Meeting Minutes Archive: September, 2006

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
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SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES
ROBERT D. WARNER, CHAIRMAN
September 6, 2006

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. DiBlasi, *Mrs. Chaplin

ABSENT:  Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Laguzza

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at: 9:10 a.m.

1.   AGING & YOUTH:  Chris Flynn, Interim Commissioner

a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional federal funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($226,685)

To accept additional Federal funding (pass-through from the State Office of the Aging) to provide services in programs such as Home Delivered Meals, Community Service, Health Promotion and Elder Caregiver.

*Mrs. Chaplin arrived at the meeting.

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

Mr. Rhinehart questioned how the money would be used for Meals on Wheels.  Ms. Flynn said they have a greater number of seniors on Meals on Wheels as a result of a pilot program, through Community Connections, that enhanced services for seniors coming out of hospitals; that program has ended, and this money will hopefully keep those people on.

Mr. Warner asked about the Caregiver program.  Ms. Flynn said they would be doing training programs for caregivers, mediation with seniors and their caregivers and promotional work.

Ms. Flynn handed out a list of sources of additional funding and the types of services they might be providing with the funding (on file with Clerk).

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

 b.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional state funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($289,278)

To accept additional State funds for Weatherization, Health Insurance Information Counseling and Community Services for the Elderly programs.

In answer to Mr. Warner, Ms. Flynn said the Weatherization Program is for seniors; has income eligibility.  Mrs. Chaplin asked what they do regarding weatherization.  Ms. Flynn said these funds are called last resort funding.  They go out and do an assessment; weatherization can be as minor as caulking the windows to replacing windows, replacing furnaces and roofs.  They work with other organizations - a large part of what the program coordinator does is leverage funds from other sources.

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

2.   SOCIAL SERVICES - Mr. David Sutkowy, Commissioner

      a.      Software Update

Chairman Warner distributed copies of a letter from Legislator Ryan concerning the Westside Community Coalition, and asked Mr. Sutkowy to respond in the near future to the issues brought up in the letter (letter on file with Clerk).

Mr. Sutkowy said his department has had the opportunity to pilot the Salient technology for ninety days, at which point, they will have to make a decision whether to go forward or not.  Over the past two months, the goals were to develop a business plan and make the determination as to whether the Salient technology was worthwhile.  Mr. Sutkowy distributed a memo regarding a business plan and the Salient technology (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Sutkowy said they have talked with other counties, Managed Care plans and their own staff about what their perceptions were regarding the extent to which fraud and misuse occurs in the Medicaid system and how they are proceeding.  They are convinced there are opportunities in relation to providers and recipients.

Mr. Sutkowy pointed out that there is a difference between fraud and misuse of the system.  They have been looking at how they could use the technology to identify instances or patterns of misuse as well as inappropriate and perhaps fraudulent activities.  Mr. Sutkowy said Salient is good at identifying generic and brand name drugs.  There is almost $7 million worth of brand named drugs being dispensed in the Medicaid system where there is a generic equivalent.  The Salient technology can identify what those drugs are and who the prescribing doctors are.  Mr. Sutkowy said they would like to reach out to the doctors with an educational campaign - thinks there is savings there.

Mr. Sutkowy said Managed Care providers have a focus on up coding of services.  The health care industry has universal billing codes for patients - physicians can code between 1 and 5.  Some of the software used by Managed Care plans can look at specialties, such as psychiatry to see if billing is within norm.  Mr. Warner asked if the Salient software would pick up what the norm billing is.  Mr. Sutkowy said the software currently available does not have the formula to do that; they have to do it themselves; that is in the next stage, and Salient is committed to develop that with Onondaga County.  They intend to use Onondaga County as a test site for their product development for New York State.

In answer to Mr. Warner, Mr. Sutkowy said there are other companies with software.  Mr. Sutkowy said Salient software generates a lot of information on how recipients use medical services.  For example, regarding the issue of pharmaceutical drugs - identified high cost users who were filling drugs from multiple providers or having them filled by multiple pharmacies.  They saw suspicious behavior with six out of the thirty highest cost users.  Those are being referred on to law enforcement. Mr. Sutkowy noted a case where the software picked up a person who had a prescription for painkiller, copied it and had it filled 150 times around the state.  Mr. Warner asked the cost for that particular person.  Mr. Sutkowy replied about $7,000.  In answer to Mr. Warner, Mr. Sutkowy said if they think there is inappropriate use of resource/fraud, they rely on the six investigators in their Fraud Investigation unit.  Have identified high users in other areas such as emergency psychiatric services (identified 30 high users) who are not receiving Case Management or Care Management; not fraud by any means, but can reach out to them to do something more effectively that better meets their needs at less cost.

Mrs. Chaplin asked if additional personnel would be needed to manage this technology.  Mr. Sutkowy is not asking for staff at this point, it may require him to re-deploy staff from another area; it is good software - don't have to be technically proficient to operate.  Salient is working hard to make it more user friendly.

Mr. Warner asked how many Medicaid recipients there are in Onondaga County.  Mr. Sutkowy replied 60,000 individuals.  Mr. Warner asked when they would know the impact of this software.  Mr. Sutkowy said he would come to the Legislature as often as the committee would like to talk about it; it is a sound investment; can measure the change in individuals' behavior and cost over time.  Mr. Warner asked the cost of the software.  Mr. Sutkowy said $200,000 that gives them ten licenses installed on ten computers - can train more than ten.  Annual service cost would be $20,000 to $30,000.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if a portion of the $200,000 is grant money.  Mr. Sutkowy said Medicaid costs incurred by localities once they go above the cap are 100 percent Federal and State; they are above the cap now (no local cost to taxpayers).  Mr. Sutkowy said he can't give specifics of what they will save, but can clearly see results.  Mr. Warner said the program is going to be a great advantage to the taxpayers.  Mr. DiBlasi said this software enables Onondaga County to be on the cutting edge, and commended Mr. Meyer for bringing this forward originally.  Mr. Sutkowy said Monroe and Chemung Counties have purchased the software; Onondaga County has two weeks to make the decision.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m.

                Respectfully submitted,

                      Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES
September 7, 2006
MARTHA E. MULROY, CHAIR

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Warner, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. DiBlasi, *Mr. Kinne

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer, see also attached list

Chair Mulroy called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

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

Chair Mulroy stated the agenda would be taken out of order.

7.       Requesting the Onondaga County District Attorney, the Onondaga County Commissioner of Probation and the Onondaga County Sheriff to make recommendations to this legislature on the most appropriate method for protecting children from certain convicted sex offenders (Mr. Meyer)

Mr. Meyer this is not a big city issue or a rural issue, it is all over the US.  With the internet, sexual predators have new tool to go after our children.  He has the utmost respect for Sheriff, DA, and Probation departments in dealing with what they do.  He displayed a chart indicating that there are 708 registered sex offenders for Onondaga County.  He said that Probation Dept. would disagree with the number saying that there are a number of aliases on it.  Mr. Meyer said that is part of the problem - parents don't know who these people are.  There is an issue with where to look for information.  Some counties have started innovative steps.  Ulster, Saratoga, Suffolk, Albany and Rensselaer Counties have started electronic monitoring.  Cayuga and Saratoga Counties have adopted laws directing that these convicted people must live a certain distance away from schools and licensed day care centers.  He said the problem is that a lot of peoples send children to unlicensed day care centers.  There has to be a way to identify who these people are.

His request is to have Onondaga County professionals contact professionals in other counties.  St. Lawrence uses a billboard; Ulster Co. puts a notice on their county website.  He wants to have input from Probation, Sheriff, and District Attorney for ideas that will work in this community.  Some items that work in other counties may not work here.  If they can find innovative techniques around the state that can be proven, this is the time to do it with budget review coming up.  If grants need to be applied for, they can be included in their budgets. 

Mr. Warner stated that there are no known cures for a true pedophiles; is in favor of the thought process and supports the resolution.  He questioned what is on the books at the State level and why is every county left to straighten this out.  Mr. Meyer said that are state laws, but there is an opportunity to take initiatives beyond them.  He said that there are things that we could and should be doing, i.e. putting a message on the website; the Sheriff has ideas with interactive, electronic notification,  These are things that don't have to get involved in the State bureaucracy.  He said that it makes sense to try to do different things rather than have an across the board mandate and find out it doesn't work. 

