Meeting Minutes Archive: January, 2007

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES
January 9, 2007
JAMES CORBETT, CHAIRMAN

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

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

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

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

1.    LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Mrs. Sue Miller

ACJ Update - Mrs. Miller that there was no monthly report, but distributed a project progress information sheet for December 2006, which she reviewed (attachment #1).

Mr. Farrell referred to a withdrawn item last month--purchase of land from City; questioned status and asked if it delayed any construction.  Mr. Elander said that nothing was delayed; City was advised that the legislature is not interested in buying the land, and if the land were still desired, a temporary easement would be sought.

Regarding the ACJ, Mr. Elander said that the stipulated amendment has been in the works for 3.5 years; it is now done.  The completion and schedule dates still need to be amended--will have to represent the new milestone dates.  Mrs. Miller said that there was an environmental benefit project the County is responsible to pay for relating to not doing the in-water project; Onondaga Lake Partnership will decide what it will be.

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

a.    Calling a public hearing in connection with proposed improvements for the Onon. Co. San. District

  • Public hearing prior to the March 6th session.
  • Project has been in the capital improvement plan
  • Updating 4 existing pumping stations in the system: 2 in Clay, 1 in Cicero, 1 in Village of East Syracuse
  • All small, package-type pumping stations, a couple have structures above ground and a couple have hatch. All are basically 30-35 yr-old pump stations that have reached the end of their service life.
  • Estimated engineering is approximately $3 million
  • At next month's committee will ask for $2 million, $1 million from 960 project and $2 million from bonds.
  • Commissioner's hearing is 1/16
  • SEQRA work is done.
  • Northtown station: nearly $1 million, the other stations are estimated to be $540,000, $260,000 and $600,00

Mr. Rhinehart asked about emergency generators; Mr. Elander said that 2 have them, 2 do not.  Generally can get to them fast enough to put in portable pumps or take in a tanker truck.  It is very expensive to put in stand-by generators every year.  There are 60-70 pump stations within the whole county.  There is a plan in place for rebuilding: last year they did 4, will do in 2007; then will select the next 4 or 5.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the County could hire a contractor and outsource the maintenance.  Mrs. Tarolli stated that there are few things that cannot be outsourced, but didn't recollect that this was one of them.  Mr. Elander said that maintenance is the easy part.  The problem is when there is a storm. There are 143 pump stations that to take care of, municipally owned and county owned.  He doesn't know of any contractor that has the manpower, capability, or equipment to be able to respond.  Pumps are rented, but do not hire out the work--no one is trained to do it. 

Mr. Jordan asked how close they are to residences.  Mr. Elander described the areas and said that some are very close.  Many are part of housing developments.  Mr. Casey questioned the disturbance to a community.  Mr. Elander said that they have to dig a hole and put in vaults, pumps, and control panels.  Mr. Jordan asked how it is determined which pumping stations will be done.  Mr. Elander said generally they do the oldest ones first, or ones that have problems.  The amount of deterioration and corrosion are measures.

Chairman Corbett said that energy efficient pumps and motors are being installed, which reduces our energy consumption. 

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

Photos of Midland Avenue pipe were passed around for viewing.

b.    Abolish Clerk II, Grade 5 @ $27,261 - $30,102 effective February 6, 2007; Create Typist II, Grade 5 @ $27,261 - $30,102 effective February 6, 2007

There is a vacant Clerk II position and would like to trade it in for Typist II position-same grade, same pay.  It has been determined that the job description is more reflective of this title change.

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

The Clerk II position has been empty for 2 months and it needs to be filled.  The employee is in the process control group and supports the operations superintendent, maintenance superintendent, and the instrumentation/electrical superintendent - does all paperwork and forms needed for DEC.  Mr. Casey asked questions about grade level determination; and Mr. Elander explained the process.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Elander said that at some time he would like to give a 10-minute presentation (CD) on the ongoing projects that they have.  The committee agreed that they would like to see it next month.

Mr. Kraft asked about phosphorus ACJ demands.  Mr. Elander said they believe they will have an appropriate number in December of .12 or less.  Mr. Kraft asked about .02.  Mr. Elander said that is the 2012 number and intend to communicate with DEC to change it.

3.    Confirming reappointment to the Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. Bd (Mr. Trinder)

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

The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES
KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR
January 10, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Warner, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Laguzza

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Winslow

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

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:08 a.m.

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

1.     HEALTH:   Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Commissioner; Ms. Jean Smiley, Deputy Commissioner

a.     Create Communicable Disease Investigator, Grade 9 @ $37,561 - $41,548 effective February 6, 2007

Ms. Smiley provided a fact sheet regarding the position of Communicable Disease Investigator and an Onondaga County grant fact sheet entitled Bureau of Disease Control, Sexually Transmitted Disease Intervention (on file with Clerk).  Ms. Smiley noted that currently the Health Department receives grant dollars from the State Health Department to augment the STD program; there is a new round of funding; based on the chlamydia rates in Onondaga County, the NYS Health Department decided the County should receive additional dollars.  Total number for grant is $122,983; asking at this time to accept an additional $18,357; the rest is already included in the 2007 Budget.

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

Ms. Smiley said they currently have two communicable disease investigators, one funded locally and one funded with grant money, this position would give them a third investigator.

Mr. Laguzza asked if there are benchmarks for the renewal of the five-year grant? Ms. Smiley said are a pilot for the State in terms of chlamydia rates; with new grant money, they plan to increase the contact tracing and follow up on people with chlamydia; currently do tracing and investigation for gonorrhea and syphilis.

Ms. Baker asked if there is a decrease in chlamydia.  Ms. Smiley said because they test everyone who comes into the STD clinic for chlamydia, they see high rates; the push with this grant is to get out and find the partners of the people who come into the clinic and treat them to reduce the cycle.  Seventy percent will be education.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they are collecting data from physicians as well as public health clinics; Dr. Morrow said it doesn't matter who is diagnosing them, will follow up on all lab reports.

Mr. Meyer asked about money to pay for the position.  Ms. Smiley said they were hoping to hire for a part time position with grant money that was in the Budget under STD, now would have enough dollars to create a whole position.

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

b.    Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept additional STD-CDI grant funds and authorizing the County Executive to execute agreements to implement this resolution ($18,357)

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

2.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Mr. David Brownell, Commissioner

a.     Amending the 2007 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 ($201,552)

Mr. Brownell distributed the Department of Mental Health Program and Financial Information Sheet (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Brownell said they were able to obtain additional state aid from the Office of Mental Health to start a Child Psychiatry Education, Training and Consultation Program, centerpiece of which is to assist pediatricians and family practitioners in treating their child and adolescent patients who have emotional and psychological problems (with training and by case-by-case consultation with child psychiatrists).  By having this access, the pediatricians and family practitioners will feel more comfortable in treating some of the patients rather than referring them for specialty services, which are in insufficient supply.  All components are aimed at bringing quicker access to families who have children with these problems; also to address the severe shortage of child psychiatrists.

Mr. Laguzza asked how the school-based consultation and training is broken down.  Mr. Brownell replied that it is limited at present to the city school district personnel (social workers and school psychologists).

Mrs. Baker asked about the number of psychiatric beds in the community.  Mr. Brownell said they went from 16 to 30, serving primarily Onondaga County.  Fewer children have to leave the community; still some issues with families who have commercial insurance; children have to go where insurance company will pay the provider or go to Hutchings and be billed for the service ($1,000 a day).  Mr. Brownell said the Child Psychiatry Education, Training and Consultation Program is designed to reduce and prevent as many hospitalizations as possible.  Mrs. Baker asked if all pediatricians would have access to the telephone consultations; Mr. Brownell said information was mailed to all pediatricians and family practitioners making them aware of the service (child psychiatrists are available certain hours; they can call at that time and get up to twenty minutes consultation on the phone).

