Meeting Minutes Archive: June, 2009

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
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www.ongov.net
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PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE - JUNE 8, 2009
CASEY E. JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Stott, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. Williams
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Rhinehart
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 11:01 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. DeMore, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to waive the reading of the minutes and to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

1.       COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:
The agenda was taken out of order.

b.       Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to File the 2009 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Shelter Grant Programs ($4,606,160)
Ms. DeFichy provided a handout entitled 2009 Community Development Budget with comparisons of 2007, 2008 and 2009 (Attachment 2).  All grants went up a little this year, hoping it is a trend.  Ms. DeFichy noted that the CDBG Float Loan is a way to keep on track, if they need to, concerning their expenditure ratio with HUD.  Instead of waiting to pay back the County when they sell a house, they pay the County up front with the $750,000; they draw against that account in emergencies to keep their ratio on track, have only used it a couple of times.

Ms. DeFichy referred to the 2009 CDBG Capital Projects hand out (on file with Clerk).  Sixteen projects were approved by the steering committee and four contingent projects.

Home Grant is broken down into five categories:  Housing Rehabilitation (owner occupied), Lead Based Paint Rehab Grant, (used when there is not a child in the household), Ownership Subsidies (no money this year because they are getting them elsewhere), Non-Profit Housing Activities (required to spend 15%, usually special needs housing), and Administration (10%).

Mr. Stanczyk asked what the backlog in the Housing Rehab Program is, noticed they are putting a little more money into it this year.  Ms. DeFichy said the backlog is probably 200 to 300 people; money would be used mostly as a match for the lead grant.  Mr. Stanczyk said he has an ongoing problem with this, have 200 - 300 people lined up to get normal community development housing repairs, asked if they are not getting to them if they do not have lead.  Ms. DeFichy said they are getting to them more slowly than to the lead people, but they have many elderly people under the lead program if they have grandchildren or children in the neighborhood who frequently visit.  They also have a Restore Grant ($125,000) that can be used for emergency repairs for elderly people.  They are also re-soliciting everybody on the lists to make sure there hasn't been a change in circumstances, such as a grandchild, etc.  Mr. Stanczyk noted they are getting good money for the Lead Grant Program, doing a lot of good work, but it seems they have diverted what normally has been done in the past to do the lead; we are ignoring a number of people who qualify for assistance that we should be getting to.  Ms. DeFichy said wherever they do rehab it is mandated by law that they do lead.  Mr. Stanczyk said he would like to know exactly where they are, where they propose to be six months and a year from now; have to make sure we are taking care of these people who have signed up on this list.

Mr. Jordan said it seems that the vast majority of times, there is going to be lead paint; it is sort of dovetailing together; questioned whether there are people higher up on the list that are not being done because they don't have lead paint, are the funds being diverted or applied differently than they otherwise would be because of the lead paint.  Ms. DeFichy said before the lead paint regulation went into effect the money did go to these projects, but on a much more limited basis; if they choose to spend this money on those people, they will be behind on their targets and they will not get the $6.5 million next time, it would be short sighting the community.  If they don't meet their goals, they lose 450 houses to do 100 houses.  Mr. Jordan requested a one-pager explaining how this all fits together.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they have alleviated the problem that they had in the past of not having enough personnel and contractors to get the work done.  Ms. DeFichy said they have three new people on staff and they have been advertising in the paper for contractors; they have more contractors, have a new brochure that is being left at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. as part of a marketing effort.

Mr. DeMore asked if it is more important to do the lead than home rehab because of kids getting sick, and asked if they might be able to shift priorities as they do more homes for lead and there are fewer left to do.  Ms. DeFichy said "yes".

In answer to Mr. Stott, Ms. DeFichy said the lead grant requires a small match; they are reaching more people than they could have if they didn't have the lead money.  According to law, they have to test every house for lead no matter what program it is under.  There are many elderly people who participate in this program and they are not just doing lead; they match it dollar for dollar with County money for the general construction - roofs, furnaces, hot water tanks, plumbing, etc.  In answer to Mr. Stott, Ms. DeFichy said each job is bid out.  Mr. Stott said hiring contractors for the year to do specific projects instead of bidding out each individual job would help their budget; it could be bid out according to the average for a year.  Mr. Jordan said the houses could be all over the board, one could need a little work and another a lot, and they don't know what houses will be coming in.  Ms. DeFichy said if they buy two houses in the same area at the same time, they bid them out together.  The regular housing rehab owner occupied is unyielding to do, thinks they would run into other regulations.

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

c.       Amending the 2009 County Budget to Authorize the 2009 County Homeownership Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($4,300,000)
Authorizing the County Construction Loan for the Home Ownership Program.  The County pays the bills as Community Development buys houses and rehabs them; when the houses are sold, the County is paid back in full by a combination of the mortgage proceeds from the house and various subsidies that they get from the state and federal government.  Community Development does not draw down $4.3 million up front, they use it as needed.

d.     Amending the 2009 County Budget to Accept a Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grant From the N.Y.S. Housing Finance Agency for the Community Development Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($850,000)
Can only be used in specified areas, will allow for 28-42 homebuyer subsidies at $20,000 to $30,000 a piece.

a.     Amending the 2009 County Budget to Accept a Grant From the N.Y.S. Housing Finance Agency for the Community Development Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements to Implement This Resolution ($350,000)
This is a new grant, part of the recovery program, to cover losses they might have on houses.  Since 1992, their record of overall loss is $136,000.  Any time they lose money it is repaid to the County out of the Revolving Fund that is made up of all their profits.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk to approve items 1. a, c and d.

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. DeFichy said the revolving fund has about $600,000 for community development, will use $150,000 of that under Housing Rehab.  They did about 30 houses a year until predatory lending came along.  The HUD homes were all FHA insured; once there was the ability of sub prime mortgages, people didn't need FHA anymore.  FHA stock diminished; they did 18 houses this past year.  They get some properties from the County (tax delinquent properties), some on the open market, but nothing is the same as getting a discount on HUD homes, FHA is now on the upswing again.  There is a new program that runs in tandem with a. and d. called the National Community Stabilization Trust, they are the intermediary between all the banks that had all the foreclosures, houses are funneled through the trust and dispersed to agencies if they want them; they are hoping that will become a new source of properties.  For this year, they have about 30 houses in their inventory.  Would do about 30 in the next year, could ramp up if properties are available.

Mr. DeMore seconded Mr. Stanczyk's motion; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Ms. DeFichy supplied a list of 2008 and 2009 Capital Project Applications (on file with Clerk).

Homeless:
Ms. Sarah Merrick, Social Services Department, gave a report on the Homeless.  Ms. Merrick provided a memo with a brief description on current shelters in Onondaga County for adults and families only; those that serve youth are administered by the Department of Aging and Youth.  The 2008 Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses and 2009 Budgeted Expenses (adult and family only) was also provided (on file with Clerk).

Mr. Stanczyk said the stimulus shelter funds coming through Community Development is an extra $1,000,000 per year, asked how that money is going to be spent, who is spending it, who is working it, how it is working and where are they in the negotiations.  Ms. Merrick said the City and the County are working together to create one plan for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), it is going well, should have a written plan this month, they are figuring out what agencies will subcontract to do the additional re-housing and case management work that is necessary.  HPRP cannot be spent on shelter services, but it is her belief that they will be able to relocate the vast majority of the individuals who are in these shelters and, in time, reduce the overall shelter cost for the County.  There are three populations that they can use this money for:

1)    300 to 325 homeless who are using the shelters as their home.  Need to use the federal money to move those people out and get them in apartments.

2)    The new homeless that they want to address in a very quick response; so they are only there 14 days and then out, hope to use the money as bridge money.

3)    The housing vulnerable - for people who have an eviction or pending removal from home.

Mr. Stanczyk said it is his understanding that once people end up in a homeless shelter that we go through a process to qualify them for some stream of payments from the federal government, asked how they end up there permanently.  Ms. Merrick said people who are permanently in the shelters are individuals that either have a mental health issue, substance abuse issue and/or a developmentally disabled situation.  They tend to be the most non-compliant individuals; they try many attempts to get them into other services and out of shelters.  Now, they will be able to get them SSI, which is an expensive process to go through - have to meet medical criteria, have medical paperwork.  They will be able to have a dedicated caseworker that will work with those individuals to make sure they get through the SSI processing to get them federal money (about $720 per month); no local money would be spent on housing these people in the future.  In addition, this will allow them to develop low demand housing options for these individuals.  They will work with agencies that will create very low demand support to keep them out of shelters, keep them safe.  They will work with those who have SSI first to, hopefully, get them re-housed, then, they will aggressively start with the rest to get them through the SSI process.

Mr. Jordan said it seems to him that they may still have a problem with the people maintaining an apartment or going back to stay at the homeless shelter.  Ms. Merrick said the federal money would allow them to expand the Homeless Information Management System; they will be able to track the homeless.  They are working with a few agencies that have a good track record of working with the homeless; they also have to figure out how to develop life coaches to check on the individuals periodically so that they don't bounce back into the shelter, and, hopefully, if they need medication they will become compliant with taking it.  Ms. Merrick said for this particular population they cannot just find them an affordable apartment, they know they need some degree of supportive services.  Catholic Charities, Franciscan Living Services, Syracuse Behavioral Health and Central New York Services all have proven programs that support individuals like these; they need to work with these agencies to see how they can expand their services with the SSI income.  Ms. Merrick said they don't want to build anything that is going to cost the county more, don't want to rely on the federal stimulus money that will dry up in three years.  They are not creating anything that has not been done before, Catholic Charities works with landlords all over the community and places formerly homeless in apartments, they are the mediators if an issues come up with the landlords.  Mr. Jordan asked how they going to fund this increased monitoring with existing funding.  Ms. Merrick said, hopefully, the long term results of what they are going to do in Department of Social Services (Single Point of Entry) will allow them control of the use of shelters, it will decrease the use of shelters because they will be able to address misuse of the shelters.  It will also allow them to monitor the homeless on an aggressive re-housing plan and also monitor recidivism.  If they do it right, they can lower the 370-bed capacity of shelters; that is going to be a significant cost savings.  They will possibly have to use some of that savings to continue the funding of these support services to keep them out of shelters, but in the long term, it is going to save the community significantly and the homeless will be properly served.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

 


 

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING - JUNE 9, 2009
CHAIRMAN RICHARD LESNIAK

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Warner, Mr. DeMore, Mr. Masterpole, Ms. Williams
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Buckel
ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Perrotta, Mr. Corcoran, Ms. Lesniak

Chairman Lesniak called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

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

1.      Requesting the Secretary of the NYS Department of State and the NYS Fire Administrator to Assist Municipalities in Recruiting, Training and Retaining Fire Fighters by Expanding the Education and Training Courses That Can Be Provided By Local Entities (Sponsored by Mr. Lesniak)

Chairman Lesniak said that there are fire departments in the county that use country fire instructors for training; they are certified by the County.  The State is now telling them that they can only teach specific courses.  The State is not provided the funding or mechanisms for training to be done any other way.  This resolution asks the State to recertify the county fire instructors, as done in the past, let them teach the courses that they have taught in the past.   Some of the issue is that there are State fire instructors around the state; they want to make fire departments use them rather than use the county fire instructors.  They have to be paid on overtime, and the State is not providing funding for it.

Mr. Masterpole asked if the County trainers are currently getting paid; Chairman Lesniak said "no", they are all volunteers.  He said that the State instructors would have to be paid.

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

The meeting was adjourned at 10:09 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk
Onondaga County Legislature

 


SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 9, 2009
CHAIRMAN SAM LAGUZZA

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Warner, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Stott
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Buckel
ALSO PRESENT:  see 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 meeting.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

Chairman Laguzza took the agenda out of order.

2.     AGING AND YOUTH:  Chris Flynn, Youth Bureau Administrator
        a.        Authorize Co. Exec. to Enter Into Agreements With the Town of Cicero for the Cicero Canteen Drop-In Center for Youth
Joint funding from DSS and Syracuse/Onondaga County Youth Board.  DSS portion is from COPS funding.  Mr. Morgan said that this was an approved program by the State, good through Sept. of this year.  The Community Youth Board funds go through the end of December.  Mr. Lesniak asked the difference between this COPS grant funding and the other COPS grants that were cut.  Mr. Morgan said that initially it was going to be cut, but then the State put it back in.  All programs that they currently fund, will still be funded through Sept.  Ms. Flynn said that, as this is an intermunicipal agreement; it needs the Legislature's approve.  The Youth Bureau money is not connected to COPS.

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Stott to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

 

        b.        Authorizing Execution of Agreements With the Town of Camillus Department of Parks and Recreation for Operation of the Camillus Townshop Youth Center
The Syracuse/Onon. Co. Youth Bd., through competitive process, allocated funds to Town of Camillus.  As it is an intermunicipal agreement, it needs legislative approval.  Ms. Flynn said that there is no COPS funding attached to this.

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

 

1.     SOCIAL SERVICES:  David Sutkowy, Commissioner
        a.        Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements With the City of Syracuse for Code Enforcement and Related Housing Stabilization Services for Recipients of Temporary Assistance

A contract was set up with the City of Syr. for housing inspections last fall.  Any contract with another public entity requires legislative approval.  The cost is $46,000 for one inspector to do pre and post inspections for recipients of social services.  In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Sutkowy said the inspector will do about 200 inspections/year. Mr. Lesniak questioned why the County doesn't use its own. Mr. Sutkowy said that the vast majority is in the city.  Mr. Lesniak asked if it had been explored, as 200 is not a lot of inspections for $46,000.  Mr. Sutkowy said that the division of labor has been that the City handle housing issues for the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County will handle the other side. 

A motion by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. DeMore to approve this item.  Ayes:  5 (Laguzza, DeMore, Stott, Holmquist, Warner); NOES: 0; ABSTAINED:  1 (Lesniak).  MOTION CARRIED.

Chair Laguzza referred to the RFP for the Medicaid transport and noted that he saw the presentation from Maxwell.  Mr. Sutkowy distributed a copy of the executive summary (on file with Clerk).  The Maxwell School is an unbelievable asset for this community; the students are top notch.  Students were asked to look at specific issues regarding the medical transportation system, a required service of the Medicaid program.  They were asked to look at standards going into the RFP process--a large part of the study provides recommendations on standards.  The reports came in late Friday afternoon.  Chair Laguzza said that there is other data and suggestions included-items that do not have to go into the RFP.

 

Mr. Sutkowy said that DSS will develop an RFP; it will go to Purchase; they will work with the Law Dept.  There will be a decision making process.  In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Sutkowy said that last time there were 3 bidders.  Chair Laguzza said that Maxwell has talked to other vendors---there is an awareness that this is being looked at---anticipates that there will be more bidders.  Mr. Sutkowy said that the prior authorization agent is very technologically driven.  The current contractor, Medial Answering Services, is the prior authorization agent for seven other communities, and MAS is stationed in Syracuse.  You don't have to have a local operation in order to do it because of technology.

The meeting was adjourned and 10:43 a.m. 

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk


 

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 9, 2009
BERNARD KRAFT, CHAIRMAN

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

Vice Chairman Kilmartin called the meeting to order at 11:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Laguzza to waive the reading of the minutes and to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

1.      Pulled

2. PARKS: Mr. Robert Geraci, Commissioner; Mr. Chuck Doyle, Zoo Director; Ms. Janet Agostini, Friends of the Zoo
a.      Amending the 2009 County Budget to Establish a Capital Project Account to accept Funding for New Lion Caging at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, and authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept a Donation without Condition ($45,000)

To accept a donation from the Friends of the Zoo to replace the lions holding cage, work will be bid out (labor and materials).  The Friends of the Zoo will release the funds that are currently held in a bank account upon submission of paid receipts when the work has been completed to the satisfaction of the county and the Friends.

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

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Ms. Agostini said the money is being held in a restrictive account for this purpose only; it is not commingled with other funds.  Mr. Laguzza asked if there is a contract between the County and the Friends.  vs. Agostini said she has submitted a letter of commitment.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Geraci said whenever they agree to do a job together, they will get a letter of commitment from the Friends, similar to the $7 million elephant exhibit when the Friends committed to raising $1 million.  Mr. Laguzza mentioned being on a fee schedule.  Mr. Geraci said that was for things in the past such as the tiger trail, etc.  Ms. Agostini said they paid the $1.1 million twelve years early.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if it was a letter of commitment or a written agreement when they agreed to the schedule of repayment.  Ms. Agostini said it was a written agreement.  Mr. Geraci said for the lion exhibit it would be one payment, but for something in the future like the elephant exhibit, they may extend it over several years for their ability to pay.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about the timeline for this project.  Mr. Geraci said it would be sent to Purchasing to go out to bid after it is passed at Session.  Mr. Doyle said they have to piecemeal it, because the lions still have to live there; they will be done toward the end of September.

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

3.      TRANSPORTATION:  Mr. Brian Donnelly, Commissioner
a.      Amending the 2009 County budget to Accept Additional Revenue for Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2008-2009 ($345,140)

Mr. Donnelly said they received notification from NYS DOT that there would be an increase in their severity factor for 2008-2009 to 1.201; that equates to an additional $345,140 in revenue for the County.  Mr. Laguzza asked what the severity factor is for a normal winter.  Mr. Donnelly said 1.0.

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

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly said this would only be applicable for the year 2009.  Funds would be used for the following accounts:

  • Highway Division 300 Account - $231,200.  Salt and Clearlane have increased 8.5% going into the 2009-2010 season.  There is a $231,200 austerity hold from what was originally budgeted.
  • Road Machinery 205 Account - $17,500.  There is a 50% austerity hold on this account.  Funds will be used to purchase a tow broom.
  • Road Machinery 300 Account - $48,220.  There is a large austerity hold on the account.  Fuel prices have been below budget price estimates for the first four months, but prices have recently risen.  Also, they anticipate that they may need additional funds for supplies for vehicles.
  • Road Machinery 413 Account - $48,220.  There is a $103,000 austerity hold on this account.  The first three months of this year were 9% higher than the first quarter for last year.

Mr. Donnelly said he has salt on hand, won't need to start buying until the end of November or December, funds will not be utilized immediately.  The others amounts are speculative based on the repairs and where utilities come in going through the season, they are not spending at this time, just transferring to the accounts.

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

b.   Status Report - 2009 Work Plan

Mr. Donnelly said they are moving ahead with all the projects.  The work plan was formulated with asphalt costing approximately $250,000 a mile for paving.  Based on the prices they just got from State DOT for escalation of liquid asphalt, their prices right now are approximately $223,500 a mile.  Mr. Laguzza asked if they are buying from the City.  Mr. Donnelly said they are buying a small amount (about 5,000 tons); City asphalt price is now $215,000.  That was the amount the City was comfortable producing; secondly, it is not always economical to drive back to the City's asphalt plant.  They expect the price to continue to trend upwards (it is up about $5,000 a mile from where it was last month); they are still not hearing that there are tremendous supplies of asphalt out there.  If asphalt prices stay low, they would do more work; they would go to their next lowest ranked roads.

Mr. Masterpole asked if they lock in prices for a certain amount of time for the asphalt.  Mr. Donnelly said all of their bids have bid pricing, but they also have escalation, because of the volatility of the market.  NYS DOT provides a price on a monthly basis, and that is how the escalation is calculated for the upcoming month.  Mr. Masterpole asked if they can use the price they purchase it from the City as a negotiating tool.  Mr. Donnelly said they are using a different mix from the City than their other suppliers.

Regarding the Thompson Road project, they are in the process of right-of-way acquisition, should have the project out to bid in early fall.

Bridge program is under way, bid four of the bridges; they are seeing good prices that are under engineers' estimates.

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Coley said the price of $223,000 a mile for asphalt right now is a little higher than at this time last year; it was $218,000 in June of 2008.

Mr. Kilmartin said pursuant to a resolution that was passed in April regarding the Syracuse Crunch, the War Memorial and the lease with them, he has met with officials from the County Executive's office, the Oncenter Complex to discuss, generally, the operational, contract, lease and finance issues.  He has also spoken to Mr. Dolgon briefly on the topic.  Mr. Kilmartin knows that Mr. Dolgon has met with representatives from the Oncenter and it is his understanding that the Crunch has been in conversations with people in the County Executive's office.  There are three interested parties - the Legislature, the County Executive's office and the Oncenter representatives, the group is trying to coordinate their efforts to make certain everyone has input on the issues.  The goal is to get input from the three parties, get some kind of consensus as to the best way to advance a lease, advance improvements at the War Memorial and then sit down with the Crunch and, hopefully, work out a lease amendment with them and other improvements to the War Memorial.

Mr. Laguzza said two members of the Legislature mentioned on the floor last month that ROT has $450,000 earmarked for the scoreboard, asked if that is part of the discussions.  Mr. Kilmartin said during committee discussions last month regarding the outdoor hockey game, someone asked the Finance Department and the County Executive's office to give a projection of what is in ROT now, what is on the calendar for next year; thinks Mr. Kochian said he plugged in a line item projecting to allocate $450,000 from ROT to the purchase of a scoreboard, it wasn't binding.  Mr. Kilmartin said discussion of a scoreboard did come up when talking about other improvements to the War Memorial, existing lease and lease amendment; nothing specific was lined out.  Mr. Kilmartin noted that it appeared that all three parties were not involved in discussions in the past; that created conflict and confusion in terms of the Crunch, the Oncenter, the Legislature and the County Executive's office.  Mr. Laguzza suggested that a bullet sheet be put together after each meeting to keep the other legislators in the loop, suggested that the other legislators be informed when a meeting is scheduled in case they want to sit in.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:09 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

 


 

EDUCATION & LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MINUTES
PATRICK M. KILMARTIN, CHAIRMAN, June 10, 2009

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

Chairman Kilmartin called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Stott 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. Elizabeth Dailey, Executive Director; Ms. Sally Carmer, Dir. Administrative Services

The agenda was taken out of order.