There was discussion about a timetable; Ms. Winter suggested 60 days and asked that the State Administrator for Parole be included as well.  Chair Mulroy asked that a notification be sent out.  Sheriff Walsh said that they have already started and have sent a notice to State Sheriff's Association. On his website, www.sheriffwalsh.com, there is a link to the State Registry of Sex Offenders; can get a picture and information.  He said that there is a better system available.  The new system allows a person to query and register their email address.  Then if an offender moves into the area, a notification is sent to the individual that registered.

*Mr. Kinne arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Meyer said that the will provide a copy of the Board of Examiners criteria; it is extensive and disturbing.

Chair Mulroy said that this item will be on for the November Public Safety Committee.

1.    SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly

a.       Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the federal government to provide funding for technology improvements for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office ($740,421)

These are funds obtained from Congressmen Walsh, technology funds to improve technology.  Funds have been received in the past and the amount varied; there is no match required.

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

      Infrared system in Air I being replaced, approx. $360,000-$370,00; the system on board is obsolete, manufacturer is discontinued and parts are no longer available

  •      Reminder will be used to replace laptops in cars; technology keeps changes; This allows purchase without local dollars
  •      Laptops were not budgeted to be replaced; will not be replaced until end of 2007 or 2008
  •      4th grant received; prior years had received COPS technology funding for staffing, which has dried up and psotions were eliminated.

Mr. Warner said agencies turned dispatch over to E911 in 1992.  As part of that process, they received laptops; he asked if those agencies are getting updated laptops.  Chief Peverly said they would not through this grant;  all agencies at that time received some funding for laptops; did not get a full compliment.  It was the initial startup investment that the county made.  Agencies have been obtaining grants or funding themselves.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.    STOP DWI:  Mr. Barry Weiss, Administrative Officer

a.   Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept funds for the Stop DWI Gone4ever Program ($12,145)

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

Mr. Weiss said that Gifford Foundation gave $10,000, $2,145 is from contributions from individuals and 2 law firms; the total amount of the project is $77,000.  The display opened up June and is scheduled through November at different high schools around the county.  The remainder of money is used for transportation and keeping it going.  Chair Mulroy request a schedule when available.  Mr. Weiss said that there will be some measure of its impact known in a year; students are being asked to fill out forms regarding their thoughts. 

Mr. Kinne asked about DWI checkpoint message boards and questioned why it is being done.  Mr. Weiss explained that Stop DWI is not doing it; Federal money was provided through the Transportation Association to police agencies to put up the signs. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

5.    DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Mr. Barry Weiss, Administratiave Officer

a.       Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Office of the Onondaga County District Attorney with additional funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($326,804)

Operation Impact received an additional $326,000.  In June NYS requested that counties resubmit application for Impact money as they were re-evaluating.  Onondaga Co. was receiving about $650,000 and based on performance it was increased to over $1 million.  This will be used for overtime and equipment.

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

Mr. DiBlasi asked to be a cosponsor noting that Operation Impact has been very instrumental in his district.

Mr. Ryan referred to this coming being done with overtime and asked Mr. Weiss to find out if money is put into pension planning or if it is all spent by the taxpayers.

Mr. Warner asked Mr. Weiss to provide him with a copy of the accomplishments of Project Impact.

Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

3.      HILLBROOK:  Mr. Julius Edwards, Assistant Director of Juvenile Detention

a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide additional funds for Hillbrook Detention Center and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($5,000)

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Kraft.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Regarding construction, Mr. Edwards said that it is going well and on time; no kids have been moved to Buffalo.

4.      PROBATION:  Ms. Mary Winter, Commissoner

 a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide additional funds for the Probation Department and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($18,912)

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

This is money is from the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant; a dwindling amount that pays for part of a salary for a probation officer to do juvenile intensive supervision with high-risk youth, mostly boys, in the City.  There is a county match; $378 is reimbursed by the state. 

Mr. Ryan questioned why one person is handling this level.  It was explained that it is all the money Probation has; they have one very skilled person and give her the highest risk.  When the money ends, the person will still stay and do the work. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

6.      EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Ms. Elizabeth Haas,

a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept State Homeland Security Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($52,000

The $52,000 is the cost that OCC Public Safety Training Center determined in consultation with NYS Office of Homeland Security.  In August NYS came to them and asked the County to put on the course; it is well known by the state and well received.  It is approved by OHS training group.  The lodging and class is free for attendees.

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

 A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Kinne to adjourn at 9:35 a.m.  MOTION CARRIED.

              Respectfully submitted,

                   DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

                   Onondaga County Legislature

  

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
JAMES W. FARRELL, CHAIRMAN
September 7, 2006

MEMBERS PRESENT: *Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Kinne, **Mr. Laguzza

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Farrell called the meeting to order at: 11:09 a.m.

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

1.      TRANSPORTATION:

      a.      Amending 2006 County Budget and advancing 100% of the state and Federal aid eligible costs for the Erie Canal Interpretive and Educational Exhibits Exhibition Redesign Project at a maximum cost of $500,000 - Ms. Michelle Keib, Interim Director

Ms. Keib said the Erie Canal Museum has been awarded a grant of $400,000 to be used to renovate the first floor of the museum (change the twenty-year old exhibits, update technology); asked the County to upfront the money (will receive reimbursement by the State after they spend the money).  Federal funds - $400,000, State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation funds of $100,000; total project cost is $600,000 (Museum funding will consist of $40,000 in private fundraising and $60,000 contributions in in-kind resources).  Regarding the overall plan for the museum, Ms. Keib said they will find out in October whether they will be awarded a grant for $1.2 million to purchase and renovate the Water Street Gym building at the end of their block - will help to enlarge the museum and make the whole block more public-friendly history and museum block.

In answer to Mr. Kraft, Ms. Keib said they should be reimbursed by the State within ninety days.

**Mr. Laguzza arrived at the meeting.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve this item.  Voting Yes:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Farrell; Abstained:  Mr. Laguzza

 

      b.      Authorizing the County Executive to enter an agreement with the State of New York for snow and ice control on state highways ($1,445,946) - Mr. Mark Lynch, Commissioner

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

Mr. Lynch said they plow 219 miles of the State highways.  Mr. Farrell asked if there are changes to the compensation from last year.  Mr. Lynch replied that there is in increase of $80,000 in the base rate; the base rate last year $1,366,347, on top of that, there is a severity factor applied that changes every year.  In answer to Mr. Farrell, Mr. Lynch said the increase was based on prices for fuel and materials.  Mr. Whelan asked if the increase reflects the increase cost of petroleum, and Mr. Lynch replied yes.  In answer to Mr. Kinne, Mr. Lynch said the amount the State pays covers fuel, equipment and manpower.

A vote was taken on this item and passed unanimously;  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Farrell stated the agenda would be taken out of order.

3.   PARKS:  Mr. Jon Cooley, Mr. John Eallonardo, Mr. Chuck Doyle,

      a.   Abolish Account Clerk Typist I, Grade 4 @ $25,150 - $27,759 effective October 14, 2006

            Create Account Clerk I, Grade 4 @ $25,150 - $27,759 effective October 14, 2006

            Abolish R.P. 01 80690000 0014 1313, Grounds Supervisor at Grade11 @ $42,722 - $47,283 effective September 16, 2006.

            Create R.P. 01 80690000 0014 1770, Athletic Field Specialist, Grade 11 @ $42,722 - $47,283 effective September 16, 2006.

Mr. Cooley said the Account Clerk I position is at Onondaga Lake Park Main Office and the Athletic Field Specialist position is for Hopkins Road, Onondaga Lake Park and Alliance Bank Stadium.  Position will be for 40 hr. week compared to 35 hr. week for a Grounds Supervisor position that will be abolished; Grade remains the same.

In answer to Mr. Kraft, Mr. Cooley said the person retired from the Account Clerk Typist position; that title is one that does not fit how they are operating the Parks Department at this time; the Grounds Supervisor position is vacant.  Mr. Kraft asked if the title of Athletic Supervisor restrains the individual from doing the same kinds of things a Grounds Supervisor would do.  Mr. Cooley replied no, a Grounds Supervisor position is a general position (not able to take care of ball fields at the level they should be); Athletic Field Specialist is a more refined position, would be able to give landscaping support in other parks in the system, would work seventy-five percent of the year hands on in the field, dealing with the budget, hiring seasonal staff; twenty-five percent of the time would be funded by Lights on the Lake to help with operations of that program.

