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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
DAVID H. KNAPP
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - JANUARY 8, 2019

CASEY E. JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Bottrill, 2Mrs. Abbott-Kenan

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m., and stated that 1WEP is not ready to present the ACJ update, therefore, it will be on next months agenda.

 

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.   

 

2Mrs. Abbott-Kenan arrived at the meeting.

 

1.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  Travis Glazier, Director; Adam Woodburn, Project Coordinator Stormwater Management - WEP

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Renew or Enter into Intermunicipal Agreements to Provide Services to Municipalities within Onondaga County to Assist those Municipalities in Complying with Department of Environmental Conservation Stormwater Permit Requirements

  • County has IMA with 25 municipalities to provide various services that help support MS4’s (separate storm sewer systems), consolidation of services through WEP provides efficiencies
  • IMA establishes rates and permissions, reauthorization for 5-year renewal; resolution allows blanket authorization for the county executive to sign the agreements as they come in

In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Glazier said that there are 25 municipalities with MS4’s.  Rural municipalities may not have MS4’s.  Mr. Woodburn stated that MS4’s are based on a census block.  If the population density from the urban core to the boundary in any one block of a municipality meets the required density they are required to become an MS4.  Outfall inspections are one of the requirements that ensure illicit connections are not going into the storm sewer.  In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Woodburn stated that the entire municipality must be an MS4 if any one census block within the municipality meets the threshold for becoming an MS4.  However, the outfall inspections are only inside density areas.  Tully and Otisco are not MS4’s. 

 

In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Woodburn confirmed that the City of Syracuse is 1 of the 25 municipalities.  Previously the City took care of their own, but are currently considering participation.  If the City participates it would be more work but we would be better able to keep track of where the illicit connections are.

 

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

 

2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:   

  • ACJ Report

        1See first paragraph

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:18 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature
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PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – JANUARY 9, 2019

CHRISTOPHER J. RYAN, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. McBride, Mr. Bush, Mr. Rowley

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Bottrill

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list

 

Chairman Ryan called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.mA motion was made by Mr. Rowley, seconded by Mr. McBride to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Bush, seconded by Mr. McBride to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Daniel Wears, Commissioner

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Position of Deputy Coordinator and Authorizing Reimbursement for Expenses Incurred in the Performance of Duties

                (Christopher Evans, Gerald Payne)

  • Reappoint 2 Deputy Coordinators who represent in field incidents and organizational meetings; full time county employees; have to go through confirmation process
  • Started hiring Deputy Coordinators as part-time employees years ago; both very active and great assets to County; always hear good things about both in the areas they serve
  • No real expense; only mileage; not compensated; equipment necessary is provided; financial impact minimal
  • 1 year increments - way it’s always been done

Mr. McBride asked if they have been in this position before, and if so, how many times.  Mr. Wears responded that Mr. Evans has been here over 5 years, and Mr. Payne was brought on 3 and a half years ago.  Chairman Ryan commented that Mr. Evans and Mr. Payne are good and engaged.  Chairman Ryan stated for the record that he is glad they are interested, and that the County needs good people; especially after hours going to meetings and Fire Advisory Boards. 

 

Mr. Wears responded to Chairman Ryan that the expense varies, but it’s under a few hundred dollars in mileage reimbursement for each. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. McBride, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to approve this item.  Ayes:  3  Absent: 1 (Bush); MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Ryan asked counsel what the Legislature would have to do to change the term.  Mr. Durr replied that he will have to check into this particular one, but the Legislature would probably have to pass a resolution to extend the term.

 

2.     ONONDAGA COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:  Barrie Gewanter, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission

        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Justice Center Oversight Committee (Najah Salaam Jennings-Bey)

  • Dr. Salaam is an appointee of the Mayor; served one term well
  • Dr. Salaam currently working on a recommendation document she has expertise about for JCOC; would like continuity
  • Willing to serve a second term; resume and bio on website

Ms. Gewanter stated that Dr. Salaam is not the only term that is expiring, and passed out the following:

 

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  • 2 people do not want to seek reappointment, and 1 does

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

 

Ms. Gewanter responded to Mr. McBride that Dr. Nave is willing to come back in a year or two, but he does not seek reappointment for a term starting 1/1/19. 

 

Mr. Bush said they need to focus on the two vacancies the County Legislature is involved in; Ms. Mims and Mr. LaFlore.  Ms. Gewanter clarified that within the legislation there is a requirement that two people have prior law enforcement experience, and with Mr. LaFlore leaving, they will be down to one.  Mr. Bush stated that Ms. Mims has done an outstanding job as Chair of the committee, and he does not see why she should not be reappointed.  There will have to be research done for the other position to get someone who fills that qualification. 

 

Ms. Gewanter replied to Chairman Ryan that the other person with a law enforcement background is Cassandra Jones Ingram, who is a retired Syracuse Police Officer.  Alan LaFlore was a Corrections Officer, but spent the majority of his career as an investigator for the state.  Law enforcement could be construed broadly at the Legislature’s discretion, but it cannot be a person currently serving in law enforcement per the enabling legislation. 

 

Chairman Ryan said Dr. Nave is a tremendous guy, so that is unfortunate, but they do have Dr. Yolles, who has a fantastic resume.  Chairman Ryan asked if the committee should consider someone with a medical background.  Ms. Gewanter is not aware of anything in the law saying that if the County Executive puts someone in with particular experience, that they have to replace that person with similar experience.  There is a feeling on the board that they need two people with medical experience to adequately review cases which require evaluation of medical records.  There are too many cases to review with one medical person.  Mr. Rowley asked if it has to be a physician, MD or nurse practitioner.  Ms. Gewanter answered that there is nothing in the legislation that requires a medical professional, however it is clearly necessary with what is coming into the office. 

 

Chairman Ryan said the law enforcement background is ambiguous enough that someone does not have to be from a police department, but maybe retired from the DA’s office or Corrections.  The medical background could be an RN or LPN.  Ms. Gewanter suggested the medical background could be someone with an MSW (Master of Social Work) that has done clinical work.  There is a percentage of inmates with mental health issues. 

 

Chairman Ryan said there are two vacancies in front of the Legislature, and all resumes he believes would go to Chairman Knapp.  This committee should look to fill those sooner than later. 

 

Mr. Rowley asked if the committee members are volunteers, and Ms. Gewanter replied “yes”.  They are also bound by certain requirements of confidentiality with medical records and personal information in regards to any law enforcement personnel.  Mr. Rowley asked how often the committee meets.  Ms. Gewanter answered once a month.  However, every other month available members of the board meet with Custody Command staff at the jail.  There may also be additional one on one meetings with Ms. Gewanter.  Lastly, on their own, they work on taking individual recommendations that have been generated during meetings and case review, and format them into formal recommendation documents (~6 times a year).  The meetings are on the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

 

Mr. McBride asked if Ms. Mims is seeking reappointment, and Ms. Gewanter responded yes.  She has been a strong leader.

 

Mr. Bush asked where they go from here.  Chairman Ryan said the Chairman picks, with Legislature approval.  If Ms. Mims wants to be reappointed and has her resume in, then that will be the first conversation.  If there are other people interested, they will see what the Chairman is thinking.  Chairman Ryan will have a conversation with Chairman Knapp about the two vacancies to be filled, and will be cognizant of the fact that one has to have a law enforcement background.

 

Mr. McBride asked Mr. Paro how much time is devoted to this.  Mr. Paro responded that it can be a lot or a little.  The committee needs someone willing to do the work, who is flexible with time.  There is a lot of training including spending three hours sitting in the jail.  Mr. Paro clarified that the meetings are twice a month; one with the JCOC and one with those at the Justice Center.  Mr. Bush said he attends the open meetings, and the caseloads fluctuate week to week depending on what is going on at the jail.  It is very challenging, and all over the place.  For example, how do they address religious garb when someone walks in the jail and has to be checked.  Mr. Paro suggested someone who has a passion for this, because there is work outside of the meetings.  Mr. McBride asked how many cases are in a month, and Mr. Bush responded that it depends on the report.  For example, transports to the hospital could be ten or twenty in a month, and then there are issues with whether they are being treated properly and getting the services needed.  Mr. Bush stated that everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect.  Chairman Ryan suggested a Judge.  Mr. Bush said he agrees with the Mental Health suggestion. 

 

Chairman Ryan stated he will send an email to Chairman Knapp, and will get back to the committee.

 

A motion was made by Mr. McBride, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:26 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

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HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - JANUARY 10, 2019

TIMOTHY T. BURTIS, CHAIRMAN

 

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Ms. Williams

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list

 

Chairman Burtis called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Bottrill, to waive the reading, and approve the minutes of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     HEALTH DEPARTMENT:  Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner

        a.     Providing for Various Personnel Changes:

                Create L108058, Medical Records Technician, Grade 9 @ $50,261-$55,595;

                Create L108059, Communicable Disease Investigator, Grade 9 @ $50,261-$55,595

  • Communicable Disease Investigator:
  • Investigation in STDs including gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV, if there is a case in the County (not just the clinic)
  • When County gets lab report, Health Department required to have investigator go to community, call the person and their other contacts; reason is to reduce further transmission
  • Have investigators, but no vacant positions; they are all funded by grant with NYS
  • Unique opportunity to get grant from Gilead to do further investigation into Hepatitis C (Hep C); currently do not provide service in clinic
  • According to Center for Disease Control, every baby boomer should be tested; now seeing more problems with heroin and drugs, so Hep C is now being seen in younger populations; big push to diagnose in early stages
  • Hep C is a virus, like Hepatitis A and B; Hepatitis A is food born, B is sexually transmitted or via blood transfusion; Hep C falls in-between
  • Consequence in short and long term can be infections of the liver, which has significant outcomes including cirrhosis and hepatic failure that can ultimately take a life; people require expensive treatment; i.e.  liver transplant
  • At early stage, it’s curable, so early diagnosis is the key
  • This fund will provide the opportunity to investigate, avoid local dollars, and fund a position; 100% grant funded; same position as written in civil service
  • Asking to create new position to be able to hire someone to do this job

Mr. Bottrill asked if this grant will be renewed every year.  Dr. Gupta responded yes.  When the person is hired, it will be made clear that if the grant is not there, then the position is not there.  They cannot add to the burden on taxpayers.  This is private funding, and Dr. Gupta hopes they will continue to renew the funding for at least a few years.  Dr. Gupta answered Mr. Bottrill that the funding is not from the state, but from a non-profit arm of a drug company called Gilead.  The job is to diagnose patients, test them, and offer connectivity to the provider.  The investigator will be the key to doing these things.

 

Dr. Chase asked if the funding starts now, and Dr. Gupta replied that they are in the final phases of the contract.  It will start as soon as the contract is signed on both sides, and this is approved. 

 

Dr. Gupta continued:

  • Medical Records Technician:
  • 1 already on the roster that works in Healthy Families; do not have vacant position in Bureau of Disease Control (BDC), which also provides medical care
  • Trying to do the work, but do not have that position; will be doing billing soon, which means more stringent requirements, including complying with CMS requirements; Medical Technician would be an important part of the team
  • Last year created Administrative Officer; Ms. Greenmills thought about what position would be best to help her as a right hand; would like to create the Medical Record Technician and fund it, then unfund the Administrative Officer
  • The position is 36% state aid reimbursable

Mrs. Abbott-Kenan asked if the state steers the department in a direction to make one position over another aidable, and is the Administrative Officer aidable.  Dr. Gupta responded yes.  The department has to prove what the person is doing, which has to be reported to the state every year.  Anyone can be aided, as long as it’s public health work.

 

Dr. Chase asked if the Medical Record Technician will still be there in a year, and Dr. Gupta responded yes.  Dr. Gupta clarified for Dr. Chase that this position is not grant funded, it is a need for BDC operation.  Ms. Mignano commented that they are not abolishing a position.  Dr. Gupta added that they do not want to abolish it, because the needs change in the department.  The Administrative Officer was created for the department, not for the BDC in particular.  If it is needed, they will only do it if the local dollars can be justified to the Legislature.  When looking into the needs for the BDC, the Med Tech would be more helpful.  Dr. Chase wants to make sure they are not losing a position the Legislature already agreed to fund, and Dr. Gupta said they would ask them not to do that.  They are shifting the funding from and to the other, and they are not asking for any extra money (there will be some salary savings). 

 

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

 

Chairman Burtis welcomed Mr. Bottrill and Mrs. Abbott-Kenan to the committee. 

 

Dr. Chase mentioned that Crouse Hospital is developing a post-partum depression project, and stated they might come the County to ask for support.  Chairman Burtis asked if this would come to the County Health Advisory Board, or come to the Legislature directly.  Dr. Gupta responded that she is not sure, as this is the first time she is hearing of this.  It is a great thing.  Dr. Gupta’s recommendation to Dr. Chase is to suggest aligning this with the Drug Task Force.  They are two different things that can be intertwined, and they both involve the same group of people. 

 

Chairman Burtis invited the committee to join him on a tour of St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Mrs. Abbott-Kenan said she is interested. 

 

Dr. Chase asked about the vaccine that Upstate is doing for heroin.  Dr. Gupta responded that she does not know much about it.  A vaccine is an interesting concept, but it is usually for infectious diseases. 

 

Dr. Gupta invited the committee to attend the Drug Task Force, which is next Thursday from 8:30 – 10 a.m.

 

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

 

The meeting adjourned at 9:59 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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JAMIE M. McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

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PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES - JANUARY 10, 2019

JOHN D. McBRIDE, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Abbott-Kenan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Buckel

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp; see attached list

 

Chairman McBride called the meeting to order at 10:31 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Mrs. Abbott-Kenan, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     SYRACUSE ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCY:  Dan Kwasnowski, Director

        a.     Amending the 2018 County Budget to Make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for use Related to the NYS Empire State Trail Project ($35,000)

 

Chairman McBride stated this item amends the 2018 budget to move ROT money to draft a plan for the Empire State Trail as informationally presented by Mr. Kwasnowski last month.

 

Mr. Kwasnowski distributed the following:

One Page Summary Proposal: Onondaga County Empire State Trail Local Economic Opportunities Plan 

 

The Empire State Trail project between Buffalo and Albany includes $20 million to complete the trail through Onondaga County by 2020.  The Empire State Trail will seamlessly cross Onondaga County with 34.8 miles of bicycle and pedestrian pathways through or near eleven towns, villages and the City of Syracuse.  

 

Heritage development, tourism, and active and passive recreation are strong factors in today’s economy.  Park and Trail systems are quickly becoming the backbone of quality of life initiatives, and new development opportunities. The Erie Canal System served as an economic engine in New York State.  The old canal has transitioned and evolved into a tourism and recreation resource which provides significant economic opportunity. 

 

The improved trail system will increase long-distance trail users and a safer means of local travel by foot or bike will spur economic activity at existing and new local businesses.  Trail users will need and seek out these services whether it is a meal, lodging, shopping or a bike shop.  Local users will be more likely to plan an outing on the trail and mix in a meal or another attraction on the way. With this increased activity, development opportunities will expand for many businesses near the trail. 

 

Planning Opportunity

Measures need to be taken to make sure local communities benefit and fully capitalize on the Empire State Trail. These measures include:

    • Making it easy for trail users to exit the trail and access local businesses.
    • Making connections between the Empire Trail and local businesses.
    • Marketing available services and attractions to trail users.
    • Planning for development and redevelopment near the trail.
    • Accommodating new customers by providing bike parking, resting areas, repair stops, and supplies etc.
    • Planning for continued monitoring of needs as trail use increases.

In order to further these measures, SOCPA is proposing an Onondaga County Empire State Trail Local Economic Opportunities Plan.  The plan will use a collaborative approach to capture the economic potential of the Empire Trail across Onondaga County.

 

Funding Request

An initial $35,000 of funding from the Room Occupancy Tax will be sufficient to support the creation of the Onondaga County Empire State Trail Local Economic Opportunities Plan.   It is intended that this funding will be combined with SOCPA in-kind services to leverage state, federal and other local funding and in-kind assistance.  Once secured, SOCPA will manage a planning process with all eleven Towns, Villages and the City of Syracuse over the course of 12-18 months. The funding will likely be used for consultant services, but may also be used to directly fund initiatives identified in the plan. 

 

We anticipate this $35,000 commitment of funds will leverage not only additional planning dollars, but state and/or federal funding opportunities for capital investments in the trail system, and further stimulate new economic activity and job creation in our communities.  

  • Still working on the plan which will be a local economic opportunities plan; significant investment to be finished by 2020, connecting all off-road portions of the Empire Trail across all of Onondaga County
  • The plan will work with local communities and have a public participation component to determine the how to get people from the trail to local services and attractions, also how to bring in significant investment based on the trail
  • Will change the way locals move throughout the community; need to determine the type of attractions along the trail, signage and marketing
  • High level plan, will hire a consultant for the heavy lifting, SOCPA will do mapping, much in-kind and may use all or a portion of the funds to attract other monies to expand the plan and start implementation within the year

Chairman McBride asked if vendors were already keyed up to work on this.  Mr. Kwasnowski responded that it will be going out to bid.  Chairman McBride asked if $35,000 would cover the costs.  Mr. Kwasnowski answered that it will certainly cover the initial planning.  The idea is to identify projects and further measures that we can implement to get grant funds. 

 

Mrs. Abbott-Kenan asked the timeframe for completion of the plan.  Mr. Kwasnowski answered that the state's schedule for completion of all improvements is 2020.  He would like to start the plan within this calendar year and finish within a year from there. 

 

Mr. Burtis stated that the hamlet of Brewerton is working on a similar trail.  Younger people want trails to be part of their active lifestyle.  Mr. Kwasnowski said that trails rank as a high priority in any survey he has ever seen but, as a planner, trails are the hardest project to work on as they are very difficult to get in.  Mrs. Abbott-Kenan told of a very different experience she encountered with the Town of Skaneateles and asked if he had received any pushback from communities that don’t want this.  Mr. Kwasnowski answered that there was a small group in opposition.  Previously DOT would supply money and you were left on your own to get easements.  Now, if federal or state grant funds are allotted, they use their tools to establish the right of way.  He then provided an example of a difficult easement experience and added that easements take 2 years to fully complete.  They are very tough projects even though they are what people want, and once you get them people don’t want them paved.  Mr. Holmquist said that hundreds of people came out in reference to paving the Erie Canal trail in Dewitt. 

 

Chairman McBride said that the work plan objective states Mr. Kwasnowski will be collaborating with towns and villages, and asked if he had spoken to anyone.  Mr. Kwasnowski answered that he was waiting for the legislature’s endorsement.  After this meeting, he will be reaching out with this summary and asking them to start generating ideas so that some things will be ready to go for the consultant.  This coincides with intensive outreach over the next 6 months on the countywide plan.  County Executive McMahon, Ms. Primo and he will be meeting with town supervisors and village mayors next week to discuss both plans, which gives them a good reason to participate.  We want to present this plan so that towns and villages can start thinking of how they can take advantage of this. 

Mr. Holmquist stated that he agrees with the points made.  The NIMBYs consistently come out but process matters and he thinks the process laid out, where the towns and villages are involved from the beginning, will work.  Mr. Kwasnowski stated that the state just plopped this on everyone so now we have to figure out what to do with it. 

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

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WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES

JANUARY 29, 2019

DEBRA CODY, CHAIR

 

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman Knapp, Mr. Bottrill, see also attached list

 

Chair Cody called the meeting to order a 9:00 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     SYRACUSE ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCYDan Kwasnowski, Director

        a.     Amending the 2018 County Budget to Make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for use Related to the NYS Empire State Trail Project ($35,000)

  • Proposing local economic opportunity plan for communities along proposed Empire Trail – done by 2021
  • Significant investment across county; will change how people move locally and bring a lot of tourism into the area
  • Working with communities – figure out ways to get people from the trail to business in communities and other attractions throughout Onondaga County
  • Met with Towns Supervisors and Village Mayors--are very excited about it and agreed they need guidance on it
  • Camillus is a great example; Fayetteville is a great example as they already have the connection, but question how to do signage, how to market, how are people going to find things in the village; business have to prepare – most people will be on bikes and will have to put the bikes some where

 

Chair Cody asked about the timeline.  Mr. Kwasnowski said that they would like to do it this year, depending on how quick it can get through Purchasing.  Probably a consultant will be hired, but Regional Planning might be a partner.  The idea is to go after grant money this summer to match the county’s investment.  A lot of work can be done in house, which takes a lot of cost out.  The money will be used for the facilitation of the 11 communities; the real investment will come from the money that will be received afterwards.  

 

Mr. Jordan asked about leveraging money from state government and asked if there are any specific resources.  Mr. Kwasnowski gave an example of Village of Camillus – have county roads and Sims store and there has always been interest in a trail between the two – transportation funding would be a good example.  Have it in the plan and present it though SMTC to get federal funding; local share would be provided for something that we want to do anyway.  Mr. Jordan asked if he has looked into what monies are available and what needs to be done to get those monies.  Mr. Kwasnowski said the first step is to get a plan in place, then work with Senator Antonacci and others to identify state funding.  First need to know what we want to do and how we want to do it.

 

Mr. Rowley questioned if plans have been done for other aspect of the county where money was leveraged.  This is $35,000 for a paid consultant, understands the need for a plan, but wants some reassurance, based on history, that these are effective and we will get our bang for our buck.  Mr. Kwasnowski said that the project in Fayetteville is the best example – all were identified in a plan fist – all of the redevelopment that they are doing was identified in the village comprehensive plan.  Regarding the Solvay funding application with the state--had to identify a comprehensive plan or be consistent with a comprehensive plan, or some plan, even regional – will lose a lot of points if you don’t.  Mr. Rowley said that one aspect of the plan will identify different areas of development that could be an offshoot to this trail.  Mr. Kawsnowski agreed – a funding mechanism for that would be local waterfront revitalization programs.  He referenced an area in Widewaters that initially started with just the pond restoration and then looked at redevelopment – creating a mainstream, more intense residential and mixed use development.  This trail is really going to open up a lot of opportunities for that.

 

Mr. Kwasnowski said he has been working on the regional project a lot and working with the City – looking at more intense redevelopment opportunities on Erie Blvd., mostly because of the trail going through and creating more residential opportunities in the corridor.  The trail will be very barebones, fairly industrial; there are 3 grocery stores in that corridor, which is really hard to find in an urban environment.  There is all the residential on the hill above Erie Blvd. but along it there is not a lot; if started using the nodes around the grocery stores, there could be significant reinvest there.  There is good transit.

 

Mr. Ryan said that it is basically connected to the Canal.  Mr. Kwasnowski from the west going east, a lot of the first portion are projects that the Office of Environment and DOT are heading up – Honeywell property into Solvay, over Bridge Street and Loop the Lake project.  It will follow the Creek Walk, cut across downtown, onto Erie Blvd to Widewaters; will get off at Bridge St to Towpath; wrap around to Kinne Road, over 481 and connect to the system out to the rest of the county.  It’s a $20 million State project, it’s the biggest state expenditure in the whole system in one location.

 

Mr. May expressed that he likes projects like this one--creating infrastructure for quality of life development.  He provided an example of Shoen Place, Rochester – it is right along a trail, and commerce along it just springs up; it’s a destination.  He supports the project; happy that we are doing it because it is a sensible investment and part of responsibility.  He does not like the funding source of using ROT.  He believes that ROT should generate hotel rooms; the fund should sustain itself not get cannibalized.  He said that he understands statutorily ROT utilization is much broader, but is basing this on past practice, need of future goals, and the way the economy is changed – need to support the mission.  He would rather see the $35,000 come from someplace else.  There is talk about all kinds of new fees in the county:  Dewitt is talking about a possible ROT of their own; a transfer tax is being discussed, a tourism incentive district is being discussed – all new forms of revenue centered on these kinds of things.  It is a great time to add to the integrity of the use of these dollars for its customary, traditional purpose.  

 

Mr. Kwasnowski referred to bicyclists in large groups from Europe, Columbia, Japan who ride across the state; they will need a place to stay.  Hotels near the Creek Walk will be great for them.

 

Mrs. Ervin said that this encourages tourism, people will come though, stay, and enjoy the county.  It’s a good project; is familiar with what is going on in Dewitt and this will be really helpful.  It’s not a lot of money.

 

Mr. Rowley asked Mr. Kwasnowski if the impetus for the project came from his office; Mr. Kwasnowski indicated that it did and confirmed that there was no other entity influence. 

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Ervin, Rowley, Jordan, Ryan, Cody); NOES:  1 (May); MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     HEALTH DEPARTMENT:  Dr. Gupta, Commissioner  

        a.     Providing for Various Personnel Changes:

                Create L108058, Medical Records Technician, Grade 9 @ $50,261-$55,595;

                Create L108059, Communicable Disease Investigator, Grade 9 @ $50,261-$55,595

 

  • 2 positions to be created – Bureau of Disease Control service community to prevent any outbreaks, makes sure community is safe – TB, STD’s, measles, mumps – a very important part of their work
  • Create Medical Records Technician – have one on the roster in another department; these are all for medical records -- patients come in; also in process of billing and need someone with that stronger context
  • Had created an Administrative Assistant in the last budget, thought to be more useful, but when started to implement EMR and billing, they realized they needed someone more expert in coding language, etc.
  • Propose to unfund the Administrative Assistant; will lend to some budget savings
  • In process of signing a grant addressing the rising rates of Hepatitis C in the community – a known virus that causes liver illness, resulting in psoriasis, liver failure, and premature death; it is almost epidemic
  • Hepatitis C was mostly noted in the Baby Boomer generation, but with Opioid and substance use, a lot is seen in younger populations; NYS is working to try to address it
  • Will support the whole program with positions fully funded – position is grant funded; if positions goes away, the position goes away
  • When nuances happen in community with health concerns the local health departments become sort of pilot project; then community partners (physicians) take on those things; this position will engage community partners to make sure they are going to start to adapt them into their practices in the future, 3 -5 years down the road
  • As long as the grant supports it, they will continue, if not it will fold

 

Mr. Jordan said that he feels the administrative officer’s position should be eliminated. 

 

Mr. Jordan made a motion to amend the resolution to abolish the position of administrative officer, seconded by Mr. Rowley.

 

Dr. Gupta said that she is asking to have the administrative officer position unfunded, as sometimes needs arise.  She said that if they have the unfunded position, they can utilize it based on how the funds are.  She noted that they are fiscally responsive, and have all the performance management, and don’t go out of their budget for the most part.  Mr. Jordan said that he doesn’t like unfunding positions, and this positions didn’t exist until last year’s budget, and it apparently wasn’t filled because the determination was made that the need is for a different position.  He feels the position should be eliminated; if at a future time there is justification to re-create the position, the department can come back to the legislature. 

 

Mrs. Ervin said that in the past Dr. Gupta has been responsible about these kinds of things – asked if she sees filling the position anytime soon of just wants the flexibility of being able to do that.  Dr. Gupta said that they are an accredited health department and are looking for more grant funds – prove to the grantors that this is a health department that has a good policy and procured in place and shows fiscal responsiveness.  Hope to get more grants in the future; when the grants come in, they sometimes give short turnaround time in what they are proposing.  She said that her ask is to keep the position and will not fund it unless it is justified by grant dollars somewhere.  In the last 4 years, since she has been here, they have not gone beyond their budget and are fiscally responsible.  Mrs. Ervin said that the Health Committee reviewed this and recommend that is go forward.

 

A vote was taken on the motion.  AYES:  4 (Rowley, Jordan, May, Cody); NOES:  2 (Ervin, Ryan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. May said that the Health Dept. has been fiscally responsible with their budgets and done an excellent job.  This is an administrative policy that is strived for every time in terms of how we manage finances, budget, head count, etc.  He does not want it interpreted as a lack of desire to work with and cooperate with any future needs the Health Department encounters.  He plans to support them, especially with the way they are running their business and would not let this concern them.  Chair Cody agreed with Mr. May’s comments, and added that Dr. Gupta can come back whenever she wants to request to bring the position back; it is good practice to come in. 

 

Mr. Rowley asked if the grant funding for the Communicable Disease Investigator was part of the 2019 budget.  Dr. Gupta said that it wasn’t; it was part of a new grant that came their way.  There are communicable disease positions, Civil Service positions; have it in the NYS Department of Health grant.  There is not an extra position to fill -- coming to the legislature to create it.  Mr. Rowley asked if there should be a budget amendment to recognize the grant revenue.  Mr. Morgan said that with the grant money anticipated in a lot of departments, especially Health and Social Services, they budget “Budget Load”, which allows them to bring in money that is anticipated.  They can’t anticipate every single grant that will come in, so they usually add in a little bit to allow flexibility and to operate.  Mr. Jordan said that in a way it is recognized in the 2019 budget; Mr. Morgan agreed.

 

Mr. Rowley said that revenues are balanced out with appropriations, and asked if this is accounted for somehow on the appropriation side.  Mr. Morgan said that it is.  Mr. Rowley asked where the expenditure would be in the budget; Mr. Morgan said that it is in the grant.  Mr. Rowley asked if it is in salaries.  Mr. Morgan said that grants budgets aren’t controlled at those account levels, but they would have budgeted salaries.  Mr. Maturo said that there is an appropriation offset for the revenue put in, but when there is money in the grant, the individual line item is not controlled.

 

Mrs. Ervin said that she understands making sure this is clean, but feels that we are tying the hands to the commissioner to do what she needs to do to run her department by abolishing this position all together -- will be voting against the resolution.

 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve the resolution as amended.  AYES: 4 (May, Jordan, Rowley, Cody); NOES:  2 (Ervin, Ryan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

3.     TRANSPORTATION: Marty Voss, Commissioner

        a.     For Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2018-19; Amending the 2019 Onondaga County Budget to Accept Additional Revenue and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($48,627)

  • Reimbursed by NYS for plowing some state roads; 2019 budget reflects $1,884,657 for that service
  • NYS recalculated based on changes in equipment rental and labor rates
  • Revised revenue is $1,933,302, $48,627 delta – need to show NYS DOT a resolution adopting the revised amount so that reimbursement can be made

 

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

 

4.     REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION:

              a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Establishing an Advisory Committee to Report on and Make Recommendation on Adopting a Reapportionment Commission to Ensure a Non-Partisan, Fair and Objective Process by Which the Onondaga County Legislative Districts are Reapportioned (Sponsored by Mr. Ryan)

Mr. Ryan:

  • Started the conversation on December 19, 2017 about upcoming census information and redrawing district lines
  • Potentially how to do it better, possibly make the process better, make process more reflective of the broader constituency
  • Referred to an article on April 12, 2011, written by Rick Moriarity (Copy on file with Clerk)
  • Is not critical of how the process was; thinks we could do better
  • Resolution establishes an advisory committee – a 7 person panel
  • Have great people in the community – academia, scholars, people who know a lot about Elections – Maxwell School expressed interest; League of Women Voters would like to be involved
  • Would meet regularly, open meetings, full transparency about ways to redraw district lines in a better way
  • Would make recommendation – would lead to possible amendments to Section 207 of Charter
  • Well past it’s time; should take notice to what’s going on around the country – Appellate decisions:  cases in Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin; US Supreme Court is looking to possibly take up the issue
  • Question of not just human rights, democracy – has been many challenges of 1st Amendment rights

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Kicking this around for a long time – it’s time to do something; before we know it, it will be time to do actually do this
  • Make sure that we are keeping with what people have been telling us over the years from the last time
  • Constituents are saying that the map looks funny; they question why it looks that way – it’s because of what was decided last time
  • Correct what was done last time by having somebody else, independent eyes look at it
  • Mr. Ryan has been working on this for quite some time – resolution was drafted in 2017

 Mr. Ryan:

  • Specific to the resolution – the report date noted of March 31st – noted it is a quick turn around
  • Urged this gets initiated, enacted, and adopted – sooner adopted, the sooner we can reach out
  • Want qualified people, stakeholders, people engaged in the community – a good panel of 7 people takes time to get the people, convene meetings, and report back

Mr. May said to some members that have been around, this isn’t new, but for a lot of us, it is brand new; a new process for most members of the legislature.  He asked what “to advise a report means”, and what the scope is.  Mr. Ryan said that the scope is the mission – to come up wait better way to redraw the district lines to better reflect the constituency of Onondaga County as a whole.  He would leave the scope up to the committee – they will be comprised of citizens, community leaders that understand this type of stuff, who have written papers, briefs, books, all sorts of feedback and expertise, experience, and then report back.  The way it is set up, lead to that – hopeful that with everybody putting their heads together could come up with doing it better, recommendations; advise to make changes to the Charter - lead to a better way to re-draw the district lines.  Mr. May said that his understanding is that it would try to have an influence on everything from how the actual commission is appointed by the Charter, and then up to and through how the lines are drawn.  It is end to end – they will have the ability to make recommendations for all of it.  Mr. Ryan agreed.  Mr. May asked if the recommendations would come to the Commission or the Legislature.  Mr. Ryan said that they would come to the Legislature; if the Legislature comes back with recommendation to change the Charter, it has to be a local law.  Mr. May said that their work would end at the point the Charter is changed.  Mr. Ryan said “potentially”; the legislature may choose to take those recommendations, and if so can amend the Charter.  Mr. May said that once the Charter is amended, then the reapportionment process starts; the advisory committee at that point will have no role – their work is done, amended or not.  Mr. Ryan agreed. 

 

Mr. Ryan said that he hopes the committee goes back and looks at historical background; how it was done before, what we are doing now, what the changes look like, what the voter registrations look like, for then, now and future.

 

Chair Cody referred to the last RESOLVED clause …shall by majority vote prepare a written report and make recommendations to the Onondaga County Legislature no later than March 31, 2019.  Mr. Ryan said that will need to be changed, it was from the original resolution.

 

Mr. Rowley asked if the plan is subject to a public hearing.  Mr. Durr said that it is, as it’s a change in the Charter; it is not needed to take this resolution into consideration.  Mr. Rowley said at the end of the day, when we are done with the process and have a new map, we will amend the Charter, and hold a public hearing.  He said he is leery about commissions usurping the power of the Legislature.  Whatever process we come up with--this, a hybrid, or something else completely different, it will be a change to the Charter, it’s subject to a public hearing; there will be input from all over the place on it – from the public and groups that Mr. Ryan has cited making up this commission.  There will be ample opportunity to poke holes in it; if not have it litigated at the end of the day.  He said he is not sold on the need for a commission of this type at this point.

 

Mr. Jordan said that he is not sure what the purpose of this is.  If members of the public or organizations want to have input in the process, doesn’t know that we need a commission to do that.  Whatever group has ideas for the Charter to be amended to make the process better; they are free to do that.  By having a commission, it may be restricting things a little bit, because now the commission would be making recommendations, and there may be other ideas that perhaps we wouldn’t be made privy to because the committee had voted to exclude the ideas from consideration.  The input Mr. Ryan is talking about, can be made anyway; is not sure how this adds or improves the process.  

 

Mr. Ryan referred to litigation and noted that the three examples he gave are just the cases that have been litigated through the system and may be going all the way up to U.S. Supreme Court.  There are many, many examples all over the country that citizens have brought forth and now have to be litigated.  Many people feel their voting rights and First Amendment Rights have been infringed upon.  He is trying to avoid litigation by doing this a better way, taking the feedback.  He said that we don’t have to accept the feedback and recommendations; “if we don’t, then that’s on us; if we do some, then we chose to do that; if we ignore it in totally, then I guess that is the prerogative as well.”  He said that to the other point of excluding people, he disagrees.  He does not want to exclude people.  A lot of people were excluded, and that could have been done a better way.  If we turn it the other way, we are making it more inclusive; if including community leaders, a 7 person panel – involving in the committee, well regarded, academia, scholars, that can then provide feedback, we are being inclusionary – doing a better process and making the process work as a whole.  Mr. Jordan said that all of those entities, public organizations, can still provide input without this commission -- without this commission sifting through all of this information, opinions, and viewpoints, and then coming up with a report or recommendation.  That recommendation will presumably not include every recommendation that’s out there; so to that extent they are sifting it down to what they believe to be a salient issue and point to be made; this legislature may not be privy to or have access to other ideas, as the committee may have decided to exclude those ideas.  Whereas, having the process be as open as possible, anybody could submit their suggestions, recommendations, and ideas to this legislature or to the current committee, and they can decide and sift through all of the information and accept whatever ideas they believe would help the process.  He feels this would actually limit the focus, not broaden the focus.

 

Mrs. Ervin said that does not happen unless something prompts anybody and everybody to do that.  This committee, by doing they report, will encourage more folks to have input.  The last time the reapportionment was done, there was a public hearing; it was sub-profound at best.  It was not an open, transparent process, although said to be that way.  This will make it possible for use to open up even more of the process going forward.  We do not have to accept all of the recommendations of the report from the advisory committee, but it would be an opportunity for other eyes to look at how we do things and solicit input from more people outside of us.  It is not taking anything away from us; we are not being confined by advice they would be giving us, but it’s more input for us to use going forward for things that need to be done to make it an open and clear process.

 

Mr. Jordan said that he was here last time this was done and recalls there was a great deal of input received.  Legislators were getting email and information all of the time throughout the whole process.  There was an awful lot of information and input provided by outside individuals and organizations.  Mrs. Ervin said that she was here and doesn’t see it the same way.

 

Mr. May said that this is a good discussion; reiterated that this is brand new to him and is learning.  He is hearing things that we should take into consideration.  Mr. May said that Mr. Ryan said that he is not being critical, but want to do things better.  He asked him to provide 1, 2, or 3 things that would be his priorities as he undertook this profess.  Mr. Ryan said “civic engagement.”  Mr. May asked if there is anything specific within that.  Mr. Ryan said that establishing a 7 person panel:  3, 3, and 1 joint pick, encourage participation, get invested, intelligent community leaders, we encourage civic engagement; thinks we can make the process better.  Mr. May asked if Mr. Ryan’s goal with all of this is to engage the public better.  Mr. Ryan said “correct”.  Mr. May asked if Mr. Ryan feels the current process may not engage the best minds, the people most capable of actually administering the reapportionment process.  Mr. Ryan said that he just wants additional layers; does not want to be critical of anyone’s intentions who was on the panel before.  He said that he thinks if we have more eyes and ideas, and we could learn a thing or two, and potentially adopt some of those, we would be better off, as would the general public.

 

Mr. May asked Mr. Durr if there was any litigation based on the last time around.  Mr. Durr said that he didn’t believe so; was not here at the time, but will look into it.  Mrs. Ervin said that “there wasn’t, but there should have been.  There were people preparing to do something, but they did not go forward.”  Mr. May asked if Mrs. Ervin feels that it was because of the main goal that Mr. Ryan portrayed was insufficient.  Mrs. Ervin said that she thinks the politics involved precluded them from going forward.

 

Chairman Knapp said that he is learning a lot; there were roughly five members of the current legislature that were on 10 years ago when this happened.  The last time was a significant change because we went from 19 members to 17 and the lines had to be redrawn quite a bit.  He suggested that language be added into the resolution for this committee to hold a public hearing for their process.  There will be more than 7 people that will want to have input on this.  He suggested they hold a public hearing in the middle of their process; in the beginning they can figure out scope, but have the public hearing before the end, before they have made decisions.  He also suggested that the actual panel should possibly have a public meeting before the end of the process, before it gets to the legislature.  He said that this is a good discussion.

 

Mr. Ryan said that in the 3rd to last RESOLVED there was a slight modification…shall convene in open meetings to study, review, and evaluate the best practices for reapportioning the legislative districts with Onondaga County…  He said that he included “open meetings” for full transparency – it’s for the public by the public, and getting them more engaged and open is beneficial to everybody.  In a sense, for every time that they convene or meet, for all intents and purposes, it is a public hearing; the public is invited.  Chairman Knapp asked if every meeting will be opened with a public comment.  Mr. Ryan agreed. 

 

5.     LEGISLATURE:

       a.     Appointing Legislative Counsel for the Onondaga County Legislature (Sponsored by Mr. Ryan) 

Mr. Ryan:

  • Spoke on the floor (Jan. session) that in the past multiple firms have been provided; sent to committee
  • Sometimes have conflicts of interest or need other areas of expertise; no guarantee they would be utilized, but are there if need 

Chairman Knapp agreed; it’s good to have others in the system, then if they are needed, we can react quickly.  There is an error in the resolution, as the Frateschi firm was already approved last month.  The Wladis firm submitted a quote and should be on the resolution.  A quote was never received from the Bousquet Holstein firm.

 

Mr. May made a motion to amend the resolution to remove Baldwin, Sutphen & Frateschi, PLLC, and replace with the The Wladis Law Firm, seconded by Mr. Jordan.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

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

 

6.     BOARD OF ELECTIONS:  Dustin Czarny, Michelle Sardo, Commissioners

       a.     Transfer from Parks Dept, Acct. 693000 Supplies & Materials, to Board of Elections, Acct. 69300, Supplies & Materials, $48,000; Transfer from Facilities Management, Acct. 694100 All Other Expenses, to Board of Elections, Acct, 694100, All Other Expenses, $27,000

 

Mr. Czarny:

Distributed the following memo:

 

January 28, 2019

To:           Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Dave Knapp, Minority Leader Linda Ervin, Ways and Means

                 Chair Debra Cody, Deputy County Executive Brian Donnelly

From:       Onondaga County Board of Elections Commissioners Dustin Czarny & Michele Sardo

RE:           Request for transfer of funds for Board of elections shortfalls of 2018 budget

 

Ahead of tomorrow’s Ways and Means Committee agenda, we wanted to give you some information regarding the unprecedented year we had in 2018 at the Onondaga County Board of Elections.  When preparing our 2018 budget request, the Board of Elections looks at previous comparable election cycle activity to make our conclusions as best as possible.  We anticipate worst case scenarios in terms of number of primaries and anticipated costs to determine budget fields based on previous similar years.  Normally the cuts to our budget that occur after submission by the Executive and Legislative process can be absorbed since the worst case scenarios are rarely realized and per Election Law, we are mandated to spend beyond our budgetary amounts if it is deemed by the Board necessary to operating an election.  As you can see, even if the budget cuts for our 2018 proposed budget did not happen, we would have exceeded these budgetary lines because of the unprecedented activity for a mid-term election.

 

For 2018 we based our calculations on the last gubernatorial election of 2014.  However since there was no Federal Primary in 2014 we based our numbers for the Federal Primary on the 2016 Federal Primary.  When making these determinations, in the Spring and Summer of 2017, we had no idea of what candidates planned to run or how intense the fervor of the electorate may be.  It turns out 2018 eclipsed 2014 and rivaled a presidential year in terms of registration, turnout, and costs. 

 

Every expectation of election metrics we use to determine costs was shattered in 2018 when compared to previous history.  See the following stats:

 

Federal Primary Metrics                       2016 Totals            2018 totals             Percentage Increase

Absentees Mailed                                     1,387                         2,149                         54.94%
Ballots Printed                                           46,550                       45,825                       -1.56%

Votes Cast                                                10,590                       19,116                       80.51%

 

State & Local Primary Metrics          2014 Totals            2018 totals             Percentage Increase

Absentees Mailed                                     1,415                         2,931                         107.14%
Ballots Printed                                           44,230                       68,840                       55.64%

Votes Cast                                                13,521                       27,073                       100.23%

 

General Election Metrics                     2014 Totals            2018 totals             Percentage Increase

Absentees Mailed                                     7,408                         12,582                       69.84%
Ballots Printed                                           228,050                     290,750                     27.49%

Votes Cast                                                137,298                     180,330                     31.34%

 

In addition to the normal Election metrics we saw a registration surge that caused havoc in our office.  In 2014 we processed a total of 19,285 registration forms.  In 2018 that number ballooned to 67,001.  That is a 247.43% increase and eclipses the number of registration forms we processed during 2016, a Presidential Election Year (53,440).  Much of this registration surge happened after the cut off for the local primary thus causing our office to work 12 hour days to get ready for the General Election.  Further complicating matters was a late court case that delayed our absentee and machine preparations causing us to rely on part time help to be ready for the election.

 

All of these increased metrics caused the Board of Elections to spend more in supplies than anticipated.  Each Absentee Ballot and registration form processed increased our mailing costs.  The increased ballot demands increased our paper costs.  Increased volume and the need to do full poll sites for both primaries increased our trucking costs throughout the year.

 

The late breaking nature of all of these items delayed us from realizing the anticipated budget shortfalls until late in the year.  In September we contacted our budget analysts when we realized that the invoice for our Mail Check cards from NTS was unable to be paid due to lack of funds.  We were unable to follow up or get a resolution on it until after certification of the General Election.  The invoice for Brown’s Trucking came after the General Election.  In the future we will have plans in place to try and identify these costs earlier.  However the Onondaga County Board of elections has never dealt with such a radical shortfall and late breaking events in the past and we view this as a learning experience.  We do anticipate the new political calendar passed by the NYS Legislature with added space between the primary and the General Election will allow for us to identify future budget shortfalls.

 

As we look ahead to 2020 and determine the budget for the Onondaga County Board of Elections, we should look at staffing levels as well.  Currently the Onondaga County Board of Elections averages 1 fulltime staffer for every 18k voters.  This is the worst staffing ratio of the 56 counties (exempting New York City) in the State of New York.  The other counties average 1 full time staffer for every 7,300 voters.  While the Board of Elections is authorized to set salary and staffing levels under Election Law we have always worked with Onondaga County to meet the staffing levels.  We have done so by investing in technology and the hard work of our dedicated Election Staff who often work long hours without overtime compensation.  Please see the attached spreadsheet for staffing ratios throughout the State of New York.

 

As we look to the Presidential year of 2020 we usually hire 4 full time temporary workers during such a year.  We will present some options to the legislature to make at least two of those workers permanent hires.  We anticipate we can offset some of the costs in future years by reducing our reliance on part time help who work at a higher rate and less efficiently than dedicated full time employees.

 

Mr. Czarny continued:

  • Look at previous cycles to determine what budgets are for elections; for 2018 looked at 2014 cycle, the last gubernatorial cycle
  • 2018 saw an election year that behaved more like a presidential election year
  • Did not have a federal primary in 2014; used 2016 as a metric to determine the number of ballets to print
  • 55% increase in absentee ballots, 85% increase in turnout from the federal primary from 2016 to 2018 – required more cost:  mailing, ballots, etc.
  • Local, Sept. primary – saw 107% increase in absentee ballots from 2014; 55% increase in ballots to print,
  • 100% increased turnout for state and local primaries from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2018
  • General election – 70% increase in absentee ballots – close to presidential level; 290,000 ballots printed – 30% increase from 2014
  • Registration – processed 67,000 forms in 2018; in 2014 processed 19,285 – increase of 250%; eclipsed presidential year of 2016 which was 53,000 registration forms
  • Metrics show mailing and ballot cost went up; office was on 12 hr. days from the Sept. primary on
  • Court case dragged out – delayed programing of machines; Judge took 12 days to issue a decision – put BOE on hold and cost bringing in extra temporary help

Ms. Sardo:

  • When the court case was over, had to re-send out absentee ballots and order more supplies to do so

Mr. Czarny:

  • The new calendar will prevent a lot of this from happening
  • Caused 2 major bills:  NTS mail check cards and Browns Trucking, transportation for general election – came in Sept, and in November no longer had money to pay for it – money already spent on extra balloting and mailing
  • NTS bill identified in Sept., but due to 12 hour days, were not able to properly address it until after certifying general election – apologized and will have processes in the future to identify this earlier and resolve it earlier
  • Always been good about coming in under budget, but this was an unprecedented year and a lot was out of our control

Chair Cody asked about travel expenses:

Mr. Czarny:

  • Travel in office was lower this year than previous years; went a little over in travel line because had to pay for education classes for temporary help

Ms. Sardo:

  • A technician who worked on the machines had to be sent for training

Mr. Czarny:

  • Training cost wasn’t anticipated in budget as the technician was hired yet

 

Ms. Sardo:

  • This year will be even tougher to keep the budget within reason because of having to buy electronic poll books
  • Do not have funding for it; when machines were purchased originally, they were federally funded; won’t be this time

Mr. Czarny:

  • Have some HAVA money to use on some of the poll books – waiting and hoping, and advocating for NYS to provide funding to local counties for the cost of early voting
  • Won’t know exactly if more will be needed; it depends on the primary--will know by the beginning of April
  • Early voting is not mandated for the primary this year; it is mandated for the general election; working through the costs – approximately $47,000 inspector costs
  • Depending on how many sites, if there are electronic poll books at each site – poll books cost  $1,200 - $1,500 each
  • May be able to buy early voting equipment through HAVA funds for this year; 2020 if move the entire county, we will need electronic poll books for entire county
  • Print shop will be able to re-print poll books after the last election day to save money for this year; but may not be possible in the presidential election year

 Chair Cody asked how many sites there will be around the county.  Ms. Sardo said that there would be six.  Mr. Czarny said the legislation says one for every 50K voters – have 290K voters right now.  The goal is for them to be on demand sites – anybody from anywhere in the county can go to any site, print a ballot, and vote.  That will eliminate some of the costs – won’t have to have as many inspectors there.  In answer to Chair Cody, Mr. Czarny said it will be for 9 days starting the 10th day before the elections.  Chair Cody said there was no money in the executive budget for this; Mr. Czarny agreed.  The legislature has said they are going to put it in; adding that he has advocated for it and is going to Albany on February 11th to advocate for local funding.  Chair Cody asked if there isn’t any state funding, what is the projected cost to operate 6 locations.  Mr. Czarny said that for 2019 they have HAVA funds to cover equipment; $50,000 of inspector funds may or may not be covered in the 2019 budget – if do not have a county-wide primary, may be able to cover it in current budget.  They will run out of HAVA money for the presidential election.  Chair Cody said that a cost savings is anticipated with the one primary.  Mr. Czarny said that they will save $174,000, which is what is spent on a federal primary.  He said that the legislature put an unfunded mandated on us 2012 to do the extra primary.

 

Mr. May said that he understands the unprecedented nature of the situation and understands that this has to be done to balance the books for 2018.  He does not understand why this is being talked about now when it was known a while ago.  Knowing about it, planning for it, is important.  When departments are running hot budget wise, the legislature hears about it sooner than later in most instances.  More importantly when they know they will run hot, we work with them to get some sort of projections in writing – we know there is problem, we know there are things that we don’t control and are being driven down from on high.  Then, they can be planned for and decisions can be made about other things.  He asked the Commissioners to provide a projection for the year; everything discussed in a single sheet.  Mr. Czarny said they plan on doing that going forward.  He said he does not want to make excuses because they should have been able to get in here earlier.  Part of the problem was that a lot of this happened in the Sept – November timeframe; Sept. primary was far higher than ever thought.  All of this was happening in the back drop of everyone working 12 hour days to get the registration done.  He said that they have process in place now; will have monthly budget meetings.  The new calendar will help too – June primary farther away from general election, can certify the June primary and see where they are budget wise – have plenty of time to notify the legislature where the shortfalls or windfalls are.  Mr. May said proactively – talk about how it will be done in 2019; get a project once in awhile to the legislature.  Ms. Sardo said that they will know more after April.  Mr. May said that a lot is known today, and suggested they start with what they know and update it in April 

 

Mr. Jordan said that normally if a department is going over budget, they come to the committee with a breakdown with which lines they have gone over and why.  He suggested that BOE do the same thing for this.  Mr. Czarny said that the transfers show which lines are over.  Mr. Jordan said that extra staffing was talking about and that would be reflected in the particular lines.  Mr. Czarny said the staffing was to point out how much paperwork they were dealing with, which increased mailing costs, supplies line.  He reiterated the explanation about the shortfall for NTS and Brown’s Trucking in the supplies line, and the training and education costs (travel).  

 

Chair Cody referred to the court case and asked about the deadline.  Mr. Czarny said that there is a 45 day deadline for military and overseas voters; try to send local absentees along with that.  Because of the Supreme Court case, the entire Republican, Conservation tickets were on, then off, then went to appeal, and the judge took 12 days to decide.  Election Law says that they have to decide within 24 hrs. in a general election case.  Every county in the judicial district was waiting on this--not able to send out ballots until 21 days before the election--were not able to program the machines until then also.  It caused bringing in extra help to get it done. 

 

In answer to Mr. Bottrill regarding the locations for the early voting, Mr. Czarny said that the locations will be determined by the BOE commissioners.  Mr. Bottrill asked if it based on geography or population.  Mr. Czarny said it depends on if they do on demand balloting.  If so, they can be spread out more – more geographically located.  If it’s regional, then have to put them near population centers.  Southern tier doesn’t’ have a lot of people – hoping to have on demand to have a center closer to them - more geographical locations.  In answer to Chair Cody, Mr. Czarny said that they are 8 hour shifts for weekdays, 5 hour shifts weekend; 2 weekdays have to be open until 8:00 p.m.  He said they will not do anything expansive until they see how the public uses this.

 

Chairman Knapp said it would be prudent to have BOE come back in March and give a report; hopefully will have an idea of what is going on with the state at that point. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that he understands that there are different ways of buying things – there is quick claim method and a contract type method.  Invoice, contract type method goes through PeopleSoft; the quick claim goes a securitas route and then back around.  If it went through PeopleSoft we would have known immediately that there was a budget problem, where with the quick claim route, you don’t find out until later.  BOE was using the quick claim method; he said he doesn’t know the advantages or disadvantages, but asked if it something that should be looked at changing.  Mr. Maturo said that normally, expenditures within the county go through an encumbrance process.  They go through a requisition, to PO or contract, and then the money is set aside, appropriated, and held.  He said that if there are expenses that BOE knows they are going to have, and they have estimates, those expenses should be encumbered.  That way they money is locked up and then we don’t get to September without enough money for transportation because of all of the other expenses.  It wouldn’t have changed these deficits, but the discussion would have taken place a lot sooner.  Management and Budget would be seeing the issue also.  Mr. Morgan said that his office had this conversation with the BOE commissioners and the deputy county executive.  They have agreed to comply with whatever the county purchasing process is to avoid this.  There may be emergencies, but there is a process in place for that as well.  Mr. Czarny said that the quick claim was directed under the previous administration, as to how they should do it.  He said that they will work with the deputy county executive and the Budget office to follow that exact process.  Mr. Maturo added the BOE has some discretion with vendor expenses, but it shouldn’t bypass the whole encumbrance process which allows staying within budget or getting a better idea when you are going to go over.

 

Chairman Knapp referenced the importance of communication, and noted that when the Neulander trial was going on, the District Attorney was calling the legislature almost weekly because they had a lot of unforeseen expenses associated with the trial.  The DA was letting us know where he was and luckily was able to absorb everything.

 

Mr. Rowley asked if we know how to do on-demand balloting.  Mr. Czarny said that they do.  Ms. Sardo said that there is a machine that is plugged into the system; a voter goes in, picks the ballot for the district they are in and the ballot automatically prints.  Mr. Rowley asked if that technology will be needed at all locations.  Mr. Czarny said that there are two options, but does not think the touch screen, which prints a ballot and then scan into another thing, will be ready in 2019.  Dominion, the vendor, will be showing them an on-demand balloting printer.  It hooks into an electronic poll book; the voter signs in, hits a button and their ballot is printed on demand.  It will save money in the long run – won’t have wasted ballots, and the technology to print that will cost less per ballot than what we spend to print at the County print shop right now.  Instead of 13¢ per ballot, it will be 9¢.  Incumbent for that to happen is the electronic poll books, and that legislation hasn’t passed.  Today it will be passed by the Assembly and thinks it will pass the Senate in the next week or so. 

 

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

 

Ms. Sardo asked if the legislature would like to be invited to the presentation from NTS.  The consensus of the committee was that that would.  Chair Knapp asked that Ms. Sardo to share the date and time with legislators.

 

7.     SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT BOARD:

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onon. Co. Soil & Water Conservation Dist. Bd. (Julie Abbott-Kenan)

Chairman Knapp:

  • A vacancy exists on the board –  he has been on the board for many years, and with his new role and Julie Abbott-Kenan coming onto the legislature, felt it was a good time to move off it and put Ms. Abbott-Kenan on
  • Ms. Abbott-Kenan represents a district which has much of our water supply in it between Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes--it’s where a lot of Soil and Water Conservation District’s efforts are
  • Working with Otisco Lake Association and Skaneateles Lake Association, which she is a member – will help improve coordination and communication between the two

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

  

Chair Cody took the agenda out of order.

 

10.   HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION:

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights (Khadijo Abdulkadir, Cyrstal Doody) (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

Chairman Knapp:

  • Thanked Chair Cody for her flexibility and Clerk Maturo for the agenda/resolution adjustments made this morning
  • Item was scheduled for next month’s Ways & Means meeting, but received information that without these two individuals, the Commission does not have a quorum
  • Reappointments – individuals served well and want to continue

Mrs. Ervin noted that there are other appointments from the County Executive that need to be on the February session agenda next week.  These two appointments will still not allow a quorum.  Chairman Knapp said that if the County Executive provides them quickly, a waiver can be considered.

 

In answer to Ms. Ervin about the number of appointments, Ms. Gewanter distributed a memo, and stated that it lays it out very clearly:

 

Status of Human Rights Commission Appointments (as of 2/28/19)           Note:     Vote on Board Officers at 2/20/19 Meeting

11 Current Commissioners (out of 24 Total Commissioners)

 

CE Appointments  (12 Total)                                   Leg Appointments  (6 Total)                   Mayoral Appointments  (6 Total)

1. Shiu-Kai Chin      (-> 12/2019)                            1. Dave Pasinski    (->12/2020)               1. Steve Butler    (->12/2019)

2. Suzette Melendez  (-> 12/2020)                           2. Rosalie Young    (-> 12/2020)              2. John Rushing  (-> 12/2019)

3. Francis Parks     (-> 12/2019)                             3. Robert Gardino (-> 12/2019)               3. Shelly Skellington (-> 12/2019)

4. Leo Sanchez (Chair)  (-> 12/2020)                      4. Through 6.   See Below                       4. Through 6.   See Below

5. Mary A. Smothers   (-> 12/2020)

6. through 12. See Below

 

Need appointment for 12 Commissioners, including 6 whose terms ended 12/31/18.

 

7 CE Appt.                 Rabbi Daniel Fellman (Co-Chair)    Willing to be Reappointed 

                                     Bruce Carter (Secretary)                   Willing to be Reappointed

   5 OPEN POSITIONS                             1 due to 1/19/19 death of Commissioner S. Guckert

4 due to 2018 Resignations: Rev Alex, Rev. Mackey, G. Ramos, J. Suslovic

 

3 Leg Appt.               Crystal Doody                                       Willing to be Reappointed (Initiated in Leg Process)

   Khadijo Abdulkadir                            Willing to be Reappointed (Initiated in Leg Process)

   1 OPEN POSITION                               Due to Resignation of Montanette Murphy (on Staff)

 

2 Mayor Appt.  Sanjay Chhablani                                      Willing to be Reappointed

   Jeff Tamburo                                         Willing to be Reappointed

   1 OPEN POSITION                               Due to Relocation & Resulting 1/2019 Resignation of Suzie Carman

 

In a letter dated 10/24/18 to the new CE and new Leg Chair Board Chair Leo Sanchez provided the Leg Chair resumes for 4 Suggested Candidates:  Barbara Johnson, Liban Mohamed, Harris Lindenfeld, John Johnson.  In Feb. Barrie will offer Exec. Comm. resumed from potential new candidates Ali Adan & Tasha Washington.

 

Note:       The Executive Committee of this board feels strongly that individual board members whose terms have expired may not vote on board business, despite the fact that they are waiting to be reappointed and expect that this will occur.  The Executive Committee would accept the ability to vote on an interim basis during this period IF they were informed directly by the related appointing authority (CE, Leg Chair, Mayor) that this was acceptable.

 

Status of Justice Center Oversight Committee (JCOC) Appointments                     Note:  Next (as of 2/28/19) Board Meeting on 2/6/19

 

5 Current Board Members  (out of 9 Total)

 

CE Appointments  (2 Total)                  Leg Appointments  (6 Total)                             Mayoral Appointments  (1 Total)

1. Dr. Jen Yolles (->12/2019)                1. Carlton Strail   (->12/2020)                          1.  See Below

2. See Below                                              2. Cassandra J. Ingram  (-> 12/2020)

                                                                     3. Jeffrey Marier  (-> 12/2019)  

                                                                     4. Nicholas Paro   (-> 12/2019)

                                                                     5. & 6.  See Below

 

Need Appointment for 4 Board Members, including 2 whose terms ended 12/31/18

 

1 CE Appointment:                  1 OPEN POSITION                              Dr. Dennis Nave UNWILLING to be reappointed

 

2 Leg Appointments:               Marissa Mims, Chair                        Willing to Be Reappointed

Leg Chair Expected to Re-appoint Marissa soon

 1 OPEN POSITION                            Allan LaFlore is UNWILLING to be reappointed (Allan was 1 of 2 board members with prior law enforcement experience)

 

1 Mayor Appointment:  Dr. Salaam Jennings-Bey     Re-appointment reviewed by Public Safety Comm.  1/9/19  & forwarded for Leg Session Vote 2/5/19

 

On behalf of the board, Barrie has provided the Deputy County Exec. for Human Services resumes for 3 candidates including a pharmacist and an MSW.  In Feb. Barrie will provide a 4th candidate resume.

 

Note:    In contrast to the HRC Board, the members of the JCOC Board accept the idea that individual board members whose terms have expired may vote on board business, despite the fact that they are waiting to be reappointed.

 

Mrs. Ervin said that the members have worked very hard, but the Commission can’t do their work without the members being officially on it.  Mr. May said that this has been communicated and it’s clear with the County Executive.  Mrs. Ervin agreed that it has and hopes they provide a resolution. 

 

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

 

8.     FINANCE, DIVISION OF MANAGEMENT & BUDGETSteve Morgan, CFO

        a.     Monthly Report - Double Encumbered Positions (Res. 86-2018)

  • Required monthly reporting
  • A new one was added – on and then off immediately – new deputy commissioner of WEP – because of the way the pay period straddled the 2 years
  • A lot of these will be coming off because positions were created in 2019; a lot will drop off next month

Mr. May said that we seem to be where we want to be from a reporting standpoint; thanked Mr. Morgan for his patience and flexibility.  At this point, he asked what the process will be – do we need to receive a report every time or just acknowledge it.  The report will come in advance of Ways & Means.  He asked if Mr. Morgan will come to the table and walk the committee through the list every time or if we are going to announce that it has been received, ask if there are questions, and take it from there.  Chair Cody said that she believes Mr. Jordan had requested the monthly walk through.  Mr. Morgan said that if the report is the same, you aren’t going to hear anything different.  Mr. May said that he is not talking about the report – is talking about what will be done in the meeting.  Chair Cody said that Mr. Jordan had requested bringing the department heads over for each one.

 

Chairman Knapp said that he thinks the report should be received every month.  Mr. May added that it would be at the meeting.  Chairman Knapp said that if there is no changes, Mr. Morgan or Ms. Venditti will be here, and can take questions on anything.  If there is an addition, then the department will come over.  Mr. May said that if the timing is before the agenda is published, then everyone would have time to take a look at it.  Mr. Morgan said that the requirement is that if it is 90 days or more, that the department head comes over.

 

Mr. Jordan said that one of the positions has been double encumbered for over a year.  The resolution requires requires that they come to the legislature to get approval for the double encumbrance to continue, and that hasn’t happened.  He pointed out that on the report, one has been encumbered since September of last year, one from June of last year, three from January of last year year, etc. – there are quite a few that have been double encumbered for multiple months, if not over a year.  No one has come to the committee and said why they are lasting so long.  Some of them were supposed to be eliminated as of Dec. 31st or Jan. 1st and are still on the books as double encumbrances.  Mr. Morgan said that the notes explain that people will be moving into different positions.  Mr. Jordan pointed out that one is January, it says “as soon as possible”, and it’s been over a year.  Mr. Morgan said he needs direction from this body -- he brought legislation over to fix all of these and it was said told that it wasn’t wanted.  Mr. Jordan said that the resolution passed said that if they are double encumber for over 90 days, you need to come back to the legislature and get permission and that hasn’t happen.  Mr. Morgan said that is what he did – brought legislation over to the legislature to do just that and it was pushed back to him.  Mr. Jordan said that it didn’t come to committee; Mr. Morgan said that it never made it to committee.  Ms. Venditti said that last month all of the departments’ people spoke to the positions that were filled for more than 90 days. Mr. Jordan said that he has concern for these being on for quite a long time.

 

9.     LAW DEPARTMENT:

        a.     Settlement of Claim

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session to consider the matter of Hamilton V. County of Onondaga, seconded by Mr. Rowley.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

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

 

Chair Cody noted for the record that no actions of votes were taken during executive session.

 

A resolution was distributed entitled “Authorizing the Settlement of the Action Filed with the United States District Court, Northern District of New York, Sean Hamilton V. County of Onondaga, New York; Ethan Warren; Matt Millis; Larry VanHoltz; Mark Toth; and Fred Isaacs.  

 

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

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Rowley to adjourn at 10:50 a.m.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

signature

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

attendance

 

 

 

 

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