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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 - JULY 10, 2013

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN 

 

Members Present: Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Shepard, Ms. Williams

Also Attending: See attached list

 

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.  Chair Plochocki stated a quorum was not present at the June committee meeting therefore, minutes need to be approved for both the May and June meetings.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the May committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the May committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing in Connection With Authorizing Various Green and Innovative Infrastructure Projects Located Outside the Amended Consent Judgment Area as Outlined in Local Law 1-2011 for the Purpose of Mitigating Inflow and Infiltration of Stormwater into the Consolidated Sanitary District Sewer System

  • $2m in green projects for town and village municipalities within sanitary district; deluged with applications – will come back with specific projects to be approved and funded; close coordination between legislature and county executive for final list of projects; some many good projects they are trying to find creative ways to build more projects in using other tools
  • Conduct public hearing on expenditure; projects remove extraneous flow from sewer system

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated their intention is to come back to the committee with their final list after the public hearing for approval and funding of specific projects.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Chairman Plochocki stated the actual date for the public hearing is listed in the resolution under the final resolved clause in Section 1 (September 3, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.).

A motion was made by Ms. Williams to approve this item.

Chairman Plochocki stated actual projects, with dollars amounts, do not have to be determined at this time, in order to continue this lengthy process.  Mr. Rhoads stated the purpose of the public hearing is to advise the community of your intention to spend up to $2 million dollars on these projects.  Chairman Plochocki added this is merely the next procedural step in the process.  Earlier we approved solicitation for these projects, having ear marked $2 million dollars for this.  

Seconded by Mrs. Rapp.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        b.     Informational:  Consolidated Sanitary District Sewer System

Mr. Millea advised the committee that he had to leave for another event but wanted to thank them on behalf of himself, Mr. Rhoads and the County Executive.  This update is a result of discussions with the Chairman at the end of last year’s budget cycle.  He strongly recommended that we come to this committee, well in advance of the budget being sent over in September, to begin discussion on where we anticipate the sewer use fee going.  Mr. Millea added he believes the discussion will be very robust and enlightening and hopefully lead us down a path were we will talk broadly about the use of the sanitary system, the administrative structure, and how we charge residents for services delivered.  He thanked Mr. Rhoads for his leadership and apologized for having to leave; adding he looks forward to following up at future meetings.

Chairman Plochocki stated this is part two of last month’s discussion.  The bottom-line is, as with all municipalities in the Northeast and beyond, we have an aging wastewater infrastructure.  Most of the pipes were put in 75-100 years ago and have reached their life span.  This is not only causing high maintenance costs but also leading into many other areas, which Mr. Rhoads will discuss.  The problem is not going away.  The need for appropriate infrastructure repair and replacement is one of the most important things we do in this county; ranking a close second and climbing to the work we do with Onondaga Lake.  

Chairman Plochocki stated Mr. Rhoads would be predominantly talking about a rate study.  Our legislature hates studies more than any other.  There is very little stomach for another study on anything, however calling this a study does not give everyone a true picture of what this is.  We have a system that is approaching future economic unsustainability and is already at a point of economic difficulty.  We need to consider all of our options.  The study will consider what the future of our infrastructure should be and how it should be paid for, not just the rates.  It will address all sorts of options from consolidation, to borrowing, to rate raising and more.  We will not be making any decisions today or in the near future but that does not mean that this is not very important. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if we would be making a decision on this item during budget.   Chairman Plochocki responded the goal is to make a decision on the study itself, by budget.  Mr. Rhoads stated a request would be coming forward.  Chairman Plochocki added that the rate study is just the beginning of a long process.  The study was thrown at the legislature during last year’s budget proposal, however the County Executive’s office was kind enough to pulled it back for a year and take the appropriate prep time to explain to the legislature the reasons for this step by step.  

Mr. Rhoads stated the presentation will build on last month’s discussion of infrastructure capacity constraints; dated infrastructure starting to wear out, causing capacity constraints and decline in service levels.  This is a significant matter and will likely involve a multiyear debate and discussion; not suggesting this be passed with immediate resolve.  

1     2

3   4

WEP is one of the largest energy consumers in all of Onondaga County.

Low flat rate fee based on high volume of flow; typical household will not generate 140k gallons; fee based on flow – not a tax

5   6

American Society of Civil Engineers gave national wastewater a grade D

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated Onondaga County is not represented in the 50-city study; study represents the largest cities in the United States. 

 

Mrs. Rapp stated she thought electricity charges were down.  Mr. Rhoads responded that in general they are, especially for residential users.  There have been increases across the board for major users, such as us.  We also have a number of new facilities that will be coming on line.  These storage facilities use a lot of energy.   

7

 

Clean water adds value to our property and economic viability to our community; figures are based on NACWA numbers; cannot have economic growth, or suburban/urban municipal existence without wastewater infrastructure; need to overcome barrier together - determine how to influence community to understand the importance of making infrastructure investments, the same sort of investments being made for cable, cell phones and energy   

8   9

Requested 5% rate increase last year, received about .5% - pay now or later situation, could result in consent orders; in addition $130m in gray projects are coming online this year adding new debt

 

Mrs. Rapp asked how much debt service would increase with the addition of the gray projects coming online.  Mr. Rhoads stated he did not have the exact number.  Mrs. Rapp stated it is currently at $13 million; asked if this would be a 2% or 25% increase.  Mr. Rhoads responded that we are talking about a 22% increase in debt service, without the use of fund balance.  We have some reserves but by not making gradual increases, this stuff starts to come on in one big wallop.  We will skip through the fund balance in a hurry, if we are not careful.  Mrs. Rapp stated this was her worst-case scenario.

Mrs. Rapp questioned how they could have a 20% growth in the number of pump stations but still be serving he same number of units.  Mr. Rhoads stated that people are moving out of one area and into another; e.g., Village of Camillus is losing users, the Town of Camillus is gaining users with the building of new infrastructure.  We still need to maintain village infrastructure, without as many users and maintain the spread of infrastructure into the town.  Our units are at 180,000, may go up or down 1,000 but 180,000 is the right round number.  We are not seeing significant growth in the base units.

 

10   11

      

A lot of stormwater runoff comes from parking lots-do not pay sanitary fees but send lots of flow; residential load not typical load for business enterprises, currently only 2 tiers high industrial or residential – number of restaurants and business fall somewhere in between; building and reserving capacity for developments but not receiving fee until homes are built and occupied.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked how stormwater fees would be measured and imposed.  Mr. Rhoads responded the fee would be based on the amount of impervious surface.  In the monthly lake report, he talks about how we duce this for lake and stormwater modeling.  A fee for stormwater would provide an incentive for private entities to add rain gardens or bio-retention swales to their parking lots for reduced flow, ultimately reducing their fee.   

Mrs. Rapp asked if there would be an opportunity for seniors living alone to see rate reductions.  Mr. Rhoads responded that this was a great question.  You would typically look at these and other things.  Their flow would be different for flow-based fees.  Typically, when you do a major rate evaluation study, you also look at means testing.  This could be a policy decision that you may or may not want to get into - would people have the means and would there be a vehicle for people with their own personal rate stress issues, to have a smaller payment.  We would still try to incentivize people to use less water, causing less water to come into our treatment plants.  These and other scenarios need to be very carefully considered; strongly suggests having an outside source perform the study.  WEP could do the study but having an outside source adds their national expertise and discussion; where they have seen successes and failures, what some of the policy issues are and provides third party bias.  WEP is not trying to drive you in a certain direction; believe it will be a robust study and policy debate with the County Executive and all the County Legislators.  We are not trying to say here is the fix.  We are saying there is real rate stress coming on and there are inherent fairness issues that we should consider, as we move thru to the next phase; is there a better way to apply rates to all of our customers and incentivize them to reduce their flow.  Currently there is no incentive with a flat rate unit charge. 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated they had proposed $200,000 for a study.  Mrs. Rapp questioned if we couldn’t just read this presentation and figure it out.  Mr. Rhoads stated we are asking you to consider funding the study.  The amount is a budget figure, a competitive procurement would be done and we would come back to you with the best price, once awarded.    

For the record, Chairman Plochocki stated he is playing devil’s advocate.  He is not necessarily endorsing the $200,000 dollar price tag, as it does seem excessive, but he asked Mr. Millea if this could be done in house.  Mr. Millea was concerned that we do not have the ability to propose alternatives in-house.  Chairman Plochocki asked Mr. Rhoads to address this issue.  Mr. Rhoads stated they would also like to propose a rate study with a round number.  In addition, as the Chairman introduced this, perhaps we even need to talk about other significant changes - should there be organizational changes, structural changes, consolidation changes.  We currently have 21 municipalities with their own pieces of infrastructure, some have their own charges and some do not.  There are many other balls in the air.  We are looking at a $65 million dollar yearly revenue stream.  He believes it is a wise investment to spend, what is much less than half of a percent of one year’s revenue, to see if we can get this right.  There are other value added benefits, when you have outside people look at this.  In ten years, this could be a billion dollars in revenue and we are talking about spending $200,000 to get it right.  It is important for us to have a good academic process and robust dialogue.  This gives you the foundation to do so.  He is not suggesting that this is a trivial sum.  However, when it is put into prospective with the amount of revenue it garners, it is important to get this right.        

Mrs. Rapp stated that if we do the study and find a way to reorganize so that it costs us less to process this greater flow, then it would be feasible.  We just cannot keep piling this onto the taxpayers.  We have to find a way to reduce this.  Mr. Rhoads responded that there is a lot of discussion about beaches being polluted and nutrients going into waterways.  The regulatory aspects are there, the community wants clean water but we are not approaching the people and asking them to pay their fair share.  The EPA suggests that the fair share rate is about $750 per year, based upon national household income.  We are at less than half of the EPA’s rate guidance to manage clean water.  He understands and appreciates the desire to keep the rate low but we must figure out a way to embrace a rate discussion that pays what is necessary or the EPA and the DEC will force the issue.  There is a trend here, if you do nothing eventually someone will sue you and force you.   He does not want to put us in that position; same position we arrived at with the lake and the Electronics’ pump sewers.        

Chairman Plochocki stated the key question is whether an outside group would be able to come up with $200,000 or more in savings that we would not have been able to come up with ourselves, in proposing our rate structure.  Currently he is hearing from Mr. Millea and others, that if we want this type of big-ticket cost savings, we need experts to come in.  He does not know the answer, but we need to be thinking about this. 

Mrs. Rapp stated she agreed with the Chairman’s statement that this is one of the most critical things that we do in this area.  However, we cannot be at the top of every single chart.  Mr. Rhoads responded that we are not at the top of the chart; are not even at the national average.  Mrs. Rapp responded that she was stepping out of the WEP department and referring to all the departments.  After a while, people start voting with their feet.  Mr. Rhoads added that if they vote with their feet and go to Atlanta they would pay $1,000 per year.  On average, if they move to any of the 50 major cities, they would pay a lot more.  There are real property taxes but then there are fees.  This is a fee for service.  If you have your own septic system, you do not pay this fee.  If you want to hook up to a sanitary service, you should pay the fair price for the proper cleaning of the water.  You should not send sub pump water and/or overflow water from footer drains into the sewer and think that it does not come at a cost.    

 

12     13

 

Chairman Plochocki stated a similar presentation would be made to Ways and Mean next month.  Mr. Rhoads added it would be an informational item.  

2.     ONONDAGA COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY:

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Water Authority (Kenneth C. Gardiner)

 

Chairman Plochocki stated he does not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Gardiner personally but several members of the legislature do, one in particular is Mr. Knapp.  Mr. Knapp could not be here today but asked that the following be read into the record, “Ken Gardiner is a tremendous intellect and talent” and would be a great addition to the Onondaga County Water Authority.

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

3.     ONONDAGA COUNTY RESOURCE RECOVERY AGENCY:

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Robert E. Antonacci II)

 

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

 

4.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update - Quarterly Report (On file with the Clerk)

COMMISSIONERS REPORT

  • Change in GIF program, all sewer shed areas in gray represent areas they are meeting or will meet ACJ requirements by the end of 2013 – well before 2018 requirements; no longer investing in GIF projects in the gray areas, also restricting green projects to targeted areas with need; GIF areas now prioritized - green area is where they have the most work remaining and where they are targeting GIF efforts; GIF effort was .30 cents per/gal across the map now various levels of funding; $.30 per/gal green areas, $.20 per/gal yellow areas and $.10 per/gal red areas; map shows tangible evidence of our success
  • CH2M-Hill transitioning out of design area, RFP created for public design elements of feature projects – using our competitive methods to outsource; will continue to led green program and assist with overarching concepts and lessons learned
  • Green projects cost less - gray storage facilities have to be pumped, flushed, cleaned and maintained; green is captured in a natural way and goes back into the environment, requires some trimming and weeding - nothing is maintenance free; see update to read what they are saying about this in Philadelphia and London, UK; London looking at green to resolve sewer overflows because it is a cheaper, more sustainable solution and provides additional benefit of community development; this is happening nationally and internationally for the right reasons

GRAY PROJECTS     

  • Over $130m in gray projects in closeout or final construction phases: Clinton CSO, CSO 022/045 sewer separation in close out phase - won’t be in future reports, HBIS, Lower Harbor Brook, and Midland CSO 044; all coming online by year end
  • Finished projects will move from short term 0% financing to 2% EFC funding, 20 year debt service

GREEN PROJECTS

  • E. Washington St. Green Corridor project on schedule; will improve area greatly
  • I-690 downspouts project will prevent runoff from going directly into sewer system, will build green projects around them using GIGP grants; working hard to use every resource available
  • Green roof at Colvin-Elmwood Post Office has greened-out and looks tremendous
  • Continued construction at the Zoo
  • A number of road reconstruction projects continue in harmony with the City – reducing capture rate to $.10 per/gal
  • West Fayette St. sewer separation – tremendous value; 17m gallons of flow diverted from sewer to the creek; area was sewered with separate sewers combined at the end of the pipe – now day lighting a couple catch basins and the end of the stormwater pipe; stormwater will go through treatment devise in the 2nd phase of the project 
  • W. Onondaga and Westcott Streets green corridor projects continue; public service announcements have gone out – 1 lane of traffic with lights at each end; before and after photos have been included; tremendous amounts of storage has been added; great community outreach for each project; Westcott St. residents reviewed every tree and planter for function, community development and to be sure it was correct for the area landscape

GIF

  • GIF presentation made to community and placed on website - invited designers from community whom had previously submitted designs and applicant; discussed GIF program changes being implemented via mapping
  • Projects are completed by private entities - they own and maintain them; great way to have new development; before and after photos included in update; great projects with good stormwater capture – added program value

WWTP

  • Responsible for monitoring the lake and its tributaries;  look at different nutrients, bacteria and the fish community, sample biological and chemical parameters - details included in update
  • Cleanup of the lake is fantastic and coming along tremendously;  there are still a number of natural things we don’t control that change the characteristics of our lake; e.g., zebra mussels

LEGISLATION AND MEDIA

  • Cover of update shows U.S. Water Prize being awarded to County Executive Mahoney; Save the Rain program is a national program of leadership; very prestigious prize; we are 1 of 10 green communities doing it right – in lieu of costly gray projects and tearing down the Armory Square District we are doing things differently and deserve accolades for it, real benefit to the community
  • Number of media stories included in update for review

FINANCIAL UPDATE

  • Lists project costs, whom the projects are for, budgets and spending to date

In answer to Ms. Williams, Mr. Rhoads stated that Midland was holding its own.  With all the rain, we have had Midland fill up on a daily basis, at times.  It fills up and we go out and drain it down.  Day after day rain events have us working nights and evenings, quite a bit.  Midland is an RTF facility by design.  It stores and when done storing, goes into a swirl concentrator and removes solids and floatables, then disinfects and after primary treatment, goes into the stream.  This is different from the pure storage we are doing at some of our other facilities.  Midland has had some large enough events with this precipitation, causing it to go into disinfectant mode.  In response to Ms. Williams, Mr. Rhoads confirmed there were no issues. 

 

Mrs. Rapp stated this would happen about 50 times per year.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he could check on this; does not know how often this happens.  Mrs. Rapp stated she believes this is how often it would activate.    Mr. Rhoads added that before the County Executive’s Save the Rain program, we would have had these RTF facilities everywhere.  They actually discharge, rather than store by design; discharge primary treated effluent, only removing the solids and disinfectant, all the nutrients are still going out.  We have changed to a storage mode, whereby its pumped back to Metro and we do tertiary treatment to remove all of the nutrients.  In addition, the storage areas will again have parking in the Armory Square area, instead of a sewage treatment plant.  Unfortunately, some neighborhoods were saddled with an RTF.  Moving forward, we are using green and grey storage that is less intrusive on our neighborhoods and the fact that green is less expensive, is the reasons why these leadership awards are well deserved.         

 

The meeting adjourned at 10:21 a.m.                                      

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES - JULY 10, 2013

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

 

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Andrews

ALSO PRESENT:  Mrs. Ervin, see attached list

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:38 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending Resolution No. 458-2011 to Increase the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs by an Additional $665,000 for the Construction Phase of the Old Route 5 Paving Project Phase I and II, PIN 3754.17 and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($665,000)

 

  • Fed aid rehabilitation project; 173 in Fairmount to W. Genesee in Village of Camillus
  • Came to Legislature to authorize to pay first instance - $6.1 mil in 2011
  • Additional work:  water line relocation, shoulder work, reconfiguring signal at Hinsdale intersection to accommodate W. Genesee School District - Town received authority to add lighting (will be back next month with MUA for that)
  • Need to pay first instance and then they will cover local portion
  • This corridor is residential and commercial – Camillus Town Hall, Lowes, restaurants
  • Only to pay in first; $35,000 in local share and that was appropriated in 2012 work plan

 

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

 

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Amend Onondaga County’s Contract with New York State to Plow State Roads for the Winter of 2012-2013 ($106,334)

 

  • Plowing state roads – at end of plowing season NYS reviews severity factor - based on their plowing within NYS region three; Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Cayuga; Madison, Tompkins
  • Average winter drive 300,000 miles; this winter 320,000 miles - make determination of percentage for severity factor which is given to all of the counties that are plowing snow for them
  • 5.9% severity factor; getting in additional revenue of $106,000 above contracted amount for 2012/2013 season
  • It does happen in the other direction but don’t give money back; state contract obligates them to provide 67% of contract amount; last year they received 67%; first time it happened, only 51” of snow
  • Almost always in this direction; this year moderate severity factor; have seen percentages as high as 15 – 20%

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

 

        c.     Amending the 2013 Onondaga County Budget to Accept Additional Revenue for Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2012-2013 ($148,415)

 

  • Amending budget to accept funds; amount is $148,000 because 2013 budget approved there was only an estimated amount of what the NYS contract would be
  • In 2013 est. was $1.76 mil; actual is $1.802; amending budget upwards of $148,000; on target budget wise
  • Two areas that may have challenges:  supply (salt) and overtime – asking to divide amount between those accounts
  • Biggest challenge was rain to sleet to snow to sleet to rain – average snow fall but tremendous amount of a.m. and p.m. 30-40 degree temps; better when it stays cold – rain washes away powder left from salt, salt has to be reapplied
  • Decent amount of plowing but temps caused challenges

 

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

 

        d.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Reimburse Municipalities that Plowed Onondaga County Roads During the Winter of 2012-2013 Based on New York State’s Winter Severity Index ($124,094)

 

  • Town plowing base rate for past season – $6,600/mile for towns; added to contract whatever severity percentage increase from NYSDOT would be passed on to towns
  • Contingency account set up in 2013 budget of $300,000 because average severity rate has been 18-19%
  • 5.9% is $124,000 paid across the towns; in contingency so can’t be released without legislative approval
  • Leaves a little more than $200,000 in account; base at $6,600/mile with 5.9% is $6,989/mile
  • Severity percentage helped move the contract through – 5 yr vs 3 yr contract; struggle with tougher winter then it provides more revenue to towns

 

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

 

        e      Update:  County Highway Work Plan  (Attachment No. 1 – list of roads to be completed)

 

  • Few previous updates in Ways and Means Committee, discussions about additional funding – believe it’s resolved
  • List is mitigated by rain fall; if there are breaks, they will be fine
  • Hot mix not as much of challenge as cold mix; cold mix road goes down in lifts divided 2 weeks apart so span of month; hot mix road can be done in a couple days
  • All capital funds
  • If asphalt price drops or weather hinders finishing, then funds roll to 2014; roads not completed will be done next year
  • Number of cold mix roads completed – Laird, Lyons, Otisco, Buckwheat, and out paving almost every day; hot mix starting earnest next week
  • Rest of work plan moving at pace - advancing fed aid projects, guide rail and drainage moving along and bridge project advancing; only issue is with mowing but doing best to stay on top of it
  • On pace for weekend for CSX work on Old Liverpool road - no feedback; ready for paving; only concern is heavy rain
  • If it rains, won’t prevent CSX work but could delay the paving until Monday; CSX replacing crossing at Old Liverpool Road next to Heids, County DOT going to pave the approach while it is closed - all scheduled this weekend
  • If July and beginning of August stay wet, then there will be roads not done so they will be first on the list next year

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:48 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES - JULY 10, 2013

KEVIN HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Ryan, 1Mr. May

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT: see attached list

 

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 12:04 p.m.

 

1.     SHERIFF: Roy Gratien, DS Assistant Chief (Police)

Monthly Update on Status of:

        New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center

  • Custody Chief meeting with facilities tomorrow for environmental study

 

1Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

        Special Operations Facility

  • VIP assigned task for the study, started phase1 in June; interviewed users, benchmark other sites - see what works best; data collection from Facilities for in-house sites - see if they meet the needs

 

In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Gratien stated he does not know that they have the buy-in from everyone.  The city is the largest one, unsure if they have committed.  Mr. Ryan stated the city has been respective to the idea.  Mr. May stated it has been reported there is general buy-in from all the outside agencies - we look to be in a good position.  Chairman Holmquist added this is a process; final buy-in will come when all the information is available and we have signed contracts.   

 

Mr. Ryan stated that we are a long way from VIP doing their due diligence and asked if the information would come to this committee, as well as Facilities.  Chief Gratien responded he images Chief Balloni would pass on the information as it becomes available.  Chairman Holmquist stated this is the reason for the monthly updates; keeps the committee informed.  There won’t always be big news to report on each item, each month.

 

        Pistol Permits

  • Contract has been awarded to Identiphoto, will be delivered to County Executive for signature today; 6 month implementation
  • Appointments being booked for Dec. 2014

 

Mr. May stated it has been reported that it will take six months to implement the software program and asked if there was anything the legislature could do to help expedite this phase of the project.  Chief Gratien responded this was a good question to investigate – does not know the answer.  The Sheriff’s office is also eager to see this implemented.  They are helping to expedite the process in any way they can; officers assigned to light duty are assisting with this project.  They are reviewing the schedule to see where they can move people up on the list.  Progress is being made; want to clear this up as quickly as possible and return staff to street work.  Mr. May stated this is a good use of light duty officers.  Chief Gratien added they always have work for them to do.  Mr. May reiterated six months is a long implementation period and asked what the legislature could do to move the process along. 

 

Mr. May asked for top-level details on the signed agreement; what the steps are.

 

Chairman Holmquist stated the goal is to get the pistol permit waiting periods back to what they were before the SAFE Act - two-months.  Mr. May noted that it will never be the same.  Chairman Holmquist stated it is our understanding that the demand is still increasing and there is no end in sight.  The County Legislature wants to provide good service to its law-obeying citizens.  This is an urgent matter.  Chief Gratien added the Sheriff’s office understands the importance of this matter.  Chairman Holmquist stated this needs to be top priority; must react locally.  Residents are seeing this handled in other locations, without this backup. 

 

        d.     Correctional Health

  • RFP sent out; interested parties conducted site visit a few weeks ago; addendum added to RFP, expected to go out this week and be awarded in August or September

Mr. May asked if the committee could see the answers to the questions, in the interim.  There was an overrun of $2 million dollars last year.  We owe it to ourselves to be able to fund these county obligated costs.  The costs have to be a little more predictable; believe they can be from a budgetary standpoint, given the cost and scope of services the county is providing.  It would be good to see the addendum for educational purposes; some have seen the RFP.  Mr. Ryan stated he agreed with Mr. May but would hope that rather than being a little more predictable, we could be a lot more predictable.  He would like to save a lot more money.  The legislature worked hard to reduce the tax levy.  At the end of the day, many things are out of our control.  We are required to have a certain number of deputies watching a certain number of inmates, but this project can be built with the mindset of making it better for the deputies who are watching those inmates and the county budget.  We can absolutely achieve those three things.  He too would be interested in those comments.  Chairman Holmquist this is a unanimous point of view. 

 

Chairman Holmquist stated that other issues come up during budget, such as Air one.  Nothing operates in a vacuum; overtime and everything else is all part of the discussion.  Having more reliable, consistent numbers and a spirit of cooperation, really working together, is a theme that they are trying to achieve.

 

Mr. May stated in our first attempt at outsourcing the responsibility for Correctional Health what has failed us to date is risk sharing between the vendor and the county.  Risk being our exposure for illness, accident injury and certainly all of the health issues that the county is obligated to provide by law.  Primarily because of his personal/professional background, he will be looking at how this risk is shared when reviewing the RFP results.  This is where we will achieve some predictability.  There will always be exposure, bad things are going to happen but how we share, assign and assume that risk is what is going to make the difference.  Ultimately, our pockets are the deepest and we are the ones that are going to be on the hook for anything bad that happens.  How we manage this program is very important; can control catastrophic exposure to some extent.

 

        e.     Create R.P. 01 407920 2026, Clerk II, Grade 05 @ $32,313-$35,681

                Abolish R.P. 01 407920 1007, Stenographer II, Grade 06 @ $35,070-$38,745

                Create R.P. 01 01407920 2031, Administrative Assistant Grade 9 @ $44,522-$49,246

                Abolish R.P. 01 01407920 0809, Data Entry Supervisor Grade 8 @ $40,985-$45,316

  • Stenographer II retiring this month; Personnel dept. reviewed job requirements and determined clerk II is correct title for position; $3k saving

 

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Gratien stated they would have to hire someone for the Clerk II position.  They may have a Clerk II that is interested in this position but they would then need to hire another Clerk II to replace the position they came from; not aware of anyone selected for the position at this time.

 

In answer to Mr. Ryan, Chief Gratien stated the clerk II would be in the Property and Evidence department. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Gratien stated the person who held the data entry supervisor position took over the supervisor position via civilianization.  We are now creating and abolishing positions to more accurately reflect the work that will be done in this area. 

 

Mrs. Tassone asked why they were starting with a Grade 9 for the Administrative Assistant.  Chief Gratien responded that this was the recommendation received from the Personnel department.  They felt this was the appropriate title for the job duties. 

  • $4k increase to abolish supervisor position and create administrative assistant
  • $780 per/yr. net increase for all title changes

In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Gratien stated the administrative assistant would be reporting to the records supervisor.  With civilianization there was a promotion - not sure what the current title is, was a Lieutenant prior to civilianization.  In answer to Mr. Ryan, Chief Gratien confirmed the data entry supervisor position was civilianized at a cost savings and the appropriate replacement for her is an administrative assistant.

 

Mr. May stated he would like to table this item until Ways and Means.  In the grand scheme of things, spending $700-$800 dollars of new money for these positions is not a lot but in principal were a looking at overtime cost overruns, particularly on the Civil and Police sideTypically, when we receive abolish and create resolutions, we will see the budget lines in which these dollars are coming from and going to.  Mr. May requested budget line information be provided prior to Ways and Means.  It is good practice to approve these items with knowledge and understanding of how the funds would be handled.  Chairman Holmquist agreed.  Mr. May added it would be helpful to receive budget line information with future resolutions. 

 

Chairman Holmquist stated his natural instinct is to see pistol permit funding approved, however the overtime issue is a big deal and Mr. May has a valid point.  Chief Gratien stated that in the grand scheme of things, they have cost savings because they saved money on the civilianization side.  Mr. May responded that he understands that but in order to properly do our job, we need to understand where the money is going. 

 

Mr. Ryan stated that overtime has come up a lot but overtime is everywhere in the budget, not just in pistol permits or jail deputies.  In light of the study that was just completed, we are also down a number of sheriffs.  The road patrol side is down a large number, which drives up the overtime.  Chief Gratien agreed.  Mr. Ryan added that he understands we want to staff pistol permits in the most robust manner but he would also like to see road patrol and other places that need help, appropriately staffed.    

 

Mr. May stated the last information he saw for the jail indicated overruns of $200,000, but the forecast for Civil Road Patrol was somewhere around $800,000-$900,000, over and above the overtime appropriation for yearend.  We just have to watch this.  Chief Gratien responded that unfortunately the overtime number asked for during budget is based on a certain staffing number.  During the course of the budget, we do not receive funding for the positions and then the overtime amount is also cut.  Failure is a guarantee when an overtime number is submitted based on a staffing level and the requested staffing level is cut.  This number could not be reached, short of cutting staffing below what is safe or significantly reducing services.

 

Mr. May stated the staffing study prompted a number of questions; not sure if they were rhetorical or something that we were actually waiting for answers on.  With respect to the paradigm just mentioned, there were many good questions; waiting to hear some answers before making an opinion.  In terms of staffing and overtime, sometimes this has been proven to be the case and other times it has not.  This is the part of this situation that everyone is trying to understand, so that we can do the right thing for the individuals that you are serving and our constituents.  Chairman Holmquist stated that ideally when we go through this process, we would end up on the same page so that when we enter budget, this would not be an annual problem.  Currently we continently have two different versions, your side and ours.  There is never a common ground.  Mr. May stated if the versions are not reality, they are a waste of time.  Chairman Holmquist agreed, adding it is terribly frustrating for everyone involved.  It would be nice to compromise and have everyone pulling together in the same direction. 

 

Chief Gratien stated it was nice to get an outside opinion.  Matrix came in and made it perfectly clear that we would not get the staffing we wanted, they would report on their findings.  They have a reputation to uphold; do these studies across the country.  Our staff dropped between 30-40 deputies over 4 years and we would like them back.  The study determined we only needed 12 returned.  We did not get the answer we wanted and the legislature may not have gotten the answer they wanted. 

 

Mr. Ryan asked why this was being held for Ways and Means.  Mr. May reiterated that information is needed on how the positions will be funded.  It is a small amount of money but in principal, these are the steps we need to take as we approach these kinds of issues.  Chief Gratien stated as far as costs, the breakdown is listed on the summary and the funds are coming from the 101 account.  Mr. May responded that the summary did not contain the information he was looking for.  Ms. Stanczyk noted there is no indication on the summary that the money was coming from the 101 account - were told the 101 account was already over budget for the year.  Chief Gratien stated positions have been left vacant and they did not run a police academy to reserve funds.  Originally, they were going to run an academy the first week of June but have held off until the end of August in order to get the 101 account in the black.

 

Chairman Holmquist stated this item has been considered and will be forwarded to the Ways and Means Committee.  There is no impact on the resolution, other than the fact that everything will be verified and everyone will be on the same page.  

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:33 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - JULY 11, 2013

DANNY J. LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, **Mr. Ryan, Mr. Dudzinski, *Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  Also see attached list

 

Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Dudzinski to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     COMMUNITY SERVICES ADVISORY BOARDRobert Long, MPA, Commissioner

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Community Services Advisory Board (Biallah Green)

 

  • Has both work experience and interest; recommended by another member of the Community Services Board

 

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

 

2.     SOCIAL SERVICES:  David Sutkowy, Commissioner; Paula Engel, Chief Welfare Attorney/Adult Protective Services; Steve Morgan, Chief Fiscal Officer

        a.     Fraud Prevention Update

 

Mr. Sutkowy:

  • Operate by public programs:  Medicaid, Welfare, SNAP (Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Home Energy, Low Income Subsidy Day Care Program
  • 85,000 County residents who receive some benefit via SS; during year approx. 110,000 citizens who receive benefits

 

*Ms. Williams arrived at the meeting.

 

  • As economy changes and suffers, more individuals turn to SS or supplemental assistance; increases demand in program which increases costs; bills that have to be paid often by those relying on services
  • In NYS individuals have to pay through property taxes unlike in other states; demand to operate with high degrees of integrity with respect to benefits provided – ensure benefits are getting to individuals who truly qualify
  • Fraud investigation – 10 investigator titles backed by other workers assisting on cases; accept 5,000 referrals a year
  • Referrals from line workers in eligibility programs and general community
  • Mr. Sutkowy receives all emails directed to SS:  started numbering and at 2,600 (5-10/day); every other day a correspondence from community saying a person is receiving benefits inappropriately
  • 5,000 referrals plus emails asking to check on info submitted with respect to application or active case
  • Investigators looking at info, checking previous notes, seeing possible discrepancies - taking a second look
  • Eligibility Verification Review (2nd level of check); if it becomes serious w/incorrect info and intention – moved to Fraud
  • 60-70% info is wrong or incorrect, then action taken - case closings, denials of application, more serious cases which involve DA and criminal prosecutions (50 last year) or a Disqualification Consent Agreement (DCA)
  • A lot of cases disqualified – have to pay restitution, the case closed and subject to penalties - ineligible to receive assistance for a period of time; that is reactive work, reacting to requests provided
  • Proactive work – use tech system to compare data bases to ensure people reporting information correctly
  • Individuals using a program (ie: Daycare) may also receive benefits like SNAP – ability to compare data bases for matches; if there are, then go to day care case or SNAP to check to see if person is reporting; if not, take action
  • Action - ask for repayments and take any action necessary so benefits are provided appropriately

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the department has the ability to make unannounced visits to people who are recipients of public assistance.  Mr. Sutkowy replied yes.  Mr. Jordan stated he has done a fair amount of matrimonial and family work.  A person is receiving public assistance but the case does not include boy/girlfriend who lives there all the time; benefits based on the boy/girlfriend not being in the household but they are living there and working.  Case workers or cashiers at a grocery store say that people use food stamps to buy alcohol and lobster.  Mr. Jordan’s concern is irresponsible use of benefits; parent having lobster and kids are eating yogurt or cheerios.  Mr. Jordan asked what are/can the County or Social Services do to address these situations.  Mr. Sutkowy responded, with respect to anyone that Mr. Jordan has talked to, he knows that if someone is cheating and Social Services is contacted, they will be investigated.  Mr. Jordan commented that he has suggested this but when the person has called, nothing happened.  The investigator gives a certain date so the person leaves the house, the investigator goes out, the person is not there, and then there is no evidence. 

 

**Mr. Ryan arrived at the meeting.

 

Ms. Engel commented that they cannot control that because it is based on federal regulations.  There was an individual case where one recipient took her SNAP benefits for one month, bought Halloween candy and sold it for a profit.  There is nothing they can do.  Mr. Sutkowy stated Minnesota asked for a waiver from the US Department of Agriculture (administrates SNAP) to stop expenditures with certain products that they deemed were not nutritious, but the federal government rejected it.  New York City was trying to propose legislation to restrict SNAP being used for soda, and that went nowhere.  Mr. Sutkowy receives multiple emails about this issue but it is something only the Department of Agriculture can address. 

 

Ms. Engel commented reference unannounced home visits:

  • Did ride along with an investigator; visited 13 homes in 4 hours
  • Discovered lies in very first home - person who thought they were from children’s division (actually there about food stamps & shelter verification) hid in a locked closet
  • Investigator asked homeowner about the closet; homeowner responded that her boyfriend locks his stuff inside closet
  • Had discussed boyfriend previously - verification of someone not working but are working and living in the household; needs to be reported to assess the level of benefit
  • They asked about locked closet if boyfriend doesn’t live there; no answer, had her open it - woman w/baby hiding in it
  • Only first visit; found 5 or 6 more fraudulent activities in the 4 hour period; opened 4 other cases based on the stops
  • They go out on every fraud referral; if there is no active case, they will open a case – includes unannounced visits
  • If person not there, they leave appointment letter; if person doesn’t show, then case is closed for failure to document
  • 10 investigators but really only 8 sets of boots on the ground to cover that many people
  • Lot of surveillance done; have absent parents – ie: Mom getting subsidized child care, might have an absent Dad but he’s actually living in the household providing the child care
  • Surveillance at 5 a.m. or late at night; document license plates to match to DMV
  • Have 2 cams for larger scale operations – set up cam operation with Sheriff, track the plates and people to see if they are delivering kids to day care or not

 

Mr. Sutkowy commented that 77% of cases that are considered fraud are confirmed.  Chairman Liedka commented that he’s been in Mr. Jordan’s situation before where someone calls the police about fraud but nothing happens.  Chairman Liedka asked Ms. Engel when the investigator goes into a house where the belief is there may be another person residing there who hasn’t been reported, what is the evidence the investigator will be looking for.  Ms. Engel responded they check the mail; one house visited had blacked out addresses on all the magazines.  For men, they go to the medicine cabinets looking for men’s shaving supplies, canvas the neighbors to see how often they see him at the residence and check employment records to see where he is receiving his checks.  They can document enough to either go to the DA’s to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt or convincing evidence for an administrative disqualification hearing.  Onondaga County is beating the Human Resources Administration on a regular basis in the number of disqualifications because of the working relationship with the DA’s office and a successful practice. 

 

Mr. Sutkowy agreed with Mr. Dudzinski that cash assistance given out is on a debit card.  Mr. Dudzinski commented that a friend of his owns a bar told Mr. Dudzinski that people come in with their debit card, take money out of the ATM and sit at the bar.  Mr. Dudzinski asked if there is a way to track this.  Ms. Engel replied they can track the ATM that the person uses, and clarified this is only for cash assistance benefits.  There are no strings attached to that direct cash benefit.  They are helping the individual get through and give the person the independence to decide how that money is spent.  Ms. Engel responded to Mr. Dudzinski that the State determines the rules.  Mr. Sutkowy stated in the cash assistance program an individual receives a monthly grant, and for a single person it is $340 per month; add about $100 per person.  In the vast majority of cases the rent comes out of that amount (vouchered by SS), and a lot of times there is a portion taken out for utilities as well; the actual amount of dollars the individual receives is limited.  Mr. Sutkowy commented there are a number of ATM’s in the community where the money can be redeemed, and SS has no control over where they spend it.  The State can tell SS where the money was redeemed but not where it was spent.  Ms. Engel stated there was talk at the State level regarding restricting the use of the cards at ATM’s located in an OTB or where they sell alcohol.  Mr. Ryan responded realistically the person will go to use the ATM at a grocery store, then go to the bar.  There is no way to track it unfortunately.  Ms. Engel replied to Mr. Ryan that cash assistance is a small piece, and unlike SNAP which has grown, the cash assistance program is flat.  Mr. Dudzinski stated it would be tough to track, but if the people knew they could be followed from point A to point B, then it may give them a reason to be more careful or not do it at all.  Mr. Sutkowy said unless there are federal or state restrictions on how cash assistance is spent, there is no practical way to do it; once money is redeemed, there is no way to track it.  Chairman Liedka stated the simple answer is that it is personal responsibility. 

 

Mr. Sutkowy responded to Mr. Jordan that he is not completely familiar with what is being discussed in Washington.  The Farm Subsidy Bill (SNAP benefits being renewed) talk is about cutting the level of benefits and considering a block grant to states; pushing administration to the states.  It is not a Washington problem but an Albany problem.  If the level of need stays high and states are strapped to keep budgets under control, then the states will take action.  Ms. Engel commented that the USDA is interested in tracking how the benefits are used in a way they had not before.  In order to do that, they executed two memorandums for understanding data in Maryland and Virginia, and they will be tracking expenditures and usage patterns. 

 

        b.     Budget Status Report  (On file with Clerk)

 

Mr. Morgan:

  • 3 pieces:  (1) Administration - staff, supplies, overtime, utilities, rents (2) Purchase of Services – contracts with human service agencies and not-for-profits to assist in Child Welfare (3) Programs – benefits to those eligible
  • First two pieces for admin and purchase of services are on target to meet or come in little below (run lean) - most appropriations are staff, fringe and one contract; staffing is stable and not a lot of wiggle room in either area
  • Programs has some surpluses - cash assistance account growth rate is a negative, .03% decrease through June
  • Programs driving couple million surplus; Foster Care was budgeted at 285 kids but right now 250
  • Medicaid capped; no guessing game - out of $136 million, $104 million is Medicaid
  • 3-5% increase in terms of case counts but seeing it decrease; people not coming on assistance or coming off it
  • Continually monitor programs and accounts; continue to modify the budget before bringing it for consideration
  • 252 kids in care, foster or residential placement; the foster care account is stabilizing; continues to slide down as a result of investments made in that area; wrap supports in home instead of sending off; leader in state
  • Conservative and realistic with budget; first time in long time will be stabilization; surprised by mandates overall

 

3.     HEALTH:  Cynthia Morrow, M.D., MPH, Commissioner; Kevin Zimmerman, Director of Environmental Health; Lisa Letteney, Director of Environmental Health Assessment

        a.     Informational - Vector Mosquito Control Program

Dr. Morrow:

  • Have to assume in any year there will be Lyme Disease (ticks) and West Nile or Triple E (mosquitos)
  • At end of May start surveillance program and larva sighting program
  • 2 ways to control mosquitos (1) larva state - kill baby mosquitos when still in water (2) spraying – adult, more targeted for imminent threat:  targeted spraying with trucks or aerial spraying used for Cicero Swamp
  • West Nile tends to be in the city; Triple E is a Cicero Swamp virus; treated differently
  • Larva sighting done to control West Nile – this year went to city basins, larva sighting started in May for 120 days; expect areas to stay treated for 120 days; effort to reduce West Nile
  • Adult – truck spraying if enough threat for specific area; spraying for Triple E based on number of mosquitos, where they are with sightings – if middle to late September, there is no point spraying with frost and natural decrease
  • Types:  some mosquitos like humans or birds or other animals; tons of different factors of why/when spraying
  • Surveillance - 19 traps across community; most positives are Cicero Swamp which is checked twice a week, traps with some positives are checked once a week, and traps with no positives are checked once every couple weeks
  • 2013 – given rain, expect high volume of mosquitos; can’t eliminate them but can minimize threat to public health
  • All information is on the public website including how many mosquitos are trapped, what the findings are, etc.
  • http://www.ongov.net/health/documents/webgraph.pdf – not as high as two years ago but higher than last year
  • Last year there was less mosquitos but they were infected with West Nile - 9 human cases and 1 death
  • Predicting a high volume mosquito year; did not have high volumes in June but was cold at night; given recent hot weather and rain, will see high volumes of mosquitos; won’t know if they are infected
  • Cicero Swamp - something specifically conducive to mosquitos and Triple E; in swamp the mosquitos go under the roots of plants; no way for adequate control of mosquito population; unique area that supports Triple E
  • West Nile, based on serology studies, is most people don’t have symptoms; 70% - 80% don’t know they had it
  • Triple E a rare disease; not aware of estimate of how many people have antibodies to Triple E; hard to do study
  • Triple E vaccine available for horses; disease in CNY that over 50 years resulted in 5 deaths

Mr. Dudzinski stated none of the deaths were people living in the Cicero Swamp area.  Mr. Dudzinski asked why it has not affected anyone in the immediate area.  Dr. Morrow responded that she does not have enough information to make that statement.  The numbers are so small so it is difficult to make any conclusions.  It is known to affect people that are quite old or those under the age of 14.  The reality is that they have to look at how rare a disease is.  Dr. Morrow would expect the majority of people will not have it no matter how close they are to the Cicero Swamp. 

 

Dr. Morrow:

  • To test the area - would need to do measurements living in ¼ mile radius vs. ½ mile radius, etc.
  • Wanted serologic study on Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis – cost overwhelming; rare; CDC said no because expensive
  • Will look at studies to see what’s available; caution on interpretation given how rare disease is
  • Doing what can at population level - doing surveillance and sightings, have money in budget to spray if necessary
  • Criteria for spraying shifting a little bit; continued discussions with State Health Dept.; take measures if able
  • People need to protect themselves; won’t eliminate mosquitos or possibility of West Nile or Triple E; part of ecology they can’t control -  advocate long sleeves, long pants, mosquito repellents and avoid prime feeding times
  • 2012 – West Nile in City:  Were screens in tact?  Were they minimizing potential of mosquitos getting in home?
  • Reverse 911 call when they spray; when findings, they state the date, trap and address in press release and on website; can talk to 911 for a public announcement for Triple E being in a public neighborhood
  • Challenge w/State Health Dept. – tagging mosquitos; finding mosquito in a trap - what is flying radius:  1, 3, or 5 miles
  • Triple E found in person within area wouldn’t have expected

 

Ms. Letteney responded to Mr. Dudzinski that if they find positives for Triple E by Cicero Swamp, then they assume it’s in there.  It could be in any of the traps around the swamp so they do not like to say it’s only in one area; it could be prevalent in the entire area. 

 

Dr. Morrow replied to Mr. Jordan that the CDC supports three specific repellents including DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus and picaridin; scientifically proven. 

 

Mr. Ryan asked if there was Triple E found in the City, then reasonable to assume it’s everywhere.  Dr. Morrow responded that Ms. Letteney made an important point that it doesn’t matter what the trap location is.  If it is here, then they should assume it’s throughout the City.  People should assume it is here through the end of September or the first heavy frost. 

 

Dr. Morrow answered Chairman Liedka that there is no one factor for deciding to spray.  It is a matter of risk assessment at any given time; like concentration of positives for disease or type of mosquito.  They will not spray if there is a heavy burden of mosquitos that are not a known human biter.  When considering adult spraying, they consult with the NYS Health Department.  If it is an aerial spray, they have to work with the DEC.  Dr. Morrow replied to Mr. Dudzinski that to spray Cicero Swamp they must work with the NYSHD and the DEC. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:34 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – JULY 12, 2013

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

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

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 9:09 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to waive the reading of the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     TRANSPORTATIONBrian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending Resolution No. 458-2011 to Increase the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs by an Additional $665,000 for the Construction Phase of the Old Route 5 Paving Project Phase I and II, PIN 3754.17 and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($665,000)

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Additional federal funds for Old Rt. 5/West Genesee St. – reconstruction of West Genesee St. and Rt. 173 to Village of Camillus line
  • Legislature authorizes payment in first instance; reimbursed 95% from federal and state; local share secured in work plan
  • Added additional work since approached legislature in 2011 – water line relocation, additional shoulder work; rebuilding signal at intersection of Hinsdale Road

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

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Amend Onondaga County’s Contract with New York State to Plow State Roads for the Winter of 2012-2013 ($106,334)

        c.     Amending the 2013 Onondaga County Budget to Accept Additional Revenue for Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2012-2013 ($148,415)

        d.     Amend the 2013 Co. Budget to Reimburse Municipalities that Plowed Onondaga County Roads During the Winter of 2012-2013 Based on New York State’s Winter Severity Index ($124,094)

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Items b, c, & d – all related state snow – NYS assigned a severity factor for winter 2012-13
  • County plows a number of roads on behalf of the State; State makes a determination at end of each winter regarding severity; determined severity factor was 5.9%
  • Will receive additional revenues
  • Items b & c - amends contract with NYS for additional $106,334
  • Item c – amends county budget – amounts are different as the amount in 2013 budget was estimated at the time budget was approved; actual was $42k more in contract
  • Currently not seeing any budget difficulties in County DOT budget for 2013.  Two areas that could be stressed would be overtime and materials (salt) – asked that the additional revenue be divided between the two accounts
  • Town plow contract negotiated last year, 5 yr. agreement, included paying towns a base rate every year and if a severity factor was received from NYS, the percentage would be added onto the base rate for the towns.  With the 5.9% severity factor, the base rate increased from $6,600 to $6,989.  Item d releases funds set aside in 2013 budget contingency account to pay towns additional revenue

Chairman Knapp said that he has spoken to some of his towns and they are very pleased.  Mr. Donnelly said that it was a good addition to the contract; showed that if it is a more severe winter and the County is going to face stresses, then towns are going to face them too and are in a situation to receive some additional revenue.

 

Mr. Jordan asked how the State calculates the severity factor.  Mr. Donnelly explained that the State has a relatively complex formula.  Onondaga County is in NYS DOT Region 3 (Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Madison, Cayuga, and Tompkins Counties) – the State looks at how many miles they drive in their plowing every year.  If they are over the normal miles, they take that percentage and come up with a severity factor.  Severity factors vary – have had years with none; most years there is a severity factor; 5.9% is in the low realm; a lot of years it is 16%-18%.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly said that the formula is set and defined, but there is not an obligation for the State to pay the severity factor.

 

Chairman Knapp said that Onondaga County could benefit from Oswego County.  Mr. Donnelly agreed, noting that because it is all across Region 3, if one area has a particularly bad area, the entire region benefits.  In turn, there have been situations where Onondaga County was hit hard with lake effect and it bypassed Oswego. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly said that there has never been a year that the State has refused to pay the severity factor; but the winter of 2011-12 was mild and the County did not receive a severity factor.  The contracts with NYS only obligate them to pay 67%.

 

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

 

Mrs. Ervin made a motion to approve items 1c, seconded by Mr. Jordan.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mrs. Ervin made a motion to approve items 1d, seconded by Mr. Jordan.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp asked for an update on the work plan.

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Work plan is moving along; distributed a list of hot and cold mix (below)--highlighted in yellow are the new roads
  • Bridges, guiderail, and drainage projects are moving along
  • Incredibly wet summer - confident that the list is completable.  Caveat – if it continues raining at the pace that it has, there is a possibility that the roads will get deferred to next year, but would be first on the list for next year

2013 Workplan

Road

(As Presented)

Length (Miles)

Program

Canal Road

*

1.17

Cold Mix

Cole Road

*

0.77

Cold Mix

Cross Lake Road (Single Lift)

*

0.63

Cold Mix

Eager Road

*

1.05

Cold Mix

Fenner Road**

*

0.78

Cold Mix

Henneberry Road

*

0.84

Cold Mix

Laird Road**

*

0.56

Cold Mix

Lyons Road

*

1.22

Cold Mix

Otisco Road

*

1.00

Cold Mix

Sentenial Hights Road (Single Lift)

*

1.07

Cold Mix

SkyHigh Road **

*

0.58

Cold Mix

Young Road**

*

0.68

Cold Mix

Daboll Road

 

0.58

Cold Mix

Buckwheat Road

 

0.61

Cold Mix

Kingsley Road

 

0.95

Cold Mix

Fikes Road

 

0.58

Cold Mix

Keeney Road

 

0.93

Cold Mix

Pleasant Valley Road (Single Lift)

 

1.40

Cold Mix

West Sorrell Hill Road

 

0.96

Cold Mix

16.36

2013 Workplan

Road

(As Presented)

Length (Miles)

Program

Airport Blvd (EB/WB)

*

0.97

Hot Mix

Amber Road 

*

1.44

Hot Mix

Buckley Road

*

0.79

Hot Mix

Caughdenoy Road

*

0.94

Hot Mix

East Pompey Hollow Road

*

1.30

Hot Mix

Factory Ave

*

1.47

Hot Mix

Fly Road

*

0.40

Hot Mix

Fly Road

*

0.43

Hot Mix

Gates Road

*

0.93

Hot Mix

Henry Clay Boulevard

*

0.63

Hot Mix

Henry Clay Boulevard

*

0.38

Hot Mix

LaFayette Road

*

0.89

Hot Mix

Lemoyne Ave

*

0.25

Hot Mix

Milton Ave.

*

0.59

Hot Mix

Newport Road

*

0.94

Hot Mix

Northern Blvd./Thompson/Island Intersection

*

1.15

Hot Mix

Otisco Valley Road

*

0.94

Hot Mix

Pompey Center Road

*

1.00

Hot Mix

Rose Hill Road

*

1.00

Hot Mix

Seventh North Street

*

1.08

Hot Mix

State Fair Blvd/Walters Road

*

0.66

Hot Mix

State Far Boulevard

*

0.89

Hot Mix

VerPlanck Road

*

1.43

Hot Mix

Warners Road

*

1.24

Hot Mix

Wetzel Road

*

1.04

Hot Mix

Otisco Valley Road

 

0.94

Hot Mix

Bennetts Corners

 

1.01

Hot Mix

Henneberry Road

 

1.18

Hot Mix

Howlett Hill Road (Single Lift)

 

0.66

Hot Mix

Bear Road

 

1.59

Hot Mix

VanBuren Road

 

1.19

Hot Mix

Velasko Road

 

0.60

Hot Mix

29.95

 

2.     SHERIFF:  Roy Gratien, Assistant Police Chief

          a.     Create R.P. 01 407920 2026, Clerk II, Grade 05 @ $32,313-$35,681

               Abolish R.P. 01 407920 1007, Stenographer II, Grade 06 @ $35,070-$38,745

               Create R.P. 01 01407920 2031, Administrative Assistant Grade 9 @ $44,522-$49,246

               Abolish R.P. 01 01407920 0809, Data Entry Supervisor Grade 8 @ $40,985-$45,316

Mr. Gratien:

  • Creation of Clerk II will be in the property and evidence facility; there is a Steno II who is retiring at end of the month.  Stenographer is an outdated title, and will abolish the position.
  • Creation of Administrative Assistant in Records/Pistol Permit section.  Data Entry Supervisor is an older title;
  • Personnel Dept. provided a review of the positions and recommended these positions titles
  • $780 increase in 101

Mr. Gratien provided the following detail of where the 101 account stands, which was requested by Mr. May at Public Safety Committee.

Police 101 Projections

 

 

 

 

Total 101 Projections

 

 

 

 

Adopted 101:

 $ 4,735,067

 

 

Actual YTD:

 $6,948,682.07

Adopted 101

 $  29,690,546

 

 

Actual YTD:

 $   13,971,728.38

Pay Period

Actual

To Transfer

Actual After
Transfer

Adopted

Difference

PP

Actual

To Transfer

Actual After
Transfer

Adopted

Difference

1 - Actual (Split)

 $  153,791

 $1,844

 $ 151,947

 $153,406

 $ (1,460)

1 - Actual (Split)

 $  313,259

 $   1,844

 $  311,415

 $   313,204

 $(1,789)

2 - Actual (Split)

 $   562,255

 $4,594

 $ 557,661

 $553,070

 $  4,591

2 - Actual (Split)

 $    1,136,726

 $   4,594

 $    1,132,132

 $1,122,607

 $  9,524

3 - Actual

 $   587,553

 $4,623

 $ 582,930

 $565,181

 $17,750

3 - Actual

 $    1,156,468

 $   4,623

 $    1,151,845

 $1,138,815

 $13,029

4 - Actual

 $    568,746

 $4,623

 $     564,123

 $    565,181

 $ (1,057)

4 - Actual

 $    1,138,690

 $   4,623

 $    1,134,067

 $1,138,815

 $(4,749)

5 - Actual

 $    560,523

 $4,623

 $     555,900

 $    565,181

 $ (9,281)

5 - Actual

 $    1,138,100

 $   4,623

 $    1,133,477

 $1,138,815

 $(5,339)

6 - Actual

 $    569,051

 $4,623

 $     564,428

 $    565,181

 $    (753)

6 - Actual

 $    1,138,025

 $   4,623

 $    1,133,402

 $1,138,815

 $(5,413)

7 - Actual

 $    567,457

 $4,623

 $     562,834

 $    565,181

 $ (2,346)

7 - Actual

 $    1,138,573

 $   4,623

 $    1,133,950

 $1,138,815

 $(4,866)

8 - Actual

 $    565,771

 $4,623

 $     561,148

 $    565,181

 $ (4,032)

8 - Actual

 $    1,137,951

 $   4,623

 $    1,133,328

 $1,138,815

 $(5,487)

9 - Actual

 $    568,312

 $4,623

 $     563,689

 $    565,181

 $ (1,492)

9 - Actual

 $    1,146,894

 $   4,623

 $    1,142,271

 $1,138,815

 $  3,456

10 - Actual

 $    565,984

 $4,623

 $     561,361

 $    565,181

 $ (3,820)

10 - Actual

 $    1,137,496

 $   4,623

 $    1,132,873

 $1,138,815

 $(5,943)

11 - Actual

 $    570,644

 $4,623

 $     566,021

 $    565,181

 $      841

11 - Actual

 $    1,139,537

 $   4,623

 $    1,134,914

 $1,138,815

 $(3,901)

12 - Actual

 $    565,615

 $4,623

 $     560,992

 $    565,181

 $ (4,188)

12 - Actual

 $    1,134,239

 $   4,623

 $    1,129,616

 $1,138,815

 $(9,200)

13 - Actual

 $    569,478

 $4,623

 $     564,855

 $    565,181

 $    (326)

13 - Actual

 $    1,142,270

 $   4,623

 $    1,137,647

 $1,138,815

 $(1,169)

14 - Actual

 $    562,591

 $4,623

 $     557,968

 $    565,181

 $ (7,213)

14 - Actual

 $    1,131,375

 $   4,623

 $    1,126,752

 $1,138,815

 $   (12,064)

15 - Projected

 $    562,591

 $4,623

 $     557,968

 $    565,181

 $ (7,213)

15 - Projected

 $    1,131,375

 $   4,623

 $    1,126,752

 $1,138,815

 $   (12,064)

16 - Projected

 $    562,591

 $4,623

 $     557,968

 $    565,181

 $ (7,213)

16 - Projected

 $    1,131,375

 $   4,623

 $    1,126,752

 $1,138,815

 $   (12,064)

17 - Projected

 $    562,591

 $4,623

 $     557,968

 $    565,181

 $ (7,213)

17 - Projected

 $    1,131,375

 $   4,623

 $    1,126,752

 $1,138,815

 $   (12,064)

18 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

18 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

19 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

19 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

20 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

20 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

21 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

21 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

22 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

22 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

23 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $4,623

 $     570,959

 $    565,181

 $  5,778

23 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   4,623

 $    1,139,743

 $1,138,815

 $928

24 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $2,549

 $     573,033

 $    565,181

 $  7,852

24 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $   2,549

 $    1,141,817

 $1,138,815

 $  3,002

25 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $     575,582

 $    565,181

 $10,401

25 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $    -  

 $    1,144,366

 $1,138,815

 $  5,551

26 - Projected

 $    575,582

 $     575,582

 $    565,181

 $10,401

26 - Projected

 $    1,144,366

 $    -  

 $    1,144,366

 $1,138,815

 $  5,551

2014 PPs (Split)

 $    472,800

 $     472,800

 $    464,256

 $  8,544

2014 PPs (Split)

 $  927,827

 $    -  

 $  927,827

 $   923,163

 $  4,663

TOTAL

 $14,878,584

 $106,072

 $ 14,772,512

 $14,735,067

 $37,445

OVER BUDGET

TOTAL

 $  29,750,850

 $    106,072

 $  29,644,777

 $   29,690,546

 $  (45,769)

(UNDER) BUDGET

*assumes hiring deputies at lowest step starting last pay period of August

Number of deputies to hire:

8

Custody 101 Projections

 

 

 

 

Onondaga County Sheriff's

Records Division

Adopted 101

 $14,955,479

 

 

Actual YTD:

 $7,023,046.31

Personnel Reconfiguration

PP

Actual

To Transfer

Actual After
Transfer

Adopted

Difference

1 - Actual (Split)

 $    159,469

 $   -  

 $    159,469

 $   159,798

 $    (330)

Abolish

Sergeant (5C)

 (60,579)

2 - Actual (Split)

 $    574,471

 $   -  

 $    574,471

 $    569,537

 $  4,933

Create

Records Compliance Manager (31I)

  54,858

3 - Actual

 $    568,914

 $   -  

 $    568,914

 $    573,635

 $ (4,720)

Abolish

Data Entry Supervisor (8A)

 (40,985)

4 - Actual

 $    569,943

 $   -  

 $    569,943

 $    573,635

 $ (3,692)

Create

Administrative Assistant (9A)

  44,522

5 - Actual

 $    577,577

 $   -  

 $    577,577

 $    573,635

 $  3,942

Abolish

Stenographer (6A)

 (35,070)

6 - Actual

 $    568,975

 $   -  

 $    568,975

 $    573,635

 $ (4,660)

Create

Clerk II (5A)

  32,313

7 - Actual

 $    571,116

 $   -  

 $    571,116

 $    573,635

 $ (2,519)

Net 101 Savings

   (4,941)

8 - Actual

 $    572,180

 $   -  

 $    572,180

 $    573,635

 $ (1,455)

9 - Actual

 $    578,582

 $   -  

 $    578,582

 $    573,635

 $  4,947

10 - Actual

 $    571,512

 $   -  

 $    571,512

 $    573,635

 $ (2,123)

11 - Actual

 $    568,893

 $   -  

 $    568,893

 $    573,635

 $ (4,742)

12 - Actual

 $    568,623

 $   -  

 $    568,623

 $    573,635

 $ (5,011)

13 - Actual

 $    572,792

 $   -  

 $    572,792

 $    573,635

 $    (843)

14 - Actual

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

15 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

16 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

17 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

18 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

19 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

20 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

21 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

22 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

23 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

24 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

25 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

26 - Projected

 $    568,784

 $   -  

 $    568,784

 $    573,635

 $ (4,851)

2014 PPs (Split)

 $    455,027

 $   -  

 $    455,027

 $    458,908

 $ (3,881)

TOTAL

$14,872,266

 $   -  

 $14,872,266

 $14,955,479

 $(83,213)

(UNDER) BUDGET

  • Records – changes made to civilianize the supervisor of the unit--created a $5,000 savings
  • Overall changes resulted in $4,900 reduction in 101
  • Currently Police Dept. 101 projection is $37,445 over budget for the year; Custody projection is $83,213 under budget – overall projections between the two is a $45,000 surplus

Mr. Jordan asked what the difference is between a data entry supervisor and administrative assistant; what is the justification for a bump in grade; what are the differences in the duties.  Mr. Gratien said that the data entry supervisor is an old title.  When the civilianization was done, the Sheriff’s Dept. asked the Personnel Dept. to look at the jobs and give a recommendation on what the appropriate position would be.  These are the titles that Personnel Dept. provided.  Mr. Jordan asked if the Data Entry position is filled.  Mr. Gratien said that it is not; the person that was in that title took over as a whole unit supervisor, as part of the civilianization. 

 

Chairman Knapp noted that originally this was $780 more; now is $5,000 less; and asked further explanation.  Mr. Gratien said that they had a lieutenant that ran the unit for a number of years and he has been promoted to captain.  They looked at what they could do to civilianize the department.  Human Resources and the fiscal unit looked to see if it can be done better, and for less money.  It was decided that they could and save approximately $4,500-$5,000.  They gave up a sergeant on the Custody side and filled a supervisor of records with a civilian.  That was done at the beginning of the year.  The reason for the delay was because of looking at the other position and appropriate titles.  It was determined that the Administrative Assistant was an appropriate title to replace the data entry supervisor, a $4,000 increase in the records divisions.  It is a $2,100 decrease overall; the remaining $2,800 is a result of the create/abolish in property and evidence.  With the 3 changes, there is a $4,900 savings.

 

Mr. May said that the overtime forecast doesn’t show up on the paper, which was what was driving his concerns.  Realistically, there will be situations where overtime is required; these efforts are great to try to stem some of the cost overruns, as we can’t predict what the needs will ever be.  From a budget standpoint, we have to keep pushing and doing better - $1 million forecast at the end of the year is a big nut.

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Gratien said that Personnel Department made the recommendations for the right titles.  Mr. Kilmartin questioned, in trying to save pennies mid-year, looking at what is expected for overage and whole laundry list of line items in the budget before the end of the year, would it make more sense to go forward with just one item – the creation of Clerk II and abolishment of the Steno II.  It would generate savings there, $4,000, as opposed to doing both positions.

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Gratien said that the projection handed out today is through pay period 14 – the last pay period.  It is the project for the year; it is not where they are now.  It contemplates filling 8 vacancies at the end of August.  Mr. Kilmartin said that in communication with Chief Balloni recently, there was contemplation of filling 10 positions--; and asked if that has changes in the very recent past.  Mr. Gratien did not know; there was discussion about asking for double fills.  There is the police academy and the field-training program – typically, if they hire eight they will lose a couple.  The projection he provided today doesn’t include any double fills.  

 

Chairman McMahon asked what filling the eight positions will do to the overtime.  Mr. Gratien said that it would have a positive affect.  Chairman McMahon said that when Chief Balloni was here asking for $2 million, we were told that the Sheriff made a strategic decision that he was not going to sacrifice any services and that is why overtime was lower than ever last year.  The only way for the legislature to control the Sheriff’s budget when it is over budget is to take bodies.  The positions are already funded in the budget, but the department is already piercing its overtime levels.  He assumes that is because the Sheriff does not want to sacrifice any of the menu options that are provided.  If the positions were filled, he would expect to see a drastic downturn in overtime.  If that is not the case, then he will ask the legislature to make some decisions regarding the roster.  This is a serious issue -- when budgets are set, we are not in a position to go over them every year.

 

Mr. Kilmartin noted that a number of months ago Chief Balloni discussed the roster and overtime – expressing that overtime was high because of the roster.  Mr. Kilmartin said that he asked the legislature’ staff to gather some historical data on overtime for the past 5 - 10 years.  The data clearly showed that when the roster was really high, overtime was really high and when the roster was really low, overtime was really high.  There has been argument of needing more people and with more people, overtime will be pushed down significantly.  It has not been the case during Sheriff Walsh’s administrationMr. Gratien said he would have to see the numbers; Mr. Kilmartin said that Mrs. Stanczyk would provide the data to Mr. Gratien.  Mr. Kilmartin explained that via an exchange of email with Chief Balloni, Mrs. Stanczyk, Mr. Schuster, Chairman McMahon and a number of legislators – the argument was that the Sheriff’s Department planned to hire 10 more people; the department is underwater in a number of budget line items, but will grab money from other sub-departments to pay for the hires.  It will push them underwater, but will push 101 above water.  Mr. Kilmartin questioned if anyone had considered just hiring fewer people to make certain not everything goes under water.  He never received a response and was trying to ascertain if there was a way to pay for this without going underwater everywhere at mid-year, before getting into the busy season of June, July and August when crime, arrests and overtime is up.  Case law that says that if an elected official’s budget goes over, the County has to pay for it.  However, in looking at the other elected offices, District Attorney, Comptroller and County Clerk, they never come in over budget.  The Sheriff’s Department is never under budget, never at budget, but is always grossly over budget.  The when it has a lot of people it is way over budget on overtime; when it does not have a lot people, it is way over budget on overtime.  Mr. Gratien said that he doesn’t think that is accurate – he worked in the budget office for 10 years.  When they had proper staffing in one year, they got within $5,000 of the overtime budget for that year. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin noted that he is comfortable moving forward with the creation of the Clerk II and abolishment of the Steno II, which appears to have some incremental savings.  He is not comfortable with the second request – it is an increase in the budget at a time that it is known that the overall budget will be very underwater.  Mr. Gratien explained that when they looked at this, they looked at it as a whole unit.  For them to recommend a cut, go from a sworn position to a civilian, not look at the whole picture, only pick out the ones that are a savings, not do one that is not a savings, doesn’t mean it is going to help the operation.  They are 18 months behind in pistol permits and are running it without an intermediate supervisor right now.  Allowing it to continue without a person who may not have the skills and ability to complete the work because that part of the change is a negative, is short sighted.  A person is needed in there who has the skills and ability to get the job done so they can start to alleviate the backlog that they have.  He does not know if there is a list for the data entry supervisor and questioned how to fill it if there isn’t a place to fill it from.

 

Chairman McMahon asked if by getting this personnel title change and moving around people, will it decrease the 18-month backlog period.  Mr. Gratien said that he can’t predict what will happen; certainly, after going 3 or 4 months without anyone there, this will help having it filled. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked what the difference would be if someone were hired to fill the data entry position; what would be the difference in the functionality of the department vs. filling an administrative assistant.  Mr. Gratien said the whole purpose of titles is to take into consideration the skills.  Mr. Jordan asked what the skill set difference is between the data entry position and the administrative assistant position, which would somehow make one candidate far superior to the other.  Mr. Gratien said that they would have to look at the job analysis done by Personnel Department.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Gratien said that the positions are tested.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to bifurcate the positions in items 2a. and vote on them separately.  AYES:  6; NOES:  1 (Holmquist).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to Create a Clerk II, grade 05 and abolish Stenographer II grade 06, seconded by Mrs. Williams.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp asked if there was a motion to create an Administrative Assistant, grade 9 and abolish the Data Entry Supervisor, grade 8. 

 

Mrs. Ervin asked if the title of data entry supervisor is on the civil service list.  Mr. Gratien did not know; Mr. Troiano did not know -- it is an old title so there is likely not a list. 

Mr. May asked Mr. Troiano, based on the qualifications that the Sheriff’s Department believes it needs, if this is the most appropriate title and grade 3.  Mr. Troiano agreed that it is, noting that it is consistent with the work that they looked at and with the job that was described; every administrative assistant is a grade 9.

Mr. Holmquist agreed with the comments that Chairman McMahon and Leader Kilmartin made.  He also strongly supports every penny put into the pistol permit division.  It is an absolute top priority; the County Legislature has made that very clear, and he supports this item.  The overtime issue is a widely held belief in the legislature; it is an urgent matter.  The legislature would like to be collaborative, and Chief Balloni has been, and would rather solve the overtime with a consensus together.

Mr. May said that it seems there is a constant struggle – having to work hard to extract the information in order to process these requests.  He will support this, based on the request of information that he made, but is moved to a position of reluctance.  He wants to know more information on where the money is going in the Sheriff’s Department in a way that he can understand it.  He practically views this request as another unfunded mandate.  Regulatory forces are forcing us to ramp up a department that shouldn’t need the resources that it has.  Law-abiding citizens should be able to obtain these rights simply by following the process, but he feels this has to be done for the constituents that are out there waiting for these services.

Mrs. Ervin asked if the only thing this person is doing is pistol permits.  Mr. Gratien said that they are supervisors for records as well – police reports, getting cases over to the district attorney’s office, ID’s, etc.  Mrs. Ervin asked if there were not a pistol permit need, would this position still be needed.  Mr. Gratien indicated that it would.

Ms. Williams referenced the current position being a grade 8, and asked what duties the person would be doing that would make it a grade 9.  She is hearing that the only addition is the pistol permits and they are doing all of the same things that they were doing.  Mr. Gratien said that the person was also doing the pistol permits – the change is with the volume.  Mr. Troiano said that the data entry supervisor is a little bit of a dinosaur; it existed when there was keypunching of cards into computer systems.  Based upon the work that is being done now and being described by the Sheriff’s office, there is an element of supervision and the administrative assistant is a more appropriate title to use.  They are not supervising data entry staff anymore; they are supervising a variety of staff in different functional areas.  He will provide a review of it for the committee.  Ms. Williams said that she is not understanding what duties have changed that create an increase--it seems that it is the same duties, but getting a raise.  Mr. Jordan assumed that up until 3 or 4 months ago, the data entry supervisor performed these duties.  Mr. Gratien agreed.

Chairman Knapp again asked if there was a motion.  Mrs. Ervin said that she would like to see the information from Personnel Department before voting on this item.  Ms. Williams agreed.  Chairman Knapp stated that no vote would be taken; it has been considered and therefore can go on to session.  Chairman Knapp asked that Mr. Troiano send the information to the members prior to session.

Chairman Knapp asked for an update on the pistol permit software.  Mr. Gratien said that the vendor has signed the contract and it went to the county executive yesterday for signature.  Mr. Jordan said that assuming the county executive signs it today, what is the implementation time.  Mr. Gratien said that Chief Balloni has said that it is 6 months.  

3.     PLANNING:  Don Jordan, Deputy Director

        a.     Approving the Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Land within Certified Agricultural Districts Pursuant to Section 303-B of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law

Mr. Don Jordan:

  • State Ag & Markets Law allows for an annual addition process from Jan 1–30 for lands to added into ag districts
  • Requests received from 3 land owners to add 4 parcels into District 1:  1 in Town of LaFayette; 3 in Town of Onondaga  - totaling about 53 acres
  • Farmland Protection Board reviewed the requests and recommended their addition into ag district
  • Public hearing is scheduled on Aug. 6th

Mr. Kilmartin asked to be added as a co-sponsor.

Chairman Knapp asked if it is required that in order to add another parcel of land, it has to adjoin to another parcel that is already in the district.  Mr. Don Jordan said that it does not have to adjoin.  When the districts were created, they were contiguous areas, but since then it is not a requirement.  The Farmland Protection Board looks at areas around it that are farmed.  Generally, these properties being added were right next to or very close to parcels already in a district.

Mr. Casey Jordan asked why these lands aren’t part of the ag district currently, but now want to be.  Mr. Don Jordan explained that one of the Onondaga parcels was a change in ownership – wasn’t previously being farmed but will be by the new owners; the 2 other parcels in Onondaga weren’t in it before--a family member is farming the land; the Lafayette parcel had be in the district before, had requested to be removed, but has since started to be farmed again.  Mr. Knapp noted that the owner of the Lafayette parcel was hoping to develop it, and it doesn’t seem to be happening – the owner received an offer from a local farmer to rent it.

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

 

        b.     Confirming Appointment to the Syracuse/Onondaga County Planning Board (Travis Glazier)

Chairman Knapp noted that there are two things that need to be looked at for clarification so that all of the requirements of the original local law are met and nothing is being violated.  Some of the expiration dates are confusing and are being clarified.  The item will be discussed; no vote will be taken, but it will be considered so that it can to go session. 

Mr. Glazier:

  • Is out in towns and villages; hearing a lot of feedback regarding interactions with the county planning process
  • Village/town planning boards are relied upon; when they come forward with proposals, sometimes there is not positive feedback regarding interaction with the County
  • Would like to take that perspective--their ideas of what the process is, and try and offer suggestions to the board to make the process smoother and ensure that proper information is being exchanged
  • Personal interest in the area – he and his wife will live there their whole lives
  • Seeing Onondaga County be a vibrant community with economic development, security for agricultural lands, and good schools is essential

Mr. Jordan noted that development is a hot button issue in terms of how lands in northern and outer portions of the county are going to be developed.  He questioned Mr. Glazier’s view/position on land development and asked what he has to offer SOCPA in terms of moving that agenda forward.  Mr. Glazier referred to interactions between the town and village planning process and the county planning process.  The County will come in specifically when two municipalities interact, butt up against each other in development or protected lands.  He referenced an example -- when there are two different municipalities next to each other with two different interests, an evaluation of those interests, long-term plans, and current characteristics is needed and then determine how it best fit in.  There is consideration of what the current county infrastructure is and what the costs are associated with it--how the whole county costs are distributed and who benefits.  There is so much variance; to have some universal perspective of the way things are if obtuse--need to look at things in each municipality.

Mr. Jordan noted that there are concerns about county control over how lands in particular towns are developed – thinks towns want to have the discretion to say how they would like their town to be developed.  Mr. Glazier said that he has looked at a lot of comprehensive plans in the municipalities, we are all considering the sustainable development plan, looking at the 2010 plan – they all line up from a 30,000-foot view from a fundamental perspective.  What gets lost in the mix is what the infrastructure costs are, who is baring those costs, how they are distributed, and what the external impacts of municipalities are.  There are going to be impacts where there are two municipalities that come close to each other or where there is affect on a County park or protected land.  County control isn’t a very realistic view. 

Mr. Holmquist stated that there is no sustainability plan; it has never been passed yet we still talk about incessantly.  There is virtual unanimous opposition to Agenda 21 in the suburbs, yet it is continually discussed.  It dominates our website.  There is no communication with the County Legislature; he has had great communication with his towns and villages.

Chairman McMahon asked for clarification from Mr. Glacier – as a board member he is going to the board to implement county policy; not carry an agenda.  Mr. Glacier said “absolutely” – it is the 2010 plan, which was voted on and passed.  He is taking it a step further, saying that there is another plan that has been proposed by the Executive branch.  Mr. Holmquist stated that it is dead; never to be considered again.  Mr. Glazier said that he is obligated to be within the confines of what is there; he has read it and there is not much there that is too controversial.

In reference to the communication issue that Mr. Holmquist noted, Mr. Glazier said that he has a good relationship with the folks at the towns and villages.  He doesn’t think that redundancy to legislative members on mundane issues, i.e. tracking down information and checking up on things, is necessary.  There isn’t a lot of big bubbling up issues---a lot of it is maintenance that he seeks to resolve as opposed to trying to go through a lot of hoops – find the quickest, shortest route to resolving whatever issues exist for the municipality.  Mr. Holmquist said that there is no communication with the 14th floor (Civic Center) and the legislature; yet he converses regularly with the towns and villages.

Chairman Knapp said that home rule is a very important concept.  He encouraged Mr. Glazier to take a drive out and see some of the projects in the towns and villages.  Mr. Glazier said he finds it interesting to find out what the plans are and how they fit in with the towns comprehensive plans, as well as what the opinions are of the town board members, not necessarily the planning board members.  Then he likes to drive through and see where the project is proposed.  Mr. Holmquist noted that the town boards are elected and delegate their authorities to planning boards; the opinions of the elected officials very much matter – town board elected officials drive the policy for the towns.  He would expect that district legislators be included on all discussions from the very beginning, followed by the whole legislature, so that we all work together and collaborate.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if decisions rendered by County Planning Board are binding or recommendations to town and village boards.  Chairman Knapp noted that his experience has been that when a project goes to the county and comes back to the town, the town can override the County’s decision with a super majority.  Chairman McMahon said that sometimes town boards will send something to County Planning first before they make decisions.  Usually the town planning board votes when it comes back.  Mr. Don Jordan agreed.  Mr. Casey Jordan said that doesn’t apply to water or sewer districts, which requires county approval.  Mr. Don Jordan agreed; the applicant may need to get an access permit form County or State DOT; they encourage applicants to work with WEP or the respective DOTs to get approvals in place.  Those reviews still need to be in place. 

4.     PURCHASE:  Sean Carroll, Director

       a.       Revenue Contract Report (on file with Clerk)

Mr. Carroll:

  • Tissue recovery – rental of space in medical examiner’s office for harvesting tissue after organ donation for medical research
  • Made sure that ethics from vendors were in line.  Forensic Department’s thought process was that this didn’t need to be a revenue contract as much as it needs to be done properly.  Both vendors were vetted for that first – both were substantially equal in licensing, ethics, and in the way they leave the room in a cleanly, compliant standard
  • Current vendor, MTF, estimate was $23,000/year, 3% escalator for each year of the contract life; Central New York Eye & Tissue Bank’s estimate was $39,000 with no escalator
  • Contract was awarded to Central New York Eye & Tissue Bank

In answer to Ms. Williams, Mr. Carroll explained that the contract is for 3 years; goes one year – if happy with the service it is renewed for another year up to 3 years. 

Mrs. Ervin referred to the escalator and the estimate of $23,000 (MTF) and asked when it surpasses the $39,000 (Central New York Eye & Tissue Bank).  Mr. Carroll said that the escalator superseded the dollar amount over the course of the contract.  In answer to Mrs. Ervin, the higher amount, $39,000, was chosen as this is a revenue contract – they are paying the County.

Mr. Jordan asked if the vendor physically obtains the bodies.  Mr. Carroll said that in general the bodies come into the medical examiner’s office; all medical examiner functions are performed first.  If the body is supposed to be made available for research purposes, then it is turned over to the vendor. 

Chairman Knapp asked if the money is just for renting space.  Mr. Carroll said that the proposal breaks it down by square foot.  It is not just rental of space, but also to perform the function and maintain the space.  The expectation is that they are responsible for maintaining the room up to code as well as transferring the tissue

Upcoming Revenue Contracts:

  • Inmate email – opportunity to provide a secure inmate email under consideration from Dept. of Correction
  • Inmate Commissary – budget line that shows revenue through Dept. of Correction; policy discussion as to whether it should or shouldn’t be revenue. 
  • Electricity Load Reduction – opportunity from State when the State’s electricity load in the summer is so high that there is a need to turn off non-essential electricity, they will pay the County a retainer every month to do so.  The program requires using a vendor off the State list who can manage the program.

Lights on the Lake:  Mr. Carroll provided the following chart:

Lights on the Lake Metrics

 

2011

2012

Charitable Walks (Attendance)

12,700

14,000

Charitable Donations

$    10,420

$     9,000

First Night CNY Attendance

8,800

7,000

Vehicle Count

41,587

38,271

Overall Attendance

208,642

193,220

Light Displays

276

281

LED Displays

65

150

Percentage of Bulbs that are LED

24%

75%

Website Page Views

74,700

               8,900

Advertising Expenses

$  948,000

$  820,960

Operating Expenses

$  279,001

$  274,725

Operating Revenue

$  333,003

$  336,740

  • Vehicle count on overall attendance – major difference in weather from 2011 and 2012

Mr. May said that to get to the next level, the information would have to be extracted from Parks Dept.  For discussion purposes, 80% of this program is devoted to advertising.  Mr. Carroll said that they are vendor dollars dedicated to it.  Mr. May said that he would like a sense on how those dollars are spent, i.e. print, broadcast, electronic.  Mr. Carroll said that he will pass the question on to Parks Dept., but knows that most of it is in media that is also owned by the vendor.

Chairman Knapp referred this discussion to County Facilities Committee—have Parks Department give a comprehensive report.  It is July, the Committee has been asking for this information for months, and nothing has been received from Parks Department.

Mr. Jordan asked who pays for the electricity.  Mr. Carroll said he would have to look at operating expenses.  Mr. Jordan said that there are now a lot of LED displays and thinks there should be a correlation in reduction of electrical costs.  Chairman Knapp noted that more displays were also added.

Mr. Holmquist asked if a full report could be given to the Ways and Means Committee next month.  Chairman Knapp said that County Facilities Committee should receive it first.  If it is felt that Parks Dept. should also come to Ways & Means Committee, then they can.

Mr. May said that there are a lot of events.  He suggested that a good discussion for County Facilities Committee would be to have Parks Department standardly report on these events, so that every time it’s not a project or an information extraction.  

The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO

Clerk, Onondaga County Legislature

 

 
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