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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434
DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
J. RYAN McMAHON, II
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - MAY 14, 2013

DANNY J. LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  *Mr. Jordan, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Dudzinski, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  Also see attached list

 

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

 

1.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Robert Long, MPA, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements ($282,686)

 

  • $282,686 received from NYS Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services – support Syracuse Brick House
  • Behavioral Health Care, chemical dependency services, 2 different detox programs
  • Ran a deficit – state had funds to compensate; taking steps to eliminate deficit in future years

 

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

 

*Mr. Jordan arrived at the meeting.

 

2.     HEALTH:  Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH, Commissioner

        a.     Authorize Advance Step hire for R.P. 01 01404351 2191, Pathologist, Grade 37 step W @ $112,992

 

  • Authorize pathologist advanced step – 4 pathology positions: Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy ME and 2 pathologists
  • Oneida contract will cover this pathologist; case load (based on 1st quarter) w/Oneida contract is what was projected
  • Congratulate Dr. Stoppacher and Catherine Unger – achieved NAME accreditation; National Association of Medical Examiners – max case load of 250 cases per year per pathologist
  • Need position for Oneida County; would like advanced step to hire individual; individual has accepted
  • Comparable:  ME hired in Buffalo County last year at $135,000; Monroe at $116,000; 2 pathologist positions open in other parts of country in March 2013 - one starting $226,000 and $175,000, in California and Illinois
  • 2013 – anticipating 850 autopsies, 90 externals, 20 skeletals totaling 1,200 cases investigated, reviewed and cleared

Dr. Stoppacher responded to Mr. Ryan that he cannot say exactly what the case loads are for the other counties, but the case loads usually stay within the NAME standards at 250 – 300 per year.  None of the examples would be taking on 400 – 600 cases.  Dr. Morrow replied to Mr. Ryan that this is all based on Oneida County.  Dr. Morrow agreed with Mr. Ryan that the numbers reflect the additional work from Oneida County, and the expense of the position is covered through the agreement. 

 

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

 

        b.     Create R.P. 02 01404300 1976, Communicable Disease Investigator II, Grade 11 @ $51,144 - $56,605

        c.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept New York State Department of Health Funds for the Expanded Partner Services Pilot Grant and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($75,000)

 

  • NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute requested 4 counties in NY be part of a pilot; 4 counties with highest incidents of STD and HIV in NY outside of NYC; pilot project called High Impact HIV Prevention
  • Evidence based approach to case management for individuals who are hard to reach and do not follow up
  • Identity people who are not being treated and have high viral loads high - if not abstaining or using protection, then have a much higher risk of transmitting to partners; evidence saying target hard to reach - risk of HIV decreases
  • Getting people who are at the highest risk of transmitting back into care, and decreasing viral load
  • Based on STD rates, Onondaga County 1 of 4 counties chosen; $75,000 grant; to meet needs of grant, have to hire person specifically trained (Communicable Disease Investigator) to do case management of hard to reach individuals
  • Provide information about individuals to reach them, bring to care and decrease risk of HIV; meet needs of community
  • Grant covers position and cost of benefits (fringe benefits are part of the cost)

Chairman Liedka stated a correction of the effective date:  June 8th not June 4th.

 

  • Proposed budget for position $44,827 but starting salary level of $51,144 – don’t anticipate full year; 10.3 months
  • Pilot project - told Granting Agency of Department of Health that this level of funding not sustainable
  • Intention - if successful pilot and funded next year; look to community based organization; see if this may be something they would be able to do; pilot and specific request – County has to do pilot first
  • If effective, position may be limited to time frame; dissolve position then transfer to community based organization
  • State health knows $75,000 will not cover next year; current 10 month basis; if worthwhile, then will increase funding
  • Have to have someone already trained; will hire someone already a CDI; be very transparent with no promise for future, but will have prior position to go back to; would need to back fill that position
  • Won’t know if decreasing incidents in 10 months; will know if successful at engaging those not engaging in health care

Mr. Jordan stated there is always a tendency to throw money at a problem, but you cannot force people to do things that they are not inclined to do or do not want to do.  Dr. Morrow responded there is evidence from other models that case management is very successful.  Part of this is behavioral change which helps the individuals understand where they are.  Some of the hardest to reach individuals have transportation or housing concerns which overwhelm them.  Based on other studies and models, the evidence supports case management does help engage individuals into the system.  Looking at the Nurse Family Partnership model that is intensive case management for pregnant women, the ROI (Return on Investment) was upped from five to one to nine. 

 

Dr. Morrow replied to Mr. Ryan that the Health Department does not have data from the other pilots.  The Center for Disease Control has the information, so Dr. Morrow would have to go to them to look at the pilot projects.  The CDC is trying to see if this will make an impact.  Mr. Ryan asked what the ROI would be.  Mr. Ryan understands there would be healthier people and the spread of less disease but how does the Health Department get there.  Dr. Morrow replied if there is an HIV positive individual not in care, the NYSHD would identify that person based on their registry as someone who has not had a viral load in the last two years; prime candidate.  An individual with a high viral load, that has unprotected sex, has a high probability of transmitting it.  HIV is a chronic disease that people live with for 30 – 60 years; cost to society of treatment is extraordinary.  If this individual gets into therapy and has a suppressed viral load, then they will not transmit the disease.  When the viral load is suppressed, the risk of transmission of the disease drops dramatically.  The cost is preventing any cases of HIV in addition to medical costs of someone with HIV who untreated has a probability of proceeding to full blown AIDS plus the medical costs associated with that.  Mr. Ryan stated the ROI is finding someone who is viral; more likely to spread the disease.  If there is a way to treat this person, even if they infected one or two, then the costs associated would far exceed $75,000; Dr. Morrow agreed.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mr. Dudzinski, to approve items 2b and 2c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 a.m.                                                        

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 15, 2013

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Williams, 1Mr. Shepard

ALSO ATTENDING: See attached list

 

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:08 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

       

1.     ONONDAGA LAKE: edr Companies - Jane Rice, Planning Division Manager; Ben Brazell, Environmental Services Vice President

        a.     Discussion - Loop the Lake

 

Chairman Plochocki stated the edr Companies will be giving a presentation and speaking a little bit about who they are.  In recent weeks, prompted by the FOCUS study, he has been talking with many groups about the future of Onondaga Lake.  One thing that comes up constantly is the loop the lake trail; when will it be done.   People are always disappointed when he states that it is not really a loop the lake trail.  It will be two-thirds of the lake once the next phase is finished; eventually hope to loop the entire lake.  Recently had the pleasure of speaking with edr Companies about this matter and other things.  It was brought to his attention that they have worked on trails for various municipalities in upstate New York.  One of the items impressed upon him was the fact that the economic benefits of a trail system can be overlooked.  He felt that the committee needed to have a discussion on this topic and asked edr Companies to give a general presentation. 

Mr. Brazell provided a brief background, noting he began working for edr Companies in January of 2004 and presented the following:

         

 

1 2

3  4                                                                           

 

○ Founded in 1979, have had steady growth                             ○ Designed this Savannah Dhu project for Mr. Congel

                             ○ Syracuse firm with additional office in Rochester

 

 

 5  6 

 

○ Ms. Rice oversees the Community Planning Group                ○ Have ecologist, biologists and cultural resource specialists

                       ○Photos show categorizing materials found during archeological dig and wetlands

 

 7

                

○ Engineers are involved in various local projects at some level

                   ○ Very green conscious, engineering things to be as ecofriendly as possible

 

 8  9

 

○ Creates various items from interesting handouts to           ○ Worked with team of consultants to design and construct

                                legally defensible simulations of a proposed project

 

Ms. Rice to over the presentation:

  • Firm has a holistic philosophy, approaching from a resource based viewpoint; take into consideration all resources; natural, human, economic and cultural
  • Believe Onondaga Lake is an incredible asset to the community as both professionals in the firm and residents in the community; champion efforts to continue to realize this now and into the future

10  11

 

○ Retained by Honeywell for community outreach, held             ○ Community sees the lake as potential or actual asset

 series of small FOCUS group meetings hearing what           ○ Within walking distance for enjoyment at the lake

the community wanted to see around the lake, while               ○ Lake is important to community at large

  Honeywell continued remediation efforts

○ Wanted community ideas upfront to fold into their

  Decisions

 

 12 13

○ edr designed trail                                                                      ○ Bioswale designed to capture stormwater; was former

○ consider not only where you want to go, but how you get                 mowed lawn

   there, the trail experience, when the trail will be used,

   what seasons, the trail users, how to avoid conflicts on

   a trial with various uses and ensure safety

  

14  15

○ Designed pavilion built last year

 

Ms. Rice continued:

  • Due to profession often hears people asking if they need another study-just want to get the shovel in the ground;  reality is when planning is done right you get the same result as the Clayton project
  • Clayton project was a community development waterfront trail-10 years in the making; village had a large brownfield on the waterfront, needed to determine what to do with it, former site of snowplow blade manufacturer
  • Village very small but relative to the size of this one sight, there is some comparison here
  • Village created a local development corporation and began working on master plan
  • edr Companies wasn’t involved in the cleanup but assisted with the master plan; helped community realize shoreline should be retained for community use and inland from the shoreline can be private
  • River walk wraps around shoreline and was developed before any private development, allows community to stroll and sunbath along waterfront and allows the village to engage in further economic development; great success story resulting from 10 years of planning

Chairman Plochocki asked Ms. Rice to confirm another similarity; the village owned much of the shoreline.   Ms. Rice agreed adding that the local development corporation purchased the Frink property along the shoreline.  They bonded to clean up the site and create the river walk.  Working closely with the Department of State they also used grant funds; 50% matching funding source.  Monies were expensed upfront, but when they sell the property to the hotel franchise or developer everything expensed will be paid for; won’t make money but will break even.  

Chairman Plochocki stated a municipality that owns large polluted public land along a shoreline, is all too familiar.  Ms. Rice stated it is rare that she can be involved in a project and then go back and explain the success of the story.  This wasn’t easy all of the time.  There were intense debates and community discussions during the process.  There is a similar story with Destiny - completely different area 23 years ago.  As a professional, she is a strong advocate of proactive planning.  She is also a chairperson on the Planning Board for the Village of Fayetteville and understands both sides of the table.  Proactive planning can be difficult and challenging in the moment and can feel useless at times, but if the long-term vision is kept it works.  She often hears we should wait until a developer comes forward; value of the lake increases as we sit here.  This is a choice, you are choosing to be quite; is it the best choice, every decision has a strategy behind it.  

Chairman Plochocki stated the loop the lake trail is two-thirds of the lake and may not ever go beyond this.  As he understands it, the cost of looping the last third of the lake will likely exceed the costs of the other two-thirds.  Ms. Rice added that it is the diamond in the bracelet.  Chairman Plochocki stated that was an interesting way of putting it.  This area includes Murphy’s Island, which is very much a diamond in the rough.

Chairman Plochocki stated there are various opinions on completing the last third of the lake trail.  Some believe we have gotten a pretty good bang for our buck and due to the cost, we shouldn’t do it.  Others want to do it, but say to wait until there are grants available; don’t invest any money other than matching funds.  Still others say this is important and we should consider fronting the money; could connect to the Inner Harbor, the waste beds, and Erie Canal trail.  He asked Ms. Rice to discuss each of these options.

1Mr. Shepard arrived at the meeting.

 

Ms. Rice responded:

  • Last 3rd of the lake is difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be completed; perhaps more professional are needed to understand how this can be achieved
  • Loop doesn’t have to be concentric-could have different experiences all the way around; doesn’t have to be naturalized the entire way, urban experience could be an assetx
  • There are a number of doable strategies for financing, state and federal grants are available, sometimes bonding upfront shows commitment, funding source understands you have a vision and is more apt to granting the money; needs to know more of the details to determine whether you go for the money or make an upfront investment
  • Not just financial investment, also human resource and emotional investment; community wants this done
  • Leadership, commitment and community ownership necessary for achieving long term vision; leadership doesn’t have to be a person-can be a committee or group of committees        

Chair Plochocki asked Ms. Rice what she had seen in terms of return on investment from others that have done this type of project.  Ms. Rice stated return on investment is not direct, you don’t charge a fee.  The indirect return is absolute and there are studies to prove it.  They just worked on the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls and were charged with determining the economic return, if the park on the northern section was removed and restored ecologically and then returned as a recreational and natural resources setting; could provide the research from this project.  The indirect return is unrefutable.  Looking back at the image of Clayton shows you the indirect economic benefit; tourism has increased because of this type of setting.

Chairman Plochocki asked if decent economic benefits could be derived from a trail that was largely a natural setting but also connects to things like Destiny and the NYS fair, as opposed to the Clayton setting, where they have merchants selling products along the trail.  Ms. Rice answered yes, adding there is a quality of life issue. She is originally from Nebraska and was blown away by the water features and the topography; instantly fell in love with all of northern NY.  A natural trail system adds value to your quality of life; an indirect economic benefit, you choose to be near it.  This is a very passive economic value, but there can be a very active one; could have triathlons and host events bringing people in to use the natural settings.  

Mr. Brazell stated that Onondaga Lake Park is a good example of economic development along the waterfront; restaurants and businesses all around.  To be able to connect with the creek walk, Armory Square and Destiny brings almost limitless potential.  Ms. Rice added that Allstate has an annual Erie Canal bike ride with hundreds of bikers- imaging coordinating something with that event along the lake; perhaps even hosting.  

In answer to Ms. Rapp, Ms. Rice stated that the solution to crossing the railroad tracks is important and has to be done.  It can be simple; visual example would be the I-690 pedestrian bridge.  It could also be very elaborate.  There are some wonderful land bridges; one in Canada allows both pedestrians and natural wildlife to crossover a busy roadway.  These are two extremes and the solution will be something along those lines.  In determining whether we hug the shoreline or become more of an urban experience, the urban solution is more valid; would still be a continuous trail.

In response to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Rice stated that bike lanes could be added to roadways in the urban area.  She is not sure this would be effective for a walker; better understand the mileage is needed.    

Mrs. Rapp stated that just connecting to the creek walk, to get to the city, would be a win.  Ms. Rice agreed but added that she did not want to stop there.  This could be a near term completion, but she would love to be able to take her grandchild all the way around the lake; her personal long term vision.

Mr. Brazell stated many different user groups could be targeted.  The location of the creek that flows into Onondaga Lake doesn’t freeze in the winter and attracts a large population of bald eagles.  Many people have been using the creek walk in the winter for viewing these birds.  To be able to connect this with not only the downtown users, but people to the east and west of the lake would be another opportunity.   

Mrs. Rapp stated that if we connect to the creek walk, we could figure the rest out.  We could connect to the parkway and other parking lots and would then just need to add the bike lanes.

Ms. Rice reiterated that economic return would be there.  People like to live near and around opportunities for recreational use.  The venues can vary from well-connected bike lanes throughout the city or from one village to the next, to a more natural setting, to a very rugged setting.  You can get very indirect and understand that businesses like to locate where their workers want to live. 

Mr. Brazell stated it is a critical time to make the right decision moving forward.  He was in Chicago last week and the Lake Michigan shoreline is public space for miles and miles.  Centuries ago, somebody decided to keep this open space.  They have clearly reaped the benefits of this.  Now is the time to make positive decisions for Onondaga County as well.

Mr. Skeval, Executive Director of Onondaga County Cooperative Extension stated this whole topic came up at a Leadership Greater Syracuse meeting.  One of the suggestions was putting the bike trail through the mail via a tube or tunnel.  He believes Destiny could be engaged to realize the benefits of bringing people past Destiny or being the launching point for the trail.  This might also resolve some of the finance issue.  One day we could be having an iron man competition around the lake because of the synergistic effect.  Mrs. Rapp stated this was her idea; believes we should have a triathlon in 2015. 

Mr. Skeval stated the willows in front of Destiny are a real attraction.  He can see the benefit of hooking the trail into the creek walk, but believes it is imperative to get trail going by the natural feature.  He questioned how many other locations in the nation could have all this coming together in one small spot.  Ms. Rice added that Onondaga County has all the components for a very unique setting in the United States.  

Ms. Rice stated that she loved Mr. Skeval’s idea.  Primarily because Destiny is encouraging active participation in the mall with the ropes course and the speedway, so why not engage them.  The interesting part is that it is interior, but that kind of economic development could be exterior; real possibility here. Chair Plochocki stated that he recently meet with Mr. Kenan and discussed the topic of the loop the lake trail, sharing his ideas.   While nothing specific was committed to, Mr. Kenan is very supportive of the type of concept suggested.   Destiny is very interested in being part of the discussion going forward. 

Ms. Rice stated that Destiny could be the bike rental source.  Chair Plochocki stated that the bottom line is that those at the Pyramid Companies see the value in this and want to be a part of it.  Mr. Brazell added this would be in keeping with their whole message of green development. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:56 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 15, 2013

KEVIN A. HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 10:38 p.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Ryan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Furniture Consoles and Carpeting for the Department of Emergency Communications (E911) in +and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $648,840, and Authorizing the Issuance of $648,840 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($648,840)

 

  • Furniture consoles and carpeting for main E911 center; currently have consoles in use 24/7; installed 2003 (were replaced in 2003 after 11 years use); at end of useful life; parts difficult and expensive to obtain
  • Since 2003, new ANSI standards in regards to furniture for computer intensive work stations; not in compliance
  • Usually 3 - 4 claims; many require surgery and extensive time off work, positions filled with overtime, injuries due to repetitive motion and sedentary strain injuries
  • Technology has improved; new consoles accommodates larger video displays
  • Refreshed CAD system - new hardware; new screens don’t fit current consoles; one CAD monitor mounted sideways
  • Continue to add more CPUs; possibly 2014 being able to receive text messaging calls
  • Move towards newer technology, need more CPUs at each work station; current space maxed out
  • Advanced cable management:  more computer equipment, more cabling; need to keep organized – if equipment failure, then can locate related cables to have them changed out without taking out the wrong thing
  • After lightning strike, did grounding studies – new console has R56 compliance built in, and germ resistance options
  • Different viruses spread – people moving to different work stations; carry illnesses; new tech have germ resistant services; will cut down on sick time
  • Replacement of consoles was project for 2014 (CIP), but received $3.8 mil to replace radio consoles - cost effective to seek this now, and install everything simultaneously; save approx. $25,000 by purchasing/installing w/radio consoles
  • $602,000 (93%) - replace radio consoles:  shipping, purchasing, decommissioning old consoles, installing furniture
  • $29,000 (4%) - carpeting that’s as old as consoles; replacing 600-700 sq yds of computer room grade carpeting - anti-static, fit squares of raised floor, contain copper fibers to prevent static charge build up
  • $16,000 (3%) – all electrical work; new consoles different size; increased CPUs and electrical – need adequate capacity and wiring consoles into electrical grid; phone system - out of old consoles and put in newer consoles
  • Will move to back up site to complete
  • CAD refresh over weekend - Saturday a.m. employees at back up site, stripped equip out of furniture console’s, Sunday did complete cleaning, Monday new consoles installed and tested; moved everyone back yesterday
  • Back up site runs seamlessly so no one calling in knows it’s the backup site

 

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

 

2.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Adopting the Onondaga County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan 

  • Megan Costa from SOCPA - lead agency in helping to develop Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Process began after Disaster Mitigation Act in 2000 requiring governments to have plan
  • Iteration done in 2008, in 2010 submitted to FIMA who had edits and mods, resubmitted and accepted by FIMA
  • Posted on website; will help move forward with mitigation efforts, as well as opportunity for jurisdiction in County – have specific projects now; able to reach out for grant funds for mitigation efforts
  • No money attached

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

3.     FIRE ADVISORY BOARD:  Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Fire Advisory Board (Paul Linnertz, Kent Young)

  • Chief Paul Linnertz and First Deputy Kent Young of Syracuse Fire Department; city positions part of board

 

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

 

*Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

4.     SHERIFF:  Chief John Balloni, Civil Department; Chief Esteban Gonzalez

        Monthly Update on Status of:

        a.     New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center

Chief Gonzalez:

  • Two studies with consultants – last one in January; used to put together a proposal and body of information; looking to put work together with facilities on construction of Mental Health Unit
  • Mental Health Unit not constructed right way; one on one inmates all over building – need to consolidate
  • Building built originally for male/female combined Mental Health Unit – Commissioner of Corrections approved construction but at 11th hour said could not do it; had built one unit for constant observations
  • Female adults, minors, constant observations all crammed in one area; overall and separations horrible to manage
  • Special programs are allowed to comingle men and women
  • Worked with Jamesville shuttling - approaching max capacity; everyday over 90% - can’t use every last bed
  • Working on facts to make sure have it all set; talking w/Facilities – what need to bring to Legislature to take next step
  • 100 bed Mental Health Unit; NIC recommendations - not going to cut it for the future; up to the Legislature

Mr. May asked what the basis is for what they want to do with the RFP.  Mr. Gonzalez responded this is minimal for what they want to do just to save the day.  Mr. May commented from the perspective of the Legislature, they want to look at this project at a base level for forecasted needs of Onondaga County, but they also want to think big.  They want to look at this from a shared services standpoint and cooperation with other counties or the feds.  Mr. May asked if this was part of the RFP process.  Mr. Gonzalez agreed.  Mr. Gonzalez stated he neglected to mention two things they are doing.  First there are future considerations that would be included suggesting looking ahead for twenty years and possibly considering 200 – 300 beds.  Secondly is how to pay for this.  Mr. Gonzalez has been in contact with other sheriffs.  A letter was sent on behalf of the Sheriff to the five contiguous counties to see if they would like to get involved; worth extra beds.  There can be contracts with them to use the beds.  There was a 10 year agreement with the feds worth $7 million which recently expired.  Mr. May asked what it is going to cost, and what is the exposure.  Mr. May wants to make sure the County does not limit itself if there needs to be more built.  Mr. Gonzalez replied they are looking at several different things to include in the cost.  What can they do now to prepare for the future?  The incarcerated population appears to be trending upwards for the last 15 – 20 years.  Mr. Gonzalez stated there are times it has stabilized or dipped down so they don’t want to go so far that there are buildings staying open.  Mr. Gonzalez responded to Mr. May that they cannot call what they have an infirmary because it does not meet certain standards.  Mr. May asked if there could be consideration for looking for space for that.  Mr. Gonzalez replied they talked about combining them, and at first there was resistance from the medical side saying with all the operations, record keeping and procedures they have, they weren’t sure how it would work.  There has been discussion about a one stop shop area but haven’t gone further with this because they are concentrating on looking at the Mental Health Unit.  Mr. May stated they are not looking to create a hospital but look at creating an accommodation for middle of the road services to keep the inmates there versus transporting them.  Mr. Gonzalez commented the short run savings for the near future is that the medical contract is up in December.  There will be a bid going out on that, and one of the competitors knew the writing on the wall.  Mr. Gonzalez said Armor Company stated the vendor the County chose came in cheap because they were lowballing to get the contract, and Armory was $1 million higher knowing they would be able to have the onsite services without costs going through the roof offsite. 

Mr. Ryan would like to see a cost savings analysis based on bringing some of these things in house.  Mr. Ryan asked if it would promote not transporting people back and forth, and is it going to save money.  Mr. Gonzalez responded the RFP they are working on talks about each vendor coming in and outlining exactly what services they will be able to provide in house; including clinics and OBGYN.  These are things they are going to demand.  Mr. Ryan commented that then there is not a deputy driving for transport but staying within the four walls which will save money.  Mr. Ryan stated Albany County built a jail on the premise they would get other inmates, and they make money.  Mr. Gonzalez commented they are still only 60% full.  Mr. Gonzalez stated there has to be a balance between having enough services in house and sending an inmate out to save a life.  Mr. Ryan stated they have to find a better way.

Mr. May stated he had a peek of the draft RFP so he knows they are actively seeking ideas from any vendor wishing to propose doing business with the County.  Whether or not the County should have an infirmary, and what would the benefits would be.  They are discussing a physical expansion to a building that does not have an infirmary; might need to be taken into consideration.

 

        d.     Correctional Health:  Chief Balloni

  • This was discussed with the Mental Health Unit; will review and be back in touch; hope for good things from RFP

 

        b.     Special Operations Facility:  Chief Balloni

 

  • Meeting with company next week for measuring up city space needs; still interested but have not committed yet
  • Meeting with architectural firm to do preliminaries; firm a current contract company so not sure about doing an RFP; depends on direction pointed; will look at all options and bring best ones to Legislature

        c.     Pistol Permits:  Chief Balloni

  • Lots of calls from press; today is last day to submit paperwork prior to availability of FOILing names; 100’s of forms
  • Not last day to submit forms, but from tomorrow forward, people can FOIL the list
  • Legislature passed resolutions – any FOIL will have public notice; FOIL law requires response in 5 days but not returning everything in 5 days; will have standard response, then follow up
  • Estimate of County residents who have opted out is in the 1000’s; heavily worked office; line to the door
  • Number of law abiding citizens waiting for an appointment – probably over 1000; finally with some additional personnel can call people further down on the list and move appointments up – doing manually; waiting on software
  • Status of Purchasing with software – have to ask them; waiting on an award letter

Mr. May stated the Legislature would like to see action, and asked if there is anything they can do to help the process.  Chairman Holmquist responded almost everyone is on board, and they need to find out what’s going on.  There will be appointments in October of 2014.  Chairman Holmquist asked how many bidders there were on the software.  Chief Balloni responded there was one bidder.  Chairman Holmquist asked what the delay is because they have asked, begged and pleaded.  Chief Balloni replied they are working hard to move this forward, and as soon as they have information, they will send it to the Law Department to get a contract going.  Mr. May asked once the contract is issued, is the ball solely in the Sheriff’s court to move forward.  Chief Balloni responded IT will be working with them to interface the systems, and they have been meeting regularly so they are ready to go. 

