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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

           

              JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR                                                                                     DAVID H. KNAPP, CHAIR

          COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE                                                                        WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE

 

JOINT MEETING OF COUNTY FACILITIES AND

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES MINUTES – JUNE 3, 2013

 

Judith Tassone, Chair, County Facilities Committee

David Knapp, Chair, Ways & Means Committee

 

COUNTY FACILITIES MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Andrews, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Shepard

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

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

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE:

        a.     Budget Presentation – Margaret O’Connell, Interim President

 

Ms. O’Connell provided the following PowerPoint presentation:

 


1  2

3  5

4

  • 2nd largest undergraduate provider in region

6

  • Numbers and percentages continue to go up
  • OCC is first choice for many of the students

7

  • Critical to have these partners – many students get 2 yr. degrees and then their ability to travel to get a bachelor’s degrees may be limited – can stay in Onondaga Co, working and get their bachelor’s degree
  • St. John Fisher – doctorates degree
  • 2+2 seamless transfers – 7 out of 10 students want to go on and get a 4 yr. degree
  • Want to make sure they can seamlessly apply and go where they want to go

8

  • Many partners ensuring future work force
  • Provide Lean training, employee training, etc.
  • Go out into the community/businesses to providing expertise

 

9

  • Building relationships with local companies – part of campus, very active, critical partners – provide quality experience for students

 

10

  • Shows what students are studying
  • 74% will transfer to get Bachelor’s Degree

 

11

  • Proposed budget increase of approx. 1%
  • Asking for increase local sponsorship, an increase of $279,210, 3%
  • Changes total sponsorship share to 12.3%

12

  • Chart is deceiving – shows sponsor contribution only
  • Recognizes the tremendous contributions to capital Improvements from the Legislature.  Without capital improvements, in this competitive market, OCC wouldn’t even be a factor
  • Chart shows the increase over the years

13

  • State has increased $150/FTE for next year
  • Board approved a student tuition increase, $61/semester
  • Asking County to increase sponsorship

14

 

15

  • Employee benefits, salaries and wages total over 80%
  • Last year of union contract where salary rate increase was 3.75%

Ms. O’Connell introduced two students, Sierra Korb, Joshua Alaniz, who provide a brief background of their experience at OCC.

 

Ms. O’Connell noted the Mr. Murphy had to leave, as he will be attending a meeting and reception in the Albany regarding the tax free initiative.  It is an issue they are following closely.

 

Mr. Jordan noted that tuition will be $4,702 and asked how it breaks down with out of county and out of state students.  Ms. O’Connell said that they pay double tuition unless they get a certificate of residency from their county.  Mr. Jordan said that out of county would be approximately $9,400; Ms. O’Connell agreedMr. Manning, CFO, said that out of state residents are also charged double tuition, but the states are not charged.  Other counties in NYS are charged a chargeback.  International students pay double tuition. 

 

Mr. Jordan noted that there is a different number for tuition per FTE.  Ms. O’Connell said that the full time equivalency is what they receive from the State; it is based upon a student taking 15 credits.  The college provides the State with the total number of credit hours that students take, and the State determines what the FTE is.  It hovers around $8,600 – it is a measure more of credit hours vs. full time students walking on campus.  Mr. Jordan said that $2,422 is being received toward a cost of tuition of $4,702.  Mr. Manning said that the $4,702 also includes fees.  The current tuition is $4,050 for full time.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if when someone comes in from out of county, is the other county is charged $1,600.  Ms. O’Connell said that is determined by a formula that the state and SUNY agree upon.  It is based upon the total percentage that the county contributes as a sponsor; Onondaga is 12%.  That is pretty average for most of the SUNY schools.  There is a higher rate, if the county contributes more.  Mr. Manning said that OCC has a low chargeback rate, 28 out of 30 out of the 2-year colleges.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Manning said that Onondaga County is the 2nd to lowest contributor per the formula. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Ms. O’Connell said that an out of county student pays the full tuition and then their county pays the charge back rate on top of that.  She noted that they have tracked how much Onondaga County had paid for students leaving the county, which was significant for many years.  With the facilities improvements, more students are staying in Onondaga County and attending OCC.  Mrs. Rapp asked for the numbers that have decreased over time.   

 

Mr. Jordan asked when the tuition is calculated, if it already takes into account what the State is contributing.  Ms. O’Connell explained that State is above and beyond that; the tuition is one piece of the pie and the State and County support are other pieces.  Mr. Jordan said that in coming up with a budget, the tuition is a product of what is anticipated to be received from the State.  Ms. O’Connell agreed. 

 

Mr. Jordan noted that there is a net decrease of 13 faculty positions, but faculty costs are going up to $1.3 million.  Ms. O’Connell said it is because of benefits and salaries; they are union contracts.  There are 202 fulltime faculty members and over 200 adjuncts.  OCC has had a commitment, and will continue, to keep the ratio to about 50%.

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Ms. O’Connell said it costs roughly $8,000 per year to educate a student at OCC.  Mr. Jordan said that it costs more for certain program.  Ms. O’Connell said that nursing programs and medical field professions do cost more money, but there are fees.  For example, a nursing student pays a $500 lab fee for a year.  Mr. Jordan said that depending on the program, it appears that the taxpayers are subsidizing a student’s education at OCC.  He doesn’t see why we are enticing out of state students to come to OCC, when their education is being subsidized.  He doesn’t see a benefit to the community in doing that.  He referred to three quarters of the students going on to higher education; it is great, but in moving on to other colleges, the odds are in favor of the kids staying in the area where they went to school or somewhere else in the country.  There is a lot of money spent and effort made in trying to attract out of county students, but we are subsidizing their education.  Ms. O’Connell said 87% of the students at OCC are Onondaga County residents.  The majority of students transferring to other schools are all within an hour and half range…many to Rochester, Binghamton, Oswego.  Regarding looking at students outside of Onondaga County… they look at growth and declining demographics in upstate New York.  If the college is to continue to grow, there has to be more students coming from outside of the County.  The County is somewhat subsidizing it, but the chargeback rate shows the percentage of that subsidy.  The college is also getting tuition and FTE’s from the State.   She wouldn’t argue that it is part of the philosophy.  The community college still continues to exist to support Onondaga County and the five other regions that it has, but with the way the models are and with the nature of education now, there are a lot of costs.  Making sure there are 25-35 students in each of the classes is key.

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. O’Connell said that the union contract goes through August 2014.  There were 2 years of protracted negotiations, mostly related to the benefit side.  At the end of the conclusion, they were able to get significant contributions on the part of the employees towards their benefits.  That will save the college significantly and is projected to continue significant cost savings.  Mr. Manning said that the cost to the employees increases in stages, paying 16%, 18%, and then 20% of their benefits.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the College still gets FTEs from the State if a student comes from out of state.  Ms. O’Connell said that it does.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked about trends in enrollment for community colleges in New York State and specifically for OCC in the coming 12 – 48 months.  Ms. O’Connell said they are seeing a phenomenal growth for many years, now it has plateaued, or in many cases, significantly dropped.  That is happening in private institutions also.  All of the smaller, liberal arts schools are going to struggle in the next 5 – 10 years.  They will not all make it.  In Florida, Texas, Arizona, it is not a problem – those schools are bursting at the seams.  It has already been seen with closures of elementary and middle schools, and it is starting to trickle up to higher education.  OCC had a slight enrollment decrease in the fall.  They are already seeing a decline for the summer – down around 7%.  They are holding for fall.  Most of the other community colleges across the state have seen declines of 5% – 9% across the board.

 

Mr. Kilmartin noted that the demographic trends in Central New York and New York State have continued for a number of years.  He asked if the change in enrollment at OCC, other community colleges, and local 4-year collages, is related to a change in demographics or are there other factors.  The economy is picking up a little bit now and the demographics have continued for quite a while.  Ms. O’Connell said that it is a combination – they have had the benefit of an uptick from those students choosing Onondaga (i.e. West Genesee); there is also a stronger economy.  Most colleges peaked in 2008-09; people were flooding back for re-training.  As that has gone down, and there are more job opportunities, that population of students declined.  That is why it is critical to continue to develop new programs.  They have to make sure they are responsive to the needs of the community – that is where there will be growth opportunities

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin regarding state funding trend, Ms. O’Connell said that it has been great the last two years with the governor being such an advocate for community colleges - $150 increase last year and again this year.  It is not back up to where it was – one year was cut $565.  People are recognizing the roll more than ever that community colleges are providing opportunities and access for students.  The opportunity for the Tax Free New York Zone is trying to show that community colleges are huge economic drivers in the community.  They are hopeful that the trend will increase and continue.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked about the proposed usage for the Furnace property.  Ms. O’Connell said that the entrance driveway is just past the Brinson Marina on Rt. 175.  The college was able to acquire and develop it to be used as for classes and a recreational area for students living in the dorms with, open fields, walking areas, and hiking trails.  It will be completed by the end of August.

 

Mr. May asked about the average county sponsorship percentage in counties with community colleges, noting that last year it was 26% or 27%.  Ms. O’Connell said she can get the exact number.  Mr. May asked what the County sponsorship is when the capital costs are figured in.  Mr. Morgan said that he will provide the number.  Mr. Dougherty said that he would like to see a chart with the County’s sponsorship from 2006 to proposed 2013 with the capital support included.  Ms. O’Connell said that the chargebacks help with the debt services.  Mr. May agreed that 12% is a great number, but it is good to have both perspectives.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if there are any capital asks this year.  Mrs. O’Connell said “no”.

Mrs. Rapp asked about the doctoral program being offered.  Ms. O’Connell said that it is a program in leadership, not offered by SU, LeMoyne or any other local educational provider; it is an EDD 

 

Ms. O’Connell said that there are about 87 international students at OCC.  The nephew of China’s President XI’s found his way to OCC and will be transferring to S.U.  Mr. Jordan asked how these students find their way to OCC.  Ms. O’Connell said it shows the power of the Web.  The community college model is not as pervasive around the world.  Many times it is the affordability factor, as they are not Pell or TAP eligible, and aren’t getting any financial aid or scholarships.  When these students come to the United States to study, they are paying the full fare.  

 

Chairman Knapp asked if there are any programs being added for this coming year; did the nuclear program start this year.  Ms. O’Connell said they have been working on it for 1.5 years; it had to be approved by State Education, SUNY, and Nuclear Regulatory.  They are only one of 38 community colleges in the country that are now certified to teach the program.  OCC is constantly in dialogue regarding program, i.e. eye consultants coming to the college to try to develop a program.  They talk all the time with business and industry.  They don’t always need the technical training, but hear all the time they people need the soft skills—work ethic, follow through, critical thinking, communication, team effort, etc.  There will be more coming from manufacturing – working in partnership with City School District, BOCES, etc.  Mrs. Rapp noted that when they were doing the presidential search, the community partners expressed the real need to develop the local business training relationships.

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

FISCAL WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 3, 2013

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

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

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Liedka, Mr. Dudzinski, Mrs. Rapp, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 10:20 a.m.

 

1.     COMPTROLLER:  Robert Antonacci III, Comptroller; James Maturo, Deputy Comptroller/Accounting; Phil Britt, Deputy Comptroller/Auditing

        a.     Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Mr. Antonacci distributed the following:

 

June 3, 2013

 

To:   Honorable Members of the Committee on Fiscal Ways & Means, Onondaga County Legislature

Re:   Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending December 31, 2012

 

        Today our office hereby releases Onondaga County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending December 31, 2012.  The release of this report in such a timely fashion is essential to the maintenance of our bond rating and continues to add to our reputation of sound fiscal management.

 

        The CAFR was prepared under the direction of Deputy Comptroller James Maturo and Chief Governmental Accountant Anthony Calogero.  In addition, my audit staff, led by Deputy Comptroller Phil Britt, provided the underlying audit work.  With both divisions working together we again lead all counties in New York by becoming one of the first to release our financial statements. I respectfully recognize the efforts of all my staff as their hard work has contributed greatly to the financial stability of this County.

 

        This committee and all members of the Legislature can use these statements in both evaluating past policy decisions and considering future financial decisions.  We respectfully offer the following comments in using this document in performing your duties:

 

        Once again the County has received an unqualified opinion from the independent auditing firm.  In non-accounting jargon we have received a “clean” opinion, which means among other things the County is fairly stating its financial position in all material respects.

 

        This opinion is important for many reasons.  First as a sitting Legislator and taxpayer, take comfort the County is diligent in reporting financial data accurately and timely.  This allows all, bond-rating agencies, taxpayers, vendors and any with an interest to use this financial “tool” to make informed, reasoned decisions involving Onondaga County.

 

        As a leader in government financial reporting, our County issues a CAFR as opposed to basic financial statements.  We go beyond the minimum standards for financial reporting by issuing such a comprehensive report.  We believe this entire report can and should be used in your legislative capacities when reviewing any financial issue requiring your attention.

 

        The CAFR consist of the following sections:

  1. Letter of transmittal - pages iii-viii
  2. Opinion Letter from independent auditor-pages ix-xi
  3. Management Discussion and Analysis-pages xii-xxiv
  4. Basic Financial Statements consisting of:
    • Government Wide Financial Statements- pages 1-4
    • Fund Financial Statements-pages 5-17
    • Notes to the Financial Statements- pages 18-43

        We respectfully suggest the Required Supplementary Information consisting of Budgetary Information on Major and Non-Major Funds (pages 44-63) would be of tremendous use during budget sessions.  These statements reflect budget to actual financial figures and assess our variance from the budget.

 

        The Statistical Section, beginning on page 64 is another useful financial tool providing historical perspective on many key financial conditions based on previously audited statements.

 

As you perform your duties, this document can assist you in evaluating past decisions of the government and help you in making future choices.  In the recent past, Legislative committees have asked questions in areas like Fund Balance and Long-term Debt.  The CAFR can be a reference for these issues (Fund Balance page 5 and Long-term Debt pages 31-32) as well as many others.

 

        In closing, no one single measure of financial condition can fully capture the financial stability of our government. Each of your constituents may gauge financial success differently.  However, the discussion must begin with and be based on sound financial data.  The issuance of timely financial statements begins the discussion and we are proud to submit this Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending December 31, 2012, to help you serve the taxpayers of Onondaga County.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Robert Emil Antonacci II CPA

 

Mr. Antonacci:

  • Timely issuance of financial statements:  important – if not timely, there is an indication that there is something afoul.  Statements issues a week or two behind last year – conversion to PeopleSoft took a lot of drain from staff
  • Clean opinion:  important to have – fairly accurate representation to where county government was as of Dec. 21, 2012.  Many things go into a clean opinion--in addition to Comptroller’s staff, the budget department does a great job.  Together they all look at the internal control apparatus 
  • Fund Balance:  critical indicator of where the government has been & what resources are available for the future
  • Fund balance:  continues to remain very healthy; at 12/31/12 the legislature’s fund balance policy of 10% of general fund revenue was met
  • Highlights of financial statements:  budget to actual - pg. 44; WEP – pg. 46; important section, especially at budget time – shows what was projected vs. actual – can provide background regarding which departments need to be questioned on their performance
  • Debt:  pages 31-32--look at a debt authorization and see where we are, where we have been, and where we are going.  Pg. 32 includes the disclosure of the authorized, but unissued debt - potential of half billion dollars in county debt currently
  • Van Duyn:  included in statement, disclosed as a subsequent event--meaning there is a planned sale of Van Duyn
  • Old sales tax agreement – this was the last year – from this point forward, the financial statements will reflect the new sales tax agreements without the credits, etc. – will be easier to compare budget to actual

Mr. Kilmartin asked what the impact of Van Duyn will be in the short term, midterm and long term.  Mr. Antonacci said that in the short term with the IGT money, the County is not losing money on a daily basis with Van Duyn right now.  In the long term, there is potential risks of the IGT money going away – it can be anywhere from $0 to $10 million.  It will take away 500 employees from county government, and the associated costs.  The state is not providing a proper reimbursement rate – we will get this off the backs of the county taxpayers; overall it will be a county positive.  Mr. Maturo said that IGT was drawn down last year so Van Duyn closed with a $19 million fund balance.  Hopefully there will be a chunk of that money available after the sale of Van Duyn is complete to help for a couple of years for the payout of the costs:  workers compensation, retiree benefits, etc.  Those costs will be with the County after Van Duyn goes away.  Mr. Morgan agreed with Mr. Maturo and noted that the County is still eligible for IGT funding for a couple of years, because the Federal government is a couple of year behind.  Potentially there is still a year and 3/4 to receive IGT, which he would come to the legislature to request authorization to pull those dollars down.  Mr. Kilmartin noted that revenues left over after the transition of Van Duyn could include IGT funds and $19 million fund balance.  Mr. Morgan agreed but pointed out that at the transfer the new owner is slated to get all of the assets, $2 million cash; Onondaga County retains all of the liabilities.  The County retains the $19 million fund balance, which will be used to offset whatever costs are left, i.e. retiree health, debt on the facilities.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Ferrara noted that total debt service on the facility is about $4 million.  Mr. Morgan answered that it is not part of the refunding at this point.

