Meeting Minutes Archive: July, 2008

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434
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PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES - JULY 8, 2008
CHAIRMAN RICHARD LESNIAK

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Buckel, Mr. DeMore, Mr. Warner, Mr. Masterpole, *Ms. Williams
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Lesniak called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. DeMore to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  CARRIED.

1.     PROBATION:  Mary Winter, Commissioner
a.     Amend '08 Budget to Provide Additional State Funds to the Probation Dept. for the Supervision of Sex Offenders, and authorize Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($80,500)
State money for services to level 2 & 3 sex offenders (55 level 1; 33 level 3); will fund a probation officer's salary, benefits, and polygraph services.  Currently there are 15 absconders. Caseload is up 25% in last 3 months. 

Mr. Warner asked about recidivism rate.  Ms. Winter didn't know, but added that sex offenders are not like DWI cases where there is huge recidivism and can be tested for drugs and alcohol.  Sex offenders are sneaky.  They will know more because of doing polygraph.  They have not been able to do it before because it is expensive at $300/test.  They will now test at least once a year all level 2 & 3 sex offenders.  If it appears someone is still offending, they be watched more closely and up the level of treatment.  Chairman Lesniak asked what happens if they refuse to take the polygraph.  Ms. Winter said it hasn't happened; it is part of their probation; sex offenders tend to be very compliant.  Mr. Warner asked what is the longest time an absconders has been gone.  Mr. Giacchi said that one was up to 8 years.  The warrant is still active; they don't expire.  In answer to Mr. Warner, Mr. Giacchi said that it is all computerized and warrants come up across the nation.

*Ms. Williams arrive at the meeting.

Ms. Winter said that the law states that they can destroy most records after 10 years; they will now be keep sex offender records for at least 50 years or forever.  Mr. Warner asked how soon is the information available nationwide when someone gets arrested.  Chief Peverly said that it is almost immediate. 

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

Mr. Buckel asked about the authorization and enabling legislation for polygraphs.  Ms. Winter said that it is a condition of probation that a judge can sign off on.  It is used to up the level of treatment or adjust the level of treatment.  Mr. Masterpole asked how many polygraphs are done.  Ms. Winter said that there are 87 level 2 & 3s.  Mr. Masterpole questioned why it costs $300 each and asked if it would be cheaper to do in-house.  Ms. Winter said that it is a high level of expertise, and they don't have the ability to have a probation officer do them.  Mr. Masterpole questioned the usage of polygraphs.  Ms. Winter said that they are looking for the triggers--are they using pornography; accessing it on a computer, looking it up at the library.  It is manageable, but is never curable. Mr. Masterpole said that the polygraph is not being used as a punishment, but as an identifier to help with treatment.  Mrs. Winter agreed.

Mr. Masterpole seconded the motion.   Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

b.     PULLED

c.     Amend '08 Budget to Provide Addl. State Funds for the Probation Dept. for Juvenile Accountability Block Grant and Authorize Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($27,959)
This grant has decreased over the years.  It is used for one person doing high-risk juvenile delinquent offenders and it used for salary.  There is $2,796 match, which is budgeted.

A motion was made by Mr. Masterpole, seconded by Mr. DeMore, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

2.        SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly
a.     Transfer funds from Regular Employee Salaries Acct. 101 to All Other Expenses Acct. 410 ($35,278)
This will cover janitorial services, which increased in the custody area.  After the budget was submitted last year, the contract was scheduled for re-bidding and the cost went from $3,800 to $6,400/month.  There are salary savings in the 101 as a result of vacancies, which are not filled until the academy starts.  In answer to Mr. Warner, the janitorial service is usually a one-year contract, renewable for 5 years.  He will check on the specific terms.  Chairman Lesniak asked that the committee be provided with that information.

A motion by Mr. DeMore, seconded by Mr. Buckel to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

b.     Authorizing the County Executive to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Syracuse regarding the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant
JAG provides funding to the City and County based on a formula and there is a proportionate share--the City gets about 44% and the remaining goes to the Sheriff (about $25,083 this year).  It is used to fund the RETRIEVE program, which is a program for recovery of firearms of deceased.  A detective is dedicated to working with the pistol license unit and conducts investigations of pistol licenses, tracks down weapons and recovers them.  Through the Bureau of Vital Statistics, when there is a death, they receive notice and the pistol license records are checked.  Contact is made with the family and they are advised as to how to properly dispose of the weapon, or if keeping it for themselves, how to convert it to a license for themselves.

Mr. Masterpole asked about Byrne Memorial grants.  Chief Peverly said it provides a variety of grants.

A motion by Mr. DeMore, second by Mr. Warner, to approve this item. Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

Chief Peverly said that the transition with Clay took place on Sunday; all 16 came to the Sheriff's office.

3.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Jo-Anne Monroe, Deputy Commissioner

a.     Accept a C.O.P.S. Grant in the Amount of $444,268 for the Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Project, and Authorize the Co. Exec. to enter into Agreements to Implement this Res.

b.     Accept a C.O.P.S. Grant in the Amount of $1,402,950 for the Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Project and Authorize the Co. Exec. to enter into Agreements to implement this Res.
These grants will be used for the Interoperable Communication System Project.  A written agreement has been received that they will receive this money.

 

A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. DeMore, to approve items 3a and 3bPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

c.     Accept Grant in the Amount of $1,000,000 from the NYS Dorm. Auth. for the Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Proj. and Authorize Co. Exec. to Enter into Agreements to Implement this res.
This grant is also to be used for the Interoperable Communications System Project.  There is no match.

A motion by Mr. DeMore, second by Mr. Masterpole to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

d.     Accept grant in the amount of $1,000,000 from NYS for the Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Project, and Authorize Co. Exec. to Enter into Agreements to Implement this res.
A verbal confirmation has been received that they have been accepted for this money; it is still to be determined who will be managing it.  They have been told that the written confirmation is forthcoming.  It is also for interoperable Communication System Project.

A motion by Mr. Masterpole, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Unanimous; CARRIED.

Chairman Lesniak said that he is very pleased with the efforts of the 911 Department in chasing down these grants; this is nearly $4 million off of debt service.  He asked what the total received to date is; Ms. Monroe said that she will find out and provide the information via email.

e.       Local Law Authorize Lease of Co. Property Located in Town of Onondaga to Clear Channel Syracuse
This is a long-term lease, $3,500 rent/month--will bring in $42,000 revenue the first year; yearly after that there will be 33% increase.  There is no current lease with Clear Channel there now, but are other leases at this location on the existing tower.  Mr. Warner asked if this is an average rent.  Mr. Stevenson said that none are average; they depend on the services, other variables, and location.  This is above most of the other rents.

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

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

 * * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
BERNARD KRAFT, CHAIRMAN
July 8, 2008

MEMBERS PRESENT:  *Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kinne Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Masterpole
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Kraft called the meeting to order at 11:07a.m.

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

1.   PARKS:  Mr. Robert Geraci, Commissioner
a.   Abolish Parks Interpreter I, Grade 5 @ $27,807 - $30,705 effective August 16, 2008
      Create Park Naturalist I, Grade 9 @ $38,313 - $42,378 effective August 16, 2008
Mr. Geraci explained that there would be a salary savings of $24,444.  Park Interpreter I position ($30,705) was abolished.  Personnel has advised them not to abolish the vacated Interpreter II position ($36,117) so that there are retreat rights; once the person passes the civil service test for the Naturalist I position, they will no longer need the Interpreter II position.

Mr. Kraft asked Mr. Geraci to defend the upgrade.  Mr. Geraci said this is not a new Naturalist I position, this brings them back to the staffing they had years ago, Interpreter II doesn't have the versatility and background of the Naturalist I for the quality programs at Beaver Lake.  Ms. Smiley said Naturalist I is a title that was at St. Marie; when St. Marie closed, the person moved over to Beaver Lake; now that the person is retiring, they are looking to put the position back to what it was.

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

b.   A Local Law linking Onondaga Park Fees for Veterans to Park Fees for Senior Citizens, and amending Local Law No. 22-2002, as amended, to provide for such fees - Mr. Buckel, Mr. Warner
A motion was made by Mr. Masterpole to approve this item.

Mr. Geraci said it is a wonderful thing to consider benefiting a portion of our society that has done so much for society at large, but they have avoided segmenting the population and assigning special rates, their rates are reasonable to begin with; it is difficult in terms of where you draw the line, they get calls all the time from groups asking for a special rate.  Mr. Geraci said they don't have the ability to credential people; if veterans don't have any credentials with them, they could end up getting into a potential negative PR situation; it works with seniors because most have a drivers license, that would not be the case with other segments of the population.

Mr. Lesniak agreed with Mr. Geraci that a veteran would not be carrying his DD214 form with him to prove he has an exemption; it could create a hostile environment at the entrance.  Mr. Lesniak expressed concern about what the cost would be for ID cards, suggested that it might be something to discuss during Budget time.  Mr. Masterpole said he doesn't believe that Mr. Buckel's intension was to credential these folks, would have to make it known that they need the appropriate form with them to get the break.

Mr. Laguzza asked if there has been any projection as to what the cost investment might be.  Mr. Masterpole said "no".  Mr. Laguzza asked the price differential.  Mr. Geraci said regular admission at the zoo is $6.50 and $4.50 for seniors.

Mr. Kraft suggested having a dollar day once or twice a year sponsored by the County Legislature using their contingency fund.  Mr. Geraci noted that there is free admission at the zoo for all military and their families on Veterans Day weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday); National Grid is sponsoring half price admission on Wednesdays during the summer.

Mr. Laguzza pointed out that the resolution addresses all the County parks, not just the zoo and requested a projection of what the price variance would be for all parks; in the meantime, do one day as Mr. Kraft suggested.

* Mr. Kilmartin arrived at the meeting.

Ms. Smiley mentioned that the resolution is unclear about active military duty.  Mr. Cooley questioned whether this would pertain to the families of the veterans, and does it pertain to residents and non-residents as well.

Mr. Masterpole's motion was seconded by Mr. Kinne.  A vote was taken on this item; Ayes 1 (Mr. Masterpole); Noes: 2 (Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Jordan); Abstaining: 4 (Mr. Kraft, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza); MOTION FAILED.

2.   Requesting the Onondaga County Department of Transportation to conduct a viability study regarding the reprogramming of traffic signals to flashing lights to conserve energy and then to implement such a program if viable - Mr. Stott
Mr. Stott suggested conducting a study to see if it is feasible to go to yellow or red flashing lights at specific times and specific intersections, noted that this could save taxpayers' time, fuel costs and would reduce overall emissions.  This would not pertain to intersections with heavy traffic and safety concerns.  Mr. Stott said Sheriff Walsh supports this and that DOT suggests pushing this out to 100 days instead of 45 to have a good opportunity to look at it and to engage outside consultants for an all-encompassing overview.

Mr. Lesniak noted that law enforcement should to be included in the study so that they are not turning some thoroughfares into speedways.

Mr. DeStefano said they do not have any signals that flash right now, it is worthwhile to look at; they have taken a preliminary look at it, have done an internet search, but were not able to find a lot of information; getting a consultant on board is the way to get the best report possible.  Depending on the cost, Mr. DeStefano said they could probably finance the study with money in Traffics System Management, thinks it would cost around $20,000.

Mr. Jordan said they have no idea what the cost of this study would be or what the potential benefit might be; secondly, the language of the resolution presumes that the recommendation will be implemented without further legislation.  Ms. Tarolli said according to the way Charter Code is written, the department could implement whatever changes are recommended if they have the money in their budget without coming back to the Legislature.  Mr. Jordan said a blinking red light is essentially the same as a stop sign, stop signs have very limited efficacy.  Mr. Stott said the core purpose of the resolution is to save people money and time by not waiting two minutes at a light.

Mr. Kilmartin proposed amending the resolution by substituting the word "prospect" for "progress" where it says in the second to last resolve clause "report back to the Legislature within forty-five days on this project's viability and the progress in its implementation throughout the County" and also if they entertain hiring a consultant that DOT could report back to the Legislature or this committee within 100 days either by letter or at the next committee meeting as to the different consultants that have been considered and their cost.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested they reach out to the State of New York to see what agencies they have available that have done work in this arena before.  Mr. Kilmartin mentioned one concern might be how traffic accidents increase or decrease in a situation where you have a change in a traffic signal.

Mr. Kraft noted that there is a new Commissioner of Transportation and suggested bringing this back in a month or so; asked DOT to check with the City to find out what they learned and with the State to find out what the regulations are.

Mr. Kinne noted that they are basically talking about 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.; doesn't see a problem with getting a report, would have more information to serve the public better.

Mr. Masterpole said that City Public Works Commissioner Wright informed him that the city spent $25,000 for a recent study; it doesn't appear to be viable in the City at this time because there is a State law that requires a traffic signal to stay the same for at least six hours.  Mr. Masterpole noted that DOT doesn't need authorization by the Legislature to go to RFP; they have the money in their budget and hopes they move forward with this.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Masterpole to approve this item including Mr. Kilmartin's suggested amendments to report back to the Legislature within one hundred days on this project's viability and substituting the word "prospect" for "progress" in the second to last Resolved clause.  A vote was taken; Ayes: 4 (Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Masterpole); Noes:  3 (Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan); MOTION CARRIED.

3.   PULLED

4.   TRANSPORTATION:
a.   Confirming appointment of Brian J. Donnelly as Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Transportation
Mr. Donnelly said the majority of his professional experience has been with the City of Syracuse in a variety of roles - Director, Parking Ticket Collection Bureau for Dept. of Finance, project management roles for the Dept. of Public Works and Dept. of Engineering and Assistant Director of the Office of Management and Budget; most recently worked for Kronos as a project manager.  Mr. Donnelly noted that the number one issue to address for DOT is the cost of asphalt and the impact that it will have on their paving program.  They are looking at ways to minimize overtime in the winter months, and the possibility of further implementation of one person plowing if it is deemed safe and appropriate for certain routes.  They are looking at department staffing levels to see if through additional staff they would be able to reduce overtime.  They also want to look at the data management to make sure they are getting what they need - are routes optimized, are they plowing effectively, and sharing services with towns and villages where it is appropriate.

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

Mr. Laguzza asked if he had any engineering background.  Mr. Donnelly said he had quite a bit of field experience; engineering was not his field of expertise, relied on individuals working for him on the projects for the technical information.  Mr. Kinne said he intends to support this but has concerns about his lack of engineering experience.

Mr. Kilmartin seconded the motion to approve this item.  Mr. Kilmartin noted that Mr. Donnelly is of the highest honor and integrity and brings a good cross section of experience to the job in terms of public sector, private sector, technology and project management.

Mr. Lesniak said that road repairs and snow removal are the two priorities of DOT and expressed his concern about one man plowing, noted that State DOT has straight roads with very few intersections which is a different operation than the County level.  Mr. Donnelly said he is still learning about one person plowing and the paramount priority is safety of their workforce and safety of the citizens, thinks it is workable, but not all routes.  Mr. Kraft suggested giving them a chance to look into it, understands they are talking about limited use in predominantly rural areas where there are no cars parked on sides of roads.

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

Ms. Smiley and Mr. Coley updated the committee on the escalation of asphalt prices.  Mr. Coley said the index price rose from $125 to $648 a ton, price per mile has risen 28% since May.  Mr. Coley provided the committee with a memo regarding the impact of current escalation figures on the 2008 Workplan (Attachment 2).  Mr. Coley said they developed the workplan with a base price of $190,000 to pave a 30' wide mile of highway (based on the March 2008 Escalation Indexes); the base price has increased to $254,000 per mile since then, they are roughly down 30% of centerline miles that they will be able to pave.  They always prioritize from most needy to least needy.

Ms. Smiley said in terms of additional money for bonding, it would add $400,000 to the County's annual debt service to make them whole.  Mr. Kraft noted that the County has 800 miles of roads, if they are allowed to deteriorate, they would end up doing reconstruction; it makes common sense to maintain the system so that they don't have to rebuild it, it's our job to maintain safe and viable highways.  Mr. Kraft considered that there might be areas in county government where they are making out better than they thought they would and money could be moved around, this would be a worthy place to move it; suggested that the Legislature might be able to come up with a 20% match out of their contingency fund.

Mr. Masterpole agreed with Mr. Kraft, would like to see them spend more money to pave the roads than cut the paving back or at least a happy medium; suggested taking gas sales tax money and applying it to the roads.  Mr. Kinne said he is in agreement, would cost more down the road.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Coley said anything that is in the 2008 Workplan is a road that needs to be paved; if they cut it now because of costs, it would be the first done in 2009.  They are tracking roads as they are being paved and keeping accurate costs, they are significantly short at this time.  Mr. Coley said the recommendation as of July 3, 2008 is to complete in this calendar year all the roadwork that was approved in the 2008-2009 Workplan with the exception of the deferrals listed on the memo.

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Coley said they do not get reimbursement from the State for paving; they will completely prep all the roads in case asphalt prices come down.

Mr. Masterpole asked about purchasing asphalt from the new City plant.  Mr. Coley said they contacted them and they are not prepared during this construction season to provide the County with any material. 

Mr. Jordan noted that there is talk of an additional $10 million in revenue from sales tax that would be more than enough to cover the $4 million paving cost.  Ms. Smiley said they are looking at that and what they can do this year, but this isn't the only cost that has escalated with fuel and energy costs, there are many other issues.

Mr. Kraft requested that the members of the committee get an update ten days form now and, if appropriate, 20 days from now.

Mr. Laguzza said they should hold off on great expectations concerning gas tax because other major sales factors are decreasing.

b.   Discussion - North Area DOT Facility - Mr. Manny Barbas, Deputy Commissioner, Facilities Management

Background:

  •  40+ year old facility
  •  Originally occupied by UPS
  •  Departments currently occupying space in the building:  Dept. of Transportation, Board of Elections, Sheriff, DSS, Purchasing, Health, County Clerk

Building Issues:

  •  Existing roof and deck need replacement
  •  Vehicles exhaust inside cause air quality issues for staff
  •  Existing MEP systems are past useful life and in need of replacement
  •  Building deterioration is accelerating
  •  Large vehicle circulation aisles reduce the building's useful efficiency
  •  Storage space is at a premium
  •  Existing building has safety, ADA, and access issues
  •  There are storm water quality issues and drainage problems on site that require attention
  •  Lighting inside building is poor.

NAMF Considerations:

  • Study group composed of Management and Budget, County Executive's Office, DOT and Facilities have been studying the options for NAMF over the past several months
  • This review has included several scenarios including full renovation, partial renovation, replacement and building a combined facility due to deterioration of the Camillus Facility
  • It is anticipated that they will bring a proposal for legislative consideration in the next several months

In answer to Mr. Kraft, Mr. Barbas said the County paid $2 million for the building twenty-one years ago and put just under a $1 million into it.  Building is bigger than it has to be (157,000 sq. ft.); if properly designed could be about 30,000 - 40,000 sq. ft. smaller.  They started to look at life cycle costs - putting money into this building and running it for twenty years versus building a new building that is energy efficient and running it for twenty years.  They will bring a presentation to the committee in the near future.  In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Barbas said they have taken all the departments who use a portion of this building into consideration.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Barbas noted the following uses and approximate square feet for the different departments housed in the building:
 
Dept. Transportation - using approximately 88,000 sq. ft., if properly designed would only need 70,000 sq. ft. (they have 22 pieces of equipment in heated space, 20 pieces in unheated space)

  • Board of Elections currently occupies about 23,000 sq. ft. of space, they have rented 7,000 sq ft. of space at a different location; Facilities is looking at the possibility of increasing that and finding a more permanent home
  • Sheriff's has about 11,000 sq. ft. for evidence storage - they are out of space and would like to go to a more efficient storage system
  • DSS has about 4,000 sq. ft., doesn't see a need for them to maintain space there
  • County Clerk has about 2,000 sq ft.
  • Purchasing space varies with Board of Elections but still has 3,000 sq. ft. minimum
  • Health Dept. has 24,000 sq. ft., programmatically only need 16,000

Mr. Smiley hopes to have a presentation regarding recommendations within the next three months.  Mr. Barbas said it is important for the committee to get familiar with this facility and Camillus and to take a look at Jamesville, which is their model of how to do it efficiently.  Mr. Barbas said the biggest problem facing them is that the roof is totally shot, if they replace the roof, have to look at the mechanical systems because they all have penetrations, starts to snowball.

c.   Tour of North Area DOT Facility

The meeting was adjourned at 12:36 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb
Deputy Clerk

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES
ROBERT D. WARNER, CHAIRMAN
July 9, 2008

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Lesniak, *Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Buckel, Mr. Kilmartin,
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Ms. Winslow
ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

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

1.   VAN DUYN:  Ms. Roberta Sprague, Commissioner
a.  
A Local Law authorizing the lease of County property to the Disabled American Veterans
Property is on Van Duyn campus and has been leased to Disabled American Veterans as part of their Homeless Veterans Program.  Veterans who live there are part of a rehab program for alcohol and drug abuse, they are allowed to live in one of the two buildings for up to six months.  First approved by local law back in 1992 and again in 2001, lease has now expired.

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

*Mrs. Rapp arrived at the meeting.

2.  MENTAL HEALTH:  Mr. Robert Long, Deputy Commissioner
a. Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept additional funds from the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities for a cost of living adjustment, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($41,704)
Mr. Long said the State Legislature passed a bill that calls for three years' worth of cost of living adjustments to existing state aid to state mental hygiene agencies.  This amount would be applied to existing contracts.

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

In answer to Mr. Warner, Mr. Long said the money could be used for personnel, materials, etc. can't be used to increase executive compensation.

b. Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept additional funds from the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office for the project P.R.O.U.D. Program, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($63,439)
P.R.O.U.D. is a program that has been operated by the District Attorney for a number of years; it is an attempt to divert non-violent offenders who have committed crimes as a result of an identifiable drug addiction into treatment and rehabilitation.  Contract would be for case management services through Onondaga Case Management's Managed Addiction Treatment Services program (MATS).

Mr. Lesniak asked how many would be treated.  Mr. Long said this would cover one case manager who would manage 12 to 15 people.

Mr. Laguzza asked why the DA's office determines who has the best opportunity for success with this program.  Mr. Long said it is determined based on circumstances surrounding the charge - non-violent felony; if drug sales involved, cannot be sold to children, sales cannot produce a profit; dealer or addict must have ties to the
community.  Mr. Kilmartin said the diversion program has been very successful; many times when a case is initially brought into the system, either at a misdemeanor level or felony level, there is discussion between the defense attorney, DA's office and the Court, there is quite a bit of information that can be drawn out as to whether or not someone is or is not eligible.  If there is a successful, timely completion of the diversion program, it usually has a positive impact on the disposition.  Mr. Laguzza requested information regarding the success rate.

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

c.  Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept additional funds from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for an offsite demonstration program, residential services supplement and cost of living increase, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($198,118)
$40,000 would go to four local agencies - Syracuse Behavioral Health, Crouse Hospital, Syracuse Community Health Center and Central New York Services for an offsite Demonstration program; goal of program is to have people who are in residential services connected to their outpatient provider before they leave inpatient services.  With supplement, they will be able to see whether it makes a difference in terms of the dropout rate from people moving from inpatient to outpatient.  It will be evaluated on an annual basis and funding has to be reallocated on an annual basis.  Evaluation will be done jointly between County Mental Health and the State Office of Mental Health.

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

d. Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept additional funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for the Service Enriched Housing Program and a cost of living adjustment, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($793,440)
Homestead Program is a service enriched single room occupancy housing program for people with serious mental illness. This is the fourth program of this type to open in Syracuse for people who have had serious mental illness to live independently, but with supports.  This state aid will support the entire operation of the program.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Long said he isn't aware of any residents being related to each other, there are 24 studio apartments with a microwave, sink and refrigerator.

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Long said there is a common living area and dining area.  Central New York Services operates all four programs; they have a commercial grade kitchen at one of the sites where they prepare food and then bring it to the other sites.

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

3.  HEALTH:
a.   Informational:  Tuberculosis - Diane Rothermel, Dir. Bureau of Disease Control
Ms. Rothermel presented a power point regarding the Tuberculosis Control Program (Attachment 2).

Mr. Buckel asked what state or federal law provides in terms of treating latent or full onset TB.  Ms. Rothermel said there are laws in place to allow them to mandate treatment or preventive therapy for active TB; there are no laws in place for latent TB, cannot force individuals to take latent TB treatment.  Dr. Morrow noted that they can involuntary confine someone who refuses treatment for active TB, but cannot force them to take medication.

Dr. Morrow said there is no cost to the patients tested if they were exposed or are high risk individuals; if someone walks in off the street with no risk, they would charge that person because there is no public health reason to do it.  Mr. Lesniak asked if they test the County nurses and the police officers.  Dr. Morrow said they are required to test health care providers; they test officers at the Justice Center and Corrections, but not others.

Legionnaires Disease:  Dr. Morrow, Commissioner - Health Department

Dr. Morrow said they typically have five to ten cases of Legionnaires per year, vast majority are individual, isolated cases, never find out any other association.  Whenever they have people testing positive for Legionella in the same timeframe, they need to look for an association.  They have had seven cases confirmed in Onondaga County, individuals are from different parts of the county, but have Onondaga Hill area in common; they are specifically looking at Community General Hospital area because several of the patients have that area in common.  Have been working side by side with the State Health Department, doing environmental assessments at Community General as well as Van Duyn.  Outbreaks are classically associated with cooling towers or any type of large condensing unit where water evaporates and disperses.  Legionella is a bacteria that is treatable with antibiotics and it is airborne transmission, it is not a disease where people can get it from each other; the infected mist transmits it.  All hospitals in Onondaga County have control measures in place regarding their cooling towers.  Dr. Morrow explained that Legionella is part of our environment, if soils and water were tested, some would have it; not all types of Legionella cause illness.

Mr. Kilmartin asked what measures the County is taking in concert with their work with Community Hospital and Van Duyn to try to identify any other sources of the disease.  Dr. Morrow they have talked with OCC and looked at their cooling towers; given the histories that the patients have provided and the environmental assessments, they are focusing on Community General Hospital and Van Duyn area.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Dr. Morrow said many, but not all, patients have a connection with Community General Hospital, but do have a connection to the Onondaga Hill area.  Dr. Morrow said there has been an exhaustive environmental assessment done, she thinks it is important to understand that there is ongoing mitigation on a routine basis; in this case, they actually put additional control measures at the end of last week and they are continuing to put additional control measures above and beyond what they routinely do.  The actual control of Legionella in any hospital situation or any long-term care situation is strictly under the purview of the NYS Health Department; they do all the monitoring.  She is confident that the State is working with facilities in the area to ensure that they are doing everything they can.  Community General has been proactive before results are available.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is anything residents in that area can do in order to prepare or prevent them from contracting this.  Dr. Morrow said one thing that hasn't gotten out to the public is that it actually has a relatively low attack rate of less than 5%.  Mr. Buckel asked if there is any risk factor that stands out within that 5%.  Dr. Morrow said it is traditionally people over 65 or people who have underlying lung disease, smokers, and anyone who has a compromised ability to fight off infection have a greater risk.

Mr. Lesniak mentioned Lyme disease and asked about the vaccine for it.  Dr. Morrow said pharmaceutical companies stopped producing it years ago, there was not a lot of demand and it wasn't a super affective vaccine, there were multiple reasons why they stopped producing it.  Have been watching the infected tics move westward for years; started becoming concerned about it locally about five years ago when they were seeing it with dogs being infected.  They have been trying to get the message of protection out there, this is the first year that it is a significant risk in Onondaga County, have had multiple cases reported. 

Mr. Warner mentioned that he is on the Board of Directors of CHIPS (Community, Health Improvement Prevention Services) the independent agency that will oversee any problems associated with the merger of Community General and Van Duyn as a result of the Berger Commission.   He will keep the committee up to date.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:58 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb
Deputy Clerk

* * * 

SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE - JULY 9, 2008
CHAIRMAN SAM LAGUZZA


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Stott, Mr. Buckel, Mr. DeMore, Mr. Holmquist, *Mr. Warner
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Lesniak
ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Blakeman, Mr. Carroll, see also attached list

Chairman Laguzza called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. DeMore, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  CARRIED.

1.   SOCIAL SERVICES:  David Sutkowy, Commissioner, Steve Morgan, Deputy Commissioner

a.   Authorize County Executive to enter into a contract with the City of Syracuse for the Purpose of Code Enforcement and Related Housing Stabilization Services for Recipients of Temporary Assistance
Mr. Jim Blakeman and Mr. Tim Carroll, City of Syracuse, were present.  Mr. Sutkowy said that this contract is for the purpose of conducting housing inspections for individuals who are in receipt of cash assistance/welfare.  Intermunicipal contracts require the Legislature's approval.  As of July 1, there are 41,039 cases of cash assistance in the county; it is down 13,800 cases from May of 1994 (about 70% in the last decade).  The contract will allow better service to clients with a pre-inspection to identify possible code violations.  Also, it will hold individuals accountable to damages caused to property.  This contract would replace the self-inspection process that is currently relied on.  Providing quality, affordable housing is an issue in the Welfare system.  A single person receives about $350/month from a welfare grant; a family of 2 receives about $450/$460, adding approximately $100 for each additional individual.  With that kind of grant, it is hard to secure good, quality housing.  Too many families receiving assistance relocate during the course of the year because of the poor quality of housing.  The moves disrupt a child's ability to perform well in school.  If a better job is done with pre-inspection, then better information can be provided about the quality of the property and make suggestions.  There are tenants who damage property, and currently in the self-inspection process, the expectation is that the client and the landlord will do a pre-inspection and post-inspection.  The post inspection reveals that damage has been done and determines the amount to be paid from the client's grant.  A third party will allow for better information to be provided and eliminate disputes.  Chairman Laguzza said that pre and post inspections were funded in the past.  Mr. Blakeman said that they stopped doing them in late 2004.  Chairman Laguzza questioned the amount; Mr. Sutkowy said that the $22,273 is for 5 months; it is annualized at $57,000 for 1 person.  It is in the 2009 budget. 

Mr. Blakeman said that the one inspector will do the TRA pre and post inspections.  Mr. Sutkowy said that some landlords will not rent without having some guarantee against damages; DSS makes that available; a commitment to pay an amount up to the shelter allowance for damages.  Mr. Blakeman said that the inspector uses a County form and the conditions are noted.  If it is adequate, it is left in the condition.  When the inspector goes back and it is found in a condition beyond the normal wear and tear, it is documented.  In turn it is forward to DSS if needed.  He provided letters (on file with Clerk) regarding the positive impact of the program.  Mr. Carroll said this system puts tenants in better living conditions and it hold tenants accountable, it will make sure that County money is not going into the hands of landlord who has a bad record; they won't get a public check for rent.  Chairman Laguzza said that he is glad to see the Executive Department moving forward with this and that it will be next year's budget.

Mr. Stott asked if the City already has a mandated inspection process for rental properties.  Mr. Blakeman said that they do; Mr. Carroll said that it is once very 3 years and is newly in place; there are approximately 7500 properties to get to.  Mr. Stott said that this is spending money on a program that appears to be in place; asked what makes the relationship between a landlord and a normal renter any different other than the fact these individuals receive public assistance.  Mr. Blakeman said that the rental registry program does not effect owner-occupied property; it is all absentee.  The rental registry does not call for follow-up inspection when someone moves on.  Mr. Stott asked why is it necessary to have a follow-up inspection.  Mr. Blakeman said that the difference can be seen at housing court; the landlord will be at a disadvantage because any tenant will get free legal aid and it is used.  It is one word against the other and that is why the cases are settled in court.  Mr. Stott said that then the 3rd party's word supersedes the property owner's; Mr. Blakeman replied that the 3rd party could help the tenant or the landlord.  Mr. Stott questioned why it is not put on the landlord.  Chairman Laguzza said that there are not usually assets within the household of the person receiving a housing grant.  Also, this allows the landlord to recoup damages that have been documented.  It is a win for the neighborhoods to maintain housing stock; it is a win to have disciplinary action to the person on assistance so they understand that they have a responsibility.  Mr. Stott said that a landlord should take photos and have the tenant sign an agreement that the apartment is in x, y, z condition.  If the tenant leaves and it is in horrible condition, then they are responsible.

Mr. Warner asked how the authority is obtained to do the inspection.  Mr. Blakeman said that it is under Syracuse Property Conservation; they are asked to do the inspections by the landlords.  Mr. Warner asked what the towns do.  Mr. Sutkowy said that they do self-inspections with all individuals regardless of where they live, but it doesn't make sense to set up a program like this in the towns and villages as 90% reside in the City. 

Chairman Laguzza said that, as stewards of the individuals on assistance, there has to be assurance that they are going into a livable environment.  The landlord has a responsibility to ensure that there is suitable housing. 

Mr. Buckel asked if there is consequence to the tenants if the inspection shows tenant related problems either under Section 8 or temporary assistance.  Mr. Sutkowy said that if the landlord had to be paid for any damages caused by the tenant, then it will be recouped from the client's monthly welfare grant; 10%.  A TRA is signed.  Also, Jobs Plus and DSS have a relationship wherein they have organized life skills and under certain conditions, those tenants that caused damage are referred to this class.  It is a condition of eligibility.  Mr. Buckel asked if it is only done once a problem is uncovered that the tenant or landlord goes into that type of training; Mr. Sutkowy indicated that it is.

Chair Laguzza said that an expense is incurred because people are being allowed to move into housing stock that is not qualified to live in.  Neighborhoods also benefit from this; it cleans up environments that aren't good. 

Mr. DeMore asked if one person is enough to do all of this.  Mr. Morgan said that it is a start; there were 3 people in the past.  Mr. Blakeman said that it will start with the tenant responsibility with the TRAs and doesn't have true a number on how many that will be.  Mr. Sutkowy said that he can generate 40-50 per month alone. 

Chairman Laguzza said that this comes out of flexible fund grant; there are no local dollars.

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

Mr. Stott asked if the County is incurring 100% of the cost of the code enforcement; Mr. Blakeman said that the salary would be from this; but he has all of the support staff.

Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

Chairman Laguzza asked that there will be report on this at year-end.

b.   Confirm Appointment of David A. Sutkowy as the Onondaga Co. Commissioner of Social Services
A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mr. Stott, to approve this item.

