Meeting Minutes Archive: November, 2007

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
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FISCAL WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - NOVEMBER 13, 2007
CHAIRMAN WILLIAM H . MEYER

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Warner

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

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

Mr. Corbett made a motion to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   FINANCE:  Mrs. Karen Carney, Director Real Property Tax

a.   Onondaga County Sanitary District General Apportionment

b.   Onondaga County Sanitary District, 2008 City Abstract

A motion by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve items 1a and 1b.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

c.   2008 City Drainage District Abstract

d.   Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax - General Apportionment

e.   Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Clay Apportionment

f.    Bloody Brook Drainage Tax Town of Salina Apportionment

g.   Bear Trap - Ley Creek Drainage District Tax - General Apportionment

h.   Bear Trap - Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Clay Apportionment

i.    Bear Trap - Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Dewitt Apportionment

j.    Bear Trap - Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Salina Apportionment

k.   Authorizing General Apportionment of Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax

l.    Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Geddes Apportionment

m.  Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax General Apportionment

n.   Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax Town of Dewitt Apportionment

o.   Onondaga County Water District 2008 City Abstract

p.   Allocation of 2008 Onondaga County Water District Special Assessment among zones of assessment and fixing composite rates for the several towns and the City of Syracuse within said district

A motion by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve items 1c-1p.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

2.   COMPTROLLER:  Mr. Donald Colon, Comptroller

a.      Year End Update

Mr. Colon said that the County is currently on track to finish the year with a small surplus; less then $5 million.  The caveat is that the biggest piece of revenue is sales tax.  To meet last year's revenue, there is still 23% of sales tax revenue to come in.  Six more checks will come in--4 in Dec., 2 in Jan. and Feb. (accrued to prior year).  Sales tax revenues are $140 million; one quarter still has to come in.  Stores are starting sales early; some have taken place and that revenue was received in the November checks, which were down from a year ago.

Mrs. Rapp asked about home building trends; Mr. Colon said that it is followed through sales tax receipt and it is currently up.

Mr. Ryan asked about sales tax projection.  Mr. Colon said that the 2007 projection is $140 million and estimated that sales tax revenue will be close to that number.  Mr. Ryan asked if it falls short, what happens with the threshold that was guaranteed to the other municipalities.  Mr. Colon said that if there is no increase at all, then the County guarantees a fixed amount to the towns, villages, schools, & City.  Mr. Ryan asked if other revenues are on target.  Mr. Colon said that right now they are, but there is a lot money to still come in.  Revenues taken in for federal and state aid are tracking almost identical to the 2006 numbers.

Mr. Ryan said that he met with Syracuse 20/20 regarding sales tax and noted that about 70% of what is done is encumbered--there is no choice.  He asked 20/20 to take a hard look at how sales tax is disseminated.  Mr. Colon said that more and more towns are taking a portion of sales tax in cash to subsidize their budget deficit and therefore the County tax rate goes up. 

Mr. Warner asked how much sales tax will be lost this year in gasoline.  Mr. Colon said that Office of Mangement & Budget tracks it.  He does not get a breakdown on how much is attributed to various categories. 

Mr. Warner asked for further explanation on the portion of sales tax guaranteed to the community.  Mr. Colon said that if the amount of sales tax that comes in is less than the prior year, then the towns and villages are basically held harmless.  They will get the same amount received under the formula from the prior year.  If the County takes in more (sales tax grows over 2%), the County keeps all of the money above the 2% threshold.  It can be renegotiated in 2010.  Mr. Colon said that the sales tax is a County tax; it is not a sales tax, not a town, not a city or village tax.  The City is statutorily entitled to $.02 of the sales tax collected in the city.  The rest is County tax money that the legislature decided to share with the towns, schools, villages and City. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that the County has been very generous with sales tax and there has been a lot of municipal building in the suburbs.  There has been less pressure on them and more on the County.  He referred to property valuation and stated that the growth seen in the last couple for years will not be seen in the future--it will be much more difficult for budgeting the property tax levy.

Mrs. Rapp said that if the goal is to consolidate, collaborate, or modernize government, than it is probably right to that the County take all of the sales tax.

Chairman Meyer introduced Robert Antonacci, Comptroller-Elect.  Mr. Antonacci said that he looks forward to working on the issues discussed today.  As the Town of Salina Comptroller, he met with many-elected officials to discuss sales tax.  There are other agendas he would like to look at; feels it shouldn't be looked at a "we vs. they" issue.  There needs to be a change of mindset on how fiscal stability is judged. 

Mr. Kraft said that making changes in sales tax distribution is very difficult.  It is true that a lot of towns are looking at sales tax, but most are not taking it today.  The City takes cash and the villages take cash.  There are only a couple of towns that take it in cash.  The Town of Clay built a new town hall, but did not have sales tax money for the project.  He added that possibly the tax bill should be changed.

Mr. Farrell said the there will be an opportunity to work toward consolidation--County will be looking at spending about $15 million on radios for the interoperable system.  There will be an opportunity with all of the fire and police departments and use State funds to do a study and look at consolidation, capital equipment, and range of services.

Mr. Kraft referred to Mrs. Rapp's comments, and felt it would make the City very nervous.  If it were done, adjustments would have to be made.  There are services that are not equitable.

3.   COUNTY CLERK:  Mrs. Ann Ciarpelli, County Clerk

a.   Mortgage Tax Apportionment

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

Mrs. Ciarpelli reviewed a comparison of previous years; it has been on a downward trend since 2006.

A vote was taken on the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. Ryan asked about the production of passports.  Mrs. Ciarrpelli said that they are holding their own; they are also done in towns, the City and in post offices.  Passport photos are going very well.

Mr. Warner asked Mrs. Ciarpelli to provide an opinion on the Governor's proposal regarding drivers' licenses for illegal aliens.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES
JAMES M. RHINEHART, CHAIRMAN
NOVEMBER 13, 2007

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

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

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

Chairman Rhinehart took the agenda out of order.

2.   COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:

a.   Authorizing the transfer of tax delinquent property to the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company

Ms. DeFichy distributed information concerning paid and unpaid taxes from 1991 to present for the two properties (on file with Clerk).  Ms. DeFichy said the properties are on Earl Avenue in Mattydale ($8,270.86 delinquent taxes) and Bear Springs Road in the Town of Cicero ($3,787.94 delinquent taxes).  Earl Avenue property will be rehabbed and Bear Springs Rd. will be demolished and rebuilt.

Mr. Stanczyk arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Meyer requested to be a co-sponsor of this resolution.  A motion was made by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.

Mr. Stanczyk said he doesn't like the premise of circumventing contractors who make a living fixing up houses, asked Ms. DeFichy why she thinks government should get in front of free enterprise.  Ms. DeFichy said she thinks they would do a better job, less likely that it will be investor owner, have done hundreds of properties in the target area of Mattydale.  Mr. Stanczyk said the county is also forgiving tax dollars against the properties as well, noted that the auction program is set up for a specific purpose; the County can recoup monies from delinquent properties by getting interested people involved.  Ms. DeFichy said there was a third property that has a lot of interest; that will go to auction.

Ms. Rapp mentioned that there is a rent-to-own scam targeting Mattydale.  They buy houses and do nothing to them, market them to folks who have no credit and have been evicted from their apartments; after three or four months when they can't pay the rent, they are evicted, they lose the money they have invested and it is rented out again.  This is opposed to owner occupied, fully rehabbed houses that are growing the neighborhood, done with this program.

Mr. Jordan asked if consideration has been made to the County taking title of the properties and then marketing these properties to potential developers, with some parameters.  Ms. DeFichy said everything they do has to benefit low income, couldn't sell to an investor unless they met the income level or there was sufficient proof that they were going to market to low income.  Mr. Jordan said he would like to see a program where we are not excluding the private sector from investing.

Ms. Rapp asked if standards could be set up, through the auction department, regarding purchasing a home.  Ms. DeFichy said they would have to consult with Ms. Carney.  Mr. Stanczyk said he thinks it would have to come through Community Development with parameters set up - a list of things that have to be done to the property, grants available based on income; segregate out a certain number for developers and for home ownership opportunities.

Mr. DiBlasi said the reality is that these houses are not bought by individuals, they are bought by landlords who continuously, over time, rent to lower quality tenants; the whole street becomes a problem over a ten or fifteen year period.

Mr. DiBlasi seconded the motion to approve this item.  A vote was taken; Ayes:  5; Noes: 1 (Mr. Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

1.   CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to provide additional funding to the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau to initiate an aggressive image building program by utilizing prior years' room occupancy tax revenue ($175,000)

b.   Designating the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce as the agency authorized to make application to the New York State Department of Economic Development and to receive matching funds therefrom under the New York State Tourist Promotion Act of 1978

Mr. Holder noted that the $175,000 for an aggressive image-building program would focus on building market awareness of the Syracuse area in three distinct target feeder markets - Albany, Ottawa and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Will maximize return on investment; will see a quick impact from visitation; raising awareness in the Albany market would help sell conventions and meetings.

Concerning item 1.b, Mr. Holder said they have to come before the Legislature annually to be designated as the official tours and promotional agency for Onondaga County in order to receive the I Love New York matching funds.

Mr. Rhinehart asked how they determined that Albany, Ottawa and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are feeder markets.  Mr. Holder said Albany has always been a strong meeting and convention market (produces about 35% of the business); Canadian travel is back with the resurgence of the Canadian dollar.  In all three cases, they are far enough away that they represent overnight stays - decided to put the dollars in areas that they know they can make work.

Mr. Jordan said he is in favor of investing money to market Central New York; asked about singling out these markets rather than areas farther away, and how did they arrived at the $175,000 figure.  Mr. Holder said they reviewed some of the visitation patterns through the hotels and credit card companies to look at where they are doing well.  Mr. Holder said If they package the cultural assets, shopping, culinary experiences, sports, outdoor recreation and our ability to take care of people the right way, we will not just get them here for one or two nights, but they will come back over and over.  A big part of the program will be monitoring visitation trends and visitor profiles.  Mr. Jordan asked if they should be considering a larger market such as Metro New York.  Mr. Holder said ultimately they would like (can't afford the media and PR now), feels they can show very immediate returns with these three markets.

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk's question about Room Occupancy Tax, Mr. Hart said they now have $734,000, are projecting a little over $1 million at the end of the year.  Mr. Stanczyk asked what private funding commitments have been made for the image- building program.  Mr. Holder said they have not gone out to generate private funds, but anticipates about $125,000 in private partners.  Mr. Stanczyk asked what the breakdown is for the public relations and advertising.  Mr. Holder said they have put out requests to four different local advertising agencies - looking at spending one third on PR and rest on advertising.  Mr. Stanczyk said the private interests benefiting from this aught to be first in line in terms of expense.  Mr. Stanczyk asked what the matching fund from New York State is; Mr. Holder said it would be around $74,000 for 2008, matched with ROT dollars.  Mr. Stanczyk asked about the results they think they will get, what timeframe and how are they going to track it. 

