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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 - JANUARY 20, 2016

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Tassone, Dr. Chase

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Rapp

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon and see attached list

Chair Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:11 A.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Dr. Chase, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTIONTom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution  Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Sewer Separation Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Intended to Enable the County to Comply with Requirements set forth in the Amended Consent Judgment

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Displayed map of sewersheds in amended consent judgment (ACJ) area - about 3/4th of the City, areas where storm sewers and sanitary sewers are combined (See attachment)
  • 770 communities in the US have combined sewers, common in areas of Europe and the US urbanized before plumbing – storm sewers moved water off muddy streets, plumbing water then added to storm sewers and plumbed to creeks; built intercepting sewers in 1920’s to capture dry weather flow, then brought to Onondaga Lake
  • Combined sewers don’t have capacity for wet weather flow - 78 different overflows in the City at one time, all different areas part of the Clinton, Midland or Harbor Brook sewersheds
  • Program budgets for Clinton, Midland and Harbor Brook allow for projects within defined areas - projects now mainly green; previously completed several gray projects – Midland treatment facility, Clinton and Harbor Brook storage, and intercepting sewers and sewer separation to create capacity, combined sewers overflow less or not at all
  • Established sewer separation budget allows for separation anywhere within ACJ area; requesting authorization to also use funds for green infrastructure projects within ACJ area; not asking for additional funds

 

Dr. Chase asked for an example of a possible green project.  Mr. Rhoads displayed information on current green projects:  green streets - creating planters and bio swales street side, porous pavement and tree planting.  They are creating green reservoirs to store stormwater, which infiltrates into the ground rather than instantly going into combined sewers and causing overflow.

 

  • Average capture cost for completed sewer separations $9.00 per gallon; lowest piece of infrastructure, requires aggressive reconstruction of street and existing infrastructure
  • $0.65 per gallon average capture cost for green projects

 In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that the outcome was comparable and measured by the amount of combined sewer capture.  In addition, there are co-benefits of green - improved health and increased property values.

Dr. Chase said that this could also be inclusive of neighborhoods outside the City.  Mr. Rhoads said that the funds could only be used in areas where there is an ACJ.  Dr. Chase said that it would only include the Clinton, Midland and Harbor Brook areas.  Mr. Rhoads said that also included Hiawatha and Ley Creek but would not include Eastwood, for example. 

 

Dr. Chase said that part of Eastwood was included.  Mr. Rhoads said that a small portion of Teal Avenue was part of the Ley Creek combined sewer area.  However, they do not have a budget for Ley Creek or Hiawatha, except for the sewer separation budget.  In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that green infrastructure could be used for all areas within the ACJ, if the change was approved.

 

Chair Plochocki asked if the change in scope would allow WEP carte blanche to change all the projects to green.  Mr. Rhoads said that they are program budgets.  There is a green program planning committee, which consists of a constituency from the County Legislature, neighborhood groups and the City.  Members of that group determine the projects.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that Mr. McMahon was on the committee but was represented by Sue Stanczyk.  WEP produces a map showing areas with the most need for combined sewer abatement.  Members then determine the projects, working with the City and neighborhood associations.  Projects are built up with the committee, put out for mini-bid design and 25%, 50% and 95% design meetings are held with the community before building.  For the most part, they are only doing green projects at this time.

 

Mr. Burtis said that the ACJ area was only in the City of Syracuse.  Mr. Rhoads said that it was only in a portion of the City, as displayed on the map.  (See attachment)

 

  • $400 million appropriated to amend problem; City of Cleveland spending $3 billion, communities in NJ looking at billions, as is NYC
  • Green infrastructure often most cost effective way to resolve combined sewer overflows; green infrastructure added to Clinton, Harbor Brook and Midland budgets - was not added to sewer separation budget

 

Mr. Burtis asked the balance of the sewer separation budget.  Mr. Rhoads said that the balance is $1.1 million, per the Department of Management and Budget.

 

In response to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that gray would still play a role, e.g. small project in 061, three catch basins will be plumbed to Onondaga Creek, very small area right next to the creek, more cost effective.

 

  • Change in scope would only allow green infrastructure or sewer separation; allowed to use gray or green in any form that meets the scope of the ACJ for Clinton, Harbor Brook and Midland budgets -
  • 1 small GIF project in Hiawatha area, currently doesn’t have a budget; change in scope would provide ability to pay for that project and any other green projects in the Ley Creek or Hiawatha area 

 

Chair Plochocki said that the change in scope would mean that green would be a major component, but not the only component used, going forward.  Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this was what they were asking for. 

 

Mr. Burtis said that the resolution was just calling for a public hearing.  Chair Plochocki agreed, adding that they are asking some substantive questions now.

  • No additional funding requested; Bond Counsel suggested public hearing

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

 

2.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  Lee Klosowski, Director of Energy & Sustainability; Mark Burger, Executive Director, Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD); Eva Sztechmiler, Arborist, OCSWCD

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Onondaga Ash Tree Management Program, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,019,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,019,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($1,019,000)

 

Chair Plochocki said that the public hearing resolution for this item was presented to the committee in December.  At that time, much detail was provided and many questions were asked.

 

In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Klosowski said that there were no changes to the plan presented in December.  The resolution presented was for approval of the bond.  Mr. Burger said that the number of trees to be injected was discussed at length and seemed to be a sticking point.  Years ago, the plan proposed 2,300 trees but based on their encounters in the field and the spread of the EAB, they now believe that the number could be reduced.

 

Chair Plochocki said that the plan would be administered on a year-by-year basis and the bond would cover this year’s work.  There was no opposition to the overall plan.  However, during caucus, other members of the legislature expressed concern that the number for injection was much too high and there was a debate on what the number should be.  Even if reduced, the overall amount would not be much different.  No official action was taken but in general, the committee felt that the bond amount would remain the same and any savings would be applied to other actions in the plan. 

 

Mrs. Tassone asked how fast the EAB was spreading and the number of years they anticipated bonding for this issue.  Ms. Sztechmiler provided the following map showing where the beetle was found in Onondaga County:

Syracuse EAB Quarantine Boundary

Ms. Sztechmiler:

  • First encountered in 2013, centered around Dewitt, Manlius and East Syracuse near Carrier Circle
  • Now spread to edge of Madison County; additional dot needs to be added in Camillus – found at OCRRA station
  • Unsure of spread per year; can assume spread is 10 miles ahead of any found beetle in all directions - unable to detect as population is not high enough

Mrs. Tassone said that it was spreading quickly.  Mr. Burger said that beetle reproduces 90-200 young per beetle, per year and a few beetles have been able to produce a second litter in one year.  Ms. Tassone asked if they had any idea how long they would combating this.  Mr. Burger said that the plan was for 10 years.  Chair Plochocki said that the working assumption is that each year, for 10 years, they would be requesting a similar allotment of money.   

 

Dr. Chase asked how the reduction of injections would be determined.  Mr. Burger said that Ms. Sztechmiler works with the Department of Park’s leadership to protect trees providing high function and value that are healthy enough for inoculation.  Before having those meetings, the number to be injected would be set. 

 

Dr. Chase questioned if high-density areas would see reduced inoculation or if small areas would be removed.  Ms. Sztechmiler:

  • Only injecting trees in parks, number determined for injection would be used to go park by park, based on infestation and highest priority
  • So far completed Onondaga Lake Park, Rosamond Gifford Zoo and Alliance Bank Stadium; would move to Pratt’s Falls and Jamesville Beach, are finding more trees as they move out to more parks
  • To reach 2300 must consider trees not perfect candidates - reducing number fine-tunes selected trees
  • Some parks don’t have trees which qualify based on the management plan criteria; may invest more at one park than another based on the nature of the trees, difficult to treat parks equally
  • Limited window for injection - untreated trees will be lost once beetle comes in; can be removed from the injection list at a later date if desired

In answer to Chair Plochocki, Ms. Sztechmiler said that all inoculations were in their first round; can go two - three years between injections.  All but one of the inoculations were performed last summer and each tree will be reassessed before receiving additional inoculation.  

 

Mr. Burger:

  • Inoculation provides another tool; Maxwell students researched 18 states with 33 case studies and recommended using multiple tools
  • Buys time for technology to catch up and provide another contribution to the management system, e.g. biological control; doesn’t cost a lot of money

Mr. Klosowski reiterated that there probably were not 2,300 good candidates for injection.  Chair Plochocki said that members were not critical of injection as a whole, just the overall number.  He then asked for an estimate as to the number of trees that would require injection based on the most aesthetically critical trees.  Ms. Sztechmiler said that reducing the number from 5% to 1% or 2% would be more realistic; 1% percent would be 467 trees and 2% would be 935, which might be too high.  Chair Plochocki said that 5% brings them to 2,300.  Ms. Sztechmiler agreed, adding that they have already injected about 200 trees.  Mr. Burger said that they injected 212 trees. 

 

Chair Plochocki said that 1% or 2% inoculations should be able to meet the goal for critical aesthetics but there were arguments in December as to why they might want to stick with 5%, including repopulation.  If they move away from aesthetics and get to other arguments, would there be value in preserving 2,300 trees.  Ms. Sztechmiler said definitely but they would have to move away from the parameters set forth in the plan.  If they were flexible with the criteria, she could find a way to meet the 2,300 goal.  Chair Plochocki said that sticking with the criteria, 2,300 trees would be overkill. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Sztechmiler said that as long as the EAB was present and the population had not crashed, trees would have to be re-injected to keep them safe.  Once the population crashes, those in the Midwest have seen that injecting one third of the population keeps the beetle at bay.  Mr. Burger said that Ms. Sztechmiler was working on a research project with a private firm, studying the longevity of a chemical treatment to see if they can get 4 or 5 years out of it.  They know that technology will increase over time.

 

In answer to Ms. Tassone, Chair Plochocki said that the hope is that the beetle will eventually move out of the area. 

 

Dr. Chase asked how they were doing with the wasps.  Mr. Burger said that how well they are able to reproduce wasps in the laboratory over the winter will determine the success and suggested that Mr. Jones return in the spring to provide an update. 

 

Mr. Burger:

  • Plan is dynamic and will change over time, e.g. Highway department originally wanted all stumps ground to avoid liability, overtime agreed to limit stump grinding to residential lots on highway right-of-ways
  • Resources are used where they have the biggest outcome for allocated funds

 

Chair Plochocki said that changing the number of trees to be inoculated was a tactical item that could be addressed later with an amendment to the plan or verbal direction to the staff.  He suggested putting forward the bond resolution as it is.  Chairman McMahon said that the Ways and Means Committee would be meeting on this item and further discussion could take place at that time.  Chair Plochocki said that a formal amendment might not be necessary for such a small tactical change.  

 

Dr. Chase asked the dollar difference if they decreased the number to 2%.  Mr. Burger said that it cost $5 per diameter inch to inject a tree - $20,000 might be a reasonable number.  Dr. Chase said that they are still looking at a million dollars.  Mr. Klosowski added that they would have the cost of cutting the tree, if they did not inoculate it.  In addition, they are currently behind on cuttings so any additional funds could be used to catch up. 

 

Mr. Burger:

  • Cuttings currently at 1%, should be at 10%; lost a year of project funding
  • Difficult to keep certified pesticide applicators or arborist on payroll without funds – need consistent funding to carry the load for the county and keep boots on the ground

 

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

 

Mr. Burger reminded everyone of the opportunity to replant trees and provided order forms for OCSWCD’s tree sale. 

 

3.     ONONDAGA COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT:

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District Board (David H. Knapp, Derek T. Shepard, Jr.) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

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

 

4.     Lake ImprovementTom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update

 

Mr. Rhoads:

Commissioner Report

Commissioner Report Continued

Fact Sheet WEP Project 587608

Pictures

Map

  • Project restored capacity for added development on the Northside – Sewershed 075
  • Received 25% state grant; gray project
  • Much capacity in system if aging infrastructure issues are removed
  • Capture compliance goal was 95% by 12-31-2018, 95.3% milestone reported 12-31- 2014; much work remains to meet water quality standards
  • Gray Projects Update:  completed large project in CSO 063 area, sewershed now goes to storage facility next to Pensabene’s instead of overflowing to Harbor Brook, pumps to Metro after wet weather events; expect over 96% capture, over $6 million dollar project, completed last fall
  • Green Projects Update:
  • Green Separation CSO 052 Mitchell Ave., illegal dumping behind old Garzone’s created backups, flooding and ponding areas, project will abate flooding and sewer overflows - capture water during wet weather events and gradually release back into the ground
  • Green Streets in CSO 060/077 sewershed – taking stormwater off streets and hard surfaces, putting it into a green practice that absorbs the water naturally into the ground, rather than causing runoff overflows
  • Southwest Community Center – porous pavement with gravel storage underneath
  • State Street Green Corridor – Water Quality Improvement grant, installing porous pavers and bioswales 
  • Green Improvement:  public/private projects, compensated by County funds up to $.35 per gallon, public responsible for maintenance; porous parking installations, green roof, underground infiltration devices

 

Dr. Chase asked if the public applied for the grants.  Mr. Rhoads said that they are currently imputing all the projects completed, or moving forward, into the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM).  The computer will calculate which sewersheds still need attention and the results will be posted on the website.  In April, the application, funding amounts available for each area, and how to apply, will be advertised and on the web.  There are also knowledgeable practitioners that look for clients to develop or redevelop, e.g. assist church with parking lot replacement - porous pavement or storage beneath it.  Results in combined benefits.  In addition, they solicit in very intense areas, e.g. Walton Street.  Everything is transparent and online.

  • Design prepared by the private property owners engineer, reviewed by CH2M Hill, GIF Committee reviews and recommends, Commissioner reviews recommendations, passing along to become contracts, project owner completes project,  project reviewed to insure proper installation as designed, funds awarded - reimbursement program
  • Metro/WWTP:  Seeing good phosphorus removal, translate into good dissolved oxygen year-round in the lake
  • Legislation & Media:  Many state projects due to healthier lake:  Loop the Lake Trail Extension, boat launches, and fishing tournaments; Onondaga Lake possible trophy muskie fishery
  • Financial Update:  Budget balance $19M Clinton/Lower MIS, $4M Harbor Brook, $38M Midland, $700,000+ 4th Stipulation Sewer Separation - Management and Budget figure at $1M

Dr. Chase said that they were doing a good job and Chair Plochocki agreed.  Mr. Rhoads said they operate Metro and five other treatment plants at 99+% compliance, along with state compliance.

 

The meeting adjourned 10:19 A.M.                             

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French                                                       

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – JANUARY 20, 2016

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Shepard, *Mr. Dougherty, Dr. Chase

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Rapp

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, see attached list

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading and approve of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     PARKS AND RECREATION:  William Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements Related to Waterfront Improvements at the Lakeview Park and on the East Bank of the Seneca River Intended to Increase Access to Onondaga Lake and its Park Facilities ($1,700,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Purpose

  • Increasing accessibility at Onondaga Lake Park (OLP) in park itself; lake more popular and boating; marina at capacity; not much place to access
  • Construct pier and dock at West Shore Trail; dock and kayak launch at Seneca River
  • Chargers boathouse coming on this year; rowing booming; docks busy w/programs; new docks will be good for others
  • It will be past the boathouse by the Dog Park and John Glenn

*Mr. Dougherty arrived at the meeting.

  • Part of trail; quite a ways up the river; one way trail; protected area from winds and waves; great for kayak; typically someone would be at marina or Chargers area
  • State contribution of $750,000; looking for $950,000 to get underway this year

Dr. Chase stated it sounds like a good thing and accessibility to the lake is good.  The problem is that unless someone drives there, the only people that can get there are those in the Village of Liverpool.  People from the Northside of the City cannot get to the Lake, because a lot of them do not have cars or do not drive (especially the refugees).  Also, bus transportation to the Lake is limited.  It would be nice to have something that would connect the City better; a walkable path.  Mr. Lansley replied:

  • Parks is expanding West Shore Trail through Honeywell property; when Honeywell done with remediation cleanup; will wrap trail around and hit Creekwalk; accessible from Hiawatha Boulevard on Northside
  • Creekwalk will go to mouth of where the trail would end going west, once Honeywell is done, can get bridge over railroad tracks; final phase is getting back to Liverpool from somewhere behind Destiny where the outlet for the creek is
  • Access from Creekwalk will eventually give people access to both directions around Lake
  • Plan for the bridge is being worked on right now; has been in the works for a while; very dependent on Honeywell continuing their project; Honeywell is done w/capping, and working on cleaning up property; some has been remediated
  • No firm date on that; Honeywell has plan to continue trail from orange lot for West Shore Trail down to Creekwalk through their property; bridge under design right now
  • Time table depends on Honeywell; no firm time; could be late 2017 to 2018

 

Mr. Dougherty asked how long the docks will take.  Mr. Lansley hopes by mid to late summer 2016.  Mr. Dougherty asked if this is related to the Regatta.  Mr. Lansley said only from the access point that the kayak launch will have on the Seneca River; it will add capacity for the Regattas.  It allows more public access when the other areas are busy.  The Chargers are building the second boathouse this spring, which will ramp up activity there.  Mr. Dougherty asked if there was a dock already on OLP marina, and Mr. Lansley replied yes.  Mr. Lansley agreed with Mr. Dougherty that this will be public and entirely separate from that.  Mr. Dougherty feels that $1.7 million is a shocking price tag.  Mr. Lansley said where the one dock and pier will be is a natural point off the West Shore Trail.  Over by nine mile, it is a natural cove that did not need to be remediated or capped, so it is easy to put something there.  Getting from a dock to the center of the West Shore Trail from the State Fair parking lot is a major part of that expense (walkway up the hill to connect with the trail).  Chairman McMahon stated on the west side, they would also have to go out farther because of how deep the water is.  Mr. Lansley said there was a lot of activity there with the first concert.  There were fifty or so boats that came in, and not necessarily from the Lake itself.  There is a tremendous amount of interest in using the Lake that Parks has not seen before. 

 

Chairman McMahon indicated that part of the money is coming from the State, and the rest is coming from the Honeywell settlement money approved last year, which was earmarked for improvements around the Lake.  Chair Tassone commented there is $750,000 from the State. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve this item.  Ayes:  3 (Tassone, Shepard, Chase)  Abstentions:  1 (Dougherty); MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. Dougherty stated he would like to abstain, and requested a map that shows where it is.  Chair Tassone asked Mr. Lansley if he would provide a map for Ways and Means.  Mr. Lansley responded he has a map of the planning that he can send. 

 

        b.     Resolution Authorizing the Classification of Type II and Unlisted Actions under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Accepting the Environmental Assessment Forms; and Accepting and Adopting Negative Declarations for Various Park Improvements

 

  • Acceptance of a SEQRA; capital improvement projects reviewed last committee (resolution 1b is the SEQRA for 1d)
  • Upkeep projects in Parks; i.e.  Highland Forest parking lot issue; lighting; trails; construction and remediation
  • Objective work plan; included in 6 year Capital Projects; only 2016

 

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

 

        c.     PULLED

 

        d.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to Various Parks and Recreation Areas, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $3,521,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $3,521,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($3,521,000)

  • Continuation of the Park improvements

Mr. Dougherty commented that some of these buildings are in dire need of repair, so it’s good to see they are getting the attention they need.

 

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

 

2.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Duane Owens, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Design Expenses in Connection with Improvements to Public Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $550,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $550,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($550,000)

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Construction of Improvements to Various Public Facilities, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $8,547,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $8,547,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($8,547,000)

 

Items 2a and 2b were discussed simultaneously.

 

Mr. Owens believes Facilities is only looking for $8.547 million.  Mr. Dougherty said it looks like the $8.547 is in addition to the $550,000 to come to a total of $9.1 million.  Mr. Owens will verify the information, and is currently only requesting the $8.547 million.  If this is a mistake, Facilities will come back to the committee. 

 

Mr. Owens:

  • $390,000 for Forensic Science; various projects at the building; done substantial work to outside and infrastructure
  • Inside needs improvement; one is current staff level increase (took on another county); floor deteriorated; needs resurfacing; new remote entry intercom access control to be updated and repaired
  • $150,000 (of the $390,000) for design; grown quite a bit; staff in lab designed for 2 people, now additional 5 people
  • Firearm area to be improved; list in capital budget book; MEO overhead garage door needs repair - $10,000; $40,000 for parking lot improvements; new water heater $9,000; lots of smaller price tag items
  • $770,000 for Civic Center and downtown area improvements; continuing project of renovation of Civic Center and COB; approved funding; completed design of 6th and 7th floor; starting renovation now
  • $1.3 million for reroof of Civic Center tower; last winter had emergency leak in Civic Center theater roof, and spent $500,000 to repair; Civic Center tower roof is beyond useful life span; cracks coming though; concerned because entire computer infrastructure located on 16th floor
  • Only repaired theater roof, which was an emergency repair; leaking at the steps walking into theater
  • Do not want to get into emergency situation with hard drives and hardware
  • $400,000 for design; HVAC system in Court House is original; includes switch gears, duct work, motor pump, etc. deteriorating and leaking; major overhaul needed
  • Requesting $400,000 for architect/engineer to come in for expert advice for best practice to repair this; most economical fix, and the design; will be back for money to replace; this is for only design and study
  • Downtown campus – continuation of capital projects; additional funding to continue improvements on infrastructures
  • Includes asbestos removal, painting, National Grid vault ($250,000 project), exterior work like sidewalks

Chair Tassone requested a breakdown of item #5 prior to Ways and Means, and Mr. Owens said yes.

 

Mr. Dougherty requested a breakdown of item #2, and Mr. Owens said yes.

 

Chair Tassone stated the committee will not be voting on items 2a and 2b until the numbers are corrected.

 

Dr. Chase asked how much it would cost to replace the HVAC system.  Mr. Owens stated without having the numbers (and not holding him to it), Facilities has been putting it in the capital budget every year.  It is upward to the point of $16 million.  Dr. Chase said it seems $400,000 for design and study is a lot. 

 

Mr. Shepard commented that the whole thing adds up to $9.1 million, which is the $550,000 plus the $8.547 million.  Mr. Shepard would like to know, out of the $400,000, how much is design, and how much is construction.  Mr. Owens responded there is no construction in there at all.  It is all design.  To design the system, the architect/engineers will have to crawl into the bows and spend hours of time looking at every piece of the system.  Facilities is estimating $16 million, but hopefully from the design process the architects will be able to decipher what can still be used to knock down the total price.  Mr. Shepard asked if #1 and #4 (on backup) are design.  Mr. Owens answered that #1 is a list of projects that will be provided, and #4 is design.  Mr. Owens clarified that #1 does have $150,000 of design included. 

 

Mr. Dougherty stated that the Center for Forensic Sciences and the Court House (#1 and #4 on spreadsheet) add up to $550,000 (Resolution 2a).  Mr. Shepard said that is correct with $400,000 for design on #4, and $150,000 of design for #1.  Mr. Owens agreed with Mr. Dougherty that #4 is only design.  Mr. Owens stated 2a ($550,000) is separated for the design work, which is included in the $8.547 million.  Mr. Shepard stated the two resolutions together add up to $9.1 million.

 

Mr. Owens continued:

  • $1.5 million request – $500,000 per year over next three for Oncenter Complex; various projects for Oncenter Complex
  • Same authorization prior 3 years with Oncenter; look to get things done like marquee outside War Memorial

 

Chair Tassone requested a break down on this.  Mr. Owens agreed.

 

Chairman McMahon asked if Facilities is asking for $500,000 per year (i.e. last year carpeting was done), and Mr. Owens said yes.  Mr. Owens also agreed that it will cover 2016 – 2018, and the marquee will be one of the projects they will be doing. 

 

Chair Tassone stated the committee will not be voting on items 2a and 2b until the dollar amounts are corrected, and Carnegie Library is included in the resolutions.

 

        c.     INFORMATIONAL: Carnegie BuildingAnn Rooney, Deputy County Executive; Duane Owens, Commissioner

 

Information

Information

Information

Information

Ms. Rooney:

  • Presenting preferred option for Carnegie; would like Legislature to consider Carnegie for continued use
  • Discussions about whether it should be sold, leased or kept; long time to think about best use of building
  • This deals with Human Services (HS) reorg in 2013; fantastic job at customer service efficiencies when needing services
  • Last piece are 3 county entities not located in Civic Center
  • 1 - Jobs Plus on S. Salina St.; associated with $10 million contract; in partnership with Onondaga Community College; worker re-employment; had contract over 20 years; advantageous to move back to Civic Center
  • 2 - WIC – associated with Health Dept.; located on W. Onondaga St.
  • People apply for services (job training or temporary assistance) at Civic Center, then send to 677 S. Salina St. for Jobs Plus; others apply for food stamps or SNAP (i.e. a mother or pregnant woman); likely to be eligible for WIC; send them to W. Onondaga St.; services excellent and unparalleled, but can make a more consolidated effort
  • People coming to Civic Center are working poor; sending here and there makes difficult situation more difficult
  • 3 - Nurses located at 501 E. Fayette St.; County workers being integrated back in with rest of HS
  • “One stop shop“ concept; deliver all services here
  • Facilities has looked at concept; Civic Center with escalator to 2nd floor - redesign will be much more like a DMV set up; funneled there, and direct to where they need to go in the Civic Center
  • Current client requirements - come here and send away; often times have to come back
  • Jobs Plus client caseload of 5,000/month; WIC over 9,000 served offsite
  • Carnegie history – referenced on first page of handout above
  • Planned renovations - total building over 50,000 sq. ft.; useable 23,000 sq. ft. because of staircases and common areas

 

Mr. Owens:

  • Some upgrades to HVAC, not complete overhaul; need fire protection to bring to code; data infrastructure - previously used as a school; upgrade security; keep character; renovate walls and floors; provide equipment needed (i.e. furniture)

Ms. Rooney responded to Chair Tassone that the departments they are planning to move are those without a lot of foot traffic.  Those plans do not include moving the County Executive’s office.  Currently it includes Economic Development, Community Development, Planning, Transportation, Purchasing and Personnel.  They would move, which would create room to bring those other entities in.  Chair Tassone asked if the other buildings are being rented, and Ms. Rooney agreed.  Ms. Rooney referenced the first chart in the handout, and said Jobs Plus is a tenant of the Salvation Army.  The dollar amount is the rent they pay to the Salvation Army.  The reimbursement was not increased for the purpose of the calculation assuming Jobs Plus will pay the County what they have been paying there.  Ms. Rooney had a meeting with the Salvation Army, and they are planning to reclaim the space that Jobs Plus currently rents from.  Salvation Army is going to relocate their divisional headquarters to downtown for integration of their staff.  Jobs Plus is the County’s contractor, and the County will have to find them suitable space.  Ms. Rooney believes Jobs Plus is best placed in the Civic Center for the clients, and time is of the essence. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if the projected reimbursement of $715,000 is the rents currently being paid, and Ms. Rooney agreed.  Mr. Dougherty asked if the summary table is five years, wouldn’t they need to times that by five.  Ms. Rooney responded they have to reduce from that what the MLR is for the Carnegie building, and what the debt service is.  Mr. Owens commented what Mr. Dougherty is looking at is net.  Ms. Rooney replied to Mr. Dougherty that the average net is $783,000. 

 

Ms. Rooney:

  • Salvation Army would like to have Jobs Plus out by July 1st; willing to work with County to integrate
  • WIC – current rent on W. Onondaga St.; integration of services makes tremendous amount of sense for clientele
  • Healthy Families – Ms. Rooney not here when nurses sent offsite to tune of $189,000/year; have space in Civic Center
  • Projected reimbursement of $700,000 would come to County versus outside rent
  • Integration of HS demonstrates financial and operational win for County; keep Carnegie for public use; move depts with no heavy foot traffic; Civic Center to be one stop shop for HS – continue to make more user friendly
  • Digesting financial information for benefit gives picture of what planning to do

Mr. Owens commented it is important to understand that this is the first piece of a lot of moving parts.  In order to bring people in, Facilities has to prepare the space here.  In order to move someone out, they have to prepare the space there.  Facilities needs to prepare Carnegie to be able to move people there, then strategize who moves where and when.  It is important from an overall structure and planning standpoint to do this as efficiently as possible. 

Mr. Dougherty asked if there are any employees in the Carnegie building, and Mr. Owens responded no.  Mr. Dougherty asked if the departments they are moving will fill the building.  Mr. Owens and Ms. Rooney said yes. 

 

Chair Tassone thought the County Executive wanted her office there.  Ms. Rooney replied it was one iteration of the plan.  Going through the process it was found that Economic Development, Community Development and Planning are all similar in function.  Purchasing and Personnel are administrative arms, and Transportation is an outlier.  Most of the Civic Center is occupied by Human Services.  Looking at all of this, it made more sense to have the County Executive stay in the Civic Center to be able to work with other departments such as Law.  

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if it is expected that the size of the operations moving to Carnegie will remain stable.  Mr. Dougherty would hate to see Carnegie go through renovations for the departments (which all make sense; Transportation deferring to Ms. Rooney and Mr. Owens judgment), and in a year say that (i.e.) Purchasing will now need more space.  Ms. Rooney does not see a plan to expand those departments to such an extent that Carnegie would be over populated.  Everyone would like to see the caseloads of WIC and Jobs Plus go down, but Ms. Rooney does not believe they will drop to a point where the services are no longer needed or required.  Mr. Owens commented that Purchasing has already done their planning.  Transportation will not have much more growth after speaking with Mr. Donnelly; plus they will have two more facilities for room to grow.  Mr. Owens believes they are in a good position with the chosen departments to move, HS will have synergy as a one stop shop and may possibly be able to reduce in the future. 

 

Dr. Chase stated that when the Foundation gave these gifts (i.e. Carnegie building) to different communities, there were stipulations to use them for educational purposes.  Dr. Chase asked if that was still a requirement for the buildings.  Ms. Rooney responded in the research she has done, a lot of the buildings were transferred for different uses; over 50% are in the public domain, but have been sold or demolished.  Ms. Rooney said she has never pulled the documents to see if this was a forever arrangement.  Dr. Chase asked if the County has to settle anything with the Foundation.  Mr. Owens responded no; they went through those channels.

 

Mr. Shepard assumes there is a cost for the Civic Center for the new occupants after the other departments are out (assuming it is not shown in column 3).  Mr. Owens replied no.  Facilities would like to get it all done at one time.  Part of the Capital Projects ($1.1 million for downtown various projects and $770,000 for continued renovations) is what Facilities is planning to incorporate for renovating those buildings to accommodate those people.  Mr. Shepard asked if they are renovating the floors whether the departments were to stay.  Ms. Rooney and Mr. Owens said yes.  Mr. Owens continued that Facilities would use those authorized funds to accommodate the moves.  It is important to plan the whole thing now versus piecemeal. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked about the parking at Carnegie, and Ms. Rooney replied there are 20 spaces.  Mr. Owens stated it should not be a problem.  Ms. Rooney commented all of the employees already have parking.  Mr. Dougherty does not think the building is well suited for foot traffic, so Mr. Dougherty sees it as a good move.  It is close enough that the employees can still use the parking they have, and Mr. Owens agreed.  Mr. Owens said out of the departments going over, Purchasing only has vendors come a couple times a week.  Personnel has foot traffic for some interviewing. 

 

Chairman McMahon presented a resolution for consideration by the committee.

 

        c.     A Resolution Requesting the County Executive to Issue a Request for Proposals Regarding the Sale or Lease of the Carnegie Building:  J. Ryan McMahon, II, Chairman

 

Chairman McMahon:

  • Request RFP from County Executive’s office for Carnegie building to look at a sales price (had buyer with low purchase price) and/or possible lease from private entity
  • Asking for 90 day process from County Executive; get idea of what private sector interest is in property, and compare to plan introduced today
  • Legislature will then have all information to make informed decision; meets timelines for Jobs Plus or other moves
  • Ask committee to consider voting and approving resolution
  • RFP to figure out interest in buying or leasing – number offered before was $450,000 (ridiculously low)
  • Opportunity - company wanted to lease or pay better value than market rate, good info for making decisions
  • Spoke to County Executive and 90 day process enough for ample notice; issue will then be fully vetted for a decision

 

Dr. Chase questioned that if somebody wanted to lease it, would the County still be responsible for making the space useful.  Chairman McMahon responded that the offer may be a lease of $10/sq. ft. unimproved or $22/sq. ft. improved.  The County may still be asked to bond to get the space retrofitted, but that is built into the lease price.  A company may want to lease, and bring in 150 employees downtown.  The economic impacts have to be weighed in the process.  The administration has put forth a strong proposal, but the Legislature does not know what else is out there.  A 90 day process is fair to the private sector to respond, and it gives the administration time to do their job if the Legislature approves bonding. 

 

Mr. Dougherty said it is good as long as the Legislature uses the $715,000 amount as a benchmark.  Chairman McMahon is not advocating for anything, and would like all of the information.  This will go through the process with the private sector.  The Legislature may get something identical to what the committee has in front of them.  This creates a decision to be made, so Chairman McMahon is advocating for all the information to make a decision.  Mr. Owens wanted to point out that the $715,000 is not cost avoidance savings, it is net cash into the system.  This is cash paid to the County, which is more of a value than cost avoidance.  Mr. Dougherty asked if the $715,000 is what the County is not spending, and Ms. Rooney answered part of it is.  Chairman McMahon commented that the County is a landlord in the Civic Center as opposed to being a landlord at Carnegie.  If the County is in the landlord business, let’s see what the best deal is (may not be a deal at the Carnegie). 

 

Dr. Chase asked if it is 90 days, and Chairman McMahon said yes.  Ms. Rooney replied to Dr. Chase that it is good for the plans pending more discussions with the Salvation Army (as long as they do not put Jobs Plus on the street).  Chair Tassone asked if the Salvation Army did push Jobs Plus out, is there room at the Civic Center currently.  Ms. Rooney replied there is room, but not designed in the way to be most efficient.  Mr. Owens commented it would be very tight. 

Chair Tassone stated the resolution will be added as item 2d.

 

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

 

3.     CENTRAL NEW YORK REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY:  J. Ryan McMahon, II, Chairman

        a.     Recommending Appointments to the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (Brian M. Schultz, Robert F. Cuculich, Louella Williams, Joseph A. Hardick, Tina M. Fitzgerald) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

  • Appointments to be made to Centro; 3 reappointments
  • Brian Schultz, Chairman; Rob Cuculich, recommendation of Mark Stanczyk in previous terms; Louella Williams, southside resident; Joe Hardick, works for Dannible & McKee as an accountant; Tina Fitzgerald, know through meetings with Arise - made commitment for board representation by individual w/disabilities, and she’s willing to serve
  • Legislature votes on these; Governor accepts or does not; sending 5 picks to Governor’s office to fill in 2 spots that have current members who have not been attending meetings, and reappoint other 3
  • Issue with Common Council - hard time keeping up with their appointments; Legislature long overdue as well

 

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

 

4.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARIES:  Susan Mitchell, Executive Director

        a.     Authorizing the Acceptance of Donated Items and Services from the Central New York Library Resources Council in Support of the CNYFI Program

  • Accept internet kits; coordinated project with CNY Library Resources Council (CLRC); CLRC accepted money for project because they oversee other public library systems; also circulating in Utica area
  • Internet kit is a Chrome book and wifi hot spot; can check out of library; connects 10 devices
  • In some pilots in other areas (largest in Brooklyn, NY) the libraries only carry the wifi hot spot – found that in Syracuse, lot of people have devices; trying to tie to other programs, and one larger program – Digital Inclusion Project
  • Digital Inclusion Project – 4 components:  (1) public access to computers (all libraries have); (2) public access to broadband (all libraries have); (3) home internet use (this program is developing); (4) digital literacy training (many libraries do, but developing stronger program)
  • Accepting these as a gift with idea of expanding program in future; device and grant dollars go directly to library; would purchase them or go to CLRC, and OCPL will accept additional kits

Ms. Mitchell replied to Mr. Dougherty that the device and hotspot together are a little less than $300.  OCPL will also pay the 4g hotspot access throughout the year.  The whole thing including the laptop for a year is a little less than $1,000. 

 

Chair Tassone asked if OCPL is accepting 10.  Ms. Mitchell responded yes; with the caveat that they will accept more in the future.  CLRC already received a 40 Below Grant to expand the project, and Ms. Mitchell is not sure of how many devices they will want to add.

 

Mr. Shepard asked if the gift includes covering the 4g, and Ms. Mitchell answered yes.  Ms. Mitchell replied to Mr. Dougherty that there is enough money to cover 18 months, and they also have several grant applications in to expand that. 

 

Ms. Mitchell continued:

  • Hoping broadband becomes more accessible; hotspots will not be necessary
  • OCPL would like to take part in any of the programs being developed
  • Workforce Development Program - needs access to internet; applying for job online can take more than an hour; every application process different; giving home internet access is very important
  • Check out kits for 3 weeks at a time; option to renew
  • Started program at White Branch Library (tied to ESOL Program), and Southwest Community Center (tied to Workforce Development Program); pilot as proof of concept

Chair Tassone questioned the chances of these kits being stolen, and Ms. Mitchell said it was talked about.  The library has a lot of items stolen every year, and Ms. Mitchell had to accept that.  In order to minimize risk, OCPL requires a staff member to sit down with the person for an hour to go over how it works.  There is a startup sheet, and they will also let the person know it is a pilot program, and the importance of knowing the success of the program (Library can move forward with it or stop it).  Ms. Mitchell said they are trying to get the people to realize it is important to return the equipment.  OCPL is also able to broadcast a message to the devices of when the kit is due back at the library, as well as completely shut either the wifi or computer down.  The person will realize the kit cannot be used for anything if they are trying to steal it, and will bring it back. 

 

Mr. Dougherty commented that it is a great program.  Ms. Mitchell said people from the state and senate visits have really liked the program.  Mr. Dougherty is curious to talk to Ms. Mitchell in a year to find out how many were stolen, dropped in a river or run over.  Ms. Mitchell commented that it is a cost benefit analysis.  Ms. Mitchell will look at how many people were able to find a job using this equipment to make the program cost effective.  The risk is low as the equipment is inexpensive.  There were a couple machines stolen out of storage that were waiting for the Library to circulate them.  The companies that OCPL bought them from replaced all three units.  A lot of retail outlets would be interested in donating items to have their name attached.

 

Chair Tassone asked if Ms. Mitchell sees OCPL coming back for more money.  Ms. Mitchell does not believe they will do that, as this is a great program that will be grant funded.  OCPL has a City Block Grant in for teenagers to get intensive training in technology.  The program would give the teens the kits for a period, then they would teach after school programs.  Ms. Mitchell believes it is good for young people to feel successful (i.e. Girl Scouts being taught a Beginning Robotics class).  OCPL is trying to develop skills kids and adults will need, and bringing a device home will allow the time for them to do it.

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:44 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McNamara

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance

 

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES - JANUARY 20, 2016

BRIAN MAY, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Liedka, Mr. Dougherty

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Holmquist

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon and see attached list

 

Chair May called the meeting to order at 12:06 P.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Liedka, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee and to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.   

 

1.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Design/Study Expenses in Connection with Improvements to Emergency Communications Facilities and Equipment in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $345,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $345,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($345,000)

 

Chair May said that Mr. Bleyle presented this same resolution at the last meeting.  The committee requested that the bond be split into two separate resolutions, as there are two distinctly different projects.  In addition, they requested the use of cash surplus for $100,000, if available.  Mr. Bleyle has been working with the Law department and bond counsel to prepare the requested revisions.

Mr. Bleyle:

  • Displayed photos of building damage
  • Seeking 2 resolutions for 911 center projects:
  • 1st resolution for 25 year-old facility – cooling tower failed, number of heat pumps failed, roof leaks over training room, Facilities advised replacement of entire roof soon
  • Requesting consultant for needs assessment - electrical system maxed, need ability to train 10 persons at a time only able to train 6, maxed capacity systems can’t be expanded, need building advice or alternatives
  • Working with Law department and bond counsel for $100,000 bond resolution, will contain wording authorizing use of cash if yearend surplus is available
    • 2nd resolution $245,000 for mobile data communication network consultant; currently run 800 MHz network connected to all public safety vehicles in Onondaga County, provides location of all vehicles, allows vehicles to receive computer aided dispatch messages without broadcasting over the air, driver’s license and plate inquires and access to arrest and incident databases
    • System in place since 2007, throughput obsolete, 48 kb per second - similar to dial up; dispatch software and applications in public safety vehicles now designed to operate on system with much more bandwidth
    • Need consultant to advise direction due to number of options:  replace with system providing more throughput, install LTE network, use commercial provider, or FirstNet
    • Federal government allocated funds for initial stages of FirstNet – national public safety broadband network; question if viable network, believes it will be built out in certain cities, may not be affordable for counties the size of Onondaga
    • $245,000 for initial study, mobile data recommendation, guide through RFP process and other processes through construction, if construction route is taken

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Chair May said that the item was informational as they did not have the resolutions. 

Chair May asked that the record show there was no objection to the response. 

2.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Daniel Wears, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the County of Oswego to Provide Disaster Assistance ($35,000)

 

Mr. Wears:

  • Renewal of IMA in existence over a decade, supports preparedness response and assistance particularly for nuclear plants disaster
  • $35,000 per year given to Onondaga County for support - used for emergency operation center, emergency plan development, personal protective equipment and general operations; no funds associated due to annual contract

In answer to Chair May, Mr. Wears confirmed that the funds were already budgeted. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if the amount covers the costs to perform the items outlined in the contract each year.  Mr. Wears said that with the contract they agree to maintain their operation and assist Oswego County if there is any type of incident.  The funds allow them to maintain the capabilities that they have.  They keep a small balance in the project account so that there is something to start with, in the event that they activate the EOC. 

 

Mr. Dougherty said that it would cost Onondaga County a lot more if there was a disaster.  This was an insurance policy.  Mr. Wears agreed, adding that Oswego County has an emergency operation center and a plan.  In the event of an incident, Onondaga County has agreed to operate a reception center at the NYS Fairgrounds for Oswego County, as they would not have the personnel.  As part of the agreement, they perform an exercise with Oswego County, on a regular basis, as required by FEMA and the NRC. 

 

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

 

3.     ONONDAGA COUNTY JURY BOARD:

        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Jury Board (J. Ryan McMahon, II)

 

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

 

4.     ONONDAGA COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER:

        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Onondaga County Justice Center Oversight Committee (Dr. Dennis J. Nave, M.D., Robert J. Slivinski) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mrs. Ervin)

 

Chairman McMahon presented items 4a-c together:

  • 4a County Executive’s appointments
  • 4b Mayor Miner’s appointment
  • 4c Legislature and Minority Leader appointments – fit criteria; one additional appointment to follow, Steven Thompson, law enforcement representative unable to serve due to schedule, awaiting recommendations from law enforcement, expect additional appointment on docket for February session
  • Carlton Strail, Jo Anne Bakeman and Marissa Joy Mims were recommended community members or volunteered for the position, Arthur Barksdale was Minority Leader Ervin’s choice, and Allan LaFlore has much experience, all strong picks, people that want to serve and will do a fine job

Chair May said that the remaining law enforcement appointee was an important pick and asked the criteria.  Chairman McMahon said that he was waiting on a few names from law enforcement.  Previous law enforcement experience was necessary and members of the committee could submit recommendations as well.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to approve item 4a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Justice Center Oversight Committee (Najah Salaam Jennings-Bey) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mrs. Ervin)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to approve item 4b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     Confirming Appointments to the Onondaga County Justice Center Oversight Committee (Carlton Strail, Jo Anne Bakeman, Marissa Joy Mims, Allan A. LaFlore, Arthur Barksdale, Jr.) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mrs. Ervin)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to approve item 4c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chief Andrews provided the following update:

  • Retirements coming in handfuls, vacancies backfilled with overtime
  • Going through rapid hiring processing - Cayuga County holding academy March 1
  • Current civil service list exhausted, looking at provisional appointments, new civil service list won’t be out until June; risk with provisional appointments – have academy cost and may not pass test or be reachable on list
  • Property and evidence facility may be closing, stairs are unsafe, flooded last year; looking for temporary location
  • Working on new heliport location, building not up to standards, having conversations with 174th for unused hangers; may be other space as well, would not be where property and evidence would go
  • VIP Structures conducted previous study, Sheriff not interested in moving forward with that study; funds remain in bonding resolution, trying to determine if those funds could be used for build-out of rental space for property and evidence; not part of 2016 budget request

Mr. Dougherty said that they have been talking about this for at least three years.  Chair May said that things like this would have and should have been solved, were it not for the transition and other things, which were halted.

 

Mr. Dougherty asked how big the property and evidence facility was.  Chief Andrews said that it was about 20,000 square feet, with about 15,000 for property and evidence.

 

  • Looking at space for the heliport also, about 30,000 square feet; would house much of the heliport, minus the helicopter, depending on what the 174th has available
  • 174th space would have minor transitional costs for meters and moving fuel tank 

 

In answer to Mr. Liedka, Chief Andrews confirmed that they train dogs in the heliport area as well. 

 

Chair May said that Chief Andrews was referring to all the special enforcement equipment and supplies housed in that area when referring to the heliport and asked if there was a timeline.  Chief Andrews said that it was his understanding that property and evidence wanted to be out of Malloy Road by sometime this summer.  Talks that are more serious are going on for Air 1 itself and the move could happen before summer.

 

Chief Andrews said that these items were not projected in their budget.  Chair May said that it was off budget but not off the capital plan as they have been on the radar for at least three years. 

 

Chair May asked if they were receiving a range of retirement notifications in terms of timeline.  Chief Andrews said that they would probably have eight more retire before June; currently retiring at the end of January.

 

In response to Chair May, Chief Andrews said that the jail population was down a little bit from December.  Chair May said that this was typical for this time of year.  Chief Andrews said that it has not been high.

 

In response to Chair May, Chief Andrews said that he had not heard anything with regard to the minor male population at the jail.  Chair May said that this was not necessarily a bad thing. 

 

Chief Andrews said that the person that was more patient than inmate was transferred to a group home.  Mr. Dougherty said that this was a bad situation, which he hoped would never happen again.  Chair May said that it was good that they had the resources to accommodate but there are times when they do not.  Mr. Dougherty said that it was not the right place for a person like that.  Chair May agreed, saying that it was a national phenomenon.  If it becomes a regular issue, they would have to talk about it further and formalize out roads to other places for inmates that need to be somewhere else.

The meeting adjourned at 12:36 P.M.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES – JANUARY 25, 2016

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

 

Members Present:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Knapp, Mr. Jordan

Also Attending:  Chairman McMahon, see attached list  

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

 

1.     SYRACUSE-ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING BOARD:  Mary Beth Primo, Deputy County Executive, Physical Services

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Board (William F. Fisher)

 

  • County Executive recommending Bill Fisher; one of the hardest working, and most intelligent individuals in County gov’t.
  • Mr. Fisher has keen interest in Planning; past 1.5 years served as Deputy County Executive responsible for SOCPA
  • Replacing Bob Jokl who resigned after serving 22 years

 

Mr. Fisher responded to Chair Rapp that he has time for this, and that this is a very important board.  Mr. Fisher had two goals when taking over County administration including getting a SOCPA Executive Director (which the County does not have) and a Comprehensive Plan (which the County does not have).  Mr. Fisher is leaving these to Ms. Primo who is capable of getting them done. 

 

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

 

Mr. Knapp asked how often the board meets. and Ms. Primo replied every third week.  Mr. Fisher commented that the only way to act in time is to meet every three weeks.

 

2.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of an Additional $775,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs Related to the Acquisition and Installation of an Integrated Information Technology System, Including Professional Services, in and for Said County ($775,000)

 

  • County bonded for $9.8 mil in 2010: $8 mil for system integrator, about $1 mil hardware, about $1 mil software
  • Amended in 2014 – increased budget 10%; gave enough to finish original project (for the most part)
  • This project today is not to implement what was originally purchased; originally purchased PeopleSoft Financials 9.1 which went live fall 2012; worked fine since
  • In 2010, purchased budgeting module Hyperion; used for 2013 – 2016 budgets; despite Comptroller’s letter, those 2 pieces work together well
  • Make budget, load it, PeopleSoft runs accounting, purchases go through it, make sure no overspending
  • Worked very well since going live Oct. 2012
  • Close to completing implementation of PeopleSoft 9.2 for HR, payroll and benefits modules
  • So far going over all original projects and money financed with $10 mil, plus1$ amendment in 2014
  • Not asking for money to finish any of that work; looking to upgrade system in place - PeopleSoft Financial system with general ledger, commitment accounting, payables, receivables, purchasing, procurement, project costing, etc.
  • All modules the County has used for years are a version behind what PeopleSoft is running
  • Version 9.2 – have done a lot of work to complete upgrade; to finish need to bring a number of consultants on board, and continue to pay some that are still here
  • Expect to be done July 1st; ideal to upgrade financials in spring; currently finalizing last year books, and preparing for next year’s budget; not in budget season yet
  • Jan. – May are good months to upgrade the financial system; if miss window, will be in budget season, and will have to wait another year to upgrade to 9.2
  • Infrastructure – Mr. Sexton’s team needs to keep database updated, configure it, use code to customize, keep in sync
  • Out of sync because HR, payroll and benefits system will go live in second quarter as version 9.2; bringing financials to same version will simplify IT team tasks
  • PeopleSoft notoriously expensive to upgrade; technology complicated, needed people to come in and upgrade system
  • Version 9.2 advanced that makes upgrades simpler; there will never be another major upgrade like this
  • Tested in HR software, know how to apply image to entire system; will get used to applying images multiple times a year; always stay current to latest version without this extraordinary expense
  • Bond resolution not to complete work that is unfinished, but upgrade what’s already in place (upgrade to 9.2); will be last time need to upgrade software; last time to ask for borrowing authority to pay for it

Mr. Jordan asked if this is to upgrade the financial module already implemented, and Mr. Fisher agreed.

 

Chair Rapp stated the committee has gone through a number of these presentations, including one in December where the committee members wanted more time to mull it over.  There was also a letter from the Comptroller that caused concern.  It is at a stage now that if the County is going to do this, it should be done to take advantage of timing; otherwise it will be put off for another year. 

 

Mr. Knapp would like to add to the resolution that if there is cash left over, the County will pay for it in cash as opposed to bonding for it.  Mr. Fisher commented there is a pretty good chance of that.  The books are not finished, but it looks like there will be a healthy surplus.  Mr. Fisher agreed that they would rather use surplus from a previous year versus borrowing and paying interest.  Mr. Fisher asked Mrs. Berger if she was familiar with what language to add.  Mrs. Berger believes it is in the resolution under section 8.  Mr. Knapp does not have the resolution in front of him. 

 

Mr. Fisher was asked by Mr. Kilmartin to prepare a detailed response to the Comptroller’s letter and circulate it to Legislators.  It will show where there is a difference of opinion to that letter and will have facts.  Mr. Fisher committed to having that in the next day or two, and the Executive’s office is available this week if any Legislator would like to go through it. 

 

Mr. Fisher continued:

  • Has to be procurement process; some people on hand that can do some of work
  • Need mini-bid for technical developer; if this is in February, and can get resource in February, Mr. Fisher is confident this can be done by June; if it were to wait until March or April, then the upgrade will be put off another year
  • The implementation of PeopleSoft to be done by the summer of this year; will be complete based on user requirements, not based on all of the modules the County might implement
  • Comptroller’s letter mentioned modules like grants that are licensed and exist in demo environment, but conclusion is the County does not need grants; there will be no money spent on that
  • Billing module installed that the City uses (take cash at City Hall with module); had meeting with County departments to ask if they would use it, and the answer was no
  • Number of modules (billing, grants, revenue contracts) that no one has an interest in and will not use the features
  • Time and labor – made decision to stick with Kronos, so will not use that module; also not using absence manager
  • Looked at benefits of those modules, but not worth the time implementing

 

Chair Rapp asked if the County has paid for these modules.  Mr. Fisher answered yes; they are licensed.  The County got a deep discount that included the towns and villages, and the County continues to pay maintenance on these.  Mr. Fisher stated they tried to talk to Oracle about the modules that the County is paying maintenance on that they will never use, but the answer has been, “We’ll get back to you.” or “No.”  The original price of all the software is under $1 million, and the price of these projects is the system integration.  Out of the $10 million, $8 million was budgeted for system integrators, and the County will spend over $9 million.  Mr. Fisher said they are $1 million over the original budget, but that was money the Legislature approved last year.  Mr. Fisher is not asking for money to finish the work that was originally budgeted for, but for an expanded scope to upgrade to version 9.2 for financials.  Once this is done, there will be no need to upgrade in this way again. 

Mr. Knapp asked if 9.2 is the whole package.  Mr. Fisher replied that Oracle shipped version 9.2 when the County was implementing the HR and payroll systems, and it was decided to switch now.  Mr. Fisher agreed that the County has 9.2.  Chair Rapp commented that IT knows it works.  Mr. Knapp stated based on the new technology for upgrades, it will be easier, less expensive and can be added to the budget (not asking for more).  Mr. Sexton answered Mr. Fisher that the new version has an update manager, and IT will be able to handle the upgrades.  Mr. Sexton’s team has a fairly decent start on the 9.2 project, so he is confident they can get it in.  From that point on, Mr. Sexton fully expects to use the operating budget to upgrade this software.  

 

Mrs. Berger confirmed to Mr. Knapp that the language he requested earlier is in the resolution.

 

Chair Rapp will bring this to the floor next week, whether the committee votes for it or not.  The County is this far into it, and needs to finish to take advantage of it.  Chair Rapp assumed take a vote now if the committee is comfortable.  Mr. Jordan will be abstaining from the vote.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to approve this item.  Ayes:  4 Abstentions:  1 (Jordan); MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. Knapp asked since this cannot go to Ways and Means, can it go to the floor.  Chair Rapp answered apparently, and commented that it is a custom the Legislature has. 

 

Chair Rapp took the agenda items out of order.

 

5.     CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU:  David Holder, President

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Strategic Plan Visit for Syracuse / Reconfiguration of Board

 

  • Transition work regarding strategic planning with Visit Syracuse (CVB) and Centerstate CEO (parent organization)
  • 2 planning processes; outcome mirror image – both said separate Convention and Visitors Bureau as own organization
  • Only 3% of destination marketing are based within Chamber of Commerce; 70% are standalone; rarity here – been that way since 20’s; next step to establish as its own organization; starting the process and talking with stakeholders

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  • Using as a chance to form new org, but also realign staff to be in same buckets; focus on need to drive brand development, business development, new events, overnight business and the visitor experience (hospitable visit)

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  • Looking at having 15 person staff; currently at 12; looking to add 2 positions over next 3 years
  • First change is organizational change to be in place by July 2016

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Chair Rapp commented this would be to basically create some of CVB’s own revenue.  Mr. Holder looks at it as an opportunity to supplement the revenue.  Mr. Holder said Visit Syracuse will be looking at how to enable local businesses and tackle some of the holes this destination will provide.  Chair Rapp asked for an example. 

Mr. Holder explained:

  • Opportunity right now in international market (weakness in Upstate NY) - no receptive tour operators that are focused on this destination; they do not understand Upstate NY; work mainly with NYC and Niagara Falls
  • How will Visit Syracuse enter into the market in another way? 
  • Join forces with another company and create its own receptive operator; someone that will not only promote travel product, but physically package travel products; put on sale for international tour operators to put out to their customers
  • Anticipate creating different business plans to go along with transition process; nothing happens overnight
  • First step forming organization; over next 6 months going through that process
  • Forming transition committee to guide the way and make decisions about the board structure and how to start process

 

Mr. Jordan feels this would be going backwards; the Legislature was told to merge Centerstate CEO and CVB to make them more efficient.  Mr. Jordan said Mr. Holder is now talking about splitting the organization out again.  Mr. Holder stated it is a very different process.  Visit Syracuse (or CVB) has never been a standalone organization, and it has never had its own governing board of directors.  It has always been a department of something.  In that case it was the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, and currently it is a department of Centerstate CEO.  The County has never had a marketing destination organization that had its own independent board of directors accountable for its own process.  Mr. Jordan said what CVB should have done (instead of merging) was gone off on its own years ago, and Mr. Holder agreed; however CVB never existed to be able to do that.  Mr. Holder said Mr. Jordan is looking at CVB as the Chamber of Commerce, and they were.  Mr. Holder is saying Visit Syracuse has the opportunity to make the organization exist, so the Legislature can look at the Visit Syracuse program and hold it accountable (instead of holding Centerstate CEO accountable for Visit Syracuse).  Right now the contract is with Centerstate CEO.  Chair Rapp commented that the County does not fund Centerstate CEO, they fund the CVB (department within). 

 

Mr. Ryan said they cannot look at this as a step backwards, but a more effective process by formulating a whole new organization.  Mr. Ryan asked how it will be funded.  Mr. Holder responded instead of a contract between Onondaga County and Centerstate CEO to fund Visit Syracuse, the contract will be directly with Visit Syracuse.  Mr. Holder answered Mr. Ryan that there is no effect on revenue with this process.  This creates an organization to hold it more accountable to a board of directors, and the Legislature will have a say in that board of directors.  Mr. Holder said there is an Advisory Board currently, but there is no governance there.  There are a number of steps to follow to give the right reports, but this gives a clear line of sight.  Mr. Ryan hopes the revenue is equal.  Mr. Ryan believes the goal is to set up a more accountable group that drives more tourism, which then brings in more people increasing room occupancy tax (ROT).  Mr. Holder commented that his goal is always to grow ROT.  If Mr. Holder brings in more revenue for the County, it then trickles down to the organization. 

 

Mr. Knapp asked if Visit Syracuse is looking for a physical change of office.  Mr. Holder commented that they will still be close partners with Centerstate CEO and anticipates they will still purchase the accounting part of the house from Centerstate.  Visit Syracuse will stay in the same spot, and it will be a very similar operation to the Syracuse Downtown Committee (standalone organization directly involved with Centerstate CEO without being part of it).  Mr. Holder will look for ways to maximize efficiencies with this and is constantly striving to make sure the program is working as effectively as it possibly can.  This is a really big step in governance.  Mr. Knapp asked if Centerstate is on board, and Mr. Holder replied they are fully on board.  At the strategic planning meeting today, Visit Syracuse is already starting to move towards, and work as, an affiliate organization rather than a departmental function.  Mr. Holder has to go through these steps to form the board of directors. 

 

Mr. Knapp asked if the Legislature has to vote to approve this.  Chairman McMahon responded no.  Chair Rapp stated this is informational only at this point.  Mr. Holder does not believe a vote is needed for this.  Mr. Holder spoke with Management and Budget, and in July there will be a letter of assignment assigning the contract to this new organization.  Mr. Holder stated the budget presentation this coming year will be made as Visit Syracuse instead of Centerstate CEO.  Chair Rapp asked Mrs. Berger if the committee has to vote on this, and Mrs. Berger does not see that they will have to. 

 

Mr. Holder commented that they plan on giving updates on the process, and are planning on an industry day in March that everyone is invited to.  It will be an update on this, programming and directional items. 

Chair Rapp asked what big things are coming up.  Mr. Holder responded:

  • This weekend AHL All Star game taking over various Oncenter buildings
  • New events including Future Farmers of America; 1,300 Future Farmers of America (NYS Convention); first time they’ve held the event in Convention Center
  • NY Times Travel Show had enormous success; Julie Taboulie there; Visit Syracuse owned the show; 29,000 travelers learning about destinations around the world, 3,000 travel journalists finding different places to cover
  • Marriott opens July (target date); new opportunities; Visit Syracuse setting stage

Chair Rapp stated they are still looking at St. Patrick’s Day, and Mrs. Rapp was thinking of having the committee there in March.  Chair Rapp said it is huge, and the attention to historical detail is spectacular.  Mr. Holder commented there is an enormous destination change, and the full season for the Amphitheater is coming up.  There has been huge connections with local business reference Marriott improvements.

 

Mr. Knapp asked if there was any feedback from the world lacrosse games.  Mr. Holder has heard nothing but good things.  It helped Visit Syracuse on many fronts including taking Syracuse’s reputation for lacrosse up to a different scale showing at the international level.  There is a brand new event being contemplated (international), and as things progress there may be more opportunities for other facilities.  Mr. Jordan asked if these opportunities are lacrosse related as well.  Mr. Holder agreed that they are all lacrosse.  Syracuse has a great reputation for being an epicenter for lacrosse, but the facility complex is wide spread.  It makes it hard to put together a multisite tournament, and Mr. Holder needs to make the transition to move past that.  Chair Rapp asked if the facility the nation built is big enough.  Mr. Holder responded yes, but there has to be room to rotate teams through.  The places Syracuse goes up against (Baltimore and Philadelphia) are throwing mass amounts of fields together.  Chairman McMahon commented there would have to be six to fifteen fields.  Mr. Holder said if there was a sport to target, lacrosse would be at the top of the page.

 

6.     CENTERSTATE CEO:  Michael Novakowski, Director of Business Development & Investor Relations

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to Centerstate Corporation for Economic Opportunity ($25,000)

 

Chair Rapp stated the Legislature gave Centerstate CEO $25,000 per year for marketing, and the last couple years it has been swept into a contingency account controlled by the Legislature.  The idea is that as things come up a year in advance, there would be funds available for request. 

 

Mr. Novakowski:

  • Thank you for past support which has allowed Centerstate to work with other companies to relocate into Onondaga County and other counties in the region as part of the Regional Business Attraction Effort
  • i.e.  Wipro – out of India; IT and business process outsourcing company; looking for place to create development center like in Atlanta, GA; looked at multiple cities; located in AXA tower; grown to 80 employees
  • $25,000 for 2 efforts:  Hanover Messe and Canada Business Attraction Effort
  • 1st - Hanover Messe; trade show in operation since 1947 in Hanover Germany; world’s largest industrial trade show
  • 6,000 companies from all over world; 230,000 visitors; significant opportunity to reach companies all over the world; companies exhibiting are the target for CEO; talk about advantages of doing business in Central NY
  • Great opportunity – 2016 United States is partner in show (each year Germany partners w/another country)
  • Select USA (part of Chamber of Commerce) invited Economic Development organizations like Centerstate to participate with thought for tremendous exposure; renting pavilions; attract investments in US
  • 2nd – Canada business attraction; effort since late 2013; contract with ROI (Montreal); ROI does initial prospecting with their database of Canadian companies, and identifies companies looking to expand in NE US; connect to Centerstate
  • Centerstate meets with company to see if there’s a fit or not
  • To date ROI has identified 570 companies which resulted in 66 prospects; 28 meetings
  • Effort has a lot of traction; 20 prospects currently; would like to continue effort in 2016

Chair Rapp asked how the $25,000 is broken down.  Mr. Novakowski responded it would be half and half, but the reality is that both efforts individually are over $25,000.  Centerstate CEO is using funding from other sources as well to fund these.  Mr. Novakowski agreed with Chair Rapp that the County is not funding the entirety of either program; funding is not enough for one event on its own. 

 

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

3.     ONONDAGA CIVIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION:  J. Ryan McMahon, II, Chairman

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

  • Mike LaFlair is replacing Jim Farrell; Mike is the head of NETA, and is also a town board member in Camillus
  • OCDC does bonding deals for nonprofits, then reinvest fees to pay Economic Development folks; rest of the fees go to civically engaged projects in the community; natural fit

Mr. Jordan asked if Jim did not want to be on the board.  Chairman McMahon replied no, and that Jim served three terms.  On these boards, one starts to see attendance issues with some of the appointments made.  Chair Rapp commented they’ve run their course.  Chairman McMahon stated there may be another one coming up. 

 

Mr. Knapp asked how the appointments are broken down.  Chairman McMahon responded there are three executive picks, three chair picks and one joint chair and executive (all confirmed by the Legislature). 

 

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

 

4.     GREATER SYRACUSE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION:  J. Ryan McMahon, II, Chairman; Katelyn Wright, Executive Director

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Encouraging Redevelopment of Blighted Properties by the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation and Establishing a Credit for Certain Properties within the Onondaga County Sanitary District

 

  • Will expand on resolution; one thing overlooked – Landbank taking distressed property, most not using sewers
  • No one ever thought there would be bills for the properties for sewer fees; essentially the sewer fees piled up; diluted investment into Landbank; take investment and paying back sewer
  • Sewer budget has variance for uncollectable debt
  • Need to fix this to allow Landbank to invest more into properties and demolition
  • Executive has proposal willing to work with Legislature on, which allows properties attained in 2015 going forward with 12 month window to get rid of sewer fee; after 12 months, need to move properties
  • Should not just take properties with no future (in Chairman McMahon’s opinion it handcuffs the Landbank)
  • Resolution needs to include:  (1) inventory received previous to 2015; (2) Landbank needs properties to move (City giving anything they can), but should be more picky, and needs flexibility in clustering properties
  • Tremendous success on Butternut Street – able to get multiple properties on same street; housing divisions have plan to knock down properties and build new ones
  • Item today not getting voted on; working with Law on resolution to include the following:
  • (1) Take existing inventory Landbank has and waiver sewer fees for 2016
  • (2) Keep intact for 12 mo. or longer to move properties
  • (3) Allow Landbank to come to Legislature with cluster (or economic development) opportunities, and say they need more time than 12 mo.; i.e.  in 12 mo. the next 8 properties will be available for a cluster
  • Legislature would figure out appropriate time for properties to be free of sewer charges, which would allow clustering for strategic real estate purposes; going forward Landbank will come to Legislature for approval on those properties

Chair Rapp asked if the Legislature gave the Landbank $250,000 and the sewer charges were $250,000.  Chairman McMahon believes the Legislature gave them $500,000 and half of that was sewer fees.  It was a consequence no one thought of when this was brought online.  Mr. Plochocki asked why there would be sewer fees for abandoned buildings.  Chairman McMahon replied to Mr. Plochocki that they are hooked up.  Mr. Plochocki asked even if there are no toilets flushing, and Chairman McMahon responded yes.  Chair Rapp commented that landlords with abandoned properties in the City are still paying taxes and fees.  Mr. Plochocki was taking for granted that it would be shut off.  Chairman McMahon stated the water gets shut off in many cases, but the buildings are still hooked up to the sewer.  Ms. Wright stated there is half a million in the County budget for the Landbank; $250,000 must be used for demolitions, and the other $250,000 can be used more flexibly.  There is a stack of County sewer bills totaling $277,000, which was an unforeseen consequence. 

 

Chairman McMahon stated by doing this legislation it says to Landbank not to take something for the sake of the City asking them to take it, but to take properties with strategic purposes for those neighborhoods.  This is addressed here, gives them a clear start, and clustering gives flexibility for the Landbank to ask the Legislature about a bigger real estate development project.  Chair Rapp gave an example of touring areas around Westcott.  Chair Rapp was thinking no one will move to Westcott Street with three stairs to the porch and old houses that need work.  If the whole block was redone with ranch style homes within walking distance to community centers, medical centers and restaurants, it would be very effective. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated years ago there were discussions about changing the way the sewer unit charges were done; flat fees to actual use.  If the Legislature did that, this would be a moot issue.  Mr. Jordan asked if there has been any movement in that direction in terms of switching to a usage fee system.  Chairman McMahon responded that Matt Millea originally presented a three year overall strategy.  The rates would go up to cover the debt, then plateau, and the user system would bring the rates back down.  Chairman McMahon believes Mr. Millea was doing this, but is no longer with the County.  Chairman McMahon asked Mr. Plochocki to follow up on this.  It was in the 2013 budget.  Mr. Knapp stated it would involve putting a meter on everyone’s house.  Mr. Jordan said there may be a higher unit charge, but something like student housing would help.  Mr. Knapp remembered talking about linking it to OCWA.  Most of the water is coming out, so there would not be the need to put a meter on the house if OCWA shared their meter information.  Ms. Wright thought that was the way it worked right now for commercial property; residential pay by unit and commercial pay by usage.  Chairman McMahon stated not for the County.  The City tracks the commercial usage, but not in the County.  Chair Rapp commented it has been an issue for her constituents.  (i.e.) A couple living in a house with one bathroom versus Wegmans next door using all kinds of water.  Chairman McMahon said it is a good issue for Mr. Plochocki to tackle. 

 

Chair Rapp asked if there would be something more specific at session, and Chairman McMahon agreed.

 

Mr. Ryan asked if the Landbank is looking for forgiveness for 2015, 2016, and going forward.  Chairman McMahon replied it is for the existing inventory including property from 2013 or 2014.  Chair Rapp said it is for a period of one year.  Mr. Ryan asked after a year, will the Landbank still be on the hook for the fees (if the property is not in a cluster, economic development opportunity or they cannot justify why it has not moved).  Chairman McMahon answered yes. 

 

Ms. Wright:

  • Other category is demolition candidates; about 120 demolition candidates in inventory with funding to take down 60
  • Landbank will probably acquire another 60 this year, so at end of year there will be 120 demolition properties again
  • Properties are not using sewer, but Landbank still paying for sewer charges while carrying them
  • Makes sense to carry (even if they cannot be knocked down this year), because Landbank can get it out of landlord’s hands, get a trespass release from Police and make sure utilities are shut off
  • Demolition candidates can be carried for 5 – 6 years before being taken down; in interim can have gas leaks, etc.; being able to control property gets Landbank in better position; City would still have to mow grass and board up anyway
  • Landbank will control the property until the demo money is available; some public good there

 

Chair Rapp said conceivably there will be more money without the sewer fees, and Ms. Wright agreed.  They would be able to take down more houses.  Chairman McMahon commented it is a very good point, and said he is looking for a real plan for a demo cluster.  Mr. Ryan requested a list of the demo properties.  Ms. Wright will get it.  Mr. Ryan asked if this resolution passes (with sewer charge forgiveness), will this expand the list of demo properties, and where would they be.  Ms. Wright responded the determination is based on the condition of the property, so the demolition list would not triple overnight.  

 

Ms. Wright:

  • Started getting properties on Butternut St. in late 2013; was not until late 2015 had assembled large tracks of land that could be redeveloped; partly because properties become seizeable once a year
  • Later in 2014 and 2015 when properties seizeable, able to fill in gaps; 2 years of work
  • After 2 years, Housing Division puts in application; hope to be funded in 2016 – 3 years of holding
  • Similar to Prospect Hill; redevelopment near St. Joe’s; do not see single tax delinquent property in that area, real estate hot, private developers building new mixed-use properties – result of injection into neighborhood; would like same at Butternut

 

Mr. Ryan asked what they did on Hickory.  Chairman McMahon responded that the ugliest houses on East Genesee Street were knocked down, and it has been built back up to be low income housing. 

 

Ms. Wright commented:

  • There was a partnership with non-profit who qualified for state tax credits that required Landbank to jumpstart things
  • Another case - corner of Geddes and Seymour on Westside; Landbank identified 4 properties commercially zoned
  • When City sends out notice of foreclosure, sometimes additional judgments and leans have been filed, so City notifies more people; then they sometimes learn they have to notify more and more people
  • This issue caused it to be much longer to foreclose on 2 of 4 properties; Landbank waited out for a year to get cluster
  • Properties now listed; half-acre; commercial developer interested; Landbank may be able to get contract in 60 days
  • Commercial developer has year of due diligence built into purchase contract so they can get their environmentals done

Chairman McMahon stated there is now a discount for County employees to buy Landbank properties for own purposes at 50% off list price.  Ms. Wright agreed (people unafraid of renovations).  The property has to be their primary residence.  Ms. Wright said they must sign a commitment to live there for five years, and if they move out during the five years, they must pay back a prorated portion of the discount received. 

 

Ms. Wright asked about getting on the March agenda to give their annual report on the Landbank.  The Landbank has sold 248 properties to date, and there is concern to move them out faster.  The Landbank has returned $10 million of assessed value taxable status for properties not paying taxes before, and Ms. Wright believes they can keep increasing that value as the years go on. 

 

Mr. Jordan requested a list of what properties they have. 

 

Chair Rapp stated there is $8 million in property investment.  Ms. Wright said yes, and stated of 248 there is $10 million back on the rolls.  Those buyers are investing $8 million of private capital into renovating them.  The Landbank receives significant financial support from the County and the City so far, but made much more back in the private investment.  The Landbank has been able to leverage $5 million in grants.  Ms. Wright stated the Landbank is giving more back to the community, then what they are investing. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked when the Landbank sells to someone, are there certain stipulations built into the contract.  Ms. Wright said yes.  Mr. Jordan requested a copy of the contract.  

 

Chair Rapp asked if there has been any progress in the suburbs.  Ms. Wright responded:

  • Just applied for another 5 or 6 properties that would have gone to 2015 County auction
  • Last year did same; 2 turned out to be demos; 4 to sell; take revenue and pay for the demos
  • Hope to take idea and expand to larger pool of properties; not sure total number County auctions off
  • More predictable outcomes this way; screen buyers, inspect property, make sure buyers have finance and skill to renovate, do not need to be owner occupied
  • Properties inspected before sale, so buyer has access to traditional mortgage financing; can put more into property
  • Cross subsidy – do good to clean up properties towns and villages have not dealt with; can expand to larger scal

 

Chair Rapp said it’s more difficult for the County to take properties because the way the auction works.  Ms. Wright responded yes; they only have authority once a year to do it. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked how the properties are advertised.  Ms. Wright replied they go through real estate agents who put them up on MLS or CNY Realtor.com.  Ms. Wright stated there was a house on Greenland on the Northside in a working class neighborhood.  In the old days there was a list of seizable properties in the Finance office, and landlords in the know would know to go down and put in an offer (sight unseen with cash).  The average person that lives on the street would have no idea the house was for sale.  The Landbank put up a for sale sign on this property, and the man across the street (Vietnamese immigrant who had moved in with his mother-in-law in the 80’s with three generations of family living together) came into the Landbank office so excited to get out of the mother-in-laws house.  This also allowed his kids to walk to the same school.  Ms. Wright said the sign made a big difference. 

 

Mr. Plochocki asked if any houses in the suburbs were in Camillus or Marcellus, and Ms. Wright responded no.  Ms. Wright reaches out once a year to the town supervisors and village mayors to get the auction list for problem properties they may want the Landbank to intervene in.  So far the Landbank has done two in Baldwinsville, one in Jordan, one in East Syracuse and one in Jamesville.  The cluster recently received were in Baldwinsville, Jamesville, Town of Dewitt, etc.  Chairman McMahon believes there were a couple in Salina. 

 

Mr. Knapp asked if there will be something for session.  Chairman McMahon answered yes, and has given Mrs. Berger the details he is trying to accomplish.  There will be something shortly. 

Ms. Wright said another great example is the church on Bear Street.  There are weird properties that take time to come up with a plan to redevelop them.  That church is large, masonry and late 1800’s.  It would be a very expensive demo.  It is located in a residential zoning district which limits the reuse possibilities.  The Landbank has partnered with a neighborhood association that is trying to make it a community center; will take a long time to fundraise and create a plan.  Meanwhile the Landbank can insure it and do things that were not happening before on the seizable list.  It does not fall into cluster or demo, but they are still able to buy time.  The Landbank is doing the same thing with South Presbyterian Church.  Chair Rapp commented that the church on Bear has hardwoods and a basketball court upstairs that they would like to use a community center.  Chair Rapp thinks it would be good for a health clinic or job training site that people can walk to.  It has a direct path to the Salina Street School, so it could have daycare for before and after school.  There is a contractor that has lived across the street his whole life, and is donating his time and expertise to do the work.  Chair Rapp responded to Mr. Ryan that it is at 510 Bear Street.  There are two derelict properties on either side.  Chair Rapp is hopeful the Landbank can get those two properties to expand on parking and possibly a playground.  The neighbors are seeing this and wanting to do it.  There is also a kitchen, so there could be neighborhood dinners.  Chair Rapp thinks it can be a really spectacular investment. 

 

7.     COOPERATIVE EXTENSION ASSOCIATION:  J. Ryan McMahon, II, Chairman

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Cooperative Extension Association of Onondaga County Board of Directors (Mr. Plochocki, Mrs. Rapp) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Chairman McMahon thanked Chair Rapp and Mr. Plochocki for their past service and continued service. 

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:23 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McNamara

Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance

 

 

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WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES - JANUARY 25, 2016

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  2Mr. Kilmartin, M. Shepard, Mr. May, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Jordan, 1Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Ryan, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:55 a.m.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to waive the reading of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1Ms. Williams arrived at the meeting.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARIESSusan Mitchell, Executive Director

        a.     Authorizing the Acceptance of Donated Items and Services from the Central New York Library Resources Council in Support of the CNYFI Program

  • Donation of CNYFI kits – WiFi hotspot and Chrome Book
  • Cooperative project with Central NY Library Resource Council

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

 

2.     FINANCE, DIVISION OF REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES:  Don Weber, Director

        a.     Approving and Directing the Correction of Certain Errors on Tax Bills

  • Correct errors on town/county tax bills
  • Require legislature’s approval when over $2,500
  • Majority of them were errors made by a bank collection on behalf of a school district

 

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

 

3.     PARKS AND RECREATIONWilliam Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements Related to Waterfront Improvements at the Lakeview Park and on the East Bank of the Seneca River Intended to Increase Access to Onondaga Lake and its Park Facilities ($1,700,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

  • Improving water and trail access around Onondaga Lake
    • Construct pier/dock system on west shore - connect to west shore at center shelter along west shore trail
    • Seneca River – construct dock and kayak launch, small parking area connected to east shore trail
    • Activity in lake is becoming very busy – current limited resource with having launch at marina
    • Seneca River launch for increasing public access to water, busy regatta/rowing recreation, which is booming
    • West shore – no existing means to stop and utilize west shore trail for boating activity
    • $750k state grant; $950k county contribution

 

Mr. May clarified that it is not really a county contribution; it is utilizing Honeywell funds.  Chairman Knapp agreed, noting it was part of the Honeywell settlement that has to be used on the lake.  Mr. Morgan said that it is money that has already been received. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked how this will complement the State boat launch that is being put in where the visitors center.  Mr. Lansley said that will be more of a trailer/boat launch; limited 6 – 8 car tops also. It will be small canoe/kayak launch.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is a grand scheme of total lakefront development; it is being done piecemeal instead of a comprehensive plan of where we are now and where we want to go.  Mr. Lansley referenced the history of the regatta, and how it has boomed.  Pieces are being put together based on hugely increased traffic in a specific area.  People want to get out on the lake with boating and kayaking; it’s not so much the trailer boating.  As DEC puts their launch in, it will increase capacity as well.  This is one of the activities that has really blown up in the last 3 or 4 years.  He referenced the lease for the Challengers boat house, which will really increase the activity.  There are two expanded kayak sculls which are only available to the public when they aren’t using them or there is no racing.  There is very little, almost just shoreline drop in, for kayaks and canoes.  We want to make it a safe, dedicated area. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that in Willow Bay kayaks and canoes used to be rented out; it was closed down because there wasn’t enough demand for it.  Mr. Lansley agreed and said that there is a rental at that marina, but the marina is almost at capacity for rentals.  The only rentals they don’t have there are transients.  If a boat comes in for the night; 5 or 6 slips are available.  The boating is turned up because of the cleanliness of the lake.  Private users are looking for a way to park their car somewhere in the park, dedicated for them. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that he doesn’t really have a problem with improvements by the boat house or the expansion of the existing marina on the east shore.  He questioned the next step of building a pier and a dock on the west shore without having an overall plan about what is the best utilization of monies.  It is Honeywell money that the county can use for anything to improve the lake and shoreline.  He questions if this is the best bank for the buck; until there is a more comprehensive scheme/plan on how to develop the lake.  If this money is spent now, and then we want to do a project later that we don’t have Honeywell money for, then we would have to bond for it.  Then, taxpayers pay the debt service on it. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that the west side park’s master plan includes the exact pier that we are speaking of.  It will be incorporated and will allow better access to the trail from the water.  The administration has not done a full-blown master plan of the lake from all aspects.  With the master plan, and with what the State and Honeywell are going to be doing with their property, the west side of the lake is pretty much set in stone because of the limited uses.  On the east side the water is cleaner.  If there is going to be any pedestrian swimming areas, that is where it will have to be.  He referenced the regattas, kayak use, and the Chargers potential enhanced regatta course. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked to be provided with a copy of the west side plan. 

 

Mr. May said that he supports this, but thinks Mr. Jordan raises a really good point about a vision – not talking about a half million dollars engineering plan.  To get everyone’s vision – there are different projects happening in different parts of the lake.  To get a consolidated, comprehensive vision on paper, for the things that we would like to see happen, for the things that might happen, not from an engineering standpoint, but from a concept.  There is talk of a beach – where it is going to be and how it is going to happen.  It would be helpful for everyone involved to be working off the same page.  It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to identify a few dollars and pull all of those visions together.  Mr. May said that in coming from a waterfront town, anything that is attempted on the water is a project in and of itself with its own complexities, challenges, problems and opportunities.  It is a very highly regulated process. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that it would be helpful to refresh memories of the prior schematics.  He suggested an aerial photo, bullet points about proposed plans, contemplative projects whether through the county, the state, or the Chargers.

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  AYES:  6 (Knapp, May, Shepard, Kilmartin, Ervin, Williams); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to Various Parks and Recreation Areas, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $3,521,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $3,521,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs thereof ($3,521,000)

 

  • Most are improvements/remediation to existing things heavily used and in need of repair
  • Also new projects at Highland Forest and at Longbranch Park
    • Highland Forest:  very busy wedding property; cross-country skiing & snowshoeing has taken off in last 6 years – from $0 - $200,000+ in revenue annually--need to install lighting and expand parking – 90 addl. spaces
    • Longbranch Park:  original shelters have cracked foundations & deteriorating wood, roads need work, office/storage space; events far exceed existing park lot – are parking in grass, wet areas – does not meet capacity of the facility
    • Park buildings at Onondaga Lake Park, Jamesville Beach, & Oneida Shores – tents are popular – want to replace them with structures and relocate tents to another area
    • Roads, parking areas, trail paving – done almost annually
    • Veterans Cemetery – expanded areas for burials; need to include a secondary road; additional equipment needed to keep up the property – small building to house equipment
    • Various parks’ roofs:  Highland – Community House restroom & shelter, Skyline Lodge, Valley Camp, Valley Camp annex; Jamesville Beach – Overlook restroom; Pratt’s Falls – Tractor bays; Onon. Lake Park – Willow Bay restroom & shelter, marina comfort station; admin office;  Beaver Lake – visitors center; Zoo:  café
    • Salt Museum – 82 years old; needs new roof, windows, siding – everything about the building is in need of care

 

Mr. May referred to the breakdown, clarifying that the 1st item was removed, Beach Development Onondaga Lake Park, $300k.  Mr. Lansley agreed that it was.  Chairman McMahon said that the $300k is not included in the the $3.5m total.

 

Mrs. Ervin asked if there is any contemplation of doing anything at Loomis Cemetery.  Mr. Lansley said that there is still quite a lot of property in the back there; it is not as busy as the Veterans Cemetery with the amount of burials.  Mrs. Ervin said that looking forward, there is a lot of space; Mr. Lansley agreed.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that some additional information has been request by some of the Republican Caucus members regarding the Salt Museum rehabilitation.  Instead of delaying the discussion until the information is collected and analyzed, he would like to move to amend the resolutions, deleting $600,000 earmarked for the Salt Museum, and proceed with the remainder of the resolution as is.

 

Mr. Kilmartin made a motion to amend the resolution, reducing the amount by $600,000, seconded by Mr. Shepard.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Ms. Williams asked what other information is being sought regarding the Salt Museum.  Mr. Kilmartin said more detail on the line items for the construction project, usage, and frequency of usage, how it plays into the other buildings and facilities at the park.  It is not necessarily an objection to it per say; want to understand the detail more with the short term, mid-term and long-term plans for use of the building.  Chairman McMahon said that it is an underutilized building and questions if the investments make sense, and potentially look at non-profit partners to come in and take over the property, potentially alleviating the county of the liability and costs.

 

Mr. Kilmartin made a motion to approve the resolution as amended, seconded by Ms. Williams.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTTravis Glacier, Director

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Onondaga Ash Tree Management Program, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,019,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,019,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs thereof ($1,019,000)

  • Funds allocated for tree removal, inoculation and replanting per proposed strategy in Ash Tree Mgmt. Plan
  • To date removed 568 trees of 44k; inoculated 192
  • 2012 – $125k to create the Onon. Co. Ash Tree Mgmt. Plan;  10-year strategy, $15,000,000 total to be bonded for annually, for 95% removal of ash trees (44,000 trees), 5% preservation (2,300), 10% replanting (4,400 trees)
  • Inoculations and tree removal bids to private company through the Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Soil & Water Conservation has done an amazing job at getting grants, $161k received to date
  • Plan proposed in 2014 was recognized by DEC as the best plan of any county in NYS
  • 2016 bonding request – to get on track with funding
  • 2015 legislature approved $300k, which went to remove 568 trees (will happen this winter), at 1.2% along the continuum; 192 inoculations (where positive traps are); have replanted 2.2% - well behind in the proposed ash tee management plan

Chairman Knapp complimented Soil & Water Conservation District and Mark Burger; they are doing a lot of work on this.  They are saving the county a lot of money from finding grants and doing a lot of work in-house. 

Chairman Knapp asked how this is being coordinated in the county, state, towns and villages.  Mr. Glazier:

  • Other big partner is Cornell Cooperative Extension, who organizes the EAB Task Force
  • EAB Task Force is a fluctuating group, but is generally the municipalities that recognize the impact of EAB; Clay, Dewitt have begun to be more heavily involved, the City, partners at the State, National Grid
  • National Grid has a major stake in how this rolls out
  • Utilize National Grid’s standards for safety and procedure - from a safety standpoint and expectations on what vendors will provide operating on county property.  Soil & Water Conservation District has offered training for vendors.

 

Chairman Knapp asked who takes a tree down if it is in the county highway ROW, under a power line.  Mr. Glazier said that if it is under the line, it is our problem; if over the line, it is their problem.  Mr. Burger said that the contractors are electrical awareness certified; they have the training to be able to work in the proximity of the wires.  Sometimes it is not cut and dry; it is recommended that they contact National Grid.  Chairman Knapp said that if it is National Grid’s tree to take down, then we shouldn’t be taking it down for them.  Mr. Burger said that National Grid has stepped up and are cutting a tremendous amount.  Eva Sztechmiler, SWCD, is getting information from National Grid and County DOT telling when and where they removed trees so that she can remove them from the database. 

Mr. Glazier:

  • Have reached out to county related, and county departments.  Met with DOT and reviewed the standard for a tree definitely needing to be removed.  Proposed they change their policy to any ash tree that they identify when doing a normal tree removal and assume it’s a level 4 (has to be removed/definitely will die)
  • OCRRA said that they wanted some of the product back and started turning it into mulch; OCRRA agreed to drop the fee for material drop off on EAB County contracts – will hopefully decrease costs for vendors; OCRRA benefits because they have more material for mulching

Chairman Knapp said that they have a way to do that so they are not spreading the ash borer through the mulch.  Mr. Glazier agreed – everything is handled in accordance; they are certified to deal with it--a certified drop off for ash trees in quarantined area.  Mr. Burger said that their chip of 1” minus in their grinding process will kill any of the larvae sitting in the wood.  

Mr. Glazier continued:

  • Trying to leverage all resources
  • Being a year behind, being at only 1.2%, 8.3%, and 2.2%, roughly 5% overall along the process, at a significant disadvantage
  • Because they reproduce at such a high rate, as infestation grows, the cost of removal increase
  • Trees become more brittle, labor associated with tree take down becomes more cumbersome and more costly
  • Forgoing expenses will lead to a more expensive process overall

 

Mr. Jordan asked how much of the $1 million is dedicated to stump grinding.  Mr. Glazer said that the stump grinding need was decreased by working with DOT and DOT policy.  Mr. Burger said that roughly 25% of the budget was estimated to be for stump grinding, but is now as low as 2%.  In working with Commissioner Donnelly, they are able to flush all of the stumps; the only stumps getting ground are those in residential settings.  Chairman Knapp said that he, Mr. Jordan, and several others agreed that the initial estimate for stump grinding was pretty high.

Chairman Knapp introduced Eva Sztechmiler, SWCD, who has done a lot of work on the grants.  He asked if there are any more opportunities for grants.  Ms. Sztechmiler said that they always have their eyes out; she referenced NRDA and Fingerlakes Prism, who gives out small grants once or twice per year.  Mr. Burger said that they keep their eye on DEC.  Chairman Knapp said that they are small dollars.  Mr. Glazier agreed and said that a lot of them are specific, i.e. tree plantings.  He referenced Rainbow Tree Care wanting to experiment on inoculations, to determine how long inoculations will last, and some free inoculations were received from it.  SWCD found that they can purchase inoculation chemicals in larger bulk and store them for a maximum amount of time

Chairman Knapp asked about the status of where neighboring counties are with this issue.  Mr. Glazier said that they are way behind.  Few have an inventory like Onondaga County does; few have a strategy similar Onondaga County; few have invested at the level Onondaga County has.  Monroe County is the closest, but were much further along in their contamination.  They are at a different removal rate and are an interesting model to look at regarding bio control; they have instituted some of the parasitoid bio controls.  There aren’t a lot of counties in the same position as Onondaga County regarding preparedness.

Chairman Knapp asked if there have been any new breakthroughs with natural predators or other things.  Mr. Glazier said that at the December Environmental Protection Committee meeting, a grad student from ESF spoke about parasitoids.  Bio controls won’t stop infestations; they will control it over the long run.  There will be an acceleration, as the supply of food decreases overtime, there will be a decline in the population of EAB.  In 15 – 20 years there can be a health population of ash trees again in Onondaga County because of bio controls and inoculations.  Right now because of the mass and high population, there is no stopping it.  With the inoculation, it is important to think about biodiversity – having healthy ash trees stick around for re-introduction of ash trees.  It is an investment; it is not putting good money after bad; have to have healthy trees in order to have a healthy population in the future.

Mr. Plochocki asked if the legislature were to cut back funding by 25%, what kind of an impact would it have.  Mr. Glazier said his biggest concern is that the partner with SWCD, who is investing in order to support this process.  They are doing so with a plan that hasn’t been adopted, but is being followed.  He is open to suggestions of changing it, if the legislature adopted it fully.  Having partners that have competent staff that can get bids done, help keep the inventory in check.  As towns and villages take on the issue and need to get out to the market; the county is the large investors and the one that will drive down the costs for towns, villages and the city.  The county will bring more people up to the standard, so there will be greater competition, and cost will decrease for everyone else.  It can’t happen if the county doesn’t invest at the rate in which it should. “If we continue to randomly throw amounts, with no rhyme or reason, at the problem, we are going to start to hurt the market; we are going to hurt our partners at SWCD, and we are going to continue to drive ourselves further and further behind the eight-ball on this long term plan.”

