Meeting Minutes Archive: May, 2007

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434
www.ongov.net
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   PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
JAMES M. RHINEHART, CHAIRMAN
June 13, 2007

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

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

Chairman Rhinehart called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m.

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

1. PLANNING:  Ms. Linda DeFichy, Administrator - Community Development

a.      Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to file the 2007 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant, American Dream Downpayment Initiative and Emergency Shelter Grant Programs ($4,512,840)

Ms. DeFichy distributed the 2007 Community Development Budget (on file with Clerk).  Ms. DeFichy said this is their annual submission to HUD which consists of four different grants, the Community Development Block Grant, the Home Grant, American Dream Downpayment grant and the Emergency Shelter grant.  The County will receive $2.2 million and the Town of Clay will receive just under $300,000, Town of Clay is meshed with their funding and they administer it.  Housing Rehab has not been funded out of the CD grant this year because they have a $3 million in a Lead Grant.

Mr. DiBlasi asked why the Town of Clay had separate funding.  Ms. DeFichy explained that it is a function of population; any town over 50,000 gets their own grant.

Ms. DeFichy pointed out the following:

  • CDBG Foat Loan for $750,000 is just bookkeeping; if there expense rate isn't high enough, HUD allows them to spend the money twice; they can draw it down, spend it on an activity and as it gets paid back, they can use it again, they don't need to use it this year, their expenditure rate is fine.
  • Home Grant - number of activities under it that are all related to housing
  • American Dream Downpayment is President Bush's emphasis on home ownership
  • Emergency Shelter Grant is for activities related to homeless

Capital Projects funded under the Community Development Grant in the different towns and villages are geared to benefit low-income people.  They have a couple contingent projects if any of the top twenty-three fall apart.  Mr. Rhinehart asked how many projects showed interest; Ms. DeFichy replied just under fifty.  Included in the handout is a description of each of the Capital Projects in detail.

Mr. Stanczyk asked about Housing Rehab.  Ms. DeFicy said they are doing a great deal of housing rehab using Lead Grant money, balances from other years from CD funding, and State funding, used to do around 150 per year and are now up to 200.  For the most part housing rehab is associated with lead.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if they are doing the same number of elderly as in past.  Ms. DeFichy said they; have had to shift emphasis to families with children under six, they are allowed to fund if there are grandchildren in the house.  They did thirty homes last year, there is a significant waiting list for elderly and families without children under six.  Mr. Stanczyk said he doesn't want the rehab associated with lead to detract from the low income elderly; one of key components of a neighborhood collapsing is elderly not being able to afford to take care of their homes, they fall into disrepair and dilapidated houses are bought by an absentee landlords.  Mr. Stanczyk said they have to find a way to do the elderly and lead, no reason to have a backlog.  Ms. DeFichy said it is a staffing problem, they do not have enough Community Development funds to maintain the staff they have, need the money from the Lead Grant to make up the difference.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the monies for the Community Development Block Grant could be interchanged.  Ms. DeFichy said all four grants have to benefit low-income people.  Ms. DeFichy said the elderly could participate in their Neighborhood Rehab.  Mr. Stanczyk asked about the waiting list; Ms. DeFichy said about a couple of years.

Mr. Meyer referred to Page 2 - 2007 CDBG Capital Projects, asked how they select the phasing and asked for elaboration on the match.  Ms. DeFichy said they require a 25% match to make sure there is local commitment, have a steering committee made up of fifteen members.  They are not able to fund the projects at the level they need all at once so it is phased; their limit is $100,000 per year.

Mr. DiBlasi asked about the community tree project.  Mr. O'Connor said it is based on a plan done after the Labor Day storm, they try also to get neighborhood associations to be a part of the process, try to focus on across the county, not just within the city.

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

2.   HOTEL:  Mr. Edward Kochian

Mr. Kochian reviewed the handout entitled Westin at the Oncenter, Implementation Agreements June 2007 (Attachment2).

Mr. Rhinehart mention Mr. Ned Flint from First Albany Bank present at the meeting and asked what his role would be. Mr. Flint said he is working with the Industrial Development Agency putting together the financing plan, would be the underwriter on the bond issue for the IDA.

Mr. DiBlasi asked for confirmation that the County receives 11% of the Destiny fees and the City receives 89%; Mr. Mareane said that was correct.

Mr. Meyer asked about the start date; Mr. Kochian said they are still taking about fall 2007 with an 18-month period for completion.  Mr. Meyer asked for elaboration on the pedestrian connection.  Mr. Kochian said there is a connection to the garage that needs to look good, be safe, wide enough for people carrying luggage to the garage or the existing sky bridge to the Oncenter and there needs to be a vertical element right when you come into the Oncenter.  The intent is to have this available when the hotel is opened.  Mr. Meyer asked if the developer has waived the steam plant connections forever; Mr. Kochian replied yes.  Mr. Meyer asked if there is any cost to the 15 ft. strip of land mentioned on Page 16.  Mr. McAuliffe said in conversations with the city it was suggested that it was needed for the hotel and would be nice if transferred for free.  The full request for the abandonment, which is a specific procedure on the City Charter, a letter was sent by the County Executive to the Planning Commission, Planning Commission would have to have a public hearing and then a formal recommendation to the Common Council.  Mr. Meyer asked if the number on the room tax and sales tax are solid numbers, how much is new money.  Mr. Mareane said they believe they will be restoring about $20 million a year in convention activity; much of it will be new money.  Projections of room tax and sales tax Comes right out of the proforma of the hotel plan; expected room revenue estimate is conservative, proforma assumed a lower room rate and occupancy level.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what the anticipated reimbursed payment is for the $15 million grant money from the State.  Mr. Mareane said that first $10 million by 2009, last $5 million by January 2010.  Mr. Stanczyk requested a page that breaks down the Debt Service.  Mr. Stanczyk asked what the anticipated interest rate for the bonding is; Mr. Flint First Albany Bank, said 6% taxable interest rate, in line with where market interest rates are today.  Should be in the market early fall; right now it is 5.7%.  Regarding the County Infrastructure Investment, Mr. Stanczyk asked why the commitment didn't shrink to $5 million instead of $7.3 million after the developer decided against the Steam Plant connection.  Mr. Kochian said the pedestrian connection was yet to be designed.  Mr. Mareane said at that time, there was a concern that connections to the Oncenter were inadequate, current plan is to create a much easier connection from the hotel to the garage, are kicking the money into an enhanced pedestrian connection instead of a second connection.  Mr. Kochian said it is a huge public investment, there is not economic activity that happens in United States without some form of public pride initiative, that is what this is, we will get this money back as a community just as we will with the OCIDA bonds and grant anticipation notes.  Mr. Stanczyk asked why the generated revenues by the hotel is listed when the pilot revenues are just paying off their debt.  Mr. Mareane said the intent of the page was to show that there is a capacity within the project to pay for its costs, how much revenue will be generated.

Mr. DiBlasi referred to Page 18, column 3 (debt Service), asked with the $15 million from the State does the Pilot get paid off early.  Mr. Kochian referred to Page 11, third bullet, and said the excess Pilot revenues would be shared annually, the benefit of the $15 million from the State is that by reducing the debt, there would be excess Pilot revenue that could be shared early.

Mr. Sweetland said he wanted to remind everyone that when we this agreement was passed in the legislature, we voiced a very strong concern about the connection, we agreed to an estimate of what it was going to cost, this legislature will approve and be involved with what those connections are, wants to make sure this Legislature is involved with how this gets done and ultimately approve to money to do it; most important, how convention goers come in, how they get across the street and where meetings are.

Mr. McAuliffe displayed drawings of what the hotel will look like.

a.   Amending Bond Resolution No. 308-2004 for pedestrian connections and land acquisition

Mr. Kochian said we were originally going to spend $1 million on a connection, now making a commitment to spend $3.1 million, $4.2 million for land - total $7.3 million; if land costs more than $4.2 million, they will come back to the Legislature. 

Mr. DiBlasi made a motion to consider all four resolutions in one vote; it was not seconded.  

Mr. Rhinehart said this resolution authorizes the County to bond up to $3.5 mil instead of $2.25.  Mr. Mareane said there was a bond resolution passed in 2001 for first installment on the land (condemnation price) was authorized appropriated and spent.  A second bond was authorized in 2004 for $3.5 million, but wasn't appropriated.  Mr. Mareane said by action on this resolution, instead of spending $1 million on a pedway, $2.5 million on the Steam Plant connection, $3.5 million will be spent in combination of land and pedestrian connections; it doesn't affect the authorization, it affects the use of that authorization, also recognizes the new source of money the Destiny fees account, have already put $800 thousand into a project account to do this.

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconed by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  A vote was taken; Ayes:  6 (Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Chaplin), Noes: 1 (Mr. Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amending Resolution No. 306-2004, as amended, to authorize the County Executive to enter into an Amended Agreement for the development of the Onondaga County Convention Center Hotel

Mr. Herkala said the development agreement has been changed to Westin; Westin has entered into an operating agreement for a fifteen year period with the developer, they will bring their expertise directly into play, agreement has been changed from possible two pedways to one, have substituted the County Reserve Agreement for the Sublease.  They will be putting an amended agreement on file.  Mr. Herkala said there are changes to number of rooms (still an excess of 350, may be as many as 364), change in meeting space to 17,000 sq. ft. and change to the project schedule due to being put on hold because of the State financing.  No greater County or OCIDA contribution to the project than was initially anticipated.  Mr. Stanczyk requested a summary sheet of the changes.

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

c.      Authorizing a Reserve Agreement and Pilot Mortgage Agreement with respect to the Oncenter Hotel

Mr. western said for an $11,340,000 issue of bonds, Debt Service is $1,462.100, if there is a failure to get the Pilot payment, if at the end of any given year if the Debt Service reserve pays the bond holders, we the County, under the Reserve Agreement, would have to make a contribution to bring the debt service reserve up to normal, bonds are not marketable without this.  Mr. Kochian said the Pilot Mortgage issue has to be brought into the equation; additional security brought about by the Pilot Mortgage is critical to why we would even consider doing this project, unlike typical Pilots, you have a first instance claim on getting your money back, developer put in $10 million of their own money, borrowed $30 to $40 million financial institution is unlikely in the scenario where there is a pilot mortgage to allow that property wipe out their debt, they are likely to pay that pilot mortgage.  Mr. Kochian said there is a way for us to recover the pilot payment through the pilot mortgage; in the interim, there is the issue of the Reserve Agreement; if developer doesn't don't pay timely, debt service is called on to make sure the debt gets paid; if it has been depleted, that's when the call comes to the Legislature and Executive, It is vital for the county to stand behind it in the appropriation process in part because the project itself finances it; in the meantime, have the process going on with the Pilot Mortgage to fully recover the pilot money.

Mr. Stanczyk asked if they do not make a pilot payment, why wouldn't we foreclose, put in a claim to take the property.  Mr. Western said he expects we would.  Mr. Stanczyk said it is dysfunctional to talk about foreclosing on the property and yet put in money to pay off to prevent us from foreclosing, it makes no sense.  Mr. Herkala said there are two agreements - the Pilot Mortgage and the County Reserve Agreement.  Reserve Agreement substitutes in whole for the Sublease that was already approved by this legislature when we did the original hotel deal.  Purpose of that Sublease and this agreement are identical, sublease payments that were going to be made from OCIDA to the County were the equivalent of any Debt Service shortfall; this Reserve Agreement requires us to replenish the Debt Service reserve funding.  Mr. Stanczyk asked why we would want to do that.  Mr. Kochian said it is a bond issue in part, do not want to be in default of the Debt Service, want to make the reserve fund whole and then recover through the mortgage process, not seeing this as a high risk proposition.  Mr. Kochian said If there is a default in title payments, we have the rights under the Pilot Mortgage to commence a collection action against the developer, commence a foreclosure action, to bid at that foreclosure action, offer up our equity interests to offset the cost to buy the property if we want, to reach a negotiated settlement with the lender who is most likely going to step in on behalf of the developer who has an even larger interest in the property with a larger debt in the beginning years.  Pilot mortgage lets us step in and protect our rights, Reserve Agreement says we have to make the same type of payment that we already agreed to do under the Sublease, just changing the structure.