Mr. Holder said when a similar program was launched in the Fingerlakes, it initially generated $23 of return for every dollar invested; within two years, it was generating $37; he is looking for that same mark with this program, and will track it by surveying the visitors.

Mr. Meyer suggested that they look at Cincinnati and Louisville for the next round of advertising (they will be here multiple times for Big East football and basketball).  Mr. Holder said over the past few months they have been working on packaging athletic events, are now expanding to antiques, cultural opportunities, etc.  In answer to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Holder said they have had initial conversations with Syracuse Stage, Syracuse Opera and other authorized agencies concerning packages to offer; it is progressing and the organizations like the way it is heading.  Mr. Meyer noted that all the data concerning visitors and what they spend is available through the credit card companies.

Mrs. Rapp noted that at Budget time it was said that the actual ROT collection would be 10% more with this program.

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve item 1.a.  A vote was taken; Ayes:  5 (Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Jordan; Noes:  0; Abstained:  1 (Mr. Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve item 1.b.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *

EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
JAMES DIBLASI, CHAIRMAN
NOVEMBER 14, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Winslow

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (attachment 1)

Chairman DiBlasi called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes; a motion was made by Mr. Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.; MOTIONS CARRIED.

1.     OCPL:

a.     Transfer of funds from Regular Employee Salaries Account 101 to All Other Services Account 410 ($33,504)

Ms. Jensen said this is a year-end housekeeping transfer - 2007 budget included security cameras for the Central Library to be up and running mid year; at that time security guard coverage would be reduced from four to three.  Cameras were not installed until October - continued the expense of the one guard a few months longer than expected.  A reduction of $10,000 for their postage was also built into the budget in anticipation of the new ILS being up and running mid year; that didn't go live until October 23rd and didn't see the reduction in postage.

A motion was made by Mr. Kinne to approve this item.  Mr. Kinne asked about the shifts covered by the guards.  Ms. Jensen said they currently have four during the day (will go down to three) and two during the evenings (was three). 

Mr. Corbett seconded the motion to approve this item; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. DiBlasi asked for a quick update on the new ILS system.  Ms. McCaffrey said they went live on October 23rd and it has been positive; nineteen teams from Polaris visiting all the libraries that day and they are now doing follow-up site visits; hardware is installed, software is running fine, just doing some tweaking.  E-mail notifications are working great, have already cut way back on the mailers going out.

Ms. Jensen noted that she will be coming back to the Legislature in a few months to request $15,000 out of fund balance - has been struggling for 11/2 years to get Metronet to bill for the Library's charges.  $81,000, owed from 2006, was just billed in August of this year; they have not yet billed for October, November and December of 2005.  Once it is straightened out, will ask to have it appropriated out of their fund balance.

2.     OCC:

a.     A Local Law authorizing the transfer of County property to the County of Onondaga in trust for Onondaga Community College - Mr. Kilmartin

b.    Authorizing property to be held in trust for the uses and purposes of the Onondaga Community College

Mr. Kilmartin said this proposal entails a local law and a resolution to transfer land from the County of Onondaga to the County of Onondaga with a specific purpose to hold it in trust for use by OCC.  The reason for a resolution and a companion local law is that Dr. Sydow and Ms. Tarolli have been working with SUNY counsel about the most proper way to document this transfer - still some details to work out, want to make sure it complies with the State requirements, will be resolved in the immediate future.  Mr. Kilmartin provided an aerial photograph of the 60.66-acre parcel at the corner of Velasko and Onondaga Road (on file with Clerk).  Contained in that area is the Hillbrook Detention Facility- proposal entails carving out that property with an additional buffer area for security purposes and transferring forty acres to hold in trust for OCC's use in their mission.

  • There are two vacant deteriorating County buildings formerly used by Van Duyn and other County agencies on the property; they are eyesores and subject to break-ins and graffiti.
  • Ideal property for use by OCC in their efforts to deploy effectively and efficiently their Capital Project for 2008-2013.
  • OCC could reconfigure their campus and do long term design and planning to most efficiently use their existing campus and utilize these forty acres.
  • County residents will benefit in the long term by expanded educational facilities and offerings at the property.
  • Town residents will benefit because this critical intersection will be redeveloped, beautified and integrated, to a degree, to the adjacent Santaro Park.
  • Would expand OCC's geographic footprint by 20% (very limited property available in this area).
  • It is a tremendous opportunity for OCC because there is very limited property that is available in this area - would expand their geographic footprint by 20%.

Mr. Kilmartin noted that with capital projects by OCC there is a contribution split between the State and County of 50/50.  With this land transfer as proposed right now, the County would be entitled to a credit in the future at such time that a capital project is deployed at this property.  When a capital project is proposed, there would be two appraisals that would be done according to State law requirements; the final appraised value would be the credit for the County contribution to the capital project; wont have to come out of pocket for additional funs proportionate to that appraised value.

Mr. Corbett asked if there is a sunset if no development is done in ten years.  Mr. Kilmartin said that he was told by Ms. Tarolli that it is in perpetuity, it will be held on the books and detailed at the time the capital projects are deployed.

In answer to Ms. Winslow, Mr. Kilmartin said if the County were to sell this property to OCC, it would deplete the college's resources; would be good for the County presently, but a year, two or five years down the road, consistent with the 2008-2013 Capital Plan, OCC would come back to the County requesting a large sum of money from the County to undertake a capital project - would be a circular process that might very well net out to the same amount of dollars.  Mrs. Winslow asked if they know if developers are interested in the property.  Mr. Kilmartin said local zoning laws would come into effect if a private developer purchased the property, and history has shown that the community isn't interested in retail or commercial development; the likelihood of building residential next to a youth detention facility is probably pretty low.  Mrs. Winslow asked if we could do a footprint rather than turn over the entire 40 acres.  Mr. Kilmartin said if the County only transfers a small portion of the property to them, we are tying the hands of OCC; also, the County hasn't used the property for years.  Mrs. Winslow asked if there would be a public hearing regarding the local law; Mr. DiBlasi said yes.

Mr. Kinne said he would vote against this; he is a strong supporter of OCC, but the County does its fair share to support OCC.  Mr. Kinne said they are talking about a lot of land with no concrete plans in place, doesn't think the property has been marketed properly, is not on the main campus, doesn't see how OCC can meet all its obligations.  Mr. Kilmartin said that consistent with their mission and their 2008-2013 Capital Plan, OCC could develop this land at a property that is almost immediately adjacent to their site, that would not be subject to local zoning laws; it is his belief that OCC, the County and Town officials would work in concert.  Mr. Kilmartin noted that we could either sit on the property and wait for a developer to speculate on local zoning approval or do something positive, aggressive and immediate, and give it to an institution that we know has a great track record.

Dr Sydow said the college has documented plans that have been based upon the college's documented growth over the past seven years.  They have expended $50 million in capital investments since 2002, including student housing, renovations to many existing buildings and expansion to the Student Center; all of that has been to support enrollment growth which has been nearly 40% over that period of time.  The college is serving 10,500 students this fall, is providing more and more opportunities for local residents to get a college degree and, in many cases, providing opportunity for them to remain in the community to work or to transfer to a four-year college or university.  A document was distributed to the committee members entitled Onondaga Community College Proposal to Onondaga County, Repurposing Abandoned Property For Community and Regional Development (on file with Clerk).  Dr. Sydow referred in this document to an abbreviated version that shows the tieback both to the college's five year Strategic Plan as well as the Capital Plan.  Enrollment goal for 2011 is 11,000 students (college has almost reached that goal in 2007).  There is every indication that they will far exceed that goal; that puts them in the position of needing to have appropriate learning spaces to serve those students.  That becomes the most compelling reason for them to move ahead with a project for the transfer of property that has an existing building that could be repurposed to enable the college to respond to this increased demand.  Dr. Sydow noted that there are quotes from the 2008-2013 Facilities Master Plan that suggests that there is immediate need, based on growth, to expand facilities.  There are four large-scale projects that were identified in the Capital Plan:

  • Regional Higher Educational Center - they seek to establish 11 different baccalaureate degree programs on the OCC campus by 2011 - have identified a demand for baccalaureate programs - many of their students need a public school option, there is documented evidence that students are graduating from a four year program with a higher and higher debt load.  Center would present multiple options filling the gap that currently exists for our local residents, also dovetails with the community's efforts to keep our local citizens local.
  • Workforce Development - hope to move the Sustainability Institute Training programs and Small Business Development Center to the proposed site.
  • Community Fitness and Recreation Center is in their Strategic Plan for the College and also in the Facilities Master Plan.  With residence halls now in place and perhaps to expand to meet growing demand, there is an increased need for the college to provide to the campus students and the community at large opportunities for health and wellness.  Cornerstone in their Facilities Master Plan is an athletic complex that would include athletic fields - there is an opportunity with Santaro Park adjoining this property to expand upon the athletic and recreational nature of the land and the potential that it has for that usage. 
  •  Regional Public Safety Training Center to accommodate a growing set of programs and local demand.  OCC has very strong ties to local law enforcement agencies, currently has contracts with the County of Onondaga for Emergency Management Services and has just developed an Emergency Management degree program, has developed and submitted a proposal for training of Court Safety personnel statewide.

Dr. Sydow said plans are firmly in place; she appreciates the vision and proactive approach taken by Mr. Kilmartin to identify a project that has enormous potential value for our community today, five years and, undoubtedly, one hundred years down the road.

Mr. Kinne asked about the vacant land right across from OCC on Rt. 175. Mr. Kilmartin said that land has significant topographic challenges for any developer.  Mr. Kinne said to do something like this, the enrollment would have to increase 150%, doesn't see that happening.

Mrs. Winslow asked if a private developer could get the type of zoning needed for similar projects such as the recreation center or development center; Mr. Kilmartin said he would have to look at the zoning codes, can't speak for the Town.

Mr. Corbett said one of greatest assets of OCC is the cross section of people getting degrees, expansion would allow more usage of the college.

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve item 2a; Ayes 4 (Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. DiBlasi); Noes: 1 (Mr. Kinne); Abstained: 1 (Mrs. Winslow); MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve item 2b; Ayes 4 (Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. DiBlasi); Noes: 1 (Mr. Kinne); Abstained: 1 (Mrs. Winslow); MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb,  Deputy Clerk

* * *

SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES - NOVEMBER 15, 2007
CHAIRMAN ROBERT D. WARNER

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Warner, Mr. Laguzza, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Stanczyk

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at 10:32 a.m.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous meeting.

