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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee Meeting Minutes

sEALOnondaga County Legislature

 

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


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

 

 

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES – JULY 15, 2020

KEVIN A. HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. McBride, Mrs. Abbott-Kenan, Mr. Kinne

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Williams

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Ms. Kuhn; See attached list

 

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. McBride, seconded by Mr. Kinne to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

 

Mr. Holmquist stated that everyone should wear their masks and speak into a microphone for the record.

 

1.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Michele Clark, Deputy Chief Information Officer

        a.     Amending the 2020 County Budget and Authorizing Further Amendment to an Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse Regarding the Provision of Services for Peoplesoft Financials and Hyperion Software Systems ($65,000)

  • Accepting funds; IMA established in 2014 to cover accounting costs for supporting PeopleSoft Financials and Hyperion Software Systems; systems hosted at County on behalf of City; also extends IMA to March 30th 2021
  • Been live with City since 2014; supporting them for enhancements; i.e. recently implemented ACH, so they do not have to cut vendor checks, funds can be transferred electronically; part of enhancements done for them

Chairman Knapp stated it is a revenue contract.

 

Ms. Clark said they have a great relationship with the City, it is collaborative, and they’ve made great progress.

 

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

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE MINUTES – JULY 15, 2020

VIRTUAL MEETING

JULIE ABBOTT-KENAN, CHAIR

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

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

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Ms. Kuhn, Mrs. Ervin, Ms. Merrick, Dr. Gupta, Ms. Velasco, Ms. Harris, Mr. Frateschi, Mr. DeSantis, Mrs. Kaminski, Mr. Frantzis, Ms. McNamara, Mrs. French

 

Chair Abbott-Kenan called the meeting to order at 10:36 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Bush, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Kinne, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.    DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES – ECONOMIC SECURITY: Sarah Merrick, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing an Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse for Administration of and Reimbursement from Certain HUD Funds to Address Homelessness in the City of Syracuse as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic ($1,965,262)

 

Ms. Merrick:

  • HUD funds received by the City of Syracuse to prevent eviction; targeting information to SNAP recipients believed to be the most venerable
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Community Block Grant (CDBG) target different income levels; social Services will run the program for the city, determine income level and funding subsidy:
    • Temporary assistance funds for low level, a family of 4 with less than $10,000 in resources
    • Emergency Solutions grant for those 50% or less of the median income, i.e. family of 4 with less than $40,000 in resources
    • Community Development Block grant for those 80% or less of the median income, i.e. family of 4 with a little over $60,000 in resources
  • Funds will pay for rent arrears, future rent, and utility arrears to stabilize housing and prevent evictions
  • Federal government wants funds released quickly, anticipate starting August 1, 2020; another round of allocations likely forthcoming for the same
  • Will refer people to Catholic Charities and Salvation Army for follow up case management; Financial Empowerment Center collocating a counselor on the 2nd floor of the Civic Center
  • Social Services has access to many database and can assure tax dollars are being used wisely; will use current staff and hope to bring back 2 retirees to process this financial aid over the next 3 months
  • Anticipate about 800 people will qualify for the 1st round of ESG and about 400 for emergency solutions
  • County Community Development office also received an ESG allocation, approximately $1.4 million, those funds will be used the same way; full package using city money for city residents and county money for county residents
  • Social Services will use time studies for reimbursement of administrative costs from Community Development and the city, sending monthly reports
  • Makes sense for Social Services to administer, has system in place for processing rent payments on a massive scale
  • Each has grant has different criteria, some pay 6 months of arrears and 3 months of future rent payments, will do what is best to keep the client housed
  • Will reach a new audience; will do mailers and outreach to nonprofits, hope county executive and mayor hold a press conference for media attention
  • Funds go directly to the landlord or utility; the client has to apply

Mr. Kinne asked to be provided with a report on the amount of money spent on rent and utilities and the number of people affected. 

  • Receiving unemployment benefits does not make a person ineligible, look at peoples assets, have to fit median income levels

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

 

        b.      INFORMATIONAL: Department Overview

 

Chair Abbott-Kenan said that the department has been burning the candle at both ends and it is appreciated.  The budget is coming up soon and it is important to stay informed so that their needs are understood.

  • Shout out to staff - essential department, had to quickly determine how to gain remote access to workstations to keep the services going
  • Flooded with applications before unemployment helped,  up over 72% from February, about 130 per day; reviewed as quickly as possible to get people eligible for SNAP benefits
  • Managed COVID issue in the homeless population with partners; 84 individuals quarantined
  • Childcare subsidy waiver received from NYS to service essential workers per county executive initiative, able to service those with 85% of the state’s median income and waived the parents share, also filled in absences for the childcare providers, this helped keep childcare capacity in Onondaga County intact; not what it used to be, had 14,000 slots before COVID, now 5,000, trying to determine how to preserve and grow back capacity
  • Many state waivers put a moratorium on activity, i.e. work via the phone instead of face to face; anticipate having to return to in-person client meetings in August or September
  • State pushed recertification off so clients continue to receive benefits; pushes our work down the road, anticipate recertification will double in September, i.e. usually 2,100 SNAP applications for September, looking at 4,100, temporary assistance usually 640, now almost 1,300, same for Medicaid, also will have an large influx seeking child support as soon as the courts open
  • All program areas have increased 2% to 5% because of COVID; before COVID client traffic was 50 per day, now 150 to 175 per day
  • State’s waiver covered all childcare providers except informal, i.e. grandparents or those caring for one child; pays providers for children receiving subsidy only,  many are parent self-pay
  • Department workforce down 11%, concerned, pushing overtime; understand the county is in a dire situation   
  • Anticipate uptick in SNAP applications if unemployment ends at the end of July, also a flood of people August 20th if the governor’s moratorium on evictions is not extended

2.    HEALTH DEPARTMENT:

       a.     INFORMATIONAL: Update:  Indu Gupta M.D.

 

Dr. Gupta:

  • Reviewed the department's website about COVID-19 which is updated daily for current information; https://covid19.ongov.net/
  • Important for legislators to support and promote these health strategies, they are leaders and their constituents will follow
  • Prefer online meetings at this point, provides flexibility but not totally against public meetings with social distancing and masks
  • Numbers from July 4th may not show up for 30 days; large gatherings increase the number of people exposed, symptoms may not appear for 7 to 14 days, attendees go on to infect others who then do the same, quickly multiplies, crucial to understand physical distance is important
  • State contact tracers track the travelers' information entered into the state’s case management system, follow up with active engagement; don’t have the staff to handle locally, work side by side with the state, huddle daily and share information, the state takes our overflow 
  • Important individual responsibility, cannot do this alone, ask all to work together to protect the whole community
  • In reference to antibodies and the plasma project, generally, both T cells and B cells promote immune response if exposed to a virus, in this situation antibodies are produced but are not protective, reinfections occur; takes time to know if a vaccine is protective, need human trials and a couple of cycles to see there is a seasonal variation
  • Upstate is involved in the plasma project, need 3 weeks or more to check for pooling of antibodies, has specific criteria; pushing larger quantities of these antibodies into someone sick can be lifesaving, an ongoing investigation, one tool used in certain situations, also some medication trials are underway

Chair Abbott-Kenan said that it is important for all legislators to be able to communicate with Dr. Gupta, and she appreciates Dr. Gupta agreeing to update the legislature more frequently.  Dr. Gupta responded that she is happy to provide the information.  It is important to have a clear understanding, and she hopes legislators will continue to check the website for current information.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Dr. Chase, to adjourn.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine Signature

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

* * *

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – JULY 16, 2020

CASEY E. JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

                                                                                  

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Tassone

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, see attached list

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Frank Mento, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District

  • Public Hearing – Improvements for sanitary district for White Pine Industrial Park and surrounding contiguous properties
  • Commissioners hearing held on June 30th as required; no opposition; 1 person in attendance in favor
  • Opportunity to serve area that needs waste water service for economic development; first step in process

Chairman Jordan:

  • In my district, and for 15 years heard it is a unique parcel since it is owned by 1 entity; been trying to develop
  • One hang up is that there is no power, water or sewer to tie into at the site; nearby, but not readily accessible
  • Passed resolution approving $1 mil for expansion of infrastructure, but has not happened; been pushing to follow through
  • Very pleased to see it moving forward; engineering to install infrastructure; really have site turnkey for potential employers
  • Why taken so long – half dozen companies have come in and shown interest; each situation different; 1 pharmaceutical company went to Massachusetts instead; agribusiness did not get necessary financing
  • Some wetland issues with property; not all 450 acres can be developed; limits configuration, but recently County tacked on another 100 acres to expand it for more developable land
  • Big issue is not turnkey; would have to wait for infrastructure engineering, design and installation
  • Power substation there, unlimited water, close to I81, railroad near back of parcel; very marketable, need infrastructure
  • Understanding from County Executive that some companies are showing interest, but no one saying definitely yes                                                    

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

 

        b.     Authorizing the Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, Authorizing the Execution of Grant Agreements, and Issuing a Type II SEQR Determination

  • Administrative; back in March, Legislature passed resolution to authorize the acceptance of grant funds for GIGP; federal program - grant not in jeopardy
  • Resolution edited with language for EFC ensuring EFC that money was appropriated; first resolve in the resolution:

         “Resolved, that the County of Onondaga has authorized and appropriated $1,800,000 for the project as part of Resolution No. 247 of December 17, 2013, which includes the 10% minimum local match as required by the Green Innovation Program”

  • County will get the money

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:14 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

* * *

 

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – JULY 17, 2020

TIM BURTIS, CHAIRMAN

                                                                                  

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

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Mrs. Kuhn; see attached list

 

Chairman Burtis called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May, to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     FINANCE – REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES:  Don Weber, Director

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

  • Correction of tax bill; town of Marcellus; taxed as lot with house, but vacant lot; correct bill
  • Any tax bills in reduction of over $2,500 requires legislation

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

 

2.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGYMichele Clark, Deputy Chief Information Officer

        a.     Amending the 2020 County Budget and Authorizing Further Amendment to an Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse Regarding the Provision of Services for Peoplesoft Financials and Hyperion Software Systems ($65,000) (Sponsored by Mr. Holmquist)

  • Accept $65,000 on behalf of IMA est. in 2014; reimbursement to county for city; PeopleSoft & Hyperion; also extends agreement to March 30th, 2021
  • For financials, does not include payroll; Hyperion is the budget module; been live since 2014; agreement is for enhanced services; i.e. help develop ACH for financials; includes services and efficiencies

Mr. Jordan stated that it says the county is amending the agreement to extend to March 30th at a yearly cost not to exceed $65,000.  It reads that the maximum cost is $65,000, but what the county is doing is increasing the cost $65,000.  Ms. Clark agreed that it’s a max of $65,000.  Mr. Jordan said it does not say increase it $65,000, but that it is a maximum amount of $65,000 versus the $440,000.  Ms. Clark said there were three other amendments for $125,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and Mr. Jordan is correct, that it is up to $440,000.  Mr. Jordan suggested they clean up the language to make it clear that it is up to $440,000 with an additional $65,000. 

 

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

 

Chairman Burtis took the agenda items out of order.

 

4.     COUNTY LEGISLATURE:

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

 

Mr. Burtis said this is standard, and there is one elected and one appointed.

 

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

 

        b.     Improving Reapportionment to Encourage a Fair and Open Process with Increased Public Participation and Access (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

 

Chairman Burtis stated that there has been a lot of dialogue and conversation about this.  He would like to see an opportunity to work this out, not to rehash Mr. Ryan’s local law.  Chairman Burtis said he does not intend to call a vote.

 

Chairman Knapp:

  • At session last week, discussed Legislator Ryan’s local law; several of Mr. Ryan’s comments, as well as Mr. Kinne’s, spoke about concerns of the makeup of the committee 10 years ago - looked at several concerns including those
  • 7 recommendations to change existing process without changing the Charter; make this a better process
  • Talked about NYS changing their system to basically copy Onondaga County; have been discussion in Albany about it; sounds like they are looking at what’s being discussed now
  • Recommending: 

         (1) the 3 appointees of committee not be enrolled in a primary political party

         (2) no current or former elected officials should be members; no committee members of major parties, or chair persons

         (3) encouraging community members to apply

         (4) the chair of the commission should be one of the three appointed members

         (5) incumbency will not be a factor when the commission draws the lines

         (6) currently two public hearings (as required by law); asking for 5 public hearings in various parts of county, times and days, so people can look at the work and make recommendations

  • Not stated in this resolution, but other groups are certainly encouraged to make recommendations or create their own maps to submit for consideration
  • Very common sense and reasonable recommendations in this resolution; it does not change the Charter, but will make some good additions to the process

Mr. Ryan thanked Chairman Knapp and Chairman Burtis.  Mr. Ryan asked what the logic is for not having a major political party and having a Working Families Party, Green Party, Independence Party or Conservative Party.  Chairman Knapp responded that the two major parties are already represented on the committee by the Board of Elections commissioners.  The appointees do not have to be part of any of the third parties; they could be non-enrolled.  Mr. Ryan said they should include major parties, or exclude third parties.

 

Mr. Ryan said, in reference to Mr. Kinne’s points on the floor, that historically members of the Legislature have been gerrymandered out of existence, or gerrymandered to protect their existence; so incumbency has been factored.  Why has there not been consideration for keeping boundaries geographically contiguous or compact?  Mr. Ryan would like the commission to be more mindful of that.  Without safeguards for neighborhoods, then they are going down a path to redraw districts like there are now.  Will there be consideration for that, or would there be going forward?  Chairman Knapp replied that there are state and federal regulations written saying they cannot break up towns with less than 10,000 people, and they cannot break up people with like interests.  That may have been violated 10 years ago in their efforts to try to make more metropolitan districts and increase the city’s representation.  Chairman Knapp would be mindful of that.

 

Mr. Ryan asked why there was no consideration to have a strong recommendation that one of the public hearings be in the city of Syracuse.  Chairman Knapp answered that it was the intent to have the public hearings in all areas of the county, and they can amend that very easily.

 

Mrs. Ervin would like to see some time for Mr. Ryan and someone from the other side to sit down and make changes to this before voting.  There are good things and good intentions, but maybe fine tune this to make it acceptable.  Chairman Knapp stated that is one reason he did not want to take a vote today, so there was time to have discussions over the next few weeks.  Mrs. Ervin would like something that is good for everyone, and everyone has their input.  Chairman Burtis said that is his desire also.

 

Mr. Jordan stated that he was here the last time, and to his recollection, they did encourage outside groups to participate with input into the process.  There were a number of outside groups involved, including the League Women Voters, and they were very vocal in what they thought.  Trying to have districts contiguous is great, but sometimes it is easier said than done.  They cannot break up election districts, or community interests and backgrounds.  It sounds simple, but when other districts are set up to be compact and contiguous, then what is left over is based on population.  Last time there was an interest to have more districts representing members of the city of Syracuse along with the other regulations.  It is complicated to accomplish all of the goals people voice.

 

Mr. Jordan stated that he takes offense to the continued comments of gerrymandering.  This was not a gerrymandered process at all.  Using that terminology has a number of negative connotations, and it is unfair, inappropriate and inaccurate to use that term.  Chairman Burtis agreed and asked that they refrain from using that term.

 

Mr. Williams wanted clarification that the Whereas clause referencing the appointees not being enrolled, or in a “third party”, is in reference to the other three appointees; not those three stipulated in the Charter.  Chairman Knapp answered yes.

 

Mr. May thanked Chairman Burtis for his comments and setting up this dialogue.  This is a strong statement of intent, and the law dictates how the commission needs to do things.  It is important to say that when this is finally resolved, everyone will walk away disappointed.  This is a reality, and they have to keep it real while moving forward.  It is a great idea to have a few representatives from each caucus work together to find common ground.  It is a statement of intent, but they are bound by the regulations and laws.  As Chairman Knapp said, there was noble intent the last time to diversify the districts, but in today’s atmosphere, it is not what folks want.

 

Mrs. Ervin hopes that they can do this in a timely fashion to have something on the floor in September.  She does not want this to linger.  Mrs. Ervin stated for the record that they tried to do this, get together, work on it and have something ready for September.  Chairman Knapp commented that the timing is to have this done quickly.

 

Mr. Ryan said, with regards to Legislator Jordan, that he agrees it is not easy to draw the maps.  It is also not difficult either.  Mr. Ryan requested the minutes of the Reapportionment Commission from April 4, 2011 be included in the minutes of this committee (April 4, 2011 Reapportionment Commission Minutes are on file with the Clerk).  The Plan B legislative district map (seen below) did not take long to draw, because he knows the person who drew them (former Board of Elections commissioner).  The districts look contiguous, good and fair.  They do not look like they are odd shapes. 

 

7.17.20 WMS 1

7.17.20 WMS 2

 

 

Ms. Kuhn said she is happy to have a collaborative meeting and said this is very different from how the Charter reads.  She thought the Charter had to be followed, and this is a significant variation from her understanding of the Charter.  Ms. Kuhn thought there had to be a referendum to change the Charter.  Chairman Knapp responded that the Charter states who makes the picks, but not who the picks are.  That is what is being defined with this.  They are not changing the Charter, because the Charter does not talk about that currently.  To add public hearings is not something the Charter talks about either.  This addresses parts of the Charter that did not speak specifically to these things.  Mr. Durr agreed.

 

Chairman Burtis stated that this has been considered, and he looks forward to working across the aisle for a resolution to move forward with good intent.

 

Mr. Ryan stated he put in a draft memorializing resolution for informational purposes, and Mr. May commented that it speaks to finding middle ground.  Mr. May said, for the record, the committee acknowledges that Legislator Ryan has something to show the members, but not seeing it is tough to comment.  It is a good step towards what Legislator Ervin said about getting together and talking.  Mr. Ryan agreed.  Chairman Burtis stated that he received it while at the dais, they can continue to talk about it and said it has the “G” word in it. 

 

3.     DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES – ECONOMIC SECURITY:  Sarah Merrick, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing an Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse for Administration of and Reimbursement from Certain HUD Funds to Address Homelessness in the City of Syracuse as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic ($1,965,262) (Sponsored by Mrs. Abbott-Kenan)

  • Resolution to accept 2 different funds coming from federal HUD department; funds are to avert evictions; lot of money being poured in from federal government to ensure people can stay in their housing
  • City approached county 2 months ago to say money coming, and asked county to consider what they did in partnership in 2009 – City had Homeless Prevention Rapid Rehousing Program, and county administered nearly $2 mil to help city and county residents to avert evictions
  • COVID crisis - many more people being affected; dollars are even greater
  • Resolution asks county to accept $713,879 in city ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) money, which will target those with up to 50% of median income in city
  • Resolution also asks county to accept over $1.2 mil in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which will target individuals with up to 80% median income in city of Syracuse
  • Funds target city residents; city asked county to administer, because Social Services provides financial assistance to very low income individuals; business to pay landlord rent and utilities
  • Funds target to help prevent evictions by paying rears, forward rent and utility bills
  • Social Services has the infrastructure in place to do this well; Community Development has also asked Social Services to administer their ESG of $1.4 mil – interdepartmental agreement
  • Package of almost $4 mil for city and county residents to avert homelessness

Mr. Rowley asked if the ESG grant is existing through HUD, and Ms. Merrick said yes.  It is an Emergency Solutions Grant that has been around for decades.  Both of these have ESG COVID-19, and Community Development is COVID-19.  These are extra funds throughout the nation.  It is not a repurposing of existing funds; these are new funds the federal government is pushing out.  Large counties (like Onondaga) are getting direct allocations, and small counties (surrounding sister counties) will get smaller allocations through NYS Temporary and Disability Assistance.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if all the costs incurred by the county to administer will be reimbursed, and Ms. Merrick answered yes.  The city and Community Development understand that any staff time used for this will be charged administrative dollars available to the grant.  People will call or visit the second floor, where they will be screened for temporary assistance first.  Ms. Merrick explained that they will ask for reimbursement from the federal and state government for the temporary assistance time, then any time staff spent on the grants will be charged to the grant for local costs.  It is very clear that Social Services will recoup their time with administrative dollars.  Mr. Jordan said a portion of the administrative process is utilizing the kiosks, and there are capital costs related to those.  Is there a way to charge a small amount for that?  Ms. Merrick responded that these two grants will not require the extensive paperwork submission as temporary assistance, but they will do time studies and track activity.  If someone uses the kiosks, they can look into charging that to an admin rate.  Ms. Merrick said they will be doing a major mailing to their SNAP population, because they believe that is the income range that will meet the funds.  The mailing will be 100% picked up by the administrative costs. 

 

Mr. May commented that he appreciates what Ms. Merrick is doing, and what they are doing for the program.  Mr. May said he heard a statistic a while back saying approximately 25% of area households were financially affected by COVID.  Mr. May asked if Ms. Merrick had an update to that, or any information on its accuracy.  Ms. Merrick replied that the best bellwether is SNAP utilization.  In early April there was a 5% uptick when unemployment was issued and some cases had to be closed.  When unemployment ends in July, then Ms. Merrick believes they will see SNAP rise 5-10%, which will give a sense of how broad a spectrum COVID-19 is having.  Because of unemployment, Social Services has seen a dip in utilization of SNAP.  Ms. Merrick does not have any other data.

 

Mr. May suggested expanding their mailing list to include area employers if possible.  They have employees out of work due to layoffs hoping the employees are willing to come back when the opportunity exists.  This is the kind of information employers can use to help their employees who are out of work.  Ms. Merrick stated that is a fabulous suggestion.  They are putting together a fact sheet for community agencies, but they should expand to employers.

 

Mrs. Ervin appreciates the work Ms. Merrick is doing, and she realizes they have vacancies they cannot fill.  People are working overtime.  Mrs. Ervin wanted it on the record that she appreciates all Ms. Merrick is doing for the community.  Excellent job.  Ms. Merrick said thank you.

 

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

 

Chairman Burtis said the CDBG does not require case management, and it says the grant can serve 600 households.  The ESG says the grant can serve 400 households, and Chairman Burtis asked Ms. Merrick if she thinks that is the max number.  Ms. Merrick explained that is a guestimate.

  • Can refine the numbers when they have one month under their belt
  • City indicated they have over $700,000 more of ESG money to send to Social Services; looking at doubling households to 800; average a monthly rent payment and guestimate how many households to serve
  • Clear in ESG guidelines that referrals to case management is a mandate; city set up a contract with Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, so Social Services will be referring those that get ESG funds for case management services
  • New partnership with financial empowerment center, which will collocate on the second floor (possibly virtually)
  • Social Services will encourage households that get ESG or CDBG to utilize the financial counseling; it is the root of a lot of this, so it will help stabilize households in the long term

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

 

5.      LAW:

         a.      2020 Transfer Resolution

  • Transfer of funds; 408 account short due to outside counsel fees; number of pending litigation related to sewer expansion and consolidation and development in Dewitt; use of outside counsel for SEQRA and other contract negotiations
  • Should not happen beyond this year; hope not to incur this outside counsel costs in future

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

 

Mr. May said Mr. Durr mentioned going into executive session and asked if they intend to have action after.  Mr. Durr said yes.  

 

A motion was made by Chairman Burtis to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing proposed, pending and current litigation.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Settlement of Claims

 

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

 

Chairman Burtis stated that no vote was taken during executive session.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

7.17.20 WMS 3

JAMIE McNAMARA, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

7.17.20 WMS 4

 

 

 

 

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