 

Chair Laguzza stated that accessibility to the commissioner, his staff, and the people involved is impeccable.  There is never a qualm about getting information or finding the commissioner or his staff to get questions answered.  It is truly a pleasure having Mr. Sutkowy as our commissioner.  Mr. Warner, Mr. Buckel, Mr. Stott, Mr. Holmquist, and Mr. DeMore offered their full support for Mr. Sutkowy, noting that he is very capable, very qualified, and responsive. 

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Sutkowy thanked the committee and said it was an honor to work for the County.

2.   Informational:  Budget Impact on Child Day Care - Ann Rooney, Human Services Administrator
Mr. Sutkowy said that day care is an area where it needs to be ensured that people on welfare, low income, or just off of welfare, succeed in the work force.  They can't do that unless they have confidence that their kids are being cared for appropriately and professionally.  There are different kinds of care:  center based, family care, group care, informal care.  There are a number of inner-city centers that have a high number of kids that are funded through DSS.  They are financially vulnerable, and in the last couple of years two have closed.  The County Executive has emphasized the need to figure out how to be more responsible to providers and consumers of childcare.  There have been a number of discussions with providers and have come up with a series of recommendations, all of which have been implemented or are in the process.  A 4% increase in rates has been provided to contracted centers.  A waiver from the State was granted on June 1st waiving a child support requirement for customers of service.  It was an administration barrier, causing people not to complete their applications.  They are trying streamline communications between the providers' clients and DSS, so that providers can make good business decisions.  People who are working and receiving a child care benefit are required to pay a portion of their income to help offset the day care costs.  Onondaga County is at the high end, being 35%, and there are situations where day care is not affordable through DSS.  The intention in 2009 is to decrease the parent fee obligation to 30%. 

Chair Laguzza asked about the caseload for 2009 and the impact the 5% will have on the budget.  Mr. Morgan said that going from 35%-30% is about $250,000 increase; no local dollars-low income day care is funded 100% by federal dollars up to an allocation.  In 2009 the caseload is anticipated to increase 50 - 75 cases.

Mr. Buckel said that the County element of child care is about $4,500/case; what does it provide for.  Mr. Morgan said it varies anywhere from center based to informal based.  The State sets a market rate, Onondaga County contracts with providers and provides a lower rate.  The rate increase, which was implemented in May, was on the contracted rate.  It is about $90/week.  The rates vary depending on chidcare, age of the child, etc.  Mr. Buckel questioned if $90 is enough for the kind of care that the County is trying to provide.  Chairman Laguzza said that is why the 4% increase was given.  It was to allow for a better type of care. 

Mr. DeMore asked if there is a federal component.  Mr. Morgan said that day care is funded by state, federal and local dollars.  The County pays about $1.2 million; out of $14 million for all subsidies (contracted or not).  Chair Laguzza said that 4% for '08 fiscal year is about $100,000; '09 contract will annualize to about $150,000. 

Chairman Laguzza said that he thought initially the impact would be about $ 1 million.  Ms. Rooney said that they have taken a step back.  There is another imitative with the non-contract providers for a 4% increase.  Taking 35% down to 20% would be difficult in one year.  They have met with non-contracted providers who are also feeling stress.  Mr. Sutkowy said that they want to look at the entire rate structure for providers.

*Mr. Warner left the meeting.

Ms. Rooney said that counties are leaving millions of dollars on the table because folks are having difficulty getting access to it.  Mr. Sutkowy said that when the State budget passed, the allocations are divided by the executive branch on a formula basis to the counties.  The day care allocation received from the State for Onondaga was good.  The allocation that the State rolled out to counties was based on expenditures, so the appropriation was good because Onondaga County's expenditure level was high.  Some counties lost a lot of money; they weren't reinvesting it into their communities.  The State took a portion of those funds and redistributed it to counties that were using the money.  One county left $8 million on the table. 

Mr. Buckel asked about foster care, $26 million.  Mr. Sutkowy said that there are 3 components: children in foster care, adoption subsidies, and a committee on the handicapped.  The number provided on the sheet (attach #1) only represents kids in foster care.  There are various levels of foster care; a residential placement can cost $125,000 - $150,000/year.  Some residential placements are expensive they are high needs children -- federal, state and local contribution.

The number of cases of foster care has declined in the county; about 382 children now in foster care.  The number of children who are in foster care in institutional placements, is over 100 now.  Different measures are being tried to bring children back to the community and reside in family centers.  About 870 families receive an adoption subsidy.  A school district board places about 30 children.

Chair Laguzza said that there has been talk about having DSS satellite programs throughout the county and would like to start a discussion similar to what the Cathedral is doing.  Ms. Rooney said that they are working on it; Mr. Sutkowy added that it will allow DSS to do many things and be more accessible to the community.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

* **
EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
PATRICK M. KILMARTIN, CHAIRMAN
July 10, 2008

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Stott, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. DeMore
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Winslow
ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer and see attached list
(Attachment 1)

Chairman Kilmartin called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.

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

1.   OCPL:  Ms. Joyce Latham, Executive Director
a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept supplemental New York State Aid Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($82,336)

Projects that they would like to use these funds for:  Books by Mail program (initially funded by the state, there is a shortfall due to costs going up), adding two part-time positions (Laborer I and Messenger) to help with delivery services for all libraries in the county.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Latham said they are new hires; positions are temporary with no benefits.  They will also be adding funds to the non-fiction collection, downloadable audio books and the digital audio media players.

Mr. Stott asked what the additional money would be used for on the updated resolution sent to him by e-mail.  Ms. Latham said the $1,775 would be used towards buying additional bags for delivery.

Ms. Latham explained that they have earmarked $12,000 to be used for professional services, they have done a RFP to hire an accountant to take a look at costs associated with funding sources system wide that support outreach and library services in all the member libraries, except Skaneateles.  At the same time, it will address costs that are associated with the City charge-backs.  This will give a good financial analysis of all the services required and if everything is funded appropriately.  Once they have the analysis they will create a comprehensive service strategy, have allocated $5,000 for the strategic plan process for printing and consultant fees.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Latham said the Strategic Plan is for a five-year period.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if this is a standard allocation on an annual basis looking out five years or is it a new line item allocation.  Ms. Latham said this is a new strategy for these funds.

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

Concerning the Strategic Plan, Mr. Kilmartin suggested putting those funds in a general contingency account until they have more information on what the strategic plan entails - how long it will take, whether consultants will be utilized, is it being done strictly by the Board of Trustees themselves, is it an outlook for one, three, five years.  Ms. Latham said it has been discussed as a one-year process to build out a five-year plan that will assist the organization in targeting funding and program development priorities, involves the member libraries, the city libraries and Central staff.

Mr. Kilmartin proposed the following amendments to 1.a: correcting the amount to the $84,111, adding a line item for the 1,775 allocation for the bags, and $5,000 placed in a general contingency account that can be revisited at the next committee meeting with more detail concerning the Strategic Plan.

A motion was made by Mr. Stott to approve this item including Mr. Kilmartin's amendments, seconded by Mr. Holmquist; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept CNY Library Resources Council Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($5,000)

Funds will be used to hire a cataloger to work specifically on the local history collection.

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

c.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept State Division of Library Development funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($31,298)
Pass-through money to purchase PCs and hardware upgrades for Paine Branch Library, East Syracuse Free Library, NOPL at North Syracuse, Salina Free Library and Solvay Public Library.

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

Update on the status of the roof issues at the Central Library at the Galleries:  Mr. Christopher Mack, Chief Deputy County Attorney

Mr. Mack said the Central Library participates with the Onondaga Galleries Corporation in a condominium ownership vehicle - The Galleries of Syracuse.  The two condominium units are referred to as Commercial and Library.  Over a period of time, the roof (part of the common elements) over the Library unit has been leaking and has become a substantial burden on the Library.  They have had discussions in the past with the owners of the commercial unit and there has not been a meeting of the minds up to this point.  Last month, the County Executive demanded a meeting with the Board of Managers (entity that is responsible for taking care of the premises, the common elements and assessing the common charges), that meeting took place yesterday.  The County representatives to the Board of Managers presented a resolution demanding that they move forward to repair the roof and properly assess the common charges to undertake those repairs.  That motion was tabled by the Board of Managers (4 representatives from the commercial unit voted to table it and 2 representatives from Library unit voted against tabling it).  The managers representing the commercial unit made two points:  they assert there are not sufficient funds to pay for the roof repairs and that it is an inequitable structure.  In answer to Mr. DeMore, Mr. Mack said the condominium documents identify the roof as part of the common element and the common charges are to be equitably distributed to repair.  The County is exempt until and unless there is a certain percentage of retail lease space, there is not that percentage.  Commercial Managers want to enter into discussions to possibly reallocate space or to renegotiate the terms of the condominium document.  County representatives are evaluating what they think is the best next thing for the County to do; they will be coming over to the Legislature with something regarding getting the roof fixed.  Have had preliminary estimates of $700,00 to $750,000 that include repair to some internal elements of the library unit that have been damaged by the roof leakage.  Commercial unit has evaluated it and has given an estimate of under $200,000.  In answer to Mr. DeMore, Mr. Mack said the engineers who evaluated the roof said there is substantial roof failure over the Library, roof is over 20 years old and beyond any warrantees.  In answer to Mr. Stott, Mr. Mack said the library unit is about one third of the property.

Mr. Kilmartin said the commercial unit owners are making an equity argument saying there is an agreement which was dated about twenty years ago that is now outdated, is not equitable, not fair in terms of the condominium structure, and the County is not required to pay any common area charges whether it be a security guard for common areas on the first floor or capital common areas.  Commercial unit has said there is a difference of opinion as to who is responsible to repair the roof; they would ideally like to see is a renegotiation of a new document where the County makes contributions to the common areas.  Their estimate of roof repairs is approximately $175,000 and County estimate relating to the exterior is about $450,000 (rest of the $750,000 is internal).  Part of their equity argument is that there is a great deal of financial stress on the Galleries and part of that is caused by the existing structure of the association agreement.  Mr. Kilmartin said that he was told the property is about 95% to 98% occupied.  Ownership group completed a refinancing of the project two months ago for about $6.5 million, they didn't have an exact number for appraisal for the property, but Mr. Kilmartin estimates that it is probably about an $8,000,000 appraisal to secure a $6.5 million loan.  They have discussed a myriad of issues in concept - of the ownership buying out the County, renegotiation of the agreement, etc.

Mr. Kilmartin said it is his understanding that there was a condo association agreement in place with the original developer; part of that agreement was that the County would only be required to contribute to the common areas if at least 80% of the facility was occupied with retail tenants.  The new owner purchased it out of foreclosure and has tried to re-tenant it and operate it over the past twenty years, he is saying the agreement, especially as it relates to the common area and the fact that the County doesn't have to make a contribution to common areas, has caused him a lot of stress within the building, he and his tenants have to pay for 100% of the common area costs even though the County occupies one third of it.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - July 11, 2008
CHAIRMAN JAMES M. RHINEHART

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Warner, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Rapp
ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman Meyer, see also attached list

Chairman Rhinehart called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.

Chair Rhinehart stated that the agenda would be taken out or order; item no. 11a would be considered first.

      a.   Amending Resolution No. 211-07 with regards to an Advisory Committee for Veterans' Affairs to advise the Onondaga County Legislature on Veterans' Issues (Sponsored by Mr. Meyer)

Chairman Meyer said that on Dec. 4, 2007, the legislature approved creating an Advisory Committee for Veterans' Affairs.  After it was implemented, a couple of issues came up.  The original resolution did not define what "conflicts" were.  This replacement resolution broadens the criteria defines, the conflicts, as those named by the American Legion, and it expands it to have 3 members per conflicts. 

Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Corbett, and Mr. Warner asked to cosponsors.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  AYES:  8; NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Kilmartin)

Chairman Meyer stated that at the last session there was discussion about term limits for some electeds.  He will be setting up a special committee to review it and other issues; Mr. DeMore will be chairing it.

1.   LAW DEPARTMENT:
      a.   Settlement of Claims
Mr. Corbett made a motion to leave regular session and enter into executive session to discuss litigation strategy on the case entitled "Robert F. Paninski vs. Onondaga County Dept. of Corrections, Timothy H. Cowin, Commissioner", seconded by Mr. Warner.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett to leave executive session and enter regular session, seconded by Mr. Warner.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

3.   PROBATION:  Al Giacchi, Deputy Commissioner
      a.   Amend '08 County Budget to Provide Additional State funds to the Probation Department for the Supervision of Sex Offenders, and Authorize the County Executive to enter into contracts ($80,500)

Accepting $80,500 from NYS to enhance service to level 2 and 3 sex offenders.

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

      b.   Amend '08 Budget to provide Additional State Funds for the Probation Dept. for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant, and authorize the County Executive to enter into contracts ($27,959)

Accepting $27,959 from NYS; will fund one probation officer for intensive supervision juveniles.

A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

4.   VAN DUYN:  Roberta Spraque, Commissioner

      a.   A Local Law authorizing the lease of County property to the Disabled American Veterans
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Kinne, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

5.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly
      a.   Transfer funds from Sheriff Custody Acct. 101 Reg. Employee Sal. in the Amount of $35,278 to Sheriff Custody Acct. 410 All Other Expenses to Cover Increased cost of Janitorial Services ($35,278)
A motion by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Authorizing the County Executive to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Syracuse regarding the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant
The grant was included in the budget; authorization for Co. Exec. to sign memorandum of understanding with the city.  It will be used for Project RETRIEVE, recovery of weapons of the deceased.

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

 

Mr. Warner asked to be provided with information about the Edward Byrne Memorial grant.

6.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Joanne Monroe, Deputy Commissioner
      a.   Accepting a C.O.P.S. Grant in the amount of $444,268 for the Onondaga County Interoperable Communications System Project, and authorizing the Co. Exec. to enter into agreements ($444,268)

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

Mr. Stanczyk questioned how the project will be paid for.  Ms. Monroe said that it is being worked on at the County Executive's level.  The total cost of the project is $34.5 million; the grants on the agenda today total $3.8 million.  Mr. Seitz said that the money coming in was planned for and will reduce the authorized borrowing.  At this point, the program will have to be bonded for pay debt service on it.  There is no other proposal at this time, as the Governor just vetoed the surcharge.

Mrs. Rapp asked if there is an opportunity to reduce this number now that it can't be funded the way it was planned.  Ms. Monroe said that a lot of equipment has been ordered, some is here/some on its way.  At this point she doesn't believe that we can back out.  Mr. Gabriel noted that there is a contract with Motorola.  There are grants on the table from the State and Federal governments.  Mrs. Rapp is concerned about the balance of $30 million, and asked how much has been ordered.  Mr. Gabriel said that a $9 million invoice was just received; the infrastructure is here; and the rest will be deployed.  Mrs. Rapp said that she is not sure what the Governor's issue was for the veto.  Ms. Monroe said that one issue was that he thought it was unfair that Onondaga County be able to raise their surcharge and other counties not.  Also, there were some technical issues with the bill, which are still trying to be determined. 

Mr. Warner asked if there is a chance to resubmit this legislation; Ms. Monroe said that they are hoping for that and are working on it.  Mr. Warner asked if when this was started, was there an option discussed in case the surcharge was not approved.  Mr. Seitz said that there thought of charging some costs back to the towns, villages, and fire departments, but it wasn't practical and the County decided to go forward with bonding and tried to get the surcharge increased to $.65.  At this point it will have to come out of local dollars. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked when this will be bonded.  Mr. Seitz said that the authorized bonding is $34 million and it will be borrowed in November/December   Mr. Mareane said that they always had planned to borrow the full amount and to recover it through surcharges on the landlines.  They are trying to figure out what to do now as there is a gap in the funding.  Throughout the course of the project, there was talk about a municipal expense--if the money wasn't available, they would have to look to the participating municipalities to come up with the money out of their own tax levies and budgets.  The veto came as surprise; they are still assessing it.

Mrs. Rapp asked if the surcharge were added to landlines would put the county in a unique position.  Can there be a re-draft adding it to all telephone devices.  Mr. Mareane said that it can't be because the State has laid claim to wireless.  With the landline surcharges going form $.35 to $1.00 it would have put the County in a fairly unique place--a couple of other counties have done it for specific purposes.

Mr. Stanczyk said that some members of the legislature thought it was unfair as it was a small slice of the population that was getting an unfair assessment of the cost--basically the elderly and nonprofits that still have landlines.  He cautioned against municipalities sharing the costs; it should be assumed that this is a general cost to the County and find a way to pay for it-keeping in mind that the County has been very generous with towns and villages in the distribution of sales tax revenues.  The County needs to start to thinking in terms of how to react to the sales tax question in a couple of years--need to think more community wide.  Mr. Kraft said that Mr. Stanczyk only mentioned the towns and villages and not the City.  The City now receives per capita over two times what the person in the suburbs receives. 

Chair Rhinehart was concerned that if the County bonds for the project, there would be little motivation for the Governor to reverse his veto or allow a different request to go forward--has it been discussed on the Executive side.  Mr. Mareane said that there was discussion at the time they received authorization to bond-- this was a scenario that they would have to contend with were taking some risk.  Equipment has been purchased, some is in--he does not think that it can be turned back or stopped.  There needs to be a policy discussion about the most equitable, appropriate, way to levy the cost and at the same time try to leverage the State to reconsider. 

Mr. Kraft said that if there is some sharing arrangement then there is at least some contribution from the ultimate users on the $14 million side that might be helpful.

Mr. Warner referred to the minutes from Dec. 6, 2007, which states that if the surcharge does not happen, the proposal is to apportion the cost to everyone who uses those radios with the exception of groups that traded frequencies for services.  

Mr. Kinne said that the mood in the community is to look at things differently--he referred to the Clay merger with the Sheriff Dept.  This project benefits everyone in the county; the landline charge was the wrong way to go.  If we are going to be doing things for the towns, villages, and city, then things should be looked at differently.  Mr. Kraft said that there is a balance between sharing and paying.  If the County does not pay something, then decisions will be made as to whether to participate or not.  The County can't operate two systems indefinitely. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked for a revised debt service schedule as a result of the received grants, and the funds that would have come from surcharge.  Mr. Mareane said he that he will provide it.  If the landline surcharge isn't available to the County, $1.8 million is lost per year to support debt.  To put $1.8 million on the property tax levy is about 1% on rate, the impact on an average $125,000 homeowner is in the range of $9 - $10 of additional property taxes per year.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about any additional grants being available; Mr. Gabriel indicated that he is working on one with Senator Schumer's office. 

Seconded by Mr. Corbett.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Accepting a C.O.P.S. Grant in the amount of $1,402,950 for the Onondaga Co. Interoperable Communications System Project, and authorizing the Co. Exec. to enter into agreements ($1,402,950)
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      c.   Accept Grant in the Amount of $1,000,000 from the NYS Dorm. Auth. for Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Project, and authorize Co. Exec. to enter into agreements ($1,000,000)
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

 

      d.   Accept a Grant in the Amount of $1,000,000 from NYS for the Onon. Co. Interoperable Communications System Project, and authorize the Co. Exec. to enter into agreements ($1,000,000)
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      e.   A Local Law Authorizing the Lease of County Property Located in the Town of Onondaga to Clear Channel Syracuse
A motion by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.

Mrs. Tarolli stated that there were two changes in the wording of this local law since the Public Safety Committee.  Section 2 notes that they are extending the tower from 180' to 200', which was added into the title.  The type of SEQRA was also changed.  Mr. Warner asked if it had to go through zoning again because of the increase in height.  Mr. Stevenson said no; Mrs. Tarolli will look into it.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. Monroe indicated that this is on OCC campus, and revenues will go into the general fund.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

7.   SOCIAL SERVICES:  Steve Morgan, Deputy Commissioner
      a.   Authorize County Executive to enter into a contract with the City of Syracuse for the Purpose of Code Enforcement and Related Housing Stabilization Services for Recipients of Temporary Assistance
This will provide pre and post inspections of properties being occupied by individuals on temporary assistance.  The money is in the budget; it is grant funded; no local dollars.

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

Mr. Kraft asked if the City is obligated to inspect housing.  Mr. Morgan said that they are, but it is on a 3-year rotating basis.  This services will pay for one code enforcement officer; paying for extra services.

8.   OCPL:  Elizabeth Loftus, Acting Deputy Director
      a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept supplemental NYS Aid Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($84,111)
This is for system related initiatives, strengthening outreach to home bound patrons by expansion of the Books By Mail Program; part-time sorting and delivery support, purchasing additional materials, procuring professional financial services for cost allocation, supporting Board of Trustees Strategic Plan Development, purchasing book bags.

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

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the Books By Mail Program will stop if the grant is eliminated.  Ms. Loftus said that it wouldn't.  There is a modest program in place now--this is a way to expand it, using grant funds and see how it works into the budget long term.  The part-time laborer/messenger will become part of the budget.

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk about the program, Ms. Loftus said that the books are sent to homebound individuals.  Participation has dropped considerably; it was highly used in the '80s.  Feels that usage has dropped off because they are not in a position to publicize it; don't' have resource devoted to it.  About 200 books per month go out from Betts Library.  Mr. Stanczyk said that he has been hopeful of having more volunteers--it seems it would be a benefit to have the human element in a program like this.  Ms. Loftus said that volunteers are used in other capacities.  Many services are also delivered over the Internet. 

Mrs. Rapp asked about the long-term strategic development plan.  Ms. Loftus said that the library had a plan in 1994; there was a draft plan in 2000; in 2003 a committee was convened to look at it again.  Now the board would like to go forward with it.  Mrs. Rapp said that she would support re-looking at the whole issue of where the library is located.

Mr. Kilmartin asked for a report from the Board of Trustees as to the strategic plan and hopes to have a copy of that plan by the next meeting of Education & Libraries Committee.  Regarding the supplement aid portion being used for part time personnel, he thought that they would be temporary employees and when the funds expired they wouldn't be employees of the County.  Ms. Loftus said that the aim is to fold them in eventually.  Ms. Carmer indicated that a request was made for the position in the 2009 budget.

Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept CNY Library Resources Council Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($5,000)
A motion by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item. Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      c.   Amend 2008 County Budget to accept State Division of Library Development funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and authorize the County Executive to enter into contracts ($31,298)
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

9.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Randy Ott, Commissioner
      a.   Authorizing the County Executive to execute an agreement with the Town of Salina regarding remediation of the Town of Salina Landfill
The town requested that the County treat the leachate from the landfill.  The County has a letter from DEC which states that the landfill leachate will not be considered hazardous.  There is a draft industrial waste permit, which spells out the pre-treatment requirements that they will have to meet to discharge to the County Sanitary System.  The system will remove metals and other pollutants.  The Law Dept. has drafted a memorandum of understanding between the County and the Town which releases the County from any liability and a covenant not to sue.  The town will pay applicable user charge fees for discharge of any leachate this is pre-treated and discharged to the sanitary sewer system.  The tentative schedule is to start construction late 2009/early 2009.

Mrs. Rapp said that she is glad to see this here; they have been working on this for 2 years.  She complimented Mr. Ott's staff and the County Executive's office, as nothing like this has been done before and it classic example of shared services.  She asked to be listed as a co-sponsor.

A motion by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Approving the Expansion to the Onondaga County Sanitary District to be known as Devoe Road Area Sewer District, in the Town of Camillus and the Construction of the Improvements Proposed
This is a 607-acre addition to the sanitary district, which will encompass two developments, Water Bridge Terrace and View Point Estates.  It is comprised of 69 lots with a potential of 42 additional lots at some time in the future.  There is a possibility that 21 existing homes could hook up to it.  The construction is at the cost of the developer.

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

Mr. Corbett provided the background to this project, noting that it was originally presented as part sewer and part septic.  SOCPA said no to the septic and OK for the sewer.  The builder then determined that it could be done as a sewer.  The change was put in around the time that there was a new administration in the County.  The builder continued the infrastructure, as nothing was indicated to him that it wouldn't be accepted.  SOCPA objected to the new proposal based on the 2010 plan.  Mr. Corbett is working with the County Executive's office -- Executive, SOCPA and Legislature, will be coming up with a new plan and will combine discussion with towns and villages to come up with a specific yes or no plan. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked if the sewer line has sufficient capacity.  Mr. Ott said that it is tributary to the Camillus Pump Station and the West Side Pump Station.  There are some wet weather issues at the West Side Pump Station.  There have been two sanitary overflows in the past 3 years based on the records that he has.  Mr. Stanczyk does not understand how more flow can be put on the lines if there is already a problem with them.  Mr. Corbett said that the County can move forward to integrate a plan.  This was no fault to the County or the developer; it happened during a transition point.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the standard should be created now.  Chairman Rhinehart said that it is not uncommon for the County Planning Agency to by in conflict with local planning agencies.  Many localities want to keep their own planning and zoning capacity within their own corporate structure and not turn it over to the county.  He feels specific guidelines should be included.  Mr. Stanczyk feels that the standards should be in place now.  Mr. Corbett said that this is a very unusual case. 

Mr. Kinne questioned if this will make the wet weather condition worse.  Mr. Ott said that this is very small flow.  The initial build out is only 13,000 gallons per day and doesn't anticipate this could be a problem.  Mr. Corbett said that there is remediation now for a large area of the flows from Onondaga, Bronson, Westvale area, down to the west side pumping station.  Mr. Ott said that the Hillcrest force main is being replaced now, and they are looking at the future needs of the west side pumping station.  They will solicit proposals from engineers later this year; and are waiting for a draft report from engineers regarding Bronson Road and corrective actions being recommended.  Mr. Ott said that the sanitary district boundaries date to 1940;s and 1950;s.  They were consolidated in 1979.  Those boundaries need to be addressed, SOCPA needs to spell out criteria for what expansion they will allow in the County and whether it is sewer, water, or both.