 

1.   AGING & YOUTH:  Ms. Lisa Alford, Commissioner

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to Accept Supplemental Federal Funds Beyond the Estimated Dollars Appropriated in the '2007 County Budget for the Title III Programs and Authorizing the County Executive to enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($19,540)

Additional federal funds for Office for Aging:

o        $15,999 contract svcs. for local focal points (congregate centers) addressing health & wellness issues for older adults

  • Increasing funding to Syracuse Northeast and Community Cntr., Tully Free Library, Dunbar Association - create/expand programming to low-income, frail, isolated members of minority populations
  • Current budget will cover local match
  • Funding expected to be permanent

o        $577 congregate meals - promotional material for 35th Anniversary celebration of Senior Nutrition Prog.

o        $1,117 home delivered meals

  • purchase 210 emergency meal packets
  • current budget will cover local match
  • funding expected to be permanent

o        $199 Health Promotion - "Files for Life" refrigerator magnets

  • contain vital health information which can be utilized if a patient is unable to respond
  • health responders know to look for them in homes

o        1,591 Caregiver Support Program

  • train professional therapist in "Space Retrieval" therapy - used for patients with dementia
  • train the trainer exercise program - strength & balance for persons with osteoporosis

Chair Warner asked about space retrieval therapy.  It was explained that it is a research-based program; tried in Cincinnati and based on a new thesis for persons with Alzheimer's.  Proven that people with Alzheimer's and other conditions can be trained new material.  The program will train therapists in our community. 

A motion by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept state aid for A Partnership for Youth-WIA grant and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($147,000)

  • Accept 2nd year funding Partnership for Youth grant;
  • Partnership with Youth Bureau and CNYWorks--develop employability skills for 20 hard-to-serve youth ages 17 - 21
  • Wrap around model, individualized assessment and individual plan for each youth
  • May include literacy skills, help to obtain GED
  • Successful last year - served 18 youth: 2 are successfully employed; 2 are in post-secondary education; 1 completed Pathways to Success at OCC; others are on tap for job exploration or GED
  • Hard to serve youth: either homeless, involved in justice system, aging out of foster care or have other challenges

Mr. Laguzza asked about awareness of the program.  It was explained that the youth are referred from social workers or therapists that have been involved with them.  Research shows that one area that the community needs to look at is employability of all youth; specifically targeting youth that are difficult to serve.  Statistics show that there is a decrease in youth in the workforce.  Mr. Laguzza asked if there is an opportunity to increase the base above 20.  Ms. Dunn explained that it was the way the grant was written.  For this particular population, they want a small number to really be able to target and be strategic to the services provided. 

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

Mr. Stanczyk asked about the funding; Ms. Dunn explained that it is $147,000 for the 2nd year.  It is a year-to-year grant.  The numbers show that they are being successful--anticipates that the grant is likely to be continued.  Mr. Stanczyk was concerned that there are a lot of dollars expended on a few individuals.  Ms. Dunn said that if the dollars are spent on these difficult to serve youth, than there may not be involvement in other systems, which may not be providing skills or activities to help them be successful.  Mr. Stnacyzk requested a fact sheet on the success in the first year and how it will change in the 2nd year.  He asked how much CNY Works will receive; Ms. Flynn said $140,000; $7,000 is used for administration.

Chairman Warner asked if the youth are being paid during the transition.  It was explained that they are paid for work experience.  There are also incentives:  i.e. when a GED is received, they get $100; when the program is finished, they receive $250. 

Mr. Laguzza asked if this program funds transportation. Ms. Alford said that the grant allows them to pay for some of those types of services.  Ms. Flynn said that it may pay until they get a license.  Ms. Alford said that there are individual plans--do they have a car, license, childcare, etc.  Ms. Flynn said they look for the best source for the funding. 

Chairman Warner asked to be provided with a list of all expenditures under this program for last year.

Mr. Holmquist asked if the $147,000 is arrived by a formula per client.  Ms. Alford said that the State and Workforce Investment Act determined that this particular model is very hard to serve; provides $8,000 for 19-21 year olds and $6,000 for 17 & 18 years old.

Mr. Stanczyk asked if there will be 20 new people coming in; Ms. Flynn said that there will be, but did not know how many at this time--she will provide more information.

Chairman Warner asked what happens if the money is not accepted; Ms. Dunn said that the program ends.

Mr. Holmquist seconded by the motion.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

c.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to Accept Funding for Ready By 21 Quality Counts Initiative and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($50,000)

  • grant through Ready by 21 Quality Counts Initiative
  • 2 year grant, $50,000/year; no local dollars
  • This is not new money for a new program; primary purpose is it to have framework to look at quality of current youth services. NYS was asked to apply for the grant; looked at communities already providing youth services that matched the goals and purposes of the forum
  • 4 communities were identified; Syracuse was included because some things were already being done here

Mr. Stanczyk asked how much is spent on the consultant /community awareness and training.  Ms. Alford said that they don't have a specific dollar amount; there is no contract for a consultant at this time.  The majority of the money will be used for youth programs in the community to enure a high-quality training across the board.  They are also including other funding sources:  foundations, United Way, Gifford Foundation, DSS, etc..  Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with a budget for this program once it is determined.

A motion by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. DiBlasi to approve this item.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.                                         & ;nbs p;                

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES - November 16, 2007
CHAIRMAN KEVIN A. HOLMQUIST

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Warner, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Ryan

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

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

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

1.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly

a.   Amend '07 Budget and Authorize the Co Sheriff's Office to Receive Proceeds from the Federal Government Resulting from Seizures of Assets Following Investigations of Illegal Drug Possessions and or Sale and Authorize the Co Exec to enter into contracts to implement this res. ($429,616)

This is accepting $429,616 to asset forfeiture grant account.  The majority of the assets are a result of one significant investigation.  The funds will primarily be used to continue efforts for special investigations unit, drug unit, to continue their efforts in drug enforcement initiatives.  Salaries cannot be supported with these funds; can purchase supplies, materials, vehicles (rent & purchase), etc.  The remainder of the funds will be used to look at things that were not funded in the budget.  For example, in the K-9 unit, one dog will retire next year; some of the asset seizure money will probably be used to replace the dog. 

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

Mr. DiBlasi asked why this is amending the 2007 budget; most will be spent in 2008.  Ms. Hutchinson indicated that she would report back with an answer.  Chief Peverly said that funds carry over because they go into a grant account. There is a separate account for asset seizure funds, which is one of the federal government's requirements.  Mr. DiBlasi asked how much money is in the account now; Chief Peverly said about $30,000.

Mr. Warner said that this is more than in previous years; is there an average.  Chief Peverly said that in years past, they have been in the vicinity of $100,000/year.  This investigation was major and went beyond the borders of U.S.  In the initial stages, it was strictly the Sheriff's Dept. investigation, but then federal government and other agencies were pulled in and have taken it over.  The federal government goes through court proceedings; takes their administrative fees off; determines, based on the participation with other the agencies involved, the distribution of the funds.  If it contested, usually the administrative fees for government is about 35%.  Mr. Warner asked what percentage of the Drug Unit is supported by this.  Chief Peverly said that they maintain the Drug Enforcement Unit with asset seizure funds except for salary and benefits, which cannot be done.  Mr. Warner said that critics have accused the system of unfairly taking property of those that have been arrested; but the system goes through a judge.  Chief Peverly said that there is a whole process; similar to a criminal proceeding, to make the determination.  In some instances people don't contest the seizure because it may require them revealing some incriminating information.  The funds are taken from people that have gotten them through illegal sale and use of drugs; they are using those funds to perpetuate their criminal activity.

Mr. Kinne said that he will vote against this because he doesn't like the way the money is spent on the Sheriff's side and it seems to bypass the legislative process. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked what percentage of the funds is in cash; what percentage is in property?  Chief Peverly said that most is in cash.  In this instance, there was one case of real property; total amount after sale was $5,400.  If there is real/personal property, through the adoption process, the government takes title to it.  Once they get final title through the appeal process, the agencies involved in the investigation are offered the opportunity to purchase the vehicles.  The Sheriff's Dept. does that on occasion because they rotate their vehicles in the Special Investigation frequently; the vehicles can be purchased relatively inexpensively.  If an agency does not purchase the vehicles, then they go to the federal government and an auction occurs.  The proceeds from the auction are split amongst the agencies that participated in the investigation.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if there are restrictions or mandates as to how the funds should be spent; Chief Peverly said that there is an entire manual on asset seizure funds.  It does not layout percentages, but does layout guidelines on how the funds can be used and not used.  If there is a question as to appropriate use, the Sheriff's Dept. uses the resources of the U.S. Attorney's Office.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how much will be dedicated to drug enforcement activities and what portion will be used for other items that may not have passed through the budget.  Chief Peverly said that they anticipate that recurring of the S.I.U. that generally is funded through asset seizure funds to be approximately $100,000 - $130,000/year.  One recommendation is that the funds be used within 2 years.  This particular seizure would give a solid 2 years of funding for the S.I.U. and the balance being available for use within the organization.  It cannot be used to supplant existing expenditures, but can supplement or enhance services.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested that if excess funds are available, then in concert with the Sheriff's Department, those funds be dedicated to a specific purpose or priority of the Sheriff's Department or Legislature.  Chief Peverly said that the administrative staff meets to identify and prioritize needs that are not funded through the budget.  Purchases are made through the County Purchasing rules and procedures and operate within the federal regulations. The polygraph suite environment is inappropriate to conduct polygraphs and they are looking at the possibility of funding that area.  There are other issues in the Abused Persons Unit, which are being considered.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested that possibly the Sheriff's administration meet with the Legislature to discuss priorities and make the legislature aware of where the funds will be dedicated.  Chairman Holmquist asked how often the administration meets to discuss these items.  Chief Peverly said that that hold regularly scheduled administration meetings, but asset seizures don't come up regularly.  Chairman Holmquist asked that the committee be updated as decisions are made on priorities.  Chief Peverly provided a copy of the expenditures for 2006 to date.  The investigations take place over a number of years. 

Mr. Warner said that he understood that the money was supposed to be spent on the program; he is hearing today that it could be spent on sex crimes and other things.  Chief Peverly said that one concern is the condition of the Abused Persons Unit--some carpeting was pulled up and in deteriorating condition.  They can use asset seizure funds for some issues such as this; it is not required that it be used directly for drug enforcement initiatives.  Mr. Warner said that it is very critical that the committee have a detailed statement on exactly what the money can be used for.  Chief Peverly said a few years ago, the furnishings of the new stations were done with asset seizure money, which is a valid utilization of the funds.  The funds should primarily be used for drug enforcement initiatives, but there are alternative uses that it can be used for beyond enforcement.  The budget process cannot be supplanted with this money.  Mr. Warner asked if the carpet would have to be replaced with tax dollars if it wasn't done with forfeiture money.  Chief Peverly said "yes."

Mr. Kinne said that he has a problem with this money being used to purchase furniture. It is the Legislature's job to make sure the money is there for those things.  It flies in the face of constitutionality.  He doesn't know why the Legislature has not had a more proactive stance in trying to control this.

Mr. Kilmartin said the he totally supports the resolution and has a great deal of faith in the Sheriff's Department and how they administer their funds.  He feels that this is not a constitutionality issue.  He would like the legislature to work in concert with the Sheriff's Department for the surplus funds, those above and beyond which is dedicated to drug enforcement.  He suggested an amendment to the resolution to this regard. Chief Peverly said that the Sheriff's Dept. is not comfortable with that, because the asset account provides them some flexibility.  If that direction is followed, he could anticipate a situation wherein direction would be supplanting the budget process.  There have been initiatives to use the funds in the past instead of budgeting the funding.  A few years ago, Mr. Pickard chaired a subcommittee of the legislature that did an extensive review of the legal process involved; did research with U.S. Attorney's Office. At that point, the Sheriff's Department was accepting the funds.  Subsequent to review, there was an agreement that the method in which the funds were being used was appropriate and the added step of accountability was to specifically set up the grant account, which did not necessary exist before that.  Also budget account numbers, subobjects, were identified.  It was determined to be the limitations of control and oversight.  Beyond that, it becomes borderline on supplanting.  During the budget process a conscious decision could be made to not fund something that would normally be funded and rely on asset seizure funds for it.

Chairman Holmquist asked if all the money could be used for drug enforcement, and asked why it would be spent on other things.  Chief Peverly said that the amount of resources that could be committed to it are somewhat limited.  Other organizations: federal, state, towns, village, are investing funds in drug enforcement initiatives, and this is a way of helping to supplement local dollar expenditures without supplanting the budget.

Mr. Kinne referred to the handout and asked about the Comptroller's adjustment, $20,327.  Chief Peverly said that there was a shortfall in that account and the Comptroller made an adjustment.

Vote on the motion.  AYES:  4 (Kilmartin, Warner, DiBlasi, Holmquist); NOES:  1 (Kinne).  CARRIED.

2.   HILLBROOK:  Ms. Jackie DeNero, Dir. Juvenile Justice/Detention Services

a.   Transfer of funds from Contracted Services Acct. 570 to Maint., Utilities and Rent Acct. 413 ($20,000)

A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

3.      PROBATION:  Mr. Robert Dougherty, Principal Probation Officer

a.   Amend '07 Budget to Provide Additional funds for Probation Dept. from NYS Div of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, and Authorize Co Exec to enter into contracts to implement this res. ($250,000)

This is to accept $1,050,000 from the State for Juvenile Risk Intervention Services Coordination (J-RISC); no local share.  Liberty Resources will provide Multisystemic Therapy for high-risk juvenile delinquents.

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

This is a 5-year program; $250,000 the first year; $50,000 for training; $200,000 will be received the following 4 years.  The contract is annual with Liberty Resources.  It is a new grant; a MST program existed in the County, which was what the State was looking for.

Mr. DiBlasi asked about Liberty Resources.  Liz Nolan, Liberty Resources, said that they are a not-for-profit service agency.  They are located on James Street and provide services in Onondaga Co. and 6 other counties.  They have provided MST since 2000, which is a certified, scientifically researched method of intervening with high-risk individuals.  They have had a high success rate; it is a home-based, community-based treatment.  Mr. DiBlasi asked how they were selected.  Ms. Nolan said that the Commissioner suggested that they apply with the Probation Dept. for the grant because they were already providing MST. 

Mr. Warner asked how the success rate is tracked.  Ms. Nolan said that there are 16 different scientific research projects which show MST to be highly effective in both preventing re-arrests and preventing out-of- home placement.  The longest one was a 14-year study, which showed that re-arrests were 50% lower.  She said that in their program, they set goals each year and produce outcomes to Probation Dept.  Right now there is an 80% success rate.  The measurements are related to re-arrests, child staying in the home, and increase family functioning.  The program is about the parent taking responsibility for their children, teaching parents how to keep them from re-offending.  The will serve 40 kids/year with this grant.  It will support 3 therapists. There are other funds to support a team that serves 150.  The cost is approximately $20/day to do a year's therapy.  The program is very rigorous and the therapists have only 4 or 5 families at a time. 

Mr. Kilmartin seconded by the motion.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

4.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Mr. John Balloni, Commissioner

a.   Transfer of funds from Maintenance, Utilities and Rent Account 413 to Travel Account 401 ($19,000)

Chair Holmquist announced that there will be a special meeting of the Public Safety Committee in Dec. to discuss interoperable communications and asked members to contact him or the Clerk for possible dates. 

Mr. Warner asked if the State will mandate interoperability statewide; he questioned when that may happen; how much the State will pay towards it.  He requested an explanation in writing. 

Mr. Balloni said that the transfer will cover meal expenses which is contractual when employees work over 3 hours contiguous with their existing shift.  This year there has been a tremendous amount of overtime as a result of the project that they have undertaken.

 

A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

SPECIAL COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MEETING

JAMES W. FARRELL, CHAIRMAN

November 26, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kraft

ALSO PRESENT:  Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Warner, Mrs. Winslow and see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Farrell called the meeting to order at 10:08 a.m.

Parks for Tomorrow II Initiative - Rosamond Gifford Zoo:  Mr. John Eallonardo, Mr. Chuck Doyle, Ms. Janet Agostini

Mr. Eallonardo reviewed the portion of the Power Point that he presented at the November 16, 2007 County Facilities Committee meeting pertaining to the Zoo.  Mr. Eallonardo said the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility that will and does come into play with respect to many of their animal exhibits. 

Mr. Eallonardo said there are other components to the project besides the elephant exhibit, which are:

  • The need to make repairs to the Courtyard
  • There is a mixture of different types of pavement
  • Landscaping (over twenty years old)
  • Primate Island Exhibit (currently unoccupied), originally designed back in the late seventies, now they have different, healthier, better species that the existing exhibit won't contain.  It is a signature element of the zoo's courtyard.

Regarding the elephant exhibit there are three choices:

1.   Maintain a breeding herd of elephants.  The County is a signature member of the AZA and has agreed with them to participate in species survival plans, one of which is the elephants.

2.   Maintain a non-breeding elephant herd.

3.   No elephant exhibit, but replace it with some other major exhibit.

Mr. Eallonardo said the current elephant exhibit is one of the bookend exhibits in the main courtyard.  They have come to the Legislature with a proposal to continue the elephant-breeding program and construct a major holding and exhibit facility (elephant building - 12,000 sq. ft. and overlook pavilion) in the wild north area of the zoo (where Bison are now located).  They have also incorporated renovations to the existing elephant building in that budget (work on the pool in courtyard area, hydraulics for the herd, replace the surface that the elephants walk on in the exhibit (20 yrs. Old), replace overhead shade structures in exhibit and better graphics.

Mr. Eallonardo distributed a packet regarding responses to questions raised at the November 16th meeting regarding the Parks for Tomorrow II Initiative (on file with Clerk) and reviewed the ones pertaining to the zoo. 

Question 1:  Does the convention and Visitor's Bureau support Parks For tomorrow II?  How will CVB help market the new and improved Parks facilities?  They are continuing to collaborate with CVB closely on marketing (recent example the electronic newsletter)

Question 2:  Comparison of Upstate/Central New York zoo attendance and admission fees.  The attendance in comparison to population is significant, compared to Rochester and Buffalo they are doing very well.  Regarding admission fees, Rochester and Buffalo are about 40% higher - seems there is a correlation between the price of admission and local population regarding their ability and interest to attend the zoo.  Raising fees in order to support the project without declining attendance does not seem possible.

Mr. Laguzza asked what the major attractions are in Rochester and Buffalo.  Mr. Doyle said the Buffalo zoo has tried to develop a number of different types of species, but they don't have one big draw, both facilities are much older than ours, they have been investing large amounts of money over the past few years to try to get up to where we are.  The elephant programs at both facilities are not the draw that we are, people can touch the elephants and interact one on one at our zoo, has a huge impact.  Mr. Laguzza said our facility is larger, more modern and we have some signature exhibits that are attention getters for outside the community. Mr. Lesniak asked if the Rochester and Buffalo zoos are accredited; Mr. Lynch said they are, the Watertown, Binghamton and Utica zoos are not (our zoo outdraws those three combined).

Mr. Farrell asked if it is fair to say that the biggest factor in terms of attendance and revenue is really not cost but the quality of the experience.  Mr. Doyle said the cost is always going to be a factor in our community.  Mr. Cooley said it is the combination of the experience and the price.

Mr. Kinne asked if any of the zoos in the country make money.  Mr. Doyle said the for-profits do, but are charging $40 or $50 to get in and are much larger; they are in destination spots.

Mr. Holmquist asked what would happen to the Bison; Mr. Doyle said they envision moving them to where the yaks are, across from the Penguin Exhibit.

Mr. Eallonardo said the estimated cost to maintain the breed herd would be $6.5 million, less the cost of having to make repairs to the existing elephant exhibit.  If they maintain the population of breeding elephants, it is likely to have a revenue impact in the future largely related to new births, projects a growth of up to 5% in revenue.  They would retain their AZA accreditation, would continue to be a leader in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), maintain their interactive program at the zoo where people can actually reach out and touch an elephant and watch them up close right at the heart of the zoo.  If they go to a non-breeding program, there would be less capital cost, but would still have to do repairs and renovation to existing elephant exhibit; in short order the breeding animals would be gone and replaced by a single, companion animal for Siri and most likely would not be trained or managed in the same style as Seri, likely that they could have health or other age related problems, likely would have to go to protective contact and not manage the animals as they do the current herd and would require a different style of facility.  If they have non-breeding elephants, they expect a decline in revenues at the gate, the gift shop, restaurant and Friends of the Zoo memberships of 25%.

Mr. Eallonardo said with the third option would be heading in a regressive direction with a more significant impact on revenues and a big hole in the courtyard where the elephants are now exhibited.  Cost of exhibits to replace the elephants would be very significant.

Concerning the cost of the project, they are talking about a new location and a new exhibit out of necessity to provide the space the animals need.  In order to do that they have to extend water, sewer lines, new electrical services; whether breeding or non-breeding, they still have to have hydraulics, heating systems, still have to hire consultants to design the facility, soil investigation, borings, surveys, inspections on work in progress.  They have done what they could to reduce the cost of the new exhibit - no pool, viewing takes advantage of what they have already built.

Mr. Lesniak asked the intent of the primate exhibit.  Mr. Eallonardo said to provide a positive enclosure of steel mesh that would be virtually invisible that would house at least three species of primates on a rotating basis outside.  Mr. Lesniak asked for the breakdown of cost for the new building for the elephants and the renovation of the existing building.  Mr. Eallonardo said the existing building would be around $300,000.  Mr. Lesniak asked what items would have to be done if they went with non-breeding elephants other than the renovations of the existing building.  Mr. Doyle said if they were to renovate the existing barn to house non-breeding elephants they would have to do significant work - additional hydraulic aids to transfer animals without having physical contact, would need to enlarge the exhibit area.  Mr. Lesniak said in rough numbers they are looking at $6.7 million, with operating cost included, for the first proposal, of that $1 million is offset by the Friends; in proposal No 2, they are looking at roughly $5 million, plus the operating cost (total $5.2 million) without offset from the Friends.  Mr. Eallonardo said roughly, but doesn't take in the revenue.

Mr. Laguzza asked about losing accreditation if there is no elephant program.  Mr. Doyle said their elephants are young and breed able and they have signed with AZA that they would have full participation in the SSP program; they would be requested to send Kirina and her mother Romani to another facility so that she can be bred; if they said no, then they would lose their accreditation.  Mr. Laguzza asked what it would mean to the public if they lost accreditation and the elephants went to another facility.  Mr. Doyle said all the animals that they don't own would be recalled - penguins, tigers, ocelots, lions - they are all SSP animals that are owned by other zoos - they make things available to them because they work and participate in species survival. 

Mr. Farrell asked if it is correct that they can eliminate a breeding program and still maintain accreditation; Mr. Doyle replied yes.

Mrs. Rapp said several years ago they were provided a punch list of infrastructure issues at the zoo, asked how they were dealing with them.  Mr. Eallonardo said the Legislature has been appropriating in the annual Budget significant sums of money for their infrastructure program, a major portion of that has been going into those projects; the smaller ones left can be accommodated in the annual preventative maintenance program; very significant ones, such as the Primate Island and Courtyard simply can't fit into the operating budget.  Mr. Doyle said they have a great team regarding the infrastructure - the County and the Friends working together, the Friends have stepped up to the plate and added money to some of these items.  Ms. Agostini said since July of last year they have spent $225,000 of Friends money - kid friendly bathrooms, automated doors, improvements to the Lynx Exhibit, Bear Wall, Ocelot Exhibit and veterinary care, $60,000 for air conditioning.

Mr. Jordan asked where our breeding program rates on a national level.  Mr. Doyle said we were ranked third in a study done two years ago.  Mr. Jordan asked if this draws tourist to our zoo from outside the area.  Mr. Doyle said they estimate that 25% of the guests come from outside Onondaga County; a Friends survey showed that after the zoo they go on to restaurants and Destiny.  Regarding the breeding program, Mr. Jordan asked if the calves could be sold to other zoos.  Mr. Doyle said they are committed to the SSP and what is best for the elephant population, they are committed to keeping the females and their daughters together for life (how they would be in the wild), right now have two elephants in Canada at the number one breeding facility in North America, but we maintain ownership.  Mr. Jordan said if they continue the breeding program and are successful, at some point in time we will have too many elephants.  Mr. Doyle said they would be put out on loan, but they would maintain ownership to ensure their well-being.  Mr. Doyle asked if there are any grants available to apply for or any fundraising drives to offset some of the cost of improvements.  Ms. Agostini said the $1 million from the Friends would be through fundraising.  Mr. Eallonardo said they are also applying for another $500,000 from New York State.

Mr. Warner asked what happens if the Friends don't come through with the $1 million.  Ms. Agostini said they fully expect to raise that based on their past history; and in order to help the County with cash flow, they are committing to pay off their entire OCIDA loan of $1.159 million, tied to the successful approval of the project; demonstrates how strongly they feel about this commitment. People are very much in favor of and want to support this program.

Mr. Farrell asked are we committing before we have the million dollars, if true, what legal commitment do the Friends have to live up to the obligation they have committed themselves to.  Mr. Mareane said the Friends commitment right now is an accelerated payment of a $1.1 million loan; that will happen immediately upon all the agreements going forward.  The second part is the pledge of an additional $1 million to support the projects at the zoo.  In the event they don't pay, it would be a County obligation.  Mr. Mareane said there are a number of people who have committed to raise the money, our confidence is very high; there will be a letter of intent between the County and the Friends.

Ms. Agostini said they have set aside the money to pay off the OCIDA loan, that would be accelerating the agreement by twelve years, not obligated to retire that debt until 2020.  Mr. Mareane said the County would bond for the $6.6 million (twenty years), hopefully will get the $500,000 State Aid.  Bonding for the zoo projects would average about $400,000 a year.  Mr. Warner asked what the total taxpayer cost per year is for Parks.  Mr. Cooley said their budget is about $4 million per year; revenues are about $1.2 million.

There was discussion regarding past commitments to the zoo by the Friends being restructured.  Mr. Farrell suggested that Mr. Mareane be prepared to answer the questions in detail tomorrow at Ways and Means. 

Ms. Agostini said she hopes the opportunity they presented to pay off the note and pledge the $1 million demonstrates how worthwhile the board feels these projects are and how committed they are to its success.  Pointed out what the Friends bring to the table by way of dollars to invest in the zoo so that they don't need to come to the taxpayers.  A substantial step back from the role as a top tier zoo and changes in attendance would dramatically effect revenues that the Friends of the Zoo incur - the gift shop, the restaurant, catering and education department (12,000 children have benefited from the education outreach program).  St. Joe's uses the zoo to retain and attract physicians and employees to the area (held an event for 400 physicians at the zoo this past summer).  Has had many letters expressing desire to have the elephant program continue.  Ms. Agostini said top tier zoos require some investment, but when you have a top tier zoo and can recruit people and attract people from outside the area, they help carry the burden of the expenses.  Ms. Agostini said the Friends have also brought marketing dollars to the table.  Hopes she is demonstrating the keen partnership that she and Mr. Doyle have been able to forge along with the Friends board.  There are only 200 accredited zoos in the nation out of 2,500, we are in the top ten percent, don't want to lose that foothold.  Have been in discussions with CVB about how best to market the facility; from recent research, have found that 40 percent of their visitors are going on to another educational venue in town - gives an opportunity for cross collaboration.  Sixty percent of the visitors feel that the national reputation that they have at the zoo is an important reason to come to the zoo.  Hopes they have demonstrated their commitment to the survival plan and these creatures, but also to the broader picture.

Mr. Kinne asked if they draw visitors with their marketing plan from Albany.  Mr. Cooley said they have not.  Mr. Holder said they have put a proposal forward to the County that will be presented at Ways and Means for $175,000 in additional funding for an image marketing program; one of those target markets is Albany, zoo is an important part of our cultural landscape and is an attractor.

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Mareane said they paid off $8 million in debt with cash at Budget time, and would incur $6.5 million in new debt.  Would be ahead if those were the only two elements at play, are always retiring debt, doing new projects, there is a certain baseline in capital work that we do.  Mr. Mareane said there are a couple of extraordinary things coming before the Legislature - the Interoperable Emergency Communications System (cost estimate in mid 30 million dollars), some to paid by County and some a municipal cost that they are hoping to cover through the new emergency surcharge on phone bills; they are talking about scaling down some of the improvements to the Oncenter and are going after the state in an aggressive way to do some improvements; improvements to Van Duyn have been deferred until they see if we have a Van Duyn (80% of cost is recovered through Medicaid reimbursement rates).  Mr. Farrell asked what the possible revenue sources are for paying the bonds for the zoo.  Mr. Mareane said property tax is the last resort; if there were revenue growth in other parts of the budget, such as sales tax, those would be available for this.  Mr. Farrell asked about ROT.  Mr. Mareane said it would be a stretch.  Mr. Farrell suggested that they take a look at the revenue sources that would ultimately pay for this.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Mareane said the County bond rating is very strong - agencies were advised of projects on the horizon - zoo, communications system, etc. and we are still a very strong AA+.  Mr. Farrell requested the updated numbers for Van Duyn.

Mr. Farrell said the presence of everyone at the meeting has had an impact and he appreciates the time they spent to come down to the Legislature and for their commitment to this community through the Friends for the Zoo.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:18 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - November 27, 2007
CHAIRMAN WILLIAM H. MEYER

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Ryan, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Farrell

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Warner

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting, seconded by Mr. Corbett; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

1.   WAYS AND MEANS:

      a.   Calling for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Southwood-Jamesville Water District

A motion by Chair Meyer, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Calling for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Warners Water District

A motion by Chair Meyer, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item. Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      c.   Requesting the OnCenter Veterans Advisory Board to advise this Legislature on how best to honor veterans of the Lebanon/Grenada, Panama, and the Gulf War/Afghanistan Wars at the Onondaga County War Memorial - Mr. Meyer

Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Rapp asked to be co-sponsors.  A motion by Chair Meyer, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      d.   Creating an Advisory Committee for Veteran's Affairs to Advise the Onondaga County Legislature on Veterans' Issues - Mr. Sweetland

Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Farrell asked to be co-sponsor. A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

2.   HEALTH:  Ms. Jean Smiley, Deputy Commissioner

      a.   Amend '07 Budget to appropriate funds realized from the sale of State and Federally funded laboratory equipment and authorize the County Executive to enter into agreements to implement the intent of this resolution ($24,250)

As lab equipment is sold, the grant requires the money be put back into laboratory use.  So far approximately $9,200 has been received; anticipate selling the old photography-type equipment to be sold at approximately $15,000.  A total of $24,000 would then be utilized to purchase equipment for the laboratory.

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  AYES:  7; NOES:  0; Out of room:  1 (Farrell); MOTION CARRIED.

3.   TRANSPORTATION:  Mr. Tony DeStefano

      a.   Authorizing the acceptance of real property necessary for the reconstruction of Plainville Rd Bridge over Seneca River, C-28, BIN 3313200, PIN 3753.77, in the Towns of Lysander, Elbridge

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

There will be one temporary easement, one permanent easement; construction to be completed next year.

Mr. Ryan asked if the bridge will be rented; Mr. DeStefano said that this one will be provided by the contractor.  They are still looking into whether it would be fiscally responsible to own a bridge; there are liability issues.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

4.   CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:  Mr. David Holder

      a.   Amending the 2007 Budget to provide additional funding to the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau to initiate an Aggressive Image Building Program by Utilizing prior years' Room Occupancy Tax revenue ($175,000)

This is to create a destination image program targeting 3 market areas:  Wilkes Barre, Scranton, and Ottawa to generate more visitations to our area.  Looking to have a cooperative venture with private support coming in.  A primary piece will be an insert in newspapers; supported largely by paid advertising.  It will be measured by website visits, phone calls received, significant gains for ROT, sales tax.  Additionally looking to track credit card reports-determine if they are seeing an increase in terms of visitation and use.  They will survey some of the visitors coming in to see if the advertising, marketing that was done drive the travel from the feeder markets.  They are looking to have the return on investment be around $37 for every dollar invested. 

Chairman Meyer asked if they are comfortable that enough gross rating points per market will be received.  Mr. Holder said that they are proposing a market mix-in addition to the newspaper inserts, there will be a mix of radio/tv.  There needs to be a mass media reach.  It may be different for each market area.  They know that Albany will be the most expensive market area - it is a very important convention feeder market, potential to seize destination/visitation from a leisure standpoint; it will need to be hit hard.  Wilkes Barre, Scranton will probably be the most affordable market; maximize buy there, will mix it up with public relations opportunities, i.e. DJ team for live broadcast, is going there to blitz the media for events.  

Mr. Stanczyk is interested in what will be received in cooperative ad investments; feels it should be as much as the ROT.  He also feels there are strong local institutions to be named in the culinary range that should be included. 

Mr. Ryan asked if there are areas, i.e. Elmira, Ithaca, that are not being hit, and may be passed over and we may do better with them.  Mr. Holder said that their first need is to hit hard the 3 market areas identified.  With public relations, once the right message is prepared it can be taken anywhere.  Whatever they come up with from a PR standpoint, they will blast out to anyone that will listen, after they hit the 3 feeder markets.  The 3 areas chosen are close enough to be an easy trip; far enough away for consideration of an overnight stay.  With a 1.5 hour time frame, people think about day trip and not an overnight.  For driving tourism, they need overnight stays.  The idea is to show success and make the program grow to other markets in the future. 

Mr. Kraft said that CVB will get $1,350,000 from the County in the 2008 budget; is part of it for promotion.  Mr. Holder indicated that it is; a great deal of that funding goes toward conventions sales, convention services, bring groups and meetings here.  Mr. Kraft asked why part of $1,350,000 isn't allocated for promotions.  Mr. Holder said that it is allocated to promotions, but they simply do not have enough to go towards building a destination image program.  To sell this area hard, a great deal of investment needs to be put into trade shows, sales missions, staffing to go after the markets.  Mr. Kraft asked if this is a high priority, why isn't the $1,350,000 being used for it.  Mr. Holder said that a portion will go toward supporting this program.  They need to have the website to support it, travel guides, staffing, phone services - all out of the $1,350,000.  The image building is important and completely new.  Mr. Kraft asked why other things that were less of a priority were not set aside and this pushed forward.  Mr. Holder said that they can't back off of what they area already doing, because what they are already doing is producing results for the area.  They have seen significant increases to ROT collection.  Despite not having a convention center hotel, they have still seen increases in that based on driving business for the convention center.  They are proposing driving more business into the area.  It will give them a bigger base and be more competitive in the market place.  Right now competition is fierce; Rochester is stepping up.  Mr. Kraft asked how much Rochester spent on their program; Mr. Holder said it was approximately $125,000; their budget is about 3 times the size of the Syracuse CVB.  They get their funding through ROT and private support.  Most of the private support in Syracuse has come from the sales front, as they go out to pitch conventions, meeting, and conferences to bring in.  Rochester started around 2000.  They continue to do research on it, and continue to do it every year. 

Mr. Farrell asked what the ROT balance is.  Mr. Mareane said that at the end of 2006, the balance was $719,000; are doing well this year; project adding $364,000 by the end of this year.  As a part of the 2008 budget, $50,000 was taken to help support the MOST.  There are about $1,000,000 in ROT reserves, which is the source of seed funding for this program.  Mr. Farrell said that the zoo will also be asking for a portion of this; they are a destination. He urged that the return on investment of all of the expenditures associated with this element of our economy be looked at.  He said that it is not being done today; decisions are being made independently. 

Mr. Corbett said that there are a lot of things to offer here.  The hospital is going up, the convention center hotel, mall expansion, and a large project in Camillus, plus what could possibly be happening at the zoo, is all proactive.

Mr. Stanczyk suspects that Rochester's piece is full of ads that support the entire publication and doesn't cost them much of anything.  He doesn't like the $175,000 to $125,000 relationship here.  There is direct benefit to the hotel owners, restaurant owners, etc.-they have to be a part of this too.  He would like to know how much they are all putting in. 

Mrs. Rapp pointed out that $235,000 is projected over what is typically received.  If it is more, then it will cover the cost of this.  As it becomes successful, it becomes a tool to leverage more public dollars. 

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

5.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly

      a.   Amend '07 Budget and authorize the Sheriff's Office to receive proceeds from the Federal Government Resulting from Seizures of Assets Following Investigations of Illegal Drug Possessions and or Sale and Authorize the Co. Exec. to enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($429,616)

A majority of this was from a single drug unit investigation, but there were about 25 total investigations relating to receipt of these funds.  The funds are used to increase or supplement our existing resources, but cannot be used to replace them.  They generally support the drug enforcement initiatives and then the remainder of funds are used of fund other areas within the Sheriff's office that have not been funded through the budget. No decision has been made at this point as to the specific expenditures of it.  These funds are not included in the 2008 budget.  They know the assets that are seized, but until they go through the process and are notified by the federal authorities that it has been cleared and approved, they don't know how much will be received. Mr. Ryan asked what will be done with the $430,000; Chief Peverly said it will be used to reinvest into drug enforcement initiatives and other areas of the budge that have not been funded.  Mr. Ryan said that this legislature put together a budget for Sheriff's Department, and he doesn't believe that at least 80% of these funds were known to be coming; now there is $430,000 for the department to do whatever it wants to with it.  Chief Peverly said that the funds cannot be used to replace existing funds; they can be used to supplement.  A lot of things submitted in the budget do not get funded, as a result some of the asset/seizure funds can be used to fund some of those items and helps to relieve the local tax burden.  Mr. Ryan said if it were known that there was going to be $430,000, the legislature could have relieved the department of that amount and uses it for drug enforcement initiatives.  Chief Peverly said that would be supplanting; it is a conscious decision.  On average they receive about $100,000 in asset seizure funds.  It is spent within the guidelines of the County Purchasing procedures; can provide you with a list of what it has been spent on.  Mr. Ryan said a budget was set for the department, and this is adding $430,000 to it.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the money can be used for overtime.  Chief Peverly said that it cannot be used for any personnel costs.  Regarding travel and training; $50,000, there is quite a bit of traveling for drug investigation initiatives.  In addition, there is training for them.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if any is used for K-9; Chief Peverly said that they will probably purchase a K-9; next year one will have to be retired and they don't have the funding to replace it in the budget.

Mr. Stanczyk said that parameters have been established-supplies and materials - is $250,000 going to go above and beyond what was allocated for the department.  Chief Peverly said that, i.e. tactical vests cost over $1,000--the SWAT Team is not completely equipped; in the Warrant Unit a tactical vest needs to be replaced.  They subsidize the operation of the Special Investigation Unit.  There are separate facilities that they operate out of with other agencies and usually most of the supplies and equipment is purchased for those areas.

Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with the amount provided in the in the 2008 budget for Supplies & Matls. and what the quarter million will be spent on.

Mr. Kraft said that is in a project account.  Usually when money is allocated for a department, back up detail is provided as to how it will be spent.  There is no detail for the allocation suggested today.  He asked if the revenues can be accepted and the money be set aside until they come up with a list that can be given to the legislature.  Chief Peverly said a few years ago this legislature established a subcommittee to look at asset money; and it was determined that there was some limited ability to identify the categories on how the money was to be spent.  That is how they came up with the grant account and the breakdown of the categories on how the monies will be spent.  It is set up on a grant account for accounting purposes; grants have to be kept separate.  At this time the Sheriff does not have the detail; it could be over a period of a couple of years before the money is spent.  Mr. Kraft said that maybe this legislature would prefer all on automobiles.  Chief Peverly said that there are only a limited amount of vehicles in the patrol unit; it can't be used for the patrol force.  Chief Peverly said that he provided a letter which outlines the guidelines.  Mr. Kraft asked to be provided with the pages of the federal guidelines which address supplanting.

Mr. Farrell asked if the funds can be accepted and put in reserve so that prior to expenditure of the funds the Sheriff is required to come back to address it.  Mr. Seitz said that the only way would be to appropriate the amount that will be allowed to be spent.  The money is in the bank right now, unbudgeted.  Mr. Farrell asked if the money has to be accepted at this time; is there a time frame on accepting the money.  Mr. Seitz did not know.  Mr. Farrell recommended that this be put back to committee until the question is answered. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked what happens to the money if it is not appropriated at all; Chief Peverly said that it gets distributed amongst other agencies that participated in the investigations.  Mr. Seitz said that there is a certain amount of time to appropriate the money; if it is not done, the money is given back and is redistributed.

Mrs. Rapp asked if a codicil can be put on this before any money is spent sot that it has to come back to the legislature.  Chief Peverly said that one issue with this money is that as needs arise they can buy them.  Mrs. Rapp asked if there was a confidential fund; Chief Peverly said that in the regular budget there is a certain amount of confidential funds for drug buys and confidential informants.  It is supplemented by asset seizure funds. 

Mr. Colon said that money comes in and is booked as a revenue; the grant account has existed for over 5 years.  The Chief is trying to appropriate the money; if it is not spent in the specific time, then a check is written to the feds and it is sent back. The feds determine how it will be distributed to the agencies that participated.

Mr. Ryan said that we have to take the money, but there should be discussion on this left for the next legislature.

Mrs. Rapp suggested creating an ancillary Operation IMPACT in suburbs that are having drug issues.  Chief Peverly said that they do that with other jurisdictions now. 

Mr. Farrell made a motion to table this to the next Public Safety Committee, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk.

Chairman Meyer asked that the Chief commit that they will be reporting to the Pubic Safety Committee meeting to provide detailed information; Chief Peverly said that they can report to the meeting in December.

AYES:  4 (Farrell, Rhinehart, Stanczyk, Kraft)  NOES:  4 (Ryan, Corbett, Rapp, Meyer). MOTION FAILED.

Mr. Kilmartin referred to the subcommittee that was formed to look at asset seizure funds.  It appeared that they might have been a prohibition in the federal law about a legislative body having oversight of exactly how the funds are spent.  If that is the case, he recommend at Public Safety Committee, that there at least be an informal process whereby the Sheriff's Dept. communicates with members of the legislature and informs them as to how they will look to spend those funds and maybe there be recommendations to the Sheriff's Dept. from the legislature on how those funds could be spent.  If they can't delineate how the funds will be spent, at least they can make recommendations.  If there is not prohibition dictating on how they will be spent, then it is open for a great deal of discussion.  He asked if the Law Department could engage with Mr. Pickard and from US Attorney's office to determine what restrictions may or may not be in place.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett to approve the resolution, seconded by Mr. Ryan

Mr. Stanczyk said that he will support this with the provision that between now and Dec. 4th, the legislature be provided with a breakdown on how the funds will be spent.  Chief Peverly said he can provide details on how it was spent in the past.  As to spending in the future, it is very difficult, as they don't know how the needs will unfold.

AYES:  5 (Rapp, Ryan, Meyer, Stanczyk Corbett); NOES:  0; ABSTAINING:  3 (Rhinehart, Farrell, Kraft).  MOTION CARRIED.

*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.

Mr. Kraft asked Mr. Mareane to advise the Chairman and the members of the committee prior to Dec. 4th, if there is an alternate means to which the money could be accepted and restrain its use until a list is provided.

6.   OCC:  Dr. Sydow

      a.   Authorizing property to be dedicated to be held in trust for Onondaga Community College

Mr. Kilmartin said that this involves property situated at the corner of Velasko and Route 173, Town of Onondaga.  There tax parcel involves 60± acres; there are approximately 20± acres dedicated to Hillbrook Detention Center.  This legislation involves a transfer of the 60± acres less Hilbrook Detention property.  The transfer would be from the County of Onondaga to the County of Onondaga to hold in trust for OCC and their educational mission.  This property is owned by the County; it has 2 very old, decrepit buildings on it, know as H-1 and H-3 buildings.  On the outside, they look like they are in pretty good shape; on the inside they are in terrible condition.  They are deteriorating at a cost to county taxpayers and the County of Onondaga.  It is an eyesore and buildings are subject to trespass and graffiti.  He worked with Dr. Sydow and OCC and has reviewed their master plan.  Their master plan includes a reconfiguration, redevelopment of their existing campus, which has intent to try to do some strategic acquisition of land when the opportunity presents itself.  There is an under utilized county asset; there is an institution that has a great track record for developing and redeveloping properties.  This resolution marries those two.  The upside to this to the Town of Onondaga residents is that this existing eyesore can be transformed to a beautiful property--state of the art educational facilities using green technologies.  The benefit to OCC - it would be one of the most historic events in the history of OCC since they moved their campus to Onondaga Hill.  They will be increasing their footprint in that area by about 25%.  They will have an enormous ability now to effectively and efficiently deploy their master plan and do it in a strategic way with a great deal of foresight.  It is a unique opportunity for OCC that will probably pass by quickly because it is highly unusual to have properties like this next to or near the campus that are available for acquisition, especially at a very favorable price.  The maintenance liability for the county would be wiped out.  There would be substantially reduced liability to the county taxpayers.  The transfer will be accomplished by $1; the financial upside to the County is at the time that OCC will look to undertake a capital project; they will look to the State and County for a 50/50 match.  At such time, whatever the match amount is for the County, it would be reduced by the appraised value of the property, pursuant to State law.  Many of our county residents benefit from the program, employment, and initiatives, from concerts at OCC.  The downside is little to none.

Mr. Ryan said that there will be a $5 million building built there at $2.5 million a piece, if the value of the land is $1 million; will that amount be taken off of the $2.5 million expenditure.  Ms. Tarolli said it would be credited; the state would have 2 appraisals done of the property at the time they propose a capital project.  The cost split is 50% State, 50% County; the County expense will be reduced by the appraised value of the land.  Mr. Ryan asked if the County were to sell it to OCC for $1 million what happens.  Ms. Tarolli said it is not reimbursable by the State.  Mr. Ryan asked what prevents the entity from selling any of it.  Ms. Tarolli said that in this case, the property is being held in trust for OCC, dedicating it for the use, not selling.  OCC is regulated by the State.  The County will deed it to them, but the County is still actually owners with legally dedicating it to OCC's use.

Mr. Farrell asked if this action is rescindable by a future legislature.  Ms. Tarolli said that she will look into the OCC regulations.  Mr. Kilmartin said that he expects that the legislature at any time could vote to sell the property and issue a deed to someone else.  However, the prospect is remote and would be subject to State regs effecting educational institutions. 

Mr. Kraft asked why this is being done now.  Dr. Sydow said that it is expected that the State will review funding for the next 5-year capital allocation 2008 - 2013, so they are ready to proceed.  They have a facilities master plan directly tied to the college's master plan, which is focused on the extraordinary growth of the institution.  Mr. Kraft asked about OCC expansion in the northern part of the county - would reserve of State funds for this project deny the opportunity to do that one.  Dr. Sydow said that it would not; the capital plan has the exploration of the north site and funding built into it.

Chairman Meyer made a motion to approve this item, seconded by Mr. Kraft.

Mr. Rhinehart questioned how the town feels; Mr. Kilmartin indicated that they were supportive and Dr. Sydow agreed.  Also the OCC Board passed a resolution yesterday that if the county is willing to transfer this property in trust to the college that they will happily accept it.

Mrs. Rapp said that there has been discussion about partnering with YMCA and asked if it was still on the table.  Dr. Sydow said that it is; the YMCA is currently looking at the western area and the potential for developing a Y in that part of the county.  Conversations have taken place for over a year; they are moving forward on doing a market study; she is very optimistic.

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

      b.   A Local Law Authorizing the Transfer of Co. Property to the Co. of Onondaga in Trust for OCC

A motion by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

7.   OCPL:  Mrs. Joyce Latham, Director

      a.   Amending the 2007 Budget to accept supplemental New York State Aid funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($135,224)

A systems study/survey was done last year, which raised awareness as to who knew about library issue and who does not.  It was identified that they needed to be more strategic about the programs that libraries have available.  It was also part of an initiative from the Board of Trustees.  When the supplemental funds came along, they had an opportunity to develop a strategy for educational outreach to users in the community, targeting people who are not really users of the library.  At the same time, they were engrossed in a county-wide strategy to address literacy issues.  Those that are functionally illiterate cannot perform basic tasks such as locating a location on map.  Literacy is a driver in terms of economic development. 

Chairman Meyer last whereas clause, asked for examples.  Ms. Latham said that people don't know about the homework help programs, the website, the digital data bases, services of handicapped.  Mr. Meyer asked how it would be communicated.  Mrs. Latham said through a targeted market plan.  She said that she met with Aaron Hugo, who in turn met with all system directors.  Also spoke to the people who have done marketing plans for other libraries.  She would like to see a comprehensive plan that uses all forms of media plus a print and comes up with a fee, promotes the fee and targets it around library card sign up month.  September tends to be the month; would like to do a media blitz, following up by print outreach-handouts, brochures, possibly an advertisement in the newspaper.  The focus groups said that TV and radio would be a way to reach people that are not library users.  Chairman Meyer questioned if the directors asked for radio and TV; Mrs. Latham said that they med with Mr. Hugo and discussed the various factors.  She did not know if they had a particular preference.  She hasn't heard anything to contradict the strategy that is in place at this time.

Chairman Meyer asked if PSA's are part of the plan.  Mrs. Latham said that they have been done with S.U.  PSA's are part of this; the other part is that it is part of a bundling process with other commercial processes for $20,000.  It is targeted at library card sign up month.

Mrs. Rapp asked about the money being leveraged with other private dollars.  Mrs. Latham said that they will be working with Pinkney Hugo; Aaron Hugo will look at bundling purchases. 

Chairman Meyer said he his having a difficult time understanding how $20,000 radio and TV buy will come close to what is trying to be done; also unsure of the goal.  Mrs. Latham said that what libraries do is different than what businesses do.  Businesses try to sell things; their idea is to get you to come in and purchase something.  Libraries are about educating the public about different resources available to them, which is a different strategy. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if Mr. Hugo is doing this in-kind as a board member; Mrs. Latham said "yes".

Mr. Farrell said that presentation is focus on level 1, level 11 for literacy and he does not think that it will accomplish much for the improvement of these levels.  Mrs. Latham said that they have to get them in there.  Mr. Farrell said that if that is the case, they should find $100,000 and go after them hard. 

Mr. Kraft understands that this could go to a budget account, and not a grants account.  The purpose of this legislature is to budget and authorize spending.  The money should go into the budget.  There should be budget codes included on where the money will be spent.  Mrs. Jensen said that the back up information does break it down by object codes.  Mr. Seitz said that the accounts can be included on the resolution.

Mr. Ryan suggested that the Spanish and Vietnamese populations be targeted. 

Mr. Corbett asked if legislators have oversight as to how this will be spent.  If it is not spent, where does it go. Mr. Mareane said that the money will come into the budget, if not spent it will close out in library fund balance.  Mr. Mack said that the library is an administrative unit of county government, and there is general oversight by the legislature, Library Board of Trustees, and Commissioner of Education.  Funds have to be spent consistent with the state plan and the state aid.  There is general oversight by this legislature.

Mrs. Latham said that they would like to do an entire rollout of this; there is a Marketing Committee established for the system, which allows the members to participate.  She has ideas, but this is actually a broader base.  Mrs. Rapp suggested accepting the money, and asking the Library to come back to committee when they have the details.  Mrs. Latham said that $50,000 is earmarked for marketing; $10,000 is for Syracuse Reading Series.  Ms. Carmer said that $10,000 is for a postage shortfall; $55,000 is for system wide books and materials.  Chairman Meyer said that if the money is not acted upon now, it goes into library fund balance.  He suggested that the Library come back with a plan in Jan., Feb. or March.  Chairman Meyer suggested the library representatives put this in writing; the agenda will proceed and the committee will return to this item later in the meeting.

8.   PROBATION:  Ms. Mary Winter, Commissioner

      a.   Amend '07 Bud. to Provide Addl. funds for Probation Dept. from NYS Div. of Probation and Correctional Alternatives and authorize Co Exec to enter into Contracts to Implement this res. ($250,000)

This is a new grant for approx. $1 million for the next 5 years; it was competitive, 14 counties applied, 7 received the funding.  It is an alternative for placement of juvenile delinquents.  $250,000 will be received the first year; $50,000 of it is for start up costs; $200,000 every year after that.  All money will go to provide multisystemic therapy, which is a counseling/family based intervention which will be provided by Liberty Resources.

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

Mr. Ryan asked how much money is handed out to private agencies to deliver a service.  Ms. Winter said that Liberty Resources gets near $1 million; Salvation Army gets $790,000, but the real cost is in placing these children in institutions and paying those agencies.  The cost for 2 kids going to an institution for a year is about $200,000; as opposed to the 40 kids getting this service and the success rate is much greater.  The failure rate of young kids who are generally males of color, who are placed, the failure rate is astronomical.  The failure rate in the Office of Children and Family Services is 80%.  Mr. Ryan asked why we haven't been doing more of this.  Ms. Winter said that they have been doing it; this is a chance for them to expand the program with no local costs.  There are about 100 kids in the program at any given time, the program lasts for about 4 months.

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

9.   COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Ms. Linda DeFichy, Administrator

      a.   Authorize transfer of Tax Delinquent Property to Onondaga Co. Housing Development Fund Co.

Two properties:  Bear Springs Road, Town of Cicero; Earl Avenue, Mattydale.  The property on Bear Springs Road owes $3,700; the one in Mattydale owes $8,200. 

Mr. Kraft feels that the taxpayers should get the money; there is delinquent taxes on the property; someone will pay $70,000 - $80,000 to take it after it is fixed up; and Community Development keeps the property.  The taxpayers lose. 

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

Mrs. Rapp said that the taxpayers win, because now instead of the owner paying $2,000/year in taxes, they are paying $4,000/year in taxes and actually are paying the taxes.  Within a couple of years the return on the investment has the taxpayer far ahead.

Mr. Rhinehart said that this is a good program; has looked at a home in Mattydale that was in this program; the program shows positive results. 

Mr. Kraft said that federal and state aid is received to promote and pay the costs associated with the development of the property.  Part of the cost is the taxes owed.  The property is worth something; and it is being taken away from that auction; he wants to see someone pay the tax bill.

AYES:  6: NOES:  1 (Kraft); Out of Room:  1 (Farrell).  MOTION CARRIED.

