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Meeting Minutes May 2010 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
JAMES M. RHINEHART
Chairman
JOHANNA H. ROBB
Deputy Clerk

 

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE - MAY 10, 2010

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Stanczyk

ABSENT: *Ms. Williams, Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT: Mr. Lesniak see also attached list  

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. DeMore, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     SOCPA:  Don Jordan, Director

        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing for Renewal of Agricultural District No. 1, Towns of Lafayette, Onondaga, Otisco, and Tully

 

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. DeMore to approve this item.

 

Mr. Stanczyk questioned the tax consequences of adding additional property to the district. Mr. Jordan stated you are not required to be in an agricultural district to get an agricultural assessment. Being in the district provides Right to Farm Protection Laws.  Mr. Stanczyk requested Mr. Jordan provide an estimate as to the number of farms receiving the agricultural assessment that are not enrolled in an agricultural district and an explanation of the tax consequences for agricultural assessments.

 

*Ms. Williams arrived at the meeting.

 

A vote was taken on the motion. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

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

 

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

 

2.      INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Ken Beam, Chief Information Officer; William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Amending the 2010 County Budget to Restore the Onondaga County Print Shop

  •  $103,527 savings from Board of Elections ballots in-house printing
  •  $35,000 contingency money originally set aside for print shop study
  •  $99,268 coming from other departments 410 account
  •  $44,435 Board of Elections savings
  •  $26,148 ballots revenue (Board of Elections)
  •  $59,182 savings remains unused

 

Mr. Stanczyk questioned the commitment to keep the print shop through 2010.   The Board of Elections will continue to need ballot printing each year. Mr. Fisher stated the ballot printing will be part of the decision going forward. The print shop is producing 800 million impressions per year with a cost of over $500,000 ($400,000 in house and $125,000 on external printing). He would like to get the cost down to $300,000 or $350,000 and the impressions down to 400 million.  Mr. Stanczyk stated that the ballot printing savings will continue each year. He suggested they apply some management discipline on what is printed in order to justify keeping the print shop open, based on this tremendous savings going forward.   Mr. Fisher stated if you start off next year with a $400,000 budget for the print shop it will be difficult to get it muchlower. Mr. Stanczyk stated they start off each year with what the County Executive recommends. He expects them to do some work between now and then.

 

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

 

        b.     Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 2124, Duplicating Machine Operator 1, Grade 04 $31,097, effective 07/01/2010

                Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 7113, Duplicating Machine Operator 2, Grade 07 $38,975, effective 07/01/2010

                Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 2123, Reproduction Services Supervisor, Grade 10 $49,537, effective 07/01/2010

 

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

 

3.      ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  Kim Hall, Management Analyst

        a.     A Local Law Amending Local Law No. 6-1997, As Amended, to Revise an Empire Zone

  •  Allocation of the remaining 300 acres
  •  Current Empire zone will sunset on June 30th
  •  New projects are driving this allocation 

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

 

        b.     A Local Law Designating a Regionally Significant Project Within the Onondaga County Empire Zone (Light 4 Life Candles, LLC)

  • Canadian company purchasing the former Will & Baumer manufacturing site
  • Manufacturers vessel filled candles
  •  60 jobs will be created within three years
  • 11 to 1 cost ratio
  • Production to begin in the fall of 2010

 

Ms. Williams questioned how this company expects to succeed when just this week another candle company is laying off employees. Mr. Hall stated they expect to be more efficient.   He has recommended they try to employ some of the laid off workers. 

 

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

 

        c.     A Local Law Amending Local Law No. 1 - 2010 Designating a Regionally Significant Project Within the Onondaga County Empire Zone (Tessy Plastics Corporation)

  •  Purchased former Syroco facility in the town of Van Buren
  •  Rail access buildings ideal for distribution and warehousing
  •  Moving distribution and warehousing will provide additional space for manufacturing at the Elbridge location 

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTIONCARRIED.

 

4.      ONCENTER:  Terri Toennies, President/CEO; Tom Eicholzer, Director of Food & Beverage; William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Approving Amendments to the Management Agreement Between the County and the Onondaga County Convention Center War Memorial Complex Management Corporation

  •  Last amended in October 2007
  •  Civic Center cafeteria and Café are currently losing $120,000 per year
  •  County Executive would like the option to consider outside vendor
  •  Current pricing structure includes sales tax
  •  10 Oncenter employees cover the cafeteria and Café
  •  $420,000 annual gross revenue
  •  RFP returned within 60 days
  •  Revise capital improvement language within the management agreement to coincide with the Oncenter enabling documentation 

Ms. Toennies stated this is not their core business. They have looked at a number of proposals for the County Executive. If they limit some of the current offerings they believed they could bring the cost down significantly. They also took into account strong direction that prices could not be increased. They suggested the County Executive might be able to receive rents or percentage of the sales with an outside source.  If someone is already providing this service in the area, they could provide a consolidated effort. 

 

Mr. Stanczyk suggested charging sales tax immediately. Ms. Toennies responded saying there was a great sensitivity with County employees and the price structure. They have been told not to change this. They would change it tomorrow if they could. Mr. Fisher stated the Oncenter has a Board of Directors that should be making policy decisions such as this. Chair Rapp stated even with the $35,000 in sales tax funds we would remain with and $85,000 loss.

 

Mr. Stanczyk questioned if this would be brought back to the legislature prior to budget. Mr. Fisher stated once approval for amendments was received there would be no need for the County Executive to come back.  The board asked Mr. Fisher to return and provide an update on the outcome from the RFP. 

 

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

 

5.      INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Ken Beam, Chief Information Officer; William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Peoplesoft Software Update

Mr. Fisher provided the following information.

 

Mainframe Hardware and Software:

Annual Expenses in 2010 vs. 2014

 

Description                                                               2010                   2014

IBM Mainframe (System z9 Lease & Maintenance)       $311,333                $0

IBM z/OS (Operating System for mainframe)                543,202                  0

IBM DB2 for z/OS (Database for mainframe)                  81,978                  0

FAMIS (Financials application software)                       76,588                  0

Genesys (HR / Payroll application software)                   60,120                  0

BuySpeed (eProcurement application software))             18,000                  0

BTrack (Custom budget application – MS Access               n/a                  n/a

 

TOTAL:               $1,091,041              $0

 

Components of OnGov Enterprise Platform

 

IBM System z10 (z/Linux operating system)

IBM Blade Servers (Application & Web servers)

IBM z/Linux operating system (open source)

ORACLE for z/Linux (database)

Oracle/Peoplesoft (Financials + HR/Payroll +

Budget + eProcurement + other applications)

-      For County, Towns & Villages

 

                       OnGov IT Roadmap

 

  •  Accelerate migration away from Mainframe hardware and software
  •  (Goal: no more Mainframe costs beginning 2014)
  •  Purchase hardware, operating systems and databases for z/Linux
  •  And Oracle/Peoplesoft (bond financing) in 2010 – 2011
  •  Replace FAMIS, Genesys, and BuySpeed with integrated
  •  Applications from Oracle/Peoplesoft, using integration team used
  •  Successfully by Broome County and other counties
  •   - FAMIS → Oracle/Peoplesoft Financials by 1/1/2012
  •   - BuySpeed → Oracle/Peoplesoft eProcurement by 1/1/2012
  •   - BTrak → Oracle Hyperion budget application by 1/1/2012
  •   - Genesys → Oracle/Peoplesoft applications to Towns & Villages at no cost 
  •  Complete migration to new enterprise platform by 2014

                        Period of Probable Usefulness (PPU)

 

CATEGORY/PPU

Hardware/10 years

Software Licenses / 5 years

Software Maintenance / Not eligible for bond financing

System Integration / 10 years

Outsourced database administration / 10 years

System administration and software

Development services

 

Mr. Fisher stated the County has been running mainframe software for over 30 years.  The experience is slow, ugly and awful. There is no integration between software systems within the mainframe. With the proposed IBM System you will log into a secure integrated web based network. All Onondaga County towns and villages will have access to the program at no additional cost. The total bonding cost would be $9.8 million.  $1 million each for hardware and software, $6 million for integration and $1.5 million for outsourcing (database administration, system administration, and software development). There will be an increase of $500,000 to the budget per year starting in 2013 through 2019. In 2020 we should be down to or below the current level. Once organizational changes are made to adapt to the new software there will be additional savings in personnel.  He is not sure if he will be able to show a hard return of investment on this item. This is a cost of doing business.

 

In response to Chair Rapp, Mr. Fisher stated it took Broome County 30 months for the transition. 

 

Mr. DeMore asked if the towns seemed interested in this program.  Mr. Fisher stated that they did not want to offer this to the towns before it was approved by the Legislature. Mr. Rowley stated the Town of Clay has a system that costs $80,000 plus per year. Any changes to the program require an additional fee. With this program the town could save $80,000 per year.

 

Mr. Fisher stated that they did not have a bond resolution today, but would be going before the Ways and Means committee this month with the resolution.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 A.M.                

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine M. French

Assistant Clerk

 

* * *

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES, MAY 12, 2010

JAMES A. CORBETT, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Buckel, Mrs. Ervin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart and see attached list (Attachment 1)

 

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m. A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the minutes and a motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Corbett took the agenda out of order.

 

2.     Confirming Appointment to the Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Richard Garrett)

Mr. Corbett noted that Mr. Garrett would represent Onondaga County as a landowner.