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

In response to Mr. Meyer's questions, Mr. Brownell said it is new program; no other county received it; will contract with Upstate Medical University Department of Psychiatry; will collect data from the pediatricians and family practitioners, should have good data at end of year as to how it is working.  Mr. Brownell noted that research shows that a fifth of the visits of children to pediatricians and family practitioners are for social and emotional problems, majority of medications are prescribed by them; does not know what the prescribing patterns are; some pediatricians won't do it at all, there are some liability issues regarding their practice.  Mr. Meyer asked if it is reasonable as part of the program to find out if there are a few physicians who are the major providers and what the prescriptions are; Mr. Brownell replied possibly, doesn't know what it would take to get that data, but can look at that.  Mr. Meyer asked if these people are Medicaid only; Mr. Brownell replied no.

Mr. Laguzza asked what influence these dollars would have on C.P.E.P. at St. Joseph's Hospital.  Mr. Brownell said the consultation and training will also be available to St. Joseph's Psychiatric Emergency Program and will increase the ability of that service to deal appropriately with kids and adolescents.  Mr. Laguzza mentioned the alarming numbers concerning child psychiatrists in our area and number of children who are not getting treatment.  Mr. Brownell said there is a nationwide shortage of child psychiatrists.

Referring to the information sheet, Mr. Sweetland said he finds it incredible that twenty percent of office visits to primary care physicians are for psychiatric problems; asked Mr. Brownell to provide information about what a psychiatric problem is.  Mr. Sweetland said the County has a preschool handicap program that has grown astronomically; people who provide the care are the same people who evaluate who should get it, they have a vested interest.  Mr. Brownell said he shares the concern about the percentage, the County reflects the national data, not unusual in prevalence of these disorders or in our ability to treat those children compared to other communities in the country.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is any data on similar programs and their success within NYS or other states.  Mr. Brownell replied that there is a limited amount based on a model in Massachusetts that is much larger; would like to operate the program for at least twelve months to collect as much data as they can to know if this is an effective strategy.

Mr. Meyer asked Mr. Brownell to estimate the dollar amounts of the six components of the program for Ways and Means; Mr. Brownell said it would be a guess.

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

3.     TOBACCO 19:

a.     A Local Law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products or herbal cigarettes, rolling papers or pipes to anyone under the age of 19

b.       Amending the 2007 County Budget to provide funds for the enforcement of a Local Law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products or herbal cigarettes, rolling papers or pipes to anyone under the age of 19 ($29.980)

c.       Create Sanitarian 1, Grade 10 @ $40,364 effective April 2007, position to be filed on a half-time basis

Mr. Warner reviewed the Tobacco 19 legislation passed on December 19, 2006 by the Legislature and vetoed by County Executive Pirro, based on the facts that Mr. Pirro wanted an exemption for military personnel who are eighteen years old and funding to come out of the County Legislature's Contingency Fund.  Mr. Warner said the County is spending $360 million a year in Medicaid, also took in close to $100 million dollars in Tobacco Settlement money, thinks the County could come up with between $20,000 and $40,000 for funding for this important law.  Mr. Warner said there are three options - to override his veto, to accept the amendment (regarding military) or if there is not enough support, postpone it.  Mr. Laguzza offered another option - not accept amendment, but tweak it and the funding source.

Mr. Meyer asked for elaboration on enforcement and having one inspector for over 18 and one for over 19.  Dr. Morrow said in terms of enforcement they are grant funded through Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA), which is specific to using children below the age of 18.  Dr. Morrow said they must continue to use 17 year olds and younger to make sure we are in compliance with the State law (non negotiable); If we want to make sure we are enforcing a local law, we must use 18 year olds.  Dr. Morrow said there are two options to enforce local law:

  • Complaint based for the local law while still using inspector for the state law; would not inspect on an annual basis for the local law, only when there is a concern that a retailer is not in compliance.
  • Mr. Pirro's suggestion to use a parallel system to one used for ATUPA - one inspection each year for the 500 retailers.

In addition to personnel costs ($22,000 - April 1st thru December 31st), Dr. Morrow said there would be other costs for training and cigarette purchases.

Mrs. Rapp questioned why another person would have to be hired - inspector could go with a volunteer one month for ATUPA and one month for local law.  Dr. Morrow said the department couldn't absorb the additional workload of 500 inspections and also the administrative aspects.  Dr. Morrow agreed with Mrs. Rapp that a parallel system would be a policy decision, not something we must do.

Mr. Meyer asked if a location with many cash registers is considered one call; Dr. Morrow replied yes.  Mr. Meyer asked if they have found that stores not in compliance tend not to be in compliance year after year.  Ms. Letteney said there are some, not a lot; rates are very low, down to two percent in 2006 (11 sales).  Mr. Meyer requested Ms. Letteney to supply data concerning retailers who were not in compliance to the committee.  Mr. Meyer asked why send out an inspector and 18 year old to check on stores that are in compliance year after year.  Dr. Morrow said it would be negotiable with the local law.  Dr. Morrow said if a retailer is found to be out of compliance with ATUPA, they not only get a fine, but also get a point put on their license; if they exceed three points (each point stays on for 36 months), they lose their ability to sell lottery tickets and cigarettes; enforcement at the local level would be fine only, no points.

Ms. Smiley clarified that there are other things besides compliance required under the ATUPA grant in terms of the visits; they have to look for signage, make sure tobacco is behind the counter or locked up, and also make an additional visit, without the youth volunteer, to check their Tax ID information; work plan is very specific.  Ms. Rapp noted that it wouldn't have to be duplicated with the local law.

Mrs. Baker asked if there have been discussions regarding compliance checks being done at the same time concerning sale of alcohol under 21 and tobacco under 18; Dr. Morrow said it is very complicated because of the different jurisdictional issues, regulatory bodies.  Mrs. Baker asked the source of where this money would come from for funding the local law inspector; Ms. Mignano said from the Legislature's 408 Account, Fees for Services.  Ms. Baker asked why it wouldn't come out of the Health Department Budget.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if they anticipate any increase in terms of personnel or expenses over a five-year period; Dr. Morrow expects it to be relatively stable.  Regarding the two programs, Mr. Kilmartin asked why they couldn't select the right 17 year old volunteer to enforce the two programs at the same time; Dr. Morrow said they cannot use the 17 year old for local law, not getting to the heart of the issue of 18 year olds; to see if local law is doing anything, have to look at 18 year olds.  Mr. Kirkpatrick asked if the 17 year old goes into a facility and there is a violation, could the offending party be assessed for the state law and the county law.  Ms. Testut Smith said it is specifically written in the local law that if it is a violation of ATUPA, it is charged under ATUPA; State has said they are having a problem getting their ATUPA money from counties that have a local law.

Ms. Rapp noted that last year there were eleven violations with a $350 fine each, talking about under $4,000 in fines at a cost of $40,000.

Mr. Sweetland said that he voted no on the local law in December; these revisions solidify his no vote even more; he is amazed that on January 5, 2007, somebody made the decision that they couldn't find $40,000 in the $16 million Health Department Budget.  Mr. Sweetland added that at budget time, the Legislature should be able to ask the questions of every department of County government concerning what their surplus or deficit will be; always been told they can't tell us that, but in this case they are pretty sure they can't find it.  Mr. Sweetland said he is also thinking about asking Mr. Meyer to hold full budget hearings in February with every department of County government to find out what they have in their budget, ask if it is all going to be spent or not and hold everybody to it.  Mr. Sweetland added that it makes no logical sense to exempt the military, wrong to propose that we now segregate an age group in this society depending on what they do in their daily activity; questions whether it would get challenged for constitutionality in this country.  Mr. Sweetland said he will never support going forward with this kind of amendment and will not vote for it.