 

Mr. Antonacci referenced pages 48-51, noting this is an example of where Van Duyn (pg. 49) would be on the financial statement; Oncenter will be in this section going forward.

 

Mr. May noted that debt service is going up, looking out over 25 years; there is a lot the plate going forward.  He asked Mr. Antonacci for his thoughts or concerns.  Mr. Antonacci noted that it is a busy government and easy to forget what happened even a year ago.  He referenced a spread sheet (on file with Clerk), authorized/unissued debt totaling approximately $323 million.  Right now the principal and interest is very manageable, but theoretically if all of this debt was issued tomorrow, it would double the debt service.  There are interest variations and probable useful life and the number of years out that the debt would go.  Mr. Morgan keeps an eye on this.  It is certainly a concern; need to keep an eye on it because it is such a big government, but there are no indications right now that there is a problem servicing our debt.  We are well within any ratios that are required by local law.  Mr. May noted that there is a high level of confidence in how the debt is being taken care of.  However, we are not so far off from the 2014 budget to be thinking about tactics and methods used in the past to appropriate reserves for the one-time costs and keep it out of our debt service going forward. 

 

Mr. Morgan said that during the 2013 budget process, $500 million of fund balance was proposed and approved to be committed to debt.  It was a step in the right direction; will be used as a vehicle and recognized the debt service spikes are coming over the next 4 – 5 years.  As they approach the 2014 budget, they may ask the legislature to pull some of the committed fund balance that was set aside into the 2014 budget; may ask to add additional excess funds to fund balance if they exist for that commitment.  Mr. Antonacci referenced pages 31 and 32 of the CAFR; page 31 shows the general long-term debt obligations schedules.  There is a spike in 2014; doesn’t feel it is anything to be completely worried about.  Page 32 shows the obligations that are authorized but unissued; over $300 million.  

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Antonacci said that there is $425 million currently issued that we are paying debt service on.  Mr. Maturo explained that a portion of that is OTASC – about $290 million, general obligation debt of the County that is outstanding currently.  The total authorized, unissued obligation is $323 million.

 

Mr. Antonacci said that in looking at the capital plan and what is coming down the pike, it is at $700 million plus whatever the new ideas are that will come in.  The questions for management would be if this is additional debt above and beyond what has been already authorized; what that projection is.  He thinks there could potentially be $1 billion in debt with the lake clean up.  Chairman Knapp referenced the highway garage, jail expansion, etc.; there are some big projects on the horizon.

 

In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Antonacci said that WEP debt is included in the total figure.  Mr. Antonacci said that the total authorized debt for WEP is more than $200 million; he will provide the actual in detail.  They will break out WEP debt that is issued and that which is authorized.  Mr. May said that we want to see how much the debt is deferred to run county government and its associated services.  Chairman McMahon agreed; WEP with the ACJ is its own animal; there is more control over the other bonding.  Mr. Morgan said that all of that detail is in the CIP document.  Mr. Jordan asked for a breakdown of the outstanding debt in each year.  Mr. Morgan said that they do.

 

Mrs. Rapp asked about meeting the 10% policy.  Mr. Antonacci said that at 12/31/12 it was at 12.13%, $16 million over the 10%; 10% would be $67 million.  Mr. Maturo explained that after all of the reserves are taken out of fund balance, fund balance ended just under $100 million in general fund.  There are reserves for encumbrances, reserves for prepaid expense; $5 million committed for debt – that brought unassigned debt to approximately $84 million, $16.8 million over 10% limit.  Through the adopted budget, and several resolutions since then, that 10% has been committed.  At this point in time the Comptroller’s Office would recommend not appropriating any additional fund balance.  Mr. Antonacci said that the key is management going forward.

 

        2.     FINANCE:

        a.     First Quarter Report – Steve Morgan, CFO

Mr. Morgan provided the following:

 

1 

ONONDAGA COUNTY

2013

First Quarter Indicators Report

CYTD = Cumulative Year to Date (January - Period listed)

Indicator

Period

2013

2012

Page

2013 First Quarter Budget Forecast

Q1

 

 

2

Unemployment Rate: Onondaga County

March

7.7%

8.6%

3

Employed Persons by Month (in 000’s):  Onondaga County

March

206.7

206.8

3

Employed Persons yr-over-yr (in 000’s):  Onondaga County

March

(0.1)

(2.0)

3

Overall Consumer Confidence: Syracuse MSA

Q1

71.6

71.3

4

Consumer Price Index (all items) - Inflation Rate

March

1.5%

2.7%

4

Weighted Average County Interest Rate

March

0.45%

0.63%

4

Reconciled Quarterly Sales Tax Collections % Chg CYTD

Q1

2.0%

6.6%

4

Auto Sales CYTD:  Onondaga County

March

5,912

5,336

5

Gasoline Prices per gallon paid by Onondaga County

March

$3.07

$3.18

5

Retail Gasoline Prices per gallon in Upstate NY

March

$3.90

$3.97

5

Onondaga County Clerk Fees CYTD

March

$.647M

$.613M

6

Lis Pendens CYTD

March

448

236

6

Existing Home Sales CYTD:  Onondaga County

March

678

586

6

Average Median Home Price YTD:  Onondaga County

March

$126,617

$120,340

6

Onondaga County Filled Positions

January

3,795

3,822

7

Average Monthly Public Assistance Caseloads YTD

March

6,665

6,569

7

Average Monthly Medicaid Caseloads YTD

March

58,517

56,570

7

 

Mr. Morgan:

  • Met with bond rating agencies last week – productive; County viewed as fiscally stable
  • Areas of concern:  unemployment rate approx. 8%-would like to see it 3 percentage points lower; employed persons – flat growth – concern about level of new job growth; reconciled quarterly sales tax collection – budgeted 3.43% growth for 2013; projected 3.5% - need to hit 2.3% growth in 2013 to meet the budget mark – 2012 ended over 5%

2013 First Quarter Budget Forecast

Page 4

 

Page:F10001-General Fund

 

2012

2013

2013

2013

 

Actual

Adopted

Modified

Dpt_Projected

Revenues

 

 

 

 

Property Tax Levy

       148,359,432

       140,998,859

       140,998,859

        140,998,859

Deferred/Uncollectible

        (11,637,980)

        (11,800,000)

        (11,800,000)

        (11,800,000)

Prior Year Collections

            7,883,527

            6,686,871

            6,686,871

            6,686,871

Pilots/Interest & Penalties

          10,659,979

            9,020,821

            9,020,821

            9,020,821

Room Occupancy Tax

            3,860,178

            4,113,475

            4,113,475

            4,113,475

Abstract Charges

          11,849,860

          11,312,356

          11,312,356

          11,312,356

Sales Tax - County Portion

       233,969,037

       245,491,341

       245,491,341

        248,587,801

Sales Tax - Municipalities/School Portion

          86,432,145

          82,336,190

          82,336,190

          83,014,366

State Aid

          88,326,258

          92,979,274

          93,000,874

          91,664,121

Federal Aid

          87,213,239

          90,132,834

          90,132,834

          88,169,743

Interdepartmentals

          47,427,901

          52,420,214

          52,420,214

          52,053,491

All Other

          44,967,672

          45,455,840

          45,942,840

          41,405,799

Total Revenues

     759,311,249

     769,148,075

     769,656,675

     765,227,704

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriations

 

 

 

 

Mandated Programs

       252,561,885

       265,661,819

       265,704,739

        255,114,938

Wages

       138,495,928

       139,747,769

       140,281,279

        140,965,285

Benefits

          84,428,426

          88,390,814

          88,702,237

          88,649,717

Contracted Services (694080/695700)

          61,172,389

          62,947,100

          66,583,592

          67,204,130

Interfund Transfers

          39,861,932

          42,399,524

          44,591,524

          44,641,585

Debt Service

          17,016,444

          17,393,186

          17,393,186

          17,393,186

Sales Tax - Municipalities/School Portion

          86,432,145

          82,336,190

          82,336,190

          83,014,366

Interdepartmentals

          43,485,155

          46,618,320

          46,635,697

          46,360,029

All Other

          35,259,347

          31,697,232

          37,753,630

          37,369,319

Total Expenses

     758,713,651

     777,191,956

     789,982,076

     780,712,556

 

 

 

 

 

Fund Balance

 

 

 

 

Fund Balance

                          -  

            8,043,881

          17,024,276

          17,024,276

Carryover Fund Balance

                          -  

                          -  

3,301,125                          3,301,125   

         3,301,125

                             

 

 

 

 

 

Total Fund Balance

                          -  

         8,043,881

       20,325,401

20,325,401

 

 

 

 

 

Local Dollars

          (597,597)

                   -  

-

        (4,840,549)

 

  • Revenues:  Sales tax revenues – main variance from budget – projection will give County share of sales tax approximately a $3 million surplus
  • Expenditures:  stabilization of the mandates – Family Assistance and Safety Net programs are growing under 2%;
  • Benefit for this year:  Medicaid reimbursement related to Affordable Care Act – Federal government is attempted to expand health care through Medicaid – offered states to expand their Medicaid programs.  If a state choses to participate in the program, the federal government has agreed to pay 75% of the subset of the population – growing to 90% over a 5 year period.  New York will be eligible for increased reimbursement.  The State is required to share in the additional revenue.  Anticipated a $1.4 million benefit – reduction in Medicaid bill.  The County’s share of Medicaid may actually go down next year.
  • Projecting $5 million surplus

 

2012 Fund Balance Analysis

 

2012

 

Actual

Revenue

 $  759,311,249

Less: Sales Tax Pass Through

     (86,432,145)

Total Revenue for Fund Balance Calculation

 $  672,879,104

Current Fund Balance Goal 10%

 $    67,287,910

Unreserved Fund Balance Estimated 12/31/11

 $    99,194,072

 

Appropriated in 2012

       Adopted Budget

      (4,668,684)

       Fund Balance Resolution

      (5,766,441)

       Additional Fund Balance in 2012

      (7,562,983)

2012 Surplus/Deficit

      18,595,706

 

Unreserved Fund Balance - 12/31/12

 $    99,791,670

Less: Encumbrances

        (3,301,125)

         Prepaid Expenses

        (7,434,194)

         Fund Balance Appropriated in the 2013 Budget

      (22,024,276)

Unassigned Fund Balance - Estimated

 $     67,032,075

 

Amount of Fund Balance as a %

10%

 

Amount of Fund Balance over 10% Goal

 $         (255,835)

  • Didn’t have to use any of the fund balance appropriated in 2012; ended with $600k surplus
  • Additional fund balance appropriated – $2 million for Van Duyn transfer – possible that will be paid for out of Van Duyn – items that are appropriated that haven’t been spent
  • At current policy goal of the legislature

Mr. Jordan asked if there are estimates as to where fund balance would be at year end.  Mr. Morgan said that based on the 1st quarter forecast, they estimate $5 million would be used out of the $22 million appropriated.

 

In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Morgan explained that the $5 million commitment for debt service is within the $22 million.

 

In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Morgan said that the April sales tax numbers are in, but they are not factored into the 1st quarter report. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 12, 2013

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Rapp

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Shepard, Ms. Williams

ALSO ATTENDING: See attached list

 

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:08 a.m. and stated the agenda would be taken out of order.

 

2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Informational - Infrastructure Capacity Constraints

 

Mr. Rhoads presented the Infrastructure Capacity Constraints Report to the committee.  (Report on file with the Clerk and available at http://static.ongov.net/WEP/Process/CapacityConstraintsWhitePaperFinal.pdf)

  • Sewers and treatment plants are owned by the county and municipalities - towns, villages and city all part of the sanitary district
  • Deepest infrastructure 8-12 ft. below street grade - waterlines, power lines, communication lines, sidewalks and streets all above it; repairs complicated by all these infrastructures
  • Sewers are so old and so far down we often ignore them; our system has sewers over 100 yrs. Old
  • Old sewers allow ground water to leak in clean water, also have stormwater coming in over the top from manholes and such - 2 forms of I&I extraneous flow; as sewers age they become porous they leak more and we forgo all repairs
  • System has defined amount of water that can be treated and pumped; as sewers age we are using up the capacity for economic development by treating extraneous flows of clean water
  • Save the Rain program used to avoid stormwater from entering the sewage system but have same implications in the suburban infrastructure - cross connections, manholes starting to collapse, sewer pipes failing; all causing more flow  into the system and overwhelming our treatment - causing threshold limits  to be reached or permit problems
  • Graphs on page 24 shows 3 of 6 treatment plants now reaching point of constraint; won’t be able to allow future growth in these service areas without additional investment, e.g.: remove I&I or add to pumping, treating and storage at our treatment plants
  • Repair issue similar to road repairs – e.g.: pot holes repaired and you don’t have to do major road reconstruction; many potholes in 100 yr. old sewers, not getting patched and repaired, now reaching constraints

Chairman Plochocki stated if it seems that everything is crashing down all at once, in a since it is.   In the early twentieth century the technology for modern sanitation came about.  All of these systems were added in a relatively short period of time, meaning all of it will start breaking down at the same time.   People tend to think that we have always had these problems, but this is the first time we have had to deal with a modern infrastructure collapsing.

  • Treatment plants designed in the 1970’s were created with 87% federal or state funds and 13% local dollars
  • 45 yr. old mechanical and electrical equipment within the plants
  • 5 out of 6 plants are award winning plants - operated at their very best, but starting to ware out
  • BOD issue as industries are placed in suburbs - suburban plants were designed to manage residential growth; Oak Orchard area added industry with high strength flow of sugar waste, Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls adding Agrana plant - another high strength flow
  • Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls currently running at 40% of capacity, will be at 92% with the addition of Agrana
  • When 95% of capacity has been reached DEC stops any further growth; reach; Oak Orchard at this point, Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls plant will be at 92% within 3 years

 

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads stated BOD stands for biochemical oxygen demand.  Chairman Plochocki noted that even though the Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls graph appears to have growth capacity at this time, it is flagged as BOD constrained based on the addition of Agrana plant.  Mr. Rhoads added that capacity evaluation summaries are included in the report for each plant, after the graphs.  The graphs simply display the remaining capacity for each plant.  

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads stated the flow capacity for the Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls plant will only be utilized 50%, but the treatment capacity, with the Agrana addition, will be nearing capacity.  This is a food plant that makes a jelly which goes into the bottom of the yogurt; contains all sorts of sugars.   

  • Treatment plants consume loads by biologic aerobic activity – BOD
  • Large facilities such as Anheuser-Busch build their own infrastructure; Chobani has one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in upstate NY and has increased 6 times
  • Don’t have capacity to add significant loads from small plants in the suburbs; Metro has BOD capacity and was designed to handle Bristol, Carrier and GM loads along with the population
  • Need to determine 3 policy issues – funding for aging infrastructure in the sanitary district, disaggregated asset ownership and comprehensive planning; includes city, towns and villages

Mrs. Rapp questioned where we go from here.  Is there technology that could be added to the plants to boost BOD without having to start from scratch and is there a way to line the pipes to keep them from leaking, and lastly is there support from the federal government.  Mr. Rhoads answered the last one is a great question.  On a national level, presently 98% of wastewater work is local dollars.  Mrs. Rapp stated this was discouraging.  

Chairman Plochocki stated he and Mr. Millea were recently in Washington to lobby for funding.  Even the 2% that the federal government puts into this is amounts to billions.  One of the congressmen actually questioned why they were putting in anything, when they have other issues to concentrate on; they are putting in billions of dollars and its only amounting to 2%, which isn’t doing much.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed the 2% was just for wastewater.  For highway there is a gas tax; don’t have a federal funding base for wastewater.  Clean water is probably more important to our life than anything else, but we don’t have a way to pay for it.  Mrs. Rapp stated the federal government is saying, we got you started and now it’s up to you to take care of it. 

  • This is happening across the nation – American Society of Civil Engineers gave the wastewater infrastructure of the US a grade D; wastewater is not being funded federally or locally
  • New technologies for leaking pipes – inflate fiberglass sock inside pipe, able to move same amount of flow through pipe; stops excess water from coming in – not cheap but cheaper than digging up the street and moving all the other infrastructure assets in the right-of-way
  • Created new ways to repair manhole covers (see page 16 for summary); WEP invested $400k in the last 9-10 months toward removing I&I, over 750k gallons per day removed = $1,500 per day savings, payback on investment 1.1 yrs.
  • Green infrastructure proposal next month - grant funding for municipalities within the sanitary district to assist with I&I issues
  • Disaggregated asset ownership – collection sewers owned by municipalities, truck sewers owned by the county, pump stations split with 50 owned by county and 100 owned by municipalities; complex issue when system backs up or things start to decay, haven’t defined who’s responsible to manage this

 

Mrs. Rapp asked why the plants weren’t all ours, once we became a consolidated sewer district.  Mr. Rhoads responded that the plants are all ours; we have the responsibility for cleaning all the water.  Mrs. Rapp questioned why 100 pump stations are owned by the towns.  Mr. Rhoads responded that every time a town creates a subdivision, they put in a special pump station that they own.  We have now accumulated all these little pump stations and most are getting to be 35-40 years old and will start having issues. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the new pump station going in on Electronics Parkway was owned by the county or the town.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it was county owned and listed in the study; used to resolve consent order for I&I issue in that area.  If we don’t fund these issues, this is what happens.  There are still a lot of subdivisions going on within the county, where they are creating additional pump stations.