*Mr. Rhinehart arrived at meeting

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

Mr. Whelan asked if the person in this position would facilitate the conversion of Alliance Bank Stadium to natural turf if that decision were made.  Mr. Cooley replied that the individual would have the expertise to deal with artificial turf as well as real grass.

Mr. Sweetland asked about the staff at Hopkins Road.  Mr. Cooley said they are all 103 except the Grounds Supervisor or Athletic Field Specialist position.  Mr. Sweetland asked if the person in Athletic Field Specialist position would supervise the 103 employees.  Mr. Cooley said the person would oversee all of Hopkins Road Park and staff and will guide the grounds keeper at Onondaga Lake Park.

Mr. Farrell asked about the quality of fields at Hopkins Park.  Mr. Cooley said in terms of recreational softball, they have the highest quality fields in Onondaga County, and they charge the highest prices for use.  Mr. Farrell said with this change he assumes the expectation is to continue to improve the quality of the fields, and Mr. Cooley agreed.  Mr. Farrell said there have been conversations about utilizing outside consulting services to enhance even further; if the intent of this change is to keep raising the bar, asked to look at those opportunities and incorporate them into their plan.

A vote was taken on this item; passed unanimously.

      e.   A Local Law amending Local Law 22-2002 to increase the rental fee for the lake house at Beaver Lake

Mr. Cooley said they have been charging $800 per month for this property since 2004 when they had it appraised, but was not been formalized in terms of a county resolution to reflect that.

Mr. Whelan asked if they have a lease for that property.  Mr. Cooley said they have an annual lease to a private party.  Mr. Cooley said Parks does the grounds maintenance; does not think there should be a price increase because of the status of that property (old, high utility costs that renter is responsible for).  Mr. Whelan asked if they are planning any major rehabs in the next couple of years, and Mr. Cooley replied no, and they have not done any work on it in the past couple of years.

Mr. Laguzza mentioned that they have not increased the rental price since 2004, and asked why the County is a landlord.  Mr. Cooley replied that we have property that can generate income, it has been used for interns and rental for quite some time, thinks they have been multifaceted and efficient in doing that.  Mr. Laguzza said it seems like an insufficient amount for a livable facility, would like them to get comparables and come back to the Legislature.  Mr. Farrell asked for a description of the layout, and what it is used for beyond rental.  Mr. Cooley said the house is a two-story property in which the ground floor is used for interns (offer a modest stipend and housing is an incentive to bring the interns to the property).  Mr. Cooley said it is a shared use property on the backside of the park, trail goes near the house, but people are pretty much in privacy.

Mr. Whelan asked if the current lease expires in December.  Mr. Cooley said yes.  Mr. Whelan said he would move this item since it is cleaning up paperwork to satisfy audit requirements; requested a couple of pictures of the property and a comparison for the next County Facilities meeting.  Mr. Kraft requested a floor plan also.  Mr. Kinne requested information about the size and age of the property and where it is located in the park.  Chairman Farrell said it would be on the agenda for the October committee meeting.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve this item.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

i.       Report :  Bass Fishing

Mr. Cooley distributed a summary sheet regarding the BASS Tour (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Cooley said it was successful in terms of hospitality, fishing, and national acclaim.  The Bass Tour has awarded one of their three majors to Syracuse next year - July 26 to 29, 2007.  Mr. Cooley noted that they worked with about a $90,000 budget on this event, and brought event in 21% under budget.  Next year's is a bigger program - allows for use for trade shows and presentations at the OnCenter with a budget of about $100,000.  Mr. Cooley would like to roll over the $15,000 in balance from this year with budget amounts that need to be approved by the Legislature in the upcoming 2007 Budget.

      c.      Requesting the grant funding in the amount of $250,000 from the New York State Canal Corporation for the Onondaga Lake Park Marina Enhancement Project in order to implement the Erie Canal Greenway Program

      d.      Approving the classification of an unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; declaring lead agency status, accepting the short Environmental Assessment Form; and accepting and adopting the Negative Declaration for the Onondaga Lake Park Marina Enhancement Project

Mr. Eallonardo addressed item c. and d. together.  Mr. Eallonardo said the NYS Canal Corporation came out with a grant program targeted at communities that have facilities along the Erie Canal in late July; they have wanted to rehabilitate the Onondaga Park Marina.

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve requesting the grant funding in the amount of $250,000 from the New York State Canal Corporation for the Onondaga Lake Park Marina Enhancement Project in order to implement the Erie Canal Greenway Program.

Mr. Eallonardo said the facility is installed with a homemade antiquated pile driver, stick built configuration of docks and they are anxious to improve the safety there.  They have a waiting list for the marina that they would like to accommodate.  They would install new floating docks and expand capacity by about twenty boats. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the docks would be put in and taken out every year.  Mr. Eallonardo confirmed that they would, that it would be easier and more efficient.

Mr. Farrell asked Mr. Eallonardo to come back next month with a cost and revenue evaluation - what they are getting today out of the marina and what they expect to get with the changes and what the changes will be.

Mr. Whelan asked if they have a cost estimate for the whole project.  Mr. Eallonardo said they do - $500,000.  Mr. Whelan asked if the $250,000 would be in this year's budget, and Mr. Eallonardo replied no.  Mr. Whelan asked what the time line is.  Mr. Eallonardo said the Canal Corp has not been able to give them a date as to when they will make the determination. 

Mr. Farrell said there is urgency regarding the application, but Parks Department recognizes that they have to come back to the Legislature with a plan.

A vote was taken on this item and passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Laguzza to approve approving the classification of an unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; declaring lead agency status, accepting the short Environmental Assessment Form; and accepting and adopting the Negative Declaration for the Onondaga Lake Park Marina Enhancement Project.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

b.     Amending Resolution No. 287-2000 regarding a loan to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for partial funding and construction of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Education Center ($1,852,102)

Mr. Mareane said, as a part of the preliminary discussions a couple of months ago, Mr. Farrell asked for a consolidated County and Friends combined budget.  Mr. Mareane gave a Power Point regarding how the two sources of funding come together to provide services to the Zoo - 2006 Budget numbers (Attachment 1).

Mr. Kraft noted that we have new directors for both the Zoo and Friends of the Zoo.  Mr. Kraft said there has been conflict regarding what goes through the Friends, what goes through the Zoo and what goes through the Legislature.  Mr. Kraft said he doesn't want to do anything that stops Friends from their mission, but questions the idea of buying or building buildings on county property; some of the things done in the past might be done differently in the future.  Mr. Kraft said he would like to get things in the right budgets; let the Legislature have the role of control that it should play and Friends have the role to do things that we can't - lets all be partners, but not assume that yesterday was the best way to do things.

Mr. Whelan asked if there have been any changes to the original proposal.  Mr. Mareane said there were no changes.

Mr. Mareane referred to the spreadsheet on the last page of the memo dated July 13, 2006 (Attachment 2).  Mr. Mareane said over the past several years, the Friends have made commitments to help us in a number of ways at the Zoo.  The first one was the Creation of the Conservation/Education Center (built by the Friends and deeded to the County).  The Friends had much of the money in hand; some commitments were multi-year by people.  Mr. Mareane said the Legislature approved a loan plan (10 years at 5% interest), a little more than $1 million would be repaid to the County in this structured installment plan, IDA became an intermediary.  Mr. Mareane said the Friends have also made significant pledges to the Tiger Exhibit ($442,000) and the Penguin Exhibit ($250,000).  Mr. Mareane said in discussions with the Legislature, there was a desire to tighten up all the agreements, including an agreement specifying a schedule of payments, the Comptroller has also said that we need a formal arrangement.  They have tried to consolidate all three and develop a repayment plan that assures us of repayment on a fairly aggressive schedule that is affordable to the Friends.  The structure is to recast the current loan; proposal is to defer that loan for a five-year period (would continue to pay interest of 3% during that period).  That allows the Friends to repay in equal installments the Tigers and the Penguins.  In year six, the loan kicks in again for ten years with interest rate at 3%.

Mr. Farrell noted that the proposed interest rate is 3%, and asked Mr. Mareane what he expects would be the rate, cost for the county over the life of this loan for that same timeframe.  Mr. Mareane suspects it would be higher than 3%, probably 4% range.  Mr. Farrell said we are looking at somewhere between $120,000 and $240,000 over the life of the loan as a reasonable amount that we are underwriting.

