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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
J. RYAN McMAHON, II
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – APRIL 10, 2013

HONEY WELL VISITORS CENTER – 280 RESTORATION WAY, GEDDES, NY 13209

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Tassone, *Mr. Shepard

MEMBERS ABSENT: Ms. Williams

Also Attending: Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Jordan and see attached list

 

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTIONS CARRIED.

       

1.     REGION 7 FISH AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT BOARD:

        a.     Confirming Appointment and Reappointment to the Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Stephen Wowelko, Michael A. Cusano)

 

Chairman Plochocki stated he is the legislative representative on the Wildlife Board and has worked with both of these individuals.  Mr. Wowelko is the leader of the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club and Mr. Cusano is a very avid fisherman and political activist.  Both men have been doing a great job and will add a lot to the board.

 

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

 

2.     WEP: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner; David Coburn, Director Office of Environment; Luis Mendez, Senior Deputy County Attorney

        a.     Authorizing and Ratifying the County of Onondaga Acting as Lead Agency for the Harbor Brook CSO 063 Conveyance Project (The Project) Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the State Environmental Review Process (SERP); Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; Adopting a Negative Declaration and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service, and Filing of the Environmental Assessment form and the Negative Declaration

 

  • Additional sewer separation required for project, located tip of the City going towards Geddes and Solvay
  • Approving SEQRA, no impact on the environment

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated the SEQRA has been completed.  Once the legislature approves this authorization allowing WEP to act as the lead agent, he will sign the form. 

 

Chairman Plochocki stated this was actually a positive impact on the environment; taking a polluted site and making it better. 

 

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

 

        b.     Authorizing the Purchase of Certain Permanent and Temporary Easements from National Grid for the Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of the Harbor Brook CSO 063 Conveyances Project

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Small piece of property, 1 acre permanent and temporary easement, purchase from National Grid-$14,200
  • Temporary easement needed for construction, permanent easement needed for maintenance and access

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated this is a small piece of property, just .214 acres for permanent access.  Owning the land allows us the access we need. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Rhoads stated that National Grid would not need access to this property.  The property is currently used as a yard, an interesting piece of industrial property.  The land has been appraised and they aren’t going to argue with the value.  Purchasing property from a utility can be a long process.  This is not one of their prime pieces of property but they own it and have agreed to sell.

 

Chairman Plochocki stated that prior to the meeting he had asked several individual if the price was appropriate and was advised that it was a reasonable price.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if we were buying any environmental problems.  Mr. Rhoads replied that we were not.  They have done some sampling and testing of the soil for the pipe foundation and no problems were found.

 

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

 

        c.     A Resolution to Amend the 2013 Budget and to Release Honeywell Contingency Funds for Anticipated Legal, Technical and Scientific Expenses Associated with the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site ($75,000)

 

Mr. Coburn:

  • Contingency account created in 2003 to assist with superfund
  • Down to $22k in current account, need funds available for legal and technical expertise; more work to be done
  • Release $75k, difficult to predict how funds will be spent, estimate- $25k Natural Resource Damages, $20k Lower Ley Creek, $15k SYW-12/Murphy’s Island, $10k Wastebeds 1-8 and $5k DEC/EPA cost recovery and misc.
  • Resources necessary for participation, need to stay on top of items to protect County’s interest

Mrs. Rapp stated the release will be used so that we have cash on hand, if we need it.  Mr. Coburn stated that we will. 

 

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Coburn stated that if the funds weren’t used, they would go back into WEP fund balance.  Mrs. Ervin stated there won’t be anything left.  Mr. Coburn stated that it is difficult to image that there would be. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn stated he believes the $22 million set aside by the Federal Bankruptcy Court will not be enough to complete remediation of the Lower Ley Creek site.  Consultants have estimated the cleanup to be as high as $70 million.  Mr. Mendez stated the Town of Salina has settled its own separate claim for the landfill.  The next step for the County will be to review documents prepared by the EPA and provide comments on those documents.  We will engage in what we anticipate to be a lengthy process of negotiations, to determine who is going to pay for what.

 

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

 

        d.     Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant Capacity Briefing - Tom Rhoads

 

Mr. Rhoads reviewed the following:

 

Notice of Temporary Suspension of

New Sewer Connections within

Oak Orchard Service Area

 

The Commissioner (Commissioner) of the Onondaga County Department of Water and Environmental Protection (OCDWEP) has, pursuant to Onondaga County Local Law No. 1 of 2011 (Local Law No. 1 of 2011) made certain required findings and conclusions, and accordingly has issued a determination that the Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant’s (“Oak Orchard”) actual influent mass loading of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) has reached the design influent loading (limit) for this parameter.  Specifically Oak Orchard has exceeded the applicable BOD loading limits for more than eight (8) months during calendar year 2012.  As required under Oak Orchard’s State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit, this was reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on March 14, 2013.

 

As a result of the Commissioner’s findings and conclusion, pursuant to Article 11A of the Administrative Code of Onondaga County and Local Law No. 1 of 2011 (Sections 2, 20A) the Commissioner has determined the viability and integrity of this segment of the public sewer infrastructure is jeopardized and as such warrants the following necessary steps:

  • Subject to the exceptions described in the following subparagraphs, all new connections within the Oak Orchard service area are temporarily suspended for a six (6) month period commencing April 1,2013.  The following are excepted
  • Subdivisions with prior OCDWEP approval, evidenced by issuance of an Onondaga County Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health (OCDOH) “Approval of Sanitary Sewer Extension” letter, provided that OCDWEP has been notified by the applicant of the start of subdivision construction and that such work has been performed within the time frame stated in such letter

(ii) The subdivision received preliminary approval or a “capacity assurance statement” from OCDWEP within the two year period prior to the date of this Notice, subject to the requirement that all applicable permits and approvals be obtained.

 

(iii) A permit has been issued to an applicant from OCDWEP or the County Executive within the two year period prior to the date of this Notice, subject to the requirement that all other applicable permits and approvals be obtained.

  • during the period of suspension, and pursuant to Section 20A(iii), (iv) and 6 NYCRR Part 750-2.9(c)(2), a study of the existing facilities, examining the need for enlargement or construction of new facilities, including focusing on reduction of BOD loads, is to be undertaken.  OCDWEP is also required to submit a “Plan of Future Growth” to the NYSDEC, to include, amongst other requirements “approvable engineering reports and/or plans and specifications to provide for growth of discharges in the POTW service area” (6 NYCRR Part 750-2.9(c)(2)(i)(b).

Although it is OCDWEP’s intent to timely commence the required study and plan, the Commissioner may determine to extend the period of suspension as necessary to complete this work and to satisfy any NYSDEC directive requiring continuation of the suspension of further sewer connection approvals to Oak Orchard, pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 750-2.9(C)(3)(ii).

 

DRAFT

 

Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) NYSDEC Wastewater Treatment Facility Design,

Planning and Flow Management Annual Certification (2012)

 

As part of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit requirements, the Onondaga  County  Department  of  Water  Environment  Protection  (OCDWEP)  is  required  to complete an annual evaluation of  actual influent mass loading of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) to determine if the facility has reached or exceeded the design influent loading for those parameters for any eight (8) months during a calendar year. If this criterion is exceeded, the permittee shall submit a plan for future growth at the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). The following graph summarizes the 2012 monthly loadings.

Chart

Unfortunately, the Oak Orchard WWTP exceeded the design influent BOD loading criteria for ten (10) months during the 2012 calendar year. As such, the Department will be required to prepare a Plan for Future Growth to be  submitted to the Regional Water Quality Engineer no later than August 1, 2013.

 

Per Title 6 of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 750-2-9(c)(2), the plan shall include:

 

(a)     Provisions for obtaining any necessary funding; and

(b)    Provisions for preparation and submission to the regional water engineer of approvable engineering reports and/or plans and specifications to provide for growth of discharges in the POTW service area.

(c)     A demonstration of the permittee’s ability to impose a connection moratorium in any and all parts of the service area or, if the permittee does not have such authority, a proposed schedule, not to exceed three years, to obtain such authority or a statement from the permittee’s designated legal representative that existing law precludes the permittee from obtaining such authority.

 

Based on the current status, the Oak Orchard WWTP and associated service area, has reached the regulatory threshold where no new sanitary sewer connections will be authorized without additional study by the OCDWEP and approval of the NYSDEC.

It should be noted that the Oak Orchard facility had exemplary performance during 2012, resulting in no permit  violations and having met the criteria for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Peak Performance Gold Award for the second consecutive year. This level of performance,  along  with  the  potential  for  growth  within  the  service  area  will  be  taken  into consideration when preparing the County’s Plan for Future Growth to be submitted later this year.

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Required to submit annual report to the NYSDEC on BOD and solids, Oak Orchard WWTP exceeded BOD load limits of 14,200 lbs. per day 10 out of 12 months for 2012
  • Note - exemplary performance for 2012, no violations but plant now at full capacity; Gold Medal plant for 2 years
  • Memo sent to County Executive, Notice of Temporary Suspension on new sewer connections within Oak Orchard; suspension at least 6 months–time to analyze information, one of the largest growing areas of the county, large residential growth, had 1 mall built then go away, new mall added
  • Subdivisions already approved will be allowed to build out

 

*Mr. Shepard arrived at the meeting.

 

Mr. Rhoads present a map of the Oak Orchard area (on file with the Clerk).

  • Oak Orchard area shown in green - Clay, entire village of North Syracuse, and portions of Cicero
  • No new subdivisions allowed in these areas-unless private septic, not his purview; don’t have sewer capacity
  • Might be some things that they can pull out-divert Gaskin Rd pump station to Wetzel Rd treatment plant

 

Chairman Plochocki asked if this problem was expected.  Mr. Rhoads stated it was expected sooner or later.  They had a similar situation at Meadowbrook with flow but with flow you can require offsets.  They did not anticipate that they would have 10 out of 12 months go over. 

 

Chairman Plochocki asked if there was increased I&I.  Mr. Rhoads responded there was a tremendous amount of I&I but I&I is actual load.  Our treatment plants consume the load, they digest it.  In laypersons terms, in my body I get on a bicycle or treadmill and work aerobically to burn the load off.  The plant requires bacteria to consume these loads; I&I is clean water.  If I drink a 16 ounce bottle of water, I won’t have to be on the treadmill long to burn it off, but if I drink a 16 ounce bottle of coke I’m going to be on the treadmill for a while to burn this off; think of the amount of oxygen I will be pre producing to burn this load.  We have all different types of product going into this load; organic consumed waste, household and industrial waste.  We have a soda manufacturer that produces 20% of the load.  Since the plant was built there has been a lot of growth in this area.  You have all the growth of the Route 31 corridor and malls have come and gone since this plant was built.

Mrs. Rapp stated that in thirty years there had to be a lot of changes to technology; can we make some changes for less.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he hopes so.  There is a new company coming into the Baldwinsville service area and their load is like jelly; very significant new load.  People’s tastes have changed – there was a big kick in bottled water, now people are drinking more tea and more tea with sugar; more sugar laden waste going into the system from manufacturer.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they had some regulations, believes Bristol and Byrne Dairy have their own pretreatment.  Mr. Rhoads answered yes-industry is paying a high-strength waste fee.  We have to take out the excess water and remove the slug; requires a lot of additional treatment to digest. 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated that they would like to explore the idea of additional pretreatment opportunities; perhaps find grant funds.  Mrs. Rapp added it is tricky to take our biggest manufactures and add more fees to them.

Chairman Plochocki asked if the study could be done in-house.  Mr. Rhoads responded yes, for the most part there is no need for more money.  The exact scope of our contract with GHD has not been negotiated; can change to provide additional information.  Because of some of the things going on with neighboring plant in Baldwinsville they have asked the consultant to look into treatment alternatives; sister Baldwinsville plant will also benefit.  