d.   Amending the 2009 County Budget to Accept State Division of Library Development Funds or the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($13,000)

This is the second year of funding of a two-year grant through the Gates Foundation.  Funds will be used to upgrade a total of 10 public access PCs with related peripherals and software at 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. Corbett to approve this item; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Manning noted that the Gates Foundation announced a similar initiative for broadband service; five libraries in the county were identified as needing significant upgrades, there is a grant process under way right now.

a.   Create Librarian IV (Dept. Head), Grade 35, @ $68,363 - $96,450 Effective August 15, 2009

b.   Abolish one Position, Librarian III, Grade 13 @ $54,807 - $60,695, said Position to be Identified by the Commissioner of Personnel, Effective Upon Filing the Library IV (Dept. Head) Position and Successful Completion of the Incumbent's Probationary Period

c.   Create Librarian Assistant, Grade 08, @ $37,235 - $41,171 effective August 1, 2009
Ms. Dailey said she is recommending to not fill the Assistant Deputy position.  Ms. Dailey noted that she has come up through the system and has the skill sets that the Board had attributed to a Deputy Director.  When she looked at the work that had to be done, the range was so great that she didn't feel it could be covered by one job title.  She is proposing to promote one Librarian III to Librarian IV to direct the Central Library; once filled, one of the Librarian III positions would be abolished.  Regarding the Librarian Assistant position, Ms. Dailey has identified a gap in technical assistance.  There is not one position that is focused on grants - what they are eligible for, what supported paper work is needed, what the evaluation tools are, getting the reports in on time.  Ms. Dailey said they would be saving $30,000 in their personnel line.

Mr. Corbett asked if she conferred with the board.  Ms. Dailey said "yes", their request was to leave the Deputy Director position unfounded in case it were needed again in the future.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Walter said the salary range for the Deputy Director position is $74,900 - $105,757.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the projected salary savings of $30,000 was for the year 2009.  Ms. Park said "yes", and in 2010 it will be bigger.  Mr. Kilmartin reviewed that Deputy Director position is vacant, they would like to create a Librarian IV at $68,363 - $96,450, create a Librarian Assistant at $37,235 - $41,171 and abolish Librarian III at $54,807 - $60,695.  Taking out the Deputy Director position, if that remains vacant, and carrying over the two creates and the abolition, Mr. Kilmartin asked if the net effect would be an increase of around $50,000 plus or minus.  Ms. Walter said the fourth part of the equation is the Deputy Director position that is funded this year and won't be funded next year if this passes, that would have to be deducted. Ms. Walter said their intent is to keep it unfounded in 2010.  Ms. Carmer said they factored in a $30,000 budget reduction for the 2010 budget request.  Ms. Walter said there are several controls, the position cannot be filled without County Executive approval.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if there was thought to abolishing the Deputy Director position.   Ms. Park said if a new Director needed to be hired, the legislative process is long, the Board would like it to remain unfounded for possible future use for an interium director.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if an unfounded position is still counted for a department's total budget.  Ms. Walter said it is counted in terms of authorized positions; it is not counted in terms of FTE's.  All positions have to go through a vacancy review process before they can be filled; if there was a desired to fill the position, they would have to show they have money from other savings, can't go above their total allotment in their personnel account.

Mr. Stott supports Ms. Dailey's decision making; shows the type of leadership she has, he is confident that this is something that makes sense.

In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Ms. Walter said no matter what the funding situation is, if a department wants to fill any position, they have to fill out a vacancy review request that goes first to the budget analyst, then to the CFO and then the County Executive.  If all approve it and if there is funding, they could fill the position.  Mr. Holmquist noted that if they go from authorized unfunded to authorized funded and there is money in their budget, the Legislature wouldn't be part of that process.  Ms. Walter said if a position is abolished and needs to be recreated it would have to come to the Legislature; if the position exists, it is the County Executive's decision to fill it or not.

Mr. Stott said moving a III to a IV is more of a philosophical change that ultimately is going to radiate out and will get more out of the people; it is a soft cost that you can't really measure until you see the productivity that comes out of a decision like this.

Mr. Kilmartin asked how this fits in with the austerity and hiring issues.  Ms. Walter said most positions are not being approved to fill because of austerity, unless there is a significant public safety or health issue.  The package of creates, abolish and unfunded is being brought as an approved Executive item.  Mr. Kilmartin said his concern is with the budget and how this will impact it next year.  The two creates and one abolish package looks, on the surface, like it is a net increase to the budget for 2010.  Ms. Walter said there isn't more funding, there is less funding, depends on what he is counting - the number of authorized positions or the number of funded positions.  There won't be more funded positions; they will save cash in terms of salaries that will be spent out, but on paper there will still be a deficit.  Mr. Kilmartin said if the Deputy Director position remains unfounded and next year the library has sufficient funds in their coffers to fund that at that time, and if there is not a need for legislative approval, then, the net effect could be plus or minus $50,000 increase.  Ms. Walter said the only way they would have the savings is if they didn't fill something else, it can't be more than what is authorized in the budget.

Mr. Holmquist said should there be cost savings in the budget next year through people leaving, then there would be enough money to fill the Deputy Director position, it limits the Legislature's ability.  Ms. Walter said there is only a certain amount of money in the pot, and the choice of how is it spent is combination Board/Executive decision.  Mr. Manning said that if OCPL decided they need to fund that position, they could come back to the Legislature to make the case to the committee to make sure they are on board with it.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Walter said once the Director selects the person to fill the Librarian IV position, one Librarian III position would be deleted from the roster.  Ms. Dailey said she doesn't expect to interview anyone until January, when Civil Service will be giving the exam.

Mr. Kilmartin explained that he would abstain from the vote at this time until he has further discussions to get a better sense of the numbers and how the personnel matters are handled, his position has nothing to do with the administration's proposed changes within the department, it is more dollars and cents for 2010.

A motion was made by Mr. Stott, seconded by Mrs. Winslow to approve this item; a vote was taken, Ayes:  3 (Mr. Stott, Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Winslow); Noes:  0; Abstained: 2 (Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Kilmartin); MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna Robb, Deputy Clerk


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 10, 2009
CHAIRMAN JAMES A. CORBETT

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Winslow, Ms. William, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Rhinehart
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Kraft
ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman Meyer, see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading and approve the minutes or proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Sue Miller, Deputy Director, Lake Improvement Project
      a.   ACJ Update

Construction

  • Pipeline installation under railroad is complete
  • Creek walk behind MOST -- where the construction was going on is where the creek walk construction will begin
  • Are having discussions on how construction work will be finished off and not compete in any way with the installation of the creek walk.
  • City is hoping to go to bid on creek walk in July or Aug. with construction starting in the fall
  • green demos will be in that area - porous pavement, rain gardens, etc.
  • Creek walk - continue to meet with City; County has its part in (designs for green)

Chairman Corbett asked if the creek walk construction will start at Walton St.  Mrs. Miller said that she didn't have a schedule, but were encouraging them to start right behind the MOST, right at the railroad-to go all the way to the lake with the exception of the area already done around Franklin Square.  Chairman Corbett asked how it will go from Armory Square area across Erie Blvd.  Mrs. Miller said that it comes away from the creek near NIMO, near the parking garage--the walk will go through parking areas, in front of NIMO, down Genesee Street.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if there will be lighting, patrolling and trash cans on the creek walk.  Mrs. Miller said that she will find out.

Urban Forestry Grant

  • Another 50 trees were planting in 3 different vacant lots as urban forests; it is method to increase effectiveness and capture - either as a tree nursery or to create more forested areas.  They are not creating bushes and lower cover-are aware of security
Sewer Separation 051
  • Advertised for bids yesterday; the last day to receive bids is July 9th
  • Finalize intermunicipal agreement just on sewer separation
Harbor Brook Floatable Control
  • Met with engineers, have draft report - looking at possibly a creation of sluiceway around net bag facility for higher storms to go around the flow
  • Have to get DEC's approval

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Miller said that they have to capture the entire one-year storm.

Sewer Separation 050

  • Planting trees on Rockland Ave. - for every one taken out during construction, it is replaced with 6 trees
Consultant
  • Continue to work with CH2MHill on gathering and updating information

Mr. Rhinehart referred to a change order of approximately $900,000 for CH2MHill.  Mrs. Miller explained that the $500,000 has been nearly been expended; this was an addition to that.  They started in Oct. 2008; some of the categories of funding has been exhausted.  The $895,000 amendment is to make sure everything was covered.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if CH2MHill has prepared any documentation that has been used with the ACJ.  Mrs. Smiley said that they have; the County receives specific hours, cost, etc, before they are allowed to move forward on any project.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if they are helping with the parties involved.  Mrs. Smiley said that they are; many of the questions have come at the Policy Committee, which includes DEC, Atlantic States, etc; CH2MHill has answered the questions to move forward with the new ACJ document.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if the Executive side is satisfied with CH2MHill.  Mrs. Smiley said that she has been satisfied with their responsiveness--feels they have done good work.  Mrs. Smiley said that they have also researched what other cities have done for various components and have provided a report; provided standards and pricing for porous pavement; designs for the creek walk, will be doing design for Farmers' Market lot.  Mrs. Miller added that the biggest thing will be going over the numbers for the ACJ negotiations, as requested by County Executive committees, going over with current data.  It was a big job in terms of feeding in the current data, seeing where it was percentage-wise on volume capture, on how the County is doing under the ACJ.  They have also looked at green based on information around the country--determine what the numbers are in terms of capture of the storm water with green.  Mr. Rhinehart said that nearly $1.5 million has been spent with CH2MHill and data is needed.  He asked if most of the work is coming from the local portion.  Mrs. Miller said that it is split.  Mrs. Smiley said that there have been questions about weather patterns, had to verify that the assumptions in the 90's were still valid today; and they are.  Mrs. Miller said that a big portion of the $885,000, nearly $300,00 will be involved with monitoring, collection of real time data.  Baseline data is needed, which doesn't exist now.

Mr. Jordan asked when a final game plan will be determined so it can be implemented.  Mrs. Miller said that it is getting the ACJ signed; it is closing in.  Mrs. Smiley said that there is a negotiation meeting tomorrow with all of the parties.  She is hoping that tomorrow will move it along in getting it done  -- have to report back to the Court by the end of June.  Mr. Jordan asked about stimulus money; the longer it is put off, the less likely that stimulus money will be available.  Mrs. Miller pointed out that last moth they put in what they could in looking ahead with the Harbor Brook Interceptor, which is going ahead, and have applied for stimulus money for green projects.  Mr. Jordan asked if the projected being bid now are coming in lower than what was originally projected.  Mrs. Smiley said that sewer separation is just going out-don't know the answer to it.

2.   WEP:  Patricia Pastella, Commissioner
      a.      Transfer Funds from Acct. 960 Prov. for  Capital Projects to Acct. 972 Transfer to Grants ($500,000)

The money is intended to be used for the public outreach and education program, which will be a requirement of the final revised ACJ.  The purpose is to heighten awareness and participation from general public for green infrastructure.  Chairman Corbett said that this is coming out of capital projects and asked where that money comes from.  Mr. Petrela said that it comes from sewer charge.  Chairman Corbett referred to the fact sheet and asked if this is requirement now of the revised ACJ.  Ms. Pastella said that it is a requirement of the document being negotiated now, which has a requirement that there be an outreach program.  Mrs. Smiley said that is because technologies are being switched, this requires buying in with not only individuals, but also with companies, as there is a lot of construction going on in Syracuse.  They need to capitalize on it so that as companies landscape, put in walkways, roofs, etc, they begin doing it in a more green way so that the County doesn't have to pay money to do it in that section of town.  DEC is requiring that the County will have to submit and outreach and education program.  The general public needs to be educated as well, want to get the word out in the City, but don't want lose track of other opportunities for sewer regulations down the road. 

Mr. Jordan asked why the $500,000 is available.  Ms. Pastella said that the capital projects are estimates.  Mrs. Smiley said, for example, last year the budget was set to do construction of Midland Phase 3, with the step back, some of those types of projects won't be don't that way.  Some of those projects will be done in green, and part of green is education and outreach.  The projects haven't gone away, they are being done in a different way.  Mr. Jordan asked how the $500,000 was determined.  Mrs. Smiley said that it was a starting place; need to get the campaign launched.  They are trying to put an outreach and education component into applications for stimulus and other grants.  Mr. Jordan questioned if the monies aren't necessary for capital projects, and there is likely a significant budget deficit, why isn't that money being used to offset the deficit and give taxpayers relief.  Mrs. Smiley said that they are still required to do the work, still trying to get the document settled so that they can move forward.  Mr. Jordan said that he doesn't know if his constituents will see the benefit of spending $500,000 on advertising.   Mr. Antonacci said that the WEP fund is a separate pile of money--can't be used on the $38 million general fund deficit.  Chairman Corbett said it could be used to lower unit charges; Mr. Antonacci agreed.

Mrs. Winslow said that this all started with the effort to clean up Onondaga Lake; it is not all county dollars; it is not a matter of do we do it or not; we are legally bound to clean up the lake.  If the taxpayers feel they are being taken by $500,000, they need to understand that it is something that is a legal issue; they need to be reminded.

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the grants and if they will be applied for by WEP.  Mrs. Smiley said that they would; through the stimulus projects, they will include outreach and education components.  Mrs. Smiley said that if they won't spend any more on it than they have to; they will always spend the grant money first.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if the DEC has set any parameters.  Mrs. Smiley said that a dollar amount has not been stipulated.  Mr. Rhinehart said that he is glad that the engineering firm is monitoring; some of this is new and there isn't years of results; some is on the cutting edge - have to be careful on how much it all costs and where the money will come from.  An assessment needs to be formulated as to what works and what doesn't.  Mrs. Smiley said that there are capture number related to the different types of technology. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the $125,000 program for mini grants for schools--are there guidelines, how will people apply, who decides who gets what.  Mrs. Smiley said that they need to focus on children coming up to buy into it.  Mrs. Miller said that this was based on the success that the Outreach Committee for Onondaga Lake Partnership, which set up a mini grants program a number of years ago - $500 for teacher education grants and another mini grant of up to $5,000.  Both programs have been very popular for the schools.  Mr. Rhinehart asked about green job seminars.  Mrs. Miller said that there are jobs to be created for green and want to encourage capacity in our community. 

Mr. Rhinehart said that there is a lot of information here and asked if it could be prioritized-a way to get started at a lower entry level.  Hopes that stimulus money comes through to be put toward it.  He said that this is the first time the County is starting grants on it its own with taxpayer dollars.  Mrs. Smiley said that it can be prioritized but the County has to have commitment to this and they do have to get started.  Mr. Rhinehart said that he would work with some legislators and see what could be started and review it with Mrs. Smiley.  Mr. Rhinehart asked how this will be administered.  Mrs. Smiley said that BJ Adigun is the green person within WEP and he will be responsible for outreach and education.

Mr. Jordan asked about porous pavement and retaining more water and what happens in the winter - would it create a greater risk of icing.  Mrs. Pastella said that it goes into an under drain; it has shown that there is less frost impact in porous pavement verses regular pavement because it passes through.  Mrs. Smiley said a lot of the porous pavements have been in place for 25 years.

Chairman Corbett asked about a County person going to organizations.  Mrs. Smiley said that some of them will be contracted out, which would not be County employees. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if it is imperative that something get started today; can it wait a month.  Mrs. Smiley said that it needs to get started. 

Mrs. Winslow referred to the grants going to schools and asked if the County would be working with people from the Schools.  Mrs. Smiley said that there are the mini grants, but there are also a number of other things such as advertising, small projects.  Mrs. Winslow said that not for profits would have the bodies to handle the work; Mrs. Smiley agreed.

Chairman Corbett suggested that Mr. Rhinehart and Mrs. Smiley conference and bring this item to Ways & Means Committee.  Mrs. Winslow said that the $500,000 is there to get the job done, and asked where Mr. Rhinehart would prefer the money come from to get the job done.  Mr. Rhinehart said that WEP's fund balance is $4.3 million.  The Committee has been told today that the $500,000 is a starting point, there was nothing laid out in the ACJ for that amount.  He is suggesting that it start lower and see how it goes.   

Ms. Williams said that this is money that WEP already has, they are just wanting to transfer to start the program.  She asked if it starts out at a lower number, does WEP have to keep coming back before the committee.  Mrs. Smiley indicated that they would.  Ms. Williams asked if not all of the $500,000 is used, what happens to the balance.  Ms. Pastella said that it stays in that account.  Mrs. Miller said if it is not used by the end of this year, it rolls over for use next year.   Chairman Corbett explained that this is a grants account, the $500,000 would be used as a draw.  Once it is in that account, the department does not need to come back to use it and it still rolls forward.

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Winslow to approve this item.

Chairman Corbett asked for a legal opinion on the usage since this is coming from sewer unit charges.  Mrs. Tarolli said with respect to the expenditure of monies it is getting a quid pro quo for the money in benefits to the district.  As long as there is value for the money being spent and it is benefiting the sewer district then it is appropriate.  Mr. Antonacci said that from an accounting standpoint, it was simply a matter of whether or not it met with our capital projects policy; and since it didn't, the accounting was made appropriate within the grants account.

Chairman Meyer asked if there is an intent to add more money to next year's proposal; Mrs. Smiley said that they need to continue outreach and education and will add money to next years budget for it.  Chairman Meyer asked if there will be an attempt to take out additional money from fund balance for next year.  Mrs. Smiley said "no" -- it would be budgeted for.  Chairman Meyer asked if there is an attempt to use fund balance to control or mitigate how it will somehow impact the sewer unit charge.  Mr. Ruston said that there is.  Chairman Meyer asked for estimate of the impact on fund balance.  Chairman Meyer asked if there will be positions put in the 2010 budget for this project; or if WEP personnel would be reclassified to do this type of work.  Mrs. Smiley said "no".

A vote was taken on the motion.  AYES:  2 (Winslow, Williams); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  3 (Rhinehart, Jordan, Corbett)MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Rhinehart said that he is in agreement to do this, but believes that there should be a participatory level in the program committee, which was accomplished today.  He will talk to Mrs. Smiley prior to Ways & Means and may have a proposal for Ways and Means Committee where some of the money is allotted up front.  The department could come back in 3 months to give an update and the committee would have a chance to ask more questions and have a comfort level with how the money is dolled out.

Mrs. Winslow questioned having the department come back, as they have listed the things that they want to go after.  Mr. Jordan said that it provides a level of comfort that the money is being wisely spent and gives an idea of the effectiveness of the program.  Mrs. Miller said that it would be included in the monthly ACJ report.

Chairman Corbett said that the back up information did not arrive as quickly as it has in the past, which may not have provided enough time for members to digest it.  Possibly some of the questions could have been asked before hand if the back up was received sooner.

      3.      Memorializing the Governor of NYS and the NYS Legislature to Amend the Public Service Law and to Enact Legislation Authorizing Public Utilities to Make Renewable Energy Payments to those who Generate Solar Energy and Sell Such Energy to the Public Utilities (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

Chairman Corbett stated that Mr. Buckel presented a resolution at last months meeting and requested that it be brought back this month with revisions.  However, the resolution before the committee is the same resolution.  Mrs. Maturo stated that no other resolution has been filed.  As Mr. Buckel was not present, Chairman Corbett said that he would contact Mr. Buckel about the status of this item.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk
Onondaga County Legislature

 


 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - June 12, 2009
CHAIRMAN JAMES RHINEHART

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

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

 

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

1.   FINANCE:  James Rowley, CFO
      a.      Authorizing the Collection of Certain Payments to the County Via Credit Card with the Collection of a Convenience Fee to Cover Transaction Costs
This is to allow the County to accept credit card payments for property taxes and certain fees in the Clerk's office on site or via the Internet. The County would not incur any process fee for this; the cost for the transaction would be passed on to the taxpayer.  Currently the County does this in other areas and absorbs the cost for credit card transactions (Parks, Sheriff, Vital Statistics, Probation, OCPL). 

In answer to Chairman Rhinehart, Mr. Rowley said that an RFP would be sent out.  Mrs. Carney said that when a person goes to make a transaction, the amount will show up and list a convenience fee.  It will give the person an opportunity to decline it, if they don't want the convenience fee.  It would be stated a couple of times so that the person is aware of what the charge is.  Different venders will have different proposals, but typically the convenience fee is between 2.5% and 3%. 

Mr. Stanczyk said typically with credit cards 1.25% of the 2 or 3% comes from the group selling the product; the other money comes from a bank fee.  It is absurd for someone to pay both sides.  If this comes through and it is more than 1.25%, he wouldn't want the County to accept it.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if this resolution were authorized, would the Legislature get a second shot at approving this dependant on the RFP that comes back.  Mr. Herkala said that the way the resolution is drafted, it would allow entering into an arrangement with vendors through a competitive process.   Mr. Stanczyk asked that they go through competitive process and bring back the results.

Mr. Kilmartin asked for a description of the competitive process, i.e. sent to multiple vendors; they have knowledge that it is competitive process; they are to come back with their best price for a processing fee.  Mrs. Carney said that in putting out a competitive bid, they would realize that they should submit their best price.  Throughout NYS, City, villages and other counties the range of 2.5%-3% is pretty standard.  The banks get a portion, as does the contractor that they are working with.  The City of Syracuse has had their credit card payment up for 2 years and they are now up to 5,200 payments.  The Town of Camillus started their program this past January and had 14 payments.  This is an option; it is what taxpayers are asking for.  Regarding the City, Mr. Kinne asked if the payments are all property tax payments or are fees included, i.e. water bills, etc.  Mrs. Carney said that it could be more than just property taxes.  Mr. Stanczyk asked about the normal minimal fee; Mrs. Carney did not know; it would come out in the RFP.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Rowley said that the cost to the County to get this up and running is minimal--about $2,000.  There is no savings to the County; it is targeted as a convenience for the taxpayer.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is an opportunity to co-broker with other towns or counties and maybe get some purchasing power.  Mr. Rowley said that it can be rolled out to other towns at no or minimal cost.  Mr. Corbett asked if the fee would be included as part of the income tax deduction.  Mr. Rowley did not believe so.