Mr. Warner said the intent all along is to try to keep the cigarettes out of the high schools, younger kids are getting the cigarettes from the eighteen year olds; some portion of the $360 million in Medicaid is associated to the smoking issue; if have the chance to stop some of that in its infancy, we are obligated to do it.  Mr. Warner said he supports this law.

Mr. Laguzza asked Dr. Morrow to research why the State is not funding for age 18 and under, Dr. Morrow said the answers have been inconstant.  Mr. Laguzza said he would not support legislation that is complaint driven, would not support amendments segregating a certain population from an age group, would establish a bad precedent for future legislation; suggested changing the legislation; asked why is it illegal to purchase but not illegal to have.

Mrs. Baker said the statistics given at the last meeting were staggering regarding number of young people starting - discussion was concerning 18 year olds in high school; maybe there is some validity to stepping back and looking at what are the other avenues; asked if there has ever been any legislation statewide or anywhere else making it illegal to have, possess, smoke tobacco products.  Ms. Rapp added that if you are caught with beer when sixteen, you are breaking the law and can get a ticket; if caught with cigarettes, nothing happens.

In summation, Mr. Warner said the County Executive's veto has put a halt to this legislation temporarily; had a great discussion today; thought the law was ok the way it was initially; it is not over with yet.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES - January 10, 2007
CHAIRMAN ROBERT D. WARNER

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Stanczyk,

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Rhinehart

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.

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

1.     SOCIAL SERVICES:  Mr. David Sutkowy, Commissioner

a.     Amending 2006 Co. Budget to provide and make available additional funds in DSS Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to reflect current expenditure estimates ($5,000,000)

HEAP program is 100% federally funded.  The money goes to the State, who develops the eligibility criteria, the local role is to determine eligibility and authorize benefits.  HEAP starts in Nov. and ends when the money is expended.  Due to the cold winter, the Federal government allocated more money.  The State then allocated more money to counties for an additional benefit.  The same people would get more benefit.

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

b.       Amending 2007 Co. Budget to provide and make available additional funds in the DSS Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to reflect current expenditure estimates ($14,000,000)

When the budget was presented last year, DSS was under the impression that the State was planning to make direct vendor payments.  Counties would authorize the benefit and the State would make the payment.  However, after DSS delivered the budget, they received word that the State was pulling back. 

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

621 ISSUE - Mr. Sutkowy said that 621 is a designation the State uses to identify certain Medicaid recipients who were inpatients in state mental hygiene facilities for a certain amount of time.  Once discharged, it was expected that the individuals would be State charges. The State did not identify them.  Now the State has developed a process to identify them and offered a settlement with counties (see attachment #1).  If the county signed; we would receive $840,000 but would have to waive claim to any other payment under 621.  The county contested and did not sign.  Discussions occurred with the State; an agreement could not be reached, and the county proceeded with litigation.   Mr. Carmen, DSS and Ms. Pezzula, Law Dept., did a great job in preparing and with the oral argument.  The judge ruled that the County won, a total payment of $2,047,317.

Chairman Warner said that a few years ago DSS came to the legislature and we found out they were paying an attorney in Utica a percentage for finding these names.  The rationale was that she was the only one that could get the names.  Some legislators said it was nonsense and directed it to stop.  DSS had already paid several hundred thousand.  This legislature put a stop to it here and probably put a stop to it statewide.  He thanked the county attorneys for winning this settlement, but a lot of credit belongs to the legislature.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES
January 11, 2007
ROBERT D. WARNER, VICE CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr.Rhinehart, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, *Mr. DiBlasi

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Ryan

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Mr. Patrick Kilmartin introduced himself and was welcomed to the committee.

Vice Chairman Robert Warner called the meeting to order at 9:13 a.m. 

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

1.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly 

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the State of New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to provide funding for a Child Passenger Safety Program ($5,300)

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

  • Done on-duty basis, no overtime involved
  • Purchase equipment, approx. 30 car seats, and a 4x7 trailers to haul equipment
  • Press releases sent to media - inspections done around county; in wintertime use fire stations
  • If a car seat is found to be no good, a purchased seat is made available
  • Sometimes they work jointly with City; the City currently has a trailer and hauls the equipment.
  • Average cost of child seat is $60

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.    Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the State of New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to provide funding for a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program ($26,068)

  • Non-matching grant
  • Participate in statewide selective traffic control plan
  • Use primarily to target aggressive drivers - information comes from statewide accident statistics and traffic enforcement statistics
  • Done strictly on overtime - covers salary and fringe benefits. Includes the increased retirement cost.
  • There are usually two scheduled; statewide operations are also done and all law enforcement agencies do aggressive work, which is published. Random checks are also done throughout the year; schedule approx. 680 hrs. of overtime throughout the year.
  • The number of officers involved varies.
  • Designated officers go into targeted areas

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

2.   EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Mr. Peter Alberti, Director

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept Supplemental New York State funding for Emergency Management Initiatives for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($137,501)

  • To be used for disaster preparedness and disaster planning in Onondaga County.
  • A one-time award
  • Monies have to be spent in disaster preparedness - planning to use for a public education program, ongoing training, emergency operations center, NIMS, and possibly some citizen awareness training; review and revise some plans, a small amount for critical equipment
  • Not within Homeland Security/Terrorism program; can be used for weather related emergency or other emergencies

Vice Chairman Warner asked if the money can be used to offset the budget; Mr. Alberti believed so, but doesn't have a lot of information yet - doesn't believe there will be many restrictions on it. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked what kind of programs for citizen awareness will be undertaken.  Mr. Alberti said they have very few public education programs, would like to work with Health Dept., i.e. pandemic flu, sheltering; want to get into neighborhoods. 

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

*Mr. DiBlasi arrived at the meeting.

Vice Chairman Warner asked Mr. Alberti to get some more information together prior to Ways and Means as to whether the money can be used to offset the budget. 

Mr. Kilmartin suggested the resolution be amended in that the funds are accepted conditioned upon the department returning to the legislature to propose how the funding will be used.  Mr. Warner agreed and suggested the item go directly to Ways & Means.  Mr. Rhinehart disagreed.  Mr. Kinne felt it should move forward, as Mr. Alberti was already asked to provide the information at Ways & Means and prior to it being spent.  Vice Chairman Warner said there appears to be a consensus of the committee to accept the money, but said that there will be stiff questions at Ways & Means Committee.  Mr. Rhinehart stated that this should move forward and that the educational program should be developed; being prepared is important.

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the Water Board looking for $50 million to cover reservoirs--is concerned about protecting the water supply in a disaster; questioned if Emergency Management is working with the Water Board.  Mr. Alberti said that they partnered with them for a number of years.  A tremendous amount of work has been done on hazard assessment, and vulnerability.  They have taken many mitigation measures already. 

Mr. Warner stated that this resolution will be considered but the department will report to Ways & Means on how it will be spent.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Kinne questioned if the new intercommunications system will tie in the DOTs from the communities in the event of a blizzard.  Mr. Balloni said that it has been proposed.

3.   PROBATION:  Ms. Mary Winter, Commissioner

a.   Authorizing the Probation Department to apply for grant funds to provide for Alternatives to Incarceration and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution

  • Received grant money since 1990 from for the Alternatives to Incarceration program; already in 2007 budget
  • The state now asks that the legislature approve the application for the grant; must reapply every year.

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

There are 3 different programs - a supervisor and 5 staff; contract with case managers at CNY Services who assist in getting drug-addicted clients into treatment and stop using drugs

  • 1 probation officer for probation violators; 1 probation officer is for probation violators who end up in at Brick House; and 3 probation officers for those addicted to cocaine and higher level drugs
  • All of these violators would go to jail if they weren't in this program

Mr. Kinne asked for statistics on how well this program works.  Mrs. Winter said that she would supply them. The success rate is 50% -70% -- successfully complete probation and don't go to jail.  They are off drugs--Probation tests them.  The success rate depends on the severity of problem going into the program. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if there is a problem with the Crystal Meth in this County; Mrs. Winter said that it is not.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

4.      EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Mr. John Balloni, Commissioner

a.   Transfer of funds from Maint., Utilities and Rent Acct 413 to Travel and Training Acct 401 ($11,000)

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

  • Travel and training has deficit of 11,000 - due to overtime meal allowance--employees get $7, per contract, when they work over 3 hours in addition to their shift.
  • Meal allowance has gone up substantially as overtime has increased.

There was discussion as to why overtime has increased.  Mr. Balloni explained that they have gone up and down based on employee injury and illness-have a lot of carpal tunnel.  This year the commissioner and a chief technical person left, and it caused some overtime.  Are significantly short staffed; have a class now of 8-were down 13.5 positions at the time, but it takes 20 - 25 weeks to get training.  They cannot handle a training class greater than 8.  They also have $14.5 million worth of projects that they are trying to manage.  In June or July they will start another class.   Based on the natural attrition rate, they can expect to be down 4 or 5 people by that time.  At one point the State chose not to give a test and they had no list to hire from last year.  They will deplete the list substantially; hiring 8 at a time.  They call for a new test every year.

Mr. Rhinehart said the Village and Town of Skaneateles are reviewing their dispatch center.  They are Civil Service employees and are trained.  He suggested the County send them a letter that there are positions available, if the village and town decide to discontinue their operation. Mr. Balloni said the Civil Service title is different, but would work with Department of Personnel if those people were desirous to work for the county.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if a different training facility would reduce the overtime amount, by having ability to train between 9 and 16 to cover the attrition.  Mr. Balloni said that with a large class, there is a large percentage that don't get through the training.  Regarding the number of trainers, they would have to come off the floor and there is a domino effect.  The maximum size class for them to handle is about 8.  It is expensive to put someone through the initial 8-12 weeks of training and then have them fail.

Vice Chairman Warner asked about salary for the positions;  $31,000 for call takers, dispatcher are about $5,000 more.  Background investigations are done; fingerprinted and are run through DCJS.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Vice-Chairman Warner stated that he was notified this morning that the Sheriff's Department received a $50 donation from the Civic Social Club of Syracuse.  Pursuant to Local law No 3-1996, the CFO and Comptroller have authority to accept gifts, properties, contributions or donations up to $15,000.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:52 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
JAMES W. FARRELL, CHAIRMAN
JANUARY 11, 2007
MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kinne, *Mr. Laguzza

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Farrell called the meeting to order at 11:03 a.m.

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

PARKS:  Mr. Robert Geraci, Commissioner

a.       Abolish Clerk ll, Grade 05 @ $27,261 - $30,103 effective February 19, 2007; Create Account Clerk l, Grade 04 @ $25,401 - $28,036 effective February 18, 2007

Mr. Geraci said they are requesting to abolish an unfilled Clerk ll position and create an Account Clerk I at a lower grade in response to the audit and after working with Budget, position is needed at Beaver Lake.  Person would handle all the money, registration of programs, maintain financial records, routine clerical tasks, requisitions, deposits, etc.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the duties for the new position of Account Clerk l would be organized and set up by Mr. Geraci and Ms. Skahen.  Mr. Geraci replied yes, and also by working with the Beaver Lake Nature Center's Director and Budget, job details will be worked out according to concerns of the audit.

Mr. Jordan asked how long the current position has been vacant, who is now performing the duties and whether they considered a part time person for the job.  Mr. Geraci said it has been vacant over a year due to budgetary reasons; duties have been performed by the director, 103's, seasonal employees, not being done expeditiously; it is a seven day a week operation and all programs have to be accounted for.

Mr. Rhinehart requested that specifics of the job be e-mailed to him and to Mr. Farrell.  Mr. Geraci will make copies of what Ms. Skahen has put together in terms of percentages of time spent on various tasks.

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

b.       Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept various donated items without condition

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

Mr. Geraci said they have received donations of a variety of materials and goods over the years; the department was mistaken, thought the cutoff was $5,000 and asked the law department to research it.  Ms. Tarolli said it is a $1,500 cutoff.  Asking the Legislature to accept items listed in the resolution - computers, touch-screen wildlife identification exhibit, monitor, printer, water heater, and golf cart.  Mr. Geraci said the Jamesville Beach golf cart is a new item, all other items happened in the recent past.

* Mr. Laguzza arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Kraft expressed concern about the wording in the title "without condition".  Ms. Tarolli said they specifically asked Parks to use that language; when the county accepts something it can deemed to be a charitable trust, can't do anything with it for ever more other than what a court would perceive is the intent of the donor; with wording, they can get rid of it or use in another department when the item no longer has any value.  Mr. Kraft said he does not want to disturb the efforts of Friends groups that have brought in money from outside and have worked hard to support a facility that interests them; noted that some of money these organizations have to buy these gifts might come from income that should have been the County's to start with.  Mr. Geraci said they are putting together a consolidated budget - the types of things the Friends groups are spending money on and what Parks is spending money on.  Mr. Farrell added that with one consolidated budget, there will be a greater understanding of how those relationships work and who is buying what; did last year with zoo, able to create something to understand what it cost to run the zoo - not just what the County spends. 

Mr. Kraft mentioned buildings being constructed by Friends groups, such as the Conservation Education building at the zoo (with loan from IDA, brought to Legislature as part of Parks for Tomorrow), asked if a Friends group can build a building on County property without the Legislature's prior approval; Ms. Tarolli replied that she does not believe so.  Mr. Farrell requested Ms. Tarolli to supply the committee with information regarding whether it is legal for Friends groups to build on County property or off county property without coming to the legislature for approval, what are the limits.

Mr. Laguzza mentioned the Whereas clause in the resolution where it says "from time to time desire to make gifts"; concerned because gifts are suppose to be unsolicited, can't believe there is not some type of hint that they need certain items.  Mr. Laguzza noted that there is a concern with some Legislators regarding the revenues that are going to the Friends of the Zoo and the disparity between being a Zoo member and a Friends member that allows the Friends to have this money available for gifts.  Mr. Laguzza also expressed concern that a Friends group would build something off County property.  Mr. Geraci said the friends groups would have to be very careful about their charter, how they are incorporated and to what purposes; everything they do is with the express purpose of supporting and helping assisting a particular entity; if they were to do anything off campus or not related to the specific function of the venue they are helping, they would have problems with the IRS.  Mr. Kraft mentioned the friends buying a piece of property adjacent to Beaver Lake property that is off premise.  Mr. Geraci said the friends don't do anything without Onondaga County knowing about it; maybe the Legislature hasn't been asked, but the County Executive knows.  Mr. Kraft said that is not enough.  Mr. Laguzza said government is about checks and balances, and we (Legislature) are after the fact on a lot of these; it does defray certain expenses, but the means to defray sometimes doesn't appear to be appropriate.  Mr. Jordan noted that a charter for a Friends group making it clear that they are separate from County doesn't address whether people donating money are aware or not of fact of separation between Friends and County.  Mr. Geraci said they may not be aware, but suspects they are.  Mr. Geraci added that this is the kind of conversation that should be on a continuous basis; we are talking about philosophy, policy and approaches of how we get things done.  Mr. Laguzza said policy and procedure is part of the Legislature's responsibility.  Mr. Farrell suggested that the relevant points that have been brought up should be looked at by the Law Department for inclusion in the Friends agreements so there is a clear understanding going forward; asked Ms. Tarolli to take a look at that.