 

We are already in the process of trying to compensate for the additional load.  I have assigned my own source control team to look at the industry waste and see what pretreatment might be.  We are working to engage everyone, determine how we are going to work together.  For the record, we also have a $12 million dollar capital project that is has been approved but won’t fix this problem.   

Chairman Plochocki asked if there was a danger that we could have untreated waste flowing out of the plant.  Mr. Rhoads answered you can see from the graph that the load is 14,200 pounds per day and in November we hit 20,000 pounds without issue. 

Mrs. Rapp asked why November was so high.  Mr. Rhoads replied that you can see there are variations.  This could be a lot of things, this is why they need the study; are there actual unpermitted industries that we are not aware of, need to actually identify the sources of this load.  They are looking at evaluating the design capacity.  In 1980 the plant was permitted for 14, 200 pounds per day; can we get a little more.  This is a band aid approach; won’t fix the problem long term.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they approved the expansion for the Clay Industrial Park.  Mr. Rhoads answered that they had.  Mrs. Rapp asked what was happening with this.  Mr. Rhoads stated there are several projects that have received approval; White Pines received over a half million.  Mrs. Rapp asked if the project had started.  Mr. Rhoads stated it had not.

 

Mrs. Tassone stated as of April 1 subdivisions won’t be allowed to connect to sanitary districts and asked how long this suspension would be.  Mr. Rhoads stated that the study would take all of six months.  If we have to come back and ask for capital funding, we will be back before this committee; could last until we find the best solutions and determine how to fund them.

 

Mr. Jordan asked what the breakdown of the load is.  Mr. Rhoads stated he would like to respond in writing.  We have some good information on the number of residents and industrial load; don’t have great information on the commercial load, know the total load monitored twice per week, may do additional sampling to get better idea.  Eight samples are conducted for the month and multiplied out for the calculations.  

 

Mr. Jordan stated that we just recently approved expansion for White Pines and it was touched upon that we were getting close to capacity at Oak Orchard but we didn’t have concerns in being able to treat this.  Mr. Rhoads stated he wasn’t sure where he was getting his information.  He has tried to help the folks with industrial development – for example many food industries would not be acceptable for this location. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked how they were going to handle the possible development of White Pines.  Mr. Rhoads responded that they were going to divert Gaskin Road to Wetzel Road to compensate for this.  We had an interesting national or global event in 2008 - projects didn’t get built out in 2009-2011.  We are now seeing the build out; a lot of this was approved and now starting to wrap up.  We need to call a time out in order to deal with this.  

 

Mr. Jordan asked the costs for the study.  Mr. Rhoads stated he didn’t know exactly, still negotiating but would be less than six figures.  Fixing this could be a big number.  Changes in tastes have resulted in increased loads, plus we have residential and commercial growth. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Rhoads stated the BOD testing level is set by DEC.  We could do some additional sampling, currently done two days per week; could sample on the weekend to improve our knowledge but would involve overtime costs.

Mr. Jordan asked if weather played a part in this.  Mr. Rhoads stated that it may, as a result of some of the sampling; a very dry day has high concentration.  The sampling is done twice per week and calculated for the total load.  Perhaps-perhaps we might get a higher reading.  Wetter weather dilutes the waste but increases I&I but we don’t control the weather or the load.  Mr. Jordan asked if there was less treatment with wet weather.  Mr. Rhoads responded there was the same amount of treatment.

 

Mrs. Ervin stated hopefully there will be a study of everything soon.  Mr. Roads stated he thinks we will need the full six month.  They are also going to be giving a snap shot of the entire system.  A lot of development has occurred and these are small plants over forty years old. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the study would factor in White Pines and the new plant coming to Baldwinsville where we will have increased flow.  Mr. Rhoads answered, “Yes”.  Mrs. Ervin stated we needed to look at the bigger scale; band aids aren’t going to do much good. 

 

Mr. Rhoads stated they have a tremendous amount of capacity at Metro.  Mrs. Rapp asked if they could skip the smaller plants and send it directly to Metro.  Mr. Rhoads stated that would be some big pipes.  Oak Orchard is a long service area; already have some problem with flow.  This would be miles of pipes and we already have corrosion in pipes; pipes become septic, sulfuric acid starts to eat pipes away.  We are not alone in this; annual report shows waste went from d- to d.  This is a lot of money on a national scale; major aging infrastructure issue.  Think of how things were in the 70’s and how they are now; we are putting more load in.  We have been faced with many challenges and this is a real part of the equation.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if federal monies were available.  Mr. Rhoads answered that there is not a lot out there.  The president is talking about money for roads and bridges.  If you know someone, ask them to please think of the sewers, we need it.  

 

3.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update (on file with Clerk)

 

  • Updates quarterly

        Report from Commissioner 

  • Received $3m grant for green projects, funds wired directly to account, no longer need to endorse and process check; this is why they are in Washington and Albany-green projects are where the money is
  • Worked through the winter on CSO storage projects, number of smaller green projects will take off with onset of spring 

        Gray Projects Update

  • Clinton and Harbor Brook projects in construction phase, most others in final stages
  • Clinton and Harbor Brook storage facilities have ACJ deadline of 2013, must be storing wastewater by the end of the year; landscaping might get finished later

Mrs. Ervin asked if he saw any problem meeting this deadline.   Mr. Rhoads stated it would be nip and tuck.  They have had some problems at Clinton but are working hard to meet the deadlines.

 

        Green Projects

  • Fact sheets included for projects, Zoo projects are the big ones

        GIFT

  • Reevaluating GIFT, 90 day suspension for new applications; determine where they will get the best bang for the buck, may not make since to do projects throughout entire boundary area
  • Suspension announced on website

        Legislation and Media

  • Highlight public education-stories from Parking magazine, the Post Standard and the Stormwater Report; we are a national leader, helps us to receive federal dollars
  • Winning the US Water Prize is huge, previously announced, to be formally honored April 22

Mr. Jordan asked how the green projects were holding up; heard there is a problem with the porous pavement.  Mr. Rhoads stated the porous pavement is functioning as far as stormwater management.  He has heard of a project where a piece of the porous pavement is starting to unravel; stones will pop out.  This might mean that they will have to put another skin over the top.  We have made changes to the mix, binder needs to be stronger.  The CSO capture is functioning well.  We do a lot of interesting things with street work; have taken lanes out.  Plows trucks have hit a few of them-how do we fix this; this is the sort of thing he is hearing.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to adjourn the meeting and proceed with the tour.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:12 a.m.

 

4.     Honeywell Visitors Center - Tour

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES – APRIL 10, 2013

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

 

Members Present: Mr. Liedka, Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Andrews, *Mr. Knapp

Also Attending:  See attached list

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 11:31 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to waive the reading and approve the minutes from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.     

 

1.     ONCENTER: 

        a.     1st Quarter Report - Kelly Carr, General Manager

 

Chair Rapp introduced Mr. Carr adding, during the budget process we asked that the Oncenter come in quarterly to let us know how they are doing.  She stated Mr. Carr began on January 1 and asked if that was correct.  Mr. Carr responded that it was close enough.  Chair Rapp noted this is his first quarterly report.  We have had a little time for SMG to operate in their new role.  Some changes have taken place and before things get too far along, I thought we would find out how they are doing. 

 

Mr. Carr distributed the following presentation (see attachment A) and added the following:

Page 3   

  • Ended 2012 $153k over management’s zero balance budget - means $153k left in revenue fund as profit from  the ROT funds used to subsidize the Oncenter   

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Carr stated these funds remain in the revenue fund.  You will see the $153,000 on the fourth page under YTD.  Chair Rapp commented that the print was very small and difficult to read.  Mr. Carr apologized for the size.

 

Page 5  

  • Sales good for 1st qtr. of 2013, net income slightly under where they wanted to be – about $24k under budget at this point in time; standard for 1st qtr.

 

Mr. Liedka stated in this type of business if you come out of the first quarter on budget, you’re setting yourself up for a fantastic year; $25,000 is really minimal.  Mr. Carr agreed. 

  • Arena & theaters under budget in the 1st qtr, standard for industry, time of year when tourism groups are planning, go on tours in summer and fall
  • Parking increase great for county not for the center, receive flat management fee for the flat - where most of this is coming from, pay additional revenues back to County, budgeted $60k and paid out $99k

 

Mr. Liedka asked what sort of flow through there was on parking; was it comparable to room rental as far as profit.  Mr. Casper stated that it is very profitable; runs around 55%-60% profit, all going back to the County.  The open lot is shared with the City.  Mr. Carr stated he wanted to make sure that everyone was clear; in the open lot they get a management fee.  They make $72,000 per year off this lot.  Anything else goes back to the County and City, to split for profit.  This is the kind of the area where they are seeing the biggest discrepancy.

  • IASTE labor cost primarily in arena, cost associated with change over from hockey to other events, can’t pass onto client and be competitive, operating cost for the business, between 20 & 25 people for 6-7 hours
  • Negotiating new IASTE labor contract, hope to finalize within the next month, rate goes up but terms more favorable for efficiency; this was one of the things SMG was asked to do

 

*Mr. Knapp arrived at the meeting.   

 

  • Indirect labor over budget but will even out by year end, right on target or a little under

 

Chair Rapp noted they were $51,000 under budget for utilities and asked if this was due to the projects that the County had done.  Mr. Carr replied it was due to the projects and their concerted efforts to manage utilities; lights off and things of this nature, huge effort on their part.  A lot of this absolutely has to do with the County’s projects.  Chair Rapp stated this was a great result.  Mr. Carr agreed.  

 

Page 7

  • Reorganized in January closer to what SMG model is, divided sales team into convention services and arena & theatre services, asked each group to come up with strategic marketing plan for remainder of 2013
  • Looking for more local and corporate business, particularly those downtown, groups don’t want to pay to park, those already downtown could walk to the center
  • “Reinvent Your Event”-displayed menu card used at CenterState CEO luncheon, menu on one side and new plan offered to meeting planners and groups on back; book before June 30, 2013 and hold event before Dec. 31, 2103 receive incentives offered – reduced rent, some parking, complimentary coffee service; used to drive more business into the center in short timeframe
  • Reaching out to colleges, universities and medical organizations around town; noted nurses are having a hard time getting out to meetings, might be able to tie them in digitally to meeting going on in another city, nurses from Upstate, Crouse Irving and St. Joseph’s could come to the Oncenter see the keynote speaker; type of thing they are looking at to move themselves forward
  • Kickoff for holiday parties to be held in June, “Savor Your Center” tasting event, will invite meeting planners and decision makers for groups and organizations, provide lunch and tell them about our holiday parties and what we can offer
  • Actively pursuing wedding market for groups over 250; believe hotels in area can’t handle groups over 250, not looking to take business away from hotels, looking to capture market typically going to Turning Stone and out of town, keep in town and utilize hotel rooms in the downtown corridor; working with downtown partners – have  distribution list of Director of Sales for downtown hotel properties, forward leads they receive with brides name and contact information allowing hotels to go after room nights, leaves hotel ballroom open to book another event and further increase their room nights

Mr. Liedka stated there are three hotels that can handle groups of 250 or more.  Brides are naive to what these hotels offer.  One thing you could do is have your salespeople reach out to the hotels and build a partnership.  Create some incentive program, whereby they refer business to you.  In the hotel business you hate to walk away from a piece of business.  But if you can’t physically take it, it would be nice to be able to send them somewhere where you have a relationship and you know the person is going to be taken care of.  Hotels aren’t working cooperatively amongst one another; they see the names on the buildings and are competitors. From your prospective, you could be a silent ally so to speak.  Mr. Carr stated he hoped so.  Mr. Liedka stated rooms are what the hotel gains; they could say they can’t host the event, but they have a great venue that could and we have the rooms here.  They would get something out of it and so would you.  Mr. Carr replied that was the idea.  This is where we are hoping to go and what we are trying to pursue; have shared with the downtown hotels that this is something we are going after and that we would want to push the rooms to them. 