In answer to Mr. Sweetland, Mr. Mareane said it was a draw on County revenue when they advanced the money to the Friends.  Mr. Sweetland said we loaned to the IDA and then the IDA loaned to the Friends, asked if the IDA Board approved this resolution, why didn't the Friends negotiate with the IDA Board first.  Mr. Mareane said he is assuming that they look at the Legislature as the policy making board, he is reasonably sure that the IDA Board would accept it as a pass through entity.  Mr. Sweetland mentioned the difference between 3% and 5% interest from 2006 to 2013.  Mr. Laguzza said it is about $70,000 off the first five years. 

In answer to Mr. Sweetland, Mr. Mareane said the Friends would commit to pay off the Penguins and Tigers in the first five years; secondly, they have to modify the separate loan agreement with the IDA so that it fits within the schedule.  Mr. Colon said there are two separate issues; one is the Education Center and the agreement between the Friends, IDA and County - they pay back to the IDA and it comes to us; the second is the Penguins and Tigers - there is no written, formal agreement on how the County would be paid; the County Legislature passed a budget resolution for the projects when they were built stating so much state/federal money, tax dollars and gifts/donations.  Mr. Colon said that when projects are built, should get formalized agreements so that his department knows exactly what is suppose to be coming in, were it is coming from, who is responsible for payment and that there is a certainty.

Mr. Laguzza noted that what they have is basically an eight-year extension with an add-on of $700,000 for the Tigers and Penguins, and asked if the Friends are too aggressive when stepping forward to say they want to help.  Mr. Mareane said they have all learned that when commitments are made, they must have an understanding about timing of repayment and form of repayment up front; a lesson learned that would apply to all commitments in the future.

Regarding the penguins and Tigers, Mr. Whelan would like to see what was authorized, what the final costs have been, what the contribution from the Friends has been.  Mr. Marenae said they could give a full account of costs for both of the exhibits.  Mr. Mareane said the commitment to the Penguins was $250,000.

Mr. Kraft suggested that they aught to find a way to adjust and equalize the disparity between entrance fees charged by the Parks Department and the yearly cost through the Friends.

Mr. Sweetland when the Friends group doesn't make payments after they say they will contribute, the taxpayer is obligated for the whole amount, and that is not what the Legislature really voted on; we need to learn from this.  Mr. Sweetland suggested to the committee that they request a presentation from the Friends as to why they need to renegotiate or refinance when this goes to Ways and Means.

Mr. Farrell said he is strongly supportive of the public/private partnership, knows there is lots to learn, does believe there is added value to actually enhancing the relationship.  His concerns relate to the fact that he has heard, in the past few years, that these exhibits have a lifespan, and that they have to refresh that experience and spend more dollars.  Mr.

Mr. Farrell wants to make sure the Friends group is in a position to participate as actively as they want to and that it benefits the community.  Mr. Farrell agrees with Mr. Sweetland concerning a presentation by the Friends at Ways and Means.

A motion was made by Mr. Whelan, seconded by Mr. Kinne to approve this item.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously.

Mr. Whelan submitted information delivered at the September 5, 2006 Session regarding grass versus Field Turf for Alliance Stadium, so that all members of the Legislature can get familiar with the data (on file with Clerk).

      f.      Discussion:  Status of Friends Agreements - no discussion

      g.      Discussion:  Plans for each park - no discussion

      h.      Discussion:  Interagency Marketing - no discussion

2.      FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Mr. Manny Barbas, Deputy Commissioner

      a.      Amending the Capital Project Fund 21 to establish a project in the Department of Facilities Management for downtown district lighting improvements at Columbus Circle, the War Memorial and Everson Plaza by utilizing tobacco securitization proceeds ($648,000)

Mr. Barbas presented a Power Point regarding the Downtown District Lighting Improvements at Columbus Circle and distributed information regarding an estimated budget, estimated energy and maintenance costs and luminaries wattages by building (Attachments 3, 4, 5 and 6).

Mr. Laguzza left the meeting during the Power Point presentation.

Mr. Whelan said his estimate exceeds Mr. Barbas' estimate of energy costs.  Mr. Barbas said the numbers Ram-Tech presented are based on a design they can't afford, they will be paring back the design, but will get the intended effect; he sees these numbers as worse case examples.

Mr. Farrell said he sees this proposal as someplace between a concept and a real project.  Mr. Farrell asked if the May 15th date is critical, and Mr. Barbas replied no.  Mr. Farrell said his is supportive, but there are a lot of questions, should possibly be done in about a month or two.  Mr. Barbas said it is their goal to light three areas:  Columbus Circle, War Memorial and Everson or $648,000.  Mr. Barbas said the preliminary design has to be pared back, it won't fit their budget; their goal is to make the project work with the budget he is presenting.

Mr. Whelan asked what Mr. Barbas wants today; Mr. Barbas said they want authorization.  Mr. Whelan said he doesn't feel comfortable with what he has before him, and would like to hold it in committee. 

Mr. Kraft mentioned the $648,000 of taxpayers money with annual expenses for an area the want to fix up for convention goers; right now, don't have a hotel, convention center says it is only doing local business; asked why other players are not contributing towards capital costs.

Mr. Whelan said he does not think there is enough information to send it to Ways and Means for discussion. 

Mr. Farrell said he doesn't hear a hard deadline, and recognizing that they don't want to leave anyone hanging (consultants, etc.), suggested holding this item for next month.  Mr. Barbas said in his mind, the deadline for having this done would be May 15th, when that area is active with pedestrian use and precedes summer (bidding would be a great winter project).  Mr. Barbas said they are asking the Legislature to approve a concept and a budget, and they will make it work within that budget.  Mr. Farrell said he is looking at it from a standpoint that they are almost separate projects, combined into one under the $648,000; the revenue source is a substantial issue, and it makes sense to hold it for a month.

Mr. Whelan left the meeting.

Mr. Raman said a mockup and testing is one of the key features after a preliminary design is done; there is an October deadline, because they want to do it before the snow.  Mr. Barbas said everything moves down a month because he can't authorize him to do that.  Mr. Kraft said if they have a consultant that has worked with them all along, there should be arrangements to pay him.  Mr. Barbas said Ram-Tech is on a term contract with the County, and they have money in their Operating Budget to cover to date, but he can't proceed with the project based on that budget.

Mr. Farrell suggested modifying the resolution to authorize $10,000 to move it forward and for the mockup, until they have more information.

      b.   A resolution authorizing various improvements to the Onondaga County Courthouse in and for the County of Onondaga, New York at a maximum estimated cost of $7,500,000 and authorizing the issuance of $7,500,000 bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof

Mr. Farrell said the Courthouse project is something that needs to move forward and suggested to move it, to the Ways and Means Committee, if Mr. Meyer approves.

Mr. Barbas distributed the Onondaga County Courthouse Building Envelope Study - Executive Summary (on file with Clerk).

Mr. Barbas said the committee members really have to see the Power Point to understand the severity of this project.  Mr. Barbas said that if this is not passed this month, he is not sure if they can get it designed, bid to begin in the spring and get the project done in a two-year timeframe.

There was discussion about holding another County Facilities meeting concerning this project on the following Monday or Tuesday morning before Ways and Means.  Mr. Kraft said based on what they did previously, he is ok with this; it has to be done.  Mr. Farrell said there would be a presentation at Ways and Means, and suggested sending this to Ways and Means.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES
September 8, 2006
T. Brendan Whelan, Vice Chairman

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

                   ABSENT:  Mrs. Winslow, Mr. Corbett

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Vice Chairman Whelan called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m.

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

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Ms. Sue Miller

      a.   ACJ Update - Current construction on 3 projects:

Sewer separation

  •         South Ave., West Kennedy, Onondaga, E. & W. Bissell Streets.  One section is done (049).
  •         All sewers are installed in the section of South Ave. and E & W. Bissell; there are 5 buildings to separate internally (one multi-family home and 4 businesses).

Mr. Kraft asked how much sewer separation has been done; Mr. Elander estimated a few miles.  Mr. Elander said that in most residential houses they do not go into the home or even on the property.  He said the first sewer separation done was mostly all businesses.  They were built years ago and were acceptable; there is responsibility to straighten them out. 

  •       Next part of sewer separation is a portion of South Ave and West Kennedy; will have street restoration after that.  Next Spring (050) will cover Parkway and Rockland Avenues.  They will have to come up with a traffic plan.