Mr. Meyer asked if the lot the hotel would be sitting on pledged as security.  Mr. Kochian said it is part of what they are using to get the State Aid.  Mr. Herkala said the developer is allowed to go out with a ground lease and get what is called a leasehold mortgage on the structure he is going to build, subject to the ground lease.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the developer is making a personal guarantee.  Mr. Herkala said he is not aware of that.

A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  A vote was taken; Ayes: 6 (Meyer, Rapp, DiBlasi, Jordan, Chaplin; Noes: 1 (Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

d.   A Local Law repealing Local Law No. 3-2005 regarding the sublease of property from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency with respect to the Oncenter Hotel

Mr. Herkala said this is to repeal the sublease local law.  Since proposal is to enter into a Reserve Agreement, we don't need a sublease local law anymore.

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

Mr. Kochian said they would be back at some point concerning the 15 ft. strip of land after the City passes it.

3.   Convention & Visitors Bureau Direction Plan - Mr. David Holder

Mr. Holder gave a presentation on the 2007-2010 Syracuse CVB Strategic Direction (Attachment 3)

The meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

  EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
JAMES DIBLASI, CHAIRMAN
MAY 8, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:    Mr. Corbett, Mr. Kilmartin, Mrs. Winslow, Mrs. Chaplin

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist (due to serving on Grand Jury), Mr. Kinne

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

Chairman DiBlasi called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m.

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

1.   OCPL:  Ms. Kate McCaffrey, Deputy Director

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept state construction funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($6,167)

Asking to accept State construction funds for improvements to the Central Library - $2,000 to improve accessibility to the STAR room (designed to provide computer access through special technologies for use by people with disabilities) and $4,138 to provide supplemental air conditioning to the computer lab on the fourth floor.

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

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept state construction funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($60,586)

Asking to accept State construction funds to improve accessibility at two branches - an ADA accessible ramp at entrance to Betts Branch and an ADA compliant restroom, also an ADA compliant restroom at Soule Branch.  Mrs. Winslow requested to be a co-sponsor of this resolution.

Mr. DiBlasi asked if this is a requirement by law or is it voluntary; Ms. Mc Caffrey replied that it is being done voluntarily, the right thing to do.  Ms. Chaplin asked if there are other libraries that will need improvements; Ms. Jensen replied "yes", will be coming to the Legislature in June with other projects once the State approves additional construction funds.  In response to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Jensen said they did get estimates from contractors in order to apply to the State for the funds.

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

c.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($15,000)

Funding will allow OCPL to create an intranet so that they can share documents; it is compatible with Polaris, will allow all libraries to get customized reports at their desktop; funding will allow them to hire a trainer, pay for the software and consultant to do installation.  In answer to Mr. Corbett, Ms. McCaffrey said it would be for all branches and member libraries.

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

d.   Transfer of funds from Professional Services Account 408 to Furniture & Equipment Account 215 ($21,800)

e.   Transfer of funds from Supplies Account 300 to Furniture & Equipment Account 215 ($45,400)

Funds to cover the cost of installing security cameras in the Central Library, funding is included in OCPL's 2008 Adopted Budget.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve items 1d. and e.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

f.      Confirming OCPL Board of Trustees appointments (Virginia Biesiada, Anita Lombardi)

Ms. Shepard Scott said that both Ms. Biesiada and Ms. Lombardi are graduates of the LGS Program and have expressed interest in education and literacy; Ms. Lombardi is tri-lingual and Ms. Biesiada's professional background is in human resources.

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

2.   OCC:  Dr. Debbie Sydow, President

Item 2.b was considered first.

b.   Calling for a public hearing on the Tentative 2007 - 2008 Budget of the Onondaga Community College

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

a.   Strategic Plan - Dr. Sydow

Dr. Sydow presented a Power Point reviewing highlights of the past six years under the first strategic plan developed in 2001 and projecting forward regarding priority goals established for the institution for the next five years (Attachment 2).  Dr. Sydow said they have gathered input for the past 18 months from the community at large, through online surveys, concerning priorities of the community and college to better serve the needs of our local community.  Dr. Sydow said the college has been working for a number of years with extraordinary growth and remarkable transformation.

A handout was provided giving more detail concerning the goals and objectives for the next five years (on file with Clerk).

Mr. Kilmartin referred to the master plan for the next five years, asked about any concepts or details concerning a community recreation center or the athletic fields.  Dr Morrow said over the past few years as they have focused more attention on their athletic programs as a way to deal with both recruitment and retention, they realized early on that one of the key areas was the facility and practicing off campus.  A master plan for athletics was completed about eighteen months ago; they are currently looking at other community college athletic facilities and also partnership opportunities for a field house.  Dr. Morrow noted that Jamestown Community College in Erie County is sharing space with the YMCA and it seems to be working well.  Dr. Morrow said it would be a comprehensive facility with indoor tennis court, covered fields, lockers, and classrooms; more and more institutions are seeing the benefit of this type of facility for the enrollment management part of the equation.  Dr. Morrow said it makes sense to have this facility available for public use when the sports teams are not practicing, they are already a community friendly campus, and this would take them to another level. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked about the OCC Foundation; Dr. Morrow confirmed that they presently have $6 million.  Dr. Morrow said the foundation is charged with supporting the college; the purpose of the foundation is to support the college in a number of ways - scholarships, capital projects, facility improvements.  Dr. Morrow added that the current foundation board is very focused on endowment and endowment for scholarships; they don't ever want a student to not complete college because of finances.

Mr. DiBlasi said this past fall they were up 18% in enrollment and expect to be well ahead of those numbers next year; asked what percentage they need to maintain to meet the 1011 goals and how does that impact the need for Onondaga County support.  Mr. Emm said regarding the County's sponsorship in terms of dollars, it costs money to have students, no way to get around that; in terms of growth, would have to be about a 2.5% to 3% increase annually, and that will be met.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *

REVISED pg. 3 - 5/18/07
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - May 8, 2007
CHAIRMAN JAMES C. CORBETT

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

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m.

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

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Mr. Randy Ott, Commissioner

      a.   ACJ Update

  •       Sewer separator project 050 bids opened on 4/11; 3 bids received; J.J. Lane was low bidder at $3.2 million (engineer's estimate was $4 million)
  •       Clinton Phase 1 bids opened on 4/17; 2 bids received; Delaney Construction was low bidder at $14.6 million (engineer's estimate was $13.4 million)

Mr. Farrell expressed concern regarding receiving only 2 bids.  He said that anything that can be done to encourage local companies to bid this work is a benefit to the taxpayers.  He requested that a discussion be on the agenda next month on how to encourage people to bid these jobs.  He asked if the job could be re-bid.  Chairman Corbett stated that there has to be a compelling reason to re-bid.  Mr. Ott said that it could subject the county to a legal challenge from the company. 

*Mrs. Winslow arrived at the meeting. 

Mr. Jordan asked if solicitation of bids is limited to local companies.  Mr. Ott said that they are put out locally and regionally.  They are advertised, notices of advertisements are faxed to contractors that are known to be capable of doing the job; put in the Builders Exchange and in the Dodge Report.  He recently made a presentation to the ABC and provided an overview of all the projects that are on the books throughout the year.  Mr. Jordan questioned how many companies are capable of doing the job locally; Mr. Ott estimated 5 or 6.  Mr. Albanese said that the Dodge Report is national; presentations have not only been made to ABC, but also to the Builders Trades Council with the PLA, which lays out projects, current status, projected schedules, etc. to encourage their contractors to have more participation.  To go back out and re-bid, is a roll of the dice.  Further, in looking at the schedule, companies look at where they will best suited along with all the other work in Onondaga County.  He feels that they are already very aggressive.

Mr. Kraft asked if the County is finding itself in a position where the capacity of the market place is utilized.  Mr. Ott said he doesn't think so, as are getting contractors to bid.  Mr. Kraft asked how many bids are usually received on job; Mr. Ott said typically between 2 - 12; it depends on the job.  Mr. Kraft asked if getting 2 bids is a compelling reason to take a second look at this.  He feels that opportunities should be pursued.  Mr. Ott said that right now the engineer has not determined any technical problems with the bids.  Mr. Farrell said he is asking that this be looked at and determine if there is a way to do a better job, sometimes it needs a little extra effort.  Mr. Albanese said it is standard operating procedure, for this type of instance; to have post-bid review meeting to take a strong look at the case.  Mr. Kraft asked that after that is done, a memo be sent to the committee with the determination.

Mrs. Chaplin asked if the company working on the Midland phase bid on this project.  Mr. Ott said that they did not.  Chairman Corbett said there are many reasons why a company wouldn't bid the next project.  They may feel that they want to bid the next phase of Midland and wouldn't have to move all of their equipment, as there would be transportation costs involved.  Sometimes bonding is an issue-if a company has a lot of money out in construction bonds, they may have to take a breather before going on to the next job.  Mr. Clare added that some of the contractors looked at the plans, but had never done a PLA before and backed off because of it.

Chairman Corbett asked about cost and process for companies to get bidding documents.  Mr. Clare said that they can take out a set of plans for $75.  If unsuccessful, they can return the plans and get their money back.  They can also review the plans at WEP or CDM for no charge.  The Dodge Report also has a set of plans.

Mr. Farrell said he would like to understand how the PLA affects this bid.  Mr. Ott said he would provide a report. 

  •      Midland Phase III bid opening is June 6th
  •      Harbor Brook CSO - 50% design review meeting on April 26th
  •      Metro Stage II phosphorus limitation of .12 mg/liter - reported first 12 mos. rolling average to DEC and EPA and met the number at .10 mg/liter.

Mr. Kraft discussed the long-term number of .02.  Chairman Corbett said that we are currently on line and targeting the number.  Mr. Kraft said that he is worried about it; supposed to meet that goal and are subject to fines if not met; the number is in the ACJ.  Mr. Ott said that there are a number of things that need to be done:  TMDL, how well doing in Onondaga Lake, need to look at phosphorous Phase III pilot work, need to look at modeling.  All of this has to be looked at before they position themselves with the state.  There is technology that could meet that number, whether it is financially obtainable is another question.  Chairman Corbett said that the more that is done to obtain it now, and show that everything possible has been tried, then the better it will be when the 2009 date is reached.

  •      Planning is underway for the 6th Annual Onondaga Lake Day at Onondaga Lake Park, Sat., June 2nd

2.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION

      a.   A local law amending Local Law No. 16-1992 and Local law No. 8-2004 authorizing the lease of county property for the operation of a sludge management facility

An extension of lease for 6 months to allow the department to complete negotiations with a contractor for a new 10-year biosolids agreement.

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

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the sludge is shipped to Weedsport.  Mr. Ott said that currently the Enviro Soil process is being done, a class A project, sold to farmers in central New York.  Distributed directly out of Metro to the contractor who has a farm and storage facility in Weedsport.   It is taken off the belt presses to distribute. 

Mr. Ott reviewed a chronology on biosolids management (attachment #1).

Mr. Rhinehart asked if haulers are required to use interstates.  Mr. Ott said that they have had conversation with contractors to use highways.  Mr. Rhinehart asked about any issues with trucks.  Mr. Ott said that there was an issue in the Pulaski Street area, which was discussed and corrected.   Mr. Albanese added that what is leaving the plant is a pathogen-killed lime product.

Mr. Kraft requested that a list of the annual costs be provided from the beginning of this process for the next Ways and Means Committee meeting.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Intermunicipal Agreement--Information Update:  Mr. James Albanese, Co. Administrator, Physical Svcs.

Mr. Albanese said that the City Council put this issue on the table for 2 weeks.  It is our understanding that they are in a relaxed position with this now, are hoping that they will pass it in 2 weeks.  No vote will be asked from the body until the city has voted on this issue.  He provided a red-lined version of the intermunicipal agreement (on file), which shows changes that have taken place that the county feels are fair an do not have significant impact.  He reviewed the following pages:

  • Pg 17 - Community mitigation process - $6 million for City of Syracuse to use in neighborhoods, where neighborhood residents would have a formal decision process to decide how to best mitigate and use the money that was made available.  The county's concern was that there be a formal process, with the people being directly involved.  The city wanted to have consultation on it. 
  • Pg. 18 - Approvals -once projects developed through the process, still is an approval process-initially set up to be by the mayor and the county executive.  The City Council requested that the President of the Council or President's designee would also have consultation.  The Chairman of the Legislature or the Chairman's designee was also included in the consultation project. 
  • Page 19 - more of the same type of language that says that all documentation will be provided to all of these parties so that they can do a bonafide review of what the project is.
  • Pages 25 - Section 3.4.1 property need for the ACJ project - The Council was ill at ease with this section - they felt the county had authority to take any city property that it wanted during the lifetime of this agreement.  The intent was only to take whatever property was required (appendix shows list of properties).  The language was tightened up to say "located within the immediate area of the property transfers set forth above" and that anything else would come in before completion of the ACJ project.  By the time it is totally done and it is an accepted project from the engineer and construction companies, at that point no additional properties would be needed.
  • Page 27 - 4.03 Future Flexibility: new paragraph - The Council wanted to have some say on what type of technology would be used.  They will have the right to introduce better technology.  However if a decision is reached that the technology should be utilized, and on any project they want the county to stop in its tracks, to that particular technology, the city will pick up all additional costs to do that.  That includes any fines that may result from delay, any delay costs, reimbursements to the County for any investment already made in the current project unless any portions of that project were to be utilized.
  • Page 28 and Page 31 - Legal changes - clarification that all the actions currently in play cease and desist immediately upon the successful signature of this agreement and its enactment between City and County.

There were other proposals put on the table that were rejected. 

Chairman Corbett said that the Council has reviewed this; they have laid it on the table; it will be taken up in 2 weeks.  The timeframe will allow it to go to Ways and Means for an actual vote in May and then it will be taken to the floor in June.

Mr. Rhinehart referred to the portion of the taking/cooperation for properties--asked if the Law Department is comfortable, as there has been a lot of litigation between the City and County.  Mr. Rivizzigno said that they were part of the long discussions with the City and are comfortable.  Regarding the property, they have reviewed it and are 99.9% sure that everything that is needed is included.  Mr. Albanese said that, however, if the need arises during the life of the construction portion of the project, the County has the uncontested right to take that property at the appraised value by Pomeroy and Associates.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the City agrees, that after the agreement is signed, that the properties that the County needs to use to contribute towards this project will be given.  Mr. Albanese referenced his last comment.  The answer to the whole legality question "does the county have the right to condemn city property" -- we are leaving that question to another day somewhere in the future.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if the City would still want the County to pay for that property.  Mr. Albanese said "yes". 

The meeting was adjourned. 

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * * 

FISCAL WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - May 9, 2007

CHAIRMAN WILLIAM H. MEYER

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Corbett

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Mareane, Mr. Seitz, Mr. Squires, Mrs. Stanczyk, Mr. Hanlon, Mr. Mariani

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

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

MANAGEMENT & BUDGET:  Mr. Joe Mareane, Chief Fiscal Officer

2007 1st Quarter Update

Mr. Mareane distributed the 2007 First Quarter Report (attachment #1).  There is a $3.1 million forecast projected for year-end, based on trends that they are seeing now. 

REVENUES:

  • Sales tax  - tracking very close to the budget, down a little
  • Deferred and Uncollected taxes - estimate of current year taxes that won't be collected, close to budget.  Have had a strong run of property tax collections. 

*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting

Prior Years Taxes - estimated $6.3 million this year; approx. $300,000 shortfall

Mr. Kraft asked how the $8.3 million in prior year taxes compares to other places.  Mr. Mareane said they expect to collect $97.7% of taxes levied in towns; 93.3% of tax levied in City.  Collecting almost all of it in the towns, and are up in the city.  He did not have comparisons to other counties.

Mr. Farrell asked if this is all on a cash basis.  Mr. Seitz said that this is money from current year property tax levy that will not be collected until future years, so negative revenue is put in the budget.  Mr. Farrell asked if all revenue is on a cash basis; Mr. Seitz said sales tax is on modified accrual.  Mr. Squires said that some sales tax isn't received until after the fact.  When an accrual is booked at year-end, it is known what it is going to be.  Mr. Farrell said that it is reliable because the source is from the State; it is a timing issue.  Mr. Squires agreed.

  • Interest and Earnings - investment earnings; don't have idle balances, they are invested, had projected earnings to be 4.2% interest on average, projected $78 million to invest.  Now are looking at 4.79% interest rate, an average daily balance of $94 million.  It speaks to the surplus from 2006 that is still there and being invested. 
  • All Other Earnings - product of DestiNY through 2 sources:  Late payments from DestiNY were unencumbered, $700,000; OCIDA fee income goes into Economic Development and SOCPA budgets, $418,000.  The negative is in Parks revenue--a projection of zoo revenue to be down $150,000

Mr. Warner asked how much sales tax was given up on gas sales tax exemption; Mr. Mareane estimated $2 million. Mr. Meyer said that it is a soft projection.  Mr. Mareane said it presumes many things.  Mr. Farrell asked if it is categorically broken down; Mr. Mareane said it takes the State at least a year to generate those reports.  Mr. Warner said as gas prices goes up, the county loses.  The estimate was based on an average annual price of $2.86/gallon.

EXPENDITURES:

  • Salaries & Wages - savings of $1.5 million local, try to hold position vacant as long as possible

Mr. Mareane clarified that this is all general fund, does not include WEP, Water Board or Van Duyn.  Mr. Seitz said the entire county payroll is $170 -$180 million.  Mr. Ryan asked if any is reimbursed from the state and federal governments.  Mr. Seitz said that it is and gave examples of Mental Health, DSS, Aging & Youth, Health.  Looking at all funds: about 35- 40% is received back; in general fund approximately 30% comes back.

  • Anticipated Salary Settlement  - Retroactive cost if OCSPA settles this year - will pay ‘06 and ‘07 salaries and possibly a retroactive; slight shortfall
  • Debt Svce - expected surplus; held off until Nov. to go to the market with bonds, interest rates better than expected. 
  • Employee Benefits (Gen. Fund) - will do better than expected in pension account, holding vacancies, rate is better, but higher than expected workers comp cost; health benefits tracking at budget; dental costs are fixed; variation is in the retirement and workers comp.

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the retirement number with GASP45; Mr. Mareane explained it will have to be recognized and reported in 2007 as a long-term liability; there is no requirement to put cash behind it.  A meeting will be held soon; the consultants will come in and provide an explanation. 

Mr. Farrell was concerned about the ratio of salaries to employee benefits.  Mr. Mareane will look into it further.

Mr. Kraft suggested that a message be put in The Communicator, about the vast share that the county contributed to health insurance benefits.

  • Maint, Utilities, Rents - costs are tracking below budget, energy conservation is working well; $400,000 surplus
  • Welfare Programs: -Safety Net, Family Assistance -- expecting $1 million surplus; continued reduction in caseloads - outpacing what was targeted.  The economy is able to absorb people who want to work, and the County does a good, aggressive job at intercepting people to help get them employed
  • Juvenile Delinquent - cost/case is high, approx. $80,000, but caseload is down; $800,000 expected surplus
  • NYS Training - NYS institutionalization for juveniles who are tough criminals; cost/case is high, approx. $100,000.  Cost has risen - State adjusted the rates and the County has to pay retroactively back to 2002.

Mr. Kraft asked if a letter can be sent to the state delegation regarding this.  Mr. Mareane said that it has been done, as well as to the governor.

  • Foster Care - additional revenues have been made available, expenses are tracking over budget; $500,000 surplus
  • Pre K - a more volatile mandates, tracking a little over budget; $400,000 shortfall
  • Sheriff's Overtime - result of population; higher activity in the mental health area of the Justice Center where there is a higher ratio between guards and inmates; $500,000 shortfall
  • All Other Accounts:  relates to DOT, bad weather if the first part of the winter, $900,000 shortfall

Mr. Mareane stated that the report goes on the county intranet.

Mr. Kraft referred to page 6 of the handout.  Mr. Mareane explained that in 1995/96 welfare reform hit, propelled a lot off of the welfare rolls.  It was expected that there would be a baseline level and that is how it would be.  Since 2004, there was an unexpected drop in caseloads to what is believed to be a record low level.  Also there was concern that when the federal rules changed for welfare, that when people lost their benefits which included federal aid, then there would be a simple transfer effect to the Safety Net Program, which the county would have to pay half of.  There has been some of that, but not to the degree that he expected.  Mr. Kraft said that the combined total has gone from nearly 12,000 cases to 4,000.  Family Assistance has gone from 8,000 to near 2,000.

Mr. Warner said that at the same time the Medicaid caseloads have gone up, even though public assistance has dropped.  Mr. Mareane said that the program itself has expanded significantly; Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus programs have exploded the numbers. The rules of Medicaid have been made more generous over time.  Mr. Mareane said that it will go up again, because the Governor is talking about making sure that people without insurance get it, which will likely be with the Medicaid program. 

Mr. Farrell asked if a based line can be looked at, so that it we can see what the numbers would be if the program had not expanded, to understand what the difference is.  He would like it to show per capita income to other areas of the state and nation over an extended period of time.  Mr. Mareane said he can explore that.

Mr. Mareane said that he will be coming back in the next couple of months to address how to approach the Medicaid cap in the future.  The cap it a misnomer, it is really a control on how much Medicaid is going to grow.  Will still have $2.7 - $3 million growth in Medicaid local dollars.  This year there has to be a decision made that we continue as we are, a cap rise by 3% every year or swap part of sales tax and get out of Medicaid entirely.  Mr. Seitz has been running numbers and the State is providing guidance on how to make those calculations to make sure it has integrity to it. 

Mr. Warner said that the results of the Salient program should be received before a decision is made.  Mr. Meyer said it is more the recipient side, also have to look at how much the program will be expanded.

**Mr. Ryan left the meeting.

Mr. Kraft said that a story should be printed in the newspaper about the reduction in caseloads, the change in social services, the fact that what is left are the people that are financially distressed.  He said that we have no control on the Medicaid side, the eligibility is determined by a checklist that isn't ours.  He asked what else can be done.  Mr. Mareane said that we are doing exactly what is left to do; to make sure no one is gaining the system; which is what the Salient system is for.  A layer if intelligence is being added to the system, efforts are underway.  There is an ongoing effort to look at data from Salient right now; their efforts have been productive.  Chairman Meyer said that also the attitude of the workers is that they are finding this a valuable tool and are enthused by it.  Mr. Kraft said that the message needs to get out about this also.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE
MAY 10, 2007
CHAIRMAN JAMES FARRELL  
MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan, *Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist (due to serving on Grand Jury)
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

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

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

1.      TRANSPORTATION:  Mr. Mark Lynch, Commissioner; Mr. Marty Murphy, Senior Deputy County Attorney; Mr. John Leo, Assistant Commissioner

a.      A local law authorizing the lease of county property located in the Town of Camillus to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency

b.   A local law authorizing the lease of county property located in Jamesville to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency

Mr. Murphy said the two local laws involve leasing County property to OCRRA for composting purposes; property in the Town of Camillus is an old County highway facility (about ten acres off of Airport Road), OCRRA is planning to tear down a dilapidated building and improve another, a significant amount of money would be put into the property; property in Jamesville is a four acre site across Rt. 91 from the DOT Highway Garage; both would be fifteen year leases.  Mr. Farrell noted that they are 15-year leases with three 5-year renewals built in.  Mr. Laguzza asked what the arrangement is right now regarding leases; Mr. Murphy said it is a revocable permit.

Mr. Kraft asked if they would be paying rent; Mr. Murphy said the rent would be a total of $5,000 per year for both properties.  Mr. Kraft expressed concern about tying the property up for thirty years.  Mr. Coburn said they viewed this as a mutually beneficial arrangement - OCRRA is providing compost service to the residence of the community; if yard waste material doesn't find a home, it finds its way into catch basins and road ditches, maintaining them is costly and time consuming.  OCRRA is proposing to take cooking grease from around the community and turn it into bio grease to operate their equipment at the Camillus site, very helpful in terms of promoting and advancing the acceptance of alternative fuels that burn cleaner, would be another way to keep grease out of the sewers.  In answer to Mr. Kraft, Mr. Coburn said any extensions to the fifteen-year leases would be by mutual agreement, does not think the site is viewed a particularly marketable.

Mr. Bulsiewicz said these sites are set up for the consumers to use as cheap as possible; they are putting a significant investment into removing structures with asbestos.  Mr. Rhoads said they are pretty much hitting their limit regarding tonnage they are allowed to process.  They plan to be a greater service to municipalities, will be making about $600,000 in improvements over the next several years, starting to max out what they are allowed to do without getting a permit from DEC; to get a permit, they need some sort of legal lease or property right to be there.

Mr. Jordan noted that the local laws make no reference to improvements being made at OCRRA's expense.  Mr. Murphy said the lease would contain language that OCRRA will remove the buildings and make improvements at OCRRA's expense.  Mr. Jordan recommended that they add language to the local law (Camillus) saying that OCRRA agrees to remove, at its cost, severely deteriorated existing structures and properly dispose of debris from removal and that the anticipated improvements to be made to the property will similarly be made at OCRRA's full expense.  Mr. Rhoads noted that at the end of the lease, any improvements they have made would be the County's; there are no back charges.

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Rhoads said they have a close working relationship with the County, have a special rate for municipalities that was just reduced this year in hopes of bringing this back to the general public.

*Mr. Kinne arrived at the meeting.

Chairman Farrell asked for a motion to approve this with the caveat that the law department would add language to the local law clarifying that any costs associated with remediation and improvements included within the subsequent lease agreement will be born by OCRRA.

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to approve this item 1.a.  Ayes:  5 (Mr. Farrell, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Laguzza); Noes: 0;  Abstained:  1 (Mr. Kinne); MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve item 1.b.  Ayes:  5 (Mr. Farrell, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Laguzza); Noes:  0; Abstained:  1 (Mr. Kinne); MOTION CARRIED.

c.   Create Inventory Control Supervisor, Grade 8 @ $34,577 - $38,232 effective June 9, 2007

      Abolish Storekeeper, Grade 7 @ $31,794 - $35,139 effective upon the successful completion of the incumbent's probationary period

Mr. Leo said the major part of DOT's inventory is stored in their Jamesville facility were they currently have a Grade 7 Storekeeper who supervises two Grade 4 Stock Clerks, a Grade 4 Driver/Messenger and a Grade 2 Stock Attendant; two other facilities have a Grade 2 Stock Attendant.  Requesting to create an Inventory Control Supervisor stationed at Jamesville to be in charge of the entire inventory system, individual will be responsible for:

  • Training all employees under his supervision
  • Conducting an inventory at least once a year
  • Keeping track of the perpetual inventory
  • Making frequent visits to the satellites to make sure policies are being followed
  • Working with Fleetmax system (has an inventory control system built into it)
  • Preparing regular reports for management that will include surpluses, shortages and losses
  • Establishing reorder points for parts inventory (inventory totals are in excess of $4 million a year, 20,000 different parts). 

Will save them money, determine what discrepancies exist when they do the perpetual inventory and year-end inventory, will not expend cash on inventory not be used in a short period of time, will determine if parts are no longer used and turn back into the supplier for credit.  Approved by Personnel this, Grade 7 Storekeeper would be working out of title if given these kinds of responsibilities, appropriate title - Inventory Control Supervisor, Grade 8, individual is currently making $35,139, new salary $35,762.

Mr. Kinne asked why this has taken so long.  Mr. Lynch said the system has been working well, feels it could work better with controls put into place.  In the past there were issues with the outlying stockrooms not agreeing with the computer, weren't reconciled as quickly as they should have been.  Mr. Kinne asked about the computer system to handle this and how one person could take on the additional responsibilities; Mr. Lynch said after some additional work, Fleetmax could do it; there are six other people working with the individual.

Mr. Jordan applauded their efforts to streamline the process and increase efficiency; asked if anyone is overseeing the outlying three facilities now; Mr. Lynch said they are overseen by the Section Foreman.  Mr. Jordan asked if they anticipate a cost savings when they institute this.  In answer to Mr. Jordan regarding anticipated cost savings, Mr. Leo said they don't have a figure, if they have strong control over inventory; the chance of loss will be less.

Mr. Laguzza asked what their variance is between inventory and what the books say they have; Mr. Lynch said he didn't know.  Mr. Laguzza asked what percentage of the inventory is at Jamesville, said he would be curious to know the breakdown at each site; Mr. Lynch replied 75% at Jamesville.  Mr. Laguzza asked if they found obsolete parts when they did the inventory two weeks ago.  Mr. Lynch said they weeded out anything they thought shouldn't be in inventory first, will be sold at auction.  Mr. Leo noted that they have been audited by the Comptrollers office on a number of occasions, have been told they are not doing a bad job, but some areas to be improved were mentioned.  Mr. Laguzza asked if they have looked at inventory-on-demand practices. Mr. Lynch said they go to manufacturers on an as needed basis for the expensive parts; the daily use items are stocked.  Mr. Laguzza expressed concern regarding whether the person they want to put into this position is qualified, doesn't want to put somebody in a position that after a baseline is established, he will fail; noted that they don't seem real happy with Fleetmax, wants to make sure it is done right.  Mr. Farrell suggested that Mr. Laguzza meet with DOT to discuss this issue.  Mr. Farrell said DOT has identified an issue and is moving in the right direction, suggested that Budget be a part of the meeting also.

In response to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Lynch said there is a test for this position, no one on the list right now.  Mr. Lesniak noted that it is not necessarily going to be this individual once the test comes out; Mr. Lynch agreed.  Mr. Lesniak asked if this individual would be authorizing the purchasing, Mr. Lynch said section foremen, maintenance supervisors and the engineering department would work with him to decide what items should be flagged.

Mr. Kinne said he thinks they are starting this individual out in the whole because of their system and lack of controls, would like to see a report in sixty days to make sure everyone is comfortable with this.  Mr. Lynch suggested coming back in sixty days with this gentleman to give a presentation on what they have done and where we are going.

Mr. Lesniak expressed concern that the bargaining unit could grieve the individual working out of title.  Mr. Leo said it is his understanding that they can't grieve the out-of-title unless the individual says he wants to grieve.

Mr. Farrell encouraged committee members to reach out directly to Mr. Lynch and Mr. Leo with specific questions or requests for information.  Mr. Farrell requested that the members of the committee receive the above-mentioned report in advance of the committee meeting.

A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve this item.  Ayes: 5 (Mr. Farrell, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza); Noes:  1 (Mr. Kraft).

2.   PARKS:

a.   PULLED

b.   A local law establishing a beach season rental fee for the Point Shelter at Jamesville Beach

Mr. Geraci said this is a rental facility that they have had for years that was not included on last year's Local Law regarding pricing for rental facilities.

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

In response to Mr. Jordan's concern about taxpayers paying for the use of the facility, Mr. Geraci said it is a good program that has been going on for well over thirty years, what they are really paying for is the right to reserve and use a facility on a particular day - picnic reservation program brings in about $90,000 a year.

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

c.       Discussion:  A local law amending Local Law 3-1996 to establish a value up to $10,000 for gifts, contributions and donations from friends groups

Mr. Geraci noted that the various Friends organizations have done great things for the County.  With current County law, the limit is $1,500 for donations; anything over that amount has to be brought to the Legislature for approval.  Working with the Law and Budget departments it was suggested to raise the limit to a more manageable number.  This law would establish a value up to $10,000, have had subsequent conversations that maybe they aught to tie it to the bid limit.  Proposing to give the latitude to accept gifts up to $10,000 without bringing it to the Legislature for approval, they would bring it to the Legislature for review after the fact.

Mr. Kraft said in the past he and others were concerned about the relationships with the Friends groups, gives them great credit for monies they have raised, yet there were monies that would be zoo income in spite of them.  Mr. Geraci said they have worked closely with the Friends organizations and the Budget Department to put consolidated budgets together that will be available during the budget process will show the friends money coming in, county money coming in and where it is being spent.  Regarding Mr. Kraft's question about the laws of the State concerning revenues coming to the County, Mr. Mack said both Budget and Parks departments have addressed the issues.  Mr. Kraft said that generally if there is revenue produced by the operations of the zoo and not by the extraneous efforts of the Friends Group, the County is not suppose to spend money unless it is appropriated by the Legislature.  Mr. Mack said those revenues are pursuant to agreements with the friends groups and are properly accounted for; those revenues are spent on County items for County purposes.

Mr. Lesniak asked if the Friends could go out and buy an item for a small amount without approval.  Ms. Hann said that if it is less than $1,500 it needs approval from Budget, if over, it comes to the Legislature by resolution.  Mr. Farrell clarified that Friends can spend any amount of money provided it is not described as a donation to the County.  Regarding tying this to the bid limit of $10,000, Mr. Lesniak asked if the Friends have to abide by County bid procedures; Mr. Geraci replied "no", if under $10,000, the Friends shop the same way as Onondaga County to get the best prices, over $10,000 is a little bit more formal, and we have that formal process in place in the county, tie it to the bid limit.  Mr. Lesniak asked if they would have the option of splitting a project, for example $5,000 for air conditioning and $10,00 for renovation for a $15,000 project.  Mr. Doyle said they wouldn't split things up to get under that $10,000.  Ms. Agostini said they have four representatives from the County on their infrastructure committee and three representatives from the Friends organization; it has always been a partnership.  Mr. Farrell asked if the Friend's are bound by the same laws as the County for purchasing.  Mr. Geraci replied "no"; they are an independent, private organization.

Mr. Laguzza said he would like to see the local law inclusive for all Friends groups in County government, whatever we decide to do, have some continuity.  In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Geraci said Friends groups are required to give us their audits every year as part of their agreements.

Mr. Kinne asked if the Friends went out and purchased a microscope for $1,500, who owns it.  Mr. Geraci replied that it belongs to Onondaga County if accepted as a donation; if it is something they buy as part of their business, it belongs to the Friends.  Mr. Kinne said there aught to be some formality put in place so that project can't be split up to stay under the $10,000.  Mr. Mack said the County has entered into a series of Memorandums of Understanding that form the foundation to regularize the way we do business with the friends and they do business on our behalf.

Mr. Kraft said the government provides the checks and balances by coming to the Legislature; to operate this from the Executive side without Legislative supervision is wrong.

Mr. Jordan asked if it slows the process down by having to come to the Legislature for over $1,500.  Mr. Geraci said things are happening on a regular basis, the timeframe to come to the Legislature is at a minimum sixty days, sometimes ninety, to get on committee.  Mr. Farrell asked if it is happening on a regular basis, how come it hasn't been coming to the committee.  Mr. Geraci said they didn't know that they had to bring it to the Legislature.

Mr. Lesniak requested a list of all Friends groups connected with Onondaga County government; Mr. Squires will provide this to the committee.

Mr. Farrell said the discussion would continue at the June committee meeting.

d.      Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept improvements to the bear exhibit without condition ($13,500)

To be used for a wall at the Bear Exhibit as part of the enclosure.

e.      Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept improvements to the ocelot exhibit without condition ($31,000)

To be used for renovations needed for housing of ocelots.

f.      Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept up to $60,000 from the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

To be used to improve the air conditioning in the new Conservation/Education wing.  Mr. Lesniak asked about the rental of the banquet room.  Mr. Geraci said it was part of the understanding they had with the Friends when they built the wing, we give them the latitude to rent it and revenue goes directly to the Friends.

Mr. Jordan asked when the Friends fundraise, is it for specific exhibits.  Ms. Agostini said they raised $31,000 this year for the Ocelot Exhibit, restricted funds for that only.  The Bear Exhibit wall would come from a restricted grant they applied for.  Mr. Jordan asked if there are any strings attached to the contributions.  Ms. Agostini replied "no", Mr. Doyle and she are two parts of the whole; they are pleased to fundraise for the zoo.  Mr. Farrell noted that this is a great partnership.

A motion was made by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to approve items 2.d, e and f.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

g.   Discussion:  Status of Friends Agreements - no discussion

h.   Discussion:  Plans for each park - no discussion

i.    Discussion:  Interagency Marketing - no discussion

j.    Special Events Account Report - no discussion

Chairman Farrell announced that the following three items will be on next months agenda:  Special Events Report, the plan for logging and how to fund that and a report on the collapse of a structure in Onondaga Lake Park that has already been dealt with successfully.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

 

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