eligible for financial aid
  •  Support outside of classroom - Night Writer - online tutoring service piloted
  • Web base support self service for student - extensive work completed this year, including enrollment verification, search, register and drop courses, official transcript request, payment, placement test results
  • 700 new pcs installed for academic computer labs; 1,200 pcs total to support student learning
  •  9 campus extension sites - including new locations at Driver's Village, 2 high schools:  Baldwinsville and Jordan-Elbridge
  • Distance learning--1000% increase over past 5 years - more than 3,000 students enrolled on line. Is supported by approval from the NYS Education Dept. in 15 degree programs; 6 full programs available online including transfer and applied science degree
  • Many faculty are retiring, since 2001 brought on board more than 50 new faculty members 
  • Review of program mix instituted in 2004, to ensure meeting established quality standards.  Results: Mechanical Tech.  stopped enrolling students to revamp to meet demands of local employers; Physical Therapy Assistant Program was reviewed and implemented a number of changes; was reaccredited for 10 years by the American Physical Therapy Association; Surgical Tech. was reaccredited by the Accreditation Review Comm. on Education in Surgical Tech.
  • Local economy impact:  annual impact on the county is about $380 million in earnings; return on public's investment is nearly 26%; State and local support will be fully recovered in the form of tax receipts and avoided costs
  • Institution advancement Office growing and identifying more potential and actual donors; recently awarded $55,000 grant form NYS Archives Record Improvement fund, which was highly competitive
  • $250,000 to local manufacturing company through business and workforce development and Lean Institute
  • Service learning-allows students to provide services to the community, more than 3,000 hours

Priorities in Coming Year:

  • Strategic enrollment managements
  • Student housing on line, 500 students, will have significant impact on budget and revenues
  • Virtual OCC

Budget Highpoints:

  •  $52,388,000 total budget; 2.4% increase over last year; less than CPI which was 3.4%
  •  State's contribution increased by $175 per FTE (7.4% increase); had requested $250, which would have brought State to 1/3 contribution stipulated in State code
  • State supported modestly high demand/high cost programs (i.e. nursing, surgical tech, respiratory therapy)
  • Student tuition increase of less than 1%; $15 per semester and $1 per credit hour increase in part time tuition
  • Request County contribution increase by $230,000, 2.8%, in 2007
  • 75%-80% of budget is non discretionary; rising cost for those items is a 6.2% increase in mandatory expenses for insurance and pension costs, and $400,000 increase in utilities
  • Anticipate 2% increase in FTE's, 128 students over 2005-06 enrollment
  • No increase in Federal Pell Grant Program for past 5 years; over 80% of students are on financial aid; full Pell is at $4,050/year
  • Interest rates on Stafford loans increased 6.3% in recent years; OCC is open access institution, mindful of the amount students will have to go in debt

 Dr. Sydow said that the budget has a strong emphasis on cost control, high value for students and community.

Mr. Stanczyk asked about $800,000 decrease in student revenues.  Mr. Emm explained the discounted rate courses have grown (those off peak or off campus) instead of $125, they are $42.  Provision for uncollectable accounts ($600,000) is the tuition collection initiated this year - had previously deregistered for nonpayment.  The new effort does not do de-registration and does more in-person collection efforts, which brings in more revenue but also more bad debt.  Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with a one-age explanation for the decreased student revenues in 06-07.

There was discussion on the formula for out-of-county students revenues and expenses.  It was explained that the rate is different for every college; is based on local sponsor contribution.  Mr. Mareane said that it is expected with residences on campus, more students will stay here.  The chargeback is established in advance;  must know what the county contribution is before it is final, it is an important variable in the formula.  The formula is in place, and if all information is correct, $1,790 will be the chargeback rate.  If off on any estimates, there will be an offset in next year's chargeback.  Mr. Farrell asked to be provide with how much the estimates have been off in the past.

Mr. Farrell asked about fund balance dropping, asked how to maintain or grow the percentage in future.  Dr. Sydow said that it hasn't been touched.  They want to remain within SUNY standards of 5%-10%.  If in that range, they feel they are prepared for a kind of emergency that may cause them to dip into that fund.  There isn't a target; don't have latitude to allow to grow it.  Mr. Farrell asked OCC to provide a 5-15 year vision.

Mrs. Baker asked about student housing.  Full capacity will be 500 students, it does not impact colleges operating budget at all.  It is $5,400 for single bed.  Have approximately 300 paid applications.

Mr. Kraft asked why the State aid grant program was down.  It was explained that it may have been a one-time appropriation, a specific grant project.  Mr. Kraft asked to be provided with the background on it.  He inquired about OCC North.  Dr. Sydow stated that they just signed another 5-year lease, getting more activity and success.  Mr. Kraft asked to be provided with top 30 paid positions, pay range, amount paid for current year, and what percentage they are of the base year.

b.   Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2006-2007 Budget of Onondaga Community College. 

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.      

 Respectfully submitted,

 DEBORAH L. FICHERA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature