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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

 

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - MARCH 16, 2017

DANNY LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Dr. Chase, Mr. Holmquist, Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

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

 

1.     ADULT & LONG TERM CARE:  Lisa Alford, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2017 County Budget to Accept Additional Funding From the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($627,000)

 

  • Additional funding for multi-county crisis services; regional level funding becoming trend; through County
  • Used for mobile crisis services and children respite services – ages up to 18 and their families
  • Counties:  Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego, Cayuga, Cortland and Madison
  • Main goal to reduce hospitalization; young people in mental health crisis, and cannot get to services – will dispatch
  • Money used on case by case basis; covers the cost; not split by counties
  • Working with providers like schools; young person in crisis, then call to dispatch; not only from County
  • Allow for respite; filling gap; people do not need to be hospitalized; can address at home
  • Children do not need to be in system; neighbor having issues, can call; will do assessment to determine best option; if it is, then dispatch mobile crisis services; lot more related to health care addressed from regional perspective
  • Largest county in region, so more will come through here; based on utilization, not amounts
  • Peer specialists a regional model; regional models relatively new; will not be all the time; looking to capitalize on regional health planning; persons who may live in other counties may come here for services; i.e.  larger providers here

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

 

        b.     Resolution Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement with New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)

  • This is for seniors and persons with disabilities; transportation always an issue; City and county providers
  • Additional rides for persons with medical appointments and other services; approximately $99,000; already have appropriations; also available for those 60 years and older

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

 

Ms. Alford responded to Dr. Chase that they contract with companies like Southwest Community Center, OSCAR through Centro, Outbound, Laker Limo (Skaneateles), etc.  They also utilize and depend on a lot of volunteers.  Ms. Alford introduced Pete Headd, the new Deputy Commissioner. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:41 a.m.                                            

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance

 

* * *

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – MARCH 21, 2017

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Cody

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Burtis

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Chair Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:14 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

     a.     Adopting an Amended Schedule of Sewer Rents for the Onondaga County Sanitary District

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Public hearing to be held prior to session; changing gallons per unit from 140,000 to 137,000 per year and clarifying rate for mixed use properties – item c:

              a. Single family structure, mobile home, townhouse, and condominium – one unit each.

              b. All other multi-family residential structures – three-fourths unit per family.

   c. Mixed use properties having both residential and commercial use – three-fourths unit per family plus 1 unit assigned for the total commercial     space, or, alternatively, in the event that the actual water usage exceeds the calculation of gallons per unit within this subsection (c) for the residential and commercial portions of the property, the number of units to be assigned to such property shall be based on water bills, as follows:

                       1. Up to 137,000 gallons per year – one unit;

                       2. One unit and fraction thereof for each 137,000 gallons per year

   d. Commercial, industrial and institutional properties – units to be assigned based on water bills, or, where property metered, or sufficient verification exists of wastewater discharged, as follows:

                       1. Up to 137,000 gallons per year – one unit;

                       2. One unit and fraction thereof for each 137,000 gallons per year

  • Had some confusion on mixed use structures – some going toward all commercial water use only, doesn’t work as primary purpose is fairness, typical Onondaga County household using around 60,000 gallons per year, far less than the current 140,000 unit

Chair Plochocki asked if the current limit was 140,000, noting that he had the numbers 60,000 and 90,000 in his head for some reason.  Mr. Rhoads said that the typical OCWA customer is now sliding below 60,000 gallons.  Older residential areas have a lot of extraneous flow and are contributing 90,000.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that the unit is being lowered to 137,000 gallons, a 2% reduction. 

 

Dr. Chase questioned why the rate wasn’t being reduced further, if it was off by that much.  Mr. Rhoads said that that the rate can be revisited on a regular basis.  He wants to see how this adjusts.  People get excited when there are abrupt assessment changes.  If they give people advance notice, suggest curtailing water use, and conservation, they can gradually get towards where they need to go.  In the long run, may suggest revisiting this biannually.

 

  • Promotes County’s environmental initiatives, encourages conservation and builds fairer rate structure for users throughout the entire system

Chair Plochocki said a caucus member questioned if anyone would be monetarily effected by this small change.  Mr. Rhoads said absolutely, and those people are large users; i.e. currently using 1.4 million gallons with rate of 10 units, rate would increase to 10 units plus a fraction.  Chair Plochocki asked about the residential users.  Mr. Rhoads said that the average residential user is not billed by usage, they are charged a flat rate.  In fact, if the budget were held flat, there would be a $2 reduction for the homeowner because more units would be added.  In fairness and equity they are reapportioning the budget.  Very large customers will see a 2% larger share of the budget and the smaller residential component would likely see a very small drop.  Chair Plochocki said that the bottom line is that residential owners are not being impacted, literally it is only business industrial and institutional users.

 

Chair Plochocki said he was asked why they would potentially anger the business community for such a tiny amount.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it was a tiny amount so that they don’t anger them.  They are talking about fairness and people moving towards paying their fair share.  There are many elderly citizens paying a full unit even though they are using far less than 140,000 gallons.  Business or institutions have been getting a rate perk.  The rate of $411.11 per year, per unit, is lower than the national average and the typical national average unit is based upon 60,000 gallons per year.   When they compare apples to apples, no business will get incensed about this 2% adjustment.  This is why they are bringing forward 2% rather than 25% or 30%.  If anyone gets dialed up about the 2%, there are costs of doing business and their cost of doing business are not unfair.  Their apportionment of 137,000 gallons per unit is more than fair to any large industrial or institutional user.  The caucus member could say the righteous thing to do is to dial this up more than 2%, but he doesn’t think they want to go there and neither does he.  In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that it was fair to say that this could be used as step 1 in the process of reducing the amount paid by residential users per year. 

 

Chair Plochocki asked how units are measured for business users.  Mr. Rhoads said that water usage is metered as all large users have a commercial supply of water.  Some residential property owners have wells, but contribute to the sanitary district.  This is the reason for the flat rate.  Sewer is harder to measure at the outgoing pipe as it does not meter well - infrequent, has obstructions in the pipe, very difficult to measure, and doesn’t make sense on a residential scale.  Systems that bill by volume are based on the volume of water used.  Occasionally institutions use water that does not enter the sewer system.  This water is also metered and deducted from the sewer unit bill; i.e. school with irrigated athletic field.  Bills are based on water use and what goes down the sewer.  Dr. Chase said that this sounds like a good plan.

 

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

 

Mr. Rhoads thanked the committee for their support. 

 

In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that he did not go before Ways and Means for the public hearing.  Chair Plochocki said that he would convey the answers to all members of the legislature.  Mr. Rhoads said that all questions are good.  He wants to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable and able to answer any questions asked of them.  Chair Plochocki reiterated that the answers would be conveyed to everyone at the legislature.  However, that does not mean that everyone will read or understand, and these same questions may come up at Ways and Means but it won’t be for lack of his attempt to pass on the information.  Mr. Rhoads said that he understood.

 

The meeting continued with an informal discussion regarding Onondaga Lake.  

The meeting adjourned 9.46 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – MARCH 21, 2017

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Ms. Cody, Mr. Plochocki, Dr. Chase

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.mA motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Dr. Chase to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Susan Mitchell, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2017 County Budget and Authorizing Personnel Changes within the Onondaga County Public Library ($138,047)

 

  • Last 10 years had Administrator for Central Library and Administrator for branches with Library Managers under them; want to move back under one person; Deputy Director that oversees Central Library and the branches
  • Downgrade balance of old position of Administrator to Librarian III; there will be another manager at Central to pick up duties covered by that person
  • In the budget, but there were questions, so money in contingency; asking to move back to Salary and Benefits lines

Chair Tassone asked if anyone else can pick up the work that they are hiring for.  Ms. Mitchell responded there was another Library Administrator, so they will not have that position anymore.  It is being downgraded.  It is a budget neutral request to upgrade one position and downgrade the other.  It is not being done that way, because the person has to be able to go back into their previous position.  Ms. Mitchell explained they are not doing it as an upgrade/downgrade, but asking for the position to be created, then downgrade the other position (once the amount of time the person has to move back into that position has passed).  Chair Tassone asked if they are looking within, or outside.  Ms. Mitchell replied there is a person that is already overseeing both of those things.  When the person overseeing Central retired a couple years ago, Susan Reckhow agreed to pick some of that up.  The other manager needs to get into Central Library. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked if the money was put into contingency with this intent, and Ms. Mitchell answered yes.  It has helped to have Susan (Reckhow) in that roll, so they were able to move staff and security back and forth.  It looks more like one program versus separate programs. 

 

Chair Tassone made the decision not to vote on this item, and send it to Ways and Means. 

 

2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Filing of an Undertaking Agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation in Connection with Future County Work Affecting State Highways

  • Contract from NYS Department of Transportation the County is required to sign when doing work in their right-of-way
  • State updating it, and would like legislative resolution supporting it, and agreeing to use of contract with state
  • Sign periodically if work requires entering state’s right-of-way off one of their highways for County project
  • Umbrella contract; standard; will have document proving the County can enter into contract with state

Chair Tassone stated it is for the County to use the state’s property, clean up the property, and leave as it was. 

 

Mr. Voss responded to Mr. Dougherty that it is not different than what has been done in the past.  It is a newer form that has not been updated for at least 20 years.  Mr. Dougherty asked if Law has reviewed it, and Mr. Voss said yes.  They drafted the resolution.  Ms. Berger stated she personally reviewed it, and it is “A-Okay”. 

 

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

 

Chair Tassone asked if there were any questions for Mr. Voss regarding last week.  Mr. Voss said the department handled it pretty well, and they have to react to what happens.  Staff was working 16 hour days, and most of the calls taken were compliments.  The only complaints were town and village roads, who have limited budgets. 

 

3.     ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees (Tara E. Owens)

 

  • County Executive appointment to OCC Board of Trustees; 10 person board; Dr. Gary Livent’s term expired in November
  • Tara Owens, Director of Risk Management and Compliance at Empower Federal Credit Union; growing credit union that interacts with small businesses and consumers; graduate of Ithaca College, Bachelors in Business Management

Chair Tassone stated she looks fully qualified. 

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

Attendance

 

* * *

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Shepard, Ms. Williams, Mr. Jordan, Mr. May

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Ervin

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:55 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp noted that the first Consensus Review Advisory Committee meeting was held last week and had a positive start; everyone seems enthusiastic.

 

Chairman Knapp passed around a copy of an old photo, published in the Syracuse Newspaper, of the community grid option pre-Rt. 81, and pointed out that it was a traffic nightmare getting around downtown.  It was a day long activity to come downtown.

 

Mr. May referred to the centralized arraignment process, the meetings that have been held, and pointed out that there could be fiscal considerations in the future.  He and Mr. Knapp have been working closely with anyone attached to the court systems locally – county, villages, towns, sheriff, and district attorney.  The Hurrell-Harring settlement has caused some expense to all the agencies mentioned.  The settlement has amounted to a huge mandate that is unsustainable from a cost and logistics standpoint.  Furthermore, it is taking a lot longer for people to become arraigned – it adds cost and other problems.  There will be more meaningful discussions, and he suggested that members get up to speed on it because it will have to be dealt with financially in terms of a fix.  The fix has more to do with a centralized arraignment rather than a continuation of doing things out across the county -- it is a good solution.  Judge Tormey’s office has worked hard on this -- having something that is more beneficial to municipalities.  Chairman Knapp said that it is a little bit on hold, awaiting the state budget.  Previously there was legislation sponsored by Senator DeFrancisco, where the state was going to assume, over time, most of the expenses for the indigent defense program.  A pilot program ran in several towns with the original program that they came up with, and there were a lot of concerns and complaints -- i.e. the amount of time individuals had to wait to be arraigned, huge commitments from towns or Sheriff’s Dept. in having to watch individuals for 6 – 8 hours--many towns don’t have their own facilities to keep people in.  The State recently passed a law allowing centralized bookings.

 

Mr. Jordan said that he has been hearing about this for months, and asked what is holding up the implementation of it.  Chairman Knapp said it is the state budget.  Mr. Jordan said that it will save money regardless of whether we get the money in the state budget or no--seems it would make sense to implement it either way.  Chairman Knapp said that he is not sure if there will be savings or not.  Mr. May said that final approval is needed as well – they have to meet with the judge in Albany.  Chairman Knapp thinks the final approval is with the Court of Appeals, as they originally approved the other plan that didn’t work.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that there are a lot of logistics because there is a settlement that gave rise to an appropriation of funding for limited task.  Separate and apart, the Office of Court Administration, Judge Tormey, and other judges in towns and villages, lawyers, and prosecutors said that the model wasn’t working and it needed to be revised.  They are trying to revise the plan and run it concurrent with the settlement.  One came substantially ahead of the other, and they are trying to reconcile those things now.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

 

1.     ADULT & LONG TERM CARE:

a.     Amending the 2017 County Budget to Accept Additional Funding From the NYS Office of Mental Health and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($627,000)

        b.     Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement with New York State Department of Transportation

 

2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:

        a.     Adopting an Amended Schedule of Sewer Rents for the Onondaga County Sanitary District

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve the items on the consent agenda.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

REGULAR AGENDA

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Susan Mitchell, Executive Director

a.     Amending the 2017 County Budget and Authorizing Personnel Changes within the Onondaga County Public Library ($138,047)

 

Chairman Knapp said that his position is in the contingency budget and the request is for it to be released.

 

Ms. Mitchell distributed the following:

  • Previously had this position – got rid of it 3 – 4 years ago
  • Are combining 2 administrative positions – central library manager and branch manager
  • Combine the 2 positions, use the downgrade of what is left of that position for the 3rd manager of the central library
  • Chart shows what has been combined over the last number of years to get to salary savings and stay within budget
  • Down about $300,000 from last year in 101 line; things are pretty tight staff-wise right now
  • Having the one deputy director looking at both programs will help

 

*Ms. Mitchell reviewed the org chart:

  • Executive Director (Ms. Mitchell) is a the top;  Administrator for System Svcs – everything that they do for 32 members; Deputy Director - proposed position; below it is the third librarian 3 – Central Library Manager; Administrative Director – oversees financial operations and some personnel functions; had 2 administrators and they were combined during the consolidation of departments – that person is doing both jobs with no support
  • Over last couple of years, a couple of branch manager positions have been combined for salary savings; have 2 branch managers that oversee 2 branches – they go between the branches every week

Mr. Jordan asked which positions are actually being combined.  Ms. Mitchell said that there were two positions.  The green represents functions under Central Library, which is funded by the county; the city branches are funded by the abstract.  The Central Library acts as a resource for the entire county, which is where they get a lot of the state aid and have some state mandated services that they have to provide.  The reason they need the third Librarian 3 is that they used to have 5 at the Central Library – are down to 2 in the last couple of years and it isn’t working well.  The 2 branch managers oversee more people than any branch managers do and have to oversee the program and all of the state reporting for it.  It needs to be split into 3, which became more evident when they did a search for the second library manager.  An employee had applied for the financial officer position and they had to back fill her position – the committee said they needed to fail the search because they thought the job was too difficult and that none of the candidates were going to be able to do it -- someone with a lot more experience was needed to move into it.

 

Ms. Mitchell said that it is very clear that they have an unmanageable situation, and this will bring some clarity in running the programs that they have to for state aid.  It will provide lean management, but one that is also effective.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the two positions are being consolidated, why aren’t they being eliminated and create the one position.  Ms. Mitchell said that eventually they can be, but an employee is acting in the position.  When the Central Library manager retired, she asked her to step into that position to see if it was manageable to run both at the same time.  She has been doing that for about six months now.  It was left open for salary savings, but the employee will have rights to move back into that position.  Ms. Mitchell said that they keep those positions so that they have some flexibility.  There were two positions open when the financial manager left – administrative director and Librarian 4.  It was much easier to do the recruitment for a librarian 4, which an employee has moved into.  Ms. Mitchell said that they can’t spend beyond the budget. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin referred to the two positions being consolidated, giving rise to the deputy director position, and asked if they are on the chart.  Ms. Mitchell said that they are on an old chart that doesn’t even exist anymore.  They were managers that oversaw the functions of the Central Library and branches.  Combining the two has allowed them to move staff much more easily between the two programs, a huge benefit, especially when they run short.  She said that they really don’t have enough staff to run efficiently.  Last year they had to increase their 103 budget because when there aren’t enough people in the 101 line, they call in subs to open the buildings.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that what is proposed is that once those two positions are consolidated into the deputy director position, those two positions will also remain intact.  Ms. Mitchell said “no, we’ll come back later.”  She said that right now she wants to create the deputy position, which was in the budget proposal this year and moved into contingency.  An employee has rights to move back to the librarian 4 position -- it has to be left there for now.  They can come back and eliminate it later.  The other librarian 4 position – some will be used to upgrade an employee’s position and the balance will create the librarian 3.  They have had the deputy director positions before, but still had the two librarian 4’s, so they will be able to eliminate a position.

 

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Ms. Mitchell said that the employee has 26 weeks to decide about going back to the other position. 

Mr. Kilmartin said that the person in the acting deputy director position, who may be wearing two hats, is planning to move back to one of the librarian 4 positions.  Ms. Mitchell said that she could; a required job analysis questionnaire was done, and it showed that she was working out of her title.  Therefore, her position needs to be upgraded or she has to go back to doing just the librarian 4 duties.  If this request doesn’t go through today, she the two librarian 4’s have to be kept - split the position back into two.  The employee can’t continue to be asked to do the duties above and beyond -- now that it is documented in the job analysis questionnaire. 

 

Mr. Jordan asked what would happen if she decided to go back to the librarian 4 position, and we have created the deputy director position.  Ms. Mitchell said that they would likely do away it it, but would have to re-evaluate it at that time.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if it would be easier to do everything at once, which is what is done with a lot of positions where there is creating and abolishing or taking something out of contingency.  Ms. Mitchell said that she doesn’t believe that it would and is not sure that it matters.  The money that is in contingency is not new money; it is money pulled out of the 101 and benefits lines and put into this account.  There is nothing that is going to be added to their budget and they can’t hire for any of those positions.  It would be much more complicated to do it all at one time, given the fact that someone could move back to a position.  Mr. Jordan said that if there are salary savings elsewhere in the budget, they could actually fill both positions and get by the 2017 budget year.  Then in 2018 the budget would include funding for both of those positions.  Ms. Mitchell said that she would not be allowed to hire for positions that take us beyond what is budgeted.  They have a salary plan that shows how they get to the number they were given for this year; they are sticking with that plan.  She said that it is important to her that they hit their numbers.

 

Chairman Knapp said that he assumes, like most, the the salary savings number has increased.  Ms. Mitchell said that it has doubled from a couple of years ago when they had all the people that are now in consolidated departments.  They have fewer people making up a salary savings number – that’s how they end up short.  There are a mandated number of hours that the Central Library needs to be open and have run into some problems concerning aid, because it can’t be used for certain things if they are not open a minimum number of hours.  There is very little flexibility; if anyone calls in sick they spend half the day looking for someone to sub in.  She said that she has let the board know that they either need to increase the revenue or look at closing some of the floors of the Central Library, is not ideal after a fantastic renovation, or look at reducing hours at branches.  She said they are busier now more than ever.

 

Mr. Fisher said what they are seeing across county government, not just in the library, is that salary savings in budgets are the tightest that anybody has ever seen.  It is a result of what happened in the fall, when the budget was very tight to begin with; we had retirements, and held all kinds of departments to a very minimal amount of budget and very aggressive amounts of salary savings.  “There are certainly budgets, like library, where I don’t think Susan knows for sure that she is even going to make it.”  He said there are other departments, that he can guarantee will not make it.  Every two weeks they have been updating a very detailed staffing schedule that ties out to the dollars.  The CFO may explain in his quarterly forecasts where some of those departments are.  “Some of them are elected official departments, where we can’t really tell them no; you can – whether you will or not remains to be seen.”  He said that there is no play in the library budget – those positions couldn’t be filled because there is no money.

 

Mr. May noted the issue of no abolish, and wishes this had a little more time in County Facilities Committee.  The reason these things go into contingency is because of uncertainty – can’t make the decision at the time.  He is still uncertain over the bigger picture.  He said that he values the library, but because of uncertainty and the various revenue streams that the county relies on, he is not even sure that budget neutral is good enough.  He can’t support it if voted on today; thinks he understood everything said today, but is not sure he is ready to pull the trigger on contingency for these types of funds just yet.

 

Chairman Knapp said that he stopped at the library last Friday to get a better understanding for the bigger picture.  There had to be 40 people in the technology area.  Ms. Mitchell agreed, noting that two S.U. professors were there teaching a class on bookmaking and it was a diverse crowd.  She said that they have one person in that department and it is packed every day.  There have been times when they have been asked to close because there aren’t enough personnel to keep the space open.

 

Ms. Mitchell said that she understands the concerns, because things are tight, but she can’t continue to ask the employee to do that job.  The two 4’s are really necessary if she is not able to do the deputy position and then eventually downgrade.  Mr. May said it is a dilemma across the board.  Ms. Mitchell said “I also want you, at this point, to start to understand what the ramifications of those decisions are; and if we have to close upper floors at some point, that I want people to understand that I have explained everything and that you are not surprised; you’re not upset, and that you are willing to defend that to your colleagues.”  She said that she wanted to make it clear that this is not a threat, but it would be very disappointing news to bring back to the library.  She would have to sit down with the board to re-think how to manage it.  Mr. May reiterated that he understood the specific dilemma and thinks that the dilemma applies all across county government in various ways; decisions were made on uncertainties that have not been resolved yet.

 

Ms. Mitchell said that when they don’t have enough people, what really suffers is the planning piece.  One thing they are doing now, which they may not have time for, is related to government consolidation.  They have been talking to Consensus people about their suggestion of regionalizing the library catalogue and delivery of library materials -- having a greater area to share between and reduce the cost over time.  She thinks that with state budget cuts, everybody’s budgets, especially in systems, are going to be smaller in the next couple of years--will have to figure out how to create some cost savings.  Neighboring systems libraries are 100% on board with going to a consolidated catalogue and delivery.  She brought it up at a recent meeting in Albany and other areas want to be in on a regionalized catalogues too, i.e. Buffalo, Rochester. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that he echoed what Mr. May said, noting that there are a lot of big picture things that need to be discussed.  There could be some really tough decisions coming down the pike.  He will support it today to keep it alive--would like to talk to County Facilities members and have a broader discussion.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to approve this item.  AYES:  2 (Williams, Knapp); NOES:  1 (May); ABSTENTIONS:  3 (Jordan, Kilmartin, Shepard).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

*an employee substituted for actual names stated throughout discussion

 

2.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report - NONE

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 
 
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