  • Comprehensive planning is an issue - adding new development and/or industry to areas where we don’t have infrastructure expanses the infrastructure but doesn’t fix the old; how do we determine the capacity for a sanitary district zoned agricultural, when on a monthly basis a huge agricultural parcel is proposed to be converted to heavy duty residential - towns themselves have made land use plans saying land is agricultural with no sewer load then change their mind and want a heavy residential area with a pump station, then sending all the flow to us
  • Industries are being put into the suburbs or rural areas and we don’t have infrastructure for these heavy loads

 

Mrs. Rapp stated we should be setting all our food plants around metro.  Mr. Rhoads added why not.  Mrs. Rapp stated this would solve a lot of problems, for a lot of things.  Mr. Rhoads stated he isn’t saying that we need to do all these things.  We need smart growth, with comprehensive planning, to figure out where we can allocate new loads and best utilize our scarce resources.  We have three big wastewater policy issues in the air and are getting to a crisis. 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated that a plan for Oak Orchard will be submitted to NYS by August 1, 2013.  They will evaluate what they can do to shift some of the load elsewhere; have a pump station that they can point in a different direction.  Mrs. Rapp asked if it could be pointed towards Metro.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it wasn’t possible as Oak Orchard was too far away and along the way they would have to go through several different areas in which they have I&I issues, e.g.:  Ley Creek.  Page 10 -11 show peak flow graphs for Ley Creek, Liverpool and Westside pump stations; red line shows July 2012 dry weather, blue line shows April 2011 wet weather, yellow line shows water that couldn’t be conveyed and went overboard.  The difference between these flows is 348 million gallons per month of extraneous flow that they had to treat.  

Mrs. Rapp stated that we need to line these pipes quickly.  Mr. Rhoads added that the pipes aren’t ours.  Many of the pipes are owned by municipalities; can’t throw money at stuff we don’t own.  We have big issues and this isn’t cheap.  We have pump stations that are reaching their capacity; means that even if we wanted to divert flow there, we can’t.  

Mrs. Rapp asked what the solution was.  Mr. Rhoads stated that we were happy when we got our 87% funding, but we didn’t figure out how we would preserve these assets.  We need to get serious about what our rate is and how we are going to pay for this infrastructure.  It tests the public’s ability to find confidence in government, when our sewers overflow.  These are the sort of things that bring down enforcement action by the DEC.

Mrs. Rapp asked if he was suggesting that the sewer use fee be increased.  Mr. Rhoads responded that our sanitary district charge is about $30 per month; Verizon bundle is $150 for TV, internet and phone.  We are comfortable paying five times as much for TV and internet, then we pay to maintain critical infrastructure.  We can’t have economic growth, clean water, clean lakes and clean rivers without sewers; all things that add value to our property and the reason why we live here.  He hears all the time from the Home Builders Association that people want to leave in the suburbs.  He’s not fighting that, but questions how we can actually have that kind of growth, if it is unmanaged or uncontrolled.  We still need to provide sewer infrastructure; really need to take a hard look at this.  We have been kicking the can down the road.

Mrs. Rapp questioned how our rate compares to others.  Mr. Rhoads stated it is all across the map.  Others have sewer rates, but may also have an ad valorem tax – unsure how to compare apples to apples.  In Seattle it is about $110 per month, well over $1,000 per year.  Mrs. Rapp asked about the rates in Rochester and Albany.  Mr. Rhoads responded that Rochester was very creative when the 87% funding came about; solved all their combined sewer overflows with a tunnel.  We are solving all of our combined sewer overflows with 98% local dollars, since we didn’t solve them at that time.  Their rate is not dissimilar from ours, but their pressures on what’s in the pipe, as far as debt, is different.  Albany is a different area as well.  We are required to meet a 95% capture of our CSO’s.  The Albany area is only required to capture 65% of their CSO’s.  Mrs. Rapp questioned why.  Mr. Rhoads stated NYS DEC sets the amounts.  We also have disinfection in our plant, but until this year, the Albany area was not disinfecting the effluent from their plants.  It flows into the Hudson River, which is enjoyed by many, and is a drinking water source for some areas.  When we start to compare rates we find there is very different regulatory criteria throughout the state; done on a case by case study.  This makes rate discussions difficult to do on a par basis.  Compared to other areas of the country, where there are ACJ’s, we have a very affordable flat rate fee.      

Mr. Rhoads stated this is we will be back next month to talk about a rate study.  We are currently seeing tremendous amounts of flow, but we only charge a flat fee – does this make since; if a residential area sends 7 to 10 times more flow, should they pay the same as a dry or tight sewered area.  There aren’t financial incentives for repairs to be completed by municipalities; they have no skin in the game - simply send the extraneous flow to us and we pay the price for treating it.   

Mrs. Rapp asked if he was coming back next month with a solution.  Mr. Rhoads responded “no”.  During last year’s budget process we asked for the legislature’s concurrence on a rate increase for a block of five years; believe it will take five years to figure out the solution.  There are no magic bullets, this is going to be very comprehensive; need to evaluate rate so that we can fix this correctly and determine the way to have a fair rate structure.  We want to set the table for you by first making sure everyone in the community understands the infrastructure capacity constraints we have and what this means.  Then some of our issues our funding – need to determine how to resolve those funding issues and how we will have good local discussions on fixing these issues.  If 98% of this is going too funded locally, then 98% of the solution has to be found together with the municipalities. 

Mrs. Rapp stated we are already the number one taxed place in the country; can just imagine people flying from here.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he understands that, but this is for people who are actually using the service – it is not a tax.  You don’t get a bill until you actually hook up the property to the connection.  There are a lot of subdivisions that are creating demand for our capacity, but we don’t get a nickel from them until there is a house built and people start living in it.  We are actually required to pay for the capacity, to allow that growth, without any revenue for it; sometimes 2-4 years.  We have to reserve the capacity so that they can make it happen; it’s an unfair structure. 

Chairman Plochocki asked if borrowing for large scale repairs to the system has been paid for taxpayers beyond the users of the sanitary district.  Mr. Rhoads responded the sanitary district has always paid for this this; not aware of any debt for the sanitary district that is paid for by the general fund.  Chairman Plochocki stated he was glad to hear this.  Mr. Rhoads stated that other communities do this, e.g.:  Weedsport charges households an ad valorem tax of $120 per quarter for capacity issues.  All around the state he can find examples of people, who pay less.  Marcellus and Skaneateles are proud of holding the line, but they have a problem too.  They aren’t seeing any industrial or residential growth there.  They are capacity constrained as well. 

Mr. Rhoads stated that if we want our economy to grow and create jobs, we need to determine how we are going to pay for the infrastructure and where we are going to place the economic engines, so that we already have the resources in place.  The County Executive’s Smart Growth Plan has merit for this reason; should be fixing it first.  If we’re not fixing it first, then let’s put the new growth where we have the capacity.  These are some of the complex issues that we are dealing with. 

 

3.     PULLED

 

1.     METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD:  Jeff Bookman, Water Plant Manager

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for the Purchase of a Wheel Loader ($160,000)

 

  • Replacement of 1980 wheel loader requested in 2011 and 2012, was approved by VURB and subsequently approved for budget year 2013; funds appropriated to contingency account - request funds be moved to automotive equipment account
  • Loader requested is environmentally friendly, EPA interim tier 4 emissions compliant 
  • Vehicle used year round at Oswego operations; sludge disposal operations, emergency snow management and general buildings and grounds tasks
  • 2002 Facilities Condition Assessment recommended vehicle replacement
  • Considered many options for replacement:
    • New utilizing open market pricing – pricing higher than NYS contract pricing
    • Used late model low hours – pricing higher than new with NYS contract pricing
    • Used 1999 Daewoo from Jamesville DOT garage – not suitable, needed many repairs and finding replacement parts was difficult
    • Leasing – not viable, just provides means for financing
    • Renting via County contract – cheapest option $6,700 per month, renting just 3 months per yr. over the projected 25 yr. life of the new loader cost over $500k dollars; more than 3 times the NYS contract pricing for new and limits the availability of the loader
    • New utilizing NYS contract pricing – best option fiscally and operationally for replacement, cheapest and allows purchasing of equipment with exact options needed
    • New loader equipped with DOT package and fork attachment, allows for utilization at raw water pumping station and more than 5 miles of transmission line right-of-way; current load not cable of doing this
    • Current loader will be auctioned

In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Bookman stated they anticipated getting $10,000-$15,000 for the loader at auction.

 

Chairman Plochocki stated that this was discussed a great deal during the budget process and he believes the loader should be replaced.  As a quorum is not present, no vote will be taken today.  The item will be sent onto Ways and Means.

 

Chairman Plochocki stated that a quorum is necessary for approval of the minutes from the previous committee meeting; therefore they will be approved, along with the minutes from today’s meeting, at our next committee meeting. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:59 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 12, 2013

KEVIN A. HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. May, *Mr. Ryan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Chairman Holmquist

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list

Vice Chair Dougherty called the meeting to order at 12:14 p.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. May to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds from the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($175,603)

 

  • Annual performance grant from Dept. of Homeland Security to supplement operating costs and offset office expenses
  • First year in contract form; now administered by DHS Grant Bureau; amount fluctuates every year
  • Few thousand more than last year; last year’s money offset 101 and some operating costs with planned development

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

 

2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($187,591)

 

  • Use aerial oblique imagery to locate incidents; high detail, high res; share with other County depts including SOCPA, town and village agencies and emergency first responders - in field can load into computers and get aerial views
  • Imagery outdated (2005/2006); increasingly less reliable; seeking funding for fly over but not able to fund
  • Currently have 2014 CIP to replace imagery at est. cost of $241,000; grant app successful and received $187,591
  • Planning Agency has funding from two grants set aside to update aerial; partnered with them, and with combined can do at no cost; it will now be removed from the 2014 CIP
  • Total cost approx. $241,000; Planning has Real Property Services Grant and Tech Venture Capital for cost difference
  • No local dollars; no money allocated in EC 2013 budget, and SOCPA only mentioned the grants
  • Used for all different purposes:  assessments, public safety; rely on heavily; found less reliable
  • Will be stored locally on a server; constantly reviewing; level of detail at satellite is not adequate
  • Able to locate paths when people lost in woods, identify points that can’t get from commercially available services
  • Oblique imagery to see where doors are on buildings; things can’t always see
  • Military has access to high res but not available to 911 centers; will look forward to less expensive alternative
  • Used state contract, company based in Rochester
  • Imagery for entire county; different resolutions - higher resolution in more populated areas, lower in rural areas
  • Make it available to whoever - WEP, town and village, public safety agencies; load on mobile computers and CDs

 

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

 

Vice Chair Dougherty took the agenda items out of order.

 

3.     SHERIFFChief John Balloni

        e.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2011 Bomb Squad Initiative Grant Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($95,000)

 

  • Dept of Homeland Security indicates perhaps greatest danger is improvised explosive devices
  • County is regional bomb squad - Syracuse City and County; next closest is Binghamton; anyone having problem in region, have to reach out to Onondaga County
  • Grants – divide money in region; $95,000 directed towards F6A upgrade to F6+ bomb robot and a controller for robot ($75,000); XR200 x-ray source; portable generator; tools; $10,000 towards maintenance
  • New robot is about ¼ million; can upgrade robot for $73,500; keep bomb equipment in state of art condition
  • Two robots:  one is 1 ½ yrs old and other is older, predates Chief Balloni’s experience in Sheriff’s Office; still works
  • Each iteration does more/has more capability; Boston Marathon incident proves the need to keep capabilities maxed
  • $100,000 to upgrade robot, portable generator, x-ray source; mostly upgrading equipment

*Mr. Ryan arrived at the meeting.

 

  • Even generator is an upgrade - need to be able to generate electricity in areas where there is no access

Vice Chair Dougherty asked what the robot will be able to do that it cannot do now.  Chief Balloni responded that they rely on the bomb technicians to tell them what they need, what is state of art, and then the Sheriff’s puts in for the money.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked how often the equipment is used.  Chief Balloni replied they would be surprised how often a suspicious package comes up in an x-ray.  Most of the time it is a call out to prove something that they already know is probably not a bomb, but better safe than sorry.  If an object that looks suspicious gets called in, then they will take a look and maybe x-ray it. 

 

Vice Chair Dougherty asked if it would make sense to combine the bomb squads.  Chief Balloni agreed, and stated they are working together with them more and more.  Chief Botsford commented consolidation does make sense, but (without getting into the capabilities of other agencies) the Sheriff’s bomb squad maintains their certifications and training to ensure they are approaching a task safely; some agencies do not maintain their certifications.  Chief Botsford responded to Vice Chair Dougherty that the equipment is only as good as the technicians.  They take full advantage of the federal government not only for grant money towards equipment but also paying for ongoing training.  Chief Botsford responded to Mr. Ryan that they have no control over what other agencies do, and he is not sure of their current status but is aware of the past status.  Chief Botsford stated they can only control their own level of training and services provided.  Vice Chair Dougherty stated they may be on the verge of creating a new Public Safety Agency.  It would be hard to combine the equipment and employees from the City and the County, and expect them to serve Skaneateles.  Chief Botsford stated they do train together as often as they can.  Mr. Ryan commented that a lot of times the County will come in take lead agency.  In the Village of Solvay there was a guy in a standoff, and if there was a bomb issue, the County would come in.  Chief Botsford stated they did use the robot extensively there for eyes without putting people in harm’s way. 

 

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

 

        f.      Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2012 Bomb Squad Initiative Grant Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($61,667)

 

  • Funds go to bomb school with two techs and back fill for the individuals; $32,000 cost fully funded
  • Bomb squad technicians do their regular job and have this training; training/recertification done every year for $5,000
  • $13,667 for explosive breaching equipment:  protective helmets, face shield, ranger handheld radar

 

Mr. May pointed out the backup shows the County accepting $95,000 which may be a typo.  Chief Balloni responded that is incorrect; $61,667 is the amount as in the resolution.

 

Vice Chair Dougherty asked how many people have gone through the bomb school.  Chief Balloni said there are two currently.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked if they usually have two people turn out for an event, and is it the same two people.  Chief Botsford responded they are not, and there are two members that are eligible for retirement.  This training is not attended once and suddenly the person is a bomb technician.  There are different levels of apprenticeship, and different levels of training.  It can take years to get to a point of being a master technician.  They do not want to be in a situation where they have critical people retire and no one able to function at the same level.  There are some younger people that have five or six years in that they will be retaining for another 15 to 20 years.  They need to get to a point where they are confident in responding on their own.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked how many people do they have to draw from today.  Chief Botsford responded there are four people, and two more who will start the training.  Chief Balloni commented the deeper they have, the more availability they have for flexibility with scheduling. 

 

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

 

        g.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2012 Explosive Detection Canine Team Grant Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($15,000)

  • Explosive Detection Canine Team Grant; $15,000; $9,000 for personnel costs; training and equipment; 3 bomb dogs

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

 

        h.     Authorizing an Agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office to Provide Traffic Control and Incident Management Services for a Highway Project on Route 370 ($19,961.23)

 

  • NYS requested agency to provide a police officer at Rt. 370 construction site; not sure if OSHA requirement or state law, but state projects have NYS trooper assigned to DOT project; requirement for safety to have marked police car
  • State police directed DOT to talk with County; state doesn’t have resources, and told DOT to go to local municipalities; price is $69.07/hour including all cost including car and overtime; contractor extremely pleased w/cost
  • Total authorization of 289 hrs; one person; initial period w/a couple cars so local traffic gets used to the issue w/bridge
  • Always been NYSDOT to pick who to have on site and contractor pays costs; County will enter into contract w/DOT
  • Required to have officer and DOT usually turned to state police - now referring to local police – don’t have personnel
  • They allocate the hours of when they will be working there and when not; officer there for all hours doing construction
  • Officer rolling separate - take someone out to fill post; will pay 100% of costs including admin costs and overtime
  • Even overtime resources get stretched; can’t take on a lot of these

Chief Balloni responded to Mr. Ryan that there is an entire contract that goes with this authorizing the 289 hours and the expectations; being looked at by the Law Department. 

 

Vice Chair Dougherty stated it is a good idea, and it offers overtime work for those that want it. 

 

Mr. May asked if this time will show up in the reporting done.  Chief Balloni replied it will show up but as time that will be reimbursed.  It will show the hours, the cost and the offset; not local tax dollars.

 

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

 

        Monthly Update on Status of:

        a.     New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center

 

  • RFP is drawn up and in final review; believe in DMB; should see in very near future
  • When talking about RFPs that are about to come out, don’t want to discuss in great detail what companies are involved - no questions for fairness of RFP; number of companies that do this and are interested

 

        b.     Special Operations Facility

 

  • Facilities has proposal from company already contracted with County; do prelim needs and assessment - what kind of building needed to build, rehab or buy; primarily what’s an ideal way to do this; cost effectiveness
  • May be better to have taller building with moving shelving on railroad track – stay to smaller area; more efficient to heat and less costly to build but have costs of moving shelving units and forklifts
  • Reached out to associated agencies; virtually everyone interested in combined facility
  • Actual Special Operations aspect is not the driver in this but part of project; most of what’s needed for special operations is space for equipment/personnel; Public Safety has seen current special op facility, seen what is needed
  • Possible for two to be disconnected - ideally put together; always efficiencies of a centralized operation:  one security system, one fencing area; one of everything versus separate facilities

 

        c.     Pistol Permits

 

  • Reached out to IT and ran number of records have in system; not all inclusive but what has been computerized since new system came into being (probably 30 yrs old); many had permits for 50 yrs not included
  • In system there are 32,398 pistol permits; have processed 5,291 exemption forms
  • Over half of what has to be processed - didn’t count stack of paperwork; went to computer to see what had processed
  • Number of pistol permits booked so far does not include amendments just new – 1,272 new pending permits
  • Some are last fall; booking into fall of 2014; personnel from agg rehab to help catch up; not too successful at this date
  • Officer with light duty to help clear up and double book so not booking into 2015
  • Awarded RFP for computer program; contract in Law Dept waiting for approval; then CE will sign, and implementation; probably a 6 month implementation; tried to talk into starting prior to contract but no word on that

Mr. May stated most of the situation is caused by the state.  Chief Balloni commented in all fairness some of this was before the Safe Act but the Safe Act has exacerbated it.  Mr. May said it is important to commend the Sheriff’s Office because Mr. May has had two people who needed permits for their work come back to him with glowing reviews.  Chief Balloni responded they are working very hard to service the customers who are in desperate need.  Chief Balloni commented it is a Second Amendment right so they want to service everyone that wants a permit, and should have one legally.  There is a degree of anger expressed towards the Sheriffs which is understandable, but almost all the people coming in to get a pistol permit want to follow the law and proper procedure.  The Sheriff’s Office does not want to make it any harder on them then it already it.  Chief Balloni stated they do not agree with this.  They are working through it, and the Legislature has backed the Sheriff’s with money in terms of the software needed to alleviate this. 

 

Vice Chair Dougherty asked where they stand with the software.  Chief Balloni responded the contract is in Law being reviewed.  Chief Balloni replied to Vice Chair Dougherty that it will be six months implementation after they have the contract.  Chief Balloni agreed with Vice Chair Dougherty that this will be a huge tool at their disposal.

 

        d.     Correctional Health

  • RFP completed and is out; cannot say any more than that

        i.      Staffing Study Presentation:  Byron Pipkin, Matrix Consulting (Matrix Final Report – attachment no. 1)

 

  • Matrix Consulting Group contracted with County – do evaluation of Patrol and Criminal Investigation Division in Sheriff
  • Legislative body (policy makers) main goal:  what services want to provide, what service level to provide to the County, and what resources are needed to provide that – this frames the study; also management of risk
  • Do need to provide level of high risk incidents (low frequency); domestic violence calls come every day so need resources to provide the service
  • Patrol staffing; primary focus at line level; those on 24/7 on patrol and investigations
  • 101 deputies - reduced to 99 in Nov. 2012, current staffing level; includes 14 work on patrol; vacancy of 8 deputies
  • Detectives – 22 working major crimes:  murder, abuse, burglary; 14 Detectives in proactive units – warrants, narcotics; one property, one crime analysis
  • Looked at entire year of data – what’s the workload in Onondaga County; don’t use officer deputy staff ratio because it doesn’t consider workload (how many calls)
  • 2011 – 46,588 community generated calls for service; 1, 2 or 3 deputies respond depending on level; 30,500 deputy initiated activities including car stops, pedestrian stops, etc.
  • Community initiated calls include alarms; any call coming in like alarm or ambulance
  • Unique to Onondaga County – staffing level changes for 6 mo. of year; summer patrol is reduced by 10 deputies, staffing for impact and navigation (weather)
  • How many hours of work is staffed in a year; deputies minus leave – 270 hours a year of leaves; net is 85% for paycheck; higher than commonly found in other areas; 100 hours less at County/year
  • Reasons – younger work force, less vacation, less sick; less injury, working environment is better
  • Statement of fact that the County averages less use of leave hours; those are opinions

Vice Chair Dougherty read from page 9 of the report, “Patrol Lieutenants, Sergeants and Deputies…work 10 hour shifts – four days on followed by four days off.”  Vice Chair Dougherty understands that is standard but he is looking for confirmation of four days on and four days off.  Chief Botsford responded not anymore.  Chief Botsford commented they were doing a trial but are back to a collective bargaining agreement that requires four on and three off, or four on four off.  Vice Chair Dougherty stated it seems to contradict the 1500 (or so) hours assumed later in the report.  Four days on, four days off is approximately 1800 hours worked per year.  Mr. Pipkin commented that on that schedule it is 1946 hours per year.  Vice Chair Dougherty said later on in the report there is an assumption of 1523 hours (pg. 56 section 4).  Mr. Pipkin responded the same number is on page 15, and he can explain how they got there.  Vice Chair Dougherty commented that is considerably less than the full time equivalent in his line of work; nine to five employees.  Mr. Pipkin referenced the bottom of page 15 showing 1946 hours a year, in addition there are 49 hours for briefing, nets out minus 270 leave hours plus training (total unavailable hours is 300), so the net work hours is 1646.  This refers to employees physically present, in uniform, on duty and working.  Mr. Pipkin netted out 123 hours of administrative time (lunch breaks, meetings with supervisor, getting forms).  Total works out to 1523.  Vice Chair Dougherty wanted to confirm the 1646 basis is the time the deputies are here at work.  Mr. Pipkin agreed.  Vice Chair Dougherty said it strikes him as being low for a full time employee.  Mr. Pipkin responded in the government and police department world, it is better than the average.  It is commonly seen to have 350 leave hours (vacation, sick leave).  This is one of the key numbers that goes into the hours of work needed to be done versus the hours the employees are at work. 

Mr. Pipkin:

  • Winter time hours:  16 Sergeants, 99 Deputies; Summer time hours:  15 Sergeants, 89 Deputies – doing patrol work
  • Positive factor – number leaving for retirement is on lower end of scale; County is 4.7%, usually see 5-7%
  • Low attrition rate shows a good working environment and people stay
  • Bottom line is recommendation for work; doing best for good service level for County
  • Recommending 11 deputies for patrol and 2 deputies in criminal investigation, specifically for cold case homicides
  • Cold case homicides are an ancillary duty for Deputies; when have time look at cold case – won’t get done
  • Want to provide the service level to have cold cases investigated, need additional resources – cold cases take a lot of review; hours of time to thoroughly review and solvability factors
  • Pg. 53 – summary chart of Community Demand Workload; right hand column is total amount of work hours; bottom is time committed (responding to call, time on scene, travel, reports, booking prisoners)
  • Nets out 62% in 2011 of Deputy time committed; 38% uncommitted time (includes other factors like administrative time, traffic, errors in CAD); ballpark 10-25% of Deputies work is not captured by CAD system; human error or CAD
  • 72% – 80% time committed; does not give much time for discretionary duties; 8 a.m. - noon, noon – 4; 4 - 8 p.m. – less uncommitted time; average during graveyard hours is fewer calls for services, lower staffing; affects average
  • Number hours staffed – collection of looking at Deputy schedule and how assigned, minus out leave hours and getting total number of hours staffed on streets

Vice Chair Dougherty stated if he takes the 147 hours divided by 1523 hours, then it comes out to 97 deputies.  Mr. Pipkin commented this is not an exact science, and they are getting to the ballpark.  This is CAD information and information from other sources.  Vice Chair Dougherty said they are making recommendations off these numbers that may not be right.  Mr. Pipkin responded it is the best calculations not an estimate.  Vice Chair Dougherty commented in the 8:00 – 12:00 column, there is an error:  the hours staffed and available work hours are the same.  Mr. Pipkin agreed, and will look into it. 

 

Mr. Pipkin:

  • Pg. 56 – calculations for staffing level; community generated call for service then total time; hours of work required to handle the calls for service
  • Policy decision – what level of proactive time – want them to stop by a Park and walk; significant level of traffic; require time; 50% good level of proactive activity; 40% reasonable level to target; uncommitted time includes errors
  • 1523 net hours, at 50% time level - 130 deputies; 40% - 110 deputies to get to target; includes the 10-20% on pg. 53
  • 62% committed; 38% uncommitted - different time level, daytime hours a lot more committed
  • Reference table on pg. 53 – before 8 a.m. have to have minimum staff level to provide coverage; could hire hourly – would reduce staffing at certain times; graveyard hours – staff minimal with additional capacity

Vice Chair Dougherty asked what types of things are the deputies doing that are not calls to check on something; are they doing this on overnights?  Chief Botsford responded they are doing infrastructure checks, traffic stops, looking for suspicious persons and initiating calls on what they observe.  Chief Balloni commented they are checking back doors of buildings.  They have to have a minimum amount of staffing.  They don’t have the numbers to justify putting someone down in Fabius or Tully but if a call comes up, then they need someone to respond; not 45 minutes from Baldwinsville.  Chief Botsford stated it may look like they have too many people working, but if someone is shot and they are looking for a suspect, then they use a significant amount of people very quickly.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked if the Sheriff’s is at or exceeding the minimum amount of staffing during those hours.  Chief Botsford replied they are below.  Chief Balloni commented based on the report they should have more people on.  Mr. Pipkin stated they are understaffing the minimum level for the County during the graveyard hours.  Mr. Pipkin responded to Vice Chair Dougherty that the question should be:  what is the minimal staffing level?  (Pg. 56) Item 6 shows the additional number to meet the minimum staffing level.  In Mr. Pipkin’s opinion, the prudent risk management level is 12 Deputies and 2 Sergeants being on duty during the graveyard hours; do not have that currently.  This is driven by the management of risk.  They could handle one critical but still have a couple people available for other responses.  This is where risk management levels come in; what service level and what a reasonable risk management level is. 

 

Mr. May stated going back to past conversations reference this topic it seems to be a tug of war between levels of service and level of staffing and/or funding to provide that service.  Mr. May asked if there is a way for Legislators to look at calls for service and how they are responding versus how those services are provided in other areas.  Mr. May recognizes that every county or law enforcement agency will have different dynamics playing into how they respond and what they do.  Mr. May stated the County may have more local law enforcement agencies to mitigate the need for the Sheriff’s Department to be involved.  Mr. May asked if there is a place where Legislators can compare the call data to what other counties do. 

 

Mr. Pipkin responded:

  • Not specifically included but Matrix has done over 300 law enforcement studies across United States in last 30 yrs
  • Mr. Pipkin has been involved in 35 to 40 projects on law enforcement since retiring
  • National norms and averages brought to report; use same levels of evaluation on any law enforcement study done
  • Typically for populations – ½ a call per service per year per resident (ballpark figure)
  • Onondaga County has 300,000 plus population and only 46,000 calls for service, which is a little lower than the norm
  • Critical question – this is work community asking dept to do so the dept responds, writes reports, book prisoners – how much hours is the County staffed and at what percentage
  • Demand of community in Memphis may be very different (more people or more calls) but the same standards apply
  • What level of service does the County want to provide to the community, and there is a discretionary time
  • County has to do the work community calls them to do; is this all the County wants the Sheriff’s Dept to do?
  • If that is it, then only need to staff minimums; very little proactive time – fewer traffic, pedestrian stops
  • During day time hours when people see them, fewer time to patrol because they will be responding to a call
  • Have to handle on a macros, cannot change the calls

Vice Chair Dougherty stated Mr. Pipkin mentioned in the winter there are fewer calls for service, but on page 13 it says the opposite.  In the summer months authorized control staffing is at an average of 2.2 deputies fewer.  Mr. Pipkin responded it is because of the impact of the navigation unit.  There are fewer deputies physically doing routine patrol duties.  They expected the calls for service to be higher in the summer but they are not.  Vice Chair Dougherty commented he’s heard that Jack Frost is a good cop.  Chief Balloni agreed but stated there are also a lot of accidents and committed time.  Mr. Pipkin commented this data is from 2011 when there was a mild winter; only one year snapshot.  The data will be more valid every year, dispatch pays more attention and the deputies are more attentive to logging their time.

 

Vice Chair Dougherty asked besides hiring, what are the other recommendations, and is the Sheriff’s doing these already (pg. 3).  There are quite a few throughout and some are tailored for the department.  Chief Botsford replied that they do them all.  Mr. Pipkin said the ones on page 3 and 4 are the ones that are done. 

 

Chief Balloni:

  • Recommendation - using standards on regular basis; paid someone to data gather; need to follow up on this
  • Formula says what staffing should be based on number of calls and time for handling things that aren’t calls
  • Standard to review and work from; have to devote some time and personnel to review and redo regularly
  • Tool for evaluating – Town of Clay asked how many officers needed to do work load versus what they have
  • Gives ammunition to come to Legislature - based on workload and national norm, should have 2.2 per thousand population - Clay would need 100+
  • What is actual work load; level service for uncommitted time; will have number of people statistically based
  • Don’t agree with every recommendation but down over 30 people; number 13 to hire back wouldn’t have been the Sheriff’s recommendation but went to independent source, get independent recommendation
  • Statistically based on work load; fair way to do and reasonable number
  • Statistical basis saying here’s workload and people needed to accomplish with 40% factor – reasonable request
  • Can agree on how to accomplish and number can do to achieve; 10 this year, 3 next year; come to working ability to get to proper staffing number to provide level of service acceptable on line with national norm

 

Mr. Pipkin responded to Mr. Ryan that the County is under the norm, and agreed that the recommended 13 is based on calls and not the norm.  Mr. Pipkin answered Mr. Ryan that an example of proactive calls are traffic stops.  Mr. Ryan asked if there is any statistical data for calls being answered; how is the County doing as far as time between answering the call and responding.  Mr. Pipkin said the County is doing well. 

 

Vice Chair Dougherty stated the department is doing very well, and the fact that officers are not being injured or taking sick time is very good.  It was surprising that the two districts in Clay generate the most calls. 

 

Vice Chair Dougherty stated the report shows an hour and a quarter per booking, and asked if there is anything they can do to increase the efficiency of this.  Chief Botsford responded at nighttime they are at the mercy of local arraignments.  After a certain time of night, they lodge until the next morning but many times they’re making calls.  Mr. Ryan commented they need video arraignments.  Mr. Rinella stated there could be six or seven in line so they have to wait their turn.  Vice Chair Dougherty said it seems worthwhile to spend some effort in improving the system.  Mr. Pipkin added there is also travel time to get to the booking.  Mrs. Tassone stated there could be efficiencies seen with writing the reports. 

 

Mr. May commented the eleven deputies and two investigators is a very linear solution for a formulated method.  Are there efficiencies or policies within the department to gain efficiencies without personnel?  An example is doubling the output of pistol permits by putting in twice as many people in there to handle requests.  Instead the County is investing in computer software to aid in the process. 

 

Chief Balloni agreed and stated:

  • Objective to come up with sound basis for staffing recommendation; law enforcement direct labor intense thing
  • Areas can improve on; doing work here and data gathering – better than other places in country
  • New records management system instead of paying someone $40,000 to do or pulling two people off road to do study
  • Committees discussing district court concepts; how to do arraignments; state is looking into video arraignments
  • Labor intensive to do a lot of these things; issues surrounding retention like training - well trained work force can be retained because they feel confident they have support and know what they’re doing
  • Bunch of recommendations to look at; over time will develop better pic of how many people needed

Vice Chair Dougherty stated that police work is not a stable environment (weather, economy, mental illness) and this report seems to be very good.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked why this was not done for the jail.  Chief Balloni responded the custody side has not sustained the staffing losses that were sustained on the other side.  The minimum required staffing is based on the state commission, and there is an agency that says they cannot go below that.  Chief Balloni responded to Vice Chair Dougherty that they can do a staffing study there, and it is entirely different.  The critical need now is the police side.  Vice Chair Dougherty commented they will have a hard time getting new deputies through the Legislature because they spend so much on the Sheriff’s Department already; part of which is for the jail.  If they can look at both sides of the equation, they may find there are enormous efficiencies to be gained on the custody side.  Those efficiencies can then be moved to the patrol side.  Mr. May stated there are regulatory forces on the jail side too, and they can predict a lot of the outcomes from a staffing situation. 

 

Mr. Pipkin stated he has the numbers to correct in the report that were pointed out by Vice Chair Dougherty earlier.  On page 53 in the 8 – 12 slot, the available work hours were 18,441 but should be 16.913, and the percentage on the bottom was 74.9% but should now be 81.7.  The uncommitted time goes from 25.1 to 18.3. 

 

Chief Balloni:

  • Uncommitted time – not just walking through park; want to do that kind of thing but reality uncommitted is pulling over cars, DWI’s, national highway traffic safety
  • Direct correlation – do want to save lives?  Then spend time on vehicle traffic enforcement
  • Some discretionary time is lifesaving time; few speeding vehicles reported, then assign some discretionary time to work radar detail; if no one to assign, won’t stop that speeder
  • If they catch them, they can make a dent in their behavior; car/pedestrian in residential area; lifesaving things

Chief Botsford:

  • Recommendations - have done review; some can’t get into; talks about establishing a goal for uncommitted time
  • Clay area –; been with agency since May 1978 – went from an agency that prides itself on problem solving, to call driven agency; respond but not time to engage public and quality of life issues; no follow up; can’t do stop sign detail for neighborhood

Vice Chair Dougherty stated he’s been getting calls the last few weeks about cars being broken into.  If there is more uncommitted time, then they could spend more time in the neighborhood. 

The meeting was adjourned at 1:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 13, 2013

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Liedka, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Knapp, Mr. Plochocki

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mrs. Ervin and see attached list

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:37 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp seconded by Mr. Liedka to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     PLANNING: Don Jordan, Director

        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the Proposed Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Lands Within Certified Agricultural Districts Pursuant to Section 303-B of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law

 

  • Addition of 3 properties into District 1 - totaling about 53 acres

 

In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Jordan stated the property in Lafayette is located next door to McDonalds. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated this is a great program; no down side to it as far as protecting land for agriculture use.  Land can be added each year, but can only be taken out every eight years - when that district is up for review and renewal.  Mr. Jordan added they will renew District 3 next year; northern part of towns going across to Elbridge.   

 

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

 

2.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Robert DeMore, Director; Nina Andon-McLane, Admin. Planning and Funding Coordinator

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to File the 2013 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs

       

Mr. DeMore provided an overview of the department:

  • Since inception received over $190m in federal/state funding
  • Rehabbed over 5400 homes in Onondaga County
  • Received 7 Lead Hazard Grants – totaling over $20m; provided 1200 lead safe homes
  • Currently 2 open lead grants totaling $5.58m
  • 154 housing rehab cases in progress
  • Sold 371 homes to moderate or low income first time home buyers
  • Rehabbed over 300 commercial property facades  
  • Spent over $36m for town and village Capital Projects; meant $63m in improvements when combined with municipalities share
  • Currently working with Mr. Meyer from Veterans Service Agency - possibility of starting a program with the VA and federal government using our expertise to rehab homes for disabled veterans; just in talking stages – would allow them to stay in their own homes 

 

Mr. Knapp questioned if this would also be income based.  Mr. DeMore responded that this is the problem.  Veterans receive a pension and probably have social security - might not fit our parameters.  We will be talking to HUD to see if there is something we can do - perhaps not include VA pension with income.  We are just starting to talk about this, but Mr. Meyer has seen this need. 

 

Mr. DeMore stated the total application for the 2013 Action Plan is $2,562,248 and provided the following handouts:

 

2013 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BUDGET

Final Budget - 6/12/2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

final

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GRANT

2010

2011

2012

2013

change

% change

County

$2,470,746

$2,061,454

$1,680,168

$1,767,464

$87,296

5.20%

Clay

309,462

257,545

190,060

$192,219

$2,159

1.14%

Total Grant

$2,780,208

$2,318,999

$1,870,228

$1,959,683

$89,455

4.78%

Reprogrammed Balances

70,000

0

50,000

50,000

Program Income

100,000

100,000

100,000

100,000

Total Available

$2,950,208

$2,418,999

$2,020,228

$2,109,683

Capital Projects

$1,345,208

$813,999

$526,228

$470,374

-$55,854

Housing Rehabilitation

300,000

300,000

300,000

436,373

$136,373

Housing Rehab (Program Income)

0

0

0

0

Commercial Rehabilitation

250,000

250,000

225,000

200,000

-$25,000

Rehab Delivery

450,000

450,000

440,000

450,000

Administration

450,000

450,000

374,000

391,936

$17,936

Housing Counseling

5,000

5,000

5,000

5,000

Fair Housing

50,000

50,000

50,000

56,000

$6,000

Homeownership (Program Income)

100,000

100,000

100,000

100,000

Contingency

0

0

0

0

Total

$2,950,208

$2,418,999

$2,020,228

$2,109,683

$89,455

CDBG FLOAT LOAN

$750,000

$750,000

750,000

750,000

Home Ownership Activities

HOME GRANT

$896,284

$790,916

$484,180

$479,992

-$4,188

-0.86%

Housing Rehabilitation

512,213

433,187

203,135

199,994

Lead Based Paint Rehab Grants

160,000

160,000

160,000

160,000

Home Ownership Subsidies

0

0

0

0

Non-Profit Housing Activities

134,443

118,637

72,627

71,999

Administration

$89,628

$79,092

$48,418

$47,999

 

Total

$896,284

$790,916

$484,180

$479,992

EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS GRANT

$97,616

$155,745

$178,517

$122,573

-$55,944

-31.34%

Administration

$4,881

$11,680

$13,389

$9,193

Projects

$92,735

$144,065

$165,128

$113,380

Total

$97,616

$155,745

$178,517

$122,573

TotalGrant Application

$4,694,108

$4,115,660

$3,432,925

$3,462,248

$29,323

0.85%

3 grants:

$3,774,108

$3,265,660

$2,532,925

$2,562,248

$29,323

 

     2013 Community Development

         Approved Capital Projects

No.

Municipality

                    Project

Approved

1

V-Baldwinsville

Mercer Park Waterfront Improvements

$40,674

2

V-Camillus

North Street Roadway Improvements

50,000

3

T-Clay

2013 Road Improvements

50,000

4

T-DeWitt

Willis Carrier Park Pavilion and Playground

25,000

5

V-Fabius

Sidewalk Repair, Ph 3

10,000

6

T-Geddes

Stinson Ave Road Reconstruction

47,000

7

V-Jordan

Clinton Terrace Improvement Project, Ph 1

50,000

8

T-Lafayette

Stafford Park Exercise Circuit

18,000

9

V-Minoa

North Main & Elm Street Sidewalks

26,700

10

V-North Syr

Village Center Streetscape Improvements

30,000

11

T-Onondaga

Whedon Rd/Onondaga Blvd Sanitary Sewer, Ph 1

50,000

12

V-Solvay

Upper Gertrude Park Picnic Area

28,000

13

T-Van Buren

Henderson Blvd Drainage Rehabilitation, Ph 1

25,000

14

Cornell Coop Extension

Community Forests

20,000

Totals:

$470,374

Contingent Projects:

1

T-Salina

Cadillac St Storm/Sanitary Sewers Separation

50,000

2

V-East Syr

Kinne St Sidewalks, Ph 2

$25,000

3

V-Solvay

Mountain Top Park

50,000

Total:

$125,000

Fair Housing Activities:

1

ARISE, Inc.

Housing Referral and Advocacy Program

$8,000

2

Fair Housing Council

Fair Housing Outreach & Enforcement

33,000

3

Fair Housing Council

Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing

15,000

Total:

$56,000

 

 

 

 

2013 CDBG CAPITAL PROJECTS

                                                                                                                                  6/13/2013

Town or                           project name                                                                    

Village                             location                                                                                                               

V-Baldwinsville                    Mercer Park Waterfront Improvements                                           $40,674

Mercer Park, 1 North Street

The project consists of 800 square feet of wooden boardwalk along the Seneca River linking the River Street Walkway with the interior of Mercer Park.  A dedicated handicapped accessible fishing area would be built into the boardwalk providing fishing access for those with disabilities.

 

The shoreline on the east end of Mercer Park consists of rock and concrete rubble.  Construction of a boardwalk along the Seneca River on the east end of Mercer Park will improve the shoreline access to the waterfront.  This boardwalk will provide a pedestrian link between the River Street Walkway and the Park. 

V-Camillus                             North Street Roadway Improvements                                                $50,000                    

Entire length of North Street

 

The proposed project will include the milling and repaving of 1,500 linear feet of North Street Road, the construction/replacement of 1,300 linear feet of concrete curbing, and the replacement of one stormwater catch basin including approximately 25 linear feet of 12-inch corrugated plastic storm pipe.

 

The combination of the new level asphalt surface and new concrete curbing will improve storm water management, the roadway surface and make the area more pedestrian friendly for the residents.

 

Green initiatives:  In lieu of landfill disposal, the milled asphalt materials will be recycled and used to resurface the Village owned parking lot located northeast of the Camillus Senior Citizen Center.

T-Clay                                     2013 Road Improvements                                                                       $50,000                                      

Grampian Road, Plantation Blvd, Braemar Drive and Galloway Drive

 

This neighborhood is located between Route 57 on the west and Morgan Road on the east. The north border is John Glenn Blvd and the southern border is the Liverpool Bypass. The neighborhood is made up of large apartment complexes and some town homes.

 

The full length of the following roads, which are cracked and have numerous dips and potholes, will be reconstructed:

 

Grampian Rd – 30 feet wide by 3,740 feet long

Plantation Blvd – 30 feet wide by 1,080 feet long

Braemar Dr – 30 feet wide by 1,080 feet long

Galloway Dr – 30 feet wide by 1,275 feet long

 

Green initiatives:  Road and gutters will be milled out and reused in other projects.  Warm mix asphalt will be used when reinstalling pavement.

T-Dewitt                                  Willis Carrier Park Pavilion and Playground                              $25,000                                      

Kinne Street, Roby Avenue

 

A playground area will be developed at the Willis Carrier Recreation Center, which is bordered by Roby Avenue, Grover Street, Kinne Street and the southern end of the Carrier Corporation Campus.  The approximately 6,000 square foot playground will be located in the northwest corner of the complex, adjacent to Roby Avenue (across from the Verizon parking lot).  A fully equipped handicap accessible playground would include wheelchair ramps, an accessible climber, aero glider, cozy cocoon, sensory play panels, swings, slides, adventure tubes, climbers and motion play products, as well as traditional playground equipment for all children.

 

The Willis Carrier Recreation Center will also accommodate a number of youth sports programs and community needs.  The design includes eight baseball/softball/little league fields, one high school level baseball field, two large soccer fields that would also host lacrosse competitions.  The park would provide a special home for the Syracuse Challengers, the local division of Little League for children with physical and developmental disabilities. 

 

The playground will be fully accessible. Children with special needs and children without special needs will be able to play side-by-side. 

 

Green initiatives:  The gateway entrance building roof will host a 50 kW photovoltaic array, saving over 45,000 kWh yearly.  Also, 80,000 pounds of CO2 will be avoided yearly.  All field lights will be LED.  A detention pond will be built in the northeast section of the park; to control the runoff from the fields and prevent flooding in the area.  Permeable pavement will be used along the walkways and around sections of the parking lot.  Medians with trees and shrubs will be placed in the parking lot as dividers and along the drive through areas.  The parking lot drainage will be directed to these vegetated median strips.   Energy efficient, translucent, insulating double panel system windows will be placed along the upper wall of the two entrance buildings that allow light to enter along the entire front and sides of each building.  Playground apparatus will be made from recycled material.

V-Fabius                                 Sidewalk Replacement, Phase 3                                                             $10,000                                      

Route 80, Kenney Road and Mill Street

 

A total of 675 linear feet of sidewalk will be replaced on Route 80, Kenney Road and Mill Street.  The sidewalk across from the high school is missing a section forcing students to walk in the road.  Thicker concrete will be installed in driveway areas to prevent future cracking.  Tree roots will be ground where they are causing the heaving.

T-Geddes                                Stinson Avenue Road Rehabilitation                                                  $47,000

Stinson Avenue, Lindbergh Lawns Tract

 

The project will involve reconstructing Stinson Avenue from Long Branch Road to Bennett Avenue, including milling 1,830-square yards of road, installing Fibermat as a stress absorbing membrane interlayer, and resurfacing with 1-1/2-inches of asphalt binder and 1-inch of top course.

 

The Town, with the assistance of CD, has made considerable improvements to the Lindbergh Lawns Tract, including completion of a community park, drainage system improvements, and decorative lighting.  Bennett and Curtis Avenues have been repaved, and only Stinson Avenue still requires reconstruction.  This project will repair the roadway, eliminating potholes which hold water, and improve the grading to eliminate standing water after rain.

V-Jordan                                Clinton Terrace Improvement Project Ph 1                                   $50,000                                      

7 Clinton Terrace through 31 South Hamilton Street

 

This project consists of the installation of approximately 565 feet of 6-inch under-drain at the base of the terrace/hill, including four catch basins, bank stabilization structures within the terrace, and stabilization at the base of the terrace on the lower street level.  It will also expand a small existing municipal parking area at the west end of the base of the terrace, to accommodate the additional street parking needs for vehicles, due to the elimination of street parking on the north side of Clinton Street, opposite the terrace.  The guardrail on the top of the terrace will also be replaced.

 

Green initiatives:  proper vegetation will be selected for the terrace stabilization, as well as select species to aid in the absorption of storm water runoff and water from the existing springs. 

T-Lafayette                           Stafford Park Exercise Circuit                                                         $18,000                                      

Route 11

 

The Town plans to construct a fitness equipment circuit near its walking/jogging trail and adjacent to the pavilion at Stafford Park, a Town owned park.  The park is located in a low-to-moderate income neighborhood on the east side of Route 11 adjacent to Interstate 81.  Proposed improvements include the installation of numerous pieces of stationary outdoor exercise equipment on a new blacktop pad of approximately 900 square feet.

 

Stafford Park is located in the geographic center of the Town on US Route 11.  The park is one of the Town’s primary recreation facilities with a central pond, walking trail, ball fields, tennis courts, restrooms, and other recreational amenities.  Over 136 units of multi-family housing, with approximately 40 children, are located adjacent to the park.  The large majority of these residents are of low-to-moderate income. 

 

Green initiatives:  The town will consider the use of a permeable pavement pad under the exercise equipment. 

V-Minoa                                 North Main and Elm Street Sidewalks                                               $26,700                                      

North Main Street and Elm Street

 

This proposal would replace the sidewalks listed below.  Within the proposed area are: the Minoa Elementary School (390 students), United States Post Office, nursing home, senior housing complex, municipal building which houses the public library, police sub-station, fire and ambulance departments. 

 

East side of North Main Street:  745 feet from Helfer Lane to East Avenue (7 homes) and 215 feet from Adams Street to driveway of 204 North Main Street (1 home, 4 apartments and a hardware store).

 

West side of North Main Street:  775 feet from Helfer Lane to Edgerton Street (11 homes) and 600 feet from Edgerton Street to Willard Street (9 homes)

 

East side of elm Street:  1135 feet from Edgerton Street to North Central Avenue (15 homes)

 

West side of Elm Street:     1115 feet from Edgerton Street to North Central Avenue (15 homes)

 

V-North Syracuse                 Village Center Streetscape Improvements                                        $30,000                    

Main Street and Centerville Place

 

The proposed multi-phase project will include approximately 4,100 linear feet of streetscaping, and drainage improvements along both sides of Main Street (Route 11) between Fergerson Avenue and Gertrude Street and along both sides of Church Street from Main Street to Baum Avenue.

 

The overall plan will include approximately 2,800 linear feet of sidewalk and curbing, 70 ornamental light fixtures, 69 street trees, 24 benches, 15 planters, and 12,400 square feet of decorative utilitarian perimeter strip between the roadway and sidewalk. 

 

A striped bike lane, which will have to be approved by the NYSDOT, may be added. As part of this project, the drainage improvements would include removing the storm water from the typical series of catch basins and pipes and allowing it to percolate into the ground.  This would be done through pervious pavers, permeable pavement, and vegetation.  This will help with drainage issues downstream of Main Street.

 

Phase 1 of this project will be to highlight the Chestnut Street/Centerville Place intersection as the entranceway to the Village Center.  By utilizing 1,650 square feet of a decorative crosswalk application, such as with brick pavers, will help define the Village Center and improve pedestrian safety.  This will also eliminate the peeling crosswalk paint that requires constant maintenance. 

 

Green initiatives:  Utilizing a green strip along both Main Street and Church Street will collect and treat storm water from the street and sidewalks prior to it entering the storm sewer system or the sanitary sewer system.  The green strip will include a bioswale that will have stone and be planted with native species that can tolerate the change in water depths, salt, and snow.  Sections of porous pavement will also be used. Benches, light poles, and sidewalk components will contain recycled and reused materials.  Light fixtures will be dark-sky compliant and utilize photovoltaic sensors to convert solar into electrical power.  A lighter colored concrete will be used to increase reflectivity and decrease the heat island effect.  All elements of this project will incorporate locally available materials and contractors.

T-Onondaga                          Whedon Rd & Onondaga Blvd Sanitary Sewer Imp, Ph 1          $50,000                    

Whedon Rd and Onondaga Blvd

 

The proposed upgrades include installations of a new sanitary sewer system that would service the existing project area and pump sanitary sewer flows into the existing gravity sewer system located in the Town of Camillus.  The proposed upgrades will eliminate the sewage that is discharged into the swale and also into the ground (rock crevices) located along Whedon Road.  It would also provide a reliable sanitary sewer disposable system to the existing residents in this low income area.

 

The Town has previously met with Onondaga County Health Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to discuss the health department violations occurring along Whedon Rd in the Town.  The violations are a result of an existing overtaxed sanitary sewer septic system that reaches capacity during severe rain events and dumps leachate and sewage into a nearby swale. 

 

The houses along Onondaga Blvd most likely feeding into the community sewer, built in 1911, are the ones farthest from the Camillus system on Onondaga Blvd. Ideally, a sewer district should be formed and all 38 residences would be connected.  

 

Green initiatives:  The proposed upgrades will include tree planting and other green landscaping that will allow for a capture rate of 150 square foot of runoff reduction from impervious areas.

V-Solvay                                 Upper Gertrude Park Picnic Area                                                 $28,000  

Gertrude Street

 

All three pavilion roofs will be retrofitted with decorative metal roofing.  In addition, new benches, picnic tables, and a pet waste station will be added.  A 300 linear foot bioswale will be constructed along the north side of the access road leading to the parking area at the top of the park.  A bioretention system for storm water capture will be installed at the entrance of the park at the intersection of Hazard Street, School Road and Park Road.  The six existing drainage inlets surrounding the park area will be cleaned and repaired as part of this project. 

T-Van Buren                         Henderson Blvd Drainage Rehabilitation Phase I                        $25,000

Henderson Boulevard

 

This project will rehabilitate and reshape approximately 1,600 linear feet of existing open drainage ways in the Lower Seneca Knolls neighborhood in two phases.  The first phase is anticipated to encompass the lower 900 feet of the drainage way.  The drainage way would be reshaped with gentler side slopes.  This would result in the removal of some trees and vegetation.  In areas of steeper grades along the channel stone lining would be placed in the flow path.  All side slopes and unlined channel would be hydro-seeded to establish turf.

 

Green initiatives:  The completed project would be a vegetated swale, which identified in the NYSDEC Stormwater Design Manual as a green infrastructure practice. 

 

Cooperative Extension       Community Forests                                                                              $20,000

 

The goal of this proposal is the continued improvement of the overall quality of life in our urban areas.  Trees are valued for their appearance, but also for economic benefits such as the reduction of heating and cooling costs, and increased property values, as well as environmental benefits such as reduced urban heat island effect, improved water quality by reduction of storm water runoff, and reduced wind and noise problems. 

 

CCE will provide eligible communities with the following:

  • new trees;
  • skilled care for existing trees and landscapes;
  • educational opportunities for municipal staff and community volunteers in bare-root street tree planting and structural pruning, techniques to promote tree survival and health in the face of storms, both insect and meteorological; and
  • technical assistance to initiate or update tree inventory and community forest management plans.

 

Green initiatives:  The use of bare root planting techniques in planting replacement trees to capture stormwater runoff, provide community air filtration and reduce noise pollution.  The bare root planting technique reduces the cost of planting stock by 50% as compared to conventional ball and burlap planting technique.  Bare root planting techniques are less obtrusive on the landscape and planting costs are also lower.

 

Total Projects:                                                                                                                                   $470,374

 

CONTINGENT PROJECTS

 

T-Salina                                  Cadillac Street Separation of Storm & Sanitary Sewers           $50,000

Cadillac Street between Westview Avenue and Harford Road

 

The proposed project includes one phase of sanitary sewer removal and separation within the Mattydale/Pitcher Hill Sewer District between Westview Avenue and Harford Road.  This area has been determined a “hot spot” by the Onondaga County Water and Environmental Protection Agency (OCDWEP) and an area of concern due to frequent maintenance in the area and sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) locations in close proximity to the project.  High ground water infiltrating into the existing sewer system is also present in this area, which contributes unnecessary volume to the treatment plant.  Clough Harbor, along with OCDWEP, has investigated the system and determined which pipes need to be removed or rehabilitated.  These backups force raw sewage into residential basements as well as contribute directly to the sanitary sewer overflows. 

 

Currently a 12-corrugated metal pipe (CMP) with catch basins collects stormwater from west to east along Westview Avenue and then flows south along Cadillac Street for approximately 106 linear feet.  The storm system then connects to the 8-inch vitrified clay pipe (VTC) sewer system, which then flows south to the City of Syracuse’s sanitary system.  This stormwater will be eliminated from the sanitary sewer system. Thirty-five (35) linear feet of 8-inch polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 15-inch CMP pipe that connects to the 8-inch VTC sanitary sewer system will be removed. A total of 230 linear feet of 12-inch high density polyethylene (HDPE) storm pipe will be installed along the eastern side of Cadillac Street to connect to the existing 54-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) storm system at Harford Road.  In the area of excavation, 315 square yards of Cadillac Street will receive full-depth pavement replacement.

V-East Syracuse                   Kinne Street Curbing and Sidewalk Imp, Ph 2                               $25,000

Kinne Street

 

The project includes replacement of approximately 470 linear feet of 5-foot wide sidewalks, 570 linear feet of concrete curbing with granite curb, along with 170 square yards of lawn areas, and other improvements on both sides of Kinne Street from Manlius Street to West Ellis Street.

 

Kinne Street is one of the major corridors in the Village and is almost 1,800-linear feet in length with sidewalks and curbing on both sides of the street.  The condition of the sidewalks and curbing has deteriorated. Since completing these improvements at one time is not affordable for the Village, the Village developed a phased approach to complete these repairs.

 

The Village recently completed Phase 1 improvements which focused on improving sidewalks and curbing in the area between West Irving Street and West Yates Street. The repairs are needed to continue improving pedestrian access for residents and elderly along Kinne Street to Village shops and businesses along Manlius Street. 

 

Green initiatives:  The Village anticipates providing improved vegetated strips on both sides of Kinne Street and will also consider reducing the width of sidewalks from 5-foot to 4-foot as a method of reducing impervious surfaces.

V-Solvay                                 Mountain Top Park Rehabilitation                                                  $50,000

Cogswell Avenue and Hazard Street

 

The project will include 2,000 square feet of new playground surfacing, 625 square feet of basketball court resurfacing, four park benches, new court markings and pavement striping, four picnic tables, a new bioretention area adjacent to the east side of the baseball field, and associated piped connections to the roof drains for the fire station building, four trash receptacles, new playground equipment, a new basketball backboard and net, a pet waste station and additional trees and shrubs.

 

Green initiatives:  An open lawn area between the baseball field and basketball court provides an ideal location for a bioretention area to collect and treat runoff from the adjacent fire station building.  Currently, the roof leaders from this building spill directly on the ground next to the building, creating flooding problems.  With the addition of a swale or piping, this water could be directed where it could infiltrate safely without damage to the building or adjacent areas. 

 

The pedestrian areas adjacent to the basketball court can be repaved with porous pavement to collect and infiltrate runoff from the adjacent paved surfaces.  Flexi-pave will be installed in walkways to reduce stormwater runoff.  Flexi-pave will reduce erosion, and help control on-site stormwater runoff. 

 

Total Contingent Projects:                                                                                                              $125,000

 

FAIR HOUSING ACTIVITIES

 

ARISE                                         ARISE Housing Referral &Advocacy Program (HRAP)          $8,000

                                                      County-wide

The Housing Referral and Advocacy Program (HRAP) assists people with disabilities and their families who live in Onondaga County.  Participants have low- to extremely-low incomes; many are homeless or living in critically unstable housing situations.  Program services include:

1) assist individuals in locating suitable housing, including intake appointments, needs assessment, coordinating appointments for viewing apartments, providing transportation when necessary, negotiating with landlords, etc.;

2) assist individuals apply for needed housing-related support: rental subsidies, security deposits, and HEAP;

3) maintain a housing registry, an up-to-date list of available accessible/affordable housing;

4) contact landlords and developers to advocate for developing/creating accessible units; and

5) provide educational workshops on Fair Housing laws, and accessibility guidelines.

FHC                                             Fair Housing Council of CNY, Inc.                                           $33,000                                      

                                                      Outreach & Enforcement Project                                      

County-wide

This project will include five distinct components:

  • Education and outreach
  • Housing Counseling and advocacy
  • Enforcement of Fair Housing laws
  • Assistance to victims of predatory lending and lending fraud
  • Training for all of Onondaga County’s municipalities on compliance with the Fair Housing Act, through one major annual symposium, followed by individual training sessions for each town and village board and their code enforcement officers

In addition, this project will address cases of lending fraud and predatory lending, practices which currently affect a significant number of county residents.  These practices often result in mortgage default and foreclosure, and the intervention of The Program already saved the homes of several county residents and kept homes on the tax rolls that may otherwise have fallen into delinquency.

 

The FHC believes that there is little awareness of the fair housing act’s accessibility requirements for new multi-family construction, as well as impediments to the development of affordable housing in many municipalities.  As part of this project, the FHC will convene one major symposium to educate town and village boards, zoning officers, developers and builders about the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements and about planning for affordable housing development in their communities.

 

This annual symposium will include training on the applicable laws, as well as detailed information from an architectural expert about necessary steps to ensure compliance.  The FHC will follow up on this training by offering individual training sessions for each town and village board in Onondaga County to ensure that each town adopts a plan for the development of affordable housing, and that each town includes compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements in their building-permit approval procedures. 

 

The project works to address several distinct, but related, problems:  illegal housing discrimination, lack of planning for affordable and accessible housing, spotty compliance with the design and construction requirements of the fair housing act, and predatory lending.

 

This project will help alleviate the problem of illegal housing discrimination by providing advocacy, housing counseling, complaint investigation, and legal representation to victims of housing discrimination with meritorious claims.  The FHC’s activities may also serve as a deterrent to future acts of discrimination on the part of housing providers.

 

FHC                                             Fair Housing Council of CNY, Inc.                                                     $15,000                    

                                                      Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice                        

county-wide

This project will produce an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI), which is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of all Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement jurisdictions.

 

This project is part of a comprehensive approach to affirmatively further fair housing in Onondaga County.  The project will conduct research of Census Data, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, county, town and village laws; seek input from the public and housing stakeholders; and examine levels of housing discrimination within discrete markets for the purpose of determining whether barriers exist in any aspect of public and private housing markets within the jurisdiction, and will make recommendations for remedies to such findings.

 

Each CDBG entitlement community is required to obtain an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice as a condition of receipt of CDBG funds every 5 years.  The last Analysis of Impediments was completed in 2008.  The FHC will work with the County Planning and Community Development departments to identify barriers and recommend remedies to any barriers identified.

 

The FHC intends to do a coordinated Analysis serving both the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga.

 

Total Fair Housing:                                                                                                                                     $56,000

 

FY2013 Onondaga County Emergency Solutions Grant

                                                                                                                                                            

TOTAL AVAILABLE:                                                                                                                              $122,573

Chadwick Residence - Transitional Housing Program                                                                       $14,747

  • Chadwick Residence offers homeless women and children transitional housing and professional services to assist in achieving increased self-sufficiency and the ability to obtain and maintain appropriate permanent housing. Program participants develop skills and supports to prevent them from future homelessness.
  • COMPONENT - Shelter/Outreach: Utilities, waste removal, buildings and grounds maintenance and repairs, fire and sprinkler alarm system check and inspections, janitorial supplies and repairs, property insurance, etc.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 15 (10 singles, 5 families w. 2 children) any point in time; 35 women, 15 children annually.
  • Match: Christopher Community, Inc. and private donations.

Onondaga County Dept. of Social Services – Financial Aid for Rapid Rehousing                          $21,683

  • DSS has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that all homeless individuals and families in Onondaga County are offered suitable shelter. Funds will be used to pay first month rent and security deposits so as to rapidly move those in shelters and hotels into permanent housing.
  • COMPONENT – Prevention/Rapid Rehousing: security deposits & first month rent.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 45 households moved quickly out of emergency shelters.
  • Match: County tax levy

YMCA – Men’s Residence Program                                                                                                       $8,161

  • The YMCA Men’s Single Room Occupancy Residence Program houses low-income men ages 18 years and older. The Program is comprised of 99 single room units. Funds will be used to assist those in arrears to remain stably housed. Funds will also be used to pay first month rent and security deposits so as to rapidly move those in shelters and hotels into the facility.
  • COMPONENT – Prevention/Rapid Rehousing: Security deposits, first month rent, rent arrears.
  • NUMBER SERVED: Annual total 81 residents (30 men to move in from emergency shelters, evictions prevented for 51 men) based on $370 monthly rent.
  • Match: Agency generated revenue

Rescue Mission – Homeless Intervention Services (HIS Team)                                                        $8,868

  • The HIS Team is a mobile unit which provides transportation to medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, employment and other essential service appointments as well as street outreach to connect individuals and families living in places unfit for human habitation with services in the community.
  • COMPONENT - Shelter/Outreach: Staff salaries, fringe, client clothing, van operating expenses, phone, other.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 2,000 street contacts, 6,000 transports (including bus passes)
  • Match: Onondaga County Department of Social Services

YWCA: Women’s Transitional Residence Program                                                                          $7,327

  • The YWCA Women’s Residence Program provides safe, affordable, supportive, structured housing to women and women with children who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
  • COMPONENT – Prevention/Rapid Rehousing: Occupancy fees on behalf of those households delinquent in fee payments so as to prevent homelessness.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 54 households will be assisted (Avg. $278 per household)
  • Match: Agency generated revenue

Salvation Army – Barnabas Shelter                                                                                                     $15,178

  • Barnabas Shelter will continue to support 4 co-ed shelter beds for homeless young adults, ages 18-24, safely addressing the special needs of the young adult homeless population. The program will help alleviate the use of the adult shelter system and unsupervised hotel rooms for this population.
  • COMPONENT - Shelter/Outreach: Resident manager salary, fringe, food, utilities.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 4 at any point in time, 80 annually
  • Match: NYS Office of Children & Family Services & United Way

Liberty Resources – DePalmer House                                                                                                 $11,772

  • DePalmer House provides transitional housing for “chronically homeless” persons who are living with HIV/AIDS. The primary goal of this program is to provide an environment and level of services that will enable residents to obtain and maintain safe, affordable permanent housing.
  • COMPONENT - Shelter/Outreach: Support staff salary & fringe, food, maintenance.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 4 at any point in time, 80 annually.
  • Match: Client rent

Catholic Charities - Dorothy Day House & Relocation Services                                                    $11,362

  • Dorothy Day House provides 24-hour emergency shelter for women and women with children who are homeless. Participants come from situations that include domestic violence, eviction, disasters (e.g., fire). The shelter provides meals, crisis counseling, information and referrals, and relocation assistance.
  • COMPONENT - Shelter/Outreach: Staff salary & fringe, food and supplies, repairs and maintenance.
  • NUMBER SERVED: 18-20 point in time, 230 served annually.
  • Match: Onondaga County Department of Social Services 

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York – County-wide Eviction Defense                                            $14,283

  • LASMNY will provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction in the village, town, and justice courts in Onondaga County, outside the City of Syracuse. Legal services will also include representation to tenants in jeopardy of losing their federal or state housing subsidy.
  • COMPONENT – Prevention/Rapid Rehousing: Salary & fringe
  • NUMBER SERVED: 90 clients (based on $42,047 initial request)
  • Match: Legal Services Corp. funds

Administration                                                                                                                                          $9,192

7.5% of total grant allowed for administration

 

TOTAL AVAILABLE                                                                                                                          $122,573

 

Ms. Andon-McLane:

  • Budget approved by the Steering Committee
  • Substantial reduction in HUD funding over 4 year period
  • Clay receives allocation as population is over 50k; rolled into our program – we administer
  • Portion of Home Grant used to fund match required for Lead Grant rehab; $199k for other housing rehab programs - including rehab for the elderly and low income individuals throughout the County

In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. Andon-McLane stated there is always a list for elderly rehab.  They have the most amount money for lead hazard removal; requires match and is competitive - substantial match necessary to be awarded these grants.  This takes up most of our rehab budget; try to allocate $150,000 for elderly rehab each year.  They also have a wheelchair ramp program that provides access for the handicapped -keeping them in their homes with bathroom and ramp modifications.  Chair Rapp stated there is still about $5.5 million dollars to spend in lead funds.  Ms. Andon-McLane responded that was the grant amount; about $4 million is available.  

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. Andon-McLane stated we are using much of our housing rehab funding budget for the lead grant match.  Chair Rapp stated that there is probably no opportunity for all the seniors calling her with their porches falling off.  Ms. Andon-McLane responded that they can get on the waiting list.  Mr. DeMore added that they might be able to get onto another list, which would help.  Ms. Andon-McLane stated we are able to get to people on the lead list quickly, because we have the money. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated last fall there was a push to get the word out about the lead program.  He asked if the volume had picked up because of those efforts.  Mr. DeMore responded that it has.  We are now current with our HUD numbers.  We purchased yard signs and now place them in the yard of homes we are working on.  Hangers are placed on doorknobs in the neighborhood advising them of the work that is being done and asking if they would like to participate in the program.  Mr. Knapp stated this was a great idea.  Mr. DeMore added that currently the Health department promotes the lead grant; looking at doing this differently. 

 

In response to Chair Rapp, Mr. DeMore responded that they could always use contractors and are trying to get more.  Contractors must be certified to do this work.   A new training class was just completed.

 

Ms. Andon-McLane continued:

  • Home Grant requires 15% for organizations engaging in non-profit housing activities; currently funding a portion of the elderly housing project being built behind Key Bank, in Nottingham Plaza – recently assisted with Toll Road apartments in North Syracuse
  • Emergency Solutions Grant assists the homeless

Mr. Knapp asked if they worked with Aging and Youth with regards to emergency solutions for the homeless.  Ms. Andon-McLane responded that we work with the Continuum of Care; a City/County consortium that reviews all the applications.  We work with the City to determine which non-profits to fund that deal with the homeless and homeless prevention.  Chair Rapp asked for an example of the programs.  Ms. Andon-McLane stated the last two pages of the hand out contain this information.   

 

Ms. Andon-McLane stated originally we were informed that the grant would be about $178,000.  The final grant amount of $122,000 is a substantial reduction.  HUD’s budget has been in a state of flux and Congress has been making all kinds of changes.  Mr. DeMore added that it changes all the time.  Ms. Andon-McLane stated we don’t know what we are going to get, from year to year. 

Mr. DeMore stated that most people think of this as being a city problem.  The Brookings Institution did a study and concluded that poverty rose 38% in the suburbs surrounding Syracuse between 2000 and 2011, while poverty in the City of Syracuse rose 27%.  Poverty is increasing in the inner ring of towns around the city, where most of our work is being done.   

Ms. Andon-McLane continued:

  • County Executive appoints 15 member Steering Committee - meets each spring to review town/village capital project applications, selects those that will be funded; Community Development staff also makes recommendations based on eligibility, cross benefit and location 
  • Consortium of towns and villages required for program - minimum population of 200k
  • Try to spread funds to eligible low income areas throughout the county; many towns don’t have a low income area – only able to do something for handicapped or seniors in these areas
  • Approved 14 projects and 3 contingent projects; narrative for each project included in handout
  • Required by HUD to further fair housing; fund ARISE and Fair Housing Council organizations – ARISE is targeted toward handicapped and disabled and Fair Housing is more widespread, program descriptions included 

 

In answer to Mr. Knapp, Ms. Andon-McLane stated they haven’t been involved in any smoke free issues.  In terms of discrimination the only issues that have come up are related to race, age and children.  A smoker not being able to find a place to live hasn’t come up yet.  Mr. Knapp stated he was just curious if there had been any issues, since everything is going in the smoke free direction.

  • Funding $15k towards Analysis to Impediments update via Fair Housing Choice, required by HUD to be completed every 5 years; coordinating with the City

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. DeMore stated contingency projects don’t come up too often.  Chair Rapp stated sewer projects need to be given additional weight, based on the real crisis this county is in with our sewers.  This is going to costs billions of dollars and there is no money.  Sidewalks and parks may need to be reevaluated.  Mr. Plochocki agreed. 

 

Mr. Plochocki asked if Community Development grant funds could be used for any type of municipal infrastructure.  Mr. DeMore responded that the towns submit applications.  Chair Rapp clarified, the towns decide what they want to submit and then the Steering Committee chooses the project. 

 

Ms. Andon-McLane stated with our cut in funding, we have had to reduce our grant amounts from $100,000 to $50,000 - realistically how much impact could they have on a sewer project.  Mr. Plochocki stated a certain outlay is needed for it to be practical.  Ms. Andon-McLane agreed.  Mr. DeMore stated we could reduce the number of towns and villages that receive the funds, making it a higher number.  Ms. McLane stated there is one sanitary sewer project in the list and a couple of drainage projects.  Drainage projects are usually less expensive.  The Town of Onondaga’s sanitary sewer project is a very, very expensive project.  We are helping a little bit but realistically you can do a lot more with a library, sidewalk, senior center or a park, than you can with sewers.  There is no question that the need is there, but our funding isn’t. 

 

Mr. Knapp stated that Lafayette did a small water district near Jamesville Reservoir and was lucky enough to get a grant.  These funds were used to help low income district property owners pay for the hookups, from the connection pipe to their home.   

 

Chair Rapp asked that they stay in touch with WEP going forward.  Perhaps when Community Development is doing a streetscape and something like it, they could coordinate something with WEP.  Mr. DeMore agreed, adding he has talked about the idea of giving out fewer grants - going back to $100,000 so it has more impact.  

 

Chair Rapp stated as this information was just received, they will need some time to digest it.  The item will move onto Ways and Means.  

 

No vote was taken on this item.

 

In answer to Mr. Plochocki, Ms. Andon-McLane stated the Town of Camillus applied, but then withdrew their application – not sure why.  Mr. Plochocki asked if there was an unofficial rule among municipalities that every few years they either don’t apply or expect to be denied in the name of good rotation.  Mr. DeMore responded it’s a consideration but it isn’t a policy; one town may receive grants for 5-10 years in a row and another town might not receive anything.  Mr. Plochocki asked if those who hadn’t received grants would be higher on the list.  Mr. DeMore responded that it is certainly a consideration for the Steering Committee, but it is not the only piece.  Mr. Knapp added that it was just one piece of the equation.  Ms. Andon-McLane stated the town has to have low income areas and eligible projects.  Mr. Knapp noted that Tully has no areas that qualify. 

 

Mr. Plochocki stated the Village of Marcellus applied for sidewalks in the Scotch Hill area and asked if they could share the policy reasons why they were not awarded funds.  Mr. DeMore responded that it wasn’t a policy issue, the project was considered.  Ms. Andon-McLane added they had more requests than dollars.  The project would have been a stronger application if the sidewalk led to a business district that residents would walk to;   located on the edge of the village and lead to nowhere, with no sidewalks beyond it.   Another factor was that there is currently a drainage project on that street.  Mr. Plochocki noted this was last year’s money.  Ms. Andon-McLane stated there are a lot of factors – it’s not cut and dry.  Mr. Plochocki responded he understands their reasoning, but those living in this area want to be connected to the rest of the network.  

 

In response to Mr. Plochocki, Ms. Andon-McLane stated the Village of Skaneateles applied but was ineligible - there aren’t any low income areas in the Village of Skaneateles.  We could do something based on handicapped accessibility, but that wasn’t an issue as the improvements were to the new municipal building area, which is ineligible.  HUD has a policy specifically stating that municipal buildings are not eligible.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Ms. Andon-McLane stated handicapped accessibility could be used for buildings such as a community center, a library, sidewalks or some kind of public facility that needs to be made accessible.  The area in Skaneateles was totally flat.

       

The meeting was adjourned at 11:06 a.m.                              

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

 

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 14, 2013

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:55 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervine, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings from the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE – CONSENT AGENDA

 

1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds from the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($175,603)

 

2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($187,591)

 

3.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2011 Bomb Squad Initiative Grant Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($95,000)

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2012 Bomb Squad Initiative Grant Program and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($61,667)

        c.     Amending the 2013 Co. Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the 2012 Explosive Detection Canine Team Grant Program and Authorizing the Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($15,000)

        d.     Authorizing an Agreement with the NYS Department of Transportation for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office to Provide Traffic Control and Incident Management Services for a Highway Project on Route 370

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve the consent agenda items.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE – REGULAR AGENDA

 

1.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTRobert DeMore, Director; Nina Andon McLane, Admin. Planning & Funding Coordinator

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to File the 2013 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs

Mr. DeMore:

  • 2010 Action Plan
  • Since inception – received over $190 million in State & Federal Funding; rehabbed over 5400 homes; 7 lead hazard grants totaling $20 million; produced 1,200 lead safe homes for children in the county; sold 371 homes to low income individuals in towns/villages; rehabbed over 300 commercial properties; spent $36 million on infrastructure in towns and villages–$64 million (combined with the local share) investment in capital projects
  • Presently:  2 grants totaling $5.58 million for lead removal; 154 houses under rehab

 

Chairman Knapp said that he does not plan to call for a vote on this item; it will be considered and therefore can go the July session.

 

Chairman Knapp asked about commercial rehabilitation.  Mr. DeMore explained that they do commercial rehab in low income areas of villages and towns.  A lot of work was done in the Village of Camillus; applied for a Main Street grant for another $250k. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked if any monies are left.  Representatives from the Village of North Syracuse have spoken to him, about Chestnut Street where there are no shoulders or sidewalks.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that they are part of the entitlement grant, through the Town of Clay.  This year they will receive $30,000.  It is a matter of verifying the eligibility of the project, as they are guaranteed a certain percentage of the funds.

 

*Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

Mrs. Ervin asked who is on the Community Development Steering Committee.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that it is a 15-member panel appointed by the County Executive; it includes 2 county legislators – Mr. Shepard, Mrs.; Tassone; 2 mayors and 2 town supervisors, and others from the community at large.  Mrs. Ervin asked to be provided with a list of members.  Chairman Knapp noted that the law states that it has to be a committee of citizens; it is very generic.  Mr. DeMore noted that the tradition has been that the President of the Supervisors Association will recommend 2 people, as will the Mayors’ Association, subject to the County Executive’s approval.  The legislature recommends who they want. 

 

Mr. DeMore said that this item needs to be approved by July to meet the HUD deadline.

 

Mrs. Ervin said that the Steering Committee makes the recommendation, but it is not fact until it comes to the legislature.  Mr. DeMore agreed. Chairman Knapp said that the legislature is basically asked to approve the Steering Committee’s recommendations.  Mr. DeMore agreed and explained that HUD requires public input to make these decisions.  Mrs. Ervin said that there have been some things in the press about some projects that are on the list, but the Legislature had not voted on it yet.

 

2.     METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD:

        a.     Amending 2013 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for the Purchase of a Wheel Loader ($160,000)

Chairman Knapp said that this item will be considered but no vote will be taken.

 

Mr. Millea said that this money was put into contingency during the budget process so that the executive director could look at leasing opportunities.  It has been proven to be far more cost effective to outright purchase than to lease.

 

3.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Director

        a.     Standard Work Day and Report Resolution

Mr. Troiano said that this is administerial and required by the NYS Comptroller’s regulations.

Mrs. Ervin asked why there are no numbers entered for some of the employees.  Mrs. Maturo explained that if they are part of the County time system, they don’t have to keep a log. 

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

        b.     Accepting and Approving the Contract Between the County of Onondaga and the NYS Nurses’ Association

Mr. Troiano:

  • An extension of the collective bargaining agreement that expired at the end of 2012
  • Unique because it is a short term agreement – 1 year
  • Purpose was to provide incentives for the nursing staff at Van Duyn to stay on board through the transition of the facility to the new owner at the end of November
  • Also wages were increased – 2% - for the rest of the bargaining unit – those that work in community health services/ public health titles
  • Agreement provides use of outsources nurses at Van Duyn if staffing levels go below what is necessary

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is a lump sum incentive for them to stay on as well as a 2% raise retroactive to January of this year.  Mr. Troiano explained that no employee would get both – will get one or the other—Van Duyn nurses will get the interval amounts; Health Department nurses they will get the 2%.

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Troiano said the cost equates to approximately $113,000 for this year. 

Mr. May asked about the nurses in departments other than Van Duyn.  Mr. Troiano said that the bargaining unit covers both.

Chairman Knapp asked if the transition from county to private (Van Duyn) has been put in place.  Mr. Troiano said regarding the workforce, they have been amassing information; most of the effort now is to try to keep staffing levels in tack as people transfer to other departments or look for other opportunities, even outside of County government.  There has been an invitation on the table to all of the bargaining units at Van Duyn to have conversations about the eventual movement of the workforce.  Some of them have been delayed because of a litigation challenge, which is now over.  There will be more of those discussions as the transition gets closer.

Mr. May asked if we are facing the same type of incentive arrangements for other employees at Van Duyn.  Mr. Troiano said this was what was needed to be shored up immediately in terms of patient care issues.  There are patient care issues with staff represented by other bargaining units.  They have not had those conversations--have been able to maintain what is needed to be compliant.  As they go forward, the sense is that there will be different issues from those employee groups.  He noted that registered nurses on our level and on a national level are a very important and transferable commodity.  They can work anywhere and have a lot of opportunities and competition. 

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

 

4.     ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE:  Mark Manning, CFO; Sue Tormey, Human Resources & External Relations

        a.     Adoption of Annual Budget for Onondaga Community College for the Fiscal Year Sept. 1, 2013 to Aug. 31, 2014, and Authorizing the Co. Executive to Enter into Contracts with Other Governmental Units in Which Appropriations and Revenues are Approved by the Adoption of the 2014 Budget

Chairman Knapp noted that the OCC budget public hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m., following this meeting.  It would be premature to take a vote on this item, but it will be considered and can go to the July session.  There has been a lot of information received.

Mrs. Tormey noted that they are excited to welcome Dr. Crabill, who will begin on July 1st as the 8th President. 

5.     SHERIFF:  John Balloni, Chief

        a.     Staffing Study Presentation (on file with Clerk)

Chief Balloni:

  • Study commissioned from asset forfeiture funds to receive a proposal on the amount of staffing actually needed to do the job
  • Outside study commissioned – over the last number of years they have lost over 30 road positions.  If they came back with any number, the need would be questioned
  • Matrix, California won RFP – have done 300 studies nationwide; they can make comparisons nationally
  • Matrix used many statistics – used the last full year – worked directly with IT, Sheriff’s personnel in handling statistics – a lot had to be accumulated and put into spreadsheets
  • Study was just done for the police department – road patrol and CID; study was designed for where they are having the greatest difficulty in getting personnel and handling the work load
  • Have discussed having the study done on the Custody side

 

Chairman Knapp asked if Matrix also looked at office operations, the pistol permit situation, etc.  Chief Balloni said “no” and explained that it was not asked for in the RFP.

  • Pg. 15 – 1,946 total paid annual work hrs.; 1,523 work hours actual available to answer calls and do the work.  Average leave is 270 hrs.; average in service training is 30 hrs.; 84.6% annual availability; administrative time 123 hrs. (roll calls, getting equipment, gassing up car, taking cars for repairs)
  • Comparing the total hrs. nationally, Onondaga County is about 100 better than the national average (partially because not as much sick time is taken and has a relatively low turnover rate of 4%-5%)
  • Calls for services (citizen requests) were separated from deputy initiated calls for service (office initiation – vehicle & traffic stops, DWI arrests, disabled vehicle, etc.) deputy initiated activity totals 30,520 incidents
  • Deputy initiated activity has gone down – more time that is spent on calls and less deputies on the road
  • Calls from service from citizenry doesn’t tend to change much
  • Pg. 53 – chart shows uncommitted time that any given shift has – total average is 38.4%.  It is important to subtract the estimated 10-205 of work not capture by CAD – CAD is designed to capture a percent of officers work; it doesn’t necessary capture all of the work they do – a safe estimate is 10% more on a given day – which would reduce the total average to 28%
  • Matrix’s recommendation is to have about 40% of an officer’s time uncommitted
  • Day shift – 8:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. – amount of uncommitted time is down to 18% and 23%, subtract the 10% and it shows that they are virtually doing nothing but going to calls
  • Problem – because uncommitted time includes all vehicle/traffic work, all crime prevention work, all community policing proactive type things
  • To get to the 40% national average – need additional people
  • Risk Management – 12:00–4:00 a.m. at 63%; 8:00 p.m. – 12 a.m. at 45% uncommitted time.  For a minimum 800+ sq. miles the County need a minimum number of cars out
  • Matrix is saying that there are not enough cars on the road at minimum staffing times; recommended the number of cars be increased at those times

Chairman Knapp asked if it is because of a response time. Chief Balloni said that it is, as well as officer safety.  At those hours if something happens, i.e. shooting, burglary in progress, could be a serious call – will draw resources from every part of the county.  To have anything left over to handle another problem, there has to be a minimum number of cars.  Matrix is saying that it should be a minimum of 12 countywide.  Sometimes now they are closer to 10 cars at minimum times.

  • Matrix is recommending:  10 additional staff for the road and 2 additional staff for criminal investigation
  • Criminal investigation – Matrix looks at work load; how many cases they have and how it compares to other parts of the country.  They basically said there is the right number of investigations, but for a county this size there is no cold case unit and should have one

 

Chairman McMahon asked what kind of unsolved crimes merit a cold case investigation.  Chief Botsford said there are 4 homicides that aren’t terribly old, but they do not have the resources to have people constantly working the cases.  There are some horrendous sex crimes and they don’t have the people to follow up on them.  Some of the cases are horrendous and they should be working the cases more than they are.  They get cold when they have current cases that they can solve and have to move forward with them. 

Chairman McMahon said that the City Police Dept. has a cold case unit.  Chief Bottsford said that they have more personnel than the Sheriff’s Dept.   Chairman McMahon said that there has been a lot of money put in the budget for Operation Impact, Operation Truce, etc. to help the SPD, and questioned why the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t ask the City to help with some of the cold cases.  Chief Botsford explained that that they work closely with them every day. 

Chairman Knapp asked if there is a timeframe when something is considered a cold case, or is it when leads dry up.  Chief Botsford said that the leads dry up, and they are assigned to other current cases.  They don’t close on them, but as they work other cases.  There are cases sitting there that they don’t have the resources to have people working full time on them, to solve them for the residents of Onondaga County.  Chairman Knapp said it is case independent.  Chief Botsford agreed that it is; it is when they have worked it and worked it, and there is no place to go with it; there are current cases coming in to work on.  It is not that they don’t care about the case; they just don’t have the people.

Chief Balloni noted that the City has a good deal more of the cold cases than the Sheriff’s Dept.  Their unit is very busy also and they are in the same position as the County – have lost a large number of officers.  They have not had an academy in awhile.

Chief Balloni said that the bottom line is there is a recommended additional 12 personnel.  It is important to look at the frame work; they look at statistics and workload in an ongoing manner.  It is suggesting that things are not stagnant; work flows go up and down so the number of personnel would go up and down accordingly.  It also provides for a tool to look at.  It a town or village asks the Sheriff’ Dept. to do policing service, they are looking at abolishment of their police force, or are looking at contract policing with the County – can use this tool to look at what the real number of personnel needed is to do that job based on the work load.  It gives a clean statistical way to measure it. 

Chief Balloni referred to proactive policing noting that the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has said that if police want to do anything to save lives and property, they should definitely be looking at pulling over cars and doing vehicle and traffic work.  There is almost a direct correlation between that kind of work and a decrease in accidents.  A decrease in accidents results in a decrease in loss of life and millions of dollars of property damage. 

Mrs. Ervin said that a study of all staff would have made more sense; how do we know there is a need on the police side if we don’t know what the other side of the house is doing.  She questioned if there are an abundance of folks there that could be doing something on the other side, why can’t they be shifted from side to side.  Chief Balloni said that they are very distinct functions, and you can’t literally shift people.  On the custody side, there is a dictated minimum staffing from the Commissioner of Corrections.  There may be savings in custody, in terms of the way they do business, but the number of staffing and positions is already pretty well established by the Commissioner of Corrections.  Mrs. Ervin said that there could be savings in custody that could help with something on the civil side.  Chief Balloni said that they addressed what they perceived as their crisis; it effects when they have to come back to the legislature for overtime overruns at the end of the year; it is a direct impact on the number of staff they have; a direct impact on the ability of the police agency to do its basic function.  It is the crisis level issue in the agency.  That is why they directed attention to it first; it is not exclusive and it is probably a very good idea that something be done for the custody side.  Regarding office staffing, they have already taken very substantial hits, as the whole county has.  Some of the evidence based things come out when you look at pistol permits, and how far behind they are in all of those things – just don’t have the personnel to do it. 

Mr. Jordan asked if the study looked at the allocation of duties to responsibilities or just bodies.  He referenced a situation where a custody sergeant was present at a crime scene at night and paid overtime.  Captain Rinella said it was likely the public information officer.  Mr. Jordan asked if the study looked at how resources are allocated – whether or not duties can be reassigned or rearranged to better be effectively utilized.  Chief Balloni said that they looked at actual workload — how much there per deputy.  Then they do a risk assessment and geographical indications - how many deputies are needed on the midnight shift, etc.  They are looking at actual workload not just bodies.  

Chief Botsford referenced the different levels in training.  A custody sergeant wouldn’t have experience in dealing with a major crime scene and would be incapable of supervising a scene.  At any major scene, they make sure that there is a supervisor there.  Mr. Jordan questioned why someone on the police side isn’t the information officer.  Chief Botsford said that at a major crime scene the supervisor is supervising the crime scene, not dealing with the press and release of information.  There now is a police public information officer.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chief Balloni said that Matrix did look at the different priority of calls and meeting those needs.  It doesn’t cover every aspect and is limited in focus, but it gives a good point with which to have conversation with the legislature as to where they should be.

Mr. Jordan referred to page 53, staffing allocation – noting that it seems that at the peak activity hours staffing is going down.  Chief Balloni explained that a shift has to start and end at a given time – there is not a perfect way.  For the employees sake there has to be some reasonable start and end.  Mr. Jordan said that it is known that there are peak periods of the day that the staffing allocation would be higher for those periods and lower at others.  Chief Balloni said that Matrix feels they are understaffed for the night shift by several people.  In order to beef up the staff at other times of the day, they would have to pull more people from nights and have even less people on the road.  Matrix is saying that is the opposite of what needs to be done.  Chief Botsford referred to overlap watch, starting at 11:00 a.m., which gives additional staffing during those peak hours.  Captain Rinella referred to the midnight to 4:00 a.m. timeframe, explaining the overlap of coverage at those times and the constant coverage.  Regarding the risk assessment, from the midnight shift, essentially 10 deputies and supervisors are needed – one in the north and one in the south.

Mrs. Ervin noted that there are police departments in municipalities as well as the Sheriff’s Dept.  She asked if there is something that can be done to use all of these folks rather than hiring more deputies.  Chairman Knapp noted that in the southern part of the county there is no local police department, but the State Police station is in LaFayette.  He asked how we can coordinate with all of the different town, village, state and county agencies.  Chief Balloni said that they do coordinate with them.  They provide the back up or provide the primary call answering service, as the Sheriff’s Dept. doesn’t have near enough people to do the job.  Regarding Dewitt, the people there are paying extra money for those officers to be in Dewitt to answer their calls.  He can’t really count on a group of more dense population of police officers to come and answer a call with a Sheriff’s deputy.  It is like Sheriff’s deputies going into Cayuga County--they would do it, but it would have to be pretty much a dire emergency to do so.  They would not do it on a routine basis.  The Sheriff’s Dept. coordinates very well – has one of the tightest working relationships county wide with town and village police that could be seen nationally.  They work well together; on the same radio system; know when each other has calls, and back each other up routinely.  Without their numbers, the Sheriff’s Dept. couldn’t do the job it is doing today.  Chairman Knapp said that he would never expect a Dewitt police officer to leave Dewitt – that is their patrol responsibility.  He was looking at it from a patrol standpoint.  Chief Balloni said that they take it into consideration when determining the number of patrols – i.e. there are Dewitt units in Dewitt so there are going to be less Sheriff’s Deputies there because they are needed in other places to do the basic job.  

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Chief Balloni said that currently there are 8 vacant funded road patrol positions. Chief Botsford said that the recommendation took that into account.  Chairman Knapp said then that currently there are about 20 people below what is recommended.  Chief Balloni agreed.  Chief Balloni said that vacant funded is not necessary the number they can hire – there is not enough money in the budget to actually fund all of the funded positions.  They are actually vacant authorized positions.

Chairman McMahon referred to priority 3 calls, noting the report indicates that the average time spent on these calls is 63 minutes.  He questioned why that much time would be spent on a nuisance or animal call.  Chief Balloni said that those calls currently wait until they have the available patrol time.  They get there when they can, when they have available resources, or sometimes they don’t ever get there.  An animal complaint can turn into several hours.  A lot of these are quality of life incidents – important to constituents.  They make up about 12% of the calls.  In answer to Chairman McMahon, Chief Botsford stated that a priority 3 could also be a larceny complaint.  It could be something that takes an hour to get there – not driving in emergency mode to it – just driving routinely to that call; have to interview complainant, may talk to neighbors, writing a report.  Chairman McMahon said that it is important to understand what these instances look like and what the procedures are.  There needs to be more detail provided.  Captain Rinella said that it could also be a situation where there is someone in custody and they have to be processed.  Chairman McMahon said that information isn’t in the report, and it is information that is needed.

Mr. May said that that average number plus the travel is 80 minutes, but the report really doesn’t show the true span of time in the prioritization, which would be helpful.  Mr. May noted that the report does a good job portraying the problem, quantifying what the solution is; and looks at it linearly from a human resource standpoint.  He is not going to question those numbers or what good policing or good policing policy is.  He referred to prior committee discussions with legislators regarding what should or shouldn’t be provided in the menu of services.  He forecasts going down the same road.  He still sees these questions coming.  He suggested that as budget time approaches, and there are more discussion specifically about these requests, that there are answers to the issues that Chairman McMahon brought up--how to better deal with some of the issues; if there is a better way; are there things the legislature can to do help alleviate some of the responsibilities.

Ms. Williams referred to page 53, combined straight time and overtime hours -- asked if there is a breakdown of how many hours are straight time and how many hours are overtime.  Chief Balloni said that they are working now on a 10-year average showing how much is straight time and how much is overtime.  He can ask Matrix for the information.  Chairman Knapp noted that they should have the raw data used to come up with the combined number.  Ms. Williams asked to be provided with the breakdown.

Chairman Knapp referred to special events, i.e. Jazz Fest, Iron Man, Balloon Fest, etc., and asked if those things were considered in the numbers.  Chief Balloni said that they were considered hours worked between straight time and overtime.  Chief Botsford said that they are far and few in between.  Chief Balloni said that it is statistically insignificant; it is a couple hundred hours in 100’s of thousands of hours all tolled; it wouldn’t change the outcome statistically.  

Mr. Jordan said that for as long as he has been a legislator, the legislature has questioned why there is so much in overtime; there has been specific questions that if there were more deputies, would it have a significant impact on their budget.  The responses has been “no”, that it has been studied and this is the best allocation – to have fewer deputies, have them working overtime – in the long run it was cheaper than to hire additional deputies.  This is now a flip/flop--need to have more deputies to reduce overtime.  Chief Balloni said that up until and including last year, the allocations were done and it is cheaper to pay overtime than it is to pay bodies.  Some overtime is unavoidable – call-ins and major events; some of it is unavoidable – there is an offset to the cost if they hired 12 deputies.  Overtime would go done; it certainly would not go down an amount equal to the cost of 12 deputies.  There are still instances where there is a major event; they will have to call in overtime no matter how many deputies they have on the road.  Also, it is a labor intensive job.  Right now, given the cost of benefits (noting that retirement is going to 39% by State projection) it is very hard to hire people.  They have to absorb the costs, and there aren’t places to absorb it.  They have been absorbed by cutting the size of their force repeatedly.  Mr. Jordan said that historically, even when the department had more staff, there hasn’t been a huge fluctuation in overtime—even with more staff the amount of overtime has remained relatively consistent throughout the years.  Chief Balloni said that they will produce some indications of fact that will help explain all of that, i.e. contract settlements that have bumped it up.  They have taken some of those factors out, so that you can look at the number of hours over all.  Chairman Knapp said he would like to see total hours and total dollars.  Mr. May said that it would be good to apply the same methodology to how OT is reported on a regular basis.  He finds it very hard to understand what the overtime reports mean. 

6.     COUNTY EXECUTIVE:  Matthew Millea, Deputy County Executive/Physical Services

        a.     Informational-Real Estate Disposition Policy:

Chairman Knapp referred to a piece of property near the Jamesville Correctional facility, wherein someone approached the county about purchasing it.  It was determined that the property was not needed and there was a process to sell it.  At that time, legislators weren’t happy with the process, as there really wasn’t a process.  Mr. Jordan initiated some legislation to put something in place.  Mr. Millea informed the committee at that time that he was already working on something that he’d seen in other communities. 

Mr. Millea said that a lot of property disposition is guided through General Municipal Law.  This policy (on file with Clerk) clarifies steps that the County has to take to comply with General Municipal Law.  From the Executive’s point of view, they are prepared to move forward with this or a version of it.  They are willing to work with the legislature; have it adopted by the legislature and put in place as formal county policy. 

Mr. Jordan noted that he had a few concerns with the policy, but will get together with Mr. Millea to discuss.

Mr. Millea pointed out that this policy helps to clarify the steps for an unsolicited offer for surplus property. 

Mr. May asked if there is a different section of General Municipal Law that applies to capital equipment.  Mr. Millea said that there is; personal property is dealt with through a surplus/auction process.  Mr. May asked if there is a written policy.  Mrs. Berger said that there are a number of county resolutions regarding selling surplus property.  Mr. Millea said that it may not be articulated in a policy document.  Mr. May said it might be nice as a matter of course, when we are making appropriations or contemplating appropriations, to know that the process is being adhered to.  More importantly, if there is relevant value to anything that the county is replacing, it should be part of the discussion.  Mr. Millea referenced an example of surplusing snowplows and said that they could report back on what was received at auction for them.  Mr. May expressed that it is more important to be informed on what you think we can get for items.  Mr. Millea felt it is possible to provide a ball park figure on what items would be going for.  Mr. May said it shows a more thorough, thoughtful process.

Mr. Jordan asked where the revenue go when real estate or personal property is sold.  Mr. Morgan said that it goes back to the department that it came from.  There is an auction revenue account.  Mr. Millea asked if a building is sold, does it go to County Facilities or general fund.  Mr. Morgan will provide an answer.

Mr. Millea said that this policy provides an absolute transparency as to how we price assets that we are getting rid of; gives the legislature and executive assurance that they are looking to the market to set the price for the assets and not setting them internally.  Chairman Knapp said that it would provide transparency regarding the winner.  Mr. May said that it would allow ample opportunity for any taxpayer. 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is any type of publication for personal property.  Mr. Morgan said that they retain an auction professional who assists them in all of the auctioning.  He is unsure of the advertising medium and will report back on it.  Chairman Knapp asked if there is a link on the County website for surplus items.  Mr. Morgan said that there is.  Mr. Millea said there is actually a button on the home page of ongov.net.  Chairman Knapp said that there is now a situation with the newspaper; there is not the same presence and it is tough to advertise in the paper.  Mr. Millea said that is why if you are relying on a historic policy created in the 1960’s or 1970’s which included publishing legal notices in the newspaper; it is not the right medium to focus on any more.  It is really an ancillary medium; some of the laws with these thinks have to catch up with the new technology.

7.     TRANSPORTATION:  Matthew Millea, Deputy County Executive/Physical Services

        a.     Highway Work Plan Update – Matthew Millea, Deputy County Executive/Physical Services

Mr. Millea:

  • Work is commencing aggressively
  • Milling started this week with cold mix vendor; paving will begin on Monday weather permitting
  • Bridge work is being prepped
  • Hot mix roads are being prepped; paving could start the end of next week weather permitting

Chairman Knapp asked if they are still working off of the original list.  Mr. Millea said that there is an open discussion on the absolute bottom of the list, but the program is not being stopped while that works out.  Hopefully, by next week those open issues will be resolved.

8.     WAYS & MEANS MISC.:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for the Farmland Preservation Program to be used by the Tully Central School District ($10,000) (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

Chairman Knapp explained that money was set aside in the budget for agricultural related projects.  Tully Central School District, who has the last FFA program in the county, gave a presentation to the Ag Counsel.  They are doing a significant expansion to their welding program; they have received help from the Monsanto Corporation and several local companies, including Haun Welding.  The Counsel has recommending that Tully Central School District be awarded $10,000 for this program.

There are two other programs in the mix that the Ag Counsel is working through--both are nice opportunities.  One is from a local media group, who is proposing to get the word out on buying local agriculture.  The other program is at Dr. King School with greenhouses/raised beds--looking at an expansion of their program. 

Chairman Jordan asked how welding relates to farming.  Mr. Millea said that it is key for people on farms to be trained on how to fix their own machinery.  At the presentation, the instructor really impressed on its importance and how it is a lost trade.  When machinery has to go off site to be fixed for 4 or 5 days, it kills them.  Farmers need someone onsite to fix it.  Chairman Knapp referenced the expense of sending the equipment out.  Welding to farming is just as important to the dairy farmer as knowing how to milk the cow.  Mr. Jordan asked if these instances that frequently.  Chairman Knapp and Mr. May explained that they do and that if the farmer has the ability, they can sometimes fix it right in the field.

Mr. Millea referenced the initial $300,000 that went to Cornell Cooperative Extension for farm education.  They are doing a tremendous job with 4H program extension; it is now with the Dr. King School.  It is the first grant to go to a central school district.  Mr. May noted that 4H did a presentation at a local tractor supply store and had a great float in the Baldwinsville Memorial Day Parade.  Dave Skevel is doing a great job.  Chairman Knapp agreed.  He noted that Mr. May will be invited to an Ag Counsel meeting soon to discuss the farmland preservation program on Lysander

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

9.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – NONE

Chairman Knapp said that the committee asked Mr. Carroll for information on Lights on the Lake; he has communicated that he was putting together something but as of the beginning of this meeting, it was not received.

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

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 
 
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