Midland

  •         80.5% of concrete has been placed.  Roof on underground storage tank is 95% complete; main concrete work continues on where vortex separators will be.  Have expended 60.5% of total contract sum for 4 prime contractors
  •         95% design for Phase 3 was submitted to DEC for review.
  •         Next month:  more concrete work on regional storage fac.; continue HVAC, electrical conduit; drainage pipe work

BioSolids Handling - Metro

  •       Roof decks for sludge blend tank building
  •         Paving of project area, electrical conduit work began

Mr. Kraft asked is someone physically approves bills that are paid regarding Midland.  Mr. Elander said that there is a step program, reviewed by field staff, CDCMS Teams, a county rep, and then he signs off on them. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the heavy rains this summer caused exceeding flow permits.  Mr. Elander said that there were no violations for flows; did not know about bios, but if there were, they were nothing significant.

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

      a.      Adopting a determination and findings pursuant to Article 2 of the New York Eminent Domain Procedure Law and authorizing the acquisition of property for the Harbor Brook Sewer Improvement Project

Mr. Whelan noted a typo on the last page under the Ramsing properties; it should be only a temporary easement.  The dollars total $894,850.  He said that other governments are being dealt with on this issue.  County will be paying NYS permit fees to cross properties on Wilbur Ave. and Velasko Rd. -- also have to cross City of Syracuse properties.  It is taking county taxpayer money for properties along Richmond and West Fayette Streets and cutting across Fowler High School.  Large amounts of money are paid to a government within a government with no good purpose.  The properties are not taken to be destroyed; they are being restored to as good, if not better, than they were before. 

Mr. Elander said the resolution wasn't presented last month because they didn't have all appraisal numbers yet.  At the public hearing there was a speaker who represented that the City and the City School District.  A letter was included with the testimony, which indicated that the City was against the project--against taking any lands and it is disruptive to the school.  He noted that there have been at least 6 meetings with the school district; the pipelines are exactly where discussed with the school.  The school representatives have agreed that this is the best location to minimize any disruption.  Nevertheless, the project is expected to proceed; get these properties at the appraised value; no money is included for negotiating.

The design of conveyance and RTF are proceeding.  The Fadel property is the vicinity of the RTF and when the resolution was created for the public hearing, they did not know that they needed the Fadel property; now they do now.  All people have been contacted; none have been offered anything.

Mr. Kraft asked about the DeRose property.  It was explained that it is at the corner of Delaware and Grand Ave.  The building is a church; and 2 multi-family houses - it is a fee acquisition.  It is where the RTF will go.

Mr. Kraft asked about the Pyramid Co. property; it is the City of Syracuse Fire Training Center on State Fair Blvd.; it is the lower basin treatment facility for Harbor Brook.  It is 3 or 4 separate parcels on a fee basis.  Part of it is a temporary easement from Pyramid for a construction staging area.  Pyramid did not own the property at the time they started.  The property will be taken and a facility will be built. 

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mr. Whelan to approve this item. AYES:  4 (Farrell, Rhinehart, Chaplin, Whelan)  NOES:  0; ABSTAINING:  1 (Kraft).  MOTION CARRIED.

      b.   Calling Public Hearing in Connection with Rehabilitation of the Low Lift Pump Station, Harbor Brook Pump Station and Electrical Substation at Metropolitan Syracuse Waste Water Treatment Plant

Mr. Whelan said this is all within the existing Metro station; the public hearing will be held November 8, 2006 at 2:15 p.m.  The Commissioner's hearing is the 20th.  This is all replacement of existing equipment. This is the actual project, as the design is getting completed. The resolution for approval of project and financing will be presented at next month's meeting.  He is proposing to upfront engineering fees out of 960 account and only finance the construction portion of it.

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

Mr. Kraft asked about sludge.  Mr. Elander said that they developed an RFP for another 10 year-long term biosolids, it is about $3 million/year.  They have 3 interviews with proposers next Tuesday, expect to complete and evaluate; intend to have a contract by the end of 2006.  Mr. Kraft asked to be kept informed.  The sludge is processed at the site and taken to a farm in Weedsport and distributed to approximately 200-300 farms that use the material.  The farmers pay the producer.  If there is a profit, which there has not been, it is to be shared with the County.  Recently a group visited from Israel to look at the entire process and were impressed. 

The meeting was adjourned 10:23 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES
September 12, 2006
WILLIAM H. MEYER, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Baker, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Warner, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Stanczyk*, Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Rapp**

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Corbett

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Sweetland, Mr. Whelan

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Warner to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceeding of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Meyer stated that the agenda would be taken out of order; item no. 1 held to the end.

2.      TRANSPORTATION:  Ms. Michelle Keib, Erie Canal Museum

a.     Amending the 2006 County Budget and advancing 100% of the State and Federal aid eligible costs for the Erie Canal Interpretive and Educational Exhibition Redesign Project at a maximum cost of $500,000

Ms. Keib said that the Erie Canal Museum has a project to refurbish 1st floor exhibits; awarded a grant for federal - $400,000 from DOT; state - $100,000 from EPF.  These are reimbursement grants - have to spend the money first; the money would flow through the county and then the museum would reimburse the county as the grants come in.  It will done in segment over 3 years time; 60% 2007, 20% 2008, 20% 2009.

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

 

Ms. Keib said that they may be back; they have a grant application in to buy the Water Street Gym.  They will find out in October if they will get the $1.2 million grant.   Erie Canal would own it. 

Mr. Ryan suggested that an appraisal be done before it is purchased.  He is concerned about the structure of the building.  He asked if the museum is tax exempt; Ms. Keib said that they are.  The building that exists is not tax exempt now; not until owned by the Museum.  Mr. Ryan said then the city will loose another taxable property.

*Mr. Stanczyk arrived at the meeting. 

AYES: 6 (Meyer, Baker, Kraft, Farrell, Warner Ryan)  N0ES:  0  ABSTAINED:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

      b.      Authorizing the County Executive to enter an agreement with the State of New York for snow and ice control on state highways ($1,445,946)

 

** Mrs. Rapp arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Lynch indicated this is the annual contract with the State; $65.87/mile is the base price. There is an adjustment factor based on severity of winter; it does not go down; it will go up.

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

3.   AGING AND YOUTH:  Ms. Chris Flynn

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional federal funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($226,685)

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this amount.

This is done annually; these are supplement dollars.  Mr. Ryan requested information regarding the amount of additional monies received over the budgeted amount for the last five years.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

      b.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional state funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($289,278)

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

This is additional state money; significant increase in ISEP.  Ms. Schmidt said the amounts change yearly; some increase, some decrease.  They hope to care for an additional 100 senior.

AYES:  5 (Meyer, Farrell, Warner, Stanczyk, Baker)  NOES:  0  OUT OF ROOM:  2 (Kraft, Ryan); MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.      EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Mr. Joe Rinefierd

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept State Homeland Security Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($52,000)

Mr. Rinefierd said this item accepts a grant,. $52,000 from State Homeland Security; goes directly to OCC to support the Public Safety Incident Critical Management course here and across the state. 

Mr. Kraft stated he would like to see a line included in the resolution indicating the money is going to OCC for this specific purpose

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

5.      FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Mr. Mannie Barbas

      a.   A resolution authorizing various improvements to the Onondaga County Courthouse in and for the County of Onondaga, New York at a maximum cost of $7,500,000 and authorizing the issuance of $7,500,000 bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof

Mr. Barbas provided a Power Point presentation (attachment 1) and provided an executive summary (attachment 2).  This item was on the agenda for program committee, but was not discussed as there was no quorum at the time.

Chairman Meyer asked about the ability to qualified contractors and trades people.  

Mr. Toby Nadel, architect, Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt, said that copper work is unique; there are only a few in the country that do this kind of work; there are none in Central New York.  The best company is in St. Louis, and their prices are included in this proposal.  It is very difficult to find someone.  Regarding the clay tile domes, the proposal is to put a roof under the clay tile; can match tiles exactly from a company in Chicago. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked if this is a total county expense.  Also does the county receive reimbursement for the building being used purposes other than county.  Mr. Barbas said that this legislature authorized application for a new EPA grant 5 mos. ago.  It was capped at $350,000 and haven't heard anything on it yet.  They had applied under Phase I of the project; hope to be eligible for another grant of $350,000 for Phase II.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if all possible outside sources have been exhausted.  Mr. Barbas said he has not.  Mr. Stanczyk questioned if there are track records of other counties and how their repairs are paid for.  Mr. Barbas said that he has spoken with court's people; same scenario for rehabilitation of some of the interior of the courthouse - it is the county's responsibility; county has to maintain a suitable and sufficient structure.  They see it as a county obligation.  They provide some maintenance money in lieu of rent; not based on capital improvements.  Mr. Stanczyk said that he is in favor of doing the necessary renovation, but more attention has to be paid to the financial side of the project.