Page 9

  • Trying to bring in more sporting events and banquet/award shows that go along with it; working with CVB
  • Working with SMG Corp. to utilize revolving fund for events at NBT Stadium, sent lead to ballpark didn’t fit model they were looking for, not sure it was the best model to use for 1st event, yesterday had a promoter request a date for July-game on that day but have reached out to stadium, in previous conversations have stated if there was an opportunity for an event they might be able to do a doubleheader the day before to open up the field for the date
  • Reaching out to local meeting planners and people who have done specialty events; one goal is to create more activity at the Oncenter, hosted Irish Hooley weekend of the St. Patrick’s parade, dance groups and bands brought in, people paid to enter, held last year lost a little money and made a little money this year, on the right track, looking to create more events like this that can be tied in with other events happening downtown
  • Christmas Tree Lighting great example–working with event planner to create “Mistletoe Marketplace”, bring in local vendors to sell their wares in convention center, stages setup throughout, inviting church and school choirs to sing and play holiday music, make a day of it, going down to tree lighting and coming back, make money off parking in garage, perhaps make a little money on the booths; not looking to make a great deal of money - looking to create more of an experience for people to be downtown

Chair Rapp stated the Mistletoe Marketplace was a great idea.     

 

Page 10

  • Working to create long term lasting relationships with promoters and create annual events

Page 11

  • Projecting to exceed budget by about $140k, as of now without additional business; confident they will exceed budget, may not be as much as last year, heading into this year much tougher, to be close to last year quite an accomplishment-particularly in their first full year of management in the building
  • Face a number of challenges on the arena and concert side of things, dealing with the amount of security, police and fire for events, met with Regional General Manager for Sales at SMG-he runs the Times Union Center and helps them get business routed through (Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo–SMG flow); hearing more and more Syracuse is not desirable destination due to high costs of security–particularly police and fire; working on this, law is antiquated written in 1905

 

Chair Rapp stated this is a city ordinance.  Mr. Carr agreed adding, this was twelve years before women had the right to vote in New York State; talking about a law that is extremely antiquated.    

  • Example:  DJ event in exhibit hall, sold 3,000 tickets, between police and fire had 30 officers, Albany held same event next night, sold 4,000 tickets, had 6 officers; we had 24 more officers @ $30 per/hr. with a 4 hr./minimum, talking about  an additional $3,600 in building smaller than Albany
  • Only SMG facility in the world that has to file for permit to run event within their own bldg., SMG manages 200 facilities around the world, filing permit not big issue–biggest issue City has the right to deny event, doesn’t happen often but has happened in the past
  • Difficult position to do business, don’t have numbers for security, quote expected numbers to client and number can change later on
  • Working to rewrite the law with Deputy County Executive and City of Syracuse Chief of Staff, will be more beneficial for everyone across the board 

Chair Rapp asked if they were receiving any resistance.  Mr. Carr stated they were not.  They have received nothing but support; very positive, moving forward on this.   

 

Mr. Carr stated this was his report and asked if anyone had any questions.  Chair Rapp asked if profits above and beyond the budget were split with SMG.  Mr. Carr stated that SMG has certain benchmarks within the contract; if benchmarks are met a bonus is received.  Certain key performance indicators are also listed within the contract.  When it comes to a specific type of business, convention and trade shows, sporting events and events like this, we have a list of ten key performance indicators that we are judged on as well.  We are also judged on the operating costs for the overall building.  It was set up in this manner, since this is a tax-free building; can’t base our bonus off of the subsidy.  Chair Rapp stated she remembers that it was tricky.  We focused on trying to get the best types of businesses in.  Not competing with hotels but to go after and get a higher benefit for convention types of business.   

 

Mr. Carr stated SMG has put in a model called “The Alliance” in a number of their facilities.  It is a collaboration between the center, the CVB, the municipality- in this case the County and downtown hoteliers or convention hotel.  Since we don’t have a convention center hotel at this point, David Heymann, president of GSHTA (Greater Syracuse Hospitality &Tourism Association) has been asked to join the alliance.  The alliance is used to make sure that we are discussing options with one another, coming up with our strategic marketing plans, how we are moving forward, how we collaborating with one another and all of the bylaws.  The strategic plan is pretty much done; meeting later today to go over with sales staff.  The first meeting of the Alliance will take place later this month, or the first part of May. 

 

Chair Rapp asked if he had some good news to tell them.  Mr. Carr replied that he did:

 

Page 12

  • Upcoming concerts, April-Miranda Lambert, June-Marilyn Manson & Alice Cooper, July concert just booked; booking concerts in War Memorial in June and July almost unheard of, summers normally slow due to outdoor venue options in NYS

Page 13

  • Challenge with Landmark Theatre, Crouse Theatre not getting the same number of shows it had in the past, bigger shows go to the Landmark based on the producer-not Famous Artists, additional 700 seats per show, still working with them and trying to bring more shows back to us, once IASTE deal is complete will have more favorable rates

Page 14

  • Crunch in play-offs, great for us-brings more business downtown  

Page 15

  • NYSVG annual meeting returning for 2014, Tops annual meeting new to Syracuse-has been at Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center, USBC huge event for 2018 overtaking the entire convention center portion of the Oncenter for 7 months, economic benefit of $70m for community

 

2.     SMTC:  Jim D’Agostino, Director Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council; Meghan Vitale, Staff

        a.     Route 81 Project Update - Jim D’Agostino, Director


Chair Rapp stated that in the last meeting we discussed I-81 and some of the things that were going on.  She asked Mr. D’Agostino to come in and update the committee on where we are as a community right now and what we can expect.  She suspects that the conversation will become a little more vigorous in the community.

 

Mr. D’Agostino handed out brochures explaining who Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) is, the I-81 challenge and what their process has been (on file with the Clerk).  SMTC has been following this for a couple of years.  They are working in concert with NYSDOT on the I-81 challenge; looking at the issue we have with the elevated viaduct and trying to come up with possibilities for our community.  They are specifically working on public involvement and the computer modeling component.  NYSDOT is doing the corridor study process.   

 

Ms. Vitale presented the following:

 

Planning 1

  

 Planning 2

Planning 3

  • Top of page shows technical input – what NYSDOT team of engineers is working on and what they are doing with their model, band on bottom shows public input
  • Goal - both feed together to create ideas and develop strategy, develop short list of viable options; final decision to be made in environmental review phase, happens after corridor study is completed by NYSDOT

 Planning 4

Planning 5

    

  • Very large numbers for them, still know there are a lot more people in Onondaga County to engage
  • 2011 questionnaire went along with workshop
  • “Like” on Facebook to receive updates on the project

Planning 6

 

  • Number of new attendees, continue to draw new people into project
  • Geographic distribution represents where there is population density in our region

 Planning 7

Planning 8

 

  • Economic development and downtown revitalization probably primary desire, came up repeatedly
  • Study website contains detailed meeting report with specific ideas for each strategy

Planning 9

  • Since 2012 meeting NYSDOT working to further develop initial strategies
  • Corridor study looking at full corridor between I-481 interchange (A); not just downtown area
  • Viaduct and interchange improvements priority area (B)
  • All pieces must fit together to form complete strategy
  • New I-690 exit (E) to provide better access to downtown and university area

Planning 10

Planning 11

  • EIS process led by NYSDOT will continue to have public involvement; will reach final decision

Chair Rapp asked if there was a timeline for reaching the ultimate decision.  Ms. Vitale stated NYSDOT advised them that a decision was needed by 2017.  Mr. D’Agostino stated they don’t know when they are going to make a decision.  At this point everything is being transitioned to NYSDOT.  They are in the process of streamlining and trying to reach their end game, as quickly as possible.  What this means on a calendar, he can’t say.  He invited them to attend the meeting today but they declined.  Chair Rapp stated her since was that they were moving things along.  Mr. D’Agostino added that in the past eight months, this has accelerated at a rate far faster than the previous twenty-four months. 

 

Chair Rapp stated we are now hearing about the president putting more money into roads and bridges and creating funds for that; this will be 90% funded by the feds.  Mr. D’Agostino added that we are talking about a capital investment of infrastructure that we have not seen in our community before.  No matter what we do here, this is a scope of money we have never invested before.  Chair Rapp stated this was the other side; close to $1 billion being invested into our community and the spin that this creates on the economic development side of the equation.  

 

Mr. D’Agostino stated they are transitioning out of the public involvement.  They will still be an interested party at the table but will be wrapping up the work that they are doing within the next two or three months.     

 

Chair Rapp had asked that Mr. D’Agostino bring along a couple of other items today.  He provided a video on history and case studies put together early on in the process (on file with the Clerk).  Mr. D’Agostino stated the video plays like a PBS documentary-explains how we got into this situation and what other communities in the world have done in these situations.  For those preferring to read, he provided a booklet on the case studies (on file with Clerk).  Mrs. Rapp stated they are pretty interesting.  Ms. Vitale noted that everything being provided was available on the website. 

 

Chair Rapp asked if a date had been set for the May meeting.  Mr. D’Agostino stated the public meeting was just set and hasn’t been released to the public as yet; will be May 21 at the Oncenter.  Chair Rapp added that if you have people in your community that are interested, now is the time to engage them.  There is still an opportunity to give their input. 

 

In response to Mr. Knapp, Mr. D’Agostino stated the time would probably be 3:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  They want to catch the downtown workers before they leave and will stay until 8:00 p.m. so that people also have an opportunity to go home, have dinner and return.  It takes about 45-60 minutes to experience the entire presentation.  The number one thing he hears from people when they leave; that it is a lot of information to absorb.     

 

Mr. Knapp asked if there had been any formal recommendations from SMTC, as of this point.  Mr. D’Agostino stated there had not been.  A lot of the nitty-gritty analysis is still in the process of being done.  You don’t want to be making recommendations until you really understand the implications; the unintended consequences of some choices.  A lot of things sound good and have some obvious benefits but you really have to look at it in terms of the economic benefit or none benefit, the transportation aspects, environmental issues and so on. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated this is probably a fifty year decision.  Mr. D’Agostino responded that they are probably building for seventy-five years, at this point in time.  Mr. Knapp stated this would be even more significant.  Chair Rapp stated that as members of the Planning Committee, this is one of the things they should be in the loop on.  The committee agreed.

 

3.     PLANNING:  Don Jordan, Director

        a.     Broadband Study Update – Don Jordan

 

Chair Rapp stated that Mr. Shepard brought this item forward when a number of people in his area could not connect to broadband service. 

 

Mr. Jordan presented the following:

SYRACUSE-ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCY

John H. Mulroy Civic Center, 11th Floor

421 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY  13202

Phone: (315) 435-2611 Fax: (315) 435-2439

E-mail: countyplanning@ongov.net

www.ongov.net

Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor

Don M. Jordan, Jr., Director

Joanne M. Mahoney, County Executive

DATE:          April 9, 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

TO:               Joanne M. Mahoney, County Executive

FROM:         Don Jordan

RE:               Broadband Study findings to date


As directed, my office has researched the availability of broadband service in Onondaga County and the potential for obtaining grant funding, specifically through the Connect NY grant program, to extend broadband service.  To date, here is what we have learned:

 

        1.     In August 2012 Governor Cuomo announced $25 million in funding available through the Connect NY grant program to extend high-speed Internet service to unserved areas of the State.  Applications were submitted through the Consolidated Funding Application with a deadline of October 5, 2012.  In March 2013, the Governor announced that 18 broadband projects were selected from more than $89 million in funding requests.  The NYS Broadband Program is hopeful there will be future rounds of Connect NY funding.

 

Broadband that meets the standards of the Connect NY Grant program includes wireline and fixed wireless technology with services offered at 6 mbps download speeds and 1.5 mbps upload speeds.

 

        2.     To be eligible to apply for Connect NY funds you have to be able to answer yes to these two questions:

    • Is the area proposed to be served currently unserved or underserved based on the State's Broadband Map?  Enclosed please find a copy of the State map and a County map that we created using broadband availability data downloaded from the State Broadband Mapping Project.
    • Do you have the required matching funds?  The last round of grants required a 20% match.