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

 

1.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Patricia Pastella, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update

Highlights of the Month:

  • Proceeding with the projects that are required by the ACJ, issuing RFPs, have a recent contract for an evaluation, proceeding with final designs
  • Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Replacement Project will receive ARRA stimulus monies. Construction is proceeding - approximately 2,800 ft of interceptor pipe, 2,300 ft. of sanitary sewer pipe, 290 ft. of storm pipe have been installed; construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2010 with some final restoration in spring of 2011.
  • DEC Commissioner Grannis and County Executive Joanne Mahoney celebrated Earth Day and made a joint announcement about continued programs to clean Onondaga Lake
  • The EPA honored Onondaga County, The Onondaga Nation, Atlantic States Legal Foundation and the Partnership for Onondaga Creek with the Environmental Quality Award for their collaboration in developing and introducing green infrastructure solutions into the clean-up of Onondaga Lake
  • Presentations on the County’s Green Infrastructure program were give during the month of April to: University Hill Corporation, SUNY Upstate Medical Center and Course Marshall Business Improvement District
  • County kicked off a pilot rain barrel program on the South and West sides of the city. Program received a grant from EFC, will provide free rain barrels for residents to capture storm water on their properties, are proceeding with workshops
  • County working closely with the City on the development of a “green” parking lot program – first construction project scheduled for the Downtown Farmer’s Market in May
  • Skimmer boat operation began the first week of April 2010 – will collect and remove debris once weekly during the months of April and May projects in Design Stage:
  • Midland Phase III (CSO-044)
  • Clinton CSO Storage facility, CSO-022 sewer separation project
  • Harbor Brook storage facility

Also, they are going through the process of awarding a contract for engineering services for the remaining CSO’s in the Midland and Clinton sewer shed areas.

 

Ambient Monitoring Program:

  • Tributary sampling conducted in April
  • Lake sampling conducted in April
  • Biological monitoring is gearing up

 

Mr. Corbett mentioned that the Planning Agency and County Executive’s office are taking a large interest in making sure projects that are put forward through the towns and villages have green infrastructure design in them, asked if there will be instructions on how the rain barrels should be used. Ms. Pastella said the resident has to attend a workshop regarding how to install it, how to maintain it and the proper use. They have given out approximately 20 barrels, and they have three scheduled workshops coming up at WEP, will also have workshops in the community itself. Ms. Smiley added that part of the program includes people going back to evaluate whether they are being used appropriately.

 

3.     WEP:

        a.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with the Proposed Increased Cost of Sewer Separation Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District of the County of Onondaga, New York, Intended to Enable the County to Comply with Requirements Set Forth in the Amended Consent Judgment in Connection with the Settlement of Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. ET AL V. County of Onondaga, ET AL.

Mr. Corbett said CSO-002 was originally included with the sewer separation project designed in 2002; it was removed from the list in anticipation that it would be part of the Clinton RTF and was included in the recent Facilities Plan RFP. Mr. Corbett advised that there are challenges because of how close it is to the businesses and the possible disruption. Also, there is the construction of the Butternut Street overpass and the work on West Street. The Army Corp of Engineers has now offered ARRA money because it is a shovel ready project; it has been removed from the Facilities Plan and will be abated through sewer separation. The total project cost estimate for CSO-022 is $4.95 million; grant amount is 70%, not to exceed $3.01 million. Mr. Corbett complimented Ms. Pastella’s staff and the County Executive’s staff for finding other ways to get money towards these projects so that it is not put on the taxpayers.

 

Ms. Pastella said this is a good opportunity with the funding that is available. The resolution is calling for a public hearing in connection with CSO-002 to increase the funds for the sewer separation project in the amount of $5,000,000.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve this item.

 

In answer to Mr. Corbett, Ms. Pastella said the project would start before the end of the year. They will write into the contract some unique hours for construction to address the businesses in the area. Mr. Corbett referred to times in past when construction was not allowed for some projects during occupied hours, construction hours were often 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., that is probably the best use for this area.

 

Mr. Rhinehart noted that the Legislature approved $15 million in 2000 and $5 million 2009, asked if this project has gone from $15 million to $25 million. Ms. Pastella said that is the total for all of the sewer separation projects. Ms. Pastella added that the previous resolutions were not for CSO-002 which was added in because there was stimulus money available and the project was designed and shovel-ready. Mr. Rhinehart asked if they have ever worked night hours before and will that contribute to the cost of the project. Ms. Pastella replied that it depends on how they set up the project – if they just change the hours, there may not be premium overtime. Mr. Corbett said with “occupied conditions” none of it is overtime, there may be a slight (about 5%) increase in the hourly wage, but that would be through the New York State Department of Labor. Mr. Corbett said that area is a challenge – they would have to shut all the businesses down to do it during the day.

 

A vote was taken on this item and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.    INFORMATIONAL:  Jean Smiley, Mr. Luis Mendez, Ms. Patricia Pastella

               A Local Law Establishing a Program to Promote Capacity management, Maintenance and Operation of the Public Sewers and Related Purposes and to Repeal Local Law No. 13 of 1989

Ms. Smiley reviewed that the committee was provided in January with a draft of the local law to make changes in the way we do business in this county to prevent sewer problems from happening. The County has met with the towns, villages and City about their concerns relating to the law. They will also meet with the Home Builders Association because some of the things they are recommending are changes in building standards. The County is also asking to be at the table earlier in terms of development so that the development isn’t having that impact on our sewer system before they even know what the issues are. Ms. Smiley provided a memo regarding recent changes to the local law (on file with Clerk).

 

Mr. Mendez said the changes to the local law distributed in January are in response to the input they have received from elected officials representing the City, towns, villages and members of the Legislature. Four most significant items or concerns:

  • The impact on owners of existing structures who may have connections to the sewer system that would require separation. Local law was revised to change the disconnection requirement from a five year mandate to a ten year goal.
  • Allow people to satisfy the inspection requirement by either submitting a certificate of inspection that they have no storm water connections into the sanitary sewer or by filing a certificate of waiver provided to them that covers the property at the point of sale. Mr. Mendez said it will impose a burden on the department because it is likely to trigger a large request for waivers, but it also provides a mechanism to address the question of documenting that they have sought approval of the department to allow these connections to remain and that the department has determined that disconnect would either cause undue hardship or that in their service area, a disconnection at this time or at the time the waiver is provided is not necessary. Waiver is not indefinite, would have to be renewed.
  • Filing requirements: have changed the requirement to have both the certificate of inspection and the waiver filed with the Division of Plumbing at WEP - $50 to file a certificate of inspection or waiver. The goals are to document compliance and to continue to work on filing of inventory of properties where improper connections to storm sewers are occurring. The local law has been changed to require the inspection to be made by a codes officer, licensed plumber, a WEP plumber or a person certified to do home inspections.
  • How to go about preventing the possibility for moratoriums: have proposed as an interim plan to address the capacity issue at a particular service area – the municipality would work to develop an offset plan that would allow a project to go forward pending implementation of a plan to correct the capacity issues.
 

Ms. Smiley said the meetings have been collaborative, the City submitted a document with minor changes. She has contacted the Home Builders Association to set up a meeting with them. Part of this law allows the County to develop standards of construction so that they can minimize the impact on our sewer system as well as communities; it also puts the County at the table much earlier so that if there is an issue of capacity, they can push for things that take water out of the system (such as low flow shower heads and toilets) without changing the whole development plan. Ms. Smiley said from the County’s perspective, there is concern about the infrastructures that are built, turned over to the town or village and then down the road the County has problems with it because it wasn’t built to a specific specification and becomes a significant cost to the town or County. The law would also insure that when development happens, it doesn’t further impact areas that they know have problems. The original law and this one gives them the ability to come back to the Legislature for particular programs to identify known areas where combined things can be done with the towns/villages, County and in some cases the homeowners to fix those areas.

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp regarding moratorium issues, Ms. Smiley said it is a process to prevent completely stopping building, a way for them to address those issues either through the types of construction they might do for better capture or other ways such as low flow toilets, etc.

 

Mr. Corbett said as this local law gets defined and re-defined, hopefully it will eliminate the problem of towns or villages telling a developer to go ahead with a project and then coming back to the Legislature for a waiver because they want to tie into the system. Ms. Smiley said the change to ten years was so that in the first five years the major emphasis would be on developers having standards so that we are stopping problems from being created in the future. The law would also address when homes turn over, they would be fixed at that time, would also give people staying in their homes more time. Law would also address the County working with the towns and villages on areas of known concern to fix those problems.

 

Mr. Corbett mentioned the rain barrels as a way to help with the storm water that normally goes into the sanitary system with many homes. Ms. Smiley said the community seems to be ready for change. They have been working with SUNY ESF, Syracuse University and private developers so that as they do their projects, they are incorporating green aspects. It will ultimately reduce the county’s need to treat, pump, etc. down the road.

 

Mr. Corbett mentioned the challenge in the city where many existing commercial buildings go to one source, asked if someone sells a building that is a combined CSO, will there be a requirement to separate at the source. Mr. Mendez said if it is currently a combined sewer, a certificate is not required or if there is a green infrastructure that can handle the flow from the existing source. Where there is an IDA involved the City has requested that they exempt from the inspection certification requirements for nominal transfers, but they would hope to be able to work separately with the City to include incorporation of green infrastructure into IDA projects where feasible. Ms. Smiley said as they look at green projects, they are not just looking at the site, looking to draw water into the retention area from surrounding areas as well.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk 

 

* * *

FISCAL WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 10, 2010 

CHAIRMAN CASEY JORDAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Buckel, Mr. Warner, Mr. Holmquist

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Corbett, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne

ALSO PRESENT: see attached list

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.