Mr. Stanczyk agrees that it is a nice convenience, but doesn't want people to be abused.  Mr. Rowley said that if a person is late in paying taxes, for the first 2 months it can still be paid late at the town.  After one month there is a 1% fee; if paid in March it is 1.5% fee; when it comes to the County it is 6%.

Mr. Corbett said that the reason this is brought forward is because taxpayers have asked for this; he shares the concerns about the charges, but these are adults that would be doing this and they are given 1 or 2 warnings about the amount of payment and are asked if they agree to it.  The person will have full knowledge of what they are paying.

Mr. Kinne asked if they can go out for RFP first before it is approved.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the RFPs come back and the fees are oppressively high, would the County elect to not go forward with.  Mr. Rowley said that they are operating under the assumption that it will cost a minimal amount to get up and going and that 2.5% will be a standard fee.

A motion was made by Chairman Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  AYES: 5 (Rhinehart, Kilmartin, Corbett, Holmquist, Warner); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  2 (Kinne, Stanczyk)

2.   AGING AND YOUTH:  Chris Flynn, Youth Bureau Administrator
      a.      Authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements with the Town of Cicero for the Cicero Canteen Drop-In Center for Youth
The funds for this program were appropriated in 2009 budget and there is funding for Cicero Canteen from the Youth Board and DSS in COPS funding stream. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked if this was pulled out in January with the other Social Services cuts.  Mr. Morgan said that the COPS funding was tenuous during the State budget process; there was hesitation on the contact for this year.  The adopted State budget did include the COPS funding through September of 2009.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, this was one of the COPS items pulled by the County Executive.  Mr. Stanczyk asked how many of those programs that were cut are back in or still out.  Mr. Morgan said that they are all back in and funded through September--3 were cut/3 were put back in.   Mr. Morgan said that the final State budget included funding from last Oct. to Sept. 2009.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if the money will continue on October 1st.  Mr. Morgan said that it isn't known; it will have to be addressed.  Mr. Stanczyk would like to see a contingency plan for October. 

Mr. Kinne asked how many other programs are like this.  Ms. Flynn said that this is the only one that gets COPS funding, the next agenda item is funded with Youth Bureau funds.  Mr. Kinne asked why this program was picked.  Ms. Flynn said that the Youth Board has other programs; they have a competitive allocations process.  Twenty programs were selected for funding; the two here today are the only ones that are operated by municipalities, which is why they are here.  Mr. Kinne said that this will serve 50 youths and asked what was cut.  Mr. Morgan said that the program was still continuing; they were raising money to close the gap. 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Morgan reiterated that the final State budget did include COPS funding.  However, in the meantime it was on the chopping block - decisions were made to cut the contracts because the funding wasn't going to be there.  It was cut along with other contracts.  When the final budget was passed and the money was in there, they reinstituted the contracts.  If that specific money is not used, it is gone.  The annual contract for Cicero is $52,000; the appropriated amount $39,000 for this calendar year.  There will be an issue come October 1st

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

      b.      Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the Town of Camillus Department of Parks and Recreation for operation of the Camillus Townshop Youth Center
A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk, to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

 

3.   PARKS:  Robert Geraci, Commissioner
      a.      Amending the 2009 County Budget to Establish a Capital Project Account to Accept Funding for New Lion Caging at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to Accept a Donation Without Condition ($45,000)
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

 

4.      TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner
      a.   Amend '09 Budget to Accept Additional Revenue for Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2008-2009 ($345,140)
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

 

Chairman Rhinehart took the agenda out of order.

 

6.      COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Linda DeFichy, Administrator
      b.      Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to file the 2009 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Shelter Grant Programs ($4,606,160)

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

Ms. DeFichy distributed information on housing rehab totals before and after lead grant (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Stanczyk asked about a waiting list for people looking for rehab work.  Ms. DeFichy said there are 240 elderly and 300 families on the list.

      a.   Amend '09 Budget to accept a grant from the NYS Housing Finance Agency of the Community Development Program and authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements ($350,000)

      c.      Amending the 2009 County Budget to authorize the 2009 County Homeownership Program and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($4,300,000)

      d.      Amending the 2009 County Budget to accept a Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grant from the NYS Housing Finance Agency for the Community Development Program and Authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements to implement this resolution ($850,000)

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve item nos. 6a, 6c and 6d.  Passed unanimouslyCARRIED.

7.   SOCIAL SERVICES:  Steve Morgan, Deputy Commissioner

      a.      Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements with the City of Syracuse for Code Enforcement and Related Housing Stabilization Services for Recipients of Temporary Assistance

This is asking for authorization to continue a contract with the City to fund a code inspector who does pre and post inspections for dwellings for temporary assistance clients.  The funding was approved in the 2009 budget. 

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

Mr. Stanczyk said that the County used to contract for 2 inspectors and asked if one is enough.  Mr. Morgan that it was cut from 2 to 0; one was reinstated last fall--right now it seems that it is sufficient.  Mr. Stanczyk said that there is $3 million+ in stimulus dollars for homeless.  The intent is to have funds available to pay for security deposits, first month's rent; it will require more effort for inspections.  Mr. Morgan said that it may; they may have to revisit it with the City to see if more resources can be leveraged. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the contract is year to year; Mr. Morgan said that it is.  Every year it comes through the budget process; the County Charter requires that the Legislature approve any intermunicipal agreements. 

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the County incurs any administrative cost through this.  Mr. Morgan explained that it is part of the inherent process within temporary assistance.  Chairman Rhinehart asked what happens if we didn't have it all.  Mr. Morgan said that there becomes issues...i.e. the County pays a cash security deposit; the client moves out; the landlord said there was damage to the property; the client says it was that way when they moved in.

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

5.   OCPL:  Elizabeth Daily, Director

     a.  Create Librarian IV (Dept. Head), Grade 35 @ $68,363 - $96,450 effective August 15, 2009
     b.  Abolish one position, Librarian III, Gr. 13 @ $54,807 - $60,695 said position to be identified by the Commissioner of Personnel, effective upon filling the Library IV (Dept. Head) position and successful completion of the incumbent's probationary period
     c.  Create Librarian Assistant, Gr. 08 @ $37,235 - $41,171 effective August 1, 2009
      d.   Abolish Deputy Library Director V, Grad 36, $74,938-$105,757
Mr. Kilmartin said that the Director came to the Education and Libraries Committee and presented a different resolution.  After discussions, he is putting forward a different resolution:  creating a Library IV, creating a Librarian Assistant; abolishing one Librarian III position, to be determined in the near future; abolishing the Deputy Director position.  This would allow the new director to steer library in the right direction as she sees fit and also have the least possible impact on the budget.  If the library finds that there is a necessity for structural changes, they will come back to the legislature who will entertain any structural changes that they might have. 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve items 5 a - d.

Mr. Kinne asked if it would be appropriate to put someone in as a deputy director and bring them up to speed with the idea that they would some day be the director.  Ms. Daily said that she looked at that very carefully; feels that with the skills of the Librarian IV and Librarian III give them great skills to be director.  The deputy was put into place because of succession, but more importantly to assist the director.  In a case where a director may be brought in from the outside, that person might need a deputy director who has been hands on in the organization through time.  Her situation is different; when the board hired her, they basically got that set of skills and didn't need that. 