If you can answer yes to both of those questions you are eligible to apply so, assuming matching funds exist, eligible applicants can apply for funds to expand broadband service into unserved or underserved areas of the County.

        3.     The resolution requesting this study suggests that past State broadband grant opportunities, presumably Connect NY, have required local governments to obtain, synthesize, and present data from a broadband access study as a prerequisite for eligibility and that a lack of that data has prevented towns in the County from being eligible to apply for grants.  According to the NYS Broadband Program Office, there is no local broadband planning requirement associated with the Connect NY program.

        4.     Applications for broadband funding must propose to serve areas identified as being unserved or underserved, according to the NYS Broadband Map (see enclosed map of the County using the State’s broadband availability data - areas in white are eligible).  On the State Broadband Map, service availability indicates that at least one company offers broadband service to at least one address within the Census block (for blocks up to 2 square miles in area) or along the street segment (for blocks greater than 2 square miles in area).  So, in other words, if one address within the block or along the street segment has service, even if the rest do not, the entire block or street are shown as being served.  Obviously this can overstate the area that is served.

        5.     The accuracy of the mapping data may be an issue.  For example, the map shows almost the entire Town of Elbridge, other than a couple of small areas with no population, is already served and therefore ineligible for the grant; however, an Elbridge Town Councilor has been working for several years on identifying where broadband actually exists in the Town and estimates there are more than 100 locations (residences, farms, businesses) not currently served.  This data can be provided to the State and updated on their map or validated by the Regional Economic Development Council and submitted as part of an application and those areas would likely become eligible for grant funds. 

        6.     Eligible types of applicants for Connect NY funds include, but are not restricted to an incorporated organization, an Indian tribe or tribal organization, a local unit of government, and a cooperative, private corporation or limited liability company organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.  Many times broadband providers are the applicants with the municipalities or counties that the project will be conducted in serving as partners.  The project recently announced extending last mile coverage in Tompkins and Cayuga counties was headed up by a broadband provider called Clarity Connect Inc

       

        7.     We met with the Elbridge Councilor who has been actively pursing extending broadband service in the Town.  He has worked with the broadband providers in the Town (Time Warner and Verizon) to refine the State’s availability mapping and has identified more than 100 sites or “pathings” that are not currently served.  He has also used aerial photography and driven the unserved roads to estimate the miles of cable that would be required to serve those sites. 

When ARRA funds were available, according to the Elbridge Councilor the Town intended to apply for funds to extend broadband; however, the minimum grant award was $1 million, which exceeded the amount necessary to serve Elbridge.  To reach the $1 million threshold Elbridge reached out to other towns in the southern part of the County to partner on an application.  While the other towns were interested, they did not have enough time to research the number of pathings or the miles of cable required in their towns to get the application submitted on time.

 

Time Warner has indicated to the Town of Elbridge that they would require 25 houses per mile to extend cable at no cost to landowners; however, the unserved areas of the Town do not have that level of density.

 

        8.     Some other broadband funding sources, in addition to Connect NY, include:
    • Regional Economic Development Council Grants – in the first two years of the REDC initiative approximately $8 million has been allocated to broadband projects
    • USDA Rural Broadband Loan Program
    • USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants

In 2008, the State awarded $5 million through the Universal Broadband Access Grant Program including $1.45 million to New Visions Powerline Communications, Inc. to develop a “Broadband Over Power Line” solution for areas of Camillus and Geddes.

 

        9.     If there is interest in pursuing grant funds to extend broadband service in the County, some potential next steps include:
    • Begin to establish public/private partnerships between governments, broadband providers, and non-profit organizations to be prepared to submit an application should grant funds become available.
    • Determine the number of sites and the miles of cable required to serve currently unserved areas as identified on the State Broadband Map.  It’s possible broadband providers could assist with this, or the County’s GIS may be able to facilitate this analysis.
    • While there are plenty of eligible areas in the County identified on the State Broadband Map, if there is a belief that the map is showing unserved areas in the County as served, as appears to be the case in Elbridge, and there is a desire to extend service into those areas, the accuracy of the State's broadband availability data needs to be verified.  This could be a significant undertaking and would probably require assistance from broadband providers.

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Knapp stated this was a problem is his area.  Mr. Plochocki stated it was also a problem for his area.  Mr. Jordan stated that he has maps that show the unserved areas of the state (see attachment B), as well as the county (see attachment C).

 

Mr. Jordan:

  • Statewide broadbanding map came directly from state mapping program, county map created by downloading broadband data from their mapping site and putting onto our county data; follows federal guidelines
  • Because of the way the data is generalized it is an issue for the Town of Elbridge
  • Number of areas in the county shown as unserved on the map would be eligible for grant funding, may also be other areas shown as served that aren’t served and would need refinement; if you provide data that indicates there are other unserved areas with your application-validated by the Regional Economic Development Council, they can also become eligible for grant funding  

Chair Rapp asked if we would apply as a County or if each little area would have to apply.  Mr. Jordan stated this was a good question.  There is a wide group of eligible applicants including corporate organizations, Indian tribe or tribal organizations, local units of government, cooperative or private corporations, limited liability partnerships, not for profit organizations; pretty wide reaching net.  In speaking with the broadband office, they have stated often the broadband providers lead the grant application and the municipalities they are proposing to serve, would serve as partners on the application.  The way the grant works, you front the money and get reimbursed.  Often times this amount of capital will require the providers to take the lead and provide the funding.  Determining how you are going to service the unserved areas also requires expertise; would seem as if the providers would need to participate in this.  The provider also has better knowledge of what areas are currently served and could assist with refinement. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated he spoke with Assemblyman Finch who assisted in getting funds for Southern Cayuga.  He recommended applying as a county.  Believes we will have better luck, as opposed to individual towns apply on their own and essentially competing against each other.  Mr. Jordan stated he believes the Tompkins Cayuga project was funded in the last round.  There was a company called Clarity Connect that spearheaded this; pulled all the different towns in.  Mr. Knapp agreed that they need to partner with someone like this, but should submit one application for the County.  Especially if money has to fronted; could create difficulty.  

 

Mr. Jordan added that a substantial match is required; is the provider chipping in on this, could be issues.  He spoke briefly with Cayuga County and it sounded as if their IDA was contributing some of the matching funds.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Jordan stated it was a $2.2 million dollar grant and the match is 20%. 

 

Mr. Jordan added:

  • Met with Elbridge councilor who has completed quite a bit of work in mapping their unserved areas,   SOCPA provided them with air photos several years ago-he measured the miles of cable required to serve the unserved areas-actually drove to check mileage; positioned to apply for a grant when stimulus money was available, per councilor just missed out on $1m grant, started to organize some unserved southern towns to partner on application, didn’t have enough time to complete the same level of data he had on unserved sites and mileage of cable required
  • Broadband office hopeful there will be future Connect NY funds
  • Note-$1.45m was awarded to New Visions Powerline Communications in 2008 for broadband over power line solutions in portions of Camillus and Geddes

 

Chair Rapp asked what broadband over power lines meant.  Mr. Knapp stated they were using National Grid lines.  Mr. Jordan stated the technologies can get very complicated; just looking at all the possible solutions can be mind boggling. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated verifying unserved areas, listed as served on the mapping, could take a significant amount of time.  Mr. Knapp stated he believes the Cayuga system was wireless.  There is a provider that has been pretty successful in Pompey; put up towers and as long as you have line of site to tower, can connect with some type of receptacle.  Customers have been very happy and you don’t have to string wire all over the place.  There are lots of options.

 

Chair Rapp asked what he saw as the next step.  Mr. Jordan stated putting together partnerships to pursue an application, if there is a future round of Connect NY funds; mobilizing to be prepared.  Chair Rapp asked if he would be working with the Regional Economic Development group.  Mr. Jordan stated that group ultimately reviews and submits applications.  They also prioritize applications, if there are multiple applications in the same region; any application would have to go through them.  Chair Rapp stated it might be good, to be on the ground floor with them; as the application is being developed they create some ownership with it. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated he was told there was $20 million in the governor’s budget for this; could have gotten changed at the last minute, when they were going through and approving everything. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated at this point, he doesn’t know who would take the lead on this.  His office doesn’t have the resources to spearhead an effort towards this; not sure what makes since for a lead on this item.  

 

Chair Rapp stated she thinks that research is wonderful and frames the problem, but it doesn’t solve the problem.  Mr. Knapp stated that at least we have a starting point, of where we are.  This is a requirement that must be done before we can do anything.  He appreciates SOCPA’s efforts in get this done.  Now we have to talk about this and see how we proceed.  Chair Rapp agreed adding, we need to consider who we bring in and the most effective way to go about this.  Mr. Knapp stated perhaps the Economic Development Office; have to give it some thought.  Chair Rapp stated they need someone to actually be doing the work; that is someone that could be driving it.  

 

Mr. Knapp stated that Mr. Shepard has been very active on this.  He noted that this is one of the things he receives communications on all of the time and Mr. Plochocki does also.  Mr. Plochocki agreed, saying absolutely.  

 

Chair Rapp stated it sounds like there will be more to come on this. 

 

4.     PULLED 

       

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – APRIL 15, 2013

ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 4585 W. SENECA TNPK.

WHITNEY APPLIED TECH. BLDG. ROOM 210

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  Mrs. Ervin and see attached list

 

Ms. O’Connell, OCC Interim President welcomed the group and stated they were honored to host the committee.

Ms. O’Connell provided the following update:

  • After yearlong search process OCC announced last week its new president (Dr. Casey Carbill)
  • She was on campus last Wednesday; first time on campus, met members of the campus community-faculty, staff, administrators and students
  • Starting date July 1; looking forward to meeting legislators and getting to know Central NY community
  • Wants to continue strong partnership with legislature

Ms. O’Connell stated that when the meeting is complete, she hopes that they can take the tour and talk a little about what they have so generously funded, for so long; upgrades to some of the facilities and the new facilities master plan approved by the board.  Chair Tassone thanked Ms. O’Connell for hosting the committee.

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 11:08 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED. A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to approve the minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.

         

1.     DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:   Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

       a.     Amending the 2013 Onondaga County Budget to Provide for the Purchase of Vehicles and Equipment for the Department of Transportation ($795,250)

 

  • DOT fund balance used to purchase vehicles reduced from 2103 budget; 3 plows, rubber track excavator, and road patrol vehicle
  • $1m in DOT fund balance, brings it down to $200k   

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Donnelly stated these are all replacement vehicles.  They were requested in the 2013 budget and were reduced when the funding was reduced; just coming back with DOT fund balance to appropriate.

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Donnelly stated the retired vehicles will go to auction. 

 

Chair Tassone asked if they had purchased any since the budget.  Mr. Donnelly stated they are in the process of doing this.  The only plow they put in for is the all-wheel drive double winger.  It was the most expensive one they had; $278,000 now in the process of being bid.  

 

Mrs. Rapp stated they actually wanted to purchase two of those and asked if this was correct.  Mr. Donnelly answered they are actually looking for another double wing plow and two single wing plows.

  

Mrs. Rapp asked if the fund balance was due to a light winter.  Mr. Donnelly stated they have accumulated fund balance over the last few years; added about $100,000 last year. 

Mrs. Rapp stated these were taken out of the budget and asked why, if they really need them.  Mr. Donnelly answered that he doesn’t really know, this was a reduction that was made when the budget was passed.  They had asked for $1.5 million; half was cash and half was general fund balance.  The fund balance was removed and the cash was slightly reduced.  Mrs. Rapp stated these were supposed to come out of general fund balance and now you are looking to take it out of your own fund balance.  Mr. Donnelly agreed. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if anyone on the committee was on the Vehicle Use Review Board.  Mr. Dougherty stated we removed this during the budget, in our usual process of taking money from everyone.  Chair Tassone stated that we okayed a certain amount, but not all of what they were asking for.  Mr. Donnelly stated these were all vehicles that were approved during vehicle use review. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if the double wing versus single wing was used in different parts of the county; are they targeted for use in certain areas.  Mr. Donnelly responded that the double wingers and all-wheel drive double wingers have their biggest use in the southern part of the county, where they have heavy wind spots.  You might only get a few inches of snow, but will end up with a foot or two in the road.  This allows you to open up the road quickly.  Double wing plows are used in the rest of the county on multilane roads, such as John Glenn Boulevard, in order to open it up, as quickly as possible.

 

In answer to Chair Tassone, Mr. Donnelly stated these are replacement vehicles.  The plows are replacing 1999 plows and will go to auction.   

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

 

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $4,200,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $4,200,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($4,200,000)

 

  • Items b & c linked annual request for bonding, corresponds with 2013 Highway Work Plan (on file with Clerk)
  • Cash about $1m less than last year, $4,775,000 in CHIPS
  • State budget approved additional $865k in CHIPS funding, will require budget amendment, don’t need immediately have enough funding for work plan as approved; additional CHIPS provides 3 miles of paving
  • $2m rollover funding from last year; budgeted $300k and used $265k for asphalt last year
  • Bond considerably less than last yr., $13.4m last yr. and $5m this yr.; federal aid is up $3.8m last yr. and $10.2m this yr.

Mr. Donnelly stated it was important to note where we are in our debt service as a department.  Each department that issues debt for a project, budgets for that debt service within its operating budget.  One of the slides he presented in his budget presentation last year, talked about where their debt service was going.  Over the last few years, they are in a situation where they have less and less cash, and have bonded more.  To look at where their debt service is going he presented the following: 

County Facilities

 

  • All figures going forward from 2014 include new facility anticipated at approximately $17m, even with no highway bonding other than the facility - debt service within the dept. would be up $2m next yr. and another $2m the following yr.; 4 yr. time span operating budget going up $4m on debt service alone
  • Prudent to reduce highway bond this year because of debt service; have deferred some projects for a year or two and reduced paving, $5m number picked-can’t stop doing highway work
  • Southern portion of Thompson Rd. from South Bay Rd to Northern Blvd; $2.1m, deferred for 1 yr., also deferred green infrastructure projects for 1 yr.
  • Biggest reduction in hot and cold mix paving,  hot mix 35 miles last yr.-23 miles this yr., cold mix 19 miles last yr.-10.3 miles this yr.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if our federal and state money was up, beyond what we had anticipated.  Mr. Donnelly stated the CHIPS are more than they had anticipated.  The governor and legislature approved an increase in CHIPS funding; haven’t seen an increase in the past five or six years.  Mrs. Rapp stated this will translate back into paving.  Mr. Donnelly responded that was correct.  The federal aid is always on a five year tip cycle, last year it was $3 .8, this year the project equates to $10 million.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Donnelly stated this was for paving and bridges. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if we were just reducing the County contribution.  It seems as if we are having more money coming in, yet we are choosing to do fewer projects to reduce the bond indebtedness.  Mr. Dougherty stated he was also having a hard time understanding this.  Mr. Donnelly responded that the federal money is dedicated for certain projects; projects are in the five year transportation improvement program.  Part of the bond issue is $849,000 in local share, for the federal aid projects. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if this was up to his discretion.  Mr. Donnelly responded that we submit the projects.  We can’t take that money and put it into anything, except the projects it is already designated for within the tip.  The discretion comes in with paving, hot and cold mix and other bridge projects.  What we have is a portion of our bonding going for our local share of federal aid projects; 5% for construction and 20% on design.  For an $849,000 investment, we receive over $10 million dollars in funding.  Add $1,530,000 for cold mix, $800,000 for our bridge program and $1,821,000 for our hot mix; brings us to a total of $5 million.   

 

Mrs. Rapp stated she has a concern about not keeping up with the paving.  Mr. Donnelly responded that it is a concern.  They have an empirical model that they look at when determining the amount of paving they would like to do, on an annual basis.  Based on the size of the system, divided into hot and cold mix paving, in a perfect world with unlimited funding, we would do 48 miles of hot mix paving and just shy of 19 miles of cold mix paving annually.  There is only one year, in the last twenty, in which this was done and it was at the expense of everything else, within the work plan.  In 2002-2003 they submitted a plan just for paving and federal aid; things they had to do.  The goal is to avoid having to do any full depth reconstruction on the highway system.  If you keep the top course of pavement in good condition, theoretically you should never get to a point of deterioration, whereby you would have to get into a full depth reconstruction.  It costs about $1 million per lane mile, to tear down to the sub base.  Mrs. Rapp stated this is what she is concerned with. 

 

Mr. Donnelly responded that unfortunately that level of funding does not present itself.  They are pushing back on the paving, but based on what they are seeing as far as increases in their operating budget, it didn’t seem prudent to bring over that big of a bond issue.  They don’t want to wind up in a situation where the debt service is much higher than what we are now projecting.  The new facility is a necessity; design funding approved last month, theoretically will be back for construction funding in December or January.  Consolidating facilities is a $17 million dollar investment; estimate for repairing the other two facilities was even higher at approximately $27 million.    

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if he was reasonably comfortable that we would not be creating a hardship two or three years from now, because we are missing paving.  Mr. Donnelly responded that it is always good to stay on top of your paving; henceforth they didn’t go with no bond this year and just go with the facility.  The paving we do is important; however we are in a situation where we have a good highway system.  By making sure that we maintain it, it stays in good working order.  It is not the best situation, but it is much more desirable than being in a situation where, if the budget has to be reduced, he can’t replace trucks, we look to reduce personnel, or materials, because of structural increases within the operating budget. 

 

Chair Tassone stated that she met with Mr. Donnelly last week.  The county roads are in considerably better condition than the state and city roads.  This is because the county has been keeping up with them over the years.  

 

Mrs. Rapp stated this one of the services every taxpayer gets and expects to be done well.  She added that they do a good job.  Mr. Donnelly thanked her, adding he believes they do a good job.  It is not desirable, but they can reduce the amount of paving they do for this year.  They can’t reduce the amount of plowing or number of personnel that they have for that service.  It if comes to a situation where they have to make some hard budget choices within DOT, those are areas that he can’t give up on.  He has to continue plowing those roads.  Mrs. Rapp agreed.

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Donnelly stated the column marked null represents what the figures would be if they just did the facility bond and did no highway bond.  Mr. Dougherty asked if this is the $5 million dollar bond he was talking about.  Mr. Donnelly stated the next column takes into account this work plan and the $5 million dollar bond. 

 

Mr. Dougherty stated the debt he is talking about, listed in the final column on the right, goes as high as 23%.  Mr. Donnelly added, of their total DOT budget.  Mr. Dougherty asked if this made him nervous.  Mr. Donnelly responded that this makes him very nervous.  This is a concern, but those are also things he can’t change, that is the debt service going forward.  If they had bonded at the same level as last year, it would have acerbated it that much more.  

 

Mr. Dougherty stated this seems very, very high.  He is looking to him for guidance on this.  It seems like this is necessary, so he is willing to support it, but those are troubling numbers.  Mr. Donnelly responded that this is a reasonable approach.  He reiterated the pay as you go cash has been reduced over the last few years; budgetary concerns, state of the economy, overall situation in the County budget has resulted in heavy reliance on bonding.  For the last few years another factor has been the cost of asphalt.  When he became commissioner in 2008, one mile of paving was $180,000, by the end of that summer it was $325,000 because of the cost of liquid asphalt.  We budgeted $300,000 last year and came in about $260,000; this is why we have carryover funding.  Because of the instability of the petroleum market, we are again budgeting at $300,000.  If we are in a situation where it comes in lower, wonderful we will complete the plan.  If additional funding is there, we have a priority list of other roads that we can expand, or we can roll it over again for next year. 

 

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

 

        c.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $800,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $800,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($800,000)

 

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

 

2.     CNY ARTS: Stephen Butler, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Contingency Funds Available to CNY Arts for the Economic Development Arts Fund ($110,000)

 

Mr. Butler discussed items a and b together:

  • Item a funds to be used by arts groups to increase vitality of what the arts bring to community in terms of peripheral spending – tax revenue, item b quarterly installment of funding for symphony; both amounts approved in budget – contingency funds
  • Economic Development Fund created and guidelines developed with Chairman McMahon and Mr. Knapp, focused on organizations operating year round and smaller organizations  all with potential tourism destination, for both day trips and overnight
  • Panel process determined funding; we secure applications, vet financials, panel reviews merits of application
  • Panel consists of economist from SU, someone from hotel and tourism industry, and an arts administrator from another county; no conflict of interest with groups applying
  • Economic Development recommendations
  • Everson Museum of Art - fee support for traveling exhibits $40k, Landmark Theatre - video games live $20k, Open Hand Theater - International Arts and Puppet Festival $20k, CNY Jazz Arts - Artsweek marketing $10k, and Light Work - 40 Artist/40 Years $10k
  • Tier Three Development recommendations:
  • Community Folk Art Center - Idea of Modernity in Haitian Art $5k and Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation -International Cultural Celebration $5k

In answer to Chair Tassone, Mr. Butler stated they received 10 applications with requests totaling $302,000 and were able to fund about one-third.  The guidelines suggested grants between $20,000 and $40,000 dollars, but two groups tied; split the last allocation.

 

Chair Tassone asked what Video Games Live was.  Mr. Butler stated it was a popular youth concert around video games.  It is a prepackaged event, that has been touring the country; very good numbers in terms of participation and attendance.  The Everson is doing a video game exhibit that will be running for weeks on end.  This is a great opportunity for the Everson, Landmark, symphony and CVB to partner, putting together packages for guest coming to town.  Hopefully with newer and younger audiences, not only attending the exhibit, but the evening concert, and staying overnight. 

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Butler stated this is ROT money.  Chair Tassone stated these are ROT funds that we set aside during budget.  Mr. Dougherty stated that he did not recall this.  Mr. Fisher stated that the County Executive asked for 22% of room occupancy tax to be allocated for arts and culture; $440,000 of this used to go to the symphony.  The Legislature and Ways & Means report reduced what went to the symphony to $300,000 and moved the remainder into this new fund; source was ROT funds. 

 

Mr. Dougherty stated he remembers the discussion differently.  Mrs. Rapp added the idea was to back net profit generating projects, that otherwise might not get that kind of funding.  Mr. Dougherty stated he thought the $110,000 came from the general fund.  Mrs. Rapp responded it was money that wasn’t spent on the symphony, because they were no longer there. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the Italian Masters was being funded.  Mr. Butler stated the Italian Masters is in 2014.  They are more focused on the video project and will have results at the end of 2013; will be able to look at future funding and how this actually worked.  Mrs. Rapp stated she thought the Italian Masters was coming in the fall of 2013.  Mr. Butler responded that he did not believe so. 

 

Mrs. Rapp stated that she recently saw Mr. Kern and he advised her that they needed $125,000 upfront money.  She assumed that this would be a part of that funding.  Mr. Butler responded that Mr. Kern did ask for funding for both projects.  Per conversations with Chairman McMahon and Mr. Knapp, we focused on projects for 2013 so that we would actually have some return and could look at it.  Mrs. Rapp stated that she was mistaken; thought the Italian Masters was in 2013. 

 

Mrs. Rapp stated this was a great collaboration between the different venues.  As we saw with Turner to Cezanne, this really paid dividends.  Mr. Butler responded that the Everson has really taken the lead in that kind of collaboration.  The Other New York had forty some odd openings; involved OHA and almost everyone in town with an artistic offering.  

 

Mr. Dougherty stated that in the past we had to make these funding decisions; likes this system much better.  Allocating the funds and then turning it over to people who really understand the value of each of these projects, is so much better.  Mr. Butler responded that they are very appreciative to be trusted with this process.  Arts groups work the panel process for state and federal funding, so this feels very comfortable to them as well.  Their interests are being secured in a transparent process, with panels of their peers.  Mr. Dougherty stated that it was effectively a lottery before.  Mrs. Rapp stated it was less than a lottery.  We had no idea, so we would give everyone the same.  

 

Mrs. Rapp questioned next year’s funding.  Mr. Fisher stated that this would be something to discuss between the County Executive and the Legislature.  Mrs. Rapp stated there was a since that we had created a designated funding stream for the arts.  Mr. Fisher responded that the County Executive stated, it is her intention to continue asking for 22% to go to arts and culture.  Exactly how it gets there, will the Legislatures responsibility. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the $110,000 came within the 22%.  Mr. Fisher answered that it was; just a little different than what the County Executive proposed.  

 

Mrs. Rapp stated going forward it will be good to have some successes here.

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($75,000)

 

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

 

3.     ONONDAGA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION:  Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director

        a.     St. Marie Update - Gregg Tripoli

 

Mr. Tripoli provided handouts to the committee (see attachment A and attachment B) and presented the following:

  • OHA planning repurposing of St. Marie among the Iroquois to Haudenosaunee Heritage Center per model in place at OHA; entrepreneurial approach to nonprofit management
  • Model to create destination experience has worked for OHA; listened to what community wanted - better parking rate, fewer empty storefronts, more restaurants and stores
  • Approached City about parking garage serving OHA, now cheapest place to park in the City
  • Storefront next to OHA vacant for 6 years, found tenant, did business plan, worked with owner to negotiate lease, provided theme, decorations and gave them programming, restaurant in place for a little over 1 yr., number 1 rated Syracuse restaurant per TripAdvisor.com, won chef of the year
  • Reorganized OHA bldg., restored façade to open up street level windows, put in history themed retail store with exclusive products - can’t be bought anywhere else, huge hit beyond expectations, 50% of the museum is revolving space changing every 2 months - always a reason to come back      
  • Museum attendance has increased 246% with the addition of the restaurant and store; visitors to the museum become members and donors, get engaged in the organization
  • Have a community wide approach to economic development - OHA using historic prospective to add value to the community, specialize in exhibits for companies throughout the county highlighting their history; speaks to longevity, sustainability and adaptability - things all companies want to be known for, becomes morale booster for company, used for marketing and recruiting
  • Company exhibits fee based service, provides revenue for OHA; earned income largest revenue source 
  • Arts and culture partners provided historic prospective of their products for free - Syracuse Stage, symphony, opera and OCPL; example- provide exhibits for OCPL adding value to their local history department as well as literacy, create reading list that works of exhibits
  • Skä·noñh – Great Law of Peace Center proposed name - Onondaga greeting means peace and wellness (see attachment B)
  • Facility part of Onondaga County Parks, attracts 3m people per year , Onondaga Lake Park attracts 1.6m, more than all the other parks combined, majority attending between 4:00-6:00 p.m., huge majority recreating - walking, biking, running, people interested in healthy lifestyle, captive audience just not crossing the street
  • Need to speak to audience using the facility, give them a reason to park on the other side of the street a few times per wk; creating recreational facility at the center, working with SUNY ESF to create didactic landscape, offers an alternative, more challenging with strength training stations, via mobil app and signage will learn about plant life at each station and how it was used by the Haudenosaunee
  • Health food café will be located at the center working with Haudenosaunee chefs; chef located next to OHA 100% native and helping to develop café, currently no place in the park for healthy food
  • Will be using items mentioned as a driver to museum
  • Narrative for the facility being developed by academic celebrative, made up of Native American Study leaders from SU, OCC, SUNY ESF, Empire State College and LeMoyne College  

Mrs. Rapp asked what the timeframe was.  Mr. Tripoli stated there are a lot of different parties involved in this.  This is the first time in this country that we know of, where you have a partnership that is composed of a local government, a local indigenous nation, a major academic celebrative and a traditional historical society.  This will depend on how much money we raise, how long it takes to convert the facility, and how much buy in we get from university students.  We have a great deal of buy in from Syracuse University; their funding created the match for the County’s appropriation. They are paying for the Director of the Skä·noñh Center, Dr. Phillip Arnold; previously the Director of Native American Studies at Syracuse University.  Currently we are developing the narrative; looking at what it would take and the least amount of money possible.  Nobody can stretch a penny further than OHA.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if a number had been put on this.  Mr. Tripoli responded not yet.  They are looking at different ways in which they can convert the facility, so that they aren’t doing a lot of construction work; trying to use as much as possible, as is and create a museum.  There isn’t a lot of room and there is a big story to tell; want to do it in a compelling way.  Audio visual is really the only way to tell the story; also very expensive.  They are currently installing this at OHA, so they have an idea of what this entails.  As the narrative develops we will have a better idea of what the story is that we want to tell, how we need to tell it, and how we need to develop that physical plant.  George Curry, who is the preeminent landscape architect professor in the country, is heading up the plans for the didactic landscape.  Robin Kimmerer, who is a PHD professor at SUNY ESF with ties to Native American history, will be his contact at the school with the students.  He would say that we are probably looking at opening the facility, somewhere between the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the fort was going to remain or be used for the landscape project.  Mr. Tripoli stated the mission would remain; hope to enhance the use of it for twelve months.  The center itself will be a year round facility.  Lacrosse began as a Haudenosaunee game.  Because this is a recreational facility, they will be working a lot with sports; will have lacrosse camps and exhibitions.   

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if there was room for this.  Mr. Tripoli responded that there isn’t room for a field on our side but we can use the other side.  They are planning a Haudenosaunee stick game in September; large festival lacrosse game that for the first time, would be held outside a Nations territory.  

 

Mr. Tripoli stated that the mission provides another unique opportunity for this facility.  It represents the first official diplomatic contact between Native American and European in Central NY.  It gives us a great opportunity to discuss the issues of contact and how we can live peacefully, with people of different cultures.  As mentioned in the handouts provided, this is important today.  We are one of the largest refugee settlement communities in the country; this can help on a number of different levels within the community.  

 

Mr. Tripoli reiterated that they would like to enclose one of the buildings so that they can use it year round; currently can only be used during warm weather months.  This is an issue with Parks and Recreation Historic Preservation because of the nature of that facility; need to determine how we can do that, without changing the look.  There isn’t much space, in what was the visitor’s center at Sainte Marie, to develop the story that we would like to tell. 

 

Mrs. Rapp congratulated OHA on winning the nonprofit business of the year award, adding it was pretty exciting.  Mr. Tripoli thanked Mrs. Rapp.

 

Chair Tassone asked if we needed to do something about the proposed name change.  Mr. Tripoli stated that contractually, the County has to approve the name.  Mr. Fisher agreed, adding he wasn’t sure the formal request to change the name had come in.  Mr. Tripoli responded that he submitted it to Facilities at the County Executive’s office.  He was told that it would be quantified in March.  After that, we established a big event in NYC at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to announce the facility and to talk to a number of SU alumni.  There were about 450 in attendance.  We are working closely with the museum to develop this facility.  The name is out there, but we are asking for county.  Mr. Fisher interjected stating that it sounds like this would have gone through Mr. Millea’s desk, as a county park.   

In answer to Mr. Fisher, Ms. Berger stated she believes they are still coordinating with Mr. Millea on the status.  Mrs. Rapp stated that she had a conversation with Mr. Millea; he knew about and said there were no issues with it.  She expected to see it on the agenda today.   

Mr. Fisher stated in the process of gathering input for the County Executive, does it sound like the right name.  Mrs. Rapp said it was.  Chair Tassone stated they put a lot of work into the name.  Mrs. Rapp stated she didn't have a different suggestion, if that is what he means. 

Mr. Tripoli stated that it will have a subtitle.  He is a businessman; would be happy with Native American Heritage Center and this may be the subtitle.  The Oneida Nation has a spa named Ska:nä.  Mrs. Rapp stated it wasn’t spelt like this.  Mr. Tripoli responded that it wasn’t because it was Oneida language and this is Onondaga.  Chair Tassone stated that they looked alike.

Mr. Tripoli stated the name is easy to pronounce, just 2 syllables.  The facility before, was originally named Sainte Marie de Gannentaha.  It was almost impossible for people to pronounce and no one knew what it was.  A lot of thought has been put into the name.  It was the first thing the collaborative dealt with; come up with a name appropriate for the facility, easy to pronounce, and speak to what we are teaching there, based on the great law of peace.  The Peacekeeper and Hiawatha came together on the shores of Onondaga Lake to literally bury the hatchet under the tree of peace, so that the previously warring nations would learn to live together harmoniously.  This is the theme they want for the facility; understanding, trust, appreciation, respect and how we can all live together, sharing the land.  We want to develop a good feeling facility.

 

Chair Tassone congratulated Mr. Tripoli, adding he has put a lot of time into this entire project and has done a great job.  Mr. Tripoli thanked her, adding they are excited about this great potential. 

 

Chair Tassone stated she would follow up on the name.  Mr. Tripoli added that it has already made international news; LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post and newspapers across Great Britain.  The world is watching this facility; has the potential to be a world class unique facility.  We will be working with other facilities throughout the state to develop heritage tour packages; Ganondagan in Canandaigua and Shako:wi, which is a cultural facility, on the Oneida Nation.  The Native American story is very popular.  It is a big tourist’s draw from not only the United States and Canada, but particularly the Far East and European Countries.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if there would a resolution presented at session for the name change.  Ms. Berger stated they are still coordinating with Mr. Millea; she will look into it.  Mr. Fisher questioned if it would be a resolution or local law.  Ms. Berger stated a resolution will formally be adopted to change the name.  Mr. Fisher added that he would speak with Mr. Millea, the County Executive and the Law department and get back to them. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m. to proceed with the tour.

 

4.     ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Margaret O’Connell, Interim President; Joe Kopec, Project Manager

        a.     Tour of Academic II Building and Coulter Library

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Katherine M. French, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – APRIL 29, 2013

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Ervin, Ms. William, Mr. May 

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mr. McMahon, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:50 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Knapp took the agenda out of order.

2.     WEP:

        a.     A Resolution to Amend the 2013 Budget and to Release Honeywell Contingency Funds for Anticipated Legal, Technical and Scientific Expenses Associated with the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site ($75,000)

Mr. Coburn:

  • In January asked for Honeywell contingency funds to be rolled into 2103 budget
  • There is approx.. $160k in contingency fund.  The balance of numbers funds is approx. $20k, as there has been recent activity in March
  • Anticipated allocations
    • Natural resource damages – County has been identified as a potential responsible party under natural resource damages – trustees are developing damage assessment/restoration plan.  County is more involved in that process, involves more responsibility and commitment of some resources
    • Ley Creek – continues to be a challenge – recently received data dump from EPA, expect a remedial investigative report and feasibility study.  Federal government acquired approx. $22 million from bankruptcy proceeding.  Challenge is that the cost to clean up the site could be quite a bit higher.  A rough estimate of $70 million was obtained from the technical consultant.
    • Harbor Brook/Murphy’s Island – County is owner, may have responsibility to clean it up
    • Wastebeds 1 – 8 – ongoing issue for County – making sure remediation is suitable for future park use
  • Release of $75k would leave $85k in contingency fund

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Authorizing the Purchase of Certain Permanent and Temporary Easements from National Grid for the Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of the Harbor Brook CSO 063 Conveyances Project ($14,200)

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Small property acquisition from National Grid as part of a sewer separation project, CSO 063, City of Syracuse, close to village of Solvay
  • Process includes surveys of all takings; appraisals done by Pomeroy Appraisal Group
  • Because of dealing with National Grid, it is important to do an acquisition, rather than eminent domain
  • Also a temporary taking, property used for lay down space when construction is being done

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     PURCHASE:

           a.     Revenue Contract Report – Sean Carroll, Director

Mr. Carroll noted that it has been several months since he reported; the committee is not being ignored.  Revenue contracts are cyclical; this is a cycle where there are not a number of them.  There will be a report next month – an RFP was put out last week for tissue recovery, Medical Examiner’s office.

Mr. May asked about the status of the pistol permit software.  Mr. Carroll said that he believes they are getting ready to enter into a contract and thinks there was only one response.  Mr. May asked to be provided with a timeline.

Chairman Knapp asked about final numbers from Lights on the Lake.  Mr. Carroll said that he hasn’t followed up with the Parks Department on Lights on the Lake, but can do that if it is something the Committee desires.  Chairman Knapp said that he would like that information.

Mr. Carroll introduced Andrew Trombley, Deputy Purchasing Director.

5.     MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET:  Steve Morgan, CFO

        a.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature to Enact Senate Bill No. S.4564 and Assembly Bill No. A.5499 Entitled “An Act to Amend the Tax Law, in Relation to Extending the Authorization of the County of Onondaga to Impose and Additional Rate of Sales and Compensating Use Taxes” and Concurring in the Preparation of a Home Rule Request

 

Mr. Morgan explained that this is the 2nd step in a 4-step process to extend the additional 1% in sales tax.

 

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

 

Mr. Morgan said that this will have to be done every two years, as the State did not give authorization to extend without legislation.

 

Chairman Knapp noted that Assemblyman Magnarelli and Senator DeFrancisco have submitted resolution in the State for the additional 1%.

 

6.     WAYS & MEANS MISC.:

        a.     Expressing the Intent of this Legislature to Enact a 60-Day Waiting Period Preceding a Sale of County Property During which Said Property Shall be Publicly Advertised and Allow for the Submission Of Multiple Offers (Sponsored by Mr. Jordan)

 

Mr. Jordan noted that last month there was a local law for the sale of county property in the Town of Pompey, which was put off.  His concern is that when County owned property is being sold, it seems like it is when someone is coming in with an offer for the property, but it is not put out publicly for bid or for potential sales to anyone might be interested.  This resolution would require that the properties be listed on a county website, as well as a notice published in the newspaper.  This is to ensure that the property sales are being fully vetted, the County knows it is getting the best price, and an equal opportunity is given to everyone to bid on the properties that the county is looking into get rid of. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked about the determination for a 60 day waiting period vs. 30 days or 45 days.  Mr. Jordan said that he is not married to the 60 days; it seems like it might be an appropriate period of time – it gives people an opportunity to come up with appraisals and generate proposals to purchase property.

 

Mr. May asked if there is any State Comptroller guidance on the time-line issue.  Mrs. Berger indicated that there isn’t.

 

Chairman Knapp referred to the local law from the April session and noted that the piece of property has been posted and will have been posted for 30 days exactly on May 7th, session day.  Mr. Fisher said that after the April session, Chairman Knapp asked that this property being sold be advertised on the County website.  Mr. Fisher showed the committee the listing on the website and read aloud the listing.

 

Mr. May asked if this could be applied to anything, i.e. vehicles, etc.  Mr. Fisher said that it can, but there are various other legal requirements in place to give notice when the County is auctioning off property.  Mr. May said that the spirit for this is to declare the property surplus and available to anyone.  He was concerned that the listing stated that an offer had been received and doesn’t know if that is germane to the announcement-- not sure that mentioning the status is a great idea.  Chairman Knapp said it may create a sense of urgency.  Mr. May said that the things that matter are that the County realizes that it doesn’t want or need the property anymore and because of that, it is available to anyone who wishes to buy it.  Mr. Fisher said that the County owns a lot of property; all that information is out there.  This was a neighbor who came along and approached the County, which creates a different set of facts.  Mr. Jordan agreed with Mr. May’s point.

 

Mr. Millea said what is being discussed is addressed in the resolution as to what is done for a solicited offer or an unsolicited offer.  He has put together a robust policy.  A broader policy may address a lot of other issues that may come up.  He asked to allow him 30 days to propose a policy to the committee rather than adopting this resolution.  He thinks there needs to be clarification when talking about real property or just other assets of the County.  He could bring the policy to next month’s Ways and Means Committee meeting and ask that he legislature adopt and updated policy.  Mr. Jordan asked that a draft be sent to him.

 

Chairman Knapp tabled this item until next month.

 

1.     TRANSPORTATIONBrian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 Onondaga County Budget to Provide for the Purchase of Vehicles and Equipment for the Department of Transportation ($795,250)

 

Mr. Donnelly:

  • $795,250 DOT fund balance to go into 205 account to cover purchase of vehicles that were not funded in 2013 budget - had asked for $1.5 million for vehicles and received about half of that
  • All the vehicles were approved by the Vehicle Use Review Board
  • DOT has approximately $1 million in fund balance now

 

Mr. Jordan would rather see this excess fund balance money go towards actual paving instead of buying additional equipment.  Mr. Donnelly said that this is not additional equipment; it is replacing equipment that is old.  It is replacing 10-wheel dump trucks dated 1999 and older.  The vehicles have served their useful purpose; are getting more and more expensive to maintain.  There are approximately 65 10-wheel dump trucks in fleet – on average 2-4 are being replaced per year.  Though the average age is 8 or 9 years old, they are winding up with trucks that are 14 or 15 years old – well beyond for the kind of use put on them for snowplowing.

 

Chairman Knapp asked if these are primarily snowplowing trucks or mixed use.  Mr. Donnelly said that every 10-wheel dump truck that they have is converted for plowing purposes in the winter time. 

 

Mrs. Ervin asked if they need to be replaced now or can it be looked at in the next budget cycle.  Mr. Donnelly said that he wouldn’t have asked for the vehicles in the 2013 budget if it wasn’t important to get them.  They can be pushed off, but there is a long lead time with the vehicles – in a situation where if the funding is approved in May, he can most likely have them in and outfitted with plow equipment by the snow season.  If pushed off, there is a risk that vehicles may not be available when needed for plowing.  There are reserve vehicles at every shop, but also there are vehicles that break down and need to be replaced. 

 

Mrs. Williams asked if the road patrol vehicles is a replacement vehicle; Mr. Donnelly said that all vehicles on the list are replacement vehicles; all will go to auction.

 

In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Donnelly said that DOT’s total budget is approximately $41 million.  Mr. May said that DOT fund balance is skinny to begin with; this will make it really thin.  He is concerned if there is a big hit with unexpected expenses.  Mr. Morgan said that typically DOT fund balance is rolled back to general fund balance anyway; DOT is not typically allowed to carry excess fund balance.  Mr. Donnelly said that he is mandated under Highway Law to maintain a separate fund; he is outside of the general fund, but the funds are technically “general fund”.  That is why it can be rolled into the general fund when the financial period is closed.  Mr. Morgan said that they purposely left the money in there to go forward and try to purchase these vehicles.

 

Mr. Holmquist noted that he does not want to micro manage DOT’s Budget; Mr. Donnelly is doing a great job.  He emphasized Mr. Jordan’s point – the Legislature wants to spend money in paving, and we have gotten behind by a lot.  We are still behind but are catching up.  Several legislators have implored the department to spend more – want to give DOT more money to get ahead of it.  Mr. Donnelly agreed; there is a need for paving.  They have been in a situation where they have deferred because of the cost of asphalt, the economic situation across the country and the cost of infrastructure is going up and up and the ability to fund it is becoming strained.  He would never actively seek to stop or reduce paving; the highway system is in fair to good shape.  They are not in a situation where they can fund the total need.  He can somewhat reduce the amount of paving, but he can’t stop plowing.  The more vehicles in older, more deteriorated shape, the more risk he is putting the fleet at for properly being able to respond to snow storms. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is anything new, as it went through this last budget cycle.  A request was made; the Committee reviewed it and a made a decision.  This is rehashing what has already been reviewed.  He would rather see the money go towards paving and look at the vehicle purchases when the 2014 budget is looked at.  

 

Chairman McMahon said that he has an amendment to item d, which will restore much of the cuts that were made to the paving program.  Bond Counsel is working on the amendment; the intent is to introduce an amendment on Tuesday. 

 

Mr. Fisher referred to budget goals – one was to use current year dollars and operating dollars for things that occur again and again.  Last year there was an aggressive pay as you go for DOT.  That pay as you go was reduced by $2.4 million.  If you still want to pave, but don’t want to pay for it as you go, then you have to borrow.  Borrowing creates habits that are tough ones to break as they lead to debt service down the road.  The desire is to take things that are capital equipment, that don’t get used up in the current year and use either fund balance or adept for those types of things, as they are non-recurring revenues and expenses.  They prefer to use operating expenses for things like paving, because they want to do them over and over each year and not short one year for the next.

 

Mr. Millea said that when the budget closed down, one of the conversations with leadership and staff was to see where 2012 ended.  Because 2011/2012 was a somewhat more forgiving winter system than was seen the year prior, there is this fund balance and they could come back and propose this question before sweeping it into the general fund balance.  They aren’t just revisiting something that the legislature said no to.  This is revisiting the fact that DOT made it through OK with a tough end of the year.  They feel it is germane to use this fund balance; need to keep the fleet healthy.  They would like to spend cash on the road construction as well, but if the trucks aren’t there first, snowplowing will go down.  There would be a situation where they would have to re-route during a storm because 5 trucks are broken.  In the context of the work plan, they are really pleading for these trucks out of the fund balance.

 

Chairman McMahon said that part of the concern during the budget process was that the legislature was being asked to tax quite a bit for equipment.  Therefore the legislature’s idea was not to tax for all of it and see where it ends up at the end of the year.  The cash situation was better.  It may make sense to use the cash and avoid a bond later on.  

 

Mr. May said he is not wishing to micromanage--doesn’t presume to know what you need or not need, but feels that a little more work needs to be done to provide confidence that the decision is the right thing.  He accepts that DOT needs trucks, and firmly believes that capital investments have to be made ahead of the need.  At this point it sounds like we are cutting that very close.

 

Mr. May suggested that this item be tabled until session.

 

Chairman Knapp said that no vote will be taken.  The resolution has been considered and can be taken up at session.

 

        b.     Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the Co. of Onondaga, NY at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $4,200,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $4,200,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($4,200,000)

        c.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the Co. of Onondaga at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $800,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $800,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($800,000)

 

Mr. Donnelly addressed items b and c:

  • Annually request a highway bond and a bridge bond
  • Corresponding to it is the 2013 Highway Work Plan, which details where that bond fund will go on top of other funding including local dollars, CHIPS, and federal aid
  • $4.7 million in document at time it was produced for CHIPS funding; subsequently the State budget has been passed and there is an additional $865,000 that Onondaga County will receive this year for paving work.  It will require a resolution to increase the budget.  Effectively there is enough funding for an additional total 3 miles of paving other than what is in the plan right now.
  • Cost of asphalt last year – budgeted at $300k; it was less than that; $2 million was rolled over and completed the entire work plan last year – funding available from last year that is rolling into this year’s plan
  • Bond amount – considerably less this year than last--$5 million this year – approx. $13 million last yr.
  • Has discussed concern for how much has been issued in debt to support highway related needs in last few years – has looked at how it will impact the highway budget.  Also looked at need to replace 2 highway facilities, a $17 million expense

 

Mr. Donnelly distributed the following – debt service in operating budget; 2 scenarios each including $17 million for new highway facility:

 

TRANSPORTATION DEBT SERVICE CHARGES TO OPERATING BUDGET

Debt

Debt

Projected

% of Operating

% of Operating

Year

Actual

Null

($5 Million)

Budget - Null

Budget - $5 Million

2002

 $1,811,693

2003

 $1,728,073

2004

 $1,457,838

2005

 $4,097,845

2006

 $5,134,902

2007

 $2,867,709

2008

 $2,704,047

2009

 $3,182,518

9.1%

9.1%

2010

 $2,138,051

6.8%

6.8%

2011

 $4,055,745

12.1%

12.1%

2012

 $4,932,960

14.4%

14.4%

2013

 $5,288,949

14.2%

14.2%

2014

 $7,609,122

 $7,809,122

18.9%

19.3%

2015

 $9,314,845

 $9,951,826

21.8%

23.0%

2016

 $9,322,509

 $10,396,471

21.5%

23.4%

2017

 $9,053,760

 $10,564,704

20.6%

23.3%

2018

 $8,382,574

 $10,330,498

19.1%

22.5%

2019

 $6,852,186

 $9,237,092

15.9%

20.3%

2020

 $6,172,735

 $8,994,622

14.3%

19.5%

 

The null scenario would be if we stopped issuing debt for highway related work.  A concern is that there is a proposed reduced bond this year – looking at an over $2 million increase in 2014 over 2013 for debt service; going up again another $2 million in the null scenario; leveling off in 2017/2018. 

 

The $5 million scenario would be if they highway and bridge bonding were reduced to $5 million annually, which is an even greater expense.  He does not propose or think that is a good idea to stop doing highway work, but has to look at the impact on his operating budget. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly said that intersection of Allen Road and Bear Road project would be done this summer; it is not in this work plan – it was previously funded.

 

Mr. May said that he appreciates the information provided by Mr. Donnelly. 

 

Mr. Donnelly:

  • There is a reduction in hot mix and cold mix paving in the work plan – from 35 miles down to 22 miles for hot mix; 19 miles down to 10 for cold mix. 
  • Projects deferred.  A few years ago the northern section of Thompson Road from South Bay Road up to Route 31 was done.  There is a project on the books fully designed to do Thompson Road from South Bay back to Northern.  The bond amount for that would have been approximately $2.1 million, but based on this scenario, that project is being deferred for the time being.

Chairman McMahon said an amendment is being put together to restore near $3 million to the paving program.  There is $866 from CHIPS; he wasn’t aware of the approximate $2 million left over from last year.  The rest will be paid for in majority by cash and the rest by bonding.  It is important to note that DOT is unproportionately hit with debt service; we need to consider at budget time not to hold a debt service line against a DOT department head.  Also, this legislature has shown that roads are a priority; $1.6 million was cut.  The legislature cut the cash line because it didn’t want to tax for it when it was known that there was a healthy fund balance.  The County Executive said in her State of the County address, that we should be bonding and bonding at the low interest rates.  The amendment he will be proposing at session will use fund balance, $1.6 million, and bond for about $700k.  When looking at what you need to bond for, it is tough to pay cash at $14 - $15 million a year to keep up with the roads.  It is a bonding function.

 

Mr. May said it is a key point that we look at the DOT budget as it is a separate fund.  In reality this is where the lion’s share of debt service comes from, outside of WEP.  Chairman McMahon said at the same time, it is where bonding is appropriate – not going to have cash for roads year in and year out.   

 

Mr. Morgan said that they recognize the crushing debt coming to DOT over the next few years.  During the budget process it was proposed, and the legislature agreed to commit $5 million of fund balance toward future debt spikes.  It was a good start at looking at committing more fund balance going forward for that fund.  Also there has to be a healthy balance between cash and debt. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that the Co. Executive wants to pave more roads too; the debate is how to pay for it.  The good news is that fund balance ended 2012 in a healthy position.  It is better to use cash than to tax for it.

 

Mr. May suggested that there be conversation about debt and capital projects before the budget cycle, to get  a good perspective on and what the implications are.  Mr. Morgan said that Mr. Millea has been trying to mold a change to the capital planning process by trying to bring it over during the budget process.  Mr. Millea said that part of it is not having bond resolutions coming over every session; bringing the projects that are on cycle with the budget - trying to be more strategic.  He agrees that they need to provide a better sense of what the debt profile looks like in real time.  A notice went out to department heads last week – looking to reduce capital expenditures.  He thinks Facilities will come in short and Parks will come in modestly.  He noted that Mr. Donnelly’s chart is indicative of what will be seen across the board. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve item 1b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  

 

A motion as made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve item 1c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

3.     CNY ARTSBill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Contingency Funds Available to CNY Arts for the Economic Development Arts Fund ($110,000)

 

Mr. Fisher:

  • Items a and b refer to items appropriated in 2013 budget to CNY Arts and placed in a contingency account
  • CNY Arts is asking for them to be transferred to of contingency and into their contract for 2013
  • The legislature set up a CNY Arts for Economic Development Arts Fund - $110,000 – it was originally earmarked for the symphony orchestra
  • CNY Arts established a process for organizations to demonstrate economic impact for things they could do with the money – there was a competitive process and a 3rd party panel
  • CNY Arts is now ready to distribute the money

Chairman McMahon said that the idea was to fund and create initiatives that would create tourism in the community.  The Everson has had some successful exhibits that have done just that.  CNY Arts did a fantastic job of putting together criteria and taking a hard look at it.  He was very pleased with the outcome. 

Catherine Gerard, Board Member said that it is not about operating, but about marketing.  In particular marketing things thought to be new and different and increase audiences. 

 

Mr. May said that the report is fantastic; especially the information on the sources for expected economic impact.  Ms. Williams thanked the board for the good work they are doing.  Mrs. Ervin like the details and feels very comfortable that these are exciting projects.

 

Mr. Fisher said that the Co. Executive had set aside 22% of ROT in the budget for arts and culture; this falls within that amount.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($75,000)

Mr. Fisher:

  • Legislature appropriated $300,000 to CNY Arts in a contingency fund
  • The Chairman wanted it released on a quarterly basis; the first quarter was approved for release last month
  • This amount is for the 2nd quarter.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, Holmquist, Ervin, Williams); NOES:  1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.

6.     WAYS & MEANS MISC.:

        b.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2013-2014 Budget of OCC

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. May to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        c.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (Lisa DelI)  (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Mr. McMahon said that Dale Sweetland no long wants to serve on OCIDA.  Ms. Dell is a leading clerk in the county and will be fantastic on this board.  Mr. May said that Ms. Dell has done and outstanding job in the town of Lysander and will do a great job on this board.  Mr. May asked to be listed as a co-sponsor.

 

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

 

        d.     Confirming Appointment by the Chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature to the Board of Directors of the Onondaga Civic Development Corporation (Thomas Bezigian, Jr.) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Mr. McMahon said that there are two openings.  Don Colon is currently in this position.  Dale Sweetland also served on this board and wants to step back after many years of serving.  Mr. Bezigian is a local attorney with Melvin and Melvin and will bring the type of energy needed for OCDC. 

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        g.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Provide for an Analysis to be Conducted Regarding the Potential Market Impact of a Convention Center Hotel (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Mr. McMahon said he is asking for consideration for this item, but is not asking for a vote today.  There has been movement with the Hotel Syracuse potentially becoming a site where the convention center hotel could be designated.  He is working with the Executive team and SMG with the concept of a market study to get a document that tells us what we need.  It is important to fulfill the needs of the convention center to attract tier one convention business here.  The Hotel Syracuse concept and plans are very promising.  This is needed regardless--this is in a convention center corridor, a district, where there could potentially be more than one convention center hotel.

Mr. Jordan said this has been discussed for years; it seems that it would have been studied to death as to what is really needed to accomplish the goals.  Mr. McMahon said that the last study was done over a decade ago.  There is no current information to meet the current needs.  This would even help the developer of the Hotel Syracuse – make his development plans meet our needs.  The concern is in knowing what we need and making sure the project meets our needs.

              e.      Authorizing the Creation of a Haudenosaunee Historical Museum and Naming Such Facility the Skä·noñh – Great Law of Peace Center (Sponsored by Mrs. Tassone)

 

Mr. May asked if this had to be done now, as there are a lot of promises and expectations with respect to this project.  Mr. Fisher said that he understands that it must remain a county park.  Legislative action is needed to rename a park.  Mr. Tripoli spoke to the item at length at County Facilities Committee and Legislator Rapp was very emphatic that this was the right time to rename it.  The County Executive is supportive of renaming it, but it is not a major initiative of hers.  It is from the group that has come together to put together a different program at St. Marie Among the Iroquois – legislator Tassone supports renaming it.  It will broaden the mission and hopefully create a lot of activity at that county park. 

Chairman Knapp asked if the fort portion is a state owned entity that has to stay separate.  Mr. Fisher said, “not that he was aware of” - state law regulates what can be done with parkland, and the county can’t alienate it.  A lot of different uses are being looked at, i.e.  a lacrosse field.  They want to continue to tell story of the Jesuit Mission and expand it to the 100’s of year of Haudenosaunee history that pre-dates Christopher Columbus and continues to the present day. 

Chairman McMahan said that the French Fort may have a historic designation.

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        f.      Declaring the Intent of this Onondaga County Legislature that Advance Notice be Given to the General Public Regarding Requests Made to the County for Names and Addresses to Individuals Licensed to Carry Firearms (Sponsored by Mr. Dougherty)

Mr. Dougherty:

  • Last fall the Journal News, Rockland County, did a FOIL request for NYS pistol permits and they published a map showing a location of all of the pistol permit holders in Rockland County
  • Outcry afterwards from people that own pistols and people who didn’t own them
  • Names and addresses published – pistol owners felt it made them a target for crime because guns are expensive and valuable on the black market
  • Non pistol owners - felt that because their name wasn’t published, it shows they don’t own a gun and makes their home vulnerable
  • Law Dept. indicates that pistol permits are FOILable under state law.  This resolution attempts to prevent the shock – requiring the governing body of Onondaga County to publish a press release stating that the information has been requested

Mr. Holmquist supports this, but noted that this is among the unfunded mandates that have been created.  There are about 45,000 current pistol permits – they are not on a computer, they are on index cards.  If someone does FOIL this, the County does not have the money to comply or the capabilities to let people know who has a permit and who doesn’t. 

Chairman Knapp asked if in a situation like this, if the expenses can be passed on to the person asking for the FOIL.  Ms. Kathleen Dougherty said that for anything that is a manual calling of records, the cost of what it would be to designate an employee to do the work can be passed along. 

Mr. Dougherty said that some of the people most aggravated by this in Rockland County, were the police offers and prison guards because they all have pistol permits, deal with criminal elements all of the time and don’t want  their information made public.  It is one of the things that was attempted to be solved with the opt out provision in the Safe Act.  He would like to see more people take advantage of the opt out, who have a real reason for this information not to be released. 

Mr. May asked if it is possible to include in the policy any and all costs associated with the FOIL request.  Mr. Dougherty said that it is already in covered in the state law.

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Dougherty said that when someone makes a FOIL request, they will receive a 5 day letter – saying that the County has 5 business days to respond to the request.  Departments are contacted to find out what the availability of records is.  Then a response is given to the person who made the request, which states what records are available, and what the cost will be.  The County has 20 business days to produce those records.  However, if it is an extended search, as this would be, more time can be given. 

Mr. Dougherty noted that the resolution does not change any of the process, but it provides transparency that the information is being requested.

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

7.     LAW:

        a.     Settlement of Claim

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session to discuss pending litigation the cases of Susan Drew V. Onondaga County and C.O. Falter V. County of Onondaga, seconded by Mrs. Ervin.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to exit executive session and return to regular session.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.

A resolution was introduced as item 7a entitled Authorizing the Settlement of the Action Filed with the State of New York, Division of Human Rights, Susan Drew V. Onondaga County, Et. Al.

 

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

 

        b.     A Resolution Approving the Increased Cost of Certain Improvements for the Wetzel Road Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Sawmill Creek Pump Station Within the Onondaga Co. Sanitary District, New York

        c.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of an Additional $6,200,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay the Increased Cost of Certain Improvements for the Wetzel Road Wastewater Treatment Plant and for the Sawmill Creek Pump Station in and for the Onondaga County Sanitary District ($6,200,000)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to approve items 7b and 7c, seconded by Ms. Williams.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 
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