Mr. Stanczyk said that if we are spending $100's of millions to correct the system, it seems strange to add more flow to the system at the same time.

AYES:  7: NOES; 0 ABSTENTIONS:  2 (Mr. Kinne, Stanczyk); CARRIED.

Mr. Kraft urged the legislature to consider the following when a new 2010 plan is being considered.  if someone owns a piece of land and wants to use it ; it is tough when someone tells them that he can't.  People move, because they want to; we should tell them that they can't   We need to open the doors and be as practical as possible.  To make blanket regulations that will be overly controlling is a big mistake.  Mr. Kinne said that there is big difference in telling someone where they live vs. the County not providing sewer and water there.

10. MENTAL HEALTH:  Robert Long, Commissioner
      a.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Addl. funds from the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Dev. Disabilities for a Cost of Living Adjustment and Authorize Co. Exec. to enter into contracts ($41,704)
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the Onon. Co. District Attorney's Office for the Project P.R.O.U.D. Program, and authorize the County Executive to enter into Contracts ($63,439)
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      c.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Additional Funds From the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Svcs. for an Offsite Demonstration Program, Residential Services, Supplemental and Cost of Living Increase and Authorize the County Executive to enter into Contracts ($198,118)

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

      d.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Addl. funds from the NYS Office of Mental Health for the Svce Enriched Housing Prog. and a COLA, and Authorize Co. Exec. to enter into contracts ($793,440)
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk, to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

2.   PARKS DEPARTMENT:  Jon Cooley, Dir. Rec. & Public Programs
      a.   Abolish Parks Interpreter 1, Grade 5 @ $27,807 - $30,705 effective August 16, 2008;Create Park Naturalist I, Grade 9 @ $38,313 - $42,378 effective August 16, 2008
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

11. WAYS & MEANS MISC.:
      b.   Local Law Amend Onon. Co. Charter to Limit the Number of Terms that A Person is Eligible to Serve as Co. Legislator on and After Jan. 1, 2010 to Four Consecutive Two Year Terms; to Limit the Number of Terms that a Person is Eligible to Serve as Co. Exec. on and After Jan. 1, 2012 to Two Consecutive Four Year Terms; to Limit the Number of Terms that a Person is Eligible to Serve as Co. Clerk on and After Jan. 1, 2009 to Two Consecutive Four Year Terms; to Limit the Number of Terms that A Person is eligible to Serve as Co. Comptroller on and after Jan. 1, 2012 to Two Consecutive Four Year Terms (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

Mr. Holmquist said that this could be topic of discussion for the new DeMore Committee that Chairman Meyer referred to earlier.  Mr. Stanczyk said that it would be appropriate to send this to that committee for discussion. If Mr. Buckel would like a vote on this in August, he will get the word back to Mrs. Rapp and Mr. Meyer.

      c.   Submission of Local Law Amend Onon. Co. Charter with Respect to the Onon. Co. Reapportionment Commission to the Vote of the Qualified Electors of Onon. Co. on Nov. 4, 2008 
      d.   Local Law Amend Co. Charter to Revise the Onon. Co. Reapportionment Commission to Ensure a Non-Partisan, Fair and Objective Process by which the Onon. Co. Leg. Districts are Reapportioned (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

Mr. Stanczyk said that this is in anticipation that the legislature will be redistricted after the next caucus.  This is to develop a mechanism to appoint a nonpartisan, fair and objective process by with the districts are reapportioned. 

Mr. Holmquist said that it looks good on paper to use "non-partisan".  Historically the redistricting has been fair and objective, and supported by votes on both sides of the aisle.  At this level, our track record is pretty good.  The people that are elected by the people are the ones that are best equipped to do this.  He feels this item should also be referred the "DeMore Committee".

Mr. Kraft said that he was heavily involved in the process the last two times this occurred.  Last time everyone voted in the affirmative, except for Mr. Smith, whose district was apportioned out.  He feels they have been very successful in providing a non-partisan solution that proves to gather votes from both sides of the aisle.

Mr. Stanczyk said that there are people that are fair, objective, and non-partisan who are not part of the process, and it might make good sense to have a commission outside of seated county legislators to determine what the legislative districts should look like going forward.  Mr. Kinne said that he voted for it the last time, but the original plan put forth was obnoxious, contrived, and contorted.  Things were eventually changed and it passed.  He would not like to go through that again.

Mr. Warner asked to move items C & D to Mr. DeMore's committee.

Mr. Stanczyk said that his is a local law, if it is the intent of the sponsor to put it on the floor, then it is his prerogative.  The first proposal that came out last time was an abomination; we ended up with something better--a non-partisan group could have done a better job.  Mr. Kraft said that Mr. Stanczyk's statements are inflammatory and beyond the reality of that time.  There were no abominations.

Mr. Holmquist seconded the motion.  AYES:  7 (Kraft, Corbett, Rapp, Kilmartin, Holmquist, Warner, Rhinehart); NOES:  2 (Stanczyk, Kinne).  MOTION CARRIED.

      e.   Requesting the Onondaga County Personnel Commissioner to waive application fees for Civil Service Examinations for Veterans (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel, Mr. Warner)

Mr. Warner said that this is something that we can do to show appreciation for the veterans.  Mrs. Walter provided a one-page detail on the fees (attach. #1).  She said that up until about 1989 the State did not charge the County to provide examination services.  Likewise as the County absorbed the State's cost from 1989 - 1992. There is a waiver policy now for those who are unemployed, primarily responsible for head of household, eligible for Medicaid, or receiving SSI or Public Assistance, Foster Care or certified Workforce Investment Act eligible through a State or local service agency.  This has been in existence since the County started charging fees in 1992.  The yearly revenue varies between $75,000 - $95,000 annually

The State charges, $7.50, $12.50, or $14.000 per candidate for the exams.  The County pays that fee for every candidate.  At the end of 2006, State Law changed mandating providing a waiver to unemployed, head of household, Medicaid eligible, etc., which Onondaga County was already doing.  When it happened, they stopped collecting a fee for the candidates that fit the criteria.  As of 2007 the County started paying a little less in fees to the State.  Nevertheless, Onondaga County pays between $34,000 - $45,000 per year. 

Regarding the veterans, they do not know how many will apply every year, but they do keep track of who is a veteran for other purposes.  It is estimated that in any given year there are 220 veterans taking exams, mostly the law enforcement exams.  It is estimated that with a waiver there would be a loss of revenue of $4,600.  The County would still have to pay the State for those candidates, which would be about $2,500.

Mr. Holmquist said that this is an issue for the Advisory Committee that Chairman Meyer brought forth today.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what the process is and how many people the fee has been waived for.  Mrs. Walter explained that a form has to be filled out and the candidate must show documentation.  About 5% are waived-- mostly for entry-level positions. 

Mr. Kraft said that someone else will end up paying.  A veteran with an $80,000 income would have their fee waived, but there is a parent making $35,000 per year with 3 young children who will pay the fee.  We will still pay the State from the people who don't have the resources.  He questioned the definition of a veteran.  If there are people, veterans or otherwise with extreme distress, there is a mechanism to take care of it.  More and more mechanisms are being created to give people breaks on taxes and fees, and we are losing track of the fact that property taxes will have to be raised to cover the cost of these changes. 

Mr. Warner asked if some counties in the state waive all fees.  Mrs. Walter said that one county waives all fees; some waive some fees.  Mr. Warner said that this is a small token to show appreciation to the people that have served this country.  Chairman Rhinehart agreed and said that this is aimed especially at the young veterans that get out of military service.

Chairman Rhinehart seconded the motion.  AYES:  4 (Kilmartin, Corbett, Warner, Rhinehart); NOES:  2 (Holmquist, Kraft); ABSTENTIONS:  3 (Rapp, Stanczyk, Kinne).  MOTION CARRIED.

BOARD OF ELECTIONS - Helen Kiggins, Edward Ryan, Commissioners

  • A list of materials that are needed was distributed; it will all be reimbursed via the lever machine money. They had to front the money and get reimbursed. It will come out of the 300 account. When it is reimbursed, it will go to the general fund, and they will be back asking for the money.
  • Lever machines will be used this year; ballot markers will be used by voters with disabilities. No machines are certified yet; 27 machines will be brought in next Tues., each machine has to be tested. Each site will need a new machine, will need 207 this fall.
  • They are training 1000 people.
  • Disabled--3 different ways to vote & takes 15-30 minutes ea. Anyone can vote using this process.
  • Warehouse -- need to have a controlled atmosphere for storage; would like to rent another 5,000 sq. ft. t (just und 12,000 sq. ft., which would put BOE under 2 roofs instead of 3. Meeting today with the administration; have $19,000 to spend for 5 years. They will be back next month with resolutions.

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

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk