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

DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
DAVID H. KNAPP
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 9, 2020

VIRTUAL

CASEY E. JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

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

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman Knapp, Ms. Kuhn, Mr. Mento, Mr. Petrovich, Mr. Yaus, Mrs. Maturo, Mrs. French, Ms. McNamara, and Ms. Lesniak

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mrs. Abbott-Kenan to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Frank Mento, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with the Proposed Establishment of an Extension to the Onondaga County Consolidated Sanitary District, and the Construction of the Improvements Proposed Therefor 

  • Both items fall under same category and project
  • Public hearing in connection with proposed establishment of extension to sanitary district boundaries, because of Project Orange – ecommerce warehouse and distribution facility in town of Dewitt
  • At intersection of Rt. 481 interchange and Kirkville Road – current district boundary does not encompass this parcel
  • Seeking to approve extension, but going through public hearing first; held commissioner’s hearing, and there were no participants at the hearing; no opposition or dissent at this point
  • Any work associated with district extension will solely be borne by developer, not County; district extension is legal and technical means by which county can provide sewer service to this development
  • Calling for public hearing at July 7th session

Chairman Jordan stated that supporting documentation talks about parts of the parcel to be developed in a floodplain and certain measures to address runoff from the development.  Chairman Jordan asked if there is any risk to the neighboring properties.  Mr. Mento responded no; as is traditional with developments like this, when they go from fields or green areas to impervious area.  They control the stormwater on site, so the impact to downstream properties is mitigated by the onsite development.  Mr. Mento agreed with Chairman Jordan that the ambient noise and water runoff will be at a reduced level to the current levels after the development. 

 

        b.     Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Act as Lead Agency with Respect to a Warehouse and Distribution Facility and Related Improvements Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; Approving the Classification of a Type I Action; Accepting the Environmental Assessment Form; Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration; and Authorizing the Filing, Distribution and Publication of the Negative Declaration 

  • Project opportunity on 42 acre site; 112,000 sq. ft. ecommerce distribution facility
  • Asking for county to move through SEQRA process; WEP took lead agency status with respect to SEQRA because county is agency that needs to extend district and get approval; coordinated view
  • Type 1 action under SEQRA – needs to be coordinated; number of involved and interested agencies
  • Worked with developer and their team to produce EAF (part of supporting docs)
  • Can mitigate all issues associated with development itself (i.e. stormwater runoff, floodway, wetlands, traffic impacts, noise); feel they can bring to negative declaration - can mitigate impacts sufficiently to warrant it
  • Developer and team are not seeking relief for pilot program; will be tax benefits to town as result; all projected impacts that could be significant, have been mitigated and described in the document

Chairman Jordan asked if any and all costs related to the existing sewer infrastructure would be covered by the developer, and Mr. Mento answered that he is correct.  There is existing sewer infrastructure in the ground owned by the town of Dewitt.  There are two pieces in the ground consisting of a gravity section, then a pump station and force main section.  The developer will work with the town to make sure the infrastructure is capable of handling the flows, and they will have to make any and all repairs/replacements to provide the service.  

 

Chairman Jordan asked if the only effluent from this project will be the people who are employed there, and Mr. Mento said that’s right.  It is benign in terms of impact effluent wise (hundreds of jobs and logistics warehouse, so domestic sewage waste). 

 

Mr. Holmquist referred to page 7 of the SEQRA where it notes that there will be an increase of traffic to accommodate the increased improvements to Kirkville Road, and a traffic light at the intersection of Kirkville and Roberts.  Mr. Holmquist said that improvements to Kirkville Road are not listed on the highway plans, and he asked what the proposed costs are and an anticipated timeline.  Is the developer paying for that as well?  Mr. Mento replied that the traffic and traffic impacts are part of the SEQRA process.  The developer has proposed traffic mitigation plans including a signal, left turn and right turn lanes in the neighborhood of Roberts Drive.  The traffic impact study encompasses those things to mitigate the flow of traffic.  County DOT and NYSDOT have approved it, and it will need to be done before the project is opened.  Any costs associated with that are borne strictly by the developer, and the developer team.

 

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to approve items 1a and 1b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

* * *

 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – JUNE 12, 2020

VIRTUAL

TIM BURTIS, CHAIRMAN

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

 

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

ALSO PRESENT: Chairman Knapp, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Bush, Ms. Cody, Mrs. Abbott-Kenan, Ms. Kuhn, Dr. Chase, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. McBride, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Donnelly, Mr. Durr, Mr. Czarny, Mr. Zabriskie, Mr. Carter, Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Frateschi, Mr. Galuppi, Mr. McMahon, Mr. Maturo, Capt. Pellizzari, Mrs. Maturo, Ms. McNamara, Mr. DeSantis, Ms. Flynn, Mr. Woodburn, Ms. Hares, Ms. Fricano, Mr. Kelley, Mr. Benson, Mr. Nesci, Mr. Gaines, Mr. Magnarelli, Mr. Matt, Ms. Matt, Ms. Workman, Ms. Diehl, Ms. Stowell, Ms. Durant, Ms. Allen, Ms. Hungerford, Ms. Harris, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Weiner, Ms. Johnson, Mr. Sarason, Mr. Vadala, Ms. Long, Mr. Schick, Mr. Young, Mr. Moody, Mr. Lancette, Mr. Deer, Mr. W. Ryan, Capt. Pellizzari, Ms. Burton, Mr. Sladek, Ms. Fricano, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Benson, Mr. Bolt, Ms. Caiella, Ms. Dell, Ms. Massulik, Ms. Case, Ms. Carr, Ms. Falanga, Mr. James, Ms. Dooher, Mr. M. Morgan, Ms. Deer, Ms. Reed, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Banks, Ms. Honeywell

 

Chairman Burtis called the meeting to order at 9:47 a.m. A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     PROBATION:  Steve Morgan, Chief Fiscal Officer

        a.     Amending the 2020 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Use in Connection with Community Engagement Probation Services ($43,821.44)

 

Mr. Morgan:

  • Accepting funds from Destiny, funds 2 onsite probation officers, twice a week, 4-hour shifts, provides preventive community engagement services at the mall; offsets the county’s cost

Mr. Jordan:

  • Looks like this resolution allocates the money, not sure why there isn’t a coordinating resolution to accept the money

Mr. Morgan:

  • This resolution accepts the revenue and charges the expense to a particular project

Mr. Jordan:

  • Don’t see it that way; presumably taking revenue already received and appropriating it to an engagement
  • Resolution always states amending the budget to accept monies from

Mr. Morgan:

  • Whereas clause amends the budget to accept the funds, typical language

Mr. Jordan:

  • Disagree, procedural question for law; not the way it has been over the last 15 years

Chairman Knapp:

  • Will clarify with law if two resolutions are needed before session

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

 

2.     BOARD OF ELECTIONS:  Dustin Czarny, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2020 County Budget to Make Grant Funding Available for Board of Elections Expenses, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($61,000)

 

Mr. Czarny:

  • Notified of pending grant from NYSBOE for cybersecurity in our BOE office; haven’t received the contract, the grant itself is held up in the governor’s Office of Management and Budget
  • County Office of Management and Budget wanted this on anticipating that it would be ready by July 7th
  • Don’t know what it will entail until the contract is received; should be pretty broad 

Mr. Rowley:

  • Fear this grant may not come to fruition due to the state’s fiscal situation
  • Can wording be added to the resolution that voids the resolution if the grant doesn’t come through?

Mr. Czarny:

  • Federal money; Office of Management and Budget has to sign off on the contract
  • The state could redirect funds to state BOE operations, hesitant because the contact hasn’t been seen; don’t know why the governor held this up
  • Would never spend money without a contract

Mr. Morgan:

  • Annually accept millions in grants; not necessary to add language, have internal control of all grants, money isn’t spent unless contracts or award letters assure the money is available

Chairman Knapp:

  • Given concerns Mr. Czarny expressed, and the questions around this, suggest considering but not voting on; can move forward on the 7th if the material is provided

Mr. Czarny:

  • No reasons to believe information won’t be available by the 7th

Chairman Burtis:

  • Resolution accepts money and authorizes an agreement we haven’t seen; resolution considered, no vote will be taken

No action was taken on this item.

 

3.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Christian Zabriskie, Executive Director; Mark Carter, Administrative Director

        a.     A Local Law Authorizing the Lease of Property for a County Purpose, a Satellite Library Facility, from the Syracuse Northeast Community Center, Inc. for a Cumulative Term in Excess of Five Years

 

Mr. Zabriskie discussed items 3a and 3b simultaneously:

  • Continue lease agreements for 2 small storefront libraries;  they do a lot of community outreach, workforce development, childhood early learning and education, deeply embedded in the community, provides an opportunity to reach people not coming into the library
  • Has been in place 20 years; impressive

Chairman Burtis:

  • Local laws; term of 1 year with options to renew with annual amendments for 20 years

Mr. Rowley:

  • No escalator for the lease amount?

Mr. Carter:

  • The same fee is paid each year

Chairman Burtis:

  • Funding already included in the 2020 adopted budget

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve item 3a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     A Local Law Authorizing the Lease of Property for a County Purpose, a Satellite Library Facility, from the Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility Inc. for a Cumulative Term in Excess of Five Years

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve item 3b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION:

        a.     A Local Law Amending Section 207 of the Onondaga County Charter and Section 2.17 of the Onondaga County Administrative Code to Revise the Onondaga County Reapportionment Commission to Ensure a Non-Partisan, Fair and Objective Process by Which the Onondaga County Legislature Districts are Reapportioned (Sponsored by Mr. Ryan)

 

Mr. Ryan:

  • Amend the county charter and code to initiate an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission; speaks to good governance, current process isn’t transparent enough
  • Following other cities that empowered citizens to redraw district lines; has been very successful with overwhelming support from the constituency when these laws have been put on the ballot; will lead to a better product and ultimately better representation
  • Included therein are the timeframes, setup, involvement, publication, citizens input; contains failsafe’s for  conflicts of interest
  • Members are chosen through members of the comptroller, county clerk and county executive’s offices, pool of applicants are then reduced and given to the county legislature; the legislature can strike one name, goes back to the review panel which chooses 10 commissioners, those commissioners choose 7 additional commissioners to complete the panel
  • With mapping and legal advice consistent with voter regulations the panel puts together a plan; public hearings will be held within the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County containing all notes; widely published, no secrets, an open process
  • The process ends December 31, 2022; general public ultimately signs off on the plan pursuant to the next round of census data  

Chairman Burtis:

  • Believe some redistricting needs to be done, wasn’t’ here when districts were last drawn; his district has 4 streets in the Village of Minoa

Chairman Knapp:

  • Affects County Executive’s office, both the process and finically; if passed by the legislature the county executive can then sign or veto and money for this has to be placed in next year’s budget if passed
  • Any conversations with the county executive of his staff to get their input?

Mr. Ryan:

  • Had general conversations about the potential costs, some costs cannot be avoided; law speaks to commission staff, reasonable  and personal expenses of the commissioners, legal defense and outside counsel, mapping, widespread access to records, and all other activities; if we do nothing some of this would have to be done for the Reapportionment Commission that would have to spend time, seek legal counsel, mapping, and census data
  • Given the tough times spoke with the county comptroller’s office and had brief conversations with the county clerk’s office; envisions the county legislature making a law, then county clerk, comptroller and executive’s offices can provide back-office support to save money, also spoke with county legal who can provide some of the legal support, SOCPA mapping could also be part of the conversation
  • Significant expense but don’t know if you can put an amount on good democracy as county citizens deserve legislative districts that are representative of good government; need to divert or appropriate funds to accomplish if needed
  • No personal conversation with the county executive, just office staff

Chairman Knapp:

  • To be clear, this local law says we are hiring outside attorneys with extensive voting rights experience, don’t know that we have any locally, also specifically states we are hiring outside staff; have to go with what is written on paper

Chairman Knapp:

  • What was the thought process for choosing the comptroller as overseer when there are other countywide elected officials; i.e. county executive, county clerk?

Mr. Ryan:

  • County comptroller’s expertise in accounting, auditing, and their independence makes them the best likely department to handle this initially; screens applicants for conflicts of interest as stated
  • Welcome the county clerk who should and will be part of the conversation; hope someone from the county clerk’s office can help defray costs
  • Willing to take on modifications to the local law; have good election lawyers in town, confident county attorneys can do the heavy lifting and limit the outside counsels' involvement

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Mr. Ryan has been working on this for almost 3 years; came up with another approach
  • Need for doing this is apparent; no reason not to go forward with something to make certain we have the proper approach to redistricting - time to vote this in

Mr. Rowley:

  • Is it your position that current districts are not representative of the county population?

Mr. Ryan:

  • Northside of the city that has 5 or 6 legislators, not a good process, some districts wrap around and go north, south, east and west; public engagement produces a better end product
  • Some district changed insignificantly, don’t believe Mr. Jordan’s district changed at all, the first district changed a lot, some districts don’t make a lot of sense

Mr. Rowley:

  • Sounds like you are more concerned with the shape of the district than the actual people represented; trying to understand why this law is here and what your motivation is 

Mr. Ryan:

  • Gerrymandering happens and if there is a process to end this we should
  • Section 5. (4) “The geographic integrity of any local neighborhood or local community of interest shall be respected in a manner that minimizes their division to the extent possible without violating the requirements of any of the preceding subsections. A community of interest is a contiguous population that shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation. Communities of interest shall not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.”; within Section 5 is what I think we should accomplish, which is not the mission in the current process

Mr. Rowley:

  • The term gerrymandering implies that the enrollment is out of whack and certain districts were drawn to include more republicans, democrats or another party; 11 of the current 17 districts have more democrats than republicans enrolled, which is more than representative of the county as a whole
  • Not sure what you mean by gerrymandering, can understand the geographic shape of a district may not look right but traditional gerrymandering overall I don’t see

Mrs. Ervin:

  • It is more than that, people of the county need the representation they should have, i.e. anyone living in the north side is confused as to who is representing them  
  • People want a voice and this is a way to give them a voice as to how the districts are shaped; that is the real impetus for doing this, i.e. people in Minoa should have someone representing them that lives a little closer than Mr. Burtis and has a feel for what that area needs
  • People asked for and are demanding this, we should respond

Mr. Ryan:

  • In response to Mr. Rowley, I did not say anything about numbers or political parties; should be striving to accomplish what is outlined in Section 5, don’t think the way the Reapportionment Committee is set up does that
  • Gerrymandering is defined as “a district or a set of districts with unusual boundaries that are drawn to favor one or more groups over others, also a secondary verb to draw district or set of districts with unusual boundaries that favor one or more groups over others”; we have unusual borders, the north side refugee population doesn’t know who their county legislator is and it’s wrong
  • Not accusing anybody of redrawing districts to skew numbers; the boundaries aren’t right, what we did isn’t right, what we are doing isn’t right, we can do better

Chairman Knapp:

  • There are also a huge number of federal and state laws that govern redistricting; many items mentioned are covered under those laws
  • Went from 19 to 17 legislators 10 years ago; more significant than a typical redistricting
  • Base population with 17 districts is 20,000 people; the law states each district must be within 5% (plus or minus) of 20,000 people, lends to some districts grabbing an extra election district nearby to get to the number needed for the population
  • My district is very large geographically because I represent small towns and the law states towns below 10,000 people cannot be split
  • There are different ways of looking at multiple legislators in one district, Dewitt is probably the most powerful town in the county because it has 4 legislators and it takes 9 votes to pass this legislature, almost halfway there with just those that represent Dewitt; look forward to continued conversations on this

Mr. Jordan:

  • Was a member of the legislature for the last redistricting; end up with oddly shaped districts to comply with federal and state rules and regulations, our hands are tied in terms of how we can set up the districts
  • Current laws do substantially all of what is proposed in this local law
  • Every district changed when going from 19 to 17

Mr. Ryan:

  • Very aware we are bound by certain regulations but there are also safeguards, and there is a lot that we can do, the districts are within the 5% but the shapes are wrong; a commission lead by citizens and taken out of the hands of that those serve can do better

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Looking long-term, want a commission in place that will do this appropriately going forward; want this in the hands of the citizens for more input into the process, it is the right thing to do for our government as well as the folks we represent

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.

 

Chairman Burtis:

  • Have you talked to SOCPA as to how they could be utilized in this policy?

Mr. Ryan:

  • No, but will today.

Seconded by Mr. Williams

 

Chairman Burtis:

  • Aren’t leaving time for revision, still have other ideas, and some questions; believe something needs to be done but don’t need a vote

Chairman Knapp:

  • Recommend considering, gives flexibility if there are changes; can go to July session

Mr. Ryan:

  • Any modifications would be miner, nothing more than financials; if it is something we can agree on would rather have 80% of something than 100% of nothing
  • Procedurally there is a motion and second on the floor, if voted on modifications can still be made as long as it is stamped in 10 days before session

Chairman Burtis:

  • Don’t have to call a vote, i.e. agenda item 2a
  • As far as Minoa goes, they know who their legislator is but it doesn’t make any sense to them; while frustrating, I don’t know that this can be fixed based on requirements for neighborhoods and numbers
  • Want more time before voting to hear from SOCPA and possible revisions
  • Signed fair maps pledge, I am a man of my word but didn’t say I would sign off on anything; signed very open statement, already stated I am not thrilled with the lines drawn
  • Has been considered, is going to session, needs more discussion

Mr. May:

  • One reason this was referred to Ways and Means from session was to give this local law due process; not even remotely prepared to cast a vote at this moment
  • Learned more within this conversation than anything that has happened thus far; voting now would sell short the due process afforded Mr. Ryan, still much to talk and think about, want to understand what opportunity exists within our current process to try and address this - thinking long-term there is an opportunity for every legislator to contribute to a process that could be better than it is today

Chairman Burtis:

  • Almost a month until session, doesn’t need a vote to go to the floor; don’t want to be characterized by what I do or say here, have an opportunity for a better product

Mrs. Ervin:

  • There is a motion and second, must do something with it unless you are asking for the motion to be withdrawn

Mr. Durr:

  • Taking a vote is up to the chairman of the committee per legislative rules

No action was taken on this item.

 

Mrs. Ervin:

  • From what has been said today you will work with Legislator Ryan to make modifications and this will be on the July session

Chairman Burtis:

  • Correct

5.     FINANCE:  Steven Morgan, Chief Fiscal Officer

        a.     Resolution of the Legislature of the County of Onondaga Increasing Taxes on Sales and Uses of Tangible Personal Property and of Certain Services, on Occupancy of Hotel Rooms and on Amusement Charges Pursuant to Article 29 of the Tax Law of the State of New York (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

 

Chairman Burtis:

  • Renewal of 1%; not a new tax

Mr. Morgan:

  • Correct; state passed the legislation necessary to go forward with final enacting piece, allows us to continue to charge and collect the additional 1% sales tax over the next 2 years
  • Sharing formula extended for another 10 years, remains the same as it was for the previous 10 years - shares the 1% @ 1.58% for the county, 97.79% to the city, and 0.63% to school districts

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

 

        b.     Providing for Further Austerity Measures Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp):  Brian Donnelly, Deputy County Executive; Steve Morgan, Chief Fiscal Officer

 

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Reduce county workforce 205,000 hours, direct result of revenue challenges from COVID pandemic
  • Significant sales tax challenges related to the closer of the economy, also anticipate approximately 20% cut in state aid
  • Asked the legislature to approve a 4% residential utility surcharge last month, would go in place September 2020 and generate approximately $3.7 million in additional county revenue; item tabled, scheduled for reconsideration at the next session
  • With the guarantee of additional revenue coming in the 4th quarter of 2020, may be able to hold off on the reduction of staff hours until August
  • Will need federal action – direct aid to localities to overcome the current fiscal realities; the House passed an aid bill to municipalities and the Senate has bills under consideration, cannot wait in the hope that this money will come through; hopeful and pushing for these funds
  • Must move on this at the July session, without the residential utility surcharge

Mr. Morgan:

  • Sales tax and state aid reductions are the biggest revenue concerns; recent projections have various sales tax reduction scenarios from 15% to 25%, without the energy sales tax and reduction of workforce hours the gap is anywhere from $38 million to $65 million
    • Sales tax payment received yesterday is about $700,000 more than the same payment last year, small payment of $5.4 million; need to be smart about the information distributed, can be dangerous without context - to provide context that was a smaller payment, previous payment was $15.5 million, $5.4 is an April cleanup payment, previous payments received regarding April were down 30% to 37%, need to understand this is saying April isn’t as bad as anticipated but is still very bad
    • Last week’s sales tax payment was down $9 million, almost 37%, a good portion was related to May; payment is more forward-looking than the payment received yesterday
    • Currently project the state aid reduction at 20%, about $20 million; the state is waiting to see if a federal stimulus bill will be passed to aid localities and states, not sure how long they will wait - state reimbursements have slowed, holding payments until there is a decision    
  • Implemented several items to offset revenue decreases:
    • $25 million in austerity spending reductions, $9 million in non-salary accounts
    • Held personnel vacancies, only filling critical positions, saving $9 million
    • 163 people committed to the retirement incentive, 142 were funded through the general fund; will hold as many positions open as possible, saving about $3.5 million this year
    • Waiting on $5 million in enhanced federal Medicaid funds; funds flow through the state, continue to pressure the state for these funds, remains part of our plan but is tied up with the state’s budget picture
    • Project using $15 million of the $79 million in fund balance; the balance exceeds the legislature’s policy goal of 10% by $11 million

Chairman Burtis:

  • The county has done a good job reducing expenses
  • Many residents say to do what they are doing, don’t spend, and cut back; the county has done that but still anticipates a gap of $50 or $65 million

Mr. Jordan:

  • The sales tax comparison on the comptroller’s website goes through the end of May and shows a decrease of about $5.6 million; what were the June payments compared to those payments in 2019?

Mr. Morgan:

  • $15.5 million compared to $24.5 million and $5.4 million compared to $4.7 million last year; caution information on comptroller’s website is on a cash basis, we record sales tax on an accrual basis, should be close

Mr. Jordan:

  • The retirement incentive is phased throughout the year; where does that stand?

Mr. Donnelly:

  • If eligible when passed, 55 or over with a minimum of 5 years of service, must leave county payroll by June 30th, those who become eligible July through the end of 2020 must leave by the end of the month in which they become eligible

Mr. Morgan:

  • The incentive is retroactive to the state of the county address; salaries leaving each month; not cumulative:
    • March $252,000
    • April - $435,000
    • May - $793,000
    • June - $6 million
    • About $2 million is the remainder of the year

Mr. Ryan:

  • asked Mr. Morgan and Mr. Masterpole to clarify the cash numbers on the comptroller’s website

Mr. Morgan:

  • Cannot speak to comptroller’s website, we receive payments, complete the cash report, and send a report to comptroller’s office for recording; caution there will be a slight difference between what I am reporting if he is reporting information on a cash basis because we record sales tax on an accrual basis, not a huge difference most of the time
  • Cumulatively about $112.6 million this year through 9 payments compared to $127 million on a gross basis, down about $14.4 million gross, about 11.4%

Mr. Masterpole:

  • Website numbers come from Mr. Morgan’s department and are an apples to apples comparison, shows both cash and accrual basis; public data should be as transparent as possible

 

Mr. Ryan:

  • Clarify the 37% number

Mr. Morgan:

  • 37% was the payment received last week, down $9 million; year to date down 11.4% year over year

Mr. Masterpole:

  • Agree

 

Mr. Ryan:

  • 20% reduction in CHIPS funding, no idea when it will be received, correct?

Mr. Morgan:

  • NYSAC’s analysis has state aid reductions anywhere from 20% to 50%; last forecast had state aid reduction at 35%, revise projection as we get new information, NYSAC has our loss at anywhere from $22 million to $55 million
  • Your guess is as good as mine in terms of a federal stimulus to help; the state is waiting on this, imagine  if nothing is flowing from the federal government the governor will release cuts, will update projection as soon as this is known 

Mr. May:

  • Will be important to know what, if any, funded vacant positions are being left behind and why

Mr. Morgan:

  • Held vacancies with very few exceptions; base projection $12.4 million to the good, baked into that number is the austerity which includes $9 million related to holding vacancies open
  • Can provide additional detail as we go forward

Mr. May:

  • Important to understand this going forward

Mr. Ryan:

  • Would have a hard time reducing the workforce without reducing all vacant funded positions; suggest taking other measures before cuts are made beyond the retirement incentive, including voluntary leave, job sharing, voluntary part-time, reduction of outside vendors
  • Hope to have subsequent conversations and do everything possible before making further reductions

Mr. Morgan:

  • Think everything is on the table; multi-pronged approach, continue to evaluate, can’t wait for the federal government to act
  • Need to act on things at our disposal to ensure we are prepared to balance the county’s budget this year whether we receive stimulus funds or not; willing to listen to and work through alternatives

Mr. Ryan:

  • Need no rock unturned; has been a lot of reductions, almost 50% for some bargaining units over the past 10-12 years; don’t know if there will be cuts across the board, have to talk this through, tough decision

Mr. Morgan:

  • Not just internal cuts; over $4 million in contracts reduced with our community partners, looking at those again to see if there is more room, won’t fill the whole issue, every bit matters
  • Continue to push for actions that will allow us to balance the budget this year

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Understand the situation is fluid, layoffs are the last option, has to be things we can do before walking people out the door; was awful the last time we did this, are talking about peoples’ lives and their families

Mr. Williams:

  • Raising taxes and laying off people doesn’t balance the budget
  • What else will we do if the feds don’t give us anything; would still be a budget crisis, not willing to do this
  • Need to be clear this is not raise taxes and we forgo layoffs, could be both, not one or the other
  • Other cuts have to be taken before laying people off who are then on the unemployment line

Mr. Burtis:

  • To be clear, do not believe that we said that here today
  • State of Emergency was declared March 14th; COVID has brought us to a strange and troubling world, our budget is a wreck, cannot imagine state or federal won’t help us but today we are still in the dark
  • From this seat I plead we need help, our need is dire

Mr. Jordan:

  • Off the arm calculation, if looking to make up 205,000 hours, would need to reduce about 2 hours per week from roughly 2,100 employees; if some type of workforce reduction becomes necessary strongly encourage everyone involved to look at a reduced workweek to make up the difference, small sacrifice to avoid the necessity of laying off county workers

Mr. Donnelly:

  • At no point did we say either/or; as stated earlier the energy surcharge would give a pause of 30 days before looking into a vote for layoffs, have to act on it now if we don’t’ have that guarantee of revenue for the 4th quarter
  • Will entertain any option; a furlough is subject to negotiation, unions have to agree
  • WorkShare program not viable per the Dept. of Labor, relates to a reduction in benefit - cannot get service credit in the retirement system for days not physically worked

Chairman Burtis:

  • Have time before session; hope we are heard and get some help

No action was taken on this item.

 

6.     LEGISLATURE:

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

  

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

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:48 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 

 

 

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