Mr. Warner asked how long has this been studied; Mr. Barbas said since the fall of 2005.  Mr. Warner asked about the value of existing copper.  Mr. Barbas said it could be bid as having someone taking the copper off and the county will take care of it.  Or it can be bid wherein the contractor gets the salvage value of the copper.  Either way, the dollars will be seen. 

Mr. Warner said studies were done for new courthouse across the street and one study included the possibility of additional space being put in this courthouse.  He asked if any or all of this remodeling was taken into consideration at that time.  Mr. Barbas said tit was not; there was no reason to, as they did not move forward with that study.  Any building that is 100 years old will have to have an investment put into it periodically.

Mrs. Baker inquired about the average lifespan of copper dome; Mr. Nattell said it  depends on slope, gage  of copper, size, and environment/; 100 years is considered good.  The copper price is small part of roofing cost, intensive labor of dome. 

Mrs. Baker said that she would like to make sure that there is Clerk of the Works; Mr. Barbas said it will be done through an RFP.  She asked if 10% for contingency on construction is average.  Mr. Barbas said that some would like to see it higher; they are hoping that it is adequate.

Mr. Farrell asked about a schedule.  Mr. Barbas said that they have to go out for RPFs for a design firm.  It will go out to local firms, who will probably get some consulting help to take care of specialty items.  It will take a 30-day cycle; then the firm will have to revisit the project and reevaluate the design and budget.  The design process would then start, which would take a good 2 months, and then there would be a bid.  They will be lucky to have contract signed by April.  Mr. Farrell asked what happens if this gets delayed.  Mr. Barbas said they will lose a season; which relates to a years.  They will have to put band-aids on the building.  The drop-dead date to saying they can't do it next year is very close right now. 

Mr. Farrell said this resolution authorizes $7,850,000.  Mr. Barbas said that is not the intent; the intent is that if they get the grant, they would not bond for the entire amount of funds. 

Mr. Farrell made a motion to modify the resolution to reflect that it not exceed $7.5 million; second by Mrs. Rapp.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Whelan asked about the bonding time and the cost to the taxpayer; Mr. Mareane said it would be for 25 years; on average $525,000 - $550,000/year cost to taxpayer.

Mr. Whelan asked about refurbishment of windows and doors - noting that they are not included in the construction cost estimates.  Mr. Barbas said that they are included in the number for phase 1. Phase II work will include all exterior windows and doors and exterior of the building concerning soft cleaning.  They will be working with SHIPO; cannot sandblast or use chemicals.

Mr. Whelan asked about wooden windows in the courtyard and asked if energy efficiency will be addressed.  Mr. Barbas said that they are not; they are all single-glass windows but are historically true.  If there is rotten wood, they will be rebuilding the frames, refinishing, and re-caulking them. 

Mr. Kraft asked about builders risk insurance, $29,500.  Mr. Barbas said that the county is self-insured; looked at other projects and this is what it has been running.  Mr. Kraft felt it should be taken out; believes it is not needed.   Mr. Kraft asked Mr. Barbas to check on this issue with Risk Management prior to session.

Mr. Mareane said regarding the court reimbursement- state reimbursed 100% of custodial costs (trash, cleaning_:  25% of systems cost (elevator maint.); they reimburse none of the utility costs or capital costs.  Today the State reimburses the county about $875,000 for courtroom space that the county maintains in the two buildings.  Regarding other grants, research has been done to determine if this project is eligible for grant money to offset this project.  It is in the national register, but is only locally significant, which means it is not entitled or eligible for federal aid.

Mr. Ryan asked if the building will be looking good for the centennial; Mr. Barbas said no, but hopefully there will be a project to point to.  Mr. Ryan said he is concerned about the roof; concerned that 10% of contingency it is probably low.  Chairman Meyer agreed that when working on old buildings, contingency should be bumped.

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item as modified that the total amount not exceed $7.5 million.  

AYES:  7 (Meyer, Farrell, Kraft, Warner, Baker, Ryan, Rapp);  NOES:  0;  OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Stanczyk)

MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amending the Capital Project Fund 21 to establish a project in the Department of Facilities Management for downtown district lighting improvements at Columbus Circle, the War Memorial and Everson Plaza by utilizing tobacco securitization proceeds

Mr. Barbas explained that at program committee, Mr. Farrell requested that $10,000 be presented to let the consultant do their study before winter.  Mr. Barbas provided an estimate based on the Brandston report (attachment 3).

Mr. Barbas said this project is about improving the lighting in the downtown area contiguous to the Court House, War Memorial and Everson Museum.  Some of the impetus is for the future hotel and need to highlight some better building in downtown.  They have been working primarily on the Columbus Circle area.   In 2000, Howard Brandston, an international lighting designer worked on Niagara Mohawk project.  HE was hired by NIMO to do a study; he put together suggestion for improving Columbus Circle, Everson Plaza, Civic Center, Bernthal Way and War Memorial. Some suggestions have already begun. 

 

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

Mr. Farrell said that there was extensive discussion and questions at Co. Facilities Committee regarding extension of project and costs.  The intent at the end of the meeting was that a commitment of funds be made so that the design, i.e. mock up, could be done while the issues associated with funding sources and design be resolved. 

Chairman Meyer asked if the power costs would be borne by the property owners.  Mr. Barber agreed, and has an estimated breakout.

 

Mr. Ryan said lighting was done outside of the building; Mr. Barbas said they did some along around the pavers on Bernthal Way, but this is about lighting the historic buildings, so that they can be seen at night.  This is not street lighting, it is feature lighting.

Mr. Warner asked how much is left in the tobacco securitization fund; Mr. Mareane said $640,000. 

Mr. Kraft said it is highly connected to tourism, economic development issues.

Mr. Whelan questioned dif the lights can be put on timers, to cut burning hours.  Mr. Barber said that they can control burning hours.

A vote was taken on the motion to approve.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

 

6.   SHERIFF:  Chief Peverly

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the federal government to provide funding for technology improvements for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office ($740,421)

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

 

The funds will be used to purchase a new infrared unit for Air I, approx $360,000; remainder of funds to be used to replace mobile computer units in cars as they become necessary.  The existing infrared equipment is obsolete; the manufacturer no longer produces it; parts are unavailable.

Mr. Ryan asked if this can be used for tasers instead; Chief Peverly said that the COPS Technology money cannot be used to purchase weapons. 

Mr. Farrell asked if the laptops for vehicles have been authorized before; what is the plan; how many, cycle of them.  Chief Peverly said that the technology is changing, and as it does so do the computers.  They are anticipating they will have to change the mounting decks also.  The computers will b 3 and 4 years old by the time they are replaced; replacing about 70 of them.  They have 80+ in cars now.  They were purchased through grant money in the past. 

Mr. Farrell asked about the $362,000 for the infrared camera.  Chief Peverly said it is used for searching--ability to locate people and objects in the dark.  It illuminates them based on heat index.  They have had the capability since they bought the helicopter in 2000.

Chairman Meyer seconded the motion.

A vote was taken on the MOTION.  AYES:  6 (Meyer, Farrell, Kraft, Warner, Baker, Rapp) NOES:  1 (Ryan)  ABSTAINED:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

7.      HILLBROOK:  Ms. Jackie DeNero

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide additional funds for Hillbrook Detention Center and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($5,000)

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  AYES:  6 (Meyer,  Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Ryan, Rapp);  NOES:  0; OUT OF ROOM:  2 (Baker, Farrell).  MOTION CARRIED.

8.      PROBATION:  Ms. Jackie DeNero

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide additional funds for the Probation Department and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($18,912)

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Meyer, Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Ryan, Rapp, Farrell);  NOES:  0; OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Baker).  MOTION CARRIED.

9.   PARKS:  Mr. Robert Geraci

      a.      Abolish Account Clerk Typist 1, Grade 4 @ $25,150 - $27,759 effective 10/14/06; Create Account Clerk 1, Grade 4 @ $25,150 - $27,759 effective 10/14/06

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Meyer, Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Ryan, Rapp, Farrell);  NOES:  0; OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Baker).  MOTION CARRIED.

      b.      Abolish Ground Supervisor, Grade 11 @ $42,722 - $47,283 effective 9/16/06;Create Athletic Field Specialist, Grade 11 @ $42,722 - $47,283 effective 9/16/06

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

 

      d.      Requesting the grant funding in the amount of $250,000 from the NYS Canal Corporation for the Onondaga Lake Park Marina Enhancement Project in order to implement the Erie Canal Greenway Program ($250,000)

This is a grant application for improvements to the Onondaga Lake Park Marina; 50% matching program.  If they are awarded the grant, the county would have to come up with $250,000; there is an antiquated system of docks. The docks that don't have utilities are not booked, utilities and floating docks would be brought into the facility. 

Mr. Farrell said that this was put on Co. Facility Committee agenda with the understanding that this is simply an approval to proceed with the grant applications since there are virtually no details; there is a timeframe required to make the application.

Mr. Kraft asked about annual rents collected.  Mr. Geraci said about  $35,000 - $40,000; they are at capacity and there is a waiting list, except for the slips that don't have utilities.  They expect to bring in around $10,000 more; a business plan will be put together.

Mr. Ryan asked how do these rents compare to other marinas.  Mr. Geraci said that they are market rates and they check other marinas on continuous basis.  Mr. Ryan asked to be provided with that information.

A vote was taken on the motion to approve; PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

     e.  A Local Law amending Local Law 22-2002 to increase the rental fee for the lake house at Beaver Lake

Mr. Geraci said that they were charging $430/month at the lake house.  They researched rental property rates in the Baldwinsville area and they determined a rental price of $800/month. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked who it is rented to.  Mr. Geraci said a family; it is 2-story house, the basement of the house is for interns of Beaver Lake, who are not charged for rent.  The renters of the upstairs portion of the house answered a newspaper advertisement.  They have been there several years.  They act as caretakers and stewards of the property.  They have been paying $800/month for 1½ years; he forgot to bring it over to the legislature to get endorsed. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked about interns.  Mr. Geraci said that interns are there 5 - 6 months; they get college credit for the one semester.  The downstairs apartment has one bedroom, kitchen, bath and living area.  If the nature center attracts a student, who needs to spend a semester working and are from out of town, then an offer is made to them to stay at the apartment.  It is to Park's advantage, because they are there when needed.  Mr. Stanczyk said that it raises a lot of exposure; doesn't know if it is in the best interest of Onondaga County to continue it.  Mr. Geraci said that they have been doing this since 1978.

Mr. Ryan and Mr. Meyer commented on the value of having a good tenant.

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Meyer, Farrell, Kraft, Warner, Baker, Ryan, Rapp)  NOES:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

      c.      Amending Res. No. 287-2000 regarding a loan to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for partial funding and construction of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Education Center ($1,852,102)

Mr. Mareane said that this has been discussed for the last several months.  The issue is consolidation of payments and contribution pledges from the Friends of the Zoo.  The Friends had made significant contributions and commitment to infrastructure at the zoo:

  • 1999 Friends constructed the Conservation Education Center
  • Friends had approx. $2 million in hand; project cost $3.5 million. The county essentially loaned money to the Friends to complete that project, with legislature's approval; done indirectly via the IDA.
  • Building has been deeded over the county
  • Loan was for no longer that 12 years; interest rate of 5%
  • Loan ended up being for 10 years at 5%
  • Friends have had 2 payments come due - both paid on time

Two additional commitments were made:

  • $442,000 commitment for Tiger Exhibit pledged by Friends; which cost the County $1.1 million
  • $250,000 commitment for Penguin exhibit pledged by Friends.
  • These 2 pledges have been sitting, waiting for the loan to be repaid before contributions are made.

It is clear from the Legislature, Comptroller, and DMB agrees, that the payments need to be formalized.  They have discussed this with the Friends, that under a reasonable amout of time will allow Friends to make payments to the county and County will be whole on all of the projects. 

Mr. Mareane referred to a spreadsheet entitled, "Friends of Zoo Payment Consolidation Proposal" (attachment 4).  Proposed a restructuring of that loan as follows:

  • Over the next 5 years, the Friends would make only interest payments at 3%.
  • 6th year - the Friends will make both principal and interest payments at 3% over the course of 10 years.
  • Allows Friends to pay off in 5 installments - pledges for tigers and penguins.
  • Restructured because the loan is in generating interest. The pledges are good faith from the Friends. If there is delay until the loan is repaid, until pledges are paid, the value of the contribution will erode.
  • Prefer to get money paid upfront as soon as possible, which is why the deferral period was created.

This is not a bail out, it is simply a way to formalize the relationship between the County and the Friends to make sure everybody knows what the schedule of payment is. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that he is opposed to this.  The Friends group is essentially a shadowed administration for the zoo.  County has carved out would-be county revenues and pushed it to the Friends.  The Friends budget increases yearly; Friends employees have taken a dramatic increase.  The Friends made a commitment to pay for this obligation and then made 2 additional commitments and the County has not received any payment on them.  This is letting them back away from the financing commitments that they made and we are party to it.  This speaks to a lot of problems that exist there and should be upfront about it - -either the Friends are going to run the zoo or the County will run the zoo. 

Mr. Farrell said that there has been a consolidated budget consented to; there has been a written agreement, and now ratified, with the Friends.  There are issues for this legislature in terms of control of money.  He doesn't believe that any of the money raised by Friends group is going outside of the zoo; it is being used for enhancement of the zoo.  He said that if we agree with what the programs are at the zoo and the way it is being run, then have to look at a cost effective way to do that.  The way to do that is to more forward with an enhanced position of the Friends group; it is not to keep it fully on the public side.

Mr. Kraft is concerned is that the legislature doesn't always get to be involved with agreements because it is not in their control under the Laws of the State of New.  He thinks there are ways to continue enthusiasm and support all that the Friends bring, but not to have loans like this.  It is a county building; it is on county property.  Mr. Kraft said that there should be a different way to document all of this.

Mr. Stanczyk said regarding the Friends repaying-- this is all county money.  The money allowed for the Friends to receive by sales of annual passes to the zoo through Friends membership is county money.  This could be easily and more cleanly resolved by increasing the amount of money the Friends pay the County every time there is an annual membership sold through them.

Chairman Meyer said that he hopes we don't lose sight of the many volunteer hours and contributions that the Friends provide.

Mrs. Baker said that the Friends are invaluable.  She asked if the Friends have agreed to this; Mr. Mareane said they have and it would start immediately and come into the 2006 budget.  It won't affect the budget, there is a receivable created in a capital budget and it would just cover that receivable.

Mr. Ryan said that this is not the only Friends group.  They good a good job and donate their professional time.  He asked if there is template available as to how other zoos use for these organizations.  Mr. Mareane said that he didn't know; feels all zoos are unique.  Ours is hybrid that has evolved over time.  There are a lot of reasons why this Friends group works at the zoo and provides some cost effectiveness.

Mr. Doyle said that there are a number of zoos operated by city and county governments, and some are structured similar to ours.  It is structured so the money is coming back to the county, i.e. paying for a public relations educator.  Seneca Park, Rochester, works this way.  Mr. Doyle said he will research it and report back.

Mr. Farrell said regarding policy,  Michele Migano, DMB, had researched this and there are ranges all across the board, including full privatization in Seattle.  There is a gray area about some of these numbers - he has questions about the interest rate.  However, policy wise they need to move forward with what is being done.  He disagreed with Mr. Stanczyk's comment about the money being the county's; it is our constituent's money.

Mr. Stanczyk said that he agrees that the Friends organization serves a good purpose.  Regarding financing, this is patched together; it doesn't happen in normal life.  He maintains that the funds that we commit, and the amount the Friends commit is all the same pot of money.  There is an easier way to do this.  This is a financing adjustment and it can be done so much easier internally. 

Chairman Meyer asked if the Friends can get this done on time and if it is definite; Mr. Mareane said that they have agreed to it.

Mr. Colon said that he was the instigator of this.  The problem is that there are a lot of commitments on various capital projects to the County of Onondaga, not just at the zoo:  Beaver Lake, Skychiefs, Hancock Airpark.  There are millions and millions of dollars that are spent on projects with a commitment that in the future gifts, donations, outside revenues will be collected.  He and his office have a concern that a good share of the projects do not have any written commitments from the Friends or other organizations, i.e. Skychiefs.  He encouraged the Co. Executive, who then encouraged Mr. Mareane, to resolve some of these problems.  The process now is that the county is front-ending cash on them, which decreases cash flow and interest earned on cash.  Generally speaking, the Friends organizations need to honor their commitments.  This gives the County the claim on the assets of the Friends organization. 