 

1.     MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET:

        a.     First Quarter Report - James Rowley, CFO

Mr. Rowley distributed Key Economic and Fiscal Indicators – 2010 First Quarter (attached) and provided the following:

 

2010 First Quarter Update

I am here to provide the members of the Fiscal Ways and Means Committee with the first quarter update on the 2010 budget. The Division of Management and Budget has worked with County departments to make our best estimate of how departments will finish the fiscal year, given the results of the first quarter. The difficult budget choices that were proposed in the County Executive’s 2010 budget and modified by this legislature have decisively addressed revenue shortfalls anticipated from 2009 budgeted levels, as well as increased costs in mandates, wages and benefits. As you know, the County of Onondaga eliminated 257 funded positions in the 2010 adopted budget. When we started the budget year in January, we were down 171 filled positions from January 2009. The Division of Management & Budget and the County Executive’s office have continued to pressure departments not to fill vacancies unless absolutely necessary, which thereby providing budgetary relief throughout the first quarter. At this time, we project to be slightly over budget by $1.3 million before accounting for austerity. The County Executive and I imposed a modest austerity program at the start of the fiscal year of $2.0 million local as a hedge against a very tight budget.  With austerity as a cushion, we feel confident at this time that we will finish 2010 on budget. 

 

Here are the highlights of the first quarter forecast:

 

Economic Indicators

The County’s fiscal health is reflective of the local economy’s health. DMB tracks a host of different indicators, both local and national, that gives guidance to our forecast and provides context to our actual performance. Generally speaking, the key leading indicators are stable and trending favorably. While one data point does not make a trend, the direction of economic indicators is positive.

  • The unemployment rate in Onondaga County stood at 7.9% in March, down from 8.3% in January but higher than the average rate for 2009 of 7.6%. At the national level, the recent increase in job creation has brought some discouraged workers back into the job market, thus increasing the unemployment rate. Since the local economy tends to lag what is happening at the national level, it’s entirely possible that we’ll see unemployment rise above 8% in the second quarter. Even at the national level, job growth has been slow, which indicates that the recovery will continue to be slower than we would all like to see.
  • National GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter, which is a little slower than the fourth quarter of 2009. While this statistic indicates that the economy is heading in the right direction, we’ll need faster growth in the economy before we can expect to see the kind of robust recovery needed to create the jobs our community needs.
  • Inflation year over year was 2.3% in the northeast for the first quarter of 2010, up from the first quarter of 2009 deflationary reading and is in a moderate range, which is helpful for businesses like ours that are trying to get the best bang for the buck when purchasing goods and services.

 

Human Service Caseloads

As another indicator of the County’s fiscal condition, these indicators continue to trend in the wrong direction. 

  • Medicaid caseload – up 12% in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009
  • Safety Net – up 14% in the first quarter
  • Family Assistance – up 12%

 

Revenues

First quarter County sales tax receipts were up 3.7% year over year. As you’ll recall, however, sales taxes fell sharply in 2009, and sales tax receipts in the first quarter of this year are still well below sales taxes in 2008. Unless we see growth in excess of 5% for the year as a whole, we’ll still be making those infamous “hold harmless” payments to other municipalities and school districts at the end of the year.

Although a single data point is not enough for us to say there’s a clear trend, we have decided to make a small upward revision in our 2010 sales tax estimate, from 1.0% budgeted growth to our new forecast of 1.7% growth. We feel 1.7% is a realistic estimate given our analysis of the last several decades of sales tax results, when an increase in one quarter has often been followed by a downtick in the next quarter or two. If we see another uptick in the second quarter, we will revise this number accordingly.

 

Prior year tax collections are projected to decrease $4.7 million. As detailed in the 2009 3rd quarter report, we estimated this decrease at $5.1 million due to the sale of tax sale certificates. The County Executive’s strategy was to sell certificates to close an approximate $10 million dollar gap last year. Selling tax sale certificates accelerated this revenue into 2009, leaving a shortfall in the 2010 Budget that was known at the time that the County Executive presented her proposed budget in September. This strategy, along with significant austerity measures, allowed the County to close the 2009 gap.

 

Room Occupancy Tax (ROT), while having no influence on the general fund beyond budgeted amounts, had a strong year over year increase in the first quarter of 2010. ROT collections were $1.05 million in the first quarter of this year compared to $948 thousand in the first quarter of 2009, an 11% increase.  Along with the businesspeople who own hotels and restaurants, we hope this positive trend will continue this quarter and in quarters to come.

 

Expenses

On the expense side, major expenditure items are forecast to be under budget by $1.7 million. I already mentioned that we remain very aggressive in forcing departments to make a strong business case before filling any job vacancies, which is helping to keep the budget in balance. Additionally, local costs in some of the human service areas are projected to be under budgeted levels. Most notable is the pre-school / EI program. We were projecting a $1.9 million deficit for 2009 in this program but the actual deficit came in approximately $327 thousand. NYS did not increase rates in 2009 as expected and client counts leveled off. Using these trends we have adjusted our budget projection accordingly.

 

On the negative side relative to expenditures, legal aid for the indigent, community college charge backs, mental health hospitalization and road salt expense in the highway department are above budget at this time, requiring us to adjust our forecasts accordingly.

 

General Fund Balance

We finished 2009 with a budget surplus of $3.9 million and after accounting for changes in reserves, prepaids and the 2010 budget designation of $7.9 million in the use of fund balance; we ended the year approximately $840 thousand over the 10% policy goal of net revenues for fund balance.

 

Future Risks

The debt crisis continues internationally, as well as nationally and regionally. The stock market scare of last week underscored the amount of unsustainable debt that exists globally at all levels of government. Many states and municipalities in the U.S. are under unprecedented fiscal stress and the risk of default on their debt is at historical highs. Should this be the next “bubble” that pops, County government will feel the affects.

 

The chaos in Albany continues unabated. The Governor is preparing emergency spending bills to keep the government going which include provisions for state worker furloughs. The furlough provisions are unprecedented. These bills must be passed as presented by the Governor or the state government will virtually shut down. 

 

Albany is projected to run out of cash by the first week of June. This could impact the reimbursement schedule noted below and impinge the County’s cash flow accordingly:

 

Health

 

 

• Medicaid (weekly)

 

• Medicaid Administration (monthly)

• Public Health Works (monthly)

• Early Intervention (9 month lag)

• Community services for elderly (monthly lag)

• In-home services for the elderly (periodically)

Mental hygiene

 

• OMRDD (quarterly)

 

 

 

Education

 

 

• Preschool Special Education (12 month lag)

• Summer School Special Ed (monthly)

Public Protection

 

• Indigent Legal Services (annually)

• Probation Services (quarterly)

• Criminal Justice Funding (quarterly)

Social Welfare

 

• Temporary and Disability Assistance (monthly)

• Foster Care—OCFS (monthly)

• Child welfare (quarterly)

• Child care (monthly)

Other

 

 

• Transit aid

 

 

The County’s cash position is being monitored closely; it is down on a pooled cash basis 13.1% from the first quarter of 2009. In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Maturo reported that designated fund balance at the end of 2009 is $74.7 million; $69 million undesignated.

 

Mr. Rowley said that they are tracking all cash flows; watching State closely.

 

Mr. Stanczyk said that sales tax receipts are up sharply; if it stays 3.7% up, there would be $7-$8 million more in County sales tax receipts than budgeted. Mr. Rowley said that it can be looked at as reducing the amounts paid for hold harmless. Regarding case load increases, Mr. Stanczyk questioned how different it is from what was budgeted. Mr. Morgan explained that Medicaid caseloads are higher, but with the cap in place it doesn’t translate to higher expenditures. The PA caseloads are up above budget.

 

Mr. Warner suggested that this is the worse financial crisis that the County has been in since the Depression. In view of that, there are advance step hires on an unprecedented level. He and Mr. Meyer will be bringing the issue forward at the next session. Everything else is spiraling down and advance step hires are continuing at the rate that they have been; something has to change.

 

Mr. Buckel said that the key driver of sales tax increases is gas prices; it is an uncertainty. Mr. Rowley agreed; has heard projections of $5/gallon.  Mr. Buckel asked for the estimate of contribution for pension liabilities and projections for the next couple of years. Mr. Rowley said that pension costs went from 7% of payroll this year to 11.9%. The Comptroller has projected rates to be 17% of payroll in 2011 and 24% in 2012. There is a revaluation done every March. Mr. Stanczyk said that the market crashed in 2009 and has rebounded tremendously; there will be a downward recalculation of those rates. 

 

Chairman Jordan said that there have been previous projections of a $55 million deficit for 2011 and asked if there has been a revision to the projections.  Mr. Rowley said that they haven’t changed their outlook on it. 

 

2.     COMPTROLLER:

        a.     Comprehensive Annual Financial Report - Robert Antonacci II, Comptroller

Mr. Antonacci distributed the following information:

 

Supplemental Information - Analysis of Key Financial Policies of Onondaga County

 

General Fund debt service below 5% of General Fund Revenue:

            Revenue                                         $606,141,849

            5%                                                    30,307,092

            Debt Service                                       14,059,077

 

Net direct indebtedness to remain below $500 per capita:

            Net direct debt                                $159,798,000

            2009 Population                                      454,753

            Per capita                                                     351

 

At least 65% of outstanding debt will be retired within 10 years:

            Outstanding Debt                             $208,835,500

            Amount retired in 10 years                  153,950,500

            Percentage                                                73.7%

 

Undesignated General Fund balance 10% of revenues:

            Revenue                                          $606,141,849

            10%                                                   60,614,185

            2009 Undesignated                              69,373,888

            Amount over 10%                                  8,759,703

            Appropriated in the 2010 budget              7,917,081

            Designated for tax relief & debt avoidance   842,622

 

Note: All of the above existing Onondaga County policies are in compliance with the stated financial parameters of said policy.

 

Mr. Antonacci provided the following statement:

 

Today our office hereby releases Onondaga County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending December 31, 2009. The release of this report in such a timely fashion is essential to the maintenance of our bond rating and continues to add to our reputation of sound fiscal management.

 

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

 

This committee of the Onondaga County Legislature is the first to enjoy the release of our financial statements. Since we do not expect the full comprehension of such a voluminous document at first read we respectfully offer the following comments as you review this document.

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

 

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

 

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

 

The CAFR consist of the following sections:

1.        Letter of transmittal- pages iii-viii

2.        Opinion Letter from independent auditor-pages ix-x

3.        Management Discussion and Analysis-pages xi-xxii

4.        Basic Financial Statements consisting of:

a.        Government Wide Financial Statements- pages 1-4

b.        Fund Financial Statements-pages 5-17

c.        Notes to the Financial Statements- pages 18-41

 

We respectfully suggest the Required Supplementary Information consisting of Budgetary Information on Major and Non-Major Funds (pages 42-60) would be of tremendous use during budget sessions. These statements reflect budget to actual financial figures and assess our variance from the budget.

 

The Statistical Section, beginning on page 61 is another useful financial tool providing historical perspective on many key financial conditions.

 

In closing, no one single measure of financial condition can fully capture the financial stability of our government.  Each of your constituents may gauge financial success differently. However, the discussion must begin with and be based on sound financial data. The issuance of timely financial statements begins the discussion and we are proud to submit this Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending December 31, 2009, to help you serve the taxpayers of Onondaga County.

 

Mr. Stanczyk referred to the hand out and asked where the parameters come from. Mr. Antonacci said that they are existing county policies based on analytical data. A ratio test can provide a quick idea as to whether or not a company is performing properly; there are dozens of testings. If the County stays within these parameters, he believes it is a hallmark of good financial condition. Mr. Stanczyk said that the County has fairly transparent economic debt. He asked if other counties in NYS were put on a matrix, would Onondaga County elevate to the top. Mr. Antonacci said that they did not test their financial statements against current year financial statements elsewhere, but they have done it in the past and have always clearly been a leader. Mr. Stanczyk said it is reflected in the County’s bond rating. Mr. Antonacci said that the reason Onondaga County doesn’t go to the next level on bond rating is because of a county policy, which is the fact that Onondaga makes its towns whole for property tax collection. Westchester County does not make their towns whole for property tax collection. Mr. Stanczyk said that it gives the County control over the tax certificates rather than individual towns.

 

Chairman Jordan said that essentially there is approximately $800,000 above the 10% fund balance that is looked for. Mr. Antonacci agreed.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 13, 2010 

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIRPERSON

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Tassone, Mr. DeMore

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Kinne

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. A motion was made by Mr. Masterpole, seconded by Mr. DeMore to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting. Motion CARRIED.

 

1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Acceptance of Payment from the New York State Department of Transportation for Real Property Acquired for the Improvement of New York State Route 173 in the Town of Onondaga ($22,200)

  • NYS DOT did a highway project on Rt. 173 from Fairmount to Onondaga Hill about 4 – 5 years ago. They acquired a piece of County owned property; made an offer of $22,200 – fair market value

 

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

 

        b.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property Necessary for the Reconstruction of the Dewitt-Cicero, Part II (Thompson Road) C.R. 14 in the Town of Cicero, County of Onondaga

  • Putting in a center turn lane, improving signal at Thompson and South Bay Rds.
  • To widen road -- need to acquire 68 parcels of property from Northern Blvd to Rt. 31
  • Fair market appraisals by Pomeroy; main difference in appraisal amounts is between commercial and residential properties. In most cases commercial properties have more value. In some cases existing homes are close to the road--set back loss damage is assessed and affects values
  • 61 have signed off on offers; of remaining 7, 1 is a commercial property (gas station) their company policy is to handle everything by condemnation; 1 owner of vacant property-have not been able to locate; 5 have not responded to the offer
  • Resolution will authorize payment or move into condemnation proceedings
  • Project scheduled to be bid; utility relocation this season; next season do road work; local dollars; funded through multiple work plans; heavy traffic volume on Thompson causing tremendous delays – backed up at times through intersection at Thompson and South Bay; have pavement issue – haven’t rehabbed it in 25 years. Original intent was to go from Northern Blvd. to Rt. 31 – don’t have finances to do it all at this point
  • Title search is checked; if there is a mortgage try to get larger amounts reduced

 

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

 

2.      OCPL: Elizabeth Dailey, Executive Director

        a.     Amend 2010 Budget to Accept Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Funds for the OCPL, and Authorize County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($2,914)

  • Autograph Manuscript Collection of 281 letters--need specialized care -- hire consultant to take care of collection

 

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

 

         b.     Amend 2010 County Budget to Accept State Construction Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorize the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($425,208)

  • Accept NYS Library Construction Funds money – amount was decided by population
  • Projects include roofs at Beachump, Hazard, Mundy, Pain and Petit; HVAC at Petit
  • Funding will go into infrastructure plan approved by Legislature; includes bonding and grant funding; the total cost is $4.4 million; bonding approx. $2.5 million

 

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

 

         c.     Amend 2010 Budget to Accept NYS Special Legislative Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorize the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($50,000)

  • Trying to make databases accessible to all county residents; grant will offset costs
  • Installation work will be done by library staff; it is customer service friendly
  • Grant will probably stretch past the end of the year; will then have to look funds and make priorities. 
  • Each vendor has a different deal based on the amount of money; sometimes there is a limit as to how many people can sign on

 

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

 

         d.     Amend 2010 Budget to Accept American Library Association/Dollar General Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorize Co. Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($5,000)

  • Paid for by Dollar General – will provide additional study materials for adults, either learning English as a second language or work on their GED.

 

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

 

      e.   Amend 2010 Budget to Accept NYS Division of Library Development Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorize County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($23,091)

  • Federal stimulus funds, applied for by NYS– Opportunity Online Broadband Grant
  • Update Intranet connectivity at Baldwinsville, Noble, Salina Free; OCPL will get some administrative fees and payment for consulting.
  • Work will be done by OCPL and IT staff

 

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

 

3.     OCC:  Sue Tormey

         a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2010 - 2011 Budget of the Onondaga Community College

  • Uncertainties with State budget not passed; hope to come in June for joint meeting of Co. Facilities and Ways & Means; full session in July
  • Board of Trustees need to vote on budget
  • Public hearing scheduled for June 11th at 11:30 a.m.; may need to change date

 

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

 

4.     PARKS:  Bill Lansley, Commissioner

         a.     Amend ’10 Budget to Appropriate Revenues from Sale of Marina Docks at Onon. Lake Park ($17,276)

  • Used docks were pulled out and sold at auction for $17,276
  • Put in floating docks, which are ADA compliant; 96 slips available – increased it by 9
  • Put in paved walkways
  • Ice won’t harm them; a dozen aerators are installed under the docks all winter to keep water moving and avoid ice issue. Pylons were driven into the lake bed
  • Plastic chain link fence was installed as a deterrent so people don’t get onto rock wall and jump onto dock

 

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

 

         b.     Transfer of Funds from Contingent Acct. 650 ($50,000) to Supplies and Materials Acct. 300 ($50,000)

Mr. Lansley distributed the following: 

Update on Carpenters’ Brook Fish Hatchery - May 13, 2010

History:

Onondaga County’s Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery is one of three county operated fish hatcheries in New York State. Originally constructed during the Great Depression as a WPA project, the hatchery took four years to build at a cost of $93,000. From 1938, our first stocking year, to 1964, the facility was jointly run by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife (now USFWS) and Onondaga County. Since 1964, the hatchery has been operated and funded solely by Onondaga County.

 

The hatchery raises more than 70,000 Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout annually. Carpenter’s Brook provides all yearling and Two Year old fish stocked throughout the 100 miles of streams and 10,000 acres of lakes and ponds in the County. The two -year old program consists of 20,000 Brown Trout in the 14 – 16” range.

 

The hatchery currently employs two full time employees and utilizes volunteers and interns from the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (ESF) as well as thousands of hours of volunteer labor from local sportsmen. The Friends of Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery is a Not-For-Profit 501© 3 organization dedicated to supporting the hatchery’s programs. Incorporated since 1994, the Friends have purchased 80 acres of land behind the hatchery, refurbished and installed a backup generator, purchased playground equipment, and built a ¾ acre disabled access fishing pond.

 

As part of the Onondaga County Parks Department, the hatchery has a twofold mission as a fish farm for stocking and to provide public programming centered around sportsmen issues. In addition to stocking area streams, the hatchery also supports local programs by supplying fish for kids derbies, hosting learn to fish programs; a Senior and Disabled summer fishing program; open public fishing weekends; a DEC led Fishing clinic; and Sportsmen Days, a two day celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The grounds also have a picnic shelter, fish themed playground, archery range, and pheasant demonstration project.

 

Preliminary numbers for 2010 indicate more than 70,900 fish at a combined weight of 26,700 lbs. will be stocked in local streams. The annual operating costs for the hatchery for this fiscal year is $238,373 (includes contingency and ee benefits).

 

Recent Accomplishments:

Fishing License Revenue Sharing

Bills have been introduced in both the Senate and Assembly. Sen. DeFrancisco has bill # S07349 but it doesn't have a Democratic sponsor yet. Sen. Valesky is planning to either sign on to Sen. DeFrancisco's bill or introduce one of his own.

 

On the Assembly side, bill # A10625 was introduced by Assemblyman Barclay and has Assemblyman Stirpe, Assemblywoman Christensen, and Assemblyman Kolb as cosponsors. Assemblyman Magnarelli is also on board.

 

Both bills have been referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee as of 3/31 (Senate) and 4/13 (Assembly). These bills would return approximately $197,000 to Onondaga County from the sale of fishing licenses to reduce the county subsidy from $238,373 to approximately to $41,373. and we have been increasing the number of other fundraising events that the Friends do as well as seeking other funding partners.

 

 ESF Update

We had students at the hatchery 6-7 days a weeks. We also had a SUNY Cortland intern and an OCC intern. Generally the students came in groups of 2- 5, depending on transportation, seven days a week with a few occasional misses. They provided 87 volunteer hours in the fall semester and 666 volunteer hours in the spring semester for a total of 753 volunteer hours. The interns supplied us with a lot of muscle and, as a result, we are dead on with stocking efforts and will finish on May 18th. We will also have all next year’s fish moved into raceways, all ponds cleaned, and probably only the hatchery to move out. Two students from ESF have indicated they will be volunteering this summer. We are also expecting one CNY Works student (his second year) this summer. The ESF interns fed fish, loaded stocking trucks, did sample counts, pressure washed raceways and round ponds, moved fish between holding units, did spring cleanup on the grounds, took water quality readings, unloaded feed deliveries, performed some disease treatments and other minor maintenance duties.

 

SUNY ESF through Congressman Maffei has requested funding from the FY2011 Congressional Designated Projects funded up to $750,000 for Hatchery repairs, construction and operations.

 

Friends Payments

The Friends of Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery have paid $5,000 of the $10,000 they pledged last fall. A second payment will be made in July or August. The Friends also donated $3,200 in retrofit adjustments to the stocking truck.

 

BassPro

At last report Bass Pro had raised approximately $4,500 for Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery.

 

Sponsorship for June Time Out to Fish and Grandparent/Grandchild Program

We have raised $1,800 in sponsorships for the Time Out To Fish program. The sponsorships allowed the price for participants to remain at $2.00 each. Typically, there are 700 - 1,000 participants, meaning the program should net between $3,200 and $3,500 and will be self sustaining. The sponsors are BASCOL - $1,500 and Sweet Word O’Connell Memorials - $300.

 

NEW Public Fishing Program – Saturdays

A new Public Fishing was introduced this spring on Saturday mornings and afternoons. The program has been full for the mornings but had some cancellations in the afternoons due to low demand. The program has been run strictly with volunteers from Trout Unlimited (TU), ESF, and The Friends of Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery. The weather has kept attendance limited, but we have raised approximately $500 so far. We are planning on extending the program to the second, third and fourth Saturdays in June using our seasonal (103) Time Out To Fish staff.

 

Volunteer Support

Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery has benefited from volunteers from various sources. We have received a total of 1,419 volunteers hours from October 22, 2009 to the present.

 

Staffing

Even with the loss of two and a half positions, we have managed to rear and stock 100% of the fish goals, maintain all old programming with the exception of selling sporting licenses, increase our public program offerings and raise more money and awareness for the facility and Friends group. However, the accomplishments have not been without challenges. Maintaining full coverage of for hatchery operations has required extra ordinary efforts by staff – including occasional staff from other Parks.

 

We feel that we are on the right path with these collaborations and we have made significant strides in a relatively short time frame (7 months) but it will take more time to expand these opportunities.

 

Mrs. Rapp referred to fishing license revenues sharing; Senator DeFrancisco is not hopeful at his point. They are going to change the wording in the bill, as Onondaga Co. is the only county in NYS that stocks fish itself; DEC stocks it in everywhere else. Mr. Lansley said that letters of support are sought from County legislators. In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Lansley said it has worked out well with having the students at the Hatchery. 

 

Regarding staffing, Mr. Lansley noted that having 2.5 positions is not optimal – difficult to schedule days off. On a limited basis they have supplemented with people who have worked at the Hatchery over the years, CDL required people to deliver stocking. They will look to add a third person in next year’s budget. Mrs. Rapp asked if there are people that can flex in and out of the hatchery, as it doesn’t seem everything can be busy all of the time. Mr. Lansley said that they are doing that now and stocking is very busy--moving 70,000 fish - nearly a daily occurrence. Two hatchery aides were cut last year.

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, regarding a position created last year to increase revenues to the parks through sponsorships, Mr. Lansley said that a development firm has been selected, Benzo Consulting. They will work in conjunction with Friends groups. It is a small firm of 3 people--will work on behalf of all County parks.

 

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Masterpole to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     A Local Law Amending the Fees Collected by the Onondaga County Department of Parks and Recreation, and Amending Local Law No. 22-1002, as Previously Amended

  • Purchased a 30 x 30 tent, now want to rent it, have 4 tents in system; this one will be by the Good Dog Park
  • Several cabins at Highland Forest – stopped renting 3 in the Spring as they had structural issues
  • The Davis Cabin is a larger one; it was not put into the price increase last fall – want to increase rental fee and bring it back on line to rent out – approx. $4 per person; used a lot by Boy Scouts

 

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, the price difference on the tents from weekdays to weekends is related to value--they look at market rate. Mr. Cooley said it is related to supply and demand.  The tent is a rented pavilion, which stays up all summer. He explained that the current price of $54 is just to rent a green space; there is nothing there. In answer to Mr. Masterpole, the tents cost about $7,000; the cost of a new shelter 2 years ago was about $70,000; life expectancy of the tents are 10 – 12 years. Shelters are solid investments and needed; the tents are great stepping stones financially.  They withstand quite a bit of wind; are not typically located near trees; they are taken down in the winter.

 

A motion by Mr. Masterpole, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:52 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 25, 2010

CASEY JORDAN, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Buckel, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Warner

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Kinne

ALSO PRESENT: Chairman Rhinehart, Mr. Meyer, see also attached list

 

Chairman Jordan called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. A motion as made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Warner to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee; MOTION CARRIED. A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

1.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:

      a.   Accepting a C.O.P.S. Grant in the Amount of $300,000 for the Onondaga County Interoperable Communications System Project, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement this Resolution

2.   INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:

      a.   Amending the 2010 County Budget to Restore the Onondaga County Print Shop.

      b.   Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 2124, Duplicating Machine Operator 1, Grade 04 $31,097, effective 07/01/2010

            Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 7113, Duplicating Machine Operator 2, Grade 07 $38,975, effective 07/01/2010

            Create R.P. 01 10270000 0005 2123, Reproduction Services Supervisor, Grade 10 $49,537, effective 07/01/2010

3.   ONCENTER:

      a.   Approving Amendments to the Management Agreement Between the County and the Onondaga County Convention Center War Memorial Complex Management Corporation

Mr. Stanczyk asked that there be a report back to committee on the progress of this, the vendor selected and the reasons why selected.

4.   TRANSPORTATION:

      a.   Authorizing the Acceptance of Payment from the New York State Department of Transportation for Real Property Acquired for the Improvement of New York State Route 173 in the Town of Onondaga ($22,200)

      b.   Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property Necessary for the Reconstruction of the Dewitt-Cicero, Part II (Thompson Road) C.R. 14 in the Town of Cicero, County of OnondagaMOVED TO REGULAR AGENDA

5.   OCPL:

      a.   Amending the 2010 County Budget to Accept Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($2,914)

      b.   Amending the 2010 County Budget to Accept State Construction Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($425,208)

      c.   Amending the 2010 County Budget to Accept American Library Association/Dollar General Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($5,000)

      d.   Amend 2010 Budget to Accept NYS Division of Library Development Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($23,091)

6.   OCC:

      a.   Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2010 - 2011 Budget of the Onondaga Community College

7.   PARKS:

      a.   Amend 2010 Budget to Appropriate Revenues from the Sale of Marina Docks at Onondaga Lake Park ($17,276)

      b.   Transfer of Funds from Contingent Account 650 ($50,000) to Supplies and Materials Account 300 ($50,000)

 

Mr. Stanczyk asked that item 4b be removed from the consent agenda and placed on the regular agenda. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mr. Corbett, to approve the consent agenda with the exception of item 4b. Passed unanimously. MOTION CARRIED.

 

Item 4b was then considered.

 

4b.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property Necessary for the Reconstruction of the Dewitt-Cicero, Part II (Thompson Road) C.R. 14 in the Town of Cicero, County of Onondaga

Brian Donnelly, Commissioner, explained:

  • Thompson Road, Cicero road widening project between Northern Blvd and Rt. 31
  • Road not resurfaced in approx. 23 years; deteriorating lanes, shoulders falling apart
  • Capacity problems on Thompson Rd. – traffic back up between Rt. 31 and South Bay Rd.- crossing over into intersection
  • Project will resurface road and put in center turn lane, put in 8-ft paved shoulders
  • Need to acquire a portion of parcels on average of 8’ of existing properties there – 68 parcels impacted
  • 62 parcels have accepted fair market appraisal; 6 have not signed off at this point – the resolution would authorize eminent domain in the event that they don’t accept the offers

 

Discussion:

  • $6 million County expense – Mr. Stanczyk concerned about fairness to other taxpayers in the County
  • County never has approached/received compensation from a town for ROW acquisition
  • development which has occurred in Cicero is not in the vicinity of this project
  • County maintains road
  • Contract plowing to Town of Cicero
  • Comprehensive planning of all transportation needs – Mr. Buckel concerned about piecemeal nature; Mr. Donnelly said it is a challenging issue from County DOT perspective – majority of focus on infrastructure and keeping them in proper working order--County has seen population shifting, which makes planning more challenging
  • County DOT works with Co. Planning Board and town planning boards whenever there is a new development that comes in to ensure safe access into the County highway system and to look at the potential impact of that development on the surrounding highway system
  • No developments can be pointed to on Thompson Rd., or in the direct vicinity of that corridor, that are considered to be the difficult point – peripheral development between Clay and Cicero – variety of reasons individuals use Thompson Road
  • Mr. Buckel concerned that this is driven by status quo – policy of Co. Exec. has been to not continue sprawl without population growth – change nature/focus on way County does business – hopes DOT will be more proactive in looking at, and not responded to, what a town might do – push a more comprehensive look
  • Project was part of the approved County plan
  • Road said drainage is now mostly open ditches; in some case there will still be open drainage; others will be enclosed
  • Prudent to recognize the problem and correct it, as the County is liable
  • Prudent to get on top of sprawl issue to make sure the County doesn’t run into additional costs due to sprawl – planning and mechanisms need to be developed to keep it under control
  • Normal to do reconstruction of major road and still maintain ditches – there are guidelines as to the average speed, width, length of shoulders, etc. If there is issue or concern, guiderail is put in.

 

Mr. Lesniak made a motion to approve this item, seconded by Mr. Corbett. AYES: 7 (Jordan, Corbett, Lesniak, Buckel, Holmquist, Kilmartin, Warner); NOES: 0; ABSTENTIONS: 1 (Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

 

REGULAR AGENDA:

Mr. Balloni introduced Mr. William Bleyle, who will be the new Commissioner of Emergency Communications.

 

1.     COUNTY CLERK:  Ann Ciarpelli, County Clerk

         a.     Mortgage Tax Apportionment

  • Down about $200k from last year, which was down about $200K from the year before

A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Joe Rinefierd

        a.     Amend 2010 Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the Onondaga Co. Dept. of Emergency Management and Authorize the Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($87,070)

  • For Hazardous Materials Response Teams in Onondaga Co, Oswego Co, Madison Co, City of Syracuse
  • Equipment replacement & training - no jobs/employment parts to the grant, secured grant 2nd year in a row
  • Done on overtime – backfill for career departments to get people off the job to attend training
  • Chairman Jordan – concerned that there has to be better way to do it other than on overtime
  • Mr. Warner - concerned that overtime is driving pension costs
  • Training City of Syracuse, City of Oswego, City of Fulton—HazMat career people;  available also for volunteer agencies that participate in Hazmat at no cost to them
  • Radiation detectors – mostly red-eyes or vehicle detectors for early warning systems

 

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Joe Rinefierd

         a.     Authorizing an Intermunicipal Agreement with the Village of Solvay for the Village Real Property Rental Registration and Inspection Program

  • Agreement with Village of Solvay for code enforcement inspections on rental properties; one time
  • Inspections done by himself, another part time person, and one full-time person (Jim Stever)
  • No additional staff added; will be one or two days/week
  • Mr. Jordan - private company could do this and not be on taxpayers’ dime
  • Mr. Lesniak will support on the condition that if there is a contract renewal, that it comes back to the Legislature first; does not want the contract renewal to be automatic
  • Village adopted property code about a year ago, trying to get caught up so they can stay ahead of the rental inspections
  • When turnover with an apartment, it would be up to the Village if an inspection would need to be done
  • Mr. Kilmartin – good cooperative agreement, but hesitant to enter into long-term agreement

 

Mr. Lesniak made a motion to amend the resolution for a term of 6 months, with renewals coming back to the legislature for review, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin. Mr. Kilmartin made a motion to approve the resolution as amended, seconded by Mr. Lesniak.

 

  • County personnel are certified in NYS Code to do enforcement within the County and outside; currently inspect housing at OCC and a number of County owned buildings; same code is used for multi-family houses
  • Mr. Stanczyk – concerned that this seems to be more of a municipal function than a County function; County currently contracts with the City for the City housing inspectors to do inspections within the City
  • Mr. Stanczyk – concerned if a County employee gets hurt or assaulted while doing an inspection; concerned about County employees having time to do this; questioned the policy; will it be a new growth industry of the County
  • Mr. Kilmartin – don’t want to get into business in perpetuity; it will be on a limited contract basis, with full reimbursement then onus back on the Village to take care of their business with the ordinance that they passed
  • County personnel shall provide their own vehicles – built into the $42/hr reimbursement
  • Mr. Corbett – for years relatives owned the homes – some family lived upstairs and some downstairs; relatives are not there anymore. As other tenants have come in, they have tried to make 2 or 3 more rooms in them. A code was passed that is much more comprehensive, and the Village realized that they don’t have the personnel to correct everything at once. The idea is to get an infusion and get caught up with it.

 

Vote was taken on the motion to approve as amended. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. Stanczyk asked that the language be tightened up regarding the mileage.

 

3.      OCPL:  Elizabeth Dailey, Executive Director

        a.     Amend ’10 Budget to Accept NYS Special Legislative Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($50,000)

  • State funded grant – supporting electronic data bases available to each resident
  • Total expense of program is $49,898; funds used to pay for the programs

 

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Corbett, to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

5.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Barry Beck, Director or Contract Services

         a.     Authorize County Executive to Enter into Intermunicipal Agreements Related to the Care Coordination Program, in which the Onondaga County Department of Mental Health is to be a Participant

  • Memorandum of Understanding for the Care Coordination Project, currently an informal relationship with 7 counties—this will formalize the process
  • Monies will be utilized to create a separate not-for-profit which will handle the coordination activities
  • Currently a State Office of Mental Health demonstration project – creating the entity of 7 counties will allow more flexibility, allow receipt of state funds – in year 7 of the demonstration
  • No local dollars; no additional staff; no staff is hired by the County; Director of Quality Improvement, Commissioner, and himself do some in-kind service

 

A motion by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

6.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Ken Beam, Commissioner

         a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Acquisition and Installation of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Products in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $9,887,416, and Authorizing the Issuance of $9,887,416 Bonds of Said County to pay the Cost Thereof

A PowerPoint was distributed (on file with Clerk).

  • PeopleSoft is a comprehensive, integrated, financial/HR/payroll solution
  • Will replace older core system; FAMIS, GENESYS, BuySpeed, B-Track and some smaller systems
  • All data in the system is shared within the core systems; today they are separate silos of data – not cost effective or efficient
  • Some current systems are near 30 years old
  • Part of strategic plan to decrease operating costs; i.e. get rid of mainframe and the cost of the software to run it
  • Towns and villages can come on board if they wish at no cost to them; the cost to include them is about $150,000
  • City School Dist purchased PeopleSoft a couple of years ago
  • Implementation costs: Broome Co. $4.5 million; Nassau Co. $21 million; Orange Co. $7 million; will find out cost of City School Dist.
  • Orange and Broome Counties are up and running very well – they were on target with their budget and timeline
  • Mr. Buckel – encouraged larger use of these enterprise resource management systems for the entire county. Feels the price may be on the high side and questioned the research and how the costs were acquired.
  • Mr. Buckel -- consultant is important – questions if there will be an RFP process
  • Everything will be bought off of state contract; CedarCrestone –implemented the 3 other counties in NYS, the NYS Comptroller’s Office and Budget Office; saves the County a lot of time and money by using this vendor on the State contract
  • The new system to replace the mainframe will be about the same size--size of a doorframe
  • Leveraging equipment to run just about everything in the data center; more green
  • Budgetary impact – payoff for bonding is $8.9 million, $500,000 more per year for budget costs – Mr. Petrela will provide the information
  • In 5-10 years IT will still have about the same amount of people; it won’t increase
  • 5 people will be brought in under contract--will go away when project is completed; will not be County employees
  • Mr. Stanczyk – makes sense to hire these employees to keep with the County, as they will have the knowledge, and there will be a number of people in IT that will not be transitioning the same way or retiring. Mr. Beam explained that there are young people working on the projects now and will be with IT.
  • Analysis regarding benefits of hiring or contracting people -- Mr. Seitz said that they hope in the next 4 years that there is enough turnover, retirements, that some or most of these contract employees can be transitioned to the IT staff. They are not part of County benefit package, not paying County fringe. For at least the first 3 years, it makes sense to hire through contract.
  • Cost to lease current mainframe is $1.2 million which includes the software; about half of those costs will be gone. When the project is fully implemented in the next 3 years, there may be a reduction of about $600,000 from the mainframe cost per year.

 

Mr. Meyer had many questions and concerns including: price; standardization of sole source; were quotes received from the other companies that have Microsoft products, were proposals other than Oracle entertained; was Oracle the most expensive, cheapest or in the middle; evaluation process; did the County engage Oracle or did they engage the County; deciding factor; what are we buying; areas impacted in the County.

Mr. Beam replied as follows to questions:

  • Buying similar to what Broome County purchased
  • Got a better deal than Broome County for software; Broome paid 86% off list price; Onondaga got almost 91% off list price of software. Implementation cost almost exactly the same: Broome paid $4.5 million – half the size of Onondaga Co; Onondaga Co. will pay approximately $5.9 million
  • State contract prices are a top line price; up to municipality to try to bargain for a better price
  • State contract is standard and is on line
  • No association with NYSAC for Broome Co. contract
  • Implementation – consultant will assess all departments; will try to do as few modifications to the applications; financial module will be done first
  • Perpetual licensing – more cost effective
  • Fees charged by Oracle – 22% of the original cost of software
  • If there is disaster, money is not refunded; went with CedarCrestone because they don’t have the failures-Orange and Broome Counties have high praise for them
  • State contract
  • It would cost as much to do the pilot as to put the entire system in
  • Price to Erie County initially was $26 million; last number Mr. Beam heard of was $45 million. Erie Co. did a lot of code modification. They used SAP, which is not designed to work within the public sector; PeopleSoft is
  • It took Broome Co. 24 months, but they fast tracked theirs and did not do everything upfront. Now are going back in to do separate types of reports, etc.
  • County will own data; supplier will not; will be hosted in the Civic Center at the Data Center; does not know if it is in the contract that way
  • Not anticipating any snags; County will have to change its business process and work the way PeopleSoft works
  • Direction to departments about training time – will start on site – train the trainer. Intensive users of the system will be provided more training
  • Will be running a centralized system; don’t need a person to head up each department
  • No third party marketing agreements
  • No agreement between Oracle and NYSAC
  • No standardized contracts for software vendors; will check with Broome Co. to see if they do
  • Towns & Villages will not support costs; no implementation costs for them unless they make changes
  • Conversion covered in contract
  • Useful life of 5 years for software; 10 for hardware – Mr. Mack said that the State defines a useful life for financing purposes – how long bonded for 
  • Hardware life should be 5 years; software will be here for a long time

 

Mr. Buckel said that this can be phenomenal; the implementation is crucial; his experience is that if it doesn’t go right, it is always because the consultant did not qualify – they overpromised.

 

Chairman Jordan said that the savings are the reasons for doing this; the practical reality is that the savings don’t get realized by the taxpayer. Legislature needs to make a real commitment that the savings will be realized by the taxpayer, and that the saving won’t be utilized to fund other projects or spend somewhere else.

 

In answer to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Beam said that the cost of outsourcing the employee is about $1 million; it is bondable. Employees could not be hired through the bond, which was a big part of the decision to outsource. In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Beam said as far as getting the project done in 36 months, it was the main reason to do it this way. Need to get people in right away to get it done; to wait 6 – 8 months to get county employees in here, then they fall farther behind in the project.  The project will start once approved; likely July. Mr. Stanczyk assumes this would be shepherded very well by Mr. Fisher.

 

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

 

7.     WAYS & MEANS MISC.:

        a.     Changing the Date of November Session to November Legislative 2010 (Sponsored by Mr. Rhinehart)

A motion by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Standard Work Day Resolution

  • Requirement from the State Comptroller
  • Legislators standard work day set for 6 hours
  • Maximum legislators can report is 20 days/month, 120 hrs.; averaged over 3 months
  • Mr. Warner& Mr. Lesniak should be removed from the resolution--not part of the NYS retirement system

 

A motion by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to approve this item as amended (removing Mr. Lesniak and Mr. Warner’s names). Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Reduce the Number of County Legislators and the Number of County Legislative Districts from nineteen to Seventeen and Increase the Term of County Legislators from Two Years to Four Years (Sponsored by Mr. DeMore)

        d.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Reduce the Number of County Legislators and the Number of County Legislative Districts from Nineteen to Seventeen (Sponsored by Mr. DeMore)

Mr. DeMore said that the Charter Committee has looked at this issue for 10 month; have asked that downsizing be looked at from 17 to 9. He has looked at new figures and the towns from 2000 – 2008 have gained about 3,600 people in population; villages lost about 1,500; City lost of 9,000. He would like to look at this more closely and take more time. We have until August to do this. Mr. DeMore pulled items 7c and 7d.

 

        e.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Reduce the Number of County Legislators and the Number of County Legislative Districts from Nineteen to Nine (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

        f.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Reduce the Number of County Legislators and the Number of County Legislative Districts from Nineteen to Eleven (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

        g.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Reduce the Number of County Legislators and the Number of County Legislative Districts from Nineteen to Thirteen (Sponsored by Mr. Buckel)

Mr. Buckel feels that this should be worked on collaboratively. Mr. Buckel said that he submitted a package to all legislators. Chance to make a decision that affects ourselves; signal to entire community that the legislature is serious in what it did last month, courage to reduce our own size, and this is taken seriously throughout government. More than half of the 3,000 counties across the country have governing bodies of 7 or fewer. One reason is that counties have constructed their governments from the ground up and didn’t inherit them as we did. Counties are administrative agencies; don’t have home rule authority New York.  Counties across the country have found that the smaller legislatures are more prone to efficient government outcomes. Need to consider the fact that the largest 100 counties across the nation, the 100 fastest growing communities across the nation and the wealthiest communities across the nation have smaller legislatures than Onondaga. The highest taxed communities across the nation have the largest legislatures in the country; the lowest taxed across the country have the smallest.  Facts can’t be ignored. 

 

Suspects that a significant part of legislator’s time is spent on constitution service and noted that the Charter does not say it is a legislator's duty. When examining the official duties and what a County really does, there is good cause to reduce the size of the legislature and it sends a message to the community. The disagreements are over the size. He is inclined to a radical approach. Western New York has had referendums on this issue; Oneida Co., and soon in Erie County, and have occurred in several towns. Typically the politicians oppose this, but uniformly the people have said that they want change. In Oneida County, it passed by 80%. He suggested a referendum be given to the people to provide them a choice.

 

Mr. DeMore agrees with most of Mr. Buckel’s points and noted that there is no real cost savings in doing this. Concerned that if it gets too small, it becomes more of a full time job. In Erie County, each legislator has its own office and staff; it is more fulltime and it limits the number of people that might want to run for office. He has been looking at this and agrees that the legislature should look at it.  Mr. Buckel pulled items 7e – 7g.

 

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mrs. Stanczyk said that formal census numbers would not be available until March; 2008 estimated U.S. Census numbers are available. 

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mrs. Tarolli said that the legislature would have to work off of the published Census numbers. Once published, the Charter and Code provides for a reapportionment committee. The committee reviews the numbers and puts out a re-districting local law; any other legislator can also submit a local law. To change the number can be done in two ways – propose something now and put on the ballot in November so that the next time there is a vote, the number of districts would be known. Otherwise, a lag would have to be built in. It could be made effective in the 2014 term in order to get it to the electors.  

 

Mr. Buckel referred to the size of the legislature – which was once an unconstitutional Board of Supervisors arrangement, and it changed specifically because it did not meet the constitutional requirements of one person/one vote. Mr. Stanczyk said that when the government was set up as the Board of Supervisors, there were 19 ward reps and 19 town reps. There is some appropriate human scale of representation; thought there was a disservice when legislators went from representing 20,000 to representing 25,000--representing more people take us further away from the people we are representing. It may not be in the Charter or duties that constituent service be conducted by legislators, but it is. It is an important part of the job. When the decision was made to downsize from 24 members to 19, it caused a lot of disruption in the body.  There should be caution in putting a proposal out there and the reasons for doing it. Chairman Jordan agreed that constituent service is an expectation of constituents and a large part of a legislator’s responsibility.

 

Mr. Lesniak said that this is a part time job now; it is tough to get everything done that needs to be done and still maintain another job. He asked if the resolution on the ballot could give the legislature the authority to reduce it but not until the Census numbers are produced. Mrs. Tarolli did not think so, but will look into it. Mr. Lesniak said it would provide the ability to see what the Census impact is and deal with it from there.

 

Mr. Buckel said that we have to take a look and consider the difference between a county government and a municipal government. States that have looked at it from scratch understand it. There are studies that show that states with smaller legislators spend less per capita than states with larger legislators; larger constituent size results in more spending.

 

        h.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Onondaga County Administrative Code to Provide for Filling a Vacancy in the Onondaga County Legislature (Sponsored by Mr. DeMore)

Mr. DeMore said that the Charter Committee has been looking at what happens if a vacancy occurs in the legislature. Right now the County Executive fills the vacancy, which is only done this way in two counties in the state. The Legislature fills it in most counties. The new trend seems to be a special election. Mr. DeMore pulled item 7h, as he would like to spend more time on it. One concern is the cost to hold a special election. He will take the item back to the Charter Committee.  Mr. Buckel said that the Charter Committee was strongly enthusiastic about holding a special election.

 

      k.   A Local Law Amending Local Law No. 16-2002 Relating to the Establishment of Fees Collected by the Onondaga Department of Health for Certain Categories of Charitable Organizations that Serve Food, and Repealing Resolution No. 23-1993 (Sponsored by Mr. DeMore)

Mr. DeMore explained that if a not-for profit is 501C-3, the fees for County Health Dept. inspection are waived – depending on the number of tables and how often held, it is about $270/year. He was contacted by the Masonic Lodge in Manlius and they are a 501C-10. Does not feel that the intention was to have them excluded. This proposal is that if they have 6 or fewer events, with no alcohol served, then the fee would be waived. 

 

Mr. Lesniak noted that there are two ways to get a license --- permanent license on the facility or a license for an event.   He questioned how the Health Dept. would know that an organization had 6 or less events. Mr. DeMore said it is on the honor system. Mr. Lesniak was concerned about a group renting their hall for a profit and a vendor came in to use the hall. Mr. DeMore said that wouldn’t be covered by this local law. Mr. Buckel noted that every charitable organization has to file their reports with the Attorney General’s office, so there is jurisdiction there.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.

 

Chairman Rhinehart asked if there are other groups out there and this may open the door for them. Mr. DeMore said that 6 are anticipated to be 501C-10s, a special category for lodges; it is already being done for 501C-3s.

Mr. Buckel seconded the motion. AYES: 7; NOES: 0; ABSTENTIONS: 1 (Lesniak); MOTION CARRIED.

        i.      Amend Res. No. 14-1995 to Delete the Three Month Waiting Period for Health Insurance for County Employees Not Represented by a Bargaining Unit Except Elected Officials (Sponsored by Mr. Lesniak)

  • Currently a 3 mos. waiting period for health insurance
  • Part of discussion on MC steps, health insurance, vacation schedule – make the system more streamline
  • One of the biggest concerns for candidate is the 3 month waiting period for health insurance – they often leave employment where they had health insurance and have to either buy a policy for a short term or pay for COBRA for a short period of time 
  • Requesting that the waiting period be waived for MCs
  • Minimal cost – still paying co-pays and monthly rate, which nearly offsets it

 

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk, to approve this item. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        j.     Amending Resolution No. 231-2000, as Amended, to Change the Authority to Hire Management Confidential Employees From Step G to Step B (Sponsored by Mr. Warner)

Mr. Meyer and Mr. Holmquist asked to be listed as co-sponsors.  Mr. Warner noted the following:

  • Issue has been around for over 2 years now; has gotten out of hand – need to correct it
  • It was never meant for what is presently being done with it
  • Last month another month was asked for
  • Legislation was changed from last month – now allows authority to advance step up to B
  • Any advance steps will come to the legislature
  • If passed in June, effective date can be July 1

 

Mr. Buckel questioned when the legislature has to vote on an advance step hire and when the County Executive has the authority to do it on their own.  Mr. Warner noted that the former County Executive had almost emergency authorization to hire for the forensic lab; the legislature authorized it in that case. The issue has been left on the books and used over 30 times in the last couple of months for things it was never intended to be used for. The Charter states that it is a job of the legislature. Mrs. Tarolli said that in 1995 a resolution was established authorizing up to step G in “exceptional circumstances:” Anything above step G would have to come to the legislature and has repeatedly. Mr. Buckel asked if it would make sense to define the limited times that the County Executive have the authority to advance step hire, and then every other time advance step hires would come before the legislature as the Charter says. Mr. Warner said that when that type of thing occurs, there is potential for it getting out of hand, exactly like this has. When left to someone other than this legislature, there is question as to what exceptional circumstance means – it is time to put the issue to bed. Chairman Jordan said it is also a question of notice; if the authority is there, the legislature may not know how many are hired at step G.

 

Mr. Lesniak said that the advance step authority is less than 10% from step A to step G. He has resolutions ready to go; was asked to hold off from both sides of the aisle, to get some final things worked out. If everything has to come before the legislature for the 10% difference, there is an issue of hiring people – communicating with people and having them go before the legislature. Their previous employer may have some problems with the candidates searching for another job. It can be done in executive session, but it will come out one way or another. He asked for a month, both caucus asked for a little longer, to solve the MC schedule problems and in turn solve the advance step hire. 

 

Mr. Stanczyk said he realized it is only 10%, but there is a perception of fairness. The Executive side is saying most of the positions are not fairly dollar denominated and should be hired at step G.   The fact of the matter is that there is a schedule in place, and if someone was hired 2 years ago under a different county executive, they would have to be in step C now. If people are now hired and places in step G, there is a basic inequity that has been established. The solutions Mr. Lesniak has discussed do not account for that; there is a real problem there. If there is some type of fix that doesn’t take that into account, then these people will never have equity. There is a perception from the County Executive that step A is not tenable and should be hired at step G. This has to get fixed; there is back work to do. If the back work isn’t done, there will be real problems going forward. The people that were put in as advance step hires at G stand in comparison to those hired in 2007, 2006, 2005, etc. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked how a step is arrived at for a new hire. Mr. Troiano said that an analysis is done on the candidates; they are upper level management positions for the most part than probably haven’t been filled in quite some time. Step A is authorized; advance steps take into account skills assessment and ability to attract candidates. It is a function of getting a candidate that is desired for a position based on the skills and experience, track record, etc. – usually have to look beyond the step A rate. In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Troiano said that when promoting within the County for an internal positions, they will look at the field of candidates and see where they stack up and what kind of things they bring to the table. The management salary plan and the promotional formula takes that into account. There is a modest increase from one grade to another, but still need to take a look at it to see if it is a fair rate or a competitive rate.

 

Mrs. Smiley said that in the previous administration advance steps were used; advance step hires in the Health Dept may not have shown up on the list provided. As part of the new administration, more administrative interns were created, which have always been hired at a G step; which was the rate set. Over time the raises which CSEA received when compared to management reflects a 10% difference. In looking at salaries in steps A to G, if they had moved along as originally envisioned, there would not be this problem. The people she has hired have primarily been hired at the a step. She is having a real difficult time now, finding someone to run a critical program like 911 with the skill sets needed. She is also having a problem hiring for the deputy at 911, as the people that would normally be promoted to a deputy get more in terms of the deputy, the people normally promoted to a deputy position currently get paid a lot more than the deputy and receives more paid leave. There is no incentive for those people to move to a deputy position. There are certain positions within County government that are very difficult to find candidates with expertise. There are issues of having to wait for insurance, addressed today, and vacation issue – people from the outside will not start with no vacation. It is unfortunate that people with the system often get penalized.

 

Mr. Warner said that the solution is simple; come to this legislature and ask.  He feels that when Mr. Lesniak is finished with his study, there will still be requests for advance step hires.

 

Mr. Holmquist said the issues is complicated; agrees with many points brought up by the Executive side, and at the same time the legislature has a real obligation to be very involved in this. He has total faith in Mr. Lesniak’s negotiations, but supports Mr. Warner’s resolution, as it has largely moved the ball down the field. As there were 9 votes for Mr. Warner’s resolution last month, there is a strong sense in the legislature that this issue should be resolved and compromised. 

 

Chairman Jordan questioned the comment that if people aren’t offered vacation right off the bat then there is a problem recruiting. As a business owner, he doesn't offer vacation right away and doesn’t know of any employer who does; employers don’t do that. Mrs. Smiley disagreed – many employers offer two weeks vacation at the start of employment on day 1. Mr. Kilmartin questioned how the County accrues vacation. Mrs. Smiley said that a new employee gets 11 days vacation and 3 personal days after a year. There are 2 floating holidays. An employee can be fronted 5 days vacation after they have been here 6 months. After 5 years an employee earns an additional week, at 15 years an additional week is earned. The issue is the starting point in the first year. Mr. Lesniak said that there is an issue that if someone leaves after a year and half, he does not want to pay them two weeks of vacation time. 

 

No vote was taken on this item; Mr. Warner said he will put it on the June session agenda.

 

         l.     Personnel Resolution – MWB (Sponsored by Mr. Rhinehart) – Fred Picardi, MWB

  • Most know Holly Rosenthal and have her resume, can see what a broad face of experience that she has
  • Need to hire her at a rate that she deserves; MWB has already taken it on subject to the legislature’s action. 
  • MWB has the hiring authority; she has endorsement of both the County Executive and the Mayor
  • Position was advertised; 15 applicants

 

A motion was made by Mr. Buckel, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item. AYES: 7; NOES: 0; ABSTENTIONS: 1 (Stanczyk); MOTION CARRIED.

 

*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.

 

8.     LAW DEPARTMENT:

         a.     Settlement of Claim

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Warner to enter into executive session to discuss the following pending lawsuits: Lawrence Corriders, Individually and as the Administrator of the Estate of Johnny Corriders, Decedent, and Priscilla Corriders, by Lawrence Corriders, Guardian of the Person and Property of Priscilla Corriders, an Incapacitated Person V. County of Onondaga, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, Gerald Mainville, Deborah Mainville, Donald Hilton and Staci Hilton. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to exit executive session and enter regular session.

 

The following resolution was introduced: Authorizing the Settlement of the Supreme Court Actionof Lawrence Corriders, Individually and as the Administrator of the Estate of Johnny Corriders, Decedent, and Priscilla Corriders, by Lawrence Corriders, Guardian of the Person and Property of Priscilla Corriders, an Incapacitated Person V. County of Onondaga, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, Gerald Mainville, Deborah Mainville, Donald Hilton and Staci Hilton. 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

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