Mr. Farrell asked about the new cash register system that allows for tracking individual entries into the zoo - Friends of Zoo members who pay $28 annually (who could be going once a week) versus the person off the street paying $6.50.  Mr. Cooley said the system is in place; membership cards for Friends are being updated to a barcode system.  Mr. Cooley said the system was activated late November; will take a year to update membership cards for accurate information.  Mr. Farrell suggested getting it done with one shot so that the system is in place as they hit the season for this year, wouldn't have to wait another year for relative data.  Mr. Geraci agreed, can buy adhesive bar codes to affix to existing membership cards.  In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Cooley said they are using a generic bar code card for members at the entrance to the zoo.  Mr. Farrell said the breakdown per family (how many families went through, how often, how many within a family) is the kind of data that will allow for meaningful conversation a year from now.

Mr. Kinne said the County is paying the electrical bills, water bill, why not buying the water heater; asked why not take the Friends money to improve an exhibit or put it towards an new exhibit.  Mr. Geraci said they extended the same relationship to run the concession that they had with Burger King to the Friends group - they pay for everything that breaks.  Mr. Geraci added that there is a relationship in writing between the Friends of the Zoo and Onondaga County for the responsibility of running all food services at the zoo; Friends are doing that as a public service for the zoo, lose money every year.  Mr. Farrell suspects it is less expensive for the County to be done in the manner described.  Mr. Farrell expressed concern that there is true visibility, so that the major decisions and the direction the zoo goes is made at the Legislature.

Mr. Rhinehart said there is an inherent difference between public and private; friends groups are governed very strictly; public/private is the way of the future; certain parts of government would like to control what a 501C3 does, but just by the nature of what they are and how they are governed.  Regarding fundraising and whether to give money to County or Friends group, Mr. Rhinehart submitted the thought that not too many people would give a check to the County, but would give to a fundraising group, would be a lot of the reasoning behind why they can be much more successful than government at fundraising.

Mr. Kraft would like to open the zoo on a warm weather holiday (Memorial Day or 4th of July) for free admission, a $1.00 donation request per person, or $1.00 entry fee for those with ID indicating they are a County resident.  The committee agreed, and Mr. Farrell urged Mr. Geraci to consider this for Memorial Day weekend.

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

c.     Amending the 2007 Onondaga County Budget to provide funding for the parks promotional literature

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

Mr. Rhinehart noted that the resolution states that there is a contingent account with $19,000 for promotional literature and $6,000 for employee uniforms, under appropriations only $19,000 is listed.  Mr. Geraci said he was able to buy the 2007 uniforms with 300 Code dollars he had in the 2006 Budget, would like to get the requisitions going for the 2007 promotional literature by transferring $19,000 out of the Contingency Account.  Mr. Farrell said this is unrelated to the CVB money.

Mr. Kraft expressed concern that some of the promotional dollars are possibly wasted on excess brochures; requested they look at each item judiciously and maximize performance with those dollars.

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

d.    Transfer of funds from Maintenance, Utilities and Rent Account 413 to All Other Expenses Account 410 ($10,000)

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

Mr. Kinne pointed out that the transfer is for higher than anticipated snowplowing expenses in 2006; noted that we did not have snow in November or December.  Mr. Geraci said the contract was for more than what was budgeted the previous fall.  Mr. Geraci will provide detail before Ways and Means and copy Mr. Kinne.

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

Mr. Rhinehart asked why surplus funds at the end of the year are not automatically returned to the general fund.  Mr. Colon said any unspent money goes to the fund balance, unless they are encumbered for a contract or approved for a transfer by the Legislature.

e.     Discussion:  Status of Friends Agreements - no discussion

f.      Discussion:  Plans for each park - no discussion

g.      Discussion:  Interagency Marketing - Mr. Cooley - trade with Clear Channels in which they are promoting the lodges

h.    Special Events Account Report - Mr. Cooley said the next report would come out in February.  Mr. Farrell announced that it would be discussed at the March committee meeting.

Mr. Kinne complimented Mr. Geraci on Lights on the Lake, asked why people can't walk through.  Mr. Geraci said they have a free walk-through on opening night (no cars), had several thousand people; can't mix cars and people at night, a safety issue.  Mr. Farrell asked about revenue for this year.  Mr. Cooley replied that the revenues were slightly up - about $300,000 (gate - $230,000, sponsorships at an all time high - $80,000 range).

2.     VETERAN'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE:

a.       Conforming reappointments to the Veteran's Advisory Committee to the Onondaga County Veteran's Memorial Cemetery (S. Danial, K. Hurst)

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

Mr. Farrell announced that Mr. Kochian could not be at the meeting to discuss items 3. and 4.

3.       Informational:  Sky Chief's Utilities

4.       Informational:  Replacement of Turf

5.     Onondaga County endorsing resolution for Air '99 Project Application

Mr. Rhinehart said it is more appropriate to submit this resolution to Ways and Means.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * * 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MEETING
January 30, 2007
WILLIAM H. MEYER, CHAIRMAN
MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Warner, Mr. Stanczyk, *Mrs. Rapp

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Farrell

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.

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

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

a.   Abolish Clerk II, Grade 5 @ $27,261 - $30,102 effective February 6, 2007; Create Typist II, Grade 5 @ $27,261 - $30,102 effective February 6, 2007

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

Mr. Elander said that the administration found that a typist position better fits the job duties; same grade.

Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

2.   FINANCE: Mr. Peter Seitz, Deputy Director

a.   2006 Transfer of funds from DSS Programs Acct. 618-6118 Med. Asst. Pay by State to Finance Co. Wide Acct. 410-9410 All Other Expenses in the amount of $135,000 to cover increased costs due to an increase in Onon. Co. residents attending Community Colleges outside of Onondaga County ($135,000)

  • OCC had huge student increase;
  • County expense went up 3%
  • From 2005-2006 the No. of students going outside county went down almost 5%
  • Rates went up from 8% to 40%
  • Rates are set by state and county has to pay it

*Mrs. Rapp arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Stanczyk said this is a hidden subsidy to the college; asked how much the college receives in compared to the county expense of $1,635,000.  Mr. Seitz said for 2005-2006 the college received about $1.1 million.  Mr. Stanczyk asked for the amount it has increased; amount anticipated for next year. 

Mr. Ryan asked where the county is statistically in the last few years for students attending outside of Onondaga County vs. students coming into the county.  Mr. Seitz provided two handouts (attachment 1 & 2).  Mr. Ryan asked if anything can be done to assess the students who choose to go to a college in another county.  Mr. Seitz said that OCC would be able to answer those questions; he knows there are initiatives to get students from surrounding counties, including the dorms.  Mr. Ryan asked for the number of student that go to community colleges outside of Onondaga County, and if there is anything in the law regarding a surcharge for students that attend a community college other than their own.  Mr. Seitz explained that the State comes up with a chargeback number; every college has a different rate.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.

Mr. Stanczyk asked for one-page explanation of the amount of students going out and coming in and the related charges and rates.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.   HEALTH:  Mrs. Jean Smiley, Deputy Commissioner

a.   Create Communicable Disease Investigator, Grade 9 @ $37,561 - $41,548 effective February 6, 2007

Items 3a and 3b are related.  This position is part of additional funds from State Health Department.

  • 2007 was budgeted at the level previously received, $104,000
  • State provided $122,000 additional
  • $57,000 was in the original grant for lab services; provided in a separate grant
  • Create an additional Communicable Disease Investigator; was one in the initial grant
  • Due to Onon. Co. rates of Chlamydia, the State has provided additional funds to hire another investigator
  • Currently only able to follow-up on those that are untreated; cycle never gets broken because of carriers, people keep getting reinvested. This will allow them to do more contact tracing

Mrs. Smiley provided a budget (attachment no. 3).; the grant will cover personnel costs and additional expenses.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what is being done with the additional $75,000 besides the additional person for $40,000.  Ms. Smiley said it also includes fringes, allows administrative cost, which is 10% of direct cost and travel. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked for a one-page budget for this grant--previous amount and related expenses and the new amount and related expense.

Mr. Kraft asked about fringe costs; Mrs. Smiley explained that it varies depending on single or family coverage. Mr. Kraft asked what happens if the number is projected low, and there ends up being a bigger cost--is there reimbursement.  Mrs. Smiley said that there isn't; they would have to adjust administrative costs or something else; can't spend more than they get.

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

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept additional STD-CDI grant funds and authorizing the County Executive to execute agreements to implement this resolution ($18,357)

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

4.   LAW DEPARTMENT:  Mr. Daniel Robb, Administrative Officer

a.   Abolish two Information Aide positions, Grade 2 @ $23,194 - $25,583 effective close of business February 17, 2007

Efficiencies were created in the department that allowed for this.  A contract software program was implemented and is working smoothly.  The information aide that was assigned to help with contracts is no longer needed.  The other information aide was a receptionist, who has become a typist and helps in 3 departments, as well as with receptionist duties.  The information aide for the contract department will vacate on Feb. 17th.  The other employee transferred positions approximately 3 months ago. 

Mr. Ryan asked if there are any other positions that are unfilled.  Mr. Robb stated that there is one paralegal.  Mr. Ryan asked if it will be filled.  Mr. Robb said that he was unsure. 

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

b.   2006 Transfer of funds from Acct. 408 Fees for Services to Acct. 410 All Other Expenses in the amount of $5,000 to cover costs associated with an unanticipated increase in Guardian Ad Litem appointments by Family Court Judges ($5,000)

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

5.   PROBATION:

a.   Authorizing the Probation Department to apply for grant funds to provide for Alternatives to Incarceration and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts

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

Mr. Stanczyk requested a one-page explanation for the last 2 years and that is anticipated in 2007: how much was received last year; how much was used; how many people were affected; how many would have been incarcerated if it weren't for this program.

6.   PARKS:  Mrs. Kate Skahen, Program Analyst

a.   Abolish Clerk II, Grade 5 @ $27,261 - $30,102 effective February 18, 2007; Create Account Clerk I, Grade 04 @ $25,401 - $28,036 effective February 18, 2007

A comprehensive review was conducted by DMB regarding accounting and clerical needs at the parks; it was agreed that Beaver Lake needed a position to help with administrative and accounting needs.  In conjunction with Department of Personnel, it was determined that and Account Clerk I was a more appropriate title.

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

The Clerk II position is vacant. It was created in June 2005 and never filled to affect salary savings.  Beaver Lake has 10 full-time positions currently. 

Chairman Meyer asked what this will do for control of funds at Beaver Lake.  Mr. Geraci said that this person has responsibility to do basic accounting at that park.  Beaver lake brings in $200,000 of program revenue, there is a daily count at the gate, quite a bit of money that changes hands.  Also will do all reservations. 

Mr. Stanczyk said he is surprised that there are 10 people at Beaver Lake--requested a report on how much revenue the park brings in and its expenses.  

Vote was taken on the motion.  AYES:  7  NOES:  0  ABSTAINED:  1 (Stanczyk).  Motion carried.

b.   Authorizing the Dept. of Parks and Recreation to accept various donated items without condition

Ms. Skahen distributed a list of the donated items.   Chairman Meyer asked if there are not conditions on the items or labeling/advertising.  Ms. Skahen said that there is none. 

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.

Mr. Ryan asked if there were request for these items.  Ms. Skahen replied that in the case of Beaver Lake, there were funds in the Labor Day 1998 timber recovery account earmarked for the interactive development exhibit, and the Friends provided half of the money to develop the exhibit.  The total cost to the exhibit was approximately $14,000.

Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

c.   Amend 2007 Onondaga Co. Budget to provide funding for the Parks promotional literature ($19,000)

The money is currently in the contingency account.  This would provide funding for promotional literature, provided every year to notify people about opportunities at county parks.

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

Ms. Skahen distributed a list of promotional literature (attachment. #5).

Mr. Stanczyk asked if uniforms have been paid for in the past. Mr. Geraci said that they are paid for every year; this year a minimum of $6,000 will be needed; uniforms are not being dealt with today.  Mr. Stanczyk asked about ROT tax money; Mr. Geraci said that is a separate issue; Parks money is not there anymore-only have enough to maintain the web page; the rest of the money is in contingency.  He explained that regarding the Bass Pro Tour, $60,000 ROT money was given to Parks to be used specifically for the bass tour.

John Cooley explained the various pieces and costs, and stated that in terms of distribution, they will be an enhancement integrated with the CVB.

Mr. Ryan said that he had heard that in the past some legislators were taking the promotional literature in large quantity and handing it out; asked if it still exists.  Mr. Geraci said that he did not know specifically what was being referred to.  He gives a packet to anyone who chooses to hand it out; stacks are given to realtors, all parks, Preble rest area, and many cultural institutions; are given to groups and individuals.  Mr. Cooley keeps track of where they go; at the end of a perfect year there are about 2% left.

Mr. Stanczyk asked how much is paid to Syracuse Newspapers.  Mr. Cooley said the Discovery Guide is $16,000 for 125,000 publications.  The program guide costs about $3,300/issue, an 8-page piece distributed by Syracuse Newspapers.  There is one advertisement in the Discovery Guide.  Mr. Stanczyk referred to revenue sources as a result of advertising.  He asked for an explanation regarding what the cost would be if this piece were published without an ad vs. going to a corporate sponsor and giving them 2 pages of advertising.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

7.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Mr. John Balloni, Commissioner

a.   2006 Transfer of funds from Acct. 413 Maintenance, Utilities and Rents to Acct. 401 Travel and Training in the amount of $11,000 to cover meal allowance expenses ($11,000)

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

8.   MENTAL HEALTH:  Mr. David Brownell, Commissioner

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds from the NYS Department of Mental Health and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($201,552)

  • Huge shortage of child psychiatrists nationwide; there is a community crisis
  • Need to find ways to extend their expertise
  • Have pediatricians and family practitioners consult with a child psychiatrist (via telephone) regarding children with behavior, social, emotional problems--seek guidance, consultation on medication, referrals, treatments. These doctors could then continue to see the child; avoid referral to a child psychiatrist.
  • This is a contract with Upstate Medical University, Dept. of Psychiatry. Distributed a handout, which showed the budget and components (attachment 6).

Chairman Meyer said that there was discussion at committee about setting a baseline on who the physicians are, what the medications are.  Mr. Brownell said that they will be gathering information and evaluating the program. 

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

b.   2006 Transfer of funds from Acct. 101-4101 Reg. Employee Salaries to Acct. 534-5834 Hospitalization in the amount of $54,000 to cover increased costs for hospitalization ($54,000)

A 2006 budget transfer; received charges from State for hospitalization of certain inmates; $54,000 over budgeted amount.

Mr. Ryan asked if any judge direct this.  Mr. Brownell said that some of the people are hospitalized because a judge has found them not competent to stand trial.  Mr. Ryan asked if some judges use it more than others.  Mr. Brownell said that he does not have data on that, but suspected that there are not.  It really depends on the recommendation for the 2 examining psychiatrists.  By and large the judge accepts the recommendation of the psychiatrists.  

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; Out of Room:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

9.   SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT:  Chief William Peverly

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the State of New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to provide funding for a Child Passenger Safety Program ($5,300)

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; Out of Room:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Ryan asked for a breakdown of the last 10 years for items a and b - how much was received and explanation as to why they aren't included in the budget.

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds and authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the State of New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to provide funding for a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program ($26,068)

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

10. SOCIAL SERVICES:  Mr. David Sutkowy, Commissioner

a.   Amend 2006 Co. Budget to provide and make available additional funds in the Dept. of Social Services Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to reflect current expenditure estimates ($5,000,000)

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

  • 2005/06 HEAP year; a federally fixed allocation program from the State to operate the program. The program continues until all the money is allocated
  • Last year the State allocated an additional appropriation in the spring because it was a cold winter; federal government increased appropriation to the State, which allocated some to Onondaga County.
  • Instructions were to offer a second emergency benefit for eligible household
  • The total allocation was $15 million (original allocation was $10 million; $5 million 2nd allocation)

Mr. Warner seconded the motion to approve.

Individuals who had already applied had to apply for the 2nd allocation; all money was spent.

  • 2006/2007 allocation is approx. $14 million; program started November 1st.
  • Program is well publicized in community; it is on first-come, first served basis. People were informed last March of the 2nd allocation.

Mr. Stanczyk asked for a one-page explanation on the entire program.  Chairman Meyer asked Mr. Warner, Chair of Social Services Committee, to have an informational concerning the HEAP process at committee.  Mr. Warner agreed to put it on the agenda for February.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amend 2007 Co. Budget to provide and make available additional funds in the DSS Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to reflect current expenditure estimates ($14,000,000)

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

  • DSS role in HEAP is to determine eligibility and authorize the benefit
  • Prior to presenting 2007 budget, DSS received notification that the State would be doing direct vendor payments.
  • $1 million was budgeted in '07 to reflect that the State would take over direct payments
  • After budget was submitted, the State informed DSS that the process would be delayed, possibly to 2008
  • Allocation amounts are set by the State

Mr. Ryan questioned how many people are turned away because their application was not on time.  Mr. Sutkowy said that he will get the number. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with a budget on this, specifically how much is allocated for administration of the program.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

11. COUNTY CLERK:  Mrs. Rory Sweenie, Deputy County Clerk

a.   Authorizing NYS Reimbursement for 2007 Expenses of the Recording Officer for the County of Onondaga for Administration of Mortgage Taxes

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

12. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Mr. Peter Alberti, Commissioner

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept Supplemental New York State funding for Emergency Management Initiatives for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($137,501)

NYS provided additional funding; payments to be used only for disaster preparedness and planning.  Mr. Alberti said that he requested that an account be set up for this money for a public education program for disaster preparedness and enhance emergency operation center training and tech/operational support

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

Mr. Warner said that at program committee, there was a question as to whether this money can be used for operating budget.  Mr. Alberti believes that it can be; that all of the proposed initiatives will offset some of expenses in this year's budget and subsequent years; does not all have to be spent in 2007.  Will be offsetting some costs that aren't already covered by grants.  Mr. Warner asked that when the money is actually spent, that the department report back to the Legislature on the expenditures.

Mr. Kraft asked if some of the $137,000 may be allocated to a future year.  Mr. Alberti said that it is going into a project account.  It is more than a single-year effort.  Mr. Kraft asked if there is opportunity for this to revert back to fund balance.  Mr. Seitz replied that it will be set up in a project the expense will be tracked; next year the department will charge salaries or other expenses to the project.  This year they will look for those opportunities, but the grant funds will not go to general fund.  Mr. Kraft expressed concern about there being 2 pots of money--in a project account that goes on and on, and in the department budget.  Mr. Ryan said that he is concerned about the money that is already budgeted; where does it go, doesn't want it wasted.  Mr. Kraft said that the legislature is authorizing spending; does not want to authorize more spending than what was originally asked for until they know about it.  Mr. Kraft asked for a report from the department in July on what the money will be spent on.

Out of room:  1 (Corbett); Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

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

a.   Amend 2006 Budget to provide the Onon. Co. Stop DWI Program with additional funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in 2006 Budget and authorize Co. Exec. to enter into contracts ($64,631)

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

The $64,631 will go into a project account; it cannot be zeroed out.  The spending is authorized by the Advisory Board (Mr. Laguzza and Mr. Holmquist are members), Mr. Weiss, and the County Executive.  This is additional money that has come in through fines.  A department would need to make a request for something specific in order to get an allocation. 

Out of room:  1 (Stanczyk);  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

14. WAYS AND MEANS MISCELLANEOUS: 

a.   Confirming reappointment and appointment to the Onondaga County Tobacco Asset Securitization Corporation (Mr. Kraft and Mr. Meyer)

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

b.   Memorializing the Governor and Legislature of the State of NY to increase the tax on cigarettes and disburse the revenues to Counties to reduce the local share of Medicaid costs (by Mr. Ryan)

Mr. Ryan said that a fair amount of money is being spent on Medicaid by virtue of smoking related illness; the money is generated by property taxes.  He is astounded at the amount of money being paid out on a daily basis.  If there are costs attributed to smoking related illnesses, then the homeowner should not be subsidizing them.  He feels the source is cigarettes and a cost should be added onto them; put that charge in a fund to offset the taxes being abstracted from homeowners--use those taxes to reduce property taxes.  The caveat is the amount of Internet and sovereign nation sales of tobacco and how the State can enforce the law to generate the taxes.

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

Mr. Warner said that he supports anything that might help the reduction of smoking.  He would like to see an amendment to this resolution that some of the money be spent on prevention.  Regarding the Tobacco 19 Law, he was disappointed by the veto, especially since the majority of the legislature voted to pass the local law.  The veto was based on 2 facts, one being that there was no funding for enforcement, and it was later found out that there was money for it.  The second item was the veterans' exemption.  There are at least 5 veterans on this legislature; 4 of whom voted in favor of this law.  Many of the veterans he spoke to are in favor of the law. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that we should move toward anything that can help detour use of tobacco and reduce the burden on Onondaga County property tax payers.  He is concerned about losing sales tax on everything.  The consumptions and buying patterns have been shifted dramatically to being more Internet based.  As of yet there is no check on the system to make sure that there is receipt of sales tax revenue. 

Mr. Kraft shared concern about cost of Medicaid and property taxes, but feels this body should not legislate morality or personal habits.  Drugs are prevalent in this community; there are kids with guns, and there are laws against them.  He feels education is a better way to go, get the message out to people to let them make the right decision.  He referred to sports related injuries and the obese, and related costs that fall back on to Medicaid and insurance.  People should be left to make there own personal choices. 

