header graphic
Connect with Onondaga County Like Us On FacebookFollow Us On Twitter See Us On Youtube
 
spacer
 
spacer
Meeting Minutes Return to Committee Meeting Minutes

sEALOnondaga County Legislature

 

401 Montgomery Street * Court House, Room 407 * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 * Fax: (315) 435-8434


JAMIE McNAMARA
Clerk
DAVID H. KNAPP
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 11, 2020

VIRTUAL

CASEY E. JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Dr. Chase, *Mrs. Abbott-Kenan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Tassone

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Mr. Mento, Ms. Primo, Ms. Velasco, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. DeSantis, Ms. Lesniak, Ms. McNamara, Mrs. French

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

*Mrs. Abbott-Kenan joined the meeting.

 

1.      ONONDAGA COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY:

         a.      Confirming Reappointments to the Onondaga County Water Authority (John Bianchini, Benedicte Doran)

 

Chairman Knapp:

  • Both are doing a great job
  • Mr. Hooker is retiring this fall and the board members will determine the new director; very important to get reappointments in place

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Abbott-Kenan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.      ONONDAGA COUNTY RESOURCE RECOVERY AGENCY:

         a.      Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Eileen Gilligan)

 

Chairman Knapp:

  • Appointment to fill the remaining term of a resignation
  • PH.D. geologist with a lot of environmental experience, a great addition to the board

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

 

3.      WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Frank Mento, P.E., Commissioner

         a.      A Resolution Approving Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Design of a Pump Station and Force Main in and for the County of Onondaga, New York

 

Mr. Mento:

  • Engineering design of conveyance system for White Pines Industrial Park, Town of Clay and surrounding lands
  • Readying for potential development, located in the Oak Orchard service area of the sanitary district
  • Previously held required Commissioner’s hearing; report on file
  • Legislative public hearing to be held before the session on September 1st

Chairman Jordan:

  • Strongly support moving forward with the project
  • 2012 resolution authorized $2 million for the engineering of road improvements, sewer installation or a combination of the two; funds were limited to design, engineering and permitting – not sure why we are bonding when these funds were specifically designed for these types of improvements

Mr. Mento:

  • Earmarked through OCIDA at the timeframe referenced; now 8 years later, things changed and need to be accommodated to bring this to final design
  • Previous work was a parallel force main with no engineering design of the major pump station

Mrs. Primo:

  • $1.4 million used for SEQRA work needed before design about 4 or 5 years ago

Mr. Mento:

  • Not sure how, or if, the remaining $600,000 could be transferred from the OCIDA project account; asking for the total amount of $1.6 million to support a $16 to $20 million-dollar construction project

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

 

         b.      A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $1,600,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Certain Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District in and for Said County ($1,600,000)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Dr. Chase to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Jordan adjourned the meeting at 9:13 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

* * *

 

 

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 11, 2020

VIRTUAL

DEBRA J. CODY, CHAIR

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Ms. Kuhn, Mr. Bush, Mrs. Ervin

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Tassone

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Dr. Chase, Mr. Voss, Mr. Kelley, Mr. Wixson, Ms. Primo, Ms. Velasco, Ms. Murphy, Ms. Whiteside, Mrs. Lesniak, Ms. McNamara, Mr. Frantzis, Mr. DeSantis

 

Chair Cody called the meeting to order at 10:28 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Kuhn to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:

        a.     Confirming Appointments by the County Executive to the Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees (Lynnore Fetyko, Edda Kassis)

 

Chair Cody:

  • Ms. Fetyko – head of Realtor’s Association; lot of experience in mngmt. & business; thank her for her desire to serve
  • Ms. Kassis – experience in early childhood education; serves Hispanic community and underprivileged populations

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

 

2.       DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:  Martin Voss, Commissioner

          a.   Amending the 2020 Onondaga County Budget to Make Funds Available for use in Connection with the New York State Pave-NY Program, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($1,281,499)

  • Received State CHIPS run in spring when developed work plan; anticipate and notified from state will receive $5.6 mil
  • Also received letter from NYS DOT explaining that all state aide runs were subject to an up to 20% reduction
  • Pave-NY and EWR – concerned have not received formal notification that money will be released at 100%
  • Instead of adding additional work up to 100%; accept $1.28 mil from Pave NY and $760,000 from EWR, and instead of adding new projects, will add $510,000 (total amount with up to 20% reduction, if it happens)
  • Add on additional mileage to existing projects – Pompey Center Road, Sweet Road and Lamson Road
  • Until they know they have funds, cannot spend; bottom may fall out; assured of 80% and will cut off there; if receive 100%, then will carry money over to 2021; which would provide a head start on the 2021 work plan
  • These are the most critical projects; first 3 would have done with additional funds; able to add them on without upheaval of schedule with vendors
  • No good idea of what state will do; only decision can make is to only spend what they know they have
  • Numbers presented are 100%; $1,281,499 is 100% of Pave NY allocation; $760,781 is EWR
  • If take numbers and add to existing CHIPS, it’s $7,656,490; 80% is $6,125,192; already have $5,614,000 as part of work plan; delta is ~$510,000 to spend this year; cannot recover balance in 2021 year; heaving paving next year

Ms. Cody stated it is a prudent way to go until they know more.

Mr. Bush asked if they are cutting back any programs, and Mr. Voss answered no.  Everything in the work plan presented in April is getting done this year.

 

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

 

          b.   Amending the 2020 Onondaga County Budget to Accept $759,195 in Extreme Winter Recovery Funding and $1,586 in Additional CHIPS Funding From the New York State Department of Transportation and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($760,781)

 

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

 

          c.    INFORMATIONAL:  Update

  • March - weather getting better; not 24/7 with plowing; couple snow storms during COVID
  • Meet needs of County on bigger scale; part of team to address and respond to what is going on in the world
  • Helped set up mobile testing site; getting vehicles prepared to move Human Services; picked up PPE from other colleges donating things; fueling up refrigerator trucks to distribute meals to Rescue Mission; delivered meals on weekends
  • Helped with non-traditional things; responding to what is going on in community; proud of workers and what they did
  • Little behind eight ball for catching up for fall; pushed hard to get work plan done and get work to contractors
  • Proud of how staff responding and handling variety of stuff thrown at them; not over; working with Emergency Management with how to move mobile testing trailers to school districts and other things for this fall
  • Water in Great Lakes warmest every been in recorded history, which means very heavy lake effect winter
  • Adapt, change and react; proactive with PPE and protocols to keep employees safe; do not normally have snow plow drivers with face masks, gloves, sanitizing hands, etc.

Chair Cody said great job, and she knew they were helping out with meal delivery and lots of things.  Truly appreciate the effort of everyone who pitched in all over the County.  Chair Cody thanked Mr. Voss and his staff.

 

Mr. Voss commented that the EOC is an invaluable resource, and it showed during the pandemic how important it is to have this resource.    

 

3.       PARKS & RECREATION:  Brian Kelley, Deputy Commissioner

          a.   INFORMATIONAL:  Update

 

  • Busier than ever; regardless of program and events cancelled due to COVID
  • Lots of trail use, boat launches, Oneida Shores open, marina is open; nice opportunity for Parks to shine
  • Have opportunity to show quality of life more important now than ever; increased use to get fresh air, mental relaxation
  • First started – had to shut things down and reopen; limited parking; as things got better, things opened up
  • Lucky to stay open and provide valuable services to community; restrooms open; slowly getting open
  • COVID effort – lots of folks county wide involved; helped with sending folks out to deliver food; working with County Executive’s Office and Health Department

Chair Cody commented that when everyone had to be home, she began going to the parks to get fresh air.  Mr. Kelley said parks, like Pratt’s Falls, had to be closed down on several occasions due to filling the parking capacity; which has never happened before. 

 

Mrs. Ervin commented that a lot of people know now that they have places to go, and Pratt’s Falls is really popular.  A friend of hers went and could not believe how beautiful it was.  Mrs. Ervin said Mr. Kelley is doing a great job.  Ms. Kuhn added that the people did not know the county parks system, only Green Lakes.

 

Chairman Knapp stated that Mr. Kelley and Mr. Wixson collaborated on the Veteran’s Cemetery chapel and meeting room for the families, and it came out very nice.  Chairman Knapp thanked them for their efforts.  Mrs. Ervin suggested they do a tour for an upcoming meeting, and Chair Cody agreed.  Mr. Bush asked if the tour would include the Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery or Otisco Lake.  Mr. Bush asked if they are working on the parking at Otisco Lake, and Mr. Kelley responded yes.  They now use boulders for barriers, which opened up the parking.  There has been a huge increase at that park. 

 

Mr. Kelley responded to Mr. Bush that they are working through their budget, and fingers crossed they can do what they need to do.

 

4.       FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Archie Wixson, Commissioner

          a.   INFORMATIONAL:  Update

 

COVID efforts:

  • Been there from day one setting up testing sites, delivering supplies and groceries, stocking materials, working with city organizing sanitizing efforts, setting up sanitizing services for testing sites – Syracuse Community Health Center
  • All physical services called upon to provide unexpected resources
  • Important to recognize unsung heroes - custodial and maintenance staff; proud to say since COVID began until now, there has been zero work place spread; team keeping buildings sanitized and clean
  • Steam plant - coordinated installation of ultra violet light disinfecting systems in all buildings; Civic Center complete prior to COVID; pandemic started, replaced lamps a year earlier; ultraviolet light disinfecting systems in all buildings; yet to complete War Memorial and Convention Center (on back burner; not being used by public) beginning now
  • Increased fan speeds for better air turnover; maintain mix of air and higher percentage of outside pressure; changed filters to MERV 14s as recommended by experts in a Cornell report
  • Only two points of entry in Civic Center; only public using elevators are those with impairments
  • County Office Building entry through Civic Center; Probation outreach go out of building for observations and meetings  with probationers
  • Confined DSS public services to second floor; unique circumstances by appointment only
  • Custodial staff continues to do touch surface cleaning and sanitizing
  • Carpenters creating Plexiglas barriers at public approach areas; worked with departments for best areas of application
  • Air purifying units wherever group gatherings like EOC
  • Distributed disinfectants, installed additional hand sanitizer stations, contractor doing electrostatic disinfectant aerations – disinfectant fogging after workforce leaves area
  • Receiving purifiers for elevators in 2-3 weeks, will install those right away; purify air, so not as much risk with close contact; reduce capacity to 3 people, and this will disinfect air for entire day; 24/7
  • Ordered Nanoseptic touch point kits – light activated, oxidizes surface skin; oxidation does not allow pathogens to be live on surface
  • Night custodial staff focuses on off hour cleaning of touch surfaces and restroom disinfecting; special machinery and equipment sanitized every night
  • Proud of team doing this with a small staff

Projects:

  • Crime Analysis Center in Public Safety Building – cooperative adventure with Sheriffs, Syracuse City Police, District Attorney, NY State Police; utilize special media technologies; do everything from forecasting, intervention, planning
  • Some repairs to Steam Plant; fiscal office trying to use cash output in debt service
  • Hillbrook Raise the Age - 40% done; interesting project that has taken a lot of study, planning and design; good team of contractors
  • Animal Health Clinic – start as early as next week; brand new building; Parks does great job managing and operating; will give them technologically current animal medical treatment facility
  • Veterans Memorial Chapel came out very well
  • Amphitheater – brand new viewing deck on west side of pavilion; will start second smaller deck by entrance; neither paid by tax payer, but paid by part of lease agreement for capital investment with Live Nation and SMG
  • Trail lights – last section of Loop the Lake between Amphitheater and Visitor’s Center; grant based funded project - nice experience for trail and concert goers, boat launch
  • NBT Bank – wrapped up Phase I, about to start Phase II
  • Phase 1 - stadium lighting, moved in home run fence (more consistent with city field) and replaced padding on it; painted structural steel with Mets coloration, replaced seating at stadium, last portion of seating is terracing and concrete premium seating areas (café corporate style seating)
  • Phase II – tavern behind left field fence, corporate party deck in right field, enlarging score board, complete renovation of Hank Sauer Room (doubling size), concession improvements and field restorations
  • Lot of work and will be ready for April 1st, next season

Chair Cody said it sounds like another field trip, and asked since there is no season, has it accelerated the progress.  Mr. Wixson responded to a small degree yes.  Phase I plan was for this season, so spectators and players could enjoy it this season.  Phase II was not going to present the opportunity for construction in September, but they’ve been able to finalize execution of contracts, so they can realize most of August and September.  This provided an additional month of seasonal opportunities to perform the work.  

 

Chair Cody said it is good to hear about everything they’ve been working on.  The team effort is incredible.

 

Mr. Wixson responded to Ms. Kuhn that the Crime Analysis Center is in the Public Safety Building.  The project is done, and they are putting in the last of the furniture.

 

Mr. Wixson commented that it’s been great working with the team and having everyone come together.  This is the first real test of how well Emergency Management works.  DOT and Parks did all types of assignments they are not used to.

 

Ms. Primo:

  • Could not be more happy, more pleased, more proud of the commissioners and directors work with on day to day basis
  • No one could do better job; Mr. Wixson was here day, night and weekends; carried on with all the projects
  • Neither of the three commissioners today could do justice to all they did; calls, complaints and questions addressed well; people not understanding what they were doing; requests dealt with immediately; worked hard and smart
  • Amazing to see what they did; Mr. Wixson was supposed to go on vacation in March, but COVID struck; has not stopped at all; then protests, which spent 2 or 3 weekends to do things for the police and mayor, etc.
  • Appreciative to have such professionals to work with; Mr. Kelley new to this, and did not miss a beat; Mr. Voss did a solid job; thank you to Mr. Wixson

Chair Cody said this is a good conclusion to the meeting.  The Executive’s office was working without time off, and it’s great to hear everyone coming together and working together during this crisis.  Chair Cody is very proud of how everyone in the County handled this entire thing. 

 

Mr. Bush said he appreciates Chair Cody putting this together with commissioners and department heads.  It’s crucial to understand what is going on in the county and the departments.  Ms. Kuhn also thanked Chair Cody.  

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:31 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McNamara

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

* * *

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 11, 2020

VIRTUAL

CHRISTOPHER J. RYAN, CHAIRMAN

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. McBride, Mr. Rowley, Ms. Kuhn

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Mrs. Ervin, Dr. Chase, Mr. May, Mr. DeSantis, Ms. M. Murphy, Ms. Velasco, Ms. Mims, Sheriff Conway, Mr. Manfredi, Mr. Durr, Ms. Williams, Ms. N. Murphy, Ms. Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Paro, Ms. Lesniak, Mrs. French  

 

Chairman Ryan called the meeting to order at 12:04 p.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Ms. Kuhn, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Ms. Kuhn, to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.      SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT:  Sheriff Conway

        a.      INFORMATIONAL: Update

 

Sheriff Conway provided the following in response to Chairman Ryan’s questions:

  • Salary line $4 million under budget, a result of vacant positions and retirement incentive, additional retirements coming between now and year-end across all 4 departments; overtime used to fill many vacancies
  • Currently project to be $7 million under budget overall; only All Other Expenses is projected to be over budget $8,600, looking at ways to adjust other lines to bring within budget as well
  • Will be a challenge to maintain staffing; unable to conduct academy for any department this year
  • Reduction in revenue due to the state aid reduction and courts being closed; no additional monies expected from FEMA for COVID expenses of around $50,000, 90% was overtime staffing, also had to acquire PPE equipment for staff and inmates on our own
  • Voluntary Retirement Incentive accounted for about 35 positions over all four departments, projecting total vacancies to be approaching 60 by yearend, don’t always know of retirement in advance; challenge for all departments
  • Made adjustments for Justice Center and Corrections; sentenced inmates at Jamesville continued to decrease because courts were closed, moved some inmates from the Justice Center to Jamesville for social distancing, also had a backlog of state-ready inmates at the same time due to COVID; past 3 weeks the state is accepting inmates and courts have opened, starting to see an uptick of sentenced inmates at Jamesville; to keep everyone as safe as possible used two facilities to even out the inmate population for the time being
  • Today’s population is 300 at Jamesville, 100 are sentenced inmates, and 245 at the Justice Center; state determines when they are ready to receive inmates, in a normal period of time it is anywhere from 5 to 10 inmates every 2 weeks, has been upside down for several months

Mr. Manfredi:

  • ADA representing the DA’s office
  • Warrant squad recently resumed their normal course of business, adding to the uptick; many outstanding warrants, squad wasn’t working from March-May, started a little in June, very active the end of July, seeing a lot more arraignments 

Sheriff Conway:

  • Doesn’t make sense to house federal inmates from a liability standpoint or costs – the rate of pay is less than the costs
  • Do not receive money from the state for holding state-ready inmates
  • Only 4 inmates and staff members tested positive for COVID, testament to county and staff doing everything they can to keep the facilities clean and everyone safe and healthy

Chairman Ryan:

  • Very cognizant of the people being housed; many facilities were not as fortunate, a testament to doing a good job, should be recognized
  • Have to see what we have for staffing projections next year as we get closer; how far out are we from having an academy?

Sheriff Conway:

  • Can’t think of holding an academy before yearend, even if held in the first quarter of 2021 those candidates would not be useful until the end of summer
  • Lateral candidates can be accepted on the Police side from other agencies, very rare to get someone on the Corrections or Custody side; the biggest challenge will be how to fill vacancies in those departments
  • Ultimately have to have a class

Ms. Kuhn:

  • What is the difference in census between now and this time last year; is there a change relative to jail reform?

Sheriff Conway:

  • Receive monthly report from the state, down significantly

 

2.      JUSTICE CENTER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:  Marissa Mims, Chair

        a.      INFORMATIONAL: Update

 

Ms. Mims:

  • 9 positions on the JCOC, 3 are vacant; 2 need to be appointed or reappointed by Chairman Knapp, 1 by the mayor
  • Ms. Williams, Chief Diversity Officer, very helpful in getting some cases moving and logistics with the county, also have Montanette Murphy as our new administrator; good county administrative team
  • Primarily work with Captain D’Eredita, Sargent Mahoney, Lieutenant Woods; an extremely positive and collaborative relationship with the Sheriff’s department, meet regularly
  • Ms. Murphy works closely with Lt. Woods weekly discussing cases and getting questions resolved
  • Bimonthly meetings will resume at the Justice Center next week (not held since March due to COVID); extremely important meetings, discuss cases and questions with Justice Center staff, very productive, often able to resolve concerns during meetings, they come in very prepared with research and documentation, watch videos on occasion to see what transpired – very helpful 
  • Tracking trends and looking for patterns in the complaints received; restricted from personally interviewing inmates because of COVID, still available via phone and mail
  • Sheriff ensures complaint forms are stocked in the jail
  • Working on medical rec document, will be sent to the Sheriff’s department and county legislature, highlights a few concerns
  • The new medical provider is off to a great start, offered to meet with the JCOC so we can explain what we do and learn about their processes, provided access to their medical cloud records
  • Annual report will be forthcoming
  • Working to clear up the backlog of cases, don’t want cases older than one year before making a recommendation, have been pretty successful
  • Model for how a community-based group can work with a law enforcement agency to provide recommendations and look at issues related to the safety and welfare of everyone in the Justice Center; thank the Sheriff and his team for their work

Chairman Ryan:

  • Is the backlog because of COVID; when will they be getting through it?

Ms. Mims:

  • Not due to COVID; sometimes missing a HIPAA form, notice of claim may have been submitted or may have left the Justice Center and can’t connect to the person
  • Reviewing all cases over one year old, determining if we should close or keep open, some aren’t official cases yet, noted as pending because all documentation was not received
  • Feel very comfortable with work done over the summer; everything will be within a year

Chairman Knapp:

  • Two potential committee appointments coming forward next month for approval

Ms. Murphy:

  • NaphCare is the new medical provider

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Not aware of a new provider; did this go to a committee she missed?

Chairman Ryan:

  • Handled through purchasing

Ms. Murphy:

  • The transition began in late December and was pretty smooth; based out of Alabama. 

Mr. May:

  • The full bid process was applied

Dr. Chase:

  • Also impacts the Health Committee, nothing ever came through us
  • Considering the medical resources in this community, cannot believe we have to go to Alabama to get people to care for our inmates

Ms. Mims:

  • Only a limited pool of organizations provide correctional medical care
  • The previous was a national organization based out of state; don’t know if there is one based in NYS

Chairman Ryan:

  • Specialized bid, aren’t a lot of companies that do this
  • Treating inmates in the facility provides a lot of cost savings, there are a lot of parts to this

Dr. Chase:

  • Would be interesting to know what is different from any other healthcare provider; no matter who you are health care should be delivered on your needs
  • Cannot believe anyone who has done healthcare for any period of time can’t assess and meet an inmate’s needs

Chairman Ryan:

  • May have been the low bidder

Mr. May:

  • Onondaga County could not live up to the legal and ethical expectations required using local people employed as part of Onondaga County government; resulted in significant county exposure, astronomical costs for care beyond our limitations, had to transport inmates for higher levels of care in acute situations
  • Significant process when the county to decide to get out of the business; the first outsourcing to a professional group made all the difference, benefit of cost containment, quality of care increased; this is their business, it is different because of the dynamics of being within a jail population
  • Medical expert on the JCOC helps optimize care and ensure we live up to expectations, thanks to the JCOC’s work we knew we had to again go to market to find a vendor/provider to help us live up to those expectations
  • Was thoroughly vetted, a good provider that offers the expertise needed to do this properly
  • Doesn’t go to the Health Committee because it is a public safety issue; good to engage the Health Committee 

3.      INFORMATIONAL:  Sparklers; Michael Manfredi, Assistant District Attorney

 

Chairman Ryan:

  • Placed on agenda to start the discussion, received many complaints about fireworks a month or two ago
  • Proposed question to Sheriff Conway – what can we do; fireworks are illegal, is this a result of not opting in or out of a state law

Mr. Manfredi:

  • Chief of the municipal court, handles all misdemeanors in the City of Syracuse and justice courts in the outlining county
  • Law enforcement has been making arrests, taking tough stance making people plead as charged; local ordinances, not penal law offenses, penalties are fines from $50 to $250
  • Difficult to assess what is going on in outlying counties because Justice Courts have only recently started to reopen, in many courts a lot of the local ordinances are handled by town or village attorneys

Chairman Ryan:

  • Hard for police to make arrest because of timing
  • Serious public issue, not sure how or if we want to address it; does not opting out or in of the sparklers open the door for people to buy fireworks, have other legislators gotten complaints, do they think it is worth addressing via this committee

Chairman Knapp:

  • When first approved by the state there was an opt-in clause, the legislature elected not to opt-in and then the state changed it so that you had to opt-out which we never did
  • Sparklers are legal but anything that goes more than a few feet in the air is considered fireworks and still illegal

Mr. Manfredi:

  • State’s opt-in or out clause just pertains to sparkling devices; there is a measure for the pyrotechnics those devices can have
  • Everything seized by SPD remains illegal; firecrackers are not considered a sparkler devise, more in line with being an explosive 

Dr. Chase:

  • The frustration came from the continued calling of the police at a time when they had many other things to deal with; were not responding, police had to prioritize
  • This is more than just saying they are illegal, how are we going to hold them to the illegal status - must be reasonable unless you want fireworks police, there are so many other things now that it gets to the bottom of the totem pole; people don’t want to hear that they are illegal and we don’t follow through

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Need to do more education because people don’t understand what that means; big trailers selling fireworks in Walmart sounds as if we are prompting fireworks in the county
  • Much needs to be done besides talking, not sure how to do that

Ms. Kuhn:

  • Can they bust the tent or van selling illegal products or not allow advertising of illegal products?

Mr. Manfredi:

  • A law deals specifically with the dealing of fireworks
  • SPD put out a press release, had two overflowing trucks with fireworks because they hit things mentioned; was arrested, issued appearance tickets and fireworks were seized

Chairman Knapp:

  • Many billboards advertising locally were for sparkling devices called fireworks to get people in; Walmart sold sparkling devices that are legal

Ms. Kuhn:

  • Billboards were for fireworks in PA; big push to stay in business because many large municipality firework shows were canceled

Mr. Manfredi:

  • SPD made an effort to crack down as much as they possible
  • Had shots fired, became a triage situation, had to respond to the most serious, don’t think it was apathy or unwillingness to try and crackdown, stretched thin

Chairman Ryan:

  • Worthy of discussion; stay tuned for more

4.      INFORMATIONAL: Criminal Justice Reform

 

Mr. Durr:

  • Governor’s executive order requires police forces to adopt a plan by April 1, 2021; ineligible for state funding if a plan is not in place
  • Plan requires engaging stakeholders on policing strategies and tools, an open discussion regarding the current policies in place, perhaps medication of the policies, perhaps including a community outreach component
  • Plan will be formulated based on those discussions, presented by the chief executive and head of the local police force and open to public comment, then presented to local legislative bodies for approval
  • Mrs. Erin, Chairman Ryan, Chairman Knapp, and he attended an organizational meeting called by Mr. Fitzpatrick; an outline was presented expanding on certain areas Mr. Fitzpatrick thought were important
  • Subcommittees were created, one of which Mrs. Ervin is the chair of; the biggest thing is the use of force, interaction with communities and community perception of the police force
  • Important to get on this as April 1 is right around the corner
  • Very short executive order without a lot of meat, until clarified question what is considered the local legislative body; best to have one cohesive policy adopted by all local agencies, then present to the legislature, then to towns and villages with local police agencies if needed, then send the plan to Albany with unanimous approval
  • Expect clarification and more definition as to what is required

Chairman Ryan:

  • Recognized Mrs. Ervin as a co-chair and thanked her for her leadership in the community

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Co-chairs meeting with the DA next Tuesday to start the formulation of the plan; determine the formulation of various subcommittees with county residents, get as many people involved and public hearings as possible to get feedback on the issue
  • Her goal is to have one standard use of force across the county

Mr. Durr:

  • Points the way toward certification for all the police forces; within certification, there is standard regarding the use of force and other policy issues, which might be the governor’s goal 

Chairman Ryan:

  • Our Sheriff department is accredited, not sure how many others; need to work together toward uniformity, will fall back to us for approval
  • Called the NYS Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative; committee needs to be part of the context and bigger conversation

Mrs. Kuhn:

  • Each police department has to come up with a revised plan in addition to a unified plan

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Hope their plan will be part of the unified approach; may need to be tweaked depending on the location but the basics of how you treat and arrest people should be the same

Mr. Knapp:

  • DA suggested the county approve the overall plan, then each town and village with a police force approve; legislative approval in January or February so towns and village governments also have time to approve

Chairman Ryan:

  • Expect this item at the next committee meeting
  • Really important, needs to be addressed for a lot of different reasons; as leaders of this community we need to take up this issue

Mr. Rowley:

  • Any guidance outside of the executive order on what this plan should contain and who approves it; what is the order number

Chairman Ryan:

  • Executive order no. 203

Mr. Durr:

  • Not much definition, waiting for more details from Albany
  • Basically trying to standardize cohesive use of force policy and a community outreach program to get agencies certified, want uniform policies for all departments 

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Sure there will be more information from Albany; important to get much community input, had representatives from several towns at the initial meeting, input from others going forward as well

Mr. Durr:

  • Initial meeting discussed diversity recruitment, labor agreements and possible residency requirements for SPD officers;

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Police brutality is an issue and needs to be addressed everywhere

Mr. Rowley:

  • Working with the state isn’t easy, often guessing what they want; need proper guidance to comply

A motion was made by Ms. Kuhn, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to adjourn the meeting; MOTION CARRIED.  

 

The meeting adjourned at 1:26 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 12, 2020

VIRTUAL

JULIE ABBOTT-KENAN, CHAIR

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Ms. Cody, Mr. Bush

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kinne

ALSO ATTENDING:  Ms. Kuhn, Mrs. Ervin, Dr. Indu Gupta, Mr. Gasiorowski, Ms. McCluskey, Ms. Harris, Ms. Mignano, Ms. Velasco, Ms. McNamara, Ms. Lesniak, Mr. Paro, Mr. Frantzis, Mr. DeSantis, Ms. Honeywell, Mr. Honeywell

 

Chair Abbott-Kenan called the meeting to order at 10:32 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Bush, seconded by Dr. Chase to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES:  Richard Gasiorowski, Commissioner; Amy McCluskey, Deputy Commissioner, Child Welfare

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Foster Care & Update

 

Mr. Gasiorowski:

  • Pre-COVID – working with 833 active CPS investigations; during COVID – lowest was 300; back up to 508 cases
  • Everyone’s concern when COVID hit, not enough eyes on our community; support not there; during this time when COVID hit, put together responses to Emergency response team; 5-10 people in field; working at home on cases; exposed in field one week every 5 weeks
  • Well positioned to work remotely with North Woods contract; mobile technology for case records; scan into system; to providers; cut down on time for delivering pieces of paper; permanency round
  • Feb 2020 - 512 youths; as of now 542 youths; why the increase? What’s happening?
  • When COVID hit, family courts shut down for a lengthy period of time; youths still coming in, but not leaving foster care; child had 1 or 2 more unsupervised visits, but all came to a screeching halt
  • Finally working through response with supervised visitation; up to 80%; courts slowly opening; volume of cases a lot less than normal

Ms. McClusky:

  • Dollar amount and comparing to last year point in time, and year over year; foster care account projection is substantially over budget by about $4 million; kids not being moved out
  • Last year 2019 January – March:  $7.8 mil; January – March 2020 about $8 mil; 3% increase
  • Quarter 2 April – June 2019:  foster care at $7.4 mil; 2020 is $9.4 million; 27% increase in costs for quarter 2 – due to fact that kids are stuck
  • 542 in care – about 67 can be moved out when courts open; 12 up for adoption; 9 waiting on kin; 37 kids waiting for judge orders to release to home; 9 youth aging out by end of year; put numbers at 19 fewer over last year
  • If kids able to move out of foster care regularly, general point increasing numbers
  • Raise the Age (RTA) –  ages16 or 17 that go through criminal court system are in the numbers
  • Outcomes better coming to family court; 100% reimbursable with RTA dollars; costs higher but getting reimbursed
  • Unaccompanied minor youth slots increasing – more refugee minors; providing youth services; 100% reimbursed by federal government; increasing numbers, but not a negative; outcomes are better
  • Courts opening up - working hard to get kids back to permanency with homes or adoptive family
  • Legislation for preventative services; keeping kids in family with biological parents or relative

Chair Abbott-Kenan:

  • Over budget due to circumstances; asked everyone to come back and cut 20%
  • What is your plan?  Will you be able to do this?

Ms. McClusky:

  • Part of increase will be covered; group home did not fully come to fruition; can back out $4 mil to $2 mil
  • 10 retirements from incentive; supplies, working with staff remotely; back down some accounting; looking at contracts
  • Where outcomes are best for kids, cut back on services not getting best outcomes; other programs and services that can take on those kids; not leaving anyone without proper services
  • Able to maintain proforma numbers given to work with; most with salary savings and staff retirements;

Chair Abbott-Kenan:

  • Back log in family court; Is there any priority measure to move these kids?

Ms. McClusky:

  • Priority is at risk youth; those in eminent danger; getting removals ; youth safe where they are, not moving as quickly

Mr. Bush:

  • Will the Legislature get a report on the house used from the Salvation Army?  

Ms. McClusky:

  • Sycamore House not happening at this point; no way for state to reimburse for costs; preparing for equivalent to a voluntary agency; no county owned group home; no state reimbursement
  • Looked at funding sources and agencies, then COVID hit; put on hold, due to lack of definitive revenue from state

Mr. Bush:

  • Does the county have any financial commitment with the property sitting vacant?

Ms. McClusky:

  • Salvation Army is reimbursing for capital improvements and providing older youth therapeutic services through contract; property – not any longer
  • Salvation Army owns the property

 Dr. Chase:

  •  Is the County in any situation where kids are in a place other than home (i.e. a hotel)? 

Ms. McClusky:

  • No; addressing needs for high needs cases and proper housing; whether group home or foster family
  • Keep them out of institutions or use overtime and hotels; also have seen throughout COVID that number in institutions decreased; had 45 kids in institutions with least affective outcomes; reduced to 40; trying to continue to move them to homes and community based services

Dr. Chase:

  • Department lost quite a few people to retirement; How are they doing with that and managing?

Ms. McClusky:

  • Going to be creative this fall; positive/negative – case are down; reduction in staff not effecting department as much until the fall; going through ways to rearrange workloads and address immediate emergency issues; redistribute cases; make as efficient as possible

Dr. Chase:

  • Situation:  18 year old placed with family and did not go well; kid ran away; family was not told the kid just got out of jail; when placing kids, 18 is pushing it
  • When they have issues, are the parents made aware of it?

Mr. Gasiorowski:

  • Sounds like a Raise The Age; would not place 18 year old through Family Court, unless it was RTA; need more info

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Will speak to parents later today for more details; Is there a cross reference with the police department?  

Mr. Gasiorowski:

  • Trying to figure out how a child coming out of jail would be in foster care; what are the circumstances; get more information, then can walk through and get specifics

2.     HEALTH DEPARTMENT:  Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing a Lease Agreement with Bayberry Plaza LLC for the use of the Onondaga County Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program

 

A motion was made by Chair Abbott-Kenan, seconded by Ms. Cody, to approve this item.

 

Chair Abbott-Kenan:

  • Existing WIC building in Bayberry Plaza; 5 year lease; clause that if no money, then it will not penalize county; lease would go away; expired months ago; secure space and keep it the way it is

Dr. Gupta:

  • WIC crucial to do our work to empower especially for women; support and nutritional services for infants; guidance for health and nutrition, also walks through testing and resources; been there for more than 20 years
  • North area clinic; operational Mon. – Fri. and evening hours on Tuesday; case load over 9,000 – 2500 – 2800 at Bayberry
  • Area selected to cover northern residents; anyone in county can go to any clinic; bus line there; farmers market there every Wednesday (May-October); WIC works with vendors for fresh food; good location
  • 100% grant funding; feds – state – county; in existence for quite some time; asking for support

Dr. Chase:

  • Essential for moms and babies in poverty; it should have been handled a few months ago, but other things were priority

Dr. Gupta:

  • Every program talks about COVID; another venue to continue to touch points with clients; important for function

Mr. Bush:

  • I don’t know a legislator that has not been supportive of WIC: fully reimbursable; great program; meets needs
  • Dropped on members less than 24 hours; will vote no, because the procedure is wrong
  • COVID cannot be a fall back for everything done in government; totally support the WIC program, but do not support this procedure becoming more common for legislative duties

Ayes:  3 (Abbott-Kenan, Chase, Cody)  Noes:  1 (Bush); MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  Question & Answer

 

Dr. Chase:

  • Wondering what your feelings are about schools opening?  How involved in process?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Very involved with process; had zoom meetings with superintendents before and during COVID
  • Significant guidance from NYS Dept. of Education, Dept. of Health and local Health Dept.; if a case and contacts, guidance for questions for public health
  • Make sure checklist – detail Dept. of Education guidance; 145 pages; touched on every area of safety of staff, students, environment; protocols on a case; how to work with Health Dept.
  • Low infection rate; all in favor; every school has own hybrid plan; presented to Dept. of Education; county received
  • Includes operation, but also involves testing and contact case investigation; all in it together with them
  • Staff and parent communication important; educating the kids about masks, temperature checks, physical distancing
  • Will have cases in school; want to find out who are the cases and contacts - isolate and quarantine
  • Continue to function and have good learning experience; anxiety first few weeks with households and everyone bringing everyone out; movement will be restricted; giving freedom for learning
  • More and more comfortable with availability of things mentioned; should be able to keep schools open; key to success is in people’s hands
  • Community open and continue to have small gatherings; all going to accept it; mask protects others – equals economy
  • Have opportunity to enjoy things; time to see how effective it is; vaccine, antibody response is a work in progress

Dr. Chase:

  • Syracuse University – how involved is the department?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Very much so; know everyone in leadership; talking to everyone; reading guidance and documents; research coming out; answering questions; supporting effort; all of them have been wonderful partners

Dr. Chase:

  • Are there posters or written information that can be distributed to the public? 
  • Westcott/University area concerned with new people moving in neighborhood and not knowing what they should know
  • Is there any kind of information to provide for business owners on Westcott Street?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Every resource available on website at this time; make sure to visit website every day
  • Employers have to be compliant; function of operation of facility for employer and employee; same principles apply
  • How to protect oneself and others; need to be healthy and protected; three big principles highlighted in the resource section; also for school reopening
  • SU students – university very strong in implementing, enforcing and providing guidance to students and parents
  • Recommendation – travelers from states with high rates of infection, Governor’s executive order is 14 day quarantine
  • Airports – fill in form or go online; contact tracers for state; get information and enroll in text monitoring
  • Not the same if driving in; asking school to promote website for online form; all enroll to be monitored for 14 days
  • SU has been strict, but nothing is perfect; if businesses see something, they can print posters and promote culture of masks and physical distancing; some people get mad, but most like it

Dr. Chase:

  • Parents coming from states in quarantine, drop off then go – are they followed?

Dr. Gupta:

  • SU follows their own; no capacity in department to do; NYSDOH contact trace enroll them through system; online form; sign up, then contact tracer will contact those people
  • Need name, DOB, address and phone number; text and enroll; supposed to be in 14 day quarantine; monitor temp twice a day; if symptoms, then get tested
  • Some people turn negative or positive; it is working; lot of processes in place; starting in state

Chair Abbott-Kenan:

  • Testing and schools – rapid testing; Is the department prepared and able to accommodate? 

Dr. Gupta:

  • Work in progress; Ms. Rooney working with Emergency Management, Health Department and others to ramp up testing capacity for schools; superintendent calls; communicate with parents
  • Need option if pediatrician or doctor cannot test; some do and some do not; some looking to have rapid testing in offices for children and patients; more test for flu, cold, etc.; in process of doing; conversation with pediatrician is important
  • School says they need testing, then know where to go; should be done in shorter time; not waiting 7 days; looking to expand capacity with partners in community
  • Upstate – see how to connect school system, where to sign up and get testing; work in progress
  • Have classroom testing – if negative, then go to next; if positive, then who is positive; work in progress; conceptually being done; some half way through; some are fully there
  • Do not be complacent – key to success; virus does not jump on its own; needs people; behavior can kill the virus

Ms. Cody:

  • State restrictions on travel - Who is tracing those folks?  Dr. Gupta said state continues; no additional burden on dept.

Dr. Gupta:

  • Correct; throughout state and county; 600 people in Onondaga County; put them in quarantine with text messaging and give order; symptoms, then transfers to local Health Department
  • Case management system; schedule for testing and connect; daily conversations

Ms. Kuhn:

  • Pool testing; if particular pool is positive, what happens to that group?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Trying to get to that; connectivity to positive and identifying case; easy to quarantine class, but need to know who’s positive; have to trace that person in school, which is easier; identify group for short time; within 24-48 hours
  • If do not find, then defeated; have to find out student or staff was in classroom, lunch room or house, etc.; has to be one after another one; has not gone that far yet
  • Quest Diagnostics approved for those; surveillance testing; want to know how to get to specifics

Ms. Kuhn:

  • Does the Health Department do contact for schools?  Staff?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Process of making that anytime case investigation; identify contacts, then interview each contact; help of contact tracers with NYSDOH; expanding; would not be able to do that
  • Work in concert with them; identify all, then partnership with schools and colleges; they are on the ground; can give information
  • Mumps, measles, TB – all have been there; health staff familiar with all; not new learning; anxiety with new virus

Chair Abbott-Kenan:

  • Triple E – watching mosquitos; spraying; starting today

Dr. Gupta:

  • Remind everyone COVID is happening, but continue to work in every way; communicable disease, syphilis, HIV, etc.
  • Environmental Health does mosquito and sewers, restaurant inspections, temporary residents, Lead program doing inspections at this point
  • Being creative and outreach; cancer services; meet with staff on regular basis; how to do outreach with cancer services
  • How to contact community members; trying to think creatively; essential services continue
  • In person visits more feasible; cognizant of protecting staff and community
  • WIC continues to function; state limited in person; doing telephone checks; counseling
  • Did mosquito counts; some opted not to do, not enough resources; EEE in past year
  • Found EEE again; doing spraying; do protection - full sleeves

Ms. Kuhn:

  • Lyme disease - has there been an uptick?

Dr. Gupta:

  • No uptick; starting to see, because clinics and physician’s offices were closed; once physician’s offices open, will see more patients and report more
  • Not appropriate to be in woods with shorts, tank tops and flip flops; cover and check yourself
  • State should have more signage about ticks

Dr. Chase:

  • How is department doing with staffing?  How many people lost due to early retirement incentive?

Dr. Gupta:

  • Cannot remember; lost a few and requesting to fill some; reorganizing and being fiscally responsible, but not jeopardize public health; will do best with budget

A motion was made by Ms. Cody, seconded by Dr. Chase, to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McNamara

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 14, 2020

TIM BURTIS, CHAIRMAN

AUDIO/VIDEO 1 & AUDIO/VIDEO 2

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. May, Mr. Rowley, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Williams, Mrs. Ervin

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Mrs. Abbott-Kenan, Ms. Kuhn, Dr. Chase, Mr. Bush, Mr. Mento, Mr. Yaus, Mr. Petrovich,

Mr. Voss, Dr. Gupta, Ms. Harris, Ms. Murphy, Mrs. Venditti, Mr. Weber, Ms. Velasco, Mr. Frateschi, Mrs. Lesniak, Ms. McNamara, Mr. Frantzis, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Flint-Morgan, Ms. Hood, Mr. Smith, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Grabowski, Mr. Vannorstran, Mr. Matt,

Ms. Parker, Ms. Bradner, Mr. Sarason

 

Chairman Burtis called the meeting to order at 9:39 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     ONONDAGA CIVIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION:

        a.     Confirming Appointment by the Chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature to the Board of Directors of the Onondaga Civic Development Corporation (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

 

Chairman Knapp:

  • OCDC does a great job working with not-for-profit organizations; vacancy on board; nominating Kevin Keuhner
  • Known Mr. Keuhner for ~20 years; attorney who practices in city; lives in city; great family; very excited to accept a new role and think he will a do great job; flexible schedule for meetings; he is open minded; happy he accepted

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to approve this item.  Ayes:  6  Absent:  1 (Williams); MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Frank Mento, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Approving Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Design of a Pump Station and Force Main in and for the County of Onondaga, New York (Sponsored by Mr. Jordan)

  • Seeking authorization for improvements in sanitary district for White Pines industrial area and surrounding property
  • Held commissioners hearing; public hearing scheduled for September 1st before session
  • Start conveyance for design work - force main and pump stations to handle anticipated flows for future development; prepare area for shovel ready status; opportunity to move forward quickly for those that would want this

Mr. Jordan:  

  • This is in 14th district; trying to move along project as long as been he’s been a legislator
  • Economical to get large employer to White Pines; support project, but concern (or question) is proposed financing
  • In 2012, appropriated $2 mil for design, engineering and permitting; also received grant from state for $1.5 mil - total set aside in 2012 was $3.5 mil
  • Understand that $1.3 mil was utilized to date for various engineering projects, which leaves potentially $2 mil
  • Economic Development indicated about $663,000 of $2 mil remains; also $1.5 mil grant has to be utilized by 2021
  • County should be utilizing monies already have, especially if grant disappears; why let grant money fall by wayside
  • If it’s meant to be utilized for engineering, it makes sense to utilize balance of monies have ($2 mil and grant) to fund this; $20 mil all said and done, but risk losing $1.5 mil in grant, if bonded

Mr. Mento said that he believes everyone would agree with what Mr. Jordan said.  The purpose of the $2 million appropriated in 2011/2012 was for analyzing, permitting, developing and routing; high level planning study to find out what the best route was.  They did not spend all of that money.  There was also a portion spent with National Grid to support the electrical substation and structure to make this a viable site, and test whether there was enough power and necessary electrical to serve the site.  Mr. Mento said Mr. Jordan mentioned there was $660,000 left, but it is their understanding that it is not that much because of the work with National Grid.  Mr. Jordan said that is included in there, and the $660,000 is leftover.  Breakdown of money used:  $467,000 for SEQRA (permitting and engineering), $410,000 for engineering and permitting for EMI vibration infrastructure utility advancement, $403,000 for National Grid electrical design, and $56,000 for site planning and legal expenses.  Mr. Petrovich commented:

  • Everything discussed is an accurate representation - of $1.3 mil spent out of the $2 mil, the summary is accurate
  • Remaining $600,000 is planned to be spent to complete work done by National Grid and OBG (now Ramboll) to complete electric & gas infrastructure design necessary to bring power to the site
  • Not part of $1.3 mil; advanced payments to National Grid – 1 in July, 1 in August; total of $375,000
  • Advancing Ramboll a generic air discharge permit to have in place given end use contemplating for site; also supporting engineering; could be another $100,000
  • Needs to be additional SEQRA work completed on property for land acquired to make the site more attractive and large enough to support end use
  • Project advancing in manner that would look to make funds available to support end projects; focus is to shorten time to market for potential end user

Mr. Jordan said the Empire State Development Grant is $1.5 million and is available until August 2021.  Why are they not utilizing that instead of borrowing $1.6 million?  The County can then pay cash for the remaining $100,000.  Mr. Petrovich responded that the $1.5 million reimbursable grant from ESD is in support of the overall application to spend $6.2 million.  They would have to advance and construct the project to be able to access the $1.5 million.  Mr. Petrovich said they have asked for extensions on the grant funding from ESD, and ESD understands.  ESD supports the project, and they have agreed to push it out until August of 2021.

 

Mrs. Venditti reminded the committee that with any issuance and approval, the financing is carefully looked at so they do not issue bonds if unnecessary.  The $1.6 million is borrowed when necessary, and they will certainly use any funds available.  Mr. Jordan asked if they could modify the resolution to say they will utilize cash or grant funding first, then bond for the remaining balance.  Mrs. Venditti said in her opinion no; that is standard practice.  Mr. Jordan asked if they could say they will use grant funding first before bonding.  Is there any reason why they could not do it?  Mrs. Venditti responded that she is not sure the financing is nailed down.  If they need to come back and let the Legislature know how it was utilized, they will.  Having the authorization there for the need would make sense.

 

Mr. Ryan:    

  • Talking a lot of money; agree that economic development projects are important
  • Is there an end game for White Pines? 
  • Appreciate and probably support, but doing a lot and now it’s County money; being taxed by the state
  • Hopeful County has a tenant, but this has to be millions of dollars; at what point do we say we have a tenant or not

Mr. Mento:

  • Great question and great history with White Pines; working hard in concert with Economic Development
  • See opportunity in the fore front; attempt to be ready; partially spurred by Amazon in same area and ability to get things up and running quickly; put Syracuse on the map
  • Being proactive to get infrastructure in place; potential tenants demand this; do not want to wait 5 years for infrastructure; need to know things are progressing

Mr. Ryan:

  • Does the County build the exit and do road improvements, electrical, utilities, etc.; at same time, what is the County going to get?  Taxpayers on hook for $1.6 mil, and already on hook for millions
  • Just a vacant piece of land; hope at some point taxpayers get return on investment

Mr. Mento replied to Mr. Rowley that the RFP is ready pending approval, the design would be next year and the construction in 2022.  This is one piece of the whole puzzle depending on a potential tenant(s).  There may be improvements needed for the Oak Orchard Treatment Plant.  Mr. Rowley wanted clarification that in laymen’s terms they are running a pipe from Oak Orchard to this parcel.  Mr. Mento responded that they are running a potential series of pipes from this parcel (and other surrounding areas) to Oak Orchard.  Other parcels will have an opportunity to tap into it.

 

Mr. May:                                                 

  • Legislator Jordan raises good question/point that unexpended grant monies should be used if possible
  • Both WEP and Economic Development understand and are aware of monies being out there; heard there are policies to ensure borrowing least amount of money needed
  • Sounds like the departments are going to try and use as much money as they can in time frame able to work in, and make business decisions based on opportunity as it comes this way

Mr. Mento and Mr. Petrovich both agreed with Mr. May.  Mr. Petrovich said they are acutely aware of the grant money out there.  They will not waste the opportunity to tap into it. 

 

Mr. Ryan said they are doing this for the sole purpose of possibly enticing a potential tenant, and Mr. Mento said that is absolutely correct.  Mr. Petrovich commented that they’ve been able to see the interest and competitive nature of the business environment on how White Pine stacks up against other possible locations.  One key element of discussion with large end users is the size of the site and the infrastructure.  The focus has been trying to shorten the window to deliver the property and make something happen as soon as possible. 

 

Chairman Burtis said he is trusting they will have an end user who is very interested.

 

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

 

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $1,600,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Certain Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District in and for Said County ($1,600,000) (Sponsored by Mr. Jordan)

  • Partner resolution authorizing bonds for supporting the project

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

 

3.     DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:  Martin Voss, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2020 Onondaga County Budget to Make Funds Available for use in Connection with the New York State Pave-NY Program, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($1,281,499) (Sponsored by Ms. Cody)

  • 2020 CHIPS allocation - $5,614,210 - already approved in work plan; additional 2 streams of money coming in
  • Notification and validation on CHIPS in state budget; had not acted on Pave NY or EWR; April – NYS DOT notified County that all runs from Albany were valid, but potential for up to 20% reduction in all state transportation funds
  • Uncertainty with cuts from state attributed to federal cuts; asking to accept funding streams, but not giving list of additional projects beyond those can fund up to 80%
  • $5.6 mil in CHIPS, $1.2 Pave NY and $760,000 EWR – spend 80% now, carry over balance in 2021, which can do under state law; present projects to Legislature in Work Plan for 2021
  • Mr. Morgan and Mr. Voss not comfortable putting money out there, then find out state cuts are coming
  • Spend $511,000 out of money approving today; manage with vendors by increasing mileage of 3 existing paving projects:  Pompey Center Road, Sweet Road and Lamson Road
  • Pave NY – been around at least 15-20 years; some years funded, some not

Mr. Voss agreed with Mr. Jordan that the state is saying they will give the County the money, but they may take back 20%.  Mr. Jordan asked why they would even offer the money when they are having financial difficulties anticipating cutting back funding 20%.  Mr. Voss cannot explain the rationale, because it does not make sense.  Other smaller municipalities are rushing to spend what they can right away, but Onondaga County has a lot of mileage; cannot adapt that quickly.  Mr. Voss explained that the thought is to spend what they know they have.  The percentage could be up to 20%, but could be 5 or 10%.  Mr. Voss wants this resolution done, should the full amount be released.  Mr. Jordan asked if there is a risk of being cut more than 20%, and Mr. Voss answered that the state assured them no.  Mr. Voss has heard that they are drawing down and getting reimbursed. 

 

Chairman Knapp commented that Mr. Voss is explaining this correct.  If Congress comes through, the County could get 100%, or it could be cut back.  If there is no relief from the federal government, then the cut could be the full 20%.  Chairman Knapp said the County will accept the whole thing, spend 80%, and hopefully they will have funds left over.  Mr. Ryan thanked Chairman Knapp for recognizing that.

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2020 Onondaga County Budget to Accept $759,195 in Extreme Winter Recovery Funding and $1,586 in Additional CHIPS Funding from the New York State Department of Transportation and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($760,781) (Sponsored by Ms. Cody)

  • EWR for $760,781 – builds into overall state funds; only spending up to 80%

Chairman Knapp wanted clarification that this is not severity factor.  Mr. Voss agreed, and he commented that he has not seen anything this year.  It is a formula done by NYSDOT, and it was not the worst of winters. 

 

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

 

4.     HEALTH DEPARTMENT:  Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing a Lease Agreement with Bayberry Plaza LLC for the use of the Onondaga County Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program (Sponsored by Mrs. Abbott-Kenan)

 

  • WIC Clinic has been in Bayberry for over 20 years; located near Kinney previously; North area clinic; open M-F with Tuesday night hours
  • Caseload approx. 9,000, and Bayberry supports 2,500 – 2,800; ¼ of clientele in Liverpool, Baldwinsville, Clay and Jordan; anyone can go there; on a bus route and accessible with parking
  • Farmers market provides access for clients to cash dollars for WIC for fresh food
  • Approval for reissuance of lease for next 5 years; difference with 5% increase; serves community well

Mr. Jordan asked for clarification with the lease agreement saying the landlord will not do plowing or maintenance of common areas.  Dr. Gupta responded that the common area maintenance is included, and they share the common area with other tenants.  Dr. Gupta does not think they are paying separate for plowing.  Mr. Jordan said he will follow up with legal, because it would be completely in opposition of a traditional commercial lease, which includes a prorated share of maintenance costs for common areas.

 

Dr. Gupta stated this is 100% grant funded.

 

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

 

5.     ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  Robert Petrovich, Director

        a.     Authorizing the Sale of Tax Delinquent Property to Empire Polymer Solutions, LLC and Buchanan Partners, LLC

 

Mr. Yaus:

  • Same resolution, different entity; another came earlier this year for Ranalli, but deal fell through – did not want property
  • Same purchase price; 1 payment of $500,000 (not 3 installments), which is a better deal; $150,000 to oil spill fund for full release to transfer to buyer; no outstanding issues to buyer

Mr. Jordan:

  • Has an appraisal been done?
  • Between environmental need and back taxes, it’s roughly almost $1 million
  • Former Syroco site - contamination has been cleaned up; seems the $1 mil would resolve the issues with environment; understanding there are some continuing monitoring costs
  • Eating $500,000; if it went to auction, what would the site bring?

Mr. Yaus responded:

  • Not great auction parcels
  • New IMA with Oil Spill Fund and DEC – do not get protections from oil liability under state law when transferring property; MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Oil Spill Fund that allows to extend protection to oil spill sites
  • No control over user; someone can get in over their head quickly, end up in rears – County in same position
  • Find true end user that will put to best use; Economic Development did great job finding one who toured site and knows what they’re getting into
  • Appraisal was done, but looking at property, the appraisal seems high considering contamination and state of facility

Mr. Petrovich:

  • Empire Polymer based out of Western NY; Buchanan Partners is a venture capital group out of Maryland; originally in town looking at GM facility as possible acquisition; GM facility having difficulty with transaction
  • If GM facility does not work out, another site to possibly meet their needs in Van Buren; wanted to know more; working with them for over a year; looked at site; severely tax delinquent and neglected
  • Met objectives in terms of space
  • They recycle plastic to make it available as raw material for new plastic products
  • Number of synergies – Empire Polymer’s eager to close; right after session in early Sept.; already came to IDA board, went through SEQRAs and local approvals
  • Plan to spend $7.1 mil on facility and add 70 manufacturing jobs; all things considered, it’s a win
  • Price only $500,000; any ongoing operations and maintenance with environmental will be taken care of by them
  • Will be complimenting Tessy Plastics – can provide them with raw materials next door; Tessy is supporting this

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

 

Chairman Knapp said this is a good situation in many ways.  Maybe there could be a deal with taking plastics from OCCRA to cut down on their overhead with recycling.  Also, the County is making the town and school district whole on back taxes.

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

6.     COUNTY LEGISLATURE:  Chairman David Knapp

        a.     Changing the date of the October 13, 2020 Legislative Session (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

  • Pushed back budget schedule; moving budget session to December 3rd

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

 

        b.     Changing the date of the November 2020 Legislative Session (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

  • Traditionally move session date away from Election Day; moved to Thursday Nov. 5th; however County Executive presents the proposed budget on Wednesday Nov. 4th; changing session to that day since everyone will be here

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

 

        c.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

 

  • Administrative task; for past Legislator and Floor Leader Patrick M. Kilmartin

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

 

        d.     Amending Resolution No. 25-1986 to Remove the Directive to Give Notice of this Order by Publication in the Newspaper (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

  • Looking at every nickel to save; spend over $3,000/year publishing in newspaper
  • Do not want to diminish communication; there are some very old laws the Legislature has to publish every year; written in resolution; can easily do through other electronic means and accomplish the same thing
  • Deals with dogs and deer during deer season; not rescinding resolution, as it is a good thing; do not want to see deer killed by dogs, but removing the part to publish in newspaper every year; effort to save money

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

 

        e.     Authorizing Cost Free Live Streaming of Regular and Special Legislative Sessions Consistent with the Onondaga County Legislature’s Longstanding Commitment to Improving Public Access (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

  • Cannot say much good is coming out of coronavirus situation; one small thing is forcing Legislature to adapt to new technologies, ways of communicating and getting things done
  • Looking to going back live again, so this is will work out well based on what was learned over past several months
  • Thank you to Legislator Williams for getting the ball rolling
  • Financially everything is difficult right now; there are free platforms that can be used for live streaming sessions
  • This approves live streaming for monthly sessions and special sessions when everyone is together, via free platform – i.e. Facebook Live; set up computer in session with audio and video; people can sign in and observe the meeting

Mr. Williams:

  • Grateful to take up live streaming; resolution does not go far enough; Democrats have been working on live streaming resolution, and have worked with other Republicans and the County Executive’s Office
  • Disappointed have not reached across the aisle; each party has one; good resolution for bipartisan support, but still not working together; if that’s the route they want to take, it’s disheartening
  • Live streaming important - constituents can see how the Legislature works, how things get done and boost participation
  • Do not believe this resolution goes far enough - there were things in the other resolution that are not on this
  • Would love to sit down and compare the two to come up with a bipartisan resolution; no intent on working in a partisan view; true intention to work with everyone; would love to work together
  • Will not vote for this as it stands

Chairman Burtis:

  • COVID world has not helped much and communication has been a problem all around - personal, work and legislative life; like to be around people and be there to communicate
  • Saw where he received an email from Mr. Williams, but does not remember seeing it
  • Would suggest working with leaders and the Chairman – Mrs. Ervin, Mr. May and Mr. Knapp; Ways and Means is more than just himself
  • Also, there is the old way of calling people on the phone
  • Appreciate the work Mr. Williams did                                                                     

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Legislator Williams has been working on this for long time; tried reaching out to Chairman Burtis and Chairman Knapp; worked with Mrs. Abbott-Kenan; to see this resolution on agenda without his being considered is difficult to understand
  • Let’s move forward and work together, compare the two resolutions
  • Goal is live streaming, so public can see what the Legislature is doing

Chairman Knapp:

  • Main difference between the 2 – committee meetings; two concerns: 

(1) Minutes for committee meetings are second to none, envy of other counties; do a great job getting word out on committee meetings; session works differently; no verbatim minutes taken

(2) Logistically the committee room is small; would be difficult with a computer on desk to get everyone in; mostly looking at back of heads; difficult to see who’s talking; logistically difficult

  • All along the discussion has been about session, so addressing that; always open to talk; couple weeks before session

Mrs. Ervin thanked Chairman Knapp for the offer talk.  Let’s look at possibly making things happen in committees as well. 

 

Chairman Burtis:

  • Clarification – have been other resolutions before wanting to talk about and work together; on the onus on everyone to communicate directly to the person leading the resolution
  • Confusion on last thing that Mrs. Abbott-Kenan and himself were going to work together on; thought it would happen differently than it did; know everyone is busy and has lot of emails and stress
  • Think the members need to be active with communicating via email, phone or text; need to be more committed to reaching out and connecting; leaders not necessarily going to do that; have to take responsibility

Mr. May:

  • Leader Ervin, Chairman Knapp and Chairman Burtis alluded to problems here
  • Keep saying the entire Legislature has to communicate better within caucuses, staff and as a whole
  • Great opportunity to mention the Legislature should try to channel some of this through leadership; look at legislative protocol, talk to staff and make sure doing the right things
  • Be considerate of each other as members of Legislature - all have a variety of responsibilities inside and outside the Legislature to take care of
  • Keep everyone informed, especially when issues are important; sort of hear an interest in talking about this more
  • Recommendation to consider this today, and perhaps let the 2 sponsors and others get together to discuss if there’s any middle ground or changes needed prior to session

Chairman Knapp and Mr. Williams both agree with Mr. May.

 

Mr. Williams said his intention was to work with everyone, and it was never his intention to leave the Chairman or anyone else out.  Mr. Williams will take responsibility for that.  This is a good resolution, and in his opinion, this is something everyone can get together on.  Chairman Burtis commented that everyone has to be active in reaching out. 

 

Chairman Burtis stated there will be no vote taken today, and it will be shown to be considered.  There are a lot of words in the last resolution including having the County Executive in there.  Chairman Burtis is not sure a resolution is necessary, and it could be an understanding.

 

7.     LAW:

        a.     Settlement of Action

 

Chairman Burtis asked for a motion to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing proposed, pending or current litigation.

 

The motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Rowley.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Burtis stated that no motions or actions were taken during executive session.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

 

 

To Provide Feedback About the Disability Accessibility of An Onondaga County Department's Website, Click Here to Access the Department's Contact Page

© 2001-  Onondaga County, New York  All Rights Reserved.   |  Ongov.net  |  Privacy Statement | Directions & Parking | Language or Disability Access Assistance