Chairman McMahon said that the reality is that Mr. Coburn’s plan was recognized by the State as the best plan.  The State of New York did not want to put any money into the plan.  The amount of money that the local taxpayers were being asked to foot was one that was not acceptable to the legislature.  There are various reasons to do this; the main one being liability – trees falling down in public spaces.  With a year into it, there haven’t been any liability issues.  In the 2nd year, a proposed modest cut is proposed to the ask.  It is still more money than last year; it still gives SWCD the ability to understand the type of funding levels going forward.  The misconception is that the legislature never agreed to the Coburn plan, and were never going to agree to the number.  That is not the policy of the county.  The legislature recognizes the great work Mr. Glazier and SWCD is doing, but also recognizes that it is a lot of money.  A lot of it is to make sure there is potential to have ash trees here in the future and potentially have to save a few trees to do that, but a lot of it is the liability.  Every day that goes by without having any instance, shows that it is an effective plan.  There was discussion of amending the amount to $750,000; it would still give everyone the understanding that we are serious about funding this in a strong manner, but the numbers being asked of the legislature are too high.

Mr. Glazier said that Mr. Coburn’s plan was proposed, but there hasn’t been guidance on what changes are requested from the legislature.  He asked what an acceptable amount is on a year-to-year basis; what is a more acceptable inoculation figure.  He wants to see that there is a commitment from the legislature to address this problem on a year to year basis, that is predictable for SWCD, for the market, for the small businesses out there that will administer this.  The problem doesn’t stop--for every year we continue to let it go, eventually the liability issue comes back and you are suddenly looking at a figure much greater than what you were initially considering.  Chairman McMahon said “or it doesn’t”.  Mr. Glazier said that as the trees die, they become frail and fall down.  Storm water infrastructure has been identified; the trees can create jams, the jams get in water ways create flooding.  They become a problem for our taxpayers – suddenly water is backing up in to people’s places.  He reiterated that it he would like to know what the intent is from the legislature; noting that a 10-year plan was proposed.  If the annual year-to-year amount is the problem, then what is a year to year amount that is satisfactory – can then elongate the plan and take the consequences and gamble with the liability. 

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Glazier said that a parasitoid program is going on and is paid for.  Only one place breeds them in the Midwest.  ESF sets up populations; Dewitt has a couple; traps are set up.  There are 4 types of parasitoids.  It takes a long time to develop the populations.  It won’t stop the infestations – it is a long-term measure.  Chairman Knapp asked if there are downsides to the parasitoids.  Mr. Glazer said that ESF has assured that they are not a major threat.  With bio controls ESF goes through extensive research. 

Mr. Jordan said that it is not always a risk of harm to something else, as it is to changing the ecological balance.  He referenced a rat problem in St. Thomas, where mongoose were introduced.  Shortsightedly, mongoose are day time animals and rats are nocturnal animals; now the islands are filled with mongoose and rats.  Additionally, there is no more native bird population, as the mongoose consumed the bird eggs.  Mr. Glazier said that currently, they are experimental deployments of parasitoids.  They have gone through an extensive process.  ESF and partners are very well versed on this.

 

Mr. May made a motion to amend the resolution to change the total amount to $750,000.  He said that the future funding will probably fall into something like this amount – it will help Mr. Glazier with some predictability, and it is a fair ask.  Mr. Glazier asked for feedback on an annual basis as to what the legislature is prepared to do.  Mr. Jordan said that the legislature is not experts in this and can’t say what to cut back on and what not to.  This is saying that the cost is too high, putting it back in Mr. Glaziers’ court, to decide where the costs can be cut and still have an effective plan.  Mr. May said that there has been feedback, but are seeing a passive response in parts, that has really aligned with the original plan. 

Mr. Kilmartin suggested that through the Environmental Committee in the coming months, that Mr. Glazier express concerns and priorities in certain arrears.  It may be some modification to the original plan – taking into account that the legislature wants to compartmentalize this and do it annually.  Then see if the legislature can come up with some predictable.  Because of the ebbs and flows of the economy and changes with sales tax, there is some hesitancy in the legislature to make a firm, immediate, long-term agreement.  Mr. Glazier, the vendors, and SWCD need predictability – may be able to meet somewhere in the middle with a modified plan.

Mr. Kilmartin seconded the motion.

Mrs. Ervin said that she would like more discussion before we get to a number; agreed that $1m is too high.  She didn’t see that the Environmental Protection Committee recommended a reduction and questioned if $750,000 is the right place to be; is uncomfortable voting for it.  Chairman Knapp said that the legislature is not experts on this, but is more expert on what the county can afford and with what the economic situation is.  Chairman McMahon said that the overall plan was never going to be funded fully by the legislature.  The $750,000 is a great baseline; a lot more money than last year; it can help expedite and implement the plan.  It is an opportunity for some of our partners to do what they have been doing:  SWCD to continue to try to get state grants to help supplement the program.  The state government is going through a budget right now – talk to state senators, assemblyman, and DEC.  The plan is never going to get implemented fully at the local level - $16 million is too muchChairman Knapp pointed out the counties around us – “if we are rolling the dice, they are playing roulette.”  He feels $750,000 is a responsible number.  Mrs. Ervin said that she is not advocating to spend these amounts every year, but suggested re-doing the plan, rather than picking a number out of the sky.  Chairman Knapp said that we don’t want to delay this for months – they need to be able to move forward and get going.  Mr. Kilmartin said that it is trying to find a balance between necessity and affordability. 

 

Mr. Glazier said that the issue is not like a traditional capital improvement, in that there is scalability.  A decision will be need to be made as to what won’t be removed or the amount to time in which it will be removed.  “Just because you decreased the amount investing into it, doesn’t mean that the problem will somehow be scaled differently.”  Arbitrary cutting of the whole number, with the assumption that it will make the problem smaller, doesn’t necessarily work out.  If willing to say that you are more comfortable with investing on an annual basis with a lower number, we can elongate that plan.  There is a liability that gets riskier on the out years.  On the whole, they are coming down unless they are inoculated.  No matter how much we decrease, it is just going to increase what the potential impact of that tree coming down is.

Chairman Knapp said that we have done some responsible things – from the original plan, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in stump grinding that we didn’t think was necessary.  The message was sent loud and clear that we are not totally opposed to some inoculation; wide scale inoculation is not something that we would be in favor of; strategic and tactical – yes.  We have saved some money and still tried to do the responsible thing.  This can always be revisited if things need to be tweaked; i.e. if grant money is received or not.  This is not a one-time thing, it is evolving as we go and learn.

Mr. May said that the fact that the appropriation for 2015 is being used for removal now in winter, means that there is a window to adjust.  If something crazy is seen happening this summer, we can probably adjust should we need to.  Mr. Glazier said that this market is about to get a lot bigger as we get along; it makes sense to come back because costs should begin to come down.  At this point, the numbers are based on 2014 and what the costs were at that time.

A vote was taken on the motion to amend the resolutions.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, Shepard, Kilmartin, May); NOES:  2 (Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve the amended resolution.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, Shepard, Kilmartin, May); NOES:  2 (Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

5.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTDaniel Wears, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the County of Oswego to Provide Disaster Assistance ($35,000)

  • Renewal of IMA with Oswego Co. to assist with disaster preparedness and response, particularly relating to nuclear facilities
  • Money is budgeted; have been receiving it; used for EOC and standard operating

 

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

 

6.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Personnel Resolution:

 

        INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY::  Advance step hire for R.P. 01 102700 8172, Application Project Lead, Gr 35, newly-hired employee placed in an appropriate step within the range from Step J @ $80,143 to Gr 35 Step T @ $90,609, eff. Feb 2, 2016

Mr. Sexton:

  • Tremendous need for a dual position:  project management of PeopleSoft and act as a function lead—act as a a liaison between business and technical staff
  • Develop requirements and test plans; certify that enhancements and changes are good to go for production
  • Position normally demands a high salary – need an advance step to accommodate that
  • In discussions with a candidate, who’s company is being merged and is being forced out of town – have opportunity to get the person with the right range
  • Candidate has 15 – 20 years of project management, 8 years of PeopleSoft

 

        ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  Advance step hire for R.P. 01 103510 1697, Economic Development Spec 3, Gr 34 Step M @ $75,853, eff Feb 2, 2016.

Ms. Cerio:

  • Office has increased the number of projects from last year, 3 times the number from the previous year
  • Same trends this year – already have done 4 projects in January – looking at increasing the number of projects just through the IDA this year
  • Need someone who has a working knowledge of economic development, which the candidate does
  • Candidate has good relationship with local businesses, local political leaders, good understanding of the political process
  • New requirements come down with each state budget – working knowledge needed of those requirements
  • Office is down 2 staff members – this position will replace 2 staff members with one person
  • $0 local dollars – no increase on tax burden
  • Taking on different projects based on the restrictions of last years’ budget regarding IDA – becoming landlords, can buy property – taking on more many projects that require a lot of office involvement – are struggling to keep up and not being able to get other things
  • If needed relief isn’t received, will have to start turning people away

Mr. Jordan referred to Ms. Cerio’s statement that the hire will replace two positions, but does not see where a position is being eliminated.  Ms. Cerio said that since she took over, 3 people have left - 2 retired and 1 has been replaced.  Last year in the budget the positions were changed, but are still down 2 people.  Mr. Kilmartin said that even though there are not local dollars, there are salary savings from the positions not being filled; Ms. Cerio agreed.  Chairman McMahon asked for clarification regarding Mr. Jordan’s concern about an abolished positions.  Mr. Jordan said that this person will replace 2 people; there is still an extra position that could be abolished.  Ms. Cerio said that they may need another person if they continue on the track they are on now -- if they continue to include projects at the level they are increasing them now.  The economy is turning around and they have more work than they can keep up with right now.  Mr. Jordan asked if both positions are funded in the current budget; Ms. Cerio said that they are. 


Chairman McMahon said that the department is essentially funding through IDA fees that get reimbursed back to the county and/or OCDC.  In the event that they need more people, it will be because they have more projects – a direct correlation to as activity goes up, there is more money to pay people 

 

        PERSONNEL:  Abolish R.P. 01 107110 0411, Personnel Technician II, Gr 31 @ $52,250-$69,266 eff Feb 2, 2016; Create R.P. 01 107110 1861 Director of Personnel Administration, Gr 35 @ $75,402-$99,958 eff Feb 2, 2016; Create R.P. 01 107110 1863 Personnel Technician III, Gr 33 @ $62,755-$82,182 eff Feb 2, 2016

 

Mr. Troiano:

  • Abolishment of Pers. Tech II correlates to the creation of a Pers. Tech III, which fits in with not funding the Director of Civil Service Administration and funding Director of Personnel Admin.
  • Director of Personal Admin -  position exits but hasn’t been on the roster in a few years
  • Last Spring an employee highly involved in the PeopleSoft project and management of Civil Service component resigned  – have found a need to pull apart those duties, establish positions directly related to management of HR information systems and direct oversight of Civil Service administration
  • Management of HR Information Systems – very dynamic as system is brought up and continues to develop and finish functional testing; Civil Service admin – more static – admin of Civil Service Law for county, towns and villages
  • Realignment of positions to be better suited for work needs

 

                FINANCE:  Create R.P. 01 107110 1868 Director of Data Analytics, Project & Change Management, Gr 36 @ $82,663 to $109,584, eff Feb 2, 2016

Mr. Troiano:

  • New position – will provide director level oversight of a program management initiative
  • Currently completing phase 1 of the program; developing into 2nd, 3rd and 4th phase, the position will help

Mr. Morgan:

  • Position is meant to oversee the implementation of the Performance Management Program
  • Have ability with PeopleSoft to budget, record revenues and expenses at a more graduate level - the next step is to look at performance
  • Have dedicated resources just for this program – has to be someone’s full time job
  • Position will oversee that staff and implement the program throughout the county
  • Have a good handle on what the costs are now, next step is to see if we are receiving the benefits from the efforts made – setting goals, performance metrics, collecting and analyzing data – using it to make decisions on programs

                CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES (Hillbrook):  Reallocate salary grade for Teacher from Gr 10 @ $47,843-$52,937 to Gr 12 $54,463 - $60,293, change incumbent R.P. 01 408300 1417 from Gr 10 to Gr 12, effective Feb 2, 2016)

Mr. Troiano:

  • Currently one funded position
  • Used to be 2 teacher positions in 2013-2014 for different components of curriculum:  one for social studies and language arts, and one for science and math
  • The remaining teacher is teaching all of the curriculums and performing the education program supervision 
  • This proposal reallocates the salary for performance of the entire range of work being done now

In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Troiano said that the population at Hillbrook swings, believes it is between 16 – 24.  Mrs. Ervin asked if the other counties pay us; Mr. Troiano said it is his understanding that we charge for that.  Chairman Knapp said that depending on what the state government does, it could increase significantly, with a change in the definition of juvenile offenders.

 

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

 

7.     COUNTY LEGISLATURE:  Ryan McMahon, Chairman

        a.     Calling for a Set of Public Hearings to be Held on the Terms and Conditions of Employment for the Bargaining Unit Represented by the Civil Service Employees’ Association of Onondaga County (CSEA) for the Calendar Years 2013, 2014, 2015 (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Chairman McMahon:

  • Calling for public hearings on February 10th
  • CSEA voted down the 3rd negotiated contract between the county and union leadership
  • After the public hearing, there will be a special Ways and Means Committee meeting and a special session to impose the 2013, 2014 and 2015 agreed upon rate schedule by union leadership for CSEA
  • 4.25% increase from current salaries; retro check for 2015, and half of 2014 and through a time period in 2016 that they have been working
  • It’s a fair offer; then going forward can go back to negotiating table to work out differences

Chairman Knapp:

  • Public hearings:  Wed., Feb. 10th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Special Ways & Means Committee meeting:  Thurs.., Feb. 11th at 12:00
  • Special full session:  Thurs., Feb. 11th at 1:00

Chairman Knapp stated that today’s vote is just calling for the public hearing. 

 

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

 

        b.     Reappointing Two Directors to the Onondaga County Tobacco Asset Securitization Corporation (Casey Jordan, David Knapp)

 

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

 

         c.     Confirming the Appointment to the Onondaga County Jury Board (J. Ryan McMahon, II)

 

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

 

8.     PURCHASE, DIVISION OF:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.     Revenue Contract Report

 

revenue contract report

 

  • Trolley Lot parking management – RFPs received back; being evaluated; question is the model (management or vendor)

Chairman Knapp asked about the timeframe.  Mr. Carroll said that 5 responses are recently in.

 

Mr. Jordan asked that when Mr. Carroll comes back with a recommendation about which contract/vendor to go with, he would like to see the responses of the 5 proposals received of the vendors.  Chairman Knapp asked Mr. Carroll to put together a spread sheet for discussion.

 

        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  Amending the 2015 Budget, and Authorizing the Execution of a Shared Services Agreement with Otsego County for the Provision of Various Purchasing Services by Onondaga County

Mr. Carroll:

  • Program for consolidated procurement – spent a fair amount of effort making sure it is cost neutral or better
  • Continue to drive savings for all customers
  • Approached by Otsego Co., whose spend is relatively small compared to Onon. Co.
  • Otsego typically hires a full time purchasing officer, which is fairly expensive – Onon. Co. can do the same work much more efficiently
  • Otsego Co. is motivated – will have salary savings and cost avoidance; their counsel doesn’t know procurement law and they don’t have a purchasing person right now
  • Onon. Co. has proposed $15k to Otsego Co.; will continue to reduce the costs with consolidated procurement efforts
  • Will not add new staff; will not add any new 101 or 103 line costs at all
  • Goal is to make sure it remains cost effective or free for local towns, villages and fire departments to be integrated into the system – to get someone else to pay for it seems like a good model
  • Municipalities will be expected to do this through PeopleSoft – some design and build would be needed
  • Have built 80% of this in the past for another customer
  • After asking legislature to approve IMA, hope to start bids and RFPs for Otsego Co. right away; purchase orders after integration with PeopleSoft
  • County costs – business unit billed, need to work on it with IT - want it revenue generated the first year; invest in technology to offset travel and reduce burden on vendors -  video conference option for public bid openings; time and training for purchasing staff to shoe
  • Put $7,500 in this year’s budget in anticipation
  • Question of how the integration of vendor module will work
  • The proposal driving $15k is if Otsego Co. wants more vendor services, would have to look at staffing and drive the number higher
  • Service level agreement will have similar clauses to Syracuse City School District agreement

Mr. Jordan asked about more specific costs, as they were discussed very broadly.  Mr. Carroll said that they will be providing those when they come back to committee.  Generally, there is an allocation for staff time, some travel costs, and costs for electronic communication.

Chairman McMahon said it is great that we are talking about providing shared services with other counties.  There is a lot that can be done with being the largest county in Central New York and taking on that leadership role.  The concern is that Onondaga County gets a fair shake – covering our costs.  Also, “we are not Robin Hood all of the time – might want to make a little money on the deal.”  He said that it would be interesting to have an analysis done considering the current staffing level, how many more of these consolidations can happen – how many more deals before we would have to increase overhead or FTEs.  We want to save money on materials and supplies, etc., but if there is a real business model that shows by bringing these on that the Onondaga Co. taxpayer is saving money, it would be very valuable.  Mr. Carroll said that there is absolutely “meat on the bone” specifically for the $15,000 – it is not just a cover costs model.  It is specifically designed to help reduce the cost of onboarding other local municipalities, and don’t have to come back and ask for that.  Regarding bandwidth, there is room, and happy to identify what that room is – the room does change as some of them implement some of the modernizations that are coming through PeopleSoft.

 

Mr. Carroll said that 18,000 – 20,000 purchase orders will be done this year; this is talking about adding 300 – 400.  A lot of the surrounding municipalities have that same issue – they are not dealing with the same size budget.  Those are definite opportunities, where it is incremental, where there is profitability.  Additionally, their spend is not large enough to drive our prices down further.  The State hasn’t done some of the truck contracts – Onondaga County is acting in that capacity – almost 100 municipalities buy off of that.  Local vendors are seeing $25-$30 million come in – a way for all of our local vendors to be solicited for the surrounding municipalities. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that he is hesitant in terms of conceptual support of this.  The implementation of PeopleSoft has been troubled at the least.  The city was rolled it and it put us behind and diverted attention and resources at the county level.  We are spending time trying to implement PeopleSoft for the city; now we will be doing it for Otsego Co. and talking about expanding it to other counties.  It seems we are taking on too much, when we have mastered PeopleSoft in the first place.  Mr. Carroll said that he will address that in the material they provide.  The time commitment is very different for an onboarding of this type.  A lot is copying it over; there is some time, but he wants to discuss it with other departments and come back and address it. 

 

Mr. Fisher said that it is completely incorrect that the county diverted resources for the city project.  There is all the time sheets for all the work that was done – most of it was done by two outside consultants.  They weren’t working on anything to do with the project that Mr. Carroll is involved in or any other communication project.  All of the project manager’s time, Rob Koziol, is billed to the city --- have never diverted resources away from any of our projects.  Peter Ricciardiello, the other consultant, has billed an enormous amount of time and is not working on any other projects – is doing support for us.  The ideas from the Comptroller’s letter of December are completely wrong.

 

Mr. Jordan said that when PeopleSoft was brought in estimates were given to the cost of implementation for 12 modules.  At this point, maybe three modules have been implemented.  It has already far exceeded the overall costs.  Mr. Fisher said that is completely wrong.  “That letter that the Comptroller is completely wrong.”  The budget has been increased by $1 million; it was originally a $10 million budget.  The contract the Comptroller mentions being over budget is exactly $5.95 million.  The 4th amendment was never amended with any increased dollars.  He referred to the statement of “the implementation of three modules” and said that it is ridiculous – have implemented the budgeting, general ledger, payables, receivables, purchasing, eProcurement, Commitment Control, project costing – all of those were implemented to the specifications to the actual users.  The Comptroller’s letter said that these modules were never installed – that is incorrect.  Every single one of them was installed in a test environment.  Users go into the test environment and explore and decide if they want any of those features.  Recently a meeting included Deputy Comptroller Jim Maturo to go through all of the modules that we are not planning to configure.  All departments were asked if there were any features in the test environment that they would like to see moving forward.  There was no input from the Comptroller about anything they would like to see other than what was already done.  Purchasing wants to see some things with contracts, other departments had things on their wish lists that will be part of the 9.2 upgrade.  There are some features in the new product that departments are interested in having.  Mr. Fisher said “the letter that the Comptroller put out in December is just a sham of mockery of a travesty.”

 

Mr. Jordan asked if Mr. Fisher is saying that every module that was in the original proposal has been fully implemented.  Mr. Fisher said “no, we made business decisions.”  Mr. Jordan said ”that it is like wanting to buy a Cadillac for $30,000, and taking a loan out for $30,000 then buying a Chevy Nova.”  To budget for a certain product and then cut back on it is fine, but if not implementing all of those modules, then the cost should be doing down, not up.  Mr. Fisher provided an example of the Time and Labor module that they licensed, but they already had Kronos and decided they no longer that module.  For each module not implemented, there is a similar story.

 

Mr. Carroll said they intend to be as transparent as possible and if there are any other concerns, he hopes they are shared with his office.

 

9.     MISC.:

        a.     Authorizing Burial Allowances for Eligible Recipients of Public Assistance or Care and Indigents, and Further Amending Resolution No. 124-1990, as Previously Amended (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Chairman McMahon:

  • Legislature has put in tremendous amount of effort regarding legislation on indigent burials
  • Before and during the budget process, it was brought to attention that the pilot program put in a year ago was coming in over budget
  • Core of the issue is the supplementation piece
  • Funeral Directors Association – had not had an increase in their standard costs over a long period of time
  • Legislation was put forward that corrected those costs – brought the costs up to where the market is
  • Funeral Directors Association said that if supplementation were allowed, they didn’t believe it would have impact on the overall budget because there is a process that people have to go through to get it; more work and most folks won’t do it
  • Legislature put forward a 12-month pilot, up in January; now are keeping the rates the same as the budget of 2016 allows – same rates as 2015
  • When the legislature put forward the rates in 2015, they were the market rates at the time
  • Since then, cost of living has gone down
  • 2016 – no rate increases put forward in budget; any increases would require executive initiative; no justification for rate increases
  • Removing supplementation – back to the levels they were before with a small supplementation allowed
  • Couple of points have been brought up by funeral directors, may address those before session, i.e. veteran indigent burials
  • 12 month legislation; can review it next year again; can look at if if a COLA adjustment needs to be made

Chairman Knapp asked about possibly doing it for a longer term next year.  Chairman McMahon agreed.  The way the pilot was done, the business group was advocating for something that turned out to be false.  Now we are correcting it and making sure it lines up with 2016 budget projections.

 

Chairman Knapp said that he thinks the leadership of the funeral directors’ group were genuinely surprised that this didn’t work.  It was unfortunate, but it was given a try – need to make some changes.  Legislator Ryan has legislation as well – has some tweaks that can definitely be incorporated. 

 

        b.     Calling the State of New York to Restore Funding Parity Between the Capital Plans of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the NYS Dept. of Transportation (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

  • Asking State to consider the amount they are funding MTA with a dollar for dollar approach in DOT infrastructure in upstate New York
  • Other counties have are passing legislation – most are upstate counties

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chairman McMahon said there has been strong commitments to fund upstate infrastructure, but downstate they are talking about massive MTA programs with Long Island, approximately $20 billion.  If the state is willing to invest $20 billion in that infrastructure then they should invest the same amount in upstate infrastructure.

 

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

 

        c.     Requesting the County Executive to Issue a Request for Proposals Regarding the Sale or Lease of the Carnegie Building (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

  • Executive team has come up with a new proposal for the Carnegie Building
  • Asking the Executive to put out an RFP for the purchase of the Carnegie Building and/or for anybody interested in renting it from the County
  • Can get all of the information out there from the private sector; will know what potential suitors are out there for a sale or rent the property

 

Ms. Williams said that some departments pay rent to be housed other places; asked how much is paid.  Chairman McMahon said that JobsPlus would need to move from Salvation Army, WIC, and other programs that rent is paid or are receiving reimbursement for rent.  The County Executive’s plan is to move some of those programs back into the Civic Center and taking some of the non-high traffic departments i.e. Economic Development, Community Development, Purchasing, and moving them to the Carnegie Building.  The funding streams needs to be verified; need to verify what the Kochian Building and Civic Center would look like – is there enough space to have everybody there.  That is part of the process, even after being verified and find that the numbers are accurate – saving $700,000 in rent -- we still don’t know what kind of deal we could get from the private sector.  We don’t know if we could get a tenant that would bring 100 jobs downtown that would pay close to that in rent a year, or if there could be an offer for $4 million for the building.  At some point in 2016 a decision needs to be made on what to do with the building – need to know what the options are. 

 

Ms. Williams asked to be provided with verification of how much is being paid for in rent by the county.  Even outside of the Carnegie Building, we need to start looking at moving people somewhere else if paying an astronomical number for rent.  Mr. Jordan said that most of the rent gets reimbursed by the federal and state government.  

 

Mr. Morgan said that that Ms. Rooney provided information regarding to Carnegie at the County Facilities Committee meeting.  It is fully detailed out – the rents paid, which operations, etc.  Chairman Knapp asked that Mr. Morgan provide that information to all members.  It was stated that the information was included in the County Facilities Committee minutes.

 

Chairman McMahon said that the executive side put together a good plan; the seconded part if verifying the information in the plan and understanding it.  During caucus Leader Kilmartin was referenced as being in this space.  He has a lot of questions about the building, where people will sit, etc.  At the time, someone else was leading the effort from the Executive team.  The information has still not been provided to the legislature, 3 years later.  That is only one piece of it.  Even if it was known that it would save $500,000/year, until it is known what the private sector could do, it is tough to make that decision.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that all options should be looked at.  If it is a sale for $9-$10 million, it might carry the day very easily, or if it were $4 -$5 million, it might be an easy decision.  If it is a lease for a very high amount, it might be a very easy decision – county doesn’t have to spend any money and can lease it out to a good, credit worthy tenant and would be a great situation for the county.  On the other hand, if only moderate offers come in, then we look to the County Executive’s office to tell us what their plan is, who might move over, who might back fill the other building – look at the stacking plan for the Civic Center and the Kochian Building.  The Executive side has been working on this; trying to be thoughtful about the cost of rehabbing Carnegie, backfilling of other county departments from all different parts of the county.  A great situation is if Carnegie can be used cost effectively; bring people back to Civic Center and Kochian building; have no more lease payments out in the community, and get reimbursements to whatever degree we can for our departments.  The building would be at full capacity; utilizing all buildings and not paying any landlords.  It is a good idea to run the RFP process in parallel with the information from the executive’s side to see what the options are. 

 

Mrs. Ervin said that it is a smart thing to look at both of them together.  Beyond that, some of the location spaces being renting now are not really safe.  

 

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

 

2Mr. Kilmartin left the meeting.

 

10.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONSWilliam Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Design/Study Expenses in Connection with Improvements to Emergency Communications Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $100,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $100,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($100,000)

Mr. Bleyle noted that originally items 10a and 10b were presented as one resolution.  At the request of the Public Safety Committee, the items have been split into two separate resolutions.  

 

  • Study on facility at 911 Center and old Hillbrook/south station/fire control building next door
  • Main center is 26 years old – will be coming back with a $1.6 million upgrade for heating system
  • Bonding resolution with a provision that if there is surplus funding in 2015 general fund that it be used, if it makes sense, before bonding.  If surplus funds are used, then they would not bond.

 

Mr. May said that this item came to Public Safety Committee twice.  The first time, a request was made to split the projects because they are different.  It was requested to use cash for the $100,000 if possible -- Mr. Bleyle and Mr. Morgan have complied with every request – there has been no push back.  A vote was not taken in Public Safety Committee this week because the resolutions weren’t done, but there were no stated objections or concerns.

 

Mr. Jordan questioned bonding for $100,000; there is money in surplus, even if there is not money in Emergency Communications budget.  Mr. Morgan said that is for any surplus – after all is said and done, and there sufficient surplus, it gives him the ability to use cash instead of borrowing.  The process over the last few years has been, with these capital projects, to spend a little money upfront to get the design and study done to get a better handle on what these things may cost.  Mr. Jordan is not against spending the money, but doesn’t understand bonding for it.  Mr. Morgan said that they typically roll that into the potential overall issuance.  Mr. Jordan said he would rather just pay cash.  Chairman Knapp agreed and referenced the example of the software purchase in the Finance Department.  

 

Mr. May asked if the preference is to pay cash, what is the process.  Members reviewed Section 7 of the resolution.  Mr. Morgan said that it is the same language that has been put in previous bond resolutions.  He has taken advantage of it and used cash for a few of the items that have allowed him to.  Until we know how we end the year, a decision won’t be made until then. 

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Shepard, May, Ervin, Williams); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan); ABSENT:  1 (Kilmartin).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Design/Study Expenses in Connection with Improvements to Emergency Communications Equipment in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $245,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $245,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs thereof ($245,000)

Mr. Bleyle:

  • Start the process of replacing the mobile data communications network
  • Currently supplies automatic location for all police, fire and EMS vehicles in the county and allows them to access databases from emergency vehicles including computer aided dispatch system
  • CADS – 10 years old; end of life – very slow--equivalent to a home dial up network
  • A number of factors that affect the decision – looking for someone to provide guidance, help put together an RFP and cost to replace i

 

Mr. Jordan said that he has no objection to spending the money, but has an objection to bonding for it --preference is to pay cash for it.  Chairman Knapp said that the language referenced in item 10a, is not in this resolution and wouldn’t mind adding it into this resolution.  Ms. Ervin agreed.

 

Mr. Jordan made a motion to amend the resolution to include language to allow the CFO to pay cash if there are funds left over (same as language as in Section 7 of item 10a), seconded by Mr. Shepard.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve the resolution as amended.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

attendance

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

 
 
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