Mr. Corbett said that if there is a search and a director is brought in from outside, this still allows the opportunity to put a deputy director in, who may in fact be a Librarian III or IV.

Mr. Stanczyk asked if the director of branch services is necessary.  Ms. Daily said that it is; to efficiently and effectively use all of those resources, she needs one-person to report that would be head of branches.  She couldn't have 10 reports; it would not be efficient.

A vote was taken on the motion; passed unanimously.

      e.   Amend '09 Budget to accept State Division of Library Development Funds or the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorize the County Executive to enter into Contracts ($13,000)

This is accepting Gates Foundation grant funding; to be used ad Paine Branch and several member libraries to upgrade 10 public access computers.

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

8.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Patricia Pastella, Commissioner
      a.      Transfer of funds from Acct. 960 Prov. For Capital Projects in the Amount of $375,000 to Acct. 972 Transfer to Grants Due to the Determination that Some of the Public Education and Outreach for the Green Initiatives Cannot be Expended Through the Capital Program ($375,000)

Ms. Pastella said that the purpose is to meet the requirements that we will have in the revised ACJ document to provide and implement a Public Outreach and Education Program for green infrastructure projects.  The purpose of the plan is to increase the awareness of the public, increase their knowledge and understanding so that they support and participate in the plan.

Mr. Kinne said that the resolution that passed committee was for $500,000 and asked why it isn't here.  Chairman Rhinehart said that there was lengthy discussion at Environmental Protection regarding a proposed transfer of funds for $500,000.  The result of the vote was 2 in favor and 3 abstentions.  The discussion initially involved working with the number proposed.  He said that he would discuss with Mrs. Smiley the numbers presented.  Mr. Kinne said that if a resolution passed for $500,000 it should be here.  Mr. Corbett said that it was explained to the 2 members that voted for it that while it was a yes vote for the $500,000 in committee, the Ways and Means Chairman would meet with the Commissioner and Executive branch to see if there was a way to allow a slightly lesser amount.  Mr. Kinne said that the original resolution is not being brought to this committee and questioned why.  Chairman Rhinehart said that the sponsor was Mr. Corbett who brought the original resolution and that resolution isn't here because Mr. Corbett sponsored a new resolution.  Mr. Corbett said that it originally came to him in a $500,000 request; then the department themselves changed the resolution to $375,000.  Mrs. Tarolli said that there isn't a specific rule that sets the agenda for Ways & Means; if someone wants to they could move to amend the resolution before committee now to restore it to the original amount that was passed at committee.  Once it has passed the committee anyone can take that resolution to the floor without a waiver.  The resolution here today has to be considered today to go without a waiver to the floor.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what will be done with this money; how will people be educated on green initiatives, how did it cost $500,000 and now cost $375,000.  Ms. Pastella said that they are planning on putting on workshops for communities, churches, and businesses to promote the positive aspects of green infrastructure--why they should do it, what the benefits are - such as maintaining rain barrels.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if the County will be giving them rain barrels.  Ms. Pastella said that there is a program to provide them.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if fewer rain barrels will be provided in going from $500,000 to $375,000.  Ms. Pastella said that this money isn't for providing rain barrels; that is separate.  This is just for education to provide a heightened awareness of the green initiative.  It includes television, radio, newspapers, advertisements, billboards, a DVD.  Mrs. Smiley said that this money will be used through the end of the year; if not all used it will roll over to next year.  There will also be an on going component.  A lot of these are upfront costs; there will be more costs initially.  Mr. Stanczyk asked how this became an arbitrary figure.  Mrs. Smiley said that originally they asked for $500,000, in outreach materials there was $150,000, because of some of the concerns they decided to cut it in half and take $25,000 out of contract services.  She said they will come back at budget time and ask for additional dollars for next year.  Ms. Pastella said that she anticipates spending $300,000 next year.

Mr. Kilmartin asked how the funds are accumulated.  Mr. Petrela said that it is coming from 960 capital project; money is put there for parking lots, improvement to pumping stations, roofs, things that could break down.  This money is being transferred to a grants account and when they are ready to do things it will be transferred dot a grant project.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the typical projects are for WEP facilities or for non-county owned facility WEP endeavors.  Mr. Petrela said it is for WEP facilities; the money comes from the sewer charge.

Mr. Kilmartin asked what the long-term plan is.  Mrs. Smiley said that over time there will be a variety of emphasis--initially want to work with homeowners and businesses.  They are looking at using stimulus money for public/private partnerships--matching dollars to encourage people to do this and work with the City to change some of the ordinances.

Mr. Corbett said that this is a build and measure; some of these are new initiatives and the thought process was to go initiate it, see how effective it will be; they will report back to the legislature.  Maybe is will be desired to allocate more to a certain portion, as that could be the part that is taking off. 

Mr. Kinne made a motion to amend this resolution to $400,000 dedicating $25,000 to contract services, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk.  AYES:  3 (Kinne, Warner, Stanczyk); NOES:  4 (Rhinehart, Corbett, Kilmartin, Holmquist.).  MOTION FAILED.

Mr. Stanczyk said that when the recycling program was instituted, the County gave out recycling bins and told the public how to do it.  He asked if rain barrels are being given out, if people are being encouraged to use them.  Mrs. Smiley said that there are several programs being developed and one is for rain barrels.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the City is the perfect place to have rain barrels.  Mrs. Smiley said it will take several months of ramping up of what the program will be.  Ms. Pastella said that his money is used to tell them what to do and how to take care of it.  Mr. Stanczyk said that he didn't understand how it could get done without have a physical thing for people to participate with.

A motion was made by Chairman Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Rhinehart, Corbett, Kilmartin, Holmquist); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  3 (Kinne, Stanczyk, Warner).  MOTION CARRIED.

9.   WAYS AND MEANS MISCELLANEOUS:  Linda Karmen
      a.      Authorizing an Increase in Payment to Management Confidential Staff for Overtime Hours Worked on Latent Print Casework at the Forensic Science Center and Amend Res. No. 163-2007
In 2007 the legislature approved a resolution that limited the amount of overtime for the senior latent print examiner to $12,000 annually.  Since then there has been a resignation of one latent print examiner and another latent print examiner has been out on medical leave since September of 2008.  A lot of case backlog has accumulated; would like to increase the amount of $19,000.

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

 

In answer to Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Karmen said that they don't anticipate the person on medical leave will be back.  They will be interviewing for the vacancy this month.  The problem with this title is that unless you have someone with experience to hire, it takes 2 years to train.  There are two staff members that just finished the training.

Mr. Kilmartin asked about the market for these positions.  Dr. Corrada explained that it is an ongoing problem; it is a very competitive market; very few people nationally qualify.  They advertise at an experienced level and unexpired level; they get very few applicants at the experience level and they typically don't want to move for the salary.  Typically they are forced to hire an inexperienced person.

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

      b.      Resolution of the Legislature of the County of Onondaga Increasing Taxes on Sales and Uses of Tangible Personal property and of Certain Services, on Occupancy of Hotel Rooms and on Amusement Charges Pursuant to Article 29 of the Tax Law of the State of New York
A motion was made by Chairman Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Corbett, to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Corbett, Rhinehart, Kilmartin, Holmquist, Warner); NOES:  2 (Kinne, Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Rhinehart reminded the committee that there was a public hearing at 11:00 a.m. regarding the OCC budget.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk
Onondaga County Legislature