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Meyer, Farrell, Kraft, Warner, Baker, Ryan, Rapp  NOES:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

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

     a.  Adopting a determination and findings pursuant to Article 2 of the New York Eminent Domain Procedure Law and authorizing the acquisition of property for the Harbor Brook Sewer Improvement Project

All properties listed are for the 2 RTFs or the conveyance lines for Harbor Brook project.  It wasn't included at the session, as they did not have all the numbers at the time.  The total amount is $895,000.  He noted that there are City properties and Pyramid properties, where the lower RTF is to be located. 

Mr. Stanczyk inquired about the Pyramid property; State Fair Blvd.  Mr. Clare displayed the property on a map; total is $376,000 for all 3 pieces for fee acquisition, permanent easement, and temporary easement.

 

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item. AYES:  6 (Meyer, Farrell, Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Baker)  NOES:  0  ABSTAINING:  1 (Ryan)  OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

11.  STOP DWI:

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept funds for the Stop DWI Gone4ever program ($12,145)

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

12.       DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Mr. Barry Weiss

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to provide the Office of the Onondaga County District Attorney with additional funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2006 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($326,804)

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

Mr. Warner said that money has been received from Operation Impact from NYS; this is an additional $326,000.  The total received from the state will be $1 million.  Most of the money received has been spent; additional monies are for Probation, $78,000 overtime, $10,000 equipment; and Sheriff $200,000, majority is overtime. 

Mr. Ryan expressed concern that this is being done on overtime and questioned if money can be put into a retirement fund so that the taxpayers aren't paying for it.  Mr. Weiss said it is a journal entry by Sheriff and Probation and will find out how they do it.  Mr. Seitz said that he doesn't believe that legally a retirement reserve fund can be set up.  Mr. Weiss said the money is put into a fringe benefits line.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  AYES:  6 (Meyer, Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Baker, Rapp) NOES:  0  ABSTAINING:  1 (Ryan)  OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

14.       COUNTY CLERK:

      a.   Local Law Amending Local Law No. 7-2005 providing for a fee for passport photos

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Meyer, Kraft, Warner, Stanczyk, Baker, Ryan, Rapp)  NOES:  0; OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Farrell).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

13.       Law Department:

      a.      Settlement of Claim

 

A motion was made by Mr. Warner to go into executive session to discuss litigation strategy on two cases:  1.  Veronica Casolare vs. County of Onondaga, Onondaga County Sheriff's Department and Kevin Walsh, Sgt. Benjamin O'Dell, Capt. Laurence Albanese, Capt. Thomas Galka;  2.  Arthur Barksdale, Marvin Pitts, Tonoa Frazier, Brian Hall, Odell Willis, Rufus Banks, Victoria Lawrence, Fred Perty, Timothy Chavers, Denise Campbell, Littesha Byrant vs. Onondaga County Sheriff's Department and Kevin E. Walsh.  Chairman Meyer seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mrs. Baker to exit executive session and reconvene regular session; passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.   WAYS AND MEANS, MISC.

      a.      Amending the 2006 County Budget to accept New York Council for the Humanities Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($2,000)

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mrs. Baker to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

      b.      Confirming appointment of John Petosa to the Onondaga County Convention Center (On Center) Board of Directors

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Baker to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

      c.      Amending the 2006 Onondaga County Budget to provide funds for the salary and wage accounts for those departments that are either reimbursed by federal and/or state aid or are in other operating funds

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

      d.      Memorializing the Legislature, the Governor, and the Board of Elections of the State of New York to take steps necessary to select one type of voting machine to be used by Counties throughout New York State (Sponsored by Mr. Kinne)

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Baker to approve this item.

Mr. Farrell stated that he will vote against this because he disagrees with the process in place wherein this legislature is not part of the process.  He will not agree with anything that further precludes the legislature from participation.

Mr. Warner said that this straightens out the process; does not agree with every county doing their own thing.

Mr. Stanczyk said that don't want to balkanize the process; there should be one reporting system; should not have different decisions made by 61 different counties; urged support.

Mr. Farrell said that this speaks to the core of what we do in the future; there are substantial issues, and this is key to what we do with voting machines for the future.

Mr. Ryan referred to having to report by October and the State does not want to give us the 4 or 5 machines to choose until December.  A statewide recount could be a nightmare.

Mr. Kraft said that the process has been mixed up since it's beginning; feels as decision should be made locally.

AYES:  4 (Meyer, Warner, Stanczyk, Ryan)  NOES: 3 (Baker, Farrell, Kraft)  Abstaining:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

      e.      Declaring the policy of this Legislature that Resolution No. 97-2006 limiting the tax on motor fuel and diesel fuel will not be extended beyond the current termination date of May 31, 2007 (Mr. Ryan)

Mr. Ryan said that he is a proponent that property tax is far more onerous than sales tax, and as such we have people outside the county buying gas here.  Statistically looking at about $7.7 million of total sales tax, because for a year it has been left uncollected by us.  Our share is about $5.2 million; if this is stopped, $3 million can be taken off property taxes in the budget.  Anything to lower property tax is in our best interest and should be done.

Chairman Meyer said that the numbers are not known; do not know what it has done to increase revenue; secondary sales are not know.  There are other sales that could offset the numbers. 

Mr. Farrell questioned the timeframe to make this decision in advance; Mr. Mareane said that it sunsets at the end of May next year.  Mr. Farrell said that this should occur during budget process.

Mr. Stanczyk said that we can reduce property tax; it is a tangible property tax reduction.  By taking down a little bit of the sales tax is an indirect benefit to the consumers.  He maintains that the majority of the downward adjustment in price does not get to the consumer; it is eaten by a profit margin by the consumers and there is no way to control that.  A direct tax decrease is much preferable to an indirect decrease that may never get there.

Mrs. Rapp said that it should be part of the budget process starting on Thursday; and asked if there is a reason to vote on it now.  Mr. Ryan said that if to wait until 90 days, would already incorporate $3 million more taxes on budget.

Mr. Stanczyk said we raised the sales tax by full percentage, over and above what we needed to do; put the towns and villages in a wonderful situation because we rained down money on them with the extra sales tax.  Now we are going back the other way and giving back some sales tax for special purposes.  He said there is moral pretzeling going on--giving sales tax relief to a person driving a vehicle rather than someone buying normal necessary clothing items.  It is indefensible that there is a reduction the sales tax for a group when state has reduced sales tax on necessary clothing items.

Mrs. Baker said is important that this be discussed as part of the entire budget; questioned how the $$3 million is known.

Chairman Sweetland said an analysis needs to be done on what it costs people or saves people; $3 million in property taxes on a $100,000 house amounts to approximately $10 or $12 per year.  The sales tax on gas amounts to more than that.  Then there is a policy decision that has to be made to force people to drive a car that someone says they can drive.  This is not big numbers when comparing one car to another.  If the gas-guzzlers disappeared overall, it would have an impact over all, but not on an individual basis

Mr. Farrell said that this discussion is about a lowering the amount of tax from our constituents, and wherever it comes from is what it was set out to accomplish.

Mr. Kraft said that across this county the vast majority of our population owns houses and owns cars.  Right now gas is an extreme burden, especially to those that have lower income.  This was an opportunity for us to show some sympathy, show some positive reaction, and be of some help to them. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that sales tax should have been increased by a half percent; and this is taking credit for reducing sales tax burden that shouldn't have been that high to begin with.  This is benefiting those that drive the most inefficient vehicles; this is creating a policy for this government.  The County has not rolled back sales tax on necessary clothing items; New York State has; it would have rolled back $30 million.  Everybody pays property tax.  A portion of rent is given the landlord to pay the property tax.  There is a higher price of gasoline here than almost anywhere. Retail in this community is about $.65 above wholesale; to think that there was a little benefit provided to the consumer is absurd.

Mr. Ryan said that there is no guarantee that it will get to consumer's pocket.  In fact, we have raised property taxes by $3 million, and the other money is not getting into the pocket; this is not a good thing.  Lower property taxes is the number one thing that all elected officials in NYS should do to get us back to where we should be.

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

AYES:  2 (Ryan, Stanczyk)  NOES:  3 (Baker, Warner, Kraft) ABSTAINING:  3 (Farrell, Meyer, Rapp). 

MOTION DEFEATED

The meeting was adjourned at 12:25 .m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

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