10. HILLBROOK:

      a.   Transfer of funds from Acct. 570 Contracted Client Services in the Amount of $20,000 to Acct. 413 Maintenance, Utilities & Rents to Cover Higher than Anticipated Utility Costs ($20,000)

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

11. EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Mr. John Balloni, Commissioner

      a.   Transfer of Funds from Acct. 413 Maintenance, Utilities & Rents in the amount of $19,000 to Acct. 401 Travel to Cover Meal Allowances ($19,000)

This is for meal allowances, which are contractual.

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

DISCUSSION ON ITEM 7A RECONVENED.

Ms. Latham stated the following:

$50,000  - systemwide marketing plan

$10,000  - Syracuse Reads promotion

$10,000 - Postage for mailers and sorting/delivery services

$20,224 - materials - system wide use - books, media

$10,000 - literacy - related

$25,000 - on line system wide reference databases

Chairman made a motion that the rules be waived form the written resolution and approve a resolution on the sheet (Attachment A), exclude the $60,000 on top so that the director has an opportunity to come back with a marketing plan.  Mrs. Rapp seconded the motion.  There was no objection; CARRIED.

Mr. Rhinehart clarified that the postage would be approved for $10,000; $20,224 for materials; $10,000 literacy and $25,000 data basis.  Chairman Meyer agreed. 

 

Chairman Meyer made a motion to approved for $10,000; $20,224 for materials; $10,000 literacy and $25,000 data basis.  AYES:  6 (Rapp, Kraft, Corbett, Farrell, Ryan, Meyer); NOES:  1 (Rhinehart). MOTION CARRIED.

12. VAN DUYN:  Mrs. Roberta Sprague, Commissioner

      a.   Transfer funds from Acct. 101 Reg. Empl. Sal. in the amount of $100,000 to Acct. 408 Fees for Svcs. due to Increased Costs in Contract Nursing Svcs. and Increased Administration consulting costs

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

13. AGING AND YOUTH:  Ms. Lisa Dunn, Commissioner

      a.   Amend´07 Bud. to Accept Supplemental Fed. Funds Beyond Est. Dollars Appropriated in '07 Bud. for Title III Programs and Authorize Co Exec to enter into Contracts to Implement this res ($19,540)

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

Mr. Ryan said that the department will be receiving about $217,000; asked if any of the money has been afforded to the department in the last few years.  Ms. Dunn said that they have received supplemental funded, they never know the amount, but do anticipate something.  Some of this was anticipated in the 2008 budget, but not all of it; only a small amount.  Mr. Ryan asked to be provided with the amount received in these 3 accounts for the last 5 years and how much was budgeted for.

Mr. Kraft said that this money is specifically allocated to programs.  Ms. Dunn said that 2 grants are anticipated, but they have no way of knowing how much.  They looked at trends of what was received previously.  It would be premature to have exact amounts.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

      b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to Accept State Aid for A Partnership for Youth-WIA Grant and Authorizing the County Executive to enter into Contracts to implement this resolution ($147,000)

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

 

      c.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to Accept funding for Ready By 21 Quality Counts initiative and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($50,000)

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

14. PARKS AND RECREATION:  Mrs. Kate Skahen, Prog. Analyst; Mr. John Cooley, Dir. Rec. & Public Prog.

      a.   Transfer of Funds from Acct. 413 Maintenance, Utilities & Rents in the amount of $5,000 to Acct. 410 All Other Expenses to Cover Costs Related to Tree Removal and Trash and Recycling ($5,000)

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

      b.   A Local Law increasing the rental fee for the Lake House at Beaver Lake and providing for a January Admission Fee at Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park, and amending Local Law No. 11-2006 and Local Law No. 22-2002, as amended

A motion by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

John Cooley provided a Power Point presentation.

Chairman Meyer said that the remainder of the Parks Department items would be taken out of order.

      c.   Approving the Classification of a Type I Action Under the SEQRA; Declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Full Environmental Assessment Form; and Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration for Improvements at Oneida Shores

      d.   Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Action Under the SEQRA; declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Short Environmental Assessment Form; Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration for Rehabilitation of Various Attractions at Onondaga Lake Park

      e.   Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Action Under the SEQRA; Declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Short Environmental Assessment Form; Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration for the Landscaping of Skyline Lodge at Highland Forest

      f.    Approving the classification of an unlisted action under the SEQRA; declaring lead agency status; accepting the short environmental assessment form; and accepting and adopting the negative declaration for the restoration of Brockway Masonry at Pratts Falls

A motion by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve items 14c - 14f.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      g.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept a grant from the State of New York to accept State and Federal Aid funds, and to authorize the transfer of funds from the special events account for park infrastructure improvements and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts

A motion by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      h.   Authorize Dept. of Parks & Rec to apply for Grant-in-Aid Assistance for Oneida Shores Improvement Proj. and authorize Co Exec to enter into Agreements to Carry Out the Intent of this res

A motion by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item. 

Chairman Meyer asked to be a co-sponsor. 

      i.    A resolution authorizing various improvements and embellishments at County Parks in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a maximum estimated cost of $4,317,900 and authorizing the issuance of $3,532,150 bonds of said County to pay part of the cost thereof

A motion by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      k.   Approving the classification of a Type I Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; declaring lead agency status; accepting the full environmental assessment form; and accepting and adopting the negative declaration for improvements at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Janet Agostini, Friends of the Zoo, addressed the committee; provided photos of events at the zoo and endorsed the project before the committee.

Mr. Ryan said that Onondaga County is on the cusp; there is a need to have a full scope of services available for everyone to enjoy in our community.  The Zoo is something that everyone in the community benefits from.

 

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

Mr. Kraft said that our community is amongst the highest taxed in the U.S.  Someday we have to learn how to say no to things.  Agrees that the quality of life that the parks brings adds value to our community and has supported the parks through the years.  He does not know if a breeding program is needed.  He referenced other projects facing the county now; interoperability, covered water storage.  He said that he believes there are a lot of other zoos that are successful that do not have an elephant breeding program.  Something has to be done, he can't keep voting yes and increasing taxes.

Mr. Farrell said that Mr. Kraft has a substantial point; have to look at Onondaga County's future.  As long as we are on the top of the list of highest taxes, the future generations will suffer.  He believes that a substantial and persuasive arguments have been made to go forward with this project; but has not heard how it impacts the economic future of Onondaga County.  He has not seen a plan.  This item should be held and examined in the context of how all economic dollars are being spent.  He asked how this will be funded in terms of ROT to fund debt service.  Mr. Mareane said there is not a prohibition in using ROT; ROT has to be used to promote convention and tourism.  However, ROT for 2008 is fully consumed; all $4.7 million of ROT money has been approved for expenditure.  There are no additional dollars waiting to be spent.  This will be a 20-year bond for the zoo; supported by $1 million from the Friends and the rest of it will be structured through general county fund and general tax support.  Mr. Farrell said that if an argument is about economic development, then economic development should pay for this.  He suggested that a reallocation of funds be looked at.

Mrs. Rapp said that no one wants to increase taxes, but at this point, unless the county dramatically changes the way they do business, then the only way to reduce taxes is to grow our economy.  Currently, we are 92% below bonding threshold; when going out and enticing people to come here and raise their families; we need something that is the best program.  The elephant-breeding program is our signature, it distinguishes us from other places in the country.  The entire community can take pride in it. 

Mr. Corbett said that with everything going on around the county, this is another enhancement.  For being on the top of the list for taxes, there are a lot of reasons for it-the State being one of them.  Some of the defeatist attitude that has existed over the years has held us back.  He questioned why not do this in Onondaga County.  This is another way of bringing people into our community.  We have a state of the art facility in the zoo and a breeding program, which is the envy of a lot of places in the U.S.  He sees a lot of value in continuing it.

Mr. Farrell said that there is not doubt that the zoo and improvements of it will bring value to the county.  He said this is saying it feels good to us, but what are we going to do when the next group comes in and asks the legislature to spend another X amount of dollars; it is accumulative.  It is not a matter of good or bad; it is what is the best way to do this.  There are a lot of good things that have happened in this community; but he does not know what the economic development budget is for this community; he said that no one knows. 

Mr. Ryan said that investment is the only way to ensure success.  This item is our choice, our kids have chosen to move to NY and Boston.  They do that because there are things to do there.  In order for us to be put in that position, we need to get these type of projects through.  He said that we are on the top of the list of high taxes because our houses are so cheap.  Taxes are high in other parts of the country also.  He said that we don't need the breeding program, but it is a big help.  As long as we are going to spend money at the zoo, fix a building or build a room, let's go one step more and give it some pizzazz; make it a hallmark. 

 

Mr. Meyer seconded the motion.  AYES:  4 (Ryan, Meyer, Rapp, Corbett);  NOES:  1 (Kraft)  ABSTAINED:  2 (Rhinehart, Farrell).  MOTION CARRIED.

      l.    A resolution authorizing various improvements at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a maximum estimated cost of $7,716,000 and authorizing the issuance of $6,716,000 bonds of said County to pay part of the cost thereof

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

Mr. Rhinehart asked of the county executive-elect has weighed in on this proposal.  Chair Meyer did not know. 

 

AYES:  4 (Ryan, Meyer, Rapp, Corbett); NOES:  1 (Kraft)  ABSTAINED:  2 (Rhinehart, Farrell).  CARRIED.

      m.  Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to apply for Grant-in-Aid Assistance for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Elephant and Primate Island Exhibits and authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements to carry out the intent of this resolution

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Ryan, Meyer, Rapp, Corbett); NOES:  1 (Kraft)  ABSTAINED:  2 (Rhinehart, Farrell).  CARRIED.

 

      n.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept gifts and donations for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Ryan, Meyer, Rapp, Corbett); NOES:  1 (Kraft)  ABSTAINED:  2 (Rhinehart, Farrell).  MOTION CARRIED.

      j.    A resolution authorizing the replacement of the scoreboard at Alliance Bank Stadium in and for County of Onondaga, New York, at a maximum estimated cost of $1,284,000 and authorizing the issuance of $1,284,000 bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof

Chairman Meyer asked Mr. Colon when the Stadium audit would be complete.  Mr. Colon said that the draft document is done and is being reviewed by the County Executive's office and the Community Baseball Club of Syracuse.  He is hoping to have their responses by the end of this week or early next week.

Chairman Meyer asked if the Committee if they desired to take action on this item today.  The consensus of the committee was not to take any action on this item.

Chairman Meyer asked Mr. Eallonardo to provide a brief statement about the proposed sign.

Mr. Eallonardo said that the sign would be similar to one that Rochester purchased last year; an LED sign, save about $7,000/year in utilities and electrical costs.  A potential savings in maintenance, state of the art, and greater ability to advertise on it.  Chairman Meyer said the Mr. Eallonardo had told him that there is potential to produce additional revenue with this sign.  With the current arrangement, there is no additional advertisement revenue.

Mr. Rhinehart said that last sign is 11 years old and asked if the proposed new sign will last 10 years.  Mr. Eallonardo said that it would. 

The meeting was at 2:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature