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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
J. RYAN McMAHON, II
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 15, 2016

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

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

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Chair Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:06 A.M.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  Travis Glazier, Environment Director

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of an Administrative Order on Consent for Remedial Design for the Lower Ley Creek Operable Unit of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site

Mr. Glazier:

  • Discussed items 1a and 1b simultaneously - item a allows for administrative order on consent (AOC) with the EPA, item b allows for potential responsible parties (PRP) agreement between Onondaga County and other PRPs; both agreements for remedial design (RD) of Lower Ley Creek

Map

  • County PRP per CERCLA - WEP owns property shown as the green strip near baseball stadium and a couple miscellaneous parcels
  • Ley Creek contaminated by PCBs and other heavy metal industrial contaminates on the creek bed, GM-Fisher Guide factory primary contributor of PCBs; determined PCBs in Lower Ley Creek came from Upper Ley Creek
  • Creek separated into two operable units – upper and lower, divided by Route 11 bridge
  • Great deal of effort to secure funding for remediation during GM bankruptcy – initially Lower Ley Creek was not included in the bankruptcy settlement, secured $21M for allocation of Lower Ley Creek cleanup; RACER Trust established for cleanup of a number of contaminated GM sites, including Upper Ley Creek
  • Notice of PRP status issued to all PRPs – Copper Crouse Hines, National Grid, Carrier Corp., Syracuse China, Oberdorfer (not participating), East Plaza LLC (bankrupt), Town of Salina and City of Syracuse; PRPs must negotiate AOC or EPA will issue order
  • AOC advantage:  ensures $21M allocated will be used for remediation, potential for reimbursement of RD cost if cleanup less than $21M
  • Ley Creek tributary to Onondaga Lake; PCBs contaminate of concern, carcinogenic, associated with low birth weight and liver dysfunction at high levels –left untreated could end up in Onondaga Lake
  • Should have solid estimate for remedial action (RA) once 60% of remedial design is complete – then begin negotiation on AOC and PRP agreements for RA; negotiation changes significantly if RA is excessively high

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Glazier confirmed that dredging would be part of the remediation.  Kevin Murphy, of Waldis Law firm, introduced himself as outside counsel for the County on environmental issues.  He stated that after study and public hearings the EPA’s preferred remedy is to dredge the bottom and remove contamination on the banks of the creek.  Certain materials will be removed and disposed of outside the County.  Other materials may be disposed of at landfills within Onondaga County approved EPA.

 

Dr. Chase asked if contamination of the creek was continuing.  Mr. Glazier said that PCBs became heavily controlled between 1976 and the mid-eighties, continuing contamination is not a concern.  The PCBs that exist are a concern.  They are bioaccumulators and could potentially be toxic.  Toxicity is at a very high exposure level but it is not something you want continued exposure to as it accumulates over time and the health effects are significant.  Mrs. Rapp asked if it had to be eaten or could be touched.  Mr. Glazier said that it had be consumed.  Mrs. Rapp said her concern was people walking along the creek.  Mr. Glazier said the primary concern was life systems - bugs and insects consume PCBs, fish consume the bugs and then humans consume the fish with PCBs.  Dr. Chase said that people are eating these fish.  Mr. Glazier agreed, adding that they have fish advisories and PCBs are part of the advisory.  People may not adhere to them.  The 5-year look back for the lake bottom site showed improvements beyond EPA expectations.  The work on the lake is making improvements but if left to its own devises, overtime these contaminates would migrate.  They do not dissolve or go away.

 

Mrs. Tassone asked if they know how much surrounding land is contaminated.  Mr. Glazier said that they would test a buffer zone during RD, working from the center out.  Mrs. Tassone said that they were talking yards, not a quarter mile and asked if it would seep further.  Mrs. Rapp asked if it could be in the ground water.  Mr. Glazier said that they would test ground water as part of the RD.  Mr. Murphy said that he did not believe there had been any detection of PCBs in groundwater.  Very low concentrations of PCBs can be found in the water in the creek.  One of the benefits procured in the negotiation process requires the cleanup of Upper Ley Creek before anyone conducts a cleanup on Lower Ley Creek.  Mr. Glazier said that this was a more difficult negotiation than it should have been – seems logical that things flow downstream.

 

Dr. Chase asked where the $21 million dollars was coming from.  Mr. Glazier said that for our concerns there are two trusts related to the GM bankruptcy – the RACER Trust that relates to Upper Ley Creek and several other remediation areas, and $21 million dollars for Lower Ley Creek.  The $21 million dollars was negotiated with the federal government when they took over the debts and liabilities of GM for their bailout. 

 

In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Glazier confirmed that the cost for the RD was $2 million dollars, per capita amongst the PRPs – equal distribution based on the number of PRPs, not responsibility based.  Mrs. Rapp said that some of the companies were defunct and asked how it could be per person.  Mr. Glazier said that one was not participating and one was defunct.  Mr. Murphy said that Libby purchased Syracuse China so it still exists and all the other PRPs are full participating members.  All PRPs agreed to divide the cost by the number of participants as they are hoping the costs will be less than, or no more than, the General Motors Fund held by the EPA.  If the RD suggests the costs are significantly higher than the fund, it could lead to further discussion on how to allocate costs. 

 

Mr. Glazier said that early on the remedial investigation/ feasibility study anticipated RA costs to be $17 to $25 million dollars.  Mr. Murphy said that long before Mr. Glazier came on board all PRPs received letters asking them to do a remedial investigation/feasibility study – a preliminary investigation to determine if there is contamination and if a cleanup is necessary.  PRPs were not willing to do that because they thought GM should bear the brunt of those costs.  The EPA conducted the investigation and has already spent $3 million dollars – determined contaminates, evaluated potential remedies, held public process and selected remedies.  As part of that process, they came up with cost estimates.  

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to approve this item 1a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Authorizing the Execution of a Joint Participation and Defense Agreement among Potentially Responsible Parties for the Lower Ley Creek Operable Unit of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve item 1b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     Accepting the County’s 2016 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit Annual Report and Opening the Annual Report to the Public for Comment

Mr. Woodburn introduced himself noting that he works for WEP as the program coordinator for stormwater management and has been with the County over 1-year.

 

Mr. Glazier:

  • Annual report required for MS4 permit
  • Approval opens 1-year public comment of report – public meeting will be held if 3 requests are received 

 

Mr. Woodburn:

 

In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Woodburn said that they have completed annual reports since the MS4 went into effect, approximately 2009. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the MS4 was runoff.  Mr. Woodburn said that it was six components.

  • Public outreach and education – handled through CNY Stormwater Collation and the Regional Planning and Development Board
  • Public Involvement and participation – posting online
  • Illicit discharge – soil and water inspects stormwater outfalls for potential sanitary cross connection
  • Construction site runoff control – keep erosion under control, ensure soil doesn’t leave construction site
  • Post construction – ponds, detention basins and bioswales

Mrs. Rapp asked about farms.  Mr. Woodburn said that here are farm permits but they do not get into them.  

  • Good housekeeping final measure – ensure facilities are properly managed so that waterways are not polluted
  • Much is simply telling the DEC what they are doing – shows DEC they are living inside established rules for stormwater management

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if DEC approves the report.  Mr. Woodburn said that the DEC reviews the report.  If there are any serious concerns or comments, they will schedule an audit; last audit 2012-2013.  Mrs. Rapp said that by approving the resolution they are just acknowledging the report is complete.  Mr. Woodburn agreed.  Mr. Glazier said that the resolution also serves as public notice that the annual report is up for public comment.

 

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

 

2.     INFORMATIONAL:  Finger Lakes Land Trust

Chair Plochocki introduced Andy Zepp, Deputy Director for the Finger Lakes Land Trust. 

 

Chair Plochocki said he was very impressed that Mr. Zepp’s thesis on the idea of a Finger Lakes Land Trust was not only read but also created by Mr. Zepp based on his thesis.  Recently the trust has ventured into the Onondaga County area.  Most of its previous actions have been throughout the rest of the Finger Lakes.  Though they are a non-profit private group, it is important for the committee to know what they are doing.  Not only are they doing great things for the environment but he also sees future opportunities where they could work together, just as they have with NYS.  Both he and his family have been members of the group for some time though he had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Zepp six months ago. 

 

Mr. Zepp thanked the Chairman for the opportunity and provided the following information:

  • Conservation easement under used tool for the County – perpetual agreement that limits development on property, flexible to allow for farming, forestry use, etc., land remains in private ownership and on tax rolls
  • 27 year old organization, over 2,000 member, staff of 13 with extensive volunteer network
  • Protect land 3 ways, acquire land for public benefit – recently acquired 1300 feet of Otisco Lakeshore line, region wide the most threatened land resource and most expensive to protect

Chair Plochocki asked if it was Otisco Lake, per say, or shoreline anywhere.  Mr. Zepp said that it was anywhere, globally people like water.  They have a 1900-foot stretch of shoreline on the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway and conservation easements protecting additional shoreline, which has been a real focus.  They must focus on strategic areas as they work in 12 counties, an area the size of Vermont.  One of those has been the south end of Skaneateles Lake.  Only recently began work in the rest of southern Onondaga County.  They do not work in northern Onondaga County.

 

  • Own preserves, website contains maps http://fllt.org/, open to the public with hiking trails and parking area
  • Trust is similar to Central New York Land Trust, partnered with them in Spafford; always looking to leverage additional resources, too much work to do – partner with other non-profits or public sector 
  • Acquire land for others, i.e. last week partnered with NYS DEC to acquire 145 acres in Skaneateles Watershed for addition to Bear Swamp State Forest in Cayuga County - DEC wanted the land, seller wanted to sell, agency had no idea when it would close or how to fund it, trust has sufficient equity to step in, $200k purchase, 50% funded by Allen Foundation and 50% internal revolving loan fund; will push state to acquire land from the trust so funds can be rolled over to secure additional land – currently own 7 parcels for ultimate transfer to DEC, areas where the trust agrees the DEC should acquire the land
  • Work with municipalities and counties, i.e. created new county park near Canandaigua Lake in Ontario County, popular swimming hole, private property owner realized next generation would not tolerate liability, Ontario County did not have acquisitions funds but agreed to manage the space, trust unable to manage active recreation and swimming, good partnership, trust acquired the land, placed easement restriction so future county administration can’t change their mind, use continues as county park
  • Can’t own and manage everything people want to conserve in 12 counties – landowners typically don’t trust the town, therefore the trust reaches out to municipalities, use easement as insurance policy so future administration can’t change its mind; currently have 6 sites around the Finger Lakes with town parks or conservation areas

Mrs. Rapp asked if the land would then go off the tax rolls.  Mr. Zepp said yes, if it is a town park or land owned by the trust.  This is the reason they are selective, particularly in the southern tier where there is no growth.  Mrs. Rapp said that she could see the pushback from this.  Mr. Zepp said that in the case of shoreline, there is broad support because of the enhancement to the community and it guarantees some level of value and access if adjacent land is considered for development.  They are sensitive to this and know it is an issue.

 

  • Conservation easement agreement primary tool, not about access, adds deed restrictions with statutory basis, judicial proceedings must interpreted based on NYS Conservation Law, essentially a road map for subdivision, structures, gas drilling, etc., held by governments or non-profit land trusts, most governments not looking for responsibility; currently have about 120 agreements, largest 600 acre farm, smallest is street side area of a piece of property – easement doesn’t have to cover entire property, limits development and can be sold
  • Average farmer not in position to donate easement, generally development value of land used as their 401k; partnered with the County to submit requests for funding from NYS Ag and Mkts. to fund purchase of easements for farmland; one goal is to increase funding, statewide like winning the lottery relative to interest in the program
  • Tax incentives, i.e.  trust holds easement for landowner with home in Pumpkin Hollow with 40 acres of farmland and 40 acres of wetland buffer, used easement agreement to create 3 separate land use zones:  agricultural zone, 5 acre residential active use zone and selective timber harvest area and wetland buffer; all areas made part of the property title, future owners must abide by restrictions, became 80 acre estate lot that could not be subdivided, property sold
  • Two primary tax benefits determined by appraiser:

        1.     Reduction in development value considered gift to charity, claimed over a period of tax years against gross income

        2.     NYS property tax credit given to property owner with easement land donated - 25% reimbursement of school, county and town tax up to $5k per year, one-time credit even though maybe multiyear, not carried forward to next owner; no revenue impact as incentive born by the state

  • Each project cost about $20k for surveys, closing costs, baseline ecological study, and adding to endowment defense fund – annually monitor agreements and must be prepared to litigate if needed; monitoring endowment $2.3M and growing, legal defense fund several hundred thousand and pay annually for nationwide specialized litigation insurance
  • System works, have easements over 20 years old, try not to micromanage the future or create a loophole for a those who wants to exploit the agreement
  • Referenced February 2, 2014 Post Standard article entitled “In land we trust” as a good example: Pompey farmer took steps to keep property from becoming a housing development, donated 248 acre easement, retained ownership but use is legally restricted; another farm interested in donating 300 acres, located eastside of Onondaga County, now raising funds to cover some transaction costs - common for easement donor to contribute small portion of costs, land rich, cash poor owners, one of the challenges
  • Campaigning to raise 400k for Otisco Lake property – much easier for people to understand, essentially creating a park; conservation easement funding more difficult, most don’t understand what it is and costs are largely invisible (survey, legal fees and endowment funding)
  • Working to create a green belt along south end of Skaneateles Lake, own several hundred acres on the east side (Spafford Preserve) and 1300 feet of lake frontage and helped acquire state forestland, outside of that are little know in the County – biggest issue is getting the word out and understanding the conservation easement tool
  • Proactive in Otisco and Skaneateles Lake areas, reactive to remaining southern areas, i.e. holding workshops and responding to motivated landowners

 

Chair Plochocki asked if the southern area of Skaneateles and Otisco Lakes were proactive because they were focus areas or were they more worried about the land disappearing.  Mr. Zepp said that the south area of Skaneateles Lake is the most pristine of all the Finger Lakes.  They assessed conservation priorities from state and county studies and, with limited resources, have identified these focus areas.  It is both recognition of the important resource and the fact of limited capacity.  They want to ensure that their work adds up to something.  As they grow, they will add additional proactive sites. 

 

  • Adding 14th staff person, hope to keep growing on sustainable basis
  • Tremendous support once people understand what they do – don’t tell people what to do with their land, work with cash, tax code and many partners to come up with solutions

 

Dr. Chase said that she would like to see the trust on the northeast side of Skaneateles Lake, were much of the farmland is being building on.  Mr. Zepp agreed and said that with regard to funding, the Hudson Valley is the most advanced and has the most resources.  That area received a special allocation of $20 million additional dollars from the state to protect farmland, which has less need as there are more resources.  The trust is trying to determine how to get state resources beyond the existing statewide fund.  The other issue is that they are only part of the solution; land use planning and regulation must be part of this.  Currently the approach to land use is highly consumptive, which is detrimental to urban areas.  

 

Dr. Chase said that the more they build, the more things go into the lake and effect drinking water.  Mr. Zepp said that the stakes were getting higher as recent climate changes bring more intense storm events.  Whether cropland or developed land with impervious surface, the lake impact relative to phosphorus will get worse.  Five of the eleven Finger Lakes had toxic algae last year and an expert told him that there were probably three additional lakes not documented.  If 3 inches of rainfall comes over a 45-minute period, the amount of phosphorus rich soil that moves is a huge problem.  To address that, aside from land use planning, they are also seeking new state funding to purchase perpetual conservation easements from farmers on sensitive areas, which would mirror federal programs that are term limited.  The federal government has many programs for farmers to enroll in good practices.  However, they are for a term and when commodity prices go up farmers put the land back into production.  They want to make the same program perpetual and obtain important buffers along the streams. 

 

Dr. Chase said that it would be nice if they could stop people from putting chemicals on their lawn, which end up in the lake.  Mr. Zepp said that some areas are much more harmful than others are.  Putting one home, with a driveway and septic, on the steep wooded slopes of the south end of Skaneateles or Otisco Lake can have an impact equal to 10 homes near the village of Skaneateles.  There is a market for views and they are trying to channel development away from those sensitive areas.

 

For the record, Chair Plochocki said, “the Finger Lakes Land Trust does a fantastic job providing great service to the whole Upstate New York community, including Onondaga County, and we appreciate it”.  Mr. Zepp said that they look forward to doing a lot more.

 

Mr. Burtis asked if there was a list of the properties.  Mr. Zepp said that the website contains directions and maps to all owned conservation areas.  Easements are private property - typically public record, shared with county/town planning offices.  Mr. Burtis said that when the easement is private the owner’s mindset is they still own the land.  Mr. Zepp agreed, adding that hunting and fishing remain at the discretion of the owner. 

 

Chair Plochocki thanked Mr. Zepp for the presentation and asked if there was anything further. 

 

Dr. Chase asked what was happening with regard to getting a group together to meet with the Onondagas.  For the record, Chair Plochocki said, “I’m still talking with the leaders of the Onondagas, as well as members of county government, in putting together the organization of this”.  Due to everyone’s busy schedule this has been harder than planned, i.e. would like Oren Lyons involved, a legend with the Onondaga community, just eulogized Muhammad Ali, literal globetrotter.  Dr. Chase asked if there was any type of timeline.  Chair Plochocki said that he hoped to set a date, or have met, by the end of June.

 

The meeting adjourned 10:01 A.M.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 16, 2016

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Rapp, Dr. Chase

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Shepard, Mr. Dougherty

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.mA motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $304,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Tuttle Road Bridge Project, PIN 3755.76, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($304,000)

 

  • Onondaga County owns 13 or 14 bridges on town roads; done in 1960’s – went from Board of Supervisors to Legislature; part of agreements were County takes some structures
  • Tuttle Road; 40’ span; condition rating low; on town road, never in fed aid system so not eligible before; total project over $1 mil, and now in fed program
  • First instance funding for design; $380,000; fed is $304,000 and local dollars $76,000
  • Almost to Bridgeport off 31; 50 – 60 houses and structure is only way in and out; have to replace

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $520,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Old Liverpool Road Paving Project, PIN 3756.27, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($520,000)

 

  • Large fed aid project on Federal Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) - Old Liverpool Rd.
  • Construction fed funding not until 2021; to get on TIP, had to agree to do design local (none available); fed funding has now become available; will use fed money for design
  • Total fed is $520,000; local $130,000; design for repaving, drainage and safety improvements on Old Liverpool Road from Electronics Parkway to Buckley Road

 

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

 

        c.     Approving the Right-of-Way Acquisition Phase of the Otisco Valley Road Bridge Over Nine Mile Creek Project, PIN 3755.23, Agreeing to Participate and Pay up to 100% of the Non-Federal Share of the Project and Accepting Title to the Acquired Right of Way

  • Replacing bridge on Otisco Valley Road; process of final design approval; design and construction on TIP
  • Otisco Valley Road was NYS road; given to county in 1930’s; before giving to County, state realigned road, but did not take appropriate right-of-way; doing fed project, so need right-of-way; 6 takings - all total less than 2/10 of acre
  • $40,000; $32,000 fed; $8,000 local; amount includes:  NYSDOT time (they do takings for fed aid projects), appraisals for properties, and payment to owners
  • Resolution agrees to advance funding and to get reimbursed; also agrees once properties acquired by NYSDOT, Onondaga County will take title to those parcels

Map

  • Taking outlined in yellow; along bridge itself; give appropriate right-of-way; be able to maintain structure
  • One parcel has unknown owner; through title research done by NYSDOT cannot identify owner; went back to 1830’s; running along Nine Mile Creek
  • Will advertise property in publications that parcel will be taken; give owner opportunity to come forward; if no one comes forward, transaction goes through, maps will be drawn; no transaction costs for parcel
  • Yellow - what is being taken; Red - existing property lines; not building, but will allow maintenance boundary for road
  • Unknown property in middle; largest one; portion of it under creek; 4,600 sq. ft.; 1,200 under water; .04/10 of acre

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McNamara

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 16, 2016

DANNY J. LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Holmquist

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list

 

Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Burtis to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     DEPARTMENT OF ADULT AND LONG TERM CARE SERVICES:  Lisa Alford, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Multidisciplinary Forensic Team, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($50,000)

 

  • $50,000 for 2 yrs.; focus on developing evidence based model for providing enhanced forensic services for persons currently incarcerated or transitioning from prison that are mentally ill; growing population
  • Focus on transition phase, and program mapping regarding services available; no local dollars

Chairman Liedka asked what information is provided to someone going through that process.  Ms. Alford responded they will make sure the transition plan includes the best model for ensuring a smooth transition.  If the person was on Medicaid, has it been started so there is not a gap?  If the person is on medications, do they have the appropriate amount (i.e.  person has 2 weeks’ worth, but cannot see a doctor for 30 days)?  Who needs to be made aware?  This is for the model of the plan, and the next resolution deals with implementation. 

 

Ms. Alford stated Onondaga County was selected based on the number of people in the County, so not every county has received this money.  Also, the County had previously been involved with additional training for law enforcement in this area.  There were six or seven counties involved that were looked at for this.

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if this is one time funding, or if they have to apply every year.  Ms. Alford responded it is a maximum of two years for $50,000.  This is primarily to identify and plan what model to go with.  Not only is this department involved, but also Health, Sheriff, Jamesville and a Mental Health contractor.  Everyone is working as a team to make sure all services are coordinated, since this is not just a mental health issue.  Ms. Alford replied to Mr. Holmquist that the grant is new.  Up to the first year can be used for planning versus identifying.  The department is looking not only to New York State, but outside of the state for good models to follow. 

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Forensic Enhanced Transition Program, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($132,000)

 

  • Implementation; forensic mental health a priority of the NYS Office of Mental Health; several initiatives from the state focusing on this; focuses on forensic population of persons formally incarcerated
  • Forensic is the term used for anyone with the justice system involved; currently or previously incarcerated
  • Those incarcerated have elevated rates of mental illness
  • Provides funding for collaboration between persons currently or previously incarcerated; focus on reentry
  • Allow to have staff person to help with transition
  • Person coming out may need additional assistance; if on medication assistance program, to ensure taking medication; challenging to find housing for someone who has mental illness, and extremely difficult when they also have a record
  • Recidivism - make sure people have stable place to live; takes more time in addition to other complex issues
  • Looking to have one full time employee to help with referrals; to ensure person transitioning has comprehensive plan that is implemented, person connected with counseling, substance abuse treatment, etc.
  • Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program has about 30 – 40 people; numbers more than doubled from the past

Mrs. Rapp asked if this is connected to the opioid issues.  Ms. Alford replied it’s not just connected to that.  There is also a large group of people that were incarcerated when stronger drug legislation went into effect (20+ year sentences), who will be getting out. 

 

Ms. Alford continued:

  • Allows to have Peer Bridger - someone who has been incarcerated or someone they know was incarcerated; great motivator if they’ve been successful; utilization of Peer Bridgers has been very successful
  • Work with contract agencies to help; the one staff person will probably be contract (not County employee)

Mr. Holmquist asked if this is a new grant, and Ms. Alford said yes.  Ms. Alford responded to Mr. Holmquist that this is indefinite legislation and has become part of their state funding.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the full-time and part-time employees will be contract, and Ms. Alford agreed.  Ms. Alford:

  • If grant goes away, employees will go away, but given what they are seeing, the funding will continue
  • Working with several community orgs; lots of changes in Medicaid Managed Care; system changing for everyone
  • Want appropriate staff in place; meeting with field office to discuss other options given increase in need for community

Mrs. Rapp asked if people who have been incarcerated for twenty years with mental health issues are able to help themselves.  Ms. Alford responded many are.  The staff is seeing that if there is a violation, it is not because the person is not taking their medication, but because of difficulty meeting parole.  There have been instances to use the funding to do one on one coaching to help people with life skills.  It’s not that a person can or cannot do it, but that they do not know how. 

 

Mr. Burtis asked if the full-time person will be running the program or be a worker.  Ms. Alford replied they would be a worker.  Some of the subcontractors in the community are already doing this type of work, so it gives them additional standing to focus on this population.

 

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

 

        c.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services for Syracuse Behavioral Health Harriet May Mills House for Women, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($190,966)

 

  • No local dollars; ongoing; changes in HUD funding; Harriet May Mills House works with homeless women
  • Change gave $132,000 in funding gap; had conversations with State Office for OASAS; long standing program
  • OASAS identified additional funding, so Syracuse Behavioral Health able to continue operating
  • Support to help with operating cost; no hiring; been around since 1969; one of few working with homeless women
  • Believe it’s what they were short; contacted County and OASAS, and knew what was needed to operate

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:47 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE M. McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance Sheet

 

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES - JUNE 16, 2016

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Knapp, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Ryan, 1Mr. Plochocki

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Ervin and see attached list

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:31 A.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     SYRACUSE–ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCY:  Don Jordan, Deputy Director

        a.     Renewing with Modification Agricultural District No. 4, in the Towns of Dewitt, Fabius, Lafayette, Onondaga, Pompey, and Tully

 

Mr. Jordan:

  • Renewal required every 8 years; letters sent late 2015 to municipalities and landowners in the district, showed properties currently enrolled, asked if they wanted to add or remove property – removal allowed during district renewal period only
  • 457 acres added, 78 acres removed, net change 378 acre increase; approved by Farmland Protection Board
  • Public hearing to be held prior to July session

Legislator Jordan said that the information indicates landowners must apply for the reduced tax rate on an annual basis, and asked if the reduction was based upon whether the land was actually being farmed.

 

1Mr. Plochocki arrived at the meeting.

 

Mr. Jordan said that Ag District Law created the ag assessment for owners of actively farmed land within the Ag District.  Mr. Knapp said that it is actually two different things.  The Ag District is a function to protect owners from zoning, and potential hostile neighbors; protects right to farm.  The ag exemption supplies the reduced tax rate, and ag exemptions can be received without being in an Ag District.  Legislator Jordan said that the exemption was for actively farmed land.  Mr. Jordan agreed.  Mr. Knapp said that the land may also be rented out, as long as it is being used for agricultural purposes. 

 

Mr. Ryan said that the additions did not have to be farming.  Mr. Jordan said that the land must be predominantly viable farmland and most, if not all, additions are being used for agriculture.  Mr. Ryan asked if there was a threshold.  Mr. Knapp said that the Farmland Protection Board reviews all requests and insures that they are being used predominantly for agriculture; may have a home on a lot with fields, not subdivided.  Many of the removals stem from subdividing and selling the home, while the rest of the land remains for farming.

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Jordan confirmed that the only large addition was 147 acres from an expanding farm operation.

 

In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jordan confirmed that exemption requests go to the town assessor.  Legislator Jordan asked if exemptions were given for the entire property when only a portion was farmed.  Mr. Jordan said that he was not that familiar with the assessment piece, but believes the exemption is only for land actually farmed.

 

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

 

        b.     Approving the Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Land within Certified Agricultural Districts Pursuant to Section 303-B of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law

  • 30 day period for additions to all districts, each year
  • Adding 592+ acres to remaining 3 Ag Districts; approved by Farmland Protection Board

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

 

2.     LANDMARK THEATRE:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for use in Support of the Landmark Theatre ($50,000)

 

Mr. Fisher:

  • County Executive’s appointee to Landmark Board; theatre has gone through rough patch, rapidly paying of restructured debt, new general manager
  • Several years ago County Executive agreed to ask Legislature for additional $100k for 5-year period, now in 3rd year: $50k placed in budget, asked theatre to speak to need and progress for release of additional $50k
  • Benefit from Phantom of the Opera - huge number of people paid to park, eat, shop, and drink
  • Board made changes to governess; acting CFO restructured bookkeeping system, uncovered issue with some PayPal accounts, person charged with misappropriating $10k-12k

Chair Rapp said she was disappointed to hear that, as the theatre has a very good story to tell.  Previously, governess was almost nonexistent, and controls were shoddy at best.  Now, they have done incredible things.  They sold as many tickets in the first 6 months, as they did in all 12 months last year, although Famous Artists keeps most of the funds.  The theatre receives $4 to $5 per ticket, and is only taking $2 to $3, and using the remainder to pay off debt.  All current vendors are up to date, and paid as soon as they are charged.  No point of sale cash registers were previously in place.  They were brought online during the middle of the phantom show, and the bar earned $8,000 more than the previous week with similar attendees.

 

  • Receiving community support, Community Foundation fully financed point of sale registers, SIDA unanimously approved several hundred thousand dollars to replace the marquee
  • Feels good about prospects, recommends consideration of appropriation for 2nd half of County Executive’s budget request

Mr. Knapp asked if Mr. Fisher was comfortable that controls had been put in place to guard against a similar situation happening.  Mr. Fisher said that John McGraw, volunteer Acting CFO, was extremely confident.  He has been working each day, and is training an intern, from Lemoyne, for the bookkeeping position.  The board now understands what it means to have internal control framework, which can be relied upon for financial reporting, and segregation of duties. 

 

Chair Rapp said that previously the theatre was operating from an artist prospective, and it is now being run as a business.  Mr. Baker recently did a fine article for the Post Standard, which talked about many of these things. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that the Landmark was an iconic part of the community, but he was skeptical.  He has heard this story multiple times.  Chair Rapp said that they were not out of the woods.  Mr. Jordan said that he has head many times how this is going to be bustling enterprise, and they always come back with another ask.  He will support this.  However, he hopes the optimism is warranted, and that they are truly turning this around.  Chair Rapp said that the first ask was when Mr. Pirro was County Executive.  The theatre borrowed $13 million and planned to get $100,000 from the Legislature, each year.  However, they could not bind future legislators, so the request has to come over for reallocation each year.  Mr. Jordan said that Mr. Pirro may have agreed, but he made it clear years ago, that this is not his view.  An annual appropriation from the Legislature should not be part of their financial structure.  Chair Rapp said that it was a debatable point.

 

Chairman McMahon said that Mr. Jordan was correct.  The theatre was receiving a $100,000, per year, for some period.  Under Chairman Rhinehart, they were removed from a budget.  It is important to recognize that the funds come from room occupancy tax.  He is interested in knowing which shows are upcoming, to make the theatre sustainable.  When Mr. Holder addresses the committee, he would like him to touch on what he expects the economic numbers to be.  Just because the theatre now has controls, and they are doing what they should have been doing, does not get them out of the woods.

 

  • SMG’s management now at theatre’s disposal, instituted fees for outside catering, estimate $75k additional cash flow, improved Ticketmaster agreement
  • Small risk on concerts, model used at amphitheater – rent thrown-in in order to participate, if concert is successful; starting to land good concerts, i.e. Steely Dan
  • Conducted profit and loss modeling, will focus on smaller portfolio of events, likely to have fewer events, but events held will generate cash
  • Point of sale registers insure all incoming dollars go to the theatre

Mr. Ryan said that businesses in the Armory Square District are supportive, as this drives economic development for hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping.  They need to be mindful of this, and this is what room occupancy tax should be used for.  Chair Rapp said that last year a representative from Lemon Grass testified to that, stating the increased amount of business when a show was in town versus a typical night.

 

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

 

3.     VISIT SYRACUSE:  David Holder, President

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to Visit Syracuse ($150,000)

 

Mr. Holder said he would start by answering Chairman McMahon’s question.  Because they are a city with many different venues, there is a difference between economic activity and economic impact.  Economic activity happens when local and regional residents attend events, spend money, but also live within the community.  Economic impact happens when someone outside the local region comes into the community and spends money, which drives overnight stays, meals, retail sales, and attractions.  Special unique events leave behind lasting economic impacts, as they draw people from outside the area.  Investments in this type of facility, and entertainment, definitely drives tourism to the area.  It is a big piece of who they are.  The visitors’ study showed that the destination is viewed as a leisure hotspot, and unique events add to the destination.  New visitors will be driven into the community because of the attractive and intense performance schedule. 

Budget

  • $250k placed in contingency, requesting release of $150k (entered as $125k on budget schedule – see pg. 4); must plan for expenses, much happens first 6 months of this fiscal year, need to know funding is available, requesting $150k for items in motion or upcoming soon
  • Huge promotional schedule between now and Oct.
  • Sept. busy month, many groups coming to look at Syracuse, new to group tour and international market; largest NYS focused travel trade show to be held in Syracuse early Sept. also hosting number of familiarization tours - inviting tour and international receptor operators, will showcase the area via sightseeing, demonstrates what Syracuse can be; end of September similar convention, and event group tours – 20 different convention planners, highly qualified, interested in northeast, and NY destinations, opportunity to get Syracuse on their map, benefiting the convention center and hotels
  • Intense summer with amphitheater and other special events
  • Jan. – March difficult months throughout NYS, early results outstanding for April and May, June continuing

Chair Rapp asked if this was because of convention business.  Mr. Holder said that the convention business created some compression, but they have seen leisure travel open up.  The Canadian dollar has gotten a little better.  In addition, they saw Mother’s Day, and Syracuse University graduation on different weekends, which is always good for sales tax collections.

  • Budget projections updated weekly; service budget high due to number of events with shuttling service; make early estimates in Sept. and Oct., continually update based on real costs

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Holder confirmed that they had not received the funds from NYS, $375,000 contract for marketing NYS.  They front the money, as it is a reimbursement grant.  However, they would feel more comfortable fronting the money with the contract in hand.  Chair Rapp said that every non-profit has dealt with this issue and advised them to stay on top of it.

 

In answer to Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Holder said that Julie Taboulie is an unequal spokesperson for the area.  Tradeshow and convention planners are wowed by her performance, and the way she helps sell the area.  Ms. Taboulie is part of their strategic plan, built to differentiate Syracuse from other destinations.  No other upstate destination has a spokesperson working in that capacity.  It is a great win for Syracuse.   

 

Mr. Jordan suggested showcasing the area during the summer, or beginning of September, when events, and festivals are going on.  This would project the area as an active and engaged community.  By the end of September, all the festivals are over.  Mr. Holder said that convention planners were coming because of our facilities, ease of access, and the product mix.  Festivals add to the environment, but there is enough going on no matter what season, i.e. bid on meeting planner convention for February, want to showcase winter months.  They are working to ensure locals view the area as a year-round destination; attractions and facilities are all open for business.  They need more winter business, and are showcasing the area in winter months to achieve that.

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Holder confirmed that they are claiming winter.  Mr. Jordan said that they had better hope there is not a snowstorm.  Mr. Holder said that it would provide the opportunity to show that Syracuse does not shutdown for a snowstorm. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked how the ripple effect or economic impact is determined.  Mr. Holder said that they do calculations based on total travel spending, within the County, for each event.  They have strong projections based on consumer research, i.e. worked with the Landmark Theatre to compare where ticket buyers come from, placed in three categories - local five-county region, regional day traveler, and greater than 2 hours away.  Mr. Jordan asked how they quantify this.  Mr. Holder said that points of origin percentages are put into the formula, per person spending, per day, and this helps them to extract the economic impact on a conservative basis.  The break out, per person, per day, shows the amount spent on hotel, dinning, and retail sales.  From this, they make projects on the amount of sales and room tax created.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Holder said that per person spending comes from actual visitors, which supply the information via survey response. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked how they use that information to project the total economic impact.  Mr. Holder said that, from per person spending, they are able to pull up the full picture, i.e. 30% of ticket buyers were overnight stays, know number of tickets sold, make projections, putting numbers into the formula.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Holder said that they do not use a multiplier, and this was one reason for the conservative estimate.  The information is pulled straight into a visitor-spending model – what visitors said they actually spent.

 

Chair Rapp asked if there was an average for spending.  Mr. Holder said that much depends on the length of stay, and components go up or down depending on the actual event.  Chair Rapp asked the average amount spent by convention attendees, per day.  Mr. Holder said that he thought it was around $280, but would have to look up the information.  Chair Rapp said that 10-12 years ago, it was $235; $280 sounds like a good, ballpark number.  

 

Mr. Ryan asked if the anticipated hotel room occupancy was to be greater or less than last year.  Mr. Holder said that he was unsure.  Based on the first three months, occupancy was down.  Mr. Ryan said that they also have a bigger tradeshow, and other people coming in.  Mr. Holder said that many rooms are also coming online.  However, based on April, May, and early June, occupancy is on the increase. 

 

Chair Rapp said that there was concern over the new hotel rooms coming online, and the percentage for individual hotels.  Mr. Holder’s job is to build demand, to keep them all full.  Mr. Holder said that this was why he needed the contingency funds released.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the Destinty Hotel would create problems for others.  Mr. Holder said that anytime a hotel opens, a flow of business is always displaced.  Destiny has been the community’s leader into the international travel market place.  Existing travel/trade tour operators are looking for Syracuse destinations, and the Destiny Hotel will add new capacity to that arena.  Mr. Jordan asked if they lost business due to the number of rooms.  Mr. Holder said that they were not active in that marketplace as a community.  The expansion of Destiny USA slingshot them into the travel trade arena.  They are now able to pursue international travel on a regular basis.  International travelers are extremely interested in luxury outlet stores, with many other attractions, and traditional mall retail.  This put Syracuse on the map, at the same time the Chinese market emerged.  The Chinese are interested in shopping, universities, and agriculture.  This region has incredible diversity for all three items.  A Chinese FAM tour is coming in next week; first stop Syracuse, last stop in Onondaga County is at Beak and Skiff. 

 

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

 

4.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Nina Andon-McLane, Admin Planning and Funding Coordinator

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to file the 2016 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs ($3,478,454)

 

Ms. McLane distributed the following:

 

2016 CDBG CAPITAL PROJECTS

                                                                                                                                    June, 2016

town or                           project name                                                                   

village           location                                             

 

V-Baldwinsville                    Canton Woods Senior Center Insulation/Roof Imp    $50,000  

76 Canton Street

 

Improvements include: installation of roof insulation, improved roof ventilation, flashing and roof replacement in select areas.

 

Due to the building’s age and design, as well as poor insulation, ice dams form at the roof eaves when there is a heavy accumulation of ice and snow on the roof.  This was especially true during the 2014/2015 winter.  As a result, there is water damage from leaks at the eaves and around flashing.  Insulating and ventilating the attic space properly will reduce the formation of ice dams and eliminate the infiltration of water into the building.  Some areas of the roof have sustained damage from ice accumulation and these areas will be repaired.  Interior walls will also be repaired.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  This project will improve the energy efficiency of the building, thereby reducing energy consumption.

 

T-Camillus                               Bicentennial Park Playground                                             $50,000                    

                                                      4600 West Genesee Street

 

The Town wants to replace the aging playground equipment at the Town’s Municipal Building on West Genesee Street.  The new playground equipment would consist of six (6) different slides, twelve (12) different climbing functions, and six (6) interactive play features. 

 

While the playground is available for use by all Town residents, its primary users come from the surrounding Old Fairmount low income neighborhood, including the apartments located across West Genesee Street, which are within walking distance of the facility.

 

The existing playground equipment is 20 – 25 years old and is in need of updating.  New equipment will provide a safer play environment for the many families in the area that currently use the playground.

 

T-Cicero                                 Skyway Park Community Playground, Phase 2          $50,000                    

5950 East Taft Road

 

Installation of 200 ± feet sidewalk from the pavilion and parking area providing access to the playground and installation of multiple freestanding play units that allow for handicapped children and adults to play alongside their peers.

The main objective is to enhance the opportunity for all children regardless of ability to play together in a safe environment close to their home. Skyway Park is the closest park to the 461 residences located on the north side of East Taft Road.  The next closest park is over 2.1 miles away on a road that does not have sidewalks.  This park is nearby, and a focal point for the residents in the area especially with the newly installed sidewalks on East Taft Road by the County.  The addition of the playground and its new free standing apparatus will increase the park’s activity throughout the day.  Town residents have requested handicap accessible play equipment for their children. 

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  Green technology continues with this project through the installed drainage system on site that slowly releases water into the sandy loam soils at the park to eliminate erosion and runoff.  This also keeps the play area free of standing water so it can be used more regularly. 

 

T-Clay                                     Road Improvements - 2015                                                   $50,000

                                                      Madison Village

 

The project consists of road reconstruction on the following streets within Madison Village, located off of Route 57, just north of Seneca Mall:  Grosvenor Road (1,250 feet long), Landsend Lane (2,485 feet), Alperton Court (525 feet), Chancery Lane (1,275 feet), and Brompton Lane (1,500 feet).  All of the roads are 26 feet wide.

 

The roads are cracked and have numerous dips and potholes.  Gutters are broken and heaved, causing high and low spots along road edges.  Road and gutters will be milled out and overlaid with binder and top as needed.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology: The road will be overlaid with asphalt containing RAP (recycled asphalt product) once the structural repairs are made.  The asphalt millings from road grinding will be reused for parking lots and road fill.

 

T-Clay                                     Road Improvements - 2016                                                   $50,000

                                                      Richardson Tract

 

The project consists of road reconstruction in the Richardson Tract, which is just south of the eastern end of Bear Road.  The following roads will be repaved:  Richardson Drive (26 feet wide by 1,380 feet), Northfield Drive (22 feet wide by 885 feet), Tallmadge Road (22 feet by 460 feet), and Twin Elm Lane  (22 feet by 460 feet).

 

The roads are cracked and have numerous dips and potholes.  The road needs to be milled to re-establish correct profile then repaved with binder and top coats as needed.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology: The road will be overlaid with asphalt containing RAP (recycled asphalt product) once the structural repairs are made.  The asphalt millings from road grinding will be reused for parking lots and road fill.

 

T-Dewitt                                  Klim Center Rehab at Springfield Gardens                                    $35,600

                                                      49 Caton Drive

 

Priority 1 – 179 linear feet of gutters installed six – eight downspouts

                      Installation of four rain barrels with filtration

                      Repairs to siding

                      Roof inspection/repair

                      Foundation repair

                      Mulch playground

 

Priority 2 - Installation of floor sink and upgrade to bathroom fixtures

                      Installation of commercial entry doors and framing

 

Priority 3 -   Retrofit windows and rescreen with commercial grade

 

People in Action (PIA), operating out of the David G. Klim Learning and Recreation Center located within the Springfield Gardens apartment complex, just off of Springfield Road across from the Le Moyne Collage fields, provides low to no cost opportunities to the residents and surrounding communities.  82% of the apartments within Springfield Gardens are considered Section 8 housing and 73% of the families fall below 185% of the poverty level.  Approximately 200 children (under the age of 18) and 400 adults, of whom approximately 20% are 65 or older,  reside in Springfield Gardens.  The population has been characterized by a high percentage of low-income African American female heads of household, immigrants, refugees, and elderly, all in need of various social and educational opportunities.

 

People in Action (PIA), officially formed in 1985, began operating under the not-for-profit Friends of Town of DeWitt Parks & Recreation, Inc., offering educational and recreational enrichment to youth and adults.  In the early days, these opportunities were provided by volunteers and took place in vacant basement spaces of the apartment complex.  In 2006, a 2,655 square foot single story building was constructed on the Springfield Garden property with grants and donations from several private and public institutions, including a 2005 grant of $70,000 from Onondaga County Community Development.  In 2011, a playground was built with additional grant funding.

 

Collaborating with LeMoyne College, BOCES, Headstart, Onondaga Earth Corps, and others, PIA is able to provide educational and recreational opportunities for low income youth and adults, improving their quality of life. PIA’s mission is to nurture, embrace, and enrich the underprivileged and culturally diverse families of the DeWitt area by promoting mentorship, providing a safe environment, and providing opportunities, while practicing experiential learning, traditional learning, and learn-by-play techniques.  Current programs include a preschool, afterschool, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and a community garden.  Nutritious snacks are provided in the afterschool and lunch is provided in the preschool.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology: The original construction of the building did not include the green technology or even rain gutters.  Rain and runoff from the impervious surfaces have not been effectively managed contributing to erosion, infrastructure deterioration, and lost potential to capture and reuse water.  Part of the requested funds will be used to install rain gutters that empty into rain barrels

 

V-Fayetteville                       Fayetteville Senior Center Renovation                            $50,000

                                                      584 East Genesee Street

 

The project will consist of renovations and improvements to the first and second floor of the main building at the Fayetteville Senior Center Campus.  The second floor is currently unusable. Improvements include upgrading the electrical service, improvements to the HVAC system, new energy efficient windows and insulation.

 

Currently, most activities offered at the senior center take place in the dining room. With lunch served daily, program scheduling is limited.  Once renovations are completed on the second floor, staff offices could then be moved upstairs, freeing up valuable space on the first floor for programs and activities that have smaller participation, such as an art class, photography, scrap booking and bridge. Renovating both floors will allow programs to take place outside of the dining area and serve multiple needs at one time.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology: The Village would be as energy efficient as possible.  The goal would be to install insulation that would be a greater R-factor than required by New York State Code in the hopes of reducing utility costs for the center so more of the budget could be spent on programs instead.

 

T-Geddes                                Leslee Storm Sewer Outfall Stabilization                       $50,000

Base of hill between 200 block Leslee Terrace & Grand Ave

 

Install a temporary 800-foot access road from Brookside Pump Station to the drainage outlet at the base of hill below the 200 block of Leslee Terrace.  Install a new drainage structure at the end of the existing 18-inch pipe and extend 150 feet of new 24-inch SICPP drainage pipe to a point where the grade flattens.  Install grouted rip-rap at the end of new 24-inch pipe to reduce outlet velocity to non-erosive value.  Repair existing exposed and deteriorated sanitary manhole and regrade to prevent future deterioration.  Remove the access road and revegetate.

 

An existing 18-inch pipe that runs from the low point in the 200 block of Leslee Terrace to the base of the hillside between Leslee Terrace and Harbor Brook picks up drainage from the central portions of the Ardmore Heights and Westvale Heights neighborhoods.  High velocities at the pipe outlet have led to severe erosion, undermining the end of the pipe and exposing most of a sanitary manhole on a sanitary sewer main that runs parallel to the drainage pipe.  This project will extend a new drainage pipe along the eroded ditch to a point where the grade is low enough that velocities will no longer be erosive.  The existing exposed manhole will be repaired to prevent infiltration of stormwater, and the eroded ditch will be filled and revegetated.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology: This project does not use green infrastructure, but will reduce erosion of sediments into Harbor Brook, as well as reducing wet weather flows in the Westside sanitary sewer system, which experiences overflows in severe events.

 

V-Marcellus                             Paul Street Sidewalk Improvements                                 $26,403

                                                      Paul Street


The project will include the construction of 450 linear feet of new concrete sidewalk along the north side of Paul Street, between North Street (NYS 174) and Austindale Ave.  Minor drainage improvements such as cleaning existing drainage pipes and replacement of catch basin grates are also included.

The new sidewalk would eliminate a gap in the existing Village sidewalk system.  At present, there are no sidewalks along Paul Street, between North Street and Austindale Ave.  Pedestrians must walk in the roadway, next to traffic.  Pedestrians, including seniors that live at Nine Mile Landing (on Austindale Ave) and school children use Paul Street as a walking route to the Village Center and to school.

 

The project also includes minor drainage improvements such as pipe cleaning and catch basin grate replacement to minimize persistent ponding of water at the street edge.

 

V-North Syracuse                 South Main Street Sidewalks                                                 $50,000

South Main Street between Palmer Ave and Palace Court

 

The proposed two-phased project includes approximately 2,044 linear feet of concrete sidewalk and drainage improvement, eight (8) curb ramps, and five (5) striped crosswalks along the west side of South Main Street between Palmer Drive and Palace Court.  There is also the possibility of installing a striped bike lane along at least one side of the street, which will have to be discussed further with the NYSDOT if this proposal is accepted. 

 

Phase 1 of this project will be from Palmer Drive to Wells Avenue West and Phase 2 is from Wells Avenue West to Palace Court.  The crosswalks and detectable warning will be installed at the intersections of South Main Street (US Route 11) and Palmer Drive, Millen Drive, Wells Avenue West, Sandra Lane, and Palace Court. 

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  A grass filter strip along the sidewalk and South Main 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.  A lighter colored concrete will be used to increase reflectivity and decrease the heat island effect.  Sub-base material will be a combination of local stone material and existing soil on site.  Any excess material or soil from construction will remain on the site. 

 

T-Pompey                              Delphi Falls Community Center                                      $38,000

                                                      3219 Oran Delphi Road

 

This request is for the construction of a 9 foot by 13 foot addition to the Community House which will house a new set of interior stairs and a chair lift to provide handicap access to the center.  This will require removal of the current exterior stairs.   

 

The Center is used several times a week for community functions, dinners and meetings.  Access is currently provided by helpful residents who carry those who need assistance up the stairs.  At some functions, 8-12 people require this assistance.  If the building were handicap accessible, more people, especially elderly, would attend events.

 

The building is owned by the nearby Delphi Falls United Church.  This project would require a 10 year lease on the building assuring that it will be used as a Community Center open to the public during this time period. 

 

T-Salina                                  Richfield Park ADA Improvements                              $50,000

                                                      Westwood Avenue, Mattydale

 

The restrooms are in need of a complete renovation to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements for all users, which include furnishing and installing ADA accessible toilets, urinals, sinks, faucets, lighting, partitions, and associated amenities.  Energy efficient and sensor-sensitive water and lighting products, as well as materials containing recycled content will be used.

 

The proposal includes: a new 30 feet by 60 feet open air picnic pavilion, and resurfacing the existing 500 linear feet asphalt walkway that links the restrooms, pool, parking lot, play areas, fields, and basketball courts.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  One of the proposed materials includes high reflectivity concrete.  Backfill will be a combination of local stone material and existing soil on site.  Any excess material or soil from construction will remain on the site.  Any grasses and landscaping utilized on site will be either native, of a xeriscape nature, or collect runoff from the parking areas, so as to not utilize excessive maintenance, water, and erosion.  For the restrooms, water conserving toilets and faucets are proposed, along with energy efficient lighting. 

 

V-Solvay                                 Upper Gertrude Park Improvement Walkways          $50,000

Gertrude St

 

The project will consist of replacing the existing upper park walkway which has deteriorated.  The Village DPW will excavate, box out and prepare the subbase for the installation of Flexi-pave.  Flexi-pave will decrease stormwater runoff by capturing stormwater within a constructed 6-inch stone subbase allowing stormwater to naturally absorb into the soils.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  The Village intends to use the Onondaga County Contract flexi-pave price for this project.

 

T-Van Buren                         Hosmer Drive Drainage & Pavement Rehabilitation, Ph 1      $50,000

Hosmer Drive

 

The project consists of rehabilitation of drainage and pavement on Hosmer Drive in the upper Seneca Knolls area.  The rehabilitation would generally consist of closed drainage installation and milling and asphalt overlay of the existing pavement with minor pavement repairs on approximately 1,000 linear feet of Hosmer Drive.

 

A majority of the roads in the Seneca Knolls area were constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s and have had only periodic spot maintenance. Over the years, the insufficient pavement thickness of these roads has resulted in deterioration of the asphalt pavement.  In addition, the roadside drainage system has reduced effectiveness due to the age of the system.

 

Cooperative Extension       Community Forests - Emerald Ash Borer Control                      $26,000

 

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. 

 

The Emerald ash borer (EAB), requires communities to plant a diversity of new trees, cull hazardous trees, monitor tree health and pests.  The County’s ash tree density is roughly 13%, with a disproportionate amount of these trees located in the northern half of the County.  The heaviest know infestations of EAB are in the north eastern portion of the County, including the Village of Minoa, Town of Dewitt, Town of Cicero and Villages of East Syracuse and North Syracuse.  Replacement of lost trees is an ongoing challenge and would not be possible without outside assistance. 

 

CCE will provide eligible communities with the following:

  • low-cost trees through the municipal tree buy program;
  • skilled care for existing trees and landscapes using community volunteers;
  • educational opportunities for municipal staff and community volunteers in techniques to promote tree survival and health in the face of storms, both insect and meteorological;
  • information on emerald ash borer management options;
  • identification of ash trees on private and public property; and

Green Infrastructure Technology:  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.

 

CONTINGENT PROJECTS

 

V-Camillus                             Green and Leroy Street Road & Sidewalk Improvements        $50,000

Green Street, and Leroy Street from Green Street to Main Street

 

Repair 640 linear feet of 4-foot wide sidewalk in various locations along Green Street and Leroy Street south of Main Street.  Mill and repave 1,910 square yards of road surface with 2-inch of binder, and 1-inch of top, and add kick-up curbs to define edge of pavement.  Make associated repairs to driveways and lawns to match new curb.

 

The existing pavement along Green Street and Leroy Street south of Main Street is badly deteriorated, with potholes starting to appear at several locations, creating a hazard to motorists.  Portions of the sidewalk are deteriorated, creating a trip hazard.  Since there are no curbs along these streets, cars tend to pull off the edge of pavement, creating muddy areas which send silt into the street and drainage system during rainstorms.  This project will provide needed repairs and better delineate the edge of pavement.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  This project will not use green technology per se, but the elimination of silt from muddy areas adjacent to the pavement will help protect the water quality in Nine Mile Creek.

 

T-Onondaga                          Kelley Brothers Memorial Park – New Park Pavilion              $50,000

Kelley Park Drive off Dorwin Avenue in Nedrow, NY

 

The Town is requesting funding for the construction of a new park pavilion and handicap accessibility upgrades at the existing Kelley Brothers Park in Nedrow.  The proposed improvements will include:  Installation and erection of a new 24-foot by 30-foot park pavilion and concrete pad which will include an outdoor kitchen island counter for serving and cooking, six picnic tables, two park benches, one large barbeque grilling station, one hot ash receptacle, four trash receptacles, approximately 10 new trees and various shrubbery plantings, approximately 250-450 square feet of landscaped green areas, flower beds, and planters.  The area for the new pavilion is already prepped for construction, has a flat area graded and seeded, and has storm sewer and under-drains installed to divert surface runoff away from and around the pavilion area (work previously performed by the Town). 

 

The Town highway department will haul asphalt via their own trucking fleet and install the new top course paving with their own highway crew and equipment for the entrance driveway and existing parking lot to improve handicap accessibility to the park amenities.  The highway crew will also furnish and install the barbeque station, trash and hot ash receptacles, park benches, picnic tables, and seed and mulch all disturbed areas from the project.

 

Green Infrastructure Technology:  The Town has committed themselves to MS4 best management practices (BMP) stormwater practices.  All milled pavement will be stored and kept at the Town’s highway garage to be used as future recycled asphalt millings for other municipal projects.  The project will provide for approximately 10 new trees and shrubbery plantings.  There will also be approximately 250-450 square feet of landscaped green areas, flower beds, and planters installed around the new pavilion and existing park areas to further help mitigate existing surface runoff from impervious surfaces and to help reduce existing standing water problems at the park.  The project green areas are being constructed in an effort to help contribute to the County’s Save the Rain Program.

 

V-East Syracuse                   Ellis Field Curb and Sidewalk Improvements                            $50,000

                                                      500 McCool Ave

 

This project includes the removal and replacement of approximately 470 linear feet of concrete sidewalk and concrete curb on the west side of McCool Ave between East Irving Street and James Street, adjacent to Ellis Field.

 

The project also includes installation of sidewalk access ramps at two locations to allow for handicap access to the park, restriping of approximately 50 parking spaces, and appropriate marking of six (6) handicap parking spaces.

 

The existing sidewalk and curb along Ellis Field is deteriorated and/or missing at various locations, sidewalks have differentially settled from the curb creating a trip hazard and the parking area only contains two (2) handicap parking spaces at the south end of the parking area.

 

The proposed project will provide improved and safer access to the facility and also provide additional handicap spaces.  The handicap spaces will be located near two (2) existing gate openings, which will allow handicap visitors better accessibility to the existing pavilion area of Ellis Field.

 

V-Solvay                                 Lower Gertrude Park Drainage/Bioretention                            $50,000

Gertrude Street

 

The Village DPW will excavate, box out and prepare the sub-base for the installation of a drainage system located in the Lower Gertrude Park adjacent to the Gertrude Park municipal swimming pool.  The drainage system will decrease stormwater runoff by capturing stormwater within a 6-inch stone sub-base and allowing the stormwater to naturally absorb into the soils.  Construction of a bioretention system will complete the project in accordance with the Onondaga County Green Infrastructure program.

 

The lower portion of Gertrude Park is where the pool and bathhouse are located.  The lower park acts as a large detention basin from runoff from the above walkway.  During a heavy rain in the summer, the Village had to shut down the pool and park area for two weeks because it was flooded.  The drainage improvements will allow the water to be diverted elsewhere so it will not flood the pool area and the pool will be able to remain open for the season. 

 

FAIR HOUSING ACTIVITIES

 

ARISE                                         ARISE Housing Referral and Advocacy Program (HRAP)   $5,000

                                                      635 James Street

 

The Housing Referral and Advocacy Program (HRAP) assists people with any 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.

6) contribute to community-wide planning by participating in housing task forces/committees to ensure the needs of residents with disabilities are considered during planning, and to help reduce duplication of services and eliminate gaps in service coverage.

 

FHC                                             Fair Housing Council of CNY, Inc.                                   $30,000                    

                                                      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.

 

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2

4

  • Annual resolution authorizing 3 grants; plan and budget reviewed by Steering Committee, provides base for funding administrative operation, and to pursue other grants
  • Just awarded additional $3.4M Lead Hazard Reduction Grant; working with City of Syracuse on separate application for $2.9M, if approved Community Development will administer for the City

 

Mr. Knapp said that the County would collaborate with the City because the City lost their program.  Ms. McLane agreed.  In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. McLane said that these funds will be used primarily for lead abatement.  A small portion will be used for Healthy Families - asthma reduction, radon removal, and those types of things. 

 

Chair Rapp said that today’s newspaper reported that Syracuse has the highest lead poisoning rate in the nation.  Mr. DeMore said that this was the first time HUD received a coordinated application between two governments.  The County will handle all the towns, and part of the city.  The City’s application will handle the balance of the City.  The County will be doing the work for the City, if the application is approved.  In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. DeMore said that he has a map that shows the breakdown for the City.  Portions of Chairman McMahon’s district are in both applications.  

 

5

  • Grant mainly broken into 3 categories – capital projects, housing rehab, and commercial rehab; required to fund fair housing activities; provide homeownership counseling to support ownership program
  • Home Grant used for housing rehab, other than 10% allowed for administration, and non-profit housing activities that pursue housing for low to moderate income
  • 7.5% of Emergency Solutions Grant allowed for administration, remainder used for non-profits that assist with homelessness, rapid rehousing for those possible, and homeless intervention
  • 15 capital projects and 4 contingent projects, should funding be available

 

Mr. Plochocki asked what would trigger a contingent project.  Ms. McLane said that if an approved project falls through, or a project comes in under budget, and funding is available.  In response to Mr. Plochocki, Ms. McLane said that the Steering Committee ranked the contingent projects.  Mr. Plochocki said that the Village of Camillus project was first on the contingent list, and asked the odds for completing the project.  Ms. McLane said that it was unpredictable, at this point.  Mr. Knapp said that they had gotten to the contingency projects in many years.  Ms. McLane said that they are often able to complete at least one. 

 

Chair Rapp asked if the housing rehab was for senior citizens.  Ms. McLane said that it was a piece of it.  It is the base of their funding, which is used to apply for many different grants, including the Lead Grant, Affordable Housing Coordination, and the Housing Trust Fund.  They were recently awarded grants for Access to Home, which assists handicapped disabled people in making their home accessible, allowing them to return home from a hospital or nursing home, and stay in their home.  They have a specific grant for veterans, and those on Medicaid. 

 

Mr. Knapp said that he serves on the Steering Committee.  The process is good, and transparent, with at least a dozen representatives.  For the record, “Last year the federal government changed the way they calculated different areas, and it had a brutal impact on a lot of our county.  Especially, for small towns that have absolute needy areas”.  They now group the entire town together, where previously it was broken into segments.  Not one square inch of the 12th District qualifies for any Community Development money, which includes Lafayette, Tully, Fabius, Pompey, and the Jamesville-Dewitt area.  Several towns were notified of project awards, and then the federal government changed the rules midstream.  Senator Schumer came, but he has not heard anything on this lately. 

 

Mr. Plochocki agreed with Mr. Knapp.  He said that the federal government pulled the rug out from many communities in his district as well.  In fact, about 50% of the approved projects became unapproved.  Ms. McLane said that she did not know if the number was that high.  Mr. Knapp said that it was probably 40%.  Ms. McLane said that a number of projects approved by the Steering Committee were submitted on their application, and then they learned that those areas were no longer eligible.  Mr. Knapp said that there is a lot of work, and expense, for the towns to put the projects together.  For the record, Mr. Plochocki said, “The Legislature could not make every community whole, but they did make many communities whole, last year, on this”.  Projects were still funded in Skaneateles, and other communities, which were very grateful.  Mr. Knapp said that unfortunately, the 12th District was not made whole.  Ms. McLane said that four projects were funded at yearend.

 

Ms. McLane said that the worst part, is that several villages qualified as low income overall, case in point the Village of Jordan.  Because of how the census data is being aggregated, the village is now split up between three or four wealthier census tracks.  It is no longer consider an entity in and of itself, and is not considered low income.  Mr. Knapp said that the only way they can do this now, is to go door-to-door and ask people what their household income is.  They need a high rate of participation, and people are unwilling to provide the information.  Mr. Plochocki said that Skaneateles tried this when they were first denied, and could not get a high enough percentage of people to participate.  Ms. McLane said that if it benefits the whole village, it is nearly impossible.  It works where there is a small benefit area, i.e. Marcellus was able to put sidewalks and curbing on one street, with very high participation. 

 

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

 

 5.    LAKEVIEW AMPHITHEATER:

        a.     Informational:  Partnerships/Contracts – William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

 

Chair Rapp said that the committee requested insight on the amphitheater contracts and how the finances were working, realizing that they will not have a full picture until the end of the season.  They have had their first concert but all of this new.  

 

Mr. Fisher said that he wanted to address some items in the public eye first:

  • Happy with parking lots provided by NYS, plenty of capacity, handles NYS fair traffic of over 100k people – some twist, people arrive in shorter window and all leave at the same time, not much different than the grandstand
  • Large federal, state and county team working for months on plan, includes transportation, engineering, parking management, venue management and concert promoter; plan executed  for Ringo Starr
  • Tabletop exercise conducted following Ringo Starr event - recommended by federal highway administration, looks at what can be improved and scenarios for larger crowds; Dave Matthews Band will sellout
  • 4 concerts in 6 days, somewhere between 45k-50k people coming to the amphitheater
  • Understands some things weren’t done right – never heard of dust conditions at the fair, will water down parking lots going forward; many partners, i.e. Honeywell, using their water trucks
  • Won’t allow capacity parking in Orange Lot for larger concerts due to use of 25 buses from satellite parking lots; partnered with Centro, ride Centro from your location and use transfer for the quickest way to the amphitheater, buses prioritized over vehicular traffic, expect 7k cars for Dave Matthews Band, Brown and Pink Lots to be used
  • Will review plan following Matthew’s event and improve for Friday, Saturday and Monday’s concerts; by then will have learned a lot and have 15-16 additional events, will be more to do
  • Want public to understand all the best minds were brought together and will continue to meet as needed
  • Tailgating strictly prohibited, industry standard, can’t afford any safety issue, won’t allow underage drinking, pop-up tents will cause issues; enforcement prioritized based on safety, impossible to fully enforce without huge number of  law enforcement

 

Mr. Plochocki said that his limited understanding is that other major NYS venues do not allow tailgating.  Mr. Fisher said that as a rule, that is the case.  Mr. Plochocki said that we are not an exception - this is standard.  Mr. Fisher said that the same liability and safety issues apply whether owned by a public entity or in private hands.

 

  • Parking opens 3:00 p.m. for Dave Matthews Band, earlier opening to ease flow; Sheriff’s routing traffic, have highway signage

 

Chair Rapp asked if there had been any movement on obtaining an additional way out.  Mr. Fisher said that it was a federal issue.  During the fair, Route 695 is cut off and a light is in place allowing the Orange Lot to dump onto I-690.  The federal government feels that the use of that same setup poses an unacceptable risk for random concerts that people may not be aware are happening.  They may be able to reevaluate this but the traffic plan submitted and accepted by the federal government says that this arrangement will only be used during the fair.

 

Chair Rapp said that the entire amphitheater was setup to be a rental house.  She assumes that vendors cover most of the costs, therefore booking 22 concerts should be a good thing.

 

  • Followed plan put before Legislature in October 2015; hired SMG as the venue manager
  • SMG proforma said they would have 12-13 major concerts and a couple of regional arts concerts; would lose 100K 1st year, make $50k 2nd year, shifting risk to concert promoter, food and beverage concessionaire and others; different model than NYS Fair that often lost $900k per year
  • Chose model based on the Oncenter – tried to find best of brand vendors, security, law enforcement, food and beverage, parking services; less than 6 county employees will be working at any concert, including 2 Sheriff deputies; hired best qualified and prudent operators to run everything

Chair Rapp asked who pays them.  Mr. Fisher said that this gets complicated fast.  In general, the big money is from tickets and the concert promoter essentially figures out who gets the money out of the tickets.  Chair Rapp asked if the promoter contracted for security and vending.  Mr. Fisher said that the promoter contracts for the artist and the County does not see the contract.  The promoter licenses the amphitheater from the County for one event at a time but they are working on a season-long license agreement.  Chair Rapp asked what it means to license.  Mr. Fisher said that it provides certain rights under license to use the County’s property.  It   indemnifies the County, uses County stagehands and goes on and on.  It is a standard form used at the War Memorial and Crouse Hinds Theater.  For the Miranda and Ringo concerts, deal terms were entered on a case-by-case basis.  They are close to accomplishing a season-long licensing agreement where Live Nation would settle all the terms for the season, making it easier to budget and not have disputes between the venue manager and concert promoter.

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Fisher said that the bathrooms were geared for the maximum amount of attendees.  They did not open all of them for the Ringo concert but may decide to open all for the future; decisions have to be made, if opened, they have to clean them.  Many of these things were one-offs last year.  They rented portable restrooms and many other things for one concert, which is more expensive than renting for the season.

 

Mr. Jordan asked who pays for watering the parking lot; cleaning the bathrooms, portable rentals, traffic directing, police coverage, buses...  Mr. Fisher interjected saying that Mr. Jordan should make a list.  He will address the five or six items he heard:

 

  • Bus patrons pay for riding the bus; Centro collects the tokens, County does not participate

 

Mr. Knapp said that the rider pays Centro instead of paying for parking.  Chair Rapp said that it saves the $10 parking fee.

  • Centro running from satellite lots to the Orange Lot as a courtesy, no token needed
  • Venue’s law enforcement bill prepared by the Division of Financial Operations, goes to SMG, includes full overtime and fringe rate for 4 Sheriff Deputies – 2 inside venue, 1 at command center and 1 overseeing entire operation; SMG pays the bill and bills the promoter - promoter pays 100% of the costs
  • Traffic management is a County cost, provided by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s, billed to SMG, SMG pays bill from parking revenues; parking managed by same company used to manage the NYS Fair parking, contractor also paid from parking revenues
  • Bathrooms are a promoter cost - procured for the season by SMG, Live Nation will pay their share, others using the venue will also pay their share, i.e. Symphoria

Mr. Jordan asked who was going to pay for watering the parking lots.  Ms. Primo said that she did not know if it had been locked down yet.  It was either going to be Honeywell or they would contract for it.  Chair Rapp said that she would take the costs out of parking fees.  Mr. Fisher said that the key thing was that it was not being run out of Parks.  They do not use Park’s or other County employees.  All the dollars are budgeted and contracted, and there is a revenue source backing the expenditure. 

 

Mr. Ryan said that each concert has its own contract with Live Nation based on what they feel their needs are and the County is out of a lot of it, i.e. T-shirt security guards, number of bathrooms to open.  Mr. Fisher said that single contracts are the standard.  However, once they reach an agreement for the entire season, all of those things will be settled in advance.  To clarify, the County has the final decision on staffing levels based on the Emergency Operations plan and determines the appropriate level of T-shirt security and law enforcement.  Mr. Ryan said that the County maintains oversight so that attendees get a good experience, but the contract is not ours.  Mr. Fisher said this was correct, adding that concerts vary in size and are setup differently.  They do not sell lawn seating for small shed shows, and have midsize and sellout shows.  They will review staffing once each type of show has been held but currently are staffing heavily until they know how much they can move it back.  The promoter understands that the County is new to this, and they will likely pay more before getting into a rhythm and running as efficiently as possible

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Fisher reiterated that the concert promoter fully reimburses SMG for the T-shirt security.  SMG procured a competitive bid and awarded the contract to Westcott Security, who provides services to SMG as the County’s agent; SMG provides those services to the concert promoter, bills for the services and is paid in full.

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Fisher said that the concert promoter pays for the bathroom cleaning in full.

 

Chair Rapp asked how food and vending worked.  Mr. Fisher said that Aramark is the food and beverage concessionaire.  Like Live Nation, they are a publicly traded company.  They handle Citi Field and dozens of arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters.  Aramark is investing money in the equipment needed and paying for all the food, beverage and labor.  They then split food and beverage gross receipts after netting out sales tax with our agent, SMG.  Those moneys are then shared with the concert promoter at a predefined percentage.  Chair Rapp said that food and beverage was split three ways.  Mr. Fisher agreed, adding that the County was not buying food and beverage.  Therefore, they are not at risk of selling at a loss. 

 

  • Wants public to understand amphitheater model works well for communities with nonprofits doing much of the staffing, currently have 5 but are looking for 7 or 8
  • 501c3’s members volunteer and nonprofit organization receives a substantial donation at end of the season, started with social service agencies that may not typically get this opportunity, i.e. Salvation Army; want to ensure the community has tremendous access to the benefits, hope to see full diversity of the community pouring drinks and serving food

Chair Rapp asked how SMG makes money.  Mr. Fisher said that we are SMG; they are the County’s agent.  They requested that $1.9 million be appropriated into Park’s grant budget; half was appropriated, and half was left in contingency.  At year-end, there will be a number higher or lower than $950,000 sitting in that project.  In some cases it will be cash and in others, it will be other assets.  That change in financial position will tell you if we made or lost money.  Chair Rapp said that this was a revolving fund used to pay items, which then are paid back throughout the year.  Mr. Fisher agreed, adding that at year-end the funds remaining in the account will be used to start the next year.  During budget, they may request more funds but he is very confident that the appropriation made is sufficient to provide the working capital to get this going.  Incoming revenues from rent, sponsorship, and their share of food, beverage, and parking, have been budgeted very carefully over the course of the year. 

 

Chair Rapp said that there was no mortgage, so they are really looking at operational costs.  Mr. Fisher said that the mortgage is serviced by the Oneida settlement agreement, and those payments came in ahead of budget.  They are ahead of what is needed to service the debt, principal, and interest, by a healthy margin. 

 

Chair Rapp said that they need to keep monitoring the concerts.  Mr. Fisher said that each concert would not have its own P & L, as the bookkeeping would be mindboggling.  They are doing things on a batch basis and will not ask SMG to devote scares resources for this purpose.  Chair Rapp said that this was designed so that they are not absorbing any of the costs.  Mr. Fisher questioned how they would allocate toilets for Ringo, i.e.  1 out of 20 concerts or 2% of the total drop count – too much effort and no value.  At the end of the season, they know where they will be.  SMG is running this very lean, using busy Oncenter staff and adding a couple members to handle all 23 nights.  They are not going to ask them to do a lot of busy bookkeeping work.  Chair Rapp said that fortunately, summer is the least busy season for the Oncenter. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Fisher confirmed that the contract was between SMG and Live Nation.  A single contract was signed prior to the Ringo Starr concert.  If the season long license agreement is not completed before the Dave Matthews Band concert, then they will have a single license agreement for that concert as well.  All one-off events that happen at the Oncenter, War Memorial, or any of the theaters, have a license agreement. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that the letter from the Comptroller states that they requested a copy of that agreement.  He asked if it had been sent, would be sent; if so when, or why not.  In answer to Mr. Fisher, Mr. Jordan confirmed that he was speaking of the current county comptroller.  Mr. Fisher said that the letter was so full of inaccuracies that he did not know where to begin.  Mr. Jordan said that he was simply asking; the Comptroller’s office indicated that they asked for a contract….  Mr. Fisher interjected saying that almost daily they are seeing requests for some document or other, before an audit is started, before any kind of engagement letter has been provided, without any objectives being stated, without any kind of methodology being described, without the standards of professional practices that you would expect.  They will not provide documents, for this or that document, absent an audit.  They have been very cooperative when auditors clearly state the scope, methodology, and objectives, for the audit.  As long as requests come in the form of generally accepted auditing standards, the Comptroller’s office can expect their full cooperation.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if they received the payment for Ag and Markets.  Mr. Fisher said that the state pays when they want but are always good for the money.  They are waiting on a variety of reimbursement grants and fully anticipate that it will be paid.  They have already booked it as accrued revenue based on the written document received; booked as revenue in 2015, now held as a receivable.  Mr. Jordan asked if there was any communications in terms of when the payment may be expected.  Mr. Fisher said that he did not know.  They have hundreds of different things that they are waiting on reimbursement from the state for.  This is a routine part of being a subdivision of NYS.  Mr. Ryan said that they are waiting on Homeland Security Grants and many other things; this is not new.  Mr. Fisher agreed, adding that they just received good news from the bond rating agencies.  Their financial position is extremely strong and their bond rating was reaffirmed.  They are not going to miss payroll if they do not get the money next week.

 

Mr. Knapp said that many people commented on the cost.  However, he attended a championship game at the Carrier Dome for LaFayette High School, and it cost $10 to park and $9 per person to attend, with no discount for students or children.  Along with this, there were concession costs, i.e. $5 for a soda.  There are costs for all of these things anywhere; it is not just at the Lakeview Amphitheater.  It costs money for entertainment.  In addition, he would love to research newspaper articles from when the dome opened in 1980 and read about parking, concession, etc., as he was serving his country at that time.  This is a new venue, and those used to going to CMAC, SPAC or Darien Lake are happy that they do not have to drive three hours to get to a concert.  This was a new experience for many, and some sticker shock goes along with that.

 

Mr. Knapp said that he heard the Comptroller on the radio talking about the amphitheater - he chose his words very carefully but clearly left the impression that taxpayers were on the hook for the bond payment, which is false.  Again, he did not say it, but he indicated that they were on the hook for a $3 million dollar payment, and if they do not sell a single concert ticket all summer, the bond is covered.  This was totally disingenuous.  Mr. Jordan said that the County was on the hook to pay the bond.  They have a revenue stream dedicated to it, but the bottom line is that what the Comptroller said was not inaccurate.  Mr. Knapp reiterated that the Comptroller picked his words very carefully, but made it sound like taxpayers would be paying the difference if they did not make $3 million dollars’ worth of profit from these concerts.  That is totally untrue, and that is why it was setup in this manner.  Any overages go into the project account so that if the revenue from the NYS gambling money falls short, they will have funds in the account to cover it.  Mr. Jordan said that he did not hear the interview, but taxpayers are on the hook for the difference if the dedicated revenue stream is insufficient.  Mr. Knapp reiterated that they are above the projection for this year, and any additional funds will stay in the project account to cover any future shortages.  Mr. Fisher said that this was not a matter of executive decision, it was written into the legislation.  Mr. Jordan said that he knew this. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that this was all knew.  To Mr. Jordan and Mr. Knapp’s point, technically those comments were correct to a degree; but it should have been left that the only way the County would have to pay $3 million dollars is if the Turning Stone Casino closes down and no gambling revenue is allowed.  If those caveats were used, it would have been accurate.  Mr. Jordan reiterated that he did not hear the interview.

 

Chairman McMahon said that he was involved in all the discussions for the Miranda Lambert concert.  The Comptroller’s office was not, and may have missed that the state was always going to give the County money for the first concert, which was held during their program at the fair.  The questions today were very good, making sure that this works going forward and that costs are covered.  The benefit is that our region ranks 7th for entertainment in the country.  It is a positive thing that puts CNY on the map.  It is quality of life issue and there will be economic activity.  This meeting has been very good, questioning how this is going to operate and what the costs are going to be.  Now, if everyone quits playing politics, and just asks tough questions for the reason of trying to make our region succeed, he thinks this will be a very nice story.  The misinformation over the last two weeks has been disappointing.

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Fisher said that the promoter and concessionaire determine the concession pricing.  The promoter has all the pricing decisions, and to that point, they have had some promotions where lawn tickets were as low as $20.  The pricing is the same for any Live Nation amphitheater upstate or in CT, i.e. SPAC, Saratoga, Bethel Woods.  Prices are higher in larger markets.  They put in a policy, which allows one liter of factory-sealed water to be brought in and refilled, and a specific size Ziploc bag, which can used to bring food.  They are trying to make it affordable for the entire family, though the baseball ticket is probably a better item for the family.  This is a discretionary item and mixes in with some of the higher entertainment.  Given that, they are trying to make sure the vendors are encouraged to allow people to afford it.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Fisher said that the water had to be factory-sealed for security reasons.  Chair Rapp said that an empty reusable water bottle could be filled inside.

 

Mr. Holmquist said that the Legislature’s role is oversight.  A lot of taxpayer money was invested in this item and everyone hopes that it is successful.  He did not see any handouts today, but they will need an absolute detailed accounting of the County’s expenses and revenues, whenever the appropriate time is.  He has a list of questions, but this is probably not the appropriate venue to submit them, as he understands that the concerts are fluid, and they will have a better understanding of the macro at year-end. 

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if there are any expenses or revenues that the County knows will be ongoing, understanding that there will be different sized concerts and contracts.  Chair Rapp suggested using the Fourth of July concert as an example.  Mr. Holmquist asked who pays for the lights in the parking lot, security, and medical; there is a long list of things.  He then asked if the County has any obligation to pay for those.  Mr. Fisher said in the first instance, of course.  If they are contracting for those, but the concert promoter then reimburses SMG as the County’s agent. 

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if he could get a written list of the expenses that the County pays and the offsetting revenues.  Mr. Fisher said yes, but they are incapable of doing that on a concert-by-concert basis.  Chair Rapp suggested providing the information when they get the licensing agreement.  Mr. Fisher said that even then, there are hundreds and hundreds of transactions, and they simply will not do financial reports for each concert.  Mr. Holmquist asked when he could expect to the information.  Mr. Fisher said, “Certainly by the end of the concert season”. 

 

  • Legislature moved $950k into Park’s Dept. grant project, CFO directed $600k be moved to SMG for working capital - paying bills, bringing money in, settling shows and contractual obligations
  • At year-end money remaining in project and SMG’s hands will be added up and will be more or less than $950k

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if they would have a detailed accounting of all the expenses paid by the County and the offsets at that time.  Mr. Fisher said, “Subject to contractual obligations to keep proprietary trade data proprietary, yes”.  Mr. Holmquist asked if they would have any information prior to that.  Mr. Fisher said that the Legislature was entitled to information as they request it, and they will cooperate in getting it to them.  However, there would be a tremendous expense if they were asking for a concert-by-concert P & L. 

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if the Legislature could now be provided with a list for each expense and revenue.  He also asked if the Legislature could be kept up to date on the County’s expenses and revenues throughout the concert season.  Mr. Fisher said that they could be at a high aggregate financial level.  The Miranda concert took an insane amount of time to produce things in a format that was acceptable to accountants.  He understands that accountants want to look at items in a certain way, but they do not spend the money in a way that is designed to produce financial reports for each concert.  There is a huge cost to efficiency and taxpayers’ money to see each line item.  Mr. Holmquist said that they understand that but right now, they have nothing in writing.  They have 30,000 feet macro talk, which is helpful, but he wants to know if they will have any information between now and the end of the year.  If they wait until the end, even then, it is not going to be...  Mr. Fisher interjected, saying that they would like to engage in a dialogue around what would be the most useful information, and then see if the information could be provided at a reasonable cost.   

 

Mr. Holmquist said that, based on what Mr. Fisher said, there is a lot of money changing hands with SMG, Aramark, Live Nation, and the County is in there somewhere.  Someone is getting a percentage of concessions, parking, and tickets.  In addition, he asked about a facility use fee.  They were hit with millions and millions of dollars’ worth of maintenance and upkeep for the War Memorial, and the same thing will happen with the amphitheater.  He questioned if they have a fee in place, noting that it was talked about last year.  Mr. Fisher said that under their agreement Live Nation adds a facility use fee; believes it is $7.  Mr. Holmquist asked who that money goes to.  Mr. Fisher said that it goes to Live Nation, in the first instance, and then becomes part of the revenue stream used to pay license fees to the County for use of the amphitheater. 

 

Mr. Holmquist asked if they knew what the license fees are now.  Chair Rapp asked if there was a capital accrual.  Mr. Holmquist said that it would be a revenue line number.  Mr. Fisher said that there are two questions.  They do not get a fixed percentage of the facility use fee; it is used towards the license fees.  As far as accruing, there is no budgetary mechanism to accrue revenue or set anything aside, except in the case of food and beverage.  They are taking 1% of the gross receipts and putting it into an equipment reserve, as they fully expect that the equipment Aramark purchased will wear out.  As far as repairs to the amphitheater, they are not making any provisions out of the incoming cash flow, but they could use the excess revenue coming from the Oneida Nation.  Chairman McMahon said that they could potentially use naming right funds.

 

Mr. Holmquist suggested they do this now, learning from experience, i.e. baseball stadium needed tens of millions of dollars in upkeep, and maintenance, and there was no money.  The facility use fee was instituted too late, and there were not enough funds.  Here they have an opportunity; why not do this now.  Mr. Fisher said that this was one of the finest ideas.  Mr. Holmquist reiterated that they asked about this during the amphitheater debate last year. 

 

Mr. Holmquist said that the experience of patrons is important, but they also have expenses and revenue concerns from the taxpayers’ point of view and now is the opportunity to get a handle on the revenue.  Currently, they do not have any information; they do not know their obligations or revenue streams.  Some answers are vague and he understands why, but they need to get answers as soon as possible, during the season.  At the end, he would expect a thorough report, as they have thirty years of bond payments, and the revenue from the Turning Stone is not guaranteed.  The casino does not have to close to stop revenue; it could wane from other casinos being built around us.  It is the Legislature’s role to protect the investment.  Mr. Fisher said that the deal with Turning Stone included a 12-county exclusivity zone.  Mr. Holmquist said that this was good, but the revenue was not guaranteed to cover the bond payments for thirty years.

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Fisher said that live performances in NYS were not subject to sales tax.  Consumer spending, non-ticket items, drives the sales tax. 

 

Mr. Holmquist said that he understands 50 bathrooms were built at the amphitheater, which handles the seats, as NYS law requires one bathroom for every 100 people.  Mr. Fisher said that he did not know.  Mr. Holmquist said that for larger concerts they would have to bring in temporary bathrooms.  Ms. Primo said that the venue manager contracted to bring in bathrooms to cover all the concerts for the season.  Mr. Holmquist said that this was just one of many potential rental items.  Using it as an example, to the extent that they can, he asked that the Legislature be kept abreast of the expenses and revenue.

 

Chair Rapp said that they would be back in December for a yearend look.  Mr. Holmquist said that it would be for a debriefing. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that additional resolutions would be coming forward throughout the year, which will have more meaning on this item.  Mr. Knapp said that Ways and Means would have more information as it is gathered.  Chairman McMahon said that now was the worst opportune time to take a snapshot. 

 

Mr. Holmquist said that the facility use fee was a good idea least year, and asked when they would protect the County investment with a facility use fee to start capital accounts for maintenance and improvements.  Mr. Fisher said that part of the long-term planning process is to understand when they will need to put capital back in and the source of those revenues.  Chair Rapp said that this should be part of the budget process moving forward.  Mr. Fisher agreed. 

 

Chair Rapp allowed Mr. Maturo to speak.  Mr. Maturo said that he had two quick comments: 

1)     Mr. Fisher is correct; the Miranda Lambert was a one-off for SMG so they did not account for it properly.  However, going into this season, they have their own dedicated accounting system to track activity and should be able to provide accounting reports from that system. 

 

Chair Rapp said that she was sure they had benchmarks of where they should be, based on each concert.  Mr. Maturo agreed and continued:

2)     In 2014, $5 million dollars’ worth of the Oneida Indian Nation exclusivity payment was appropriated toward the Economic Development Grant.  Probably the first six payments went into the grant.  However, because they knew the debt was upcoming, those funds are now going into reserve for bonded debt to fund the debt.  Even though they are coming in a little high, they should remember that they still have in excess of over $2 million dollars that has to be funded in this project. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that this was due to the timing of the bonds.  They did not have a bond payment for a while.  Mr. Maturo said that they just made their first bond payment.  Chairman McMahon noted that it has been two years since they voted. 

 

Chair Rapp said that this was a lot of information, which provided for a good, vigorous discussion. 

 

Mr. Plochocki said that constituents had asked about the lawn chair rules.  Mr. Fisher said that they allow lawn chairs 9” high or lower and have a limited number available for rent.  If someone brings a higher chair, they will be asked not to bring it again and may be moved to the back to accommodate everyone’s view.

 

The meeting adjourned 12:04 P.M.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES

June 17, 2016

David Knapp, Chairman

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, Mr. Shepard, 3Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Ervin, 1Mr. May, 2Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list, Bill Fisher

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:50 a.m.

 

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

 

CONSENT AGENDA

 

1.     TRANSPORTATION:

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $304,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Tuttle Road Bridge Project, PIN 3755.76, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($304,000)

        b.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $520,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Old Liverpool Road Paving Project, PIN 3756.27, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($520,000)

        c.     Approving the Right-of-Way Acquisition Phase of the Otisco Valley Road Bridge Over Nine Mile Creek Project, PIN 3755.23, Agreeing to Participate and Pay up to 100% of the Non-Federal Share of the Project and Accepting Title to the Acquired Right of Way ($8,000)

 

2.     DEPARTMENT OF ADULT AND LONG TERM CARE SERVICES:

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Multidisciplinary Forensic Team, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($50,000)

        b.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Forensic Enhanced Transition Program, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($132,000)

        c.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services for Syracuse Behavioral Health Harriet May Mills House for Women, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($190,966)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the items on the Consent agenda.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, Shepard, Kilmartin, Ervin); NOES:  0; ABSENT:  2 (May, Williams); MOTION CARRIED.

 

REGULAR AGENDA

 

1Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

1.     SHERIFF:  Kenneth Andrews, Chief, Civil Dept.

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the New York State Canal Corporation for Patrol of Waterways by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office ($40,000)

  • Accepting grant for $40,000, which helps fund the navigation operations on the county waterways

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Chief Andrews said that this is an annual grant; it is used mostly for overtime. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked if fringes are included in the personnel costs.  Chief Andrews said to covers 50%. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked if this is for regular officers.  Chief Andrews said that in the past they have used special deputies, which were basically civilians.  This year the Sherriff decided to use SPOs, which are special police officers that are retired.  They are also used in the Civic Center; it is a little bit of a higher cost.  Chairman Knapp asked if they are able to write tickets, and Chief Andrews confirmed that they can.  He added that there is also a regular on-duty police officer with them at any time.  One of the deputies drives the boat; there are two boats.

 

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

 

The agenda was taken out of order.

 

3.     LANDMARK THEATRE:  Mike Intaglietta, General Manager

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for Use in Support of the Landmark Theater ($50,000)

 

Chairman Knapp noted that this item passed unanimously at program committee.

 

Mr. Intaglietta:

  • Started the year off very strongly
  • Phantom of the Opera was a great success; have had great support from the community
  • Received $26,000 Community Foundation Grant, approximately $14,000 grant from the Reisman Foundation; Programming Grant from CNY Arts

Mr. Kilmartin said that he has seen signage for proposed shows for 2017, and looks like a very good line up.  Mr. Intaglietta said that four weeks of Broadway will be a tremendous boom to the theatre.  They saw the impact with two strong weeks of Phantom of the Opera.  There will be two weeks of Wicked, and one week each of Beautiful and Motown.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about trends seen with the shows on Broadway, and coming off of Broadway and migrating to the smaller cities, and if Mr. Intaglietta sees that trend continuing.  Mr. Intaglietta said that he does.  Right now everyone wants Hamilton, but it will be several years before that comes.  They are still actively holding and booking events at the Landmark, and the books for Spring of next year are very strong for this far out.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the shows coming to smaller cities will do a one or two year rotation.  Mr. Intaglietta said that Wicked was here in 2012 or 2013. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that it seems that the operation is on the right track; tracking much better than previously.  He noted that he has been here 10 years and has seen this happen a number of times, and hopes it is as prosperous and productive as everyone hopes it will be.  He doesn’t espouse to the theory that the taxpayers should be subsidizing this kind of operation every year.  He does not support a business plan of getting an “x” number of dollars from county government every year.  It is an iconic institution; a part of the community, and wishes the best of luck and will support it today.

 

Mr. May said that he echoes Mr. Jordan’s comments – is pleased to hear things are moving in the right direction.  He noted a year or so ago there was a business process that needed a lot of improvement for the benefit of the business.  It is his understanding that a lot of those things are happening.  He does not want to see the County in the business of doing this on a regular basis.  Mr. Intaglietta said that they are making a conservative effort – seeking funds, noting that the Community Foundation Grant went to support the point of sale system, and the Reisman Foundation Grant went to installing wireless internet throughout the theatre.  It has shown immediate dividends--an immediate increase in sales was seen from the first week of Phantom of the Opera when the point of sale wasn’t working, to the second week when it was.  A grant from the Gifford Foundation improved the efficiency of the Board of Directors – have seen a lot more engagement. 

 

Mr. Jordan referred to sales so far this year exceeding last year’s entirety.  Mr. Intaglietta said that tickets sold to date have exceeded last year’s ticket sales by 1,000.  Steely Dan is going on sale today; show is Oct. 9th.

 

2 Ms. Williams arrived at the meeting.

 

Chairman Knapp said that a lot of the discussion at yesterday’s Planning Committee meeting was about new controls in place and financial oversight, even at the bar.  Mr. Intaglietta said that the point of sale that they used to have was essentially just cash drawers and honor system, which doesn’t cut it.  They are tightening up the operations for concessions, getting great financial reporting.  A retired National Grid CPA has volunteered his services to help tighten up the books.  They have been positive for the first 5 months of the year; it allows them to analyze the business.  Before there was a lot of guess work involved because the books weren’t in good shape.  There are now a lot of approvals in place.

 

Mr. Jordan referred to integrated programs – when a sale is brought it, it keeps track of the usage and automatically sends out an invoice.  It helps to know, i.e. if running out of a certain type of liquor beyond what the program is projecting, then maybe there is a problem -- maybe people are being too heavy handed or giving out free drinks.  Mr. Intaglietta said that the point of sale will keep track of how much of different types of whiskey, what types of beers, etc., they are using.  They haven’t yet integrated it with their inventory system for that comparison, but they will – will probably not do the automatic ordering because the nature of the business fluctuates so much.  Determining the variance for actual sales to inventory will be implemented very soon; the system isn’t terribly expensive, but will apply for funding for it.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Intaglietta said that the busy seasons are Spring and Fall.  Most people don’t like to tour after the first week in December to mid-February because of the weather.  In the summer months, the concerts like to be outside. 

 

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

 

2.     VISIT SYRACUSE:  Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Amend 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to Visit Syracuse ($150,000)

  • Co. Executive put forward a request for funding; legislature moved $250,000 into a contingency account
  • Co. Executive’s office was hoping that at this point in the year, the legislature would move that money back into an account where they can spend it
  • A decision was made to reduce the amount to release to $150,000, having Visit Syracuse come back in September to ask for the balance
  • At Planning Committee, Mr. Holder laid out detail on the budget

 

Mr. Jordan said that Mr. Holder stated that the way their business operates is that a lot of the expenditures need to occur earlier in the year – part of the reason why they are looking for the $150,000 now.  Mr. May said, for example, media buys need to be done in advance.  Chairman Knapp said that Mr. Holder provided a nice spread sheet that laid out what was going on. 

 

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

 

4.     HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION:

        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights (Montanette C. Murphy, David E. Pasinski, Crystal M. Doody, Esq., Rosalie R. Young) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. May)

 

Chairman Knapp said that these are the legislature’s appointments.  Mr. May said that traditionally this item would go through Public Safety – these are the Chairman’s picks for these seats.  Chairman Knapp asked if this completes the Commission; Ms. Stanczyk said that there are two more open seats. 

 

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

 

5.     FINANCE: Lisa Consiglio, Real Property Tax Services

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

  • Standard correction for 2015 and 2016 – property was purchased from an individual by the Cicero Fire District
  • Assessor did not include the firemen’s exemption on the roll.

 

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

 

6.     COUNTY LEGISLATURE:

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Contingency Funds Available for Use in Purchasing a Set of Mobile Radar Speed Monitoring Signs and Devices, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($28,000)

Chairman Knapp:

  • Several county legislators get inquiries quite often for the digital speed signs where there about traffic concerns – for a special event or in general – speeding, etc, .
  • Signs are solar powered, temporary, tells how fast driver is going and blinks if going over the posted speed limit
  • This would purchase 8 signs, held at DOT – as towns and villages request them, they could borrow them for a short period of time
  • DOT has a few battery powered signs used for construction zones, which last a couple of days; Sheriff’s Dept. has none
  • Funding from County Legislature’s contingency – good public service item

 

Mr. May said it is an excellent idea; a great shared service. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there are cameras associated with them.  Chairman Knapp said that there aren’t; they have chip that keeps track of the cars’ speed, not by license.  It does not look at cars individually.  Mr. Carroll said that it is more for statistics.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is any ability to capture if someone is coming to a complete stop.  Chairman Knapp said that there isn’t.  Some cities have them, but they are a camera – takes your picture and a ticket is sent out.  Mr. Jordan said the information would be good for the Sheriff’s Department – to show where the “hot spots” are.

 

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

 

7.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Nina Andon-McLane, Admin. Planning & Funding Coord.

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to file the 2016 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs ($3,478,454)

 

Chairman Knapp noted that the county received good news about lead.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that they received $3.4 million; one of 15 communities in the country that received funding.  Chairman Knapp said the Mr. DeMore and Ms. Andon-McLane have done a superior job.  This covers the county and part of the city.  Additionally, they partnered with the City to help them go back to the federal government; the county will basically do all of the work.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that it was a joint application between the county and city.  If it gets approved, the county will implement the grant through many sections of the city; that application is for $2.9 million.  She said that their last grant, $3.4 million, a lot of it is spent in the city because there is a high degree of need and the city’s program closed.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there is any idea of how many more houses are out there in need.  Ms. Andon-McLane referenced a recent article that stated that Syracuse has the highest percentage of children with lead poisoning.  Any house built before 1978 probably has lead paint.  There is still a huge need.  Chairman Knapp said part of the challenge is finding the properties and getting home owners to go along with it.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that a lot of the repairs include new windows, doors, and siding – all visible exterior improvements that improve the appearance of a neighborhood.  Mr. Jordan asked what the average cost is for lead remediation.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that it depends on the area and the needs of the house.  An inspection is done, lead testing is done, and inspector determines what surfaces needs to be replaced.  An XRF test is done to further determine the problem.  The average is between $10,000 - $13,000 per house. 

 

Chairman Knapp noted that the federal government is very strict on this, and if it is not done right, they have no problem pulling the funding, as seen with the City of Syracuse program.

 

Ms. Andon-McLane:

  • Authorize action plan which is submitted to HUD every year
  • Covers 3 entitlement grants - basically guaranteed to receive:   Community Development Block grant, $1.9 million; Home Grant – primarily for housing rehab, $465,000; Emergency Solutions grant – for homeless, preventing homelessness, $155,000
  • Grants are used to match other applications submitted to the federal and state governments
  • Used to match the lead grant
  • Apply to State, Affordable Housing Corp., Housing Trust Fund
  • Recently successful in getting Access to Home grants – 3 grants for handicapped accessibility in a home (one for general use to stay in their home; one specific to those on Medicaid; one is for veterans)
  • Average about $6 million/year annual budget

 

Chairman Knapp said that he and Mr. Shepard serve on the Steering Committee.  This is a good process, very open – not able to fund everything but did a good job taking care of the neediest applications in various parts of the county. 

 

Mr. May said that where it could fund them, the legislature came in with some assistance.  The Village of Baldwinsville just finished a park improvements, which his beautiful.  The money is well spent – helps the towns and village. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that last year the Steering Committee went through the whole process and awarded several grants, notified the communities.  Then the federal government decided to change the way they do the formulas, and several communities were no longer eligible.  The legislature came in and was able to make some of those communities whole.  It is unfortunate the way it is now measured up.  There is not one area in LaFayette, Tully, Fabius, Pompey, Jamesville, and areas of Dewitt that qualify.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that there is no area that qualifies as low income, but they can do projects that benefit seniors and handicapped.  She referenced an example at the Delphi Falls Community Center, where a lift is being installed there.

 

Mr. Shepard asked how many projects are there that were made ineligible and still have time left to do an income study and get back in.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that they are doing income surveys in Jordan right now for the Clinton Street area, Clinton Street, Clinton Street Terrace, and Hamilton.  A successful survey was done in Marcellus.  Surveys work in areas where the benefit is defined and small enough.  Surveys are difficult and people don’t like to reveal income information.  People don’t like government; they try to reassure them.  The surveys come into her, the information is tabulated and not shared with anyone.  A minimum of 80% participation is needed.  Mr. Shepard said it was done door-to-door in Van Buren.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that you have to be persistent.  Mr. Jordan asked if the individuals have to reveal their name.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that they do, and also their address. 

 

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

 

8.     PURCHASE:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.     Revenue Contract Report

 

TO:                  David Knapp, Chairman, Ways and Means

                         Committee Members, Ways and Means

FROM:            Sean Carroll, Director

DATE:              June 17, 2016 

SUBJECT:      Reporting Requirements under 2010-241 and 2010-242, Revenue Contracts

 

Revenue Contract updates

 

Facilities Parking Lot Management – Onondaga County received 7 bids from five vendors.  MAPCO and Laz Parking offered only a management for fee solution.  Partnership Properties offered a flat rate vendor solution.  Republic and All Pro each offered a proposal of each type.  The management for fee solutions all proposed that the County take all the risk on expenses and pay for their services.  While this means there is considerable upside potential long term, at our current rental rate (amount and average number of spots leased) all of these proposals put the operation in the red.  The committee reviewed all of the flat rate proposals.  The only proposal which allowed the County to immediately experience cash flow, AND allowed us to benefit from the long term revenue opportunities was All Pro.  This vendor has been selected for award and is being negotiated with to maximize County upside.  This contract will be worth revisiting after the parking lot has a stable universe of lease holders.

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Carnegie Library Repurposing.  This RFP received no responses and is now closed

 

Real Property Auction Services – to be solicited  

  • Facilities Parking Lot Management – Trolley Lot
  • 2 options from vendors:  1.  County pays vendor a management fee and county absorbs all risk on management, maintenance;  2.  Vendor pays county flat fee regardless of their profit/loss
  • Lot has just over 400 parking spaces; about 1/3 of it is currently used; some built in revenue provided to vendor
  • Depending on model, there is a lot of marketing to do to drive the participation
  • Local Law adopted for vendor to take 100-250 of those spots starting in Nov. 17
  • If vendor responsibility to market, costs to staff  and maintain it; biggest unknown is maintenance for the winter
  • Reviewed RFP – looked at future revenue guaranteeing – 100 spots taken by Aspen; took costs across 3 ways of calculating; 2 vendors said what the cost would be if county paid them a fee and they estimated the costs; looked at what it costs County Facilities to manage it right now
  • Model where County bears the risk:  a lot of leasing to be done in year one and a lot of cost to bear because of the size
  • Can’t say if County would be in red; report indicates risk assessment that the RFP committee looked at
  • Concerned with much unknown, where do we place the risk right now; long term the lot has potential to produce real revenue
  • Short term – transferring the management where county risk is mitigated and still benefits from some of the upside is the better plan right now
  • Contract is worth revisiting, once it is known how many spots Aspen will take and what the market will bear
  • There is a standardized rate, but the current rate that Facilities has been able to get is slightly lower - $65 vs a $45 rate
  • Vendors want to look at keeping parking spaces low in order to fill them – want to drive demand; there are legitimate issues
  • It was either take all the risk or mitigate county’s risk early on with a recommendation to reconsider it once stabilized
  • RFP Committee came up with a flat fee paid to the County and vendor absorbs the risk; also above a certain dollar revenue, there would be a 50% – 75% sharing of the revenue with the county
  • All Pro is the only vendor that proposed both options; going back and forth with them to determine what the number is and what the share number is.  In a really terrible winter, their expenses have potential to be very high.  In a milder winter, County shouldn’t be punished in the revenue sharing; talking about a share that is $125k - $130k for county

 

Mr. Jordan asked about the term of the contract; Mr. Carroll confirmed that it is a year with two, one-year extensions.  At some point they have to consider that it is under a rail line; there may be a way to make the alleyway behind it more inviting.  Want to make sure people feel safe.  It is not known how to calculate the revenue as to how advantageous the parking lot is to the after hour folks.  There are so many unknowns, so they thought the best avenue was to have revenue stream that could be counted on and mitigate the county risk; revisit in the future.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if Upstate was factored in – they are coming in July or August.  Mr. Carroll said that because they didn’t have firm numbers, they ran a model at every 25 parking spaces, accounting for all of Aspen’s 250.  They know the rate for Aspen, but not for Upstate or anybody else.  They took an average; have to get to a net where it is over $37,000 to even consider the other model.  Chairman Knapp said that Upstate is also negotiating with Harrison Garage. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that he thinks the chosen model is the safest, given all of the unknowns -- making sure there is positive revenue right now, not locked in long term, and can make intelligent decisions as we move forward. 

 

In answer to Ms. Ervin, Mr. Carroll said that All Pro is a Buffalo company.  Only one local company provided a response, Partnership Properties, which did not provide an escalating rate.  They didn’t respond to almost all of the questions; they provided a price and some general structure.  Mrs. Ervin asked why more local companies didn’t bid; Mr. Carroll did not know.  Mrs. Ervin said she has a problem with someone from Buffalo coming in. 

 

Mr. Carroll: 

  • Carnegie Library
  • RFP did not get any responses
  • Div. of Purchase does not deal with the building as a go forward program

 

Chairman Knapp said that obviously, the RFP was posted, but it was also sent to about 27 entities.  Mr. Carroll said that it was sent to over 30, some brokers, some individual development companies – thought it was a positive mix.  It was local because there was an attempt to keep the dollars local.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if there were no responses on the sale or the lease.  Mr. Carroll said there were no responses on either.  There has since been one phone call within the last week from someone, expressing some interest. 

 

Mr. Carroll:

  • Feedback included that the amount of parking was concerning; some hesitation with the special designation
  • City has a special historical district surrounding the square and all building in eh square are in that designation

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the special designation relates to zoning strings.  Mr. Carroll said that he thinks it does.  Chairman Knapp said that it probably also includes regulations on renovations, i.e. using the same materials – craft type contractors.  Mr. Carroll said it is listed on the historical registry. 

 

Mr. May said that during the first time around discussion about this, Mr. Jordan made some pretty good points, which are almost being validated right now.  The unique nature of the property and the limitations it carries with it going forward, are tough.  He is suspect because it could have gone out to a broader market.  If we step back and evaluate the purpose for it, the county’s purchasing process can and is viewed as restrictive, by some potential vendors.  Given the strategic purpose of this exercise, he is not sure the net was big enough.  MWBE requirements on a purchase/bid situation are good, but when trying to see what the market would offer, he questions if we want to have those kinds of caveats built into an RFP, or do we want to find out strategically what we could do with this building.  He wants to be confidant that any position that we take gives this kind of information.  Chairman Knapp said it is fine line – the last thing you want is a situation like the Hotel Syracuse, where there was an Israeli company owning it, not paying taxes on it.  Then when we finally found someone who wanted to do something with it, there was a heck of time getting it back.  

 

Mr. Carroll said that they asked the question in the RFP, “when you come, what would be your purpose for the building?”; offered to sell the whole building or lease part or all of the building.  Also asked “what would be the purpose?”; “would you be relocating people?”; “would you be creating new jobs and opportunities?; “how does that fit into some of goals of having our local employees work on it?”  They didn’t necessarily say “here’s the hard line; they said come with your best foot forward about what can you do with this building and still not have it be separate from what we are doing across the community.”  They felt if they hadn’t disclosed the historical component, etc., they would possibly have to go out for a proposal that wouldn’t be able to be accomplished.  The appraisal done on the building has aged.  In the RFP, they called that and said not to rely on it, but provided the last appraisal.  

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked what the first appraisal was; Mr. Carroll said that he would have to go back and look.  Mr. Jordan said that Cushman and Wakefield valued it at $700,000.

 

Mr. Carroll said that they provided as much information as they could, but also did not say that the building had to be used as a library, etc.  Other than the district it is in and the historical classification, they did not restrict, but would like to know how the building would be used.  They declared information, but really tried to be inviting.  Other than targeting local vendors, they really attempted to make sure there was as much opportunity and interest in the property as possible without limitation.  Ultimately if this RFP doesn’t put the conversation to bed, then it’s not good for anybody.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that the 3 restrictions – parking, city’s restriction, and National Historic Registry, are very significant anchors around the neck of this property.

 

Mr. Carroll said there is a possibility that someone with money, who is out of market, or off shore, might see it as an opportunity to hold it.  The RFP said “we want to know what your plan is to occupy the building – will it take a year to reconstruct, where are they going to be in five years, or will the building still be empty.  When someone is allowed to hold the property speculatively, that doesn’t help grow the downtown or contribute to the other efforts put in. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that when he looked at the RFP, he questions who would want to bid on it.  They are being asked to lay out their business plan, tell what they are going to be doing 5, 10, 15 years down the road; how they will fit into reducing poverty in the community.  They are all laudable goals, but if the objective was to see who was interested in the property, he is not sure it was designed to accomplish the purpose, which was to see what the interest is in someone coming in to develop the property.  It’s an historical building and there are limitations in what can be done with the property.  Those limitations had to be disclosed, but questioned a lot of the other requirements.  To lay out a business plan to buy a piece of property, is none of your business.  Having assurances is one thing, but this really goes beyond.  He spoke to some local developers, who said they know nothing about the project and weren’t reached out to.  He said that he doesn’t think the net was cast broad enough.  From a simplistic view point – list the property and have people make offers.  Let them know it is an historical building and let the office come in and then ask additional questions, i.e. “what is the long term goal for the property; how many people do you anticipate employing.”  Some of the things seemed unnecessary, when the goal was just to solicit input on general interest in utilizing this property.

 

Chairman Knapp said that if various developers realize that we are on a fishing expedition to see what it’s worth, do they want to put in the kind of time to put themselves out there, just to say “we were curious of what it’s worth and never mind.”  Mr. Jordan said that someone came to us unsolicited without even putting it on the market.

 

Mr. Carroll said that a completely unqualified RFP may put initial results in play.  To allow a building to be taken over by an entity and and then languish in the center of where downtown is growing – there is some prudence in finding out where that is.  If they get proposals and then start having qualifications in those things, there is a disingenuousness with that.  There is a thought process with the developer that they didn’t have to tell us what they were going to do.  Mr. Jordan said that a business person isn’t going to want to lay out their business plan and how they are going to make a profit.  Asking them where they will be 5 – 10 years down the road, seems like it would scare off a lot of people.

 

Mr. Fisher said the property came to the county for free; it is has been a burden on taxpayers because it has to be maintained.  A plan was put forward for using it for public good; it would have saved money.  They don’t just always auction things to the highest bidder.  Decisions are made about what are the best things for our assets.  There is a process.  If people had issues with it, you would have thought they would have contacted us.  Mr. Carroll confirmed that the proposal meeting was unattended.  It has been in the public news, in general people know it is vacant and in play, and they have no interest.  They are stymied – if there are suggestions on how to go forward or if the legislature wants to do an RFP; letting is sit there on the taxpayers’ back.  “You don’t like our plan, but you don’t have any alternative; you don’t like our policy, but you don’t have any alternative”.  He said that he doesn’t know where that leaves us.

 

Mr. Jordan said that it has been sitting there all of these years because nothing has been done; we haven’t tried to market it in any fashion whatsoever, with the exception of this proposal.  Mr. Fisher said “we have put together a specific plan and put it in front of you.”  It was costed out and ask the Comptroller to look at it.  Mr. Jordan said that is developing it ourselves; nothing has been done to market the property.  It has not been listed for sale.  Mr. Fisher said that if the county legislature decides that selling it to the highest bidder is the best thing to do, then they can look at that.  They tried to figure out what the best and highest use is for the property from a community standpoint, not from a monetary standpoint.  Mr. Jordan said that he has made it clear from the very beginning – put it out there, list it with commercial realtors, market the property and see what kind of response we get.  Right now we are making decisions in a vacuum; we don’t truly know what the market interest is in this property.  

  • Real property auction – at end of three year contract for auctioning off real property – handles the actual auction, presentation of book, preparation of materials, all details

 

9.     FINANCE:  Steve Morgan, CFO

        a.     1st Quarter Report

 

Mr. Morgan presented the following:

 

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Key Economic & Fiscal Indicators:

  • A lot of them are moving in the right direction
  • Gas prices – had an impact on sales tax last year and this year

 

2016 First Quarter Budget Forecast

  • Projecting a gap of approximately $4.4 million

Negative Pressure:

  • Vast majority of revenue shortfall is sales tax
  • Ending 2015 flat; NYSAC’s analysis showed that the decrease in gas prices impacting Onondaga County by roughly $9 million in sales tax
  • 2016 budget was built on 2% growth in 2015 and another 1.5% growth in 2016
  • Started the year with a gap because of how 2015 ended
  • Settlement of DSBA and CSEA contracts – money set aside in budget process assuming settlement agreements
  • DSBA and CSEA contracts settled after the budget was adopted – missed the mark a little on the amount of money set aside to honor those agreements for 2016; retro amounts were cover in 2015

Positive Perspective:

  • Mandates stabilized, a few trending downward – approx.  $1 million positive
  • Utilities continue to be low – approx. $2 million surplus
  • Benefits – projection a certain retirement contribution rate in 2016 process – State Comptroller informed that the percentage is going to be lower than anticipated - $1 million positive

$4.4 Million Gap:

  • Started to slow down hiring – started to be very critical and methodical in positions approved to be filled; have a very intense process for filling vacancies
  • With Financial Operations supporting many departments now, have ability to look at every single requisition
  • Cost cutting measures  - hope to get $1 million out of it
  • Remainder – have certain amount of fund balance in county road fund – supported by general fund – at end of year typically pull any balances back; since being the CFO, balances have been left out there for potential bad winters, used to purchase vehicles – estimate $2.3 million out there, not reflected in fund balance – can tap into it if needed
  • Have reserves – well and above the goal
  • Have capability/flexibility to close the gap

 

Fund Balance:

  • $95,501,716 - unreserved at end of 2015 – total amount in fund balance currently
  • Some adjustments made to get to available unassigned:
    • Encumbrances for previous years - $3.2 million
    • Committed debt reserve – still there, $5 million
    • $2,972,000 – appropriated to balance 2016 budget
    • $150,000 – support Crouse Hospital for Heroin epidemic
  • $79.2 million unassigned fund balance currently
  • 11.63% of general fund revenues; $11 million over 10% goal

 

  • County Executive, CFO, Deputy County Executive and staff were in NYC last week – getting ready to issue debt for the year
  • Will issue about $26 million, considerable lower than it has been
  • Productive meeting with all 3 rating agencies
  • All ratings affirmed:  Aaa with Fitch; Aa+ with S&P, Aa with Moody’s; Fitch has new methodology

Mr. Jordan referred to the first quarter comparison of 2015 to 2016.  He said that it would seem that with gas prices being lower, it generates less revenue, but people would be more inclined to take trips that they wouldn’t otherwise do.  Mr. Morgan said that is something that is unknown, but an analysis can be done knowing the price per gallon has dropped, and can calculate the potential loss of sales tax.  It is not known what consumers are doing with that extra money. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked if there are any indications for the 2nd or 3rd quarter that show a turnaround.  Mr. Morgan said that sales tax is still tracking as it was in the first quarter.  He does not see a lot of movement; will continue to keep an eye on spending and try to be diligent and reasonable going forward.  The hope is that the year ends, and reserves don’t have to be dipped into.  The budget gap is manageable.  There may be some challenges going forward into 2017. 

 

3Mr. Kilmartin left the meeting. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that this should be discussed every couple of months, as opposed to quarterly, to keep a handle on it. 

 

Mr. Morgan referred to ending the 2015 year where they were poised to use $8.7 million in fund balance.  None of it was used, and actually $2.8 million was added to fund balance.  The retroactive pay on the contracts was absorbed, and the original amount appropriated to balance the budget was not used.

 

Mr. May referred to the new methodology with Fitch and asked what drove it – were they more restrictive or conservative in certain areas.  Mr. Morgan said that they took a whole new approach and looked at what is in the control of the local government, what actions can a local government take to address a potential shortfall.  They looked at what can be controlled from a revenue perspective and from an expense perspective.  The main control the county has over revenue is raising property taxes; state has to approve any increase in sales tax.

 

Chairman Knapp said that unlike some other counties in other states, we have to deal with state mandates.

 

Chairman Knapp noted that everyone should have received the annual financial report; reach out to the Comptroller if there are questions.

 

10a.    MISC.

           a.     Memorializing NYS to Enact Legislation to Stop Unfunded Mandates (S.3144A), Returning Control to Local Governments on Behalf of Their Residents (Sponsored by Mr. Jordan)

 

Mr. Jordan:

  • 2 years in a row the Senate passed resolutions to prevent the state from enacting legislation that would result in any additional cost to municipal corporations – including counties, towns, villages
  • Prohibits any additional unfunded mandates by the state, with exceptions pursuant to a court order, judgment, or executive order of the Governor related to any federal law or regulation
  • Assembly has not taken up the legislation
  • Asking Assembly to take it up, support it, and eliminate any future unfunded mandates

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May, to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Jordan, Knapp, Shepard, May); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  2 (Ervin, Williams); ABSENT:  1 (Kilmartin).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

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