Mrs. Rapp said that there are 5 or 6 other counties looking to pass this type of legislation.  She is concerned that this may increase taxes here, but it drives the business to the reservations or Internet and takes away from our business people.  The Health Advisory Board is supportive of this.

Mr. Corbett asked if the $.42-$.50 is an increase on what is already taxed.  Mr. Ryan said it is.  Mr. Corbett questioned what the total amount of tax would be with this added in.  Mr. Ryan did not know. 

Mr. Warner said that the legislature is the governing body of this county; the law making body; has an obligation to fix problems.  When there are 18-year olds in high school that can legally buy tobacco products and give it to the younger aged kids at school, then the legislature has an obligation to try to fix it. 

Mr. Ryan said that he is not chastising or trying to tell someone that they can't smoke.  If someone chooses a lifestyle, that is ok, but do not make others pay for it.  Mr. Stanczyk said he understands Mr. Kraft's concerns, but people who indulge in activities that are unhealthy cause everyone else in the community to pay for their care later.  This is not restricting what people can do; it is saying there is a link between this community's expense and what these people are doing; a link between people that smoke and the cost of care down the line.  It is appropriate that smoker's have to pay something so that the rest of community is not shortchanged in caring for their bad choices.

Mr. Kraft said that approximately 85% of the cost of Medicaid is paid by the State; 15% by County; 15% of $500 million is a lot of money.  When the people that are insured elsewhere are removed, he doesn't think the impact is there.  Also, sin taxes are already on tobacco products.

AYES:  5 (Baker, Corbett, Warner, Stanczyk, Ryan); NOES:  2 (Kraft, Meyer); ABSTAINED:  1 (Rapp).  MOTION CARRIED.

c.   Onondaga County Endorsing Resolution for Air '99 Project Application (by Mr. Rhinehart)

Chairman Meyer said that there is no fiduciary responsibility, no follow up responsibility to this.  The state statute requires legislative approval of this type of state funding.  Chairman Meyer stated that the basic land use responsibility is still with the Town of Skaneateles. 

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

Mr. Ryan said that this using NYS tax dollars to improve the value of a privately owned airport.  Mr. Rhinehart said that people rent to keep their privately owned airplanes there.  Currently there are 12-13 planes kept there; and they plan to bring it up to 20 -30 plan capacity.   Mr. Ryan asked if the property is taxed at the assessed valuation.  Mr. Rhinehart said that he believes so.  The current condition is dilapidated, which is why it was sold at auction.  The owner's proposal includes several applications for grants to update the airport and bring it back to what it once was.  Those monies have been put in programs by the State for a number of years, as a result of a master plan developed by two previous owners of the airport.  The town has approved it.  Mr. Rhinehart said it is a community use airport mainly for recreation and transportation; it is not a commercial-type airport.   He said that partnerships exist for corporations to share airplanes. 

Mr. Ryan questioned what the benefit is to the taxpayer for spending $9 million on this, as it only benefits 20 -30 people.  Mr. Rhinehart did not agree that the amount was $9 million.  Chairman Meyer said that this was transportation bond money that Albany set up; generally, there are qualifications for emergency facilities--to have ability to land smaller aircrafts.

Mrs. Baker said that the town has approved this, and asked if the town had any concerns.  Mr. Rhinehart said that they did not.  Mrs. Baker asked if the grant is just for private ownerships; Chairman Meyer explained that this particular grant can be for municipal or private funds.  Mrs. Baker said that this is an opportunity to bring business and tourists here.

Mr. Warner said that he questioned what the actual dollars are, and has concerns about what happens if the property is sold.  Mr. Rhinehart said that he had never heard of the $9 million amount that Mr. Ryan spoke of; these grant projects total about $2 million for all 4 projects. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that he has never seen the application--asked about the total project application.  Mr. Rhinehart said there is $300,000 for the hanger, $1 million for the runway; and the third application is for $500,000; a total of $1.8 mllion.  Mr. Stanczyk said he has concerns that this only benefits about 30 people, hasn't seen any explanation about spillover affect to generate for the community; is concerned if the owner turned around and sold the property.  Mrs. Tarolli stated that State enacted legislation, which says that the program is established, and there are standards that the State uses to determine who will get the grants.  She spoke to the State Aviation Department, who sent her standards that they use.  The state looks at benefit cost and aviation safety, amongst other things to make a determination.  The legislation was enacted in 1999; this is part of the 2005 State bond issue.  Mr. Stanczyk questioned if the State has been giving out money to communities on a regular basis.

Mr. Ryan said he would like to get more information from Mrs. Tarolli before voting on it.

Mr. Rhinehart said that we are not here to go through the application and approve it; are here to endorse the this project for the purpose of making the project eligible for these NYS funds that are already there.  He has a letter of unanimous endorsement from the town board.  Since these monies are available; he would like to see them used in our county rather than somewhere else in the state. 

Mrs. Baker asked if there is a time frame issue.  Mr. Rhinehart said that the application had to be filed by Dec. 15; it was filed on Dec. 12th with and endorsing resolution pending. 

AYES:  6 (Meyer, Corbett, Baker, Kraft, Rapp, Warner); NOES:  0; ABSTAINED:  2 (Stanczyk, Ryan).  MOTION CARRIED.

d.   A Local Law Adopting the Provisions of Real Property Tax Law Section 458-a in relation to the Alternative Veterans Exemption and Amending Local Law No. 1-1998 (by Mr. Meyer)

Chairman Meyer referred to a spreadsheet (attachment no. 8), which detailed the 3 options. 

Mr. Warner questioned the definition of veteran.  Chairman Meyer said on this particular item has very specific dates, there are about 15-20 pages of requirements.  It is possible for a person to serve, not meet these dates and be ineligible.

Mr. Ryan requested to be a co-sponsor.

Mrs. Tarolli said that the State statue that enacts this reads differently than the main statute.  This is option 3. It has to be written the way the State does it.

Mr. Stanczyk questions how the estimated impact could be $48,000.  Chairman Meyer said he would have Karen Carney, Finance, provide an explanation. 

Chairman Meyer said that other municipalities have to act on their own if they wish to participate.  Mr. Warner asked if the veterans are notified that the can participate.  Chairman Meyer said that they are likely by VFWs, American Legion Posts, Assessors, and newspapers. 

Mr. Stanczyk felt that this item shouldn't be voted on until the numbers are explained.

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  AYES:  7; NOES: 0; ABSTAINING:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

e.   Confirming appointment of Aaron D. Hugo to the Onondaga County Public Library Bd. of Trustees

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

f.    Confirming appointment of Lucien Ali to the OnCenter Bd. of Directors (by Mr. Sweetland)

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

g.   Confirming appointment of Stefano Cambareri to the OnCenter Board of Directors

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

h.   Confirming appointment of William Towsley to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (Mr. Sweetland)

Mr. Corbett asked to be a co-sponsor.

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

i.    Amending Resolution No. 7-2006 Regarding the Appointment of Legislative Counsel for the Onondaga County Legislature (by Mr. Sweetland)

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item. 

There were 2 different attorneys late years; Costello, Cooney & Fearon is the 3rd law firm.  The conflict provision was removed; can chose from any of the 3 firms. 

Mr. Ryan asked how much was allocated in 2006.  Mrs. Stanczyk replied $19,000 and approximately $3,600 was spent.  In 2007 $19,000 was allocated for legal services, plus $100,000, which was transferred into the 408 account during the budget review process.

AYES:  7; NOES:  0;  ABSTAINING:  1 (Ryan).  MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Warner stated that he will be bringing forth legislation in regard to sessions - proposing to cancel sessions 5 days prior to the meeting if no business is to be conducted.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

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