Chairman Holmquist commented their job will be to make sure everyone is motivated and anxious to support law abiding citizens who are waiting patiently, and they are no less of a citizen than anybody else in another state that does not have these ridiculous restrictions.  The County should be working to process these in two months like any normal state.  Chief Balloni agreed, and stated their job is not to issue those because they come from the courts in NYS.  Their job is to investigate and process paperwork to get to the courts for appropriate action; may be able to get that process to less than two months.  Chairman Holmquist commented if it’s 1200 or 1400 and the number is growing, this will not stop.  Chairman Holmquist stated they will have to triple every effort to get this moving, get it down to two months and collaborate with County court, because it is truly outrageous.  Chief Balloni responded the Sheriff’s office is in total agreement with that.  They brought in experts to help them work through the process, and they are attempting to follow virtually all recommendations that were made.  Chief Balloni stated he will be back at budget time because it used to be a three person office, and it is down to one and a half.  The larger part of the answer lies in the technology which needs to get going.  Chairman Holmquist remarked that the Legislature is a policy making branch of government, and it’s their policy to process these permits efficiently.  These are law abiding citizens that are being hassled, having delays that are not being explained, and Chairman Holmquist has his suspicions; they will get answers this month.  The committee agreed with Chairman Holmquist that they are not happy.

 

        e.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Drug Enforcement Administration Funds for Cannabis Eradication Work Done by the Air One Program of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement This Resolution

 

  • Third year have gotten the funds from DEA; $28,000
  • While Air One up on other missions, looks for cannabis which is easier to spot from air versus ground; different growth in middle of corn fields; throws out different heat signature, use infrared; may not visually see but can spot problem
  • Ongoing money; doesn’t cost any substantial money because already doing flights; helps fund program
  • $2,000 less than last year; used $28,000 last year, gave amount used last year this year; will take what they can get

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

 

Mr. Ryan asked how the County is doing with recouping or getting reimbursed from surrounding counties for Air One.  Mr. Schuster responded there is no contract with Cayuga County but there is a contract with Oswego County.  Chief Balloni commented that the contract is for $10,000, and they are participating.  Other counties have participated with the Air One foundation, and the Sheriff’s has raised over $100,000 for the Air One Foundation.  Chief Balloni responded to Mr. Ryan that the other counties include Madison and Oneida.  Cayuga County has been very helpful in the foundation including the $5,000 they gave.  They also put on a golf tournament in support of Air One which raised several thousand dollars.  Mr. May wanted clarification that these are fund raising efforts by the counties not appropriations from the counties going to the foundation.  Chief Balloni agreed, and stated the appropriations go directly to the County budget.  Mr. Ryan asked how many times Air One goes to Shenango.  Chief Balloni replied it is not a lot.  Mr. Ryan stated that he has a big problem with County tax payers funding Air One to fly to surrounding counties that do not reimburse the County tax payers.  Those counties need to realize the efforts, and he does not think it is fair.  Chief Balloni responded there was a resolution last year, and the Sheriff very strongly agrees.  Mr. Ryan commented there is a resolution saying they should do that but not a resolution saying it doesn’t fly.  Chairman Holmquist stated ironically it’s the Mutual Aid Law that requires Air One to go there if they are available, but there’s nothing mutual about it because they just take the County’s services.  Mr. May stated it does not stop us from sending a bill after or signing a contract with another county, and Chairman Holmquist agreed.  Mr. Ryan commented he applauds those doing their own fundraising.  Chief Balloni replied to Chairman Holmquist that Cayuga County has supported this for over 10 years.  The $5,000 has been given by them the last couple years.  They are also doing a second annual father/daughter dance on May 31st to raise money for Air One.  It may only be $1,000 here or there but for the amount they fly to Cayuga County, it is very helpful.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

 

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES - MAY 21, 2013

KATHLEEN A. RAPP, CHAIR

 

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

Also Present:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Liedka to approve the minutes of proceeding of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     SYRACUSE-ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCYMathew Millea, Deputy Co. Exec. – Physical Svcs.; Andrew Maxell, Dir. City of Syr. Bureau of Planning & Sustainability; Donald Jordan, Dir. SOCPA

 

Mr. Millea:

  • Presenting a cost effective, sound, long-term strategy for a metropolitan planning entity
  • Onondaga County Planning agency created in 1960’s, in working closely with Mr. Jordan and Mr. Maxwell, it was obvious there was a gap in current structure of SOCPA
  • In 1960’s originally created to serve needs of County Planning Board and Zoning Bd. of Appeals within City of Syracuse
  • City Planning was missing – In 2010 Mayor Minor formed the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • Bureau of Planning & Sustainably has been working in parallel with the County Planning Dept. – looking at a new development plan for the City, solving issues within in the city; look at how the city might be more efficient with zoning.  SOCPA has been looking at County master planning – and how to develop a long term master plan for Onondaga County
  • SOCPA needs to contain all of the components of planning for the metropolitan area, including the city, towns, villages

*Mr. Plochocki arrived at the meeting.

  • Intent for SOCPA going forward - to be an aggressive forward-leading planning institution that serves all residents of Onondaga County – not waiting for things to come to the Planning Dept. and saying “yes” or “no”.  Instead want an on the ground operation that goes out to the communities – helps them design strategic plans for the future, strategic code ordinance, strategic zoning ordinance that help to enhance economic development opportunities, sustain infrastructure in place already, and have an eye toward where they want to be a generation from now
  • Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Jordan will do a great job in leading this organization to help advance a total new strategic plan for SOCPA and an aggressive outreach strategy
  • Mr. Jordan’s education/experience is in GIS services.  A better job needs to be done with GIS services – will work with Mr. Jordan and Mr. Maxwell to put together a business plan to show the return on investment and will provide it to the legislature

Mrs. Rapp asked if the towns will be coming to SOCPA to request help; can see issues with a “big brother” plan.  Mr. Millea said that it isn’t big brother planning – there are planning boards, they help with planning board training through the annual Planning Federation Conference.  This is about sitting down with Town planning boards and town boards at their request and ask how we can help them, i.e. comprehensive plan, GIS, where the water and sewer pipes are. 

 

Mr. Liedka asked if a village or town has a need for their zoning or comprehensive plan to be updated, rather than hiring a private consultant which is very costly, would the County provide the service.  Mr. Millea said “absolutely”.  Mr. Liedka asked if it would be at no cost to the municipality.  Mr. Millea said “of course” if it is within the existing framework.  There will be a deeper bench of planners – 4 master degree planners joining SOCPA staff.  Mr. Jordan said that through the municipal meetings for the sustainable development plan, they heard consistently that municipalities would welcome whatever support SOCPA can provide – already working collaboratively with them.

 

Mr. Millea noted that an IMA was entered into in 1967 and again in 1982 in regard to SOCPA.  Both have expired.  They have been co-existing as city and county agencies without any governing structure since the 1980s.  The IMA helps to codify a long-term strategy for SOCPA.  It is a 20 year municipal agreement with 5 year renewals which lays out the management structure, planning director, the fact that there will be a deputy; there will be bureaus within the department – City Planning, County Planning, Zoning and GIS Services.  Any changes to the IMA in the future will require legislative consent. 

 

Chair Rapp said that at one point all of deputies in the county were eliminated in downsizing and streamlining.  She questioned the decisions to bring back the deputy.  Mr. Millea said that Mr. Jordan has done a tremendous job at the director; this is in no way a reflection on his service.  He has agreed to serve as deputy director and focus his energies on a day to day basis more with GIS services.  Mr. Maxwell, coming in from the City side and having Mr. Jordan as his deputy, creates a really strong team.  It is important, particularly with the IMA, creating a situation of a city-county potential.  Mr. Maxwell will remain a city employee; Mr. Jordan will be a fulltime county employee, paid for 100% by the County.  Chairman Rapp said that Mr. Maxwell’s salary is not paid 100% by the City.  Mr. Millea agreed.  He noted that most of the departments on the physical services side, have deputies and it is very important to have strong deputies.  Mrs. Rapp said that they are all new.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Millea said that they would not fill a position for an assistant director for GIS Services, as it is Mr. Jordan’s specialty of expertise.  It is felt that he can serve as both the deputy and the lead of the GIS Bureau.  The position is in the IMA, but is not in the personnel resolution.  The IMA creates the opportunity to come back to the legislature and create that position should they wish to.  An assistant director position for GIS services is not on the roster; it will not be added to the roster within the budget submitted for 2014.

 

Mr. Plochocki asked how many positions will be eliminated under the new structure.  Mr. Millea said none are proposed in this package of legislation.  With the 2014 budget, there may be some opportunities for eliminations of positions.  There is a retirement pending.  They want to give Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Jordan an opportunity to develop a business plan for GIS program.  Mr. Jordan has been suggesting for 3 years that they are really thin with the GIS staff.  Mr. Jordan said that there is 1 full time person. He does it when he can.  There is one address person who does a fair amount of work supporting the 911 program.  Mr. Millea added that the address/GIS person is a very important position.  Mr. Plochocki said he is not advocating that there be eliminations.  He feels it may be reported in the media that the departments are merging and positions are being created.  The public is expecting and would like to see a narrative of cost savings.  Mr. Millea responded that there are 5 employees currently on the City payroll; they will continue to do great work and will now be on the County payroll.  Four of them will be 100% paid through the city abstract.  Mr. Maxwell’s salary will be split 50/50 between the City and County.  As Director, his role will not be just in the City; he will be out in the towns also.  Mr. Maxwell added that currently there are 5 planners on his staff; only 4 are coming over.  Mr. Millea said that regarding efficiency; this is not so much being doing for economy, but for programmatic rationale.  Having a metropolitan planning organization that houses the key components will be a stronger organization for the entire community going forward.  The local dollar impact will be a slight increase of $40,000 - $50,000.

 

Chair Rapp referred to Mr. Maxwell coming on but remaining a city employee.  Mr. Millea explained that the IMA provides for the director to be either a city or county employee.  Mr. Maxwell asked to remain a city employee.  The executive’s view is that at the end of the day he will be the Director of SOCPA, accountable to both the Mayor and County Executive; accountable to the Legislature through the budget process.  Chair Rapp said that here could be a perception of bias.  Mr. Millea said that the County is the governing body, establishes the budget for SOCPA – it does not run through the City whatsoever; the reporting structure as Director is to the County Executive, through the Deputy of Physical services, as it is now.  In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Maxwell said that it matters a little bit to him.  Also, if talking about a truly joint City/County Planning agency, for the agency to have 20 or 21 employees and 20 are county employees – seems that there is symbolic importance with the Director being half and half.  Having that opportunity within this agreement to be either a city or county employee is important. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that he made some revisions to the IMA -- one is that it clearly states that the role of Director of SOCPA reports to the Deputy County Executive.

 

Chairman McMahon highlighted revisions to the IMA:

        Section 2.  Put a 3 year term on Director; changed reappointment process – in event that Mayor and Co. Executive do not agree on reappointment or a new Director within 6 months of expiration, the decision reverts to the majority vote of the County Legislature; Director of SOCPA reports to Deputy County Executive

 

Mr. Millea said that it should be Deputy County Executive of Physical Services.  It is covered by the fact that SOCPA is within the Deputy Co. Executive of Physical Services chartered departments.  Chairman McMahon said that clarification for the Legislature needs to be that the reason this is being done isn’t just to help our city.  The reason for doing this is that there needs to be clear communication on how this organization will function.  During the budget process he had some tremendous concerns about the way the organization functions– needs to be more business friendly and needs accountability.  That accountability is there now, but we need to specify and clarify some of those issues.  He asked Mrs. Tarolli to review this; does not want to address any Civil Service issues; clarification needs to be made from an organization chart.  Mr. Millea asked if the Charter can just be referenced.  Mrs. Tarolli said that it can.

 

        Section 3.  The Deputy Director being a County employee, in this case should be confirmed by the County Legislature and serve at the pleasure of the County Executive, not the Director

 

Mr. Millea said it would be problematic to set a precedent of legislative confirmation for deputy directors; it is not required elsewhere and the confirmation requirements are very clear in the Charter for the Commissioner level.  Chairman McMahon said that he doesn’t believe the Charter says that the legislature can’t confirm deputy directors.  Mrs. Tarolli said that right now there are no deputy directors confirmed, but they will need to look at Civil Service Law, which is very explicit in which positions get confirmed and which ones don’t. 

 

        Section 4.  That the County Legislature shall remain the chief policy making body for SOCPA – it is the way it is now and will be going forward.

 

        Section 6.  Clarification that nothing in the agreement shall be binding upon the County’s annual budget determinations – all SOCPA employment positions shall be subject to the County’s annual budget review.  Nothing in this agreement will bind this body from keeping this structure the way it is. 

 

Chair Rapp said that they would be subject to the same budget review as any other department; Chairman McMahon agreed.

 

Mr. Millea referred to section 5; noting that he would need Mrs. Tarolli’s help on the definitions of policy decisions in the context of the Charter, as well the definitions of policy decisions with regard to the IMA.  If he were on the Council, he would be concerned that there will be policy decisions predicated on Code.  He does not know if the changes are helpful beyond what is already statutory in the Charter.  Chairman McMahon said that those would be home rule issues, which are clear, i.e. the legislature can’t change City zoning or City Code.  SOCPA is a county run agency – if talking about policy in GIS it is simple- the legislature has the ability to deliver that policy.  Chairman McMahon said that the Legislature is not going to relinquish any authority – trying to streamline everything so that this works – because it is not in there now and it leaves discretion to attorneys, which is not comfortable with.

 

Mr. Millea said most changes proposed don’t seem too problematic, barring the appointment issue.  It still needs to be taken to Corporation Counsel and then back to the Council.  It could go back and forth a few times.  He suggested that there is an attempt to address the chairman’s issue in a non-inflammatory way that says that City Council no longer matters within the context of SOCPA.  He suggested that this organization is bound by the laws adopted by the County and the laws adopted by the City of Syracuse.  There is no extraordinary authority granted in this IMA.  The IMA is not even statutory; it is really just a contract that lays out the personnel make up.  He questioned having a clause that says that all of these people agree that they are bound by their respective laws of the jurisdiction for which they are working.  Chairman McMahon said that it is already known that the Legislature can’t change City Zoning Law.  His changes are saying that the same policy decisions that the Legislature makes now for County Planning will be able to be made for County Planning then.  Chairman McMahon asked Mrs. Tarolli to review this.  He noted that there are a lot of things in the IMA that could be perceived, as Chair Rapp thought, that the City government is having its hand more in County Planning than they ever have.  He does not believe that but can see the perception.  He expressed his concerns 60 days ago when this first came out.  Mrs. Tarolli said that IMA is the backdrop of all of the applicable legislation; feels there is a way to figure out the language.

 

Chairman Rapp said that the State charter offers a certain amount of independence for planning boards; legislative boards not having allowance to change the process.  Mr. Millea said that the real affectation of the policy from this organization is through the respective boards that they are working for.  The Zoning Board of Appeals is really the one deciding; the County Planning Board has to take a majority vote to approve or disapprove a resolution.  This is an appropriately week organization that shouldn’t raise too much ire with our municipal partners because we are not going to be telling them what to do; are not able to make them do anything that they don’t want to do.  

 

Mr. Millea said that they will work on language that affects this discussion; get it to the legislature, and turn around quickly and get it to Corporation Counsel. 

 

Mr. Knapp echoed Comments that Mr. Jordan has done a great job as director.  It is important from a legacy and continuity standpoint to have Mr. Jordan in Planning as a deputy director.  He referenced the appointment of Mr. Maxwell as Director, there is a perception that City Planning has been difficult to work with; perceptions for some are reality.  He asked what can be done from a SOCPA standpoint to make the impression friendlier.  Mr. Maxwell said that City Planning, with the exception of the very beginning of the agency in the 1960’s, hasn’t really existed up until the last few years.  The office has done a good job in efforts to create a new comprehensive plan for the city, including a new land use and development plan.  Part of that success has been in working very closely with Ben Walsh and others in the economic development office.  Part of the challenge is that the codes/laws on books are outdated.  They have been doing the work to update them.  The goals and beliefs are that as that is done, the process will become more streamline and clear and there will be greater predictability and satisfaction from the people in the development community that work with them and invest in the city.  They look forward to working with the city side and county side to make sure those things happen all over the metropolitan area.

 

Chairman Knapp noted that part of the real issue the Mr. Knapp references is the City Zoning.  It was County employees working for the Planning Commission; it was unclear on what would happen when there is an issue on direction or discretion – there was no real chain of command there.  This plan corrects that – when the City Zoning has questions/concerns they will have a point of reference to go to so decisions can be made.  This will help and greatly benefit the businesses and residents.  Mr. Millea said that really we want them side by side with our economic development partners; they have functionally been put together but are not programmatically put together.  This is another step in the success seen by City and County Economic Development sit together and now Planning sit together; ultimately perhaps they will all be together.

 

Mr. Knapp asked Mr. Maxwell his thoughts on the sustainability plan; and if he would like to see any changes to it.  Mr. Maxwell said that he has been involved in the process.  As they have moved ahead with the planning efforts at the City level, clarity is a powerful thing.  As far as the plans that are produced, clarity is important – for people in neighborhoods, people in development community, and in the business community.  It is an important discussion regarding the sustainable plan and its details – has been involved in it from an advisory capacity.  He looks forward to the details and what becomes effectuated and would be happy to talk about it—he does not have any specific feedback at this point. 

 

Mr. Millea said that they will provide a new version of the IMA prior to Ways & Means.  Regarding the four positions coming over from the City with the abstract component, there are no local dollars being spent; there will be an adjustment to Mr. Jordan’s salary.  The 50/50 cost share will have a small local dollar hit in the current year budget.  Chairman McMahon said that on the city side of the budget, they will see a tremendous savings this year.  Mr. Millea agreed.  Chairman McMahon said the positions being created are unfunded; the County Executive is going to work with her departments’ budgets to find the savings. 

 

Mr. Millea said that what drove the discussion is a conversation with Mr. Jordan about the GIS services provided, as well as conversation the Mr. Maxwell about the future of the Planning Bureau within the City.  This is a way to ensure that these professions continue to do the good work that they have been doing.  There was no guarantee that they would have continued in 2014 / 2015 without this solution.  There is definitely a benefit in the long run to the City. 

 

        a.     Discussion - A Local Law Amending Article XII of the Onondaga County Charter and Article XII of the Onondaga County Administrative Code Regarding the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

 

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

 

        b.     Discussion - Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Funds Available for the Consolidation of City and County Planning and Authorizing the Execution of the Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse for the Provision of Consolidated Planning Services ($30,892)

 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Millea said that the payment for Mr. Maxwell for this year will flow through the approved budget and it had to be put in a line that allows them to pay under contract.  It is moving money that would have been in 101 to maintenance, utilities and rents – basically paying for it like buying a service, as a contractor – that is what the IMA does.

 

In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Millea said that the effective date is July 1st.

 

No vote was taken – the item will be referred to Ways and Means Committee.

 

        c.     Discussion - Confirming the Appointment of Andrew Maxwell as the Director of Planning for the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

 

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

 

        d.     Discussion - Create R.P. 01 108700 2000, Deputy Planning Director, Grade 36 @ $82,663-$109,584; Create R.P. 01 108700 2002, Planner I, Grade 11 @ $51,144 - $56,605; Create R.P. 01 108700 2004, Planner I, Grade 11 @ $51,144 - $56,605; Create R.P. 01 108700 2035, Planner III, Grade 14 @ $66,719 - $73,910

 

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

 

Mr. Plochocki referred to Section 5 of the IMA and suggested that it could be changed to say that the parties agree that nothing in this IMA should be read to diminish the County Legislature’s current powers and responsibility with regard to policy making and policy decisions with respect to functions of SOCPA.

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – MAY 28, 2013

DAVID H. KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

Members Present:  Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. May, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan

Also attending:  see attached list

 

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

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

 

1.     MENTAL HEALTH:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements ($282,686)

 

2.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept Drug Enforcement Administration Funds for Cannabis Eradication Work Done by the Air One Program of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($28,000)

 

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

 

REGULAR AGENDA:

 

1.     COUNTY CLERK: Chris Plochocki, Deputy County Clerk

        a.     Mortgage Tax Apportionment

 

  • Total distribution $4,009,698.79 - down slightly from previous period but up from same period in 2012

 

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

 

2.     TRANSPORTATION: Robert Petrovich, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Permanent Easements and Real Property Necessary for the Reconstruction of the Syracuse-Dewitt Road (North Street), CR No. 6 in the Town of Dewitt, County of Onondaga County

 

  • 2 permanent easements and 1 purchase needed for project completion - $2025k

 

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

 

        b.     Discussion:  Highway Work Plan

 

Chairman Knapp stated the legislature passed funds for additional hot and cold mix road paving at the May session and would like an update on the work plan.

 

Mr. Petrovich provided the following handout:

 

1

2

  • Roads highlighted in green part of current work plan
  • Currently clearing shoulders, edges of pavement, and cross culverts of roadways in the 2013 work plan; anticipate paving to commence 1st or 2nd week of June

 

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Petrovich confirmed the roads in green are both hot and cold mix.  The roads listed in yellow are on deck as assessed by road conditions; would be up for paving sometime in the future.  Chairman Knapp asked if it would be this summer.  Mr. Petrovich answered that there have been discussions between the legislature and the county executive’s administration relative to these roads, but he doesn’t know the status of those discussions.  

 

In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Petrovich confirmed the green items were those presented by the County Executive.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the roads in yellow were items that the legislature had added.  Mr. Petrovich stated they are items that would be up next in subsequent work plans or feature activity yet to be determined.  Mr. Holmquist questioned where the items the legislature added could be seen on this list.  Mr. Petrovich answered they are components; ten roads were identified as hot and cold mix - five of which are highlighted.  Howlett Hill Road was also identified for additional work to happen at some point.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the additional hot and cold mix roads the legislature had authorized would be completed this year, per the legislature’s wishes.  Mr. Petrovich reiterated he did not know the status at this time; ongoing discussions between the administration and legislature.  Mr. Holmquist stated that we are the policy maker and he doesn’t see why there would be any debate on these items.  Chairman Knapp agreed noting this item was added to the agenda, as both he and Chairman McMahon have been hearing bits and pieces, but needed clarification about where they are going. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated an issue on Chestnut Street in North Syracuse has been brought to his attention; portions of the road have no shoulder.  This is a major thoroughfare for vehicle traffic and pedestrians walking and biking.  Not having operable shoulders along the road creates a problem.  He asked that this be added to the work plan, if possible.  The road in general needs repaving, but at the very least shoulders need to be installed wherever they are in disrepair or entirely absent.  Mr. Petrovich stated he will pass this onto Commissioner Donnelly and they will get back to him.

 

3.     HEALTH: Linda Karmen, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Authorize Advance Step hire for R.P. 01 01404351 2191, Pathologist, Grade 37 step W @ $112,992

 

  • Covers increase in caseload created by Oneida County contract - contract covers costs

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item. 

Mr. May stated it was great news that the contract would cover the entire costs.  He applauds the efforts to bring these services together and asked if there were any other efforts to bring these services to surrounding counties.  Ms. Karmen stated they have contracts to perform autopsies for some of the contiguous counties, but don’t have a contract to take over the services; charge a fee per autopsy.  In response to Mr. May, Ms. Karmen stated this is not an overflow scenario; they do this work for them.  They have a certain number that they count on in the budget, based on past experience.  Chairman Knapp added he believes Mr. May was asking is we do only the autopsies they can’t handle or all of them.  Ms. Karmen responded that they handle all autopsies required by a medical examiner, other than those performed by a hospital. 

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Create R.P. 02 01404300 1976, Communicable Disease Investigator II, Grade 11 @ $51,144 - $56,605

        c.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept New York State Department of Health Funds for the Expanded Partner Services Pilot Grant and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement this Resolution ($75,000)

 

Ms. Karmen discussed items 3b & 3c together:

  • Onondaga County 1 of 4 counties in the state to receive grant based on rates of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases; $75k guaranteed through June 2014
  • Success of pilot determines future funds
  • Communicable Disease Investigator II position would oversee grant; have contact with agencies and providers and oversee investigators
  • Investigators ensure HIV positive persons continue medication - decreasing risk to community

 

In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Ms. Karmen stated the funds will continue to come to the County if the pilot is successful.  If the grant is terminated, the position will be eliminated.  In answer to Mr. May it was confirmed that termination language is written into the resolution. 

 

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

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve item 3c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

 

4.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Furniture Consoles and Carpeting for the Department of Emergency Communications (E911) in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $648,840, and Authorizing the Issuance of $648,840 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs thereof ($648,840)

 

  • Current consoles installed in 2003 – replaced consoles installed 11 years prior, in use 24/7, contain electrical for individual lighting and cooling options, parts are expensive and difficult to obtain, not compliant with latest  ANSI standards for computer intensive work stations – concern for repetitive motion and sedentary strain injuries
  • Need to accommodate larger video displays for CAD system - rectangular in shape not square; one monitor currently mounted sideways
  • Monitors and computers have been added overtime; current consoles have reached or exceeded capacity
  • New consoles have advanced cable management - easier to locate failures; R56 grounding options built-in - employees on the floor felt tingling from last year’s lightning strike; germ resistant surface – cuts down on workplace illnesses
  • Project was slated for replacement in 2014 (CIP), but received $3.8m to replace radio consoles; will save $25k by doing projects together – won’t have to reinstall radio consoles a year from now
  • 93% ($602k) – replaces current consoles and includes purchase, shipping, decommissioning old consoles and installing new furniture
  • 4% ($29k) – replaces 700 yards of 10 year old raised floor computer carpeting; specialized carpeting containing electro static protection
  • 3% ($16k) – replaces electrical and phone work; uninstall and reinstall wiring and install grounding for consoles

Mr. May stated in the interest of public safety it is great that we are keeping the center on the cutting edge with technology, but we are replacing a lot of expensive equipment.  He asked if there was a plan for surplusing this equipment; has to have some value.  Mr. Bleyle responded that they plan to work with the Purchasing department to surplus the equipment; some of the furniture may have some use.  Mr. May asked about computers and monitors.  Mr. Bleyle stated this is just for furniture and carpeting and the removal, setup and installation.  Mr. May asked that Mr. Bleyle or the Purchasing department advise the committee on the plans for the computers and monitors to be replaced down the road.  

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Bleyle stated the room is primarily carpeted for sound deadening.  It would be too difficult to hear with standard flooring; up to thirty people working the floor at one time.  Carpeting is also on the walls; added after the fact to deaden the sound. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  

 

Chairman Knapp stated they have been incredibly successful at bringing in grant funds.  $3.8 million for equipment was huge, as this was going to go on our Capital Improvement Plan next year.  This is a direct savings to us.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Bleyle stated that he has been diligently searching to try and find grant funds for all of their capital projects.  There is nothing immediately available for this purpose. 

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

5.     FINANCE: Steve Morgan, CFO

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance Pursuant to Section 90.10 of the Local Finance Law of Refunding Bonds of the County Of Onondaga, New York, to be Designated Substantially “Public Improvement Refunding (Serial) Bonds”, and Providing for Other Matters in Relation Thereto and the Payment of the Bonds to be Refunded Thereby

  • Refund $19.7m from 2005 & 2006 bonds; net saving $1.2m over 10 year period
  • Bonds at 4% interest – refunded bonds would be 2% interest

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if two percent was the going rate for capital bonds.  Mr. Morgan answered that they sent out an RFP.  This is the rate they received through the competitive process.    

 

Mr. Jordan stated he applauds the move - we want to decrease our interest expense as much as possible.  He asked if they were currently making payments on the bonds or if interest was accruing and then being paid in a lump sum.  Mr. Morgan stated they are making payments.  They will be replacing the old bonds with new bonds and will make payments over the same timeframe, but with a lower interest rate which will result in the savings.  Mr. Jordan stated he wanted to ensure that they weren’t extending the debt.

 

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

 

Mr. Morgan asked to take a moment to acknowledge a longtime employee, Peter Seitz.  Mr. Seitz is retiring in June so this will be his last Ways and Means meeting.  He has been invaluable to their office and will be sorely missed.  The committee congratulated Mr. Seitz and thanked him for his 37 ½ years of service.   

 

6.     PLANNING: Don Jordan, Director; Andrew Maxwell, Director - City of Syracuse Planning & Sustainability

        a.     A Local Law Amending Article XII of the Onondaga County Charter and Article XII of the Onondaga County Administrative Code Regarding the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to make funds Available for the Consolidation of City and County Planning and Authorizing the Execution of the Intermunicipal Agreement with the City of Syracuse for the Provision of Consolidated Planning Services

        c.     Confirming the Appointment of Andrew Maxwell as the Director of Planning for the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

        d.     Create R.P. 01 108700 2000, Deputy Planning Director, Gr. 36 @ $82,663-$109,584 and authorize Advance Step hire (Gr. 36 Step J @ $87,860 to Gr. 36 Step L @ $90,044)

                Create R.P. 01 108700 2002, Planner I, Grade 11 @ $51,144-$56,605

                Create R.P. 01 108700 2004, Planner I, Grade 11 @ $51,144-$56,605

                Create R.P. 01 108700 2035, Planner III, Grade 14 @ $66,719-$73,910

 

Mr. Jordan discussed items 6a-6d together:

  • All items relate to the intended merger of SCOPA and the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability 
  • SCOPA is a joint city/county agency formed in the 1960’s, County role for the City has evolved over time – primary function provided for the City was staffing of Zone Administration office
  • Mayor Minor created the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability – real commitment to planning; County has provided planning support to the City over the years, but this established dedicated resources from the City; makes since to merge the two entities

 

In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan stated the director could be either a city or county employee and is appointed jointly by the mayor and county executive; all other positions will be County positions.  Mr. Holmquist stated this would be a charter change.  He asked if going forward the County Executive and the Mayor would make a joint appointment for both the director and deputy director.  Mr. Jordan replied that they would jointly appointment the director; deputy director would be appointed by the director.

 

Mr. Holmquist asked what the role of the County Legislature would be in future years.  Mr. Jordan replied that they would approve the budget for the agency and any future appointments.  Chairman Knapp clarified that they would confirm the appointments.  Mr. Jordan agreed, adding the agreement was for a certain number of years.  Ms. Tarolli stated the agreement is until 2025.  The appointment of the director has always been a joint appointment; not changing.  This gives clarity as to how we bill the city; makes certain that charges will go on the abstract until 2025.  

 

Mr. Holmquist asked what was changing.  Ms. Tarolli replied that there are some personnel changes and some methodology on the abstract is described; not much is changing.  Mr. Maxwell stated that not much was changing functionally, but the structure will be articulated more.  It will be very clear that there are four essential structures; city planning, city zoning, county planning and GIS services.   

 

Mr. Holmquist stated that he hasn’t had dialogue or time to digest these changes.  This is important, but not urgent; doesn’t have to be passed this month.  Mr. Maxwell replied that there is some urgency on the City side.  Their fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30; goal was to achieve this by July 1.  Currently there are five city planners on staff - four would be coming on as county employees.  Ms. Tarolli stated given the different fiscal years between the County and the City, the desire was to start this commencing with the City’s fiscal year.   This would make it a nice even start for the abstract; will always have that catch up.  Mr. Holmquist stated it is helpful to know the City’s goal, but it is also important for the County Legislature to fully digest, understand and vet this before charter changes are made.  Chairman Knapp agreed.

 

Mrs. Ervin asked if the concerns expressed at the Planning and Economic Development Committee have been resolved.  Ms. Tarolli responded the agreement was finalized on Friday, is in final form, and is going to the City.  With respect to the charter change, there really isn’t much in the local law.  The only direct change is that the director may be either a city or county employee and must be reached by joint agreement;  there is some reorganizing of sections and updates of language.

 

Mr. May stated discussion is good, but it may take a little longer than today to understand and actually pass these items.  He understands that we are creating four new positions, but doesn’t see any abolished positions.  He asked if all the funds would be coming in from the abstract for these positions.  Ms. Tarolli answered that the positions are being created as county positions for city people, and will be billed on the abstract.  Per the desire of the Chairman, one of the changes incorporated into the agreement since this item went to Planning was to make sure that each year the County has the ability to go back and review the department as part of the budget process.  The Planning Director will have to demonstrate to the legislature the need for the department and that the positions doing city work, are being billed on the abstract.  

 

In answer to Mr. May, Ms. Tarolli stated that page 3 of the IMA sets forth the personnel costs.  Mr. Morgan stated that the current positions overlap via the abstract, this will just be adding onto that.  All incremental costs for those employees being added to the County will be billed back to the City by the abstract.  The 2013 changes will be included in the 2014 budget process; too late to impact the 2013 abstract.  In 2015 there will be a reconciliation of the estimated costs.  There really is no change to the abstract, we are just adding additional costs on and bringing them forward.  The director position will stay as a city employee.  The County will pay the City fifty percent of the costs; budget appropriations for the IMA will be used to pay the City for this cost.  Ms. Tarolli added that page 3 of the IMA states the City shall pay annually to the County one hundred percent of the cost of salary and fringe benefits and other overhead costs. 

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Tarolli confirmed the IMA agreement is the most recent and has been worked on by the City and County attorneys and then distributed to the County Executive and Mayor for review.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about the city process for confirming this item.  Ms. Tarolli replied that they have a study session today and their council meeting meets on Tuesday, the same as the legislature.  Mr. Maxwell stated the City has both a study and voting session today.  He doesn’t believe their next voting session would be until June 10th.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Maxwell confirmed that the voting session today would be for the full council.      

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated that at this time it is contemplated that the director will stay a city employee.  He questioned if this was a temporary election or permanent.  Ms. Tarolli responded that one of the changes in the local law is that the director can be either a city or county employee.  Mr. Morgan added that right now, we have identified that the director will be a city employee.  Mr. Kilmartin stated the director will be a city employee with the salary, benefits and fringe split fifty-fifty between the City and County.  The appointment is subject to an agreement between the then mayor and county executive.  Ms. Tarolli agreed.  Mr. Morgan added, with confirmation from the legislature. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated that Mr. Maxwell had touched on the four major components - county planning, GIS, city zoning and city planning and asked if he was missing any other sub-departments.  Mr. Maxwell confirmed this was everything.  Mr. Kilmartin stated the director oversees these departments and asked Mr. Maxwell to go over the number of employees in each area so they have a better understanding of the org chart for this entity.

Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Jordan responded:

  • City Planning currently has 5 planners - 4 would be coming over as part of this agreement  
  • City Zoning division has 6 employees – no change already County employees
  • County Planning has 3 planners
  • GIS currently has 2 positions and 2 others in address administration program - provides direct support to 911; programs will merge under the GIS umbrella, also have a fulltime and halftime position - halftime position supports the planning function for the most part 

 

Legislator Jordan stated we already have a unified joint effort for shared services between the City and County through SCOPA.  He questioned what the economies of scale to be realized are; other than eliminating one planner position for the City and why we needed to change this to one County department now.  Mr. Jordan responded that this is more of a commitment to the City Planning piece.  We are a joint agency, but we have not had dedicated City Planning staff.  Overtime our planners have provided assistance to the City as needed; zoning studies, corridor studies and comprehensive planning.  This really makes a commitment to a dedicated City Planning piece for our agency – something that has been missing.  Until now, the primary piece of the joint city/county planning has been staffing the City Zoning office.  Putting the zoning piece and City Planning together under one umbrella will solidify zoning.  Legislator Jordan asked why they wouldn’t just modify the terms of the IMA already in place.  If you are looking for the County to be more involved in certain aspects of City Planning, then simply modify the agreement.  He continued to question why they were now consolidating and creating new county positions now, adding this is being pushed through very quickly.  We are being asked to vote on this in the course of a month and in reality we are already doing this via the IMA.  If there are certain deficiencies in that agreement, why not change the language of the agreement to address those deficiencies, rather than creating something new. 

 

Ms. Tarolli stated that we haven’t had an agreement since 1980 or 1981.  The idea is to get an agreement together and clarify what we are doing with the changes that Director Jordan spoke about for City Planning.  Chairman Knapp stated that for lack of a better word, this has been a handshake deal for the past thirty years.  Ms. Tarolli added this is just part of the way in which the abstract has worked.  This IMA makes it clear as to how the legislature is going to charge the abstract for those positions.  Legislator Jordan questioned if the agreement from 1980 expired and we just never renewed it.  Ms. Tarolli stated the agreement was a one or two year agreement and was never renewed; prior to that, there was an agreement in 1960.  Legislator Jordan again asked why they didn’t simply modify the IMA.  Ms. Tarolli responded that this is what they are doing.  Legislator Jordan stated that we are doing more than that.  He reiterated that we have a shared services arrangement, why not continue that arrangement instead of restructuring and essentially making the City Planning department, the County Planning department; eliminating city positions and making those county employees.  Ms. Tarolli responded that they are working within some of the existing structure which is SCOPA.  SCOPA is a city agency and county planning board sitting together.  It is incorporated in the charter and code.  They are also working within the structure of the NYS General Municipal Law and the functions it assigns to different planning boards.  There is a lot of structure that they have to work within.  This IMA does that and also reflects how we have been working with the City.  

 

Legislator Jordan stated he has yet to hear anything that convinces him that this is the way to go; especially within the course of a month.  Ms. Tarolli responded that from a budgetary standpoint this makes it clear as to what we are going to bill the city for and what they are going to pay, when we adopt our budget.  Given the different fiscal years, there has always been a period of uncertainty; would the city approve the charges on the abstract in December.  When you adopt the budget with this structure you will have some certainty that the services you are performing in 2013 will be paid for by the City; fills in a gap.  Legislator Jordan stated that he doesn’t see this changing anything.  It would just exasperate things; now everyone is a County employee and it is all going on the abstract and still has to be approved by the Common Council.  Ms. Tarolli responded that all of the City costs have always been on the abstract.  Each year when the legislature adopts its budget they put about $400,000 in planning costs on to the city abstract.  Each year she waits for the City to approve the abstract and wonders what we will do if they don’t approve it.  This assures that the City knows what their bill is and is willing to pay it. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated that at this point the abstract charge has supported the City zoning function, there hasn’t really been a dedicated City Planning function within the agency; this creates that.  Our agency hasn’t had the resources to provide the level of planning support that the City needs.  This is why the Mayor created the City Planning & Sustainability Bureau.  This simply takes those resources and combines them with our agency to create a true joint City/County Planning agency, with all those functions under one umbrella.  Mr. Fisher stated the other thing to consider is the organizational standpoint; had leaders from two different organizations, funded from different funding streams.  With this agreement we will have one unified organization for both zoning and planning.  The City does in fact have to adopt the abstract, but since he has been here they have never done anything, but approve it.  There is always some ambiguity about the things that aren’t written down.  This removes that ambiguity and puts the responsibility in the hands of this legislature in terms of what the budget is going to be.  The legislature will adopt the abstract in response to the County Executive’s presentation.  The Common Council could say no, but they don’t get any say as to what goes into it, especially now that it will be very clear and a matter of contract, exactly what the city taxpayers will be charged for.  He reiterated that the additional costs of bringing these people over to the County will be billed to city taxpayer; no town contribution.  We can deliver these shared services better, from the County’s perspective, than we could with the County and City under separate leadership and administration. 

Mr. Holmquist stated the reason the legislature is not on board with this and has all these questions is because they have not had the benefit of the dialogue and process that the County Executive’s office and the Mayor’s office  have had.  They have repeatedly requested that the legislature be included in the process early on, not waiting until the County Executive thinks it is fully vetted.  This is not the first time and this is not directed at Planning.  If they were included earlier, they wouldn’t have these issues.  Now there is a since of urgency on the part of the City, this is not our fault.  Maybe some members of the legislature were included on this, but he certainly wasn’t one of them and with the questions raised today, he is obviously not alone.  Mr. Maxwell apologized stating they have been communicating with the Chairman about this for the last few months.  He doesn’t understand the workings of the legislature and assumed there was communication between the Chairman and the caucus on some of these details.  Mr. Holmquist responded that this wasn’t just the Chairman’s responsibility, but even the Chairman isn’t on board yet.  If the Chairman and the leadership aren’t on board, with whatever issues have gone through, he questioned what chance they would have.  It isn’t that Chairman hasn’t tangentially updated them, but now here it is and it’s an emergency; needs to be passed by July first.  This happens over, and over, and over again.  All he can do is complain about it and vote the right way.  He is urging anyone in the room with any power to convince the County Executive to get involved with the legislature early in the process – it would be very helpful.  Mrs. Ervin stated she would have to take exception to this.  This went through Planning and Economic Development and was discussed prior to that.  They had Mr. Maxwell come in and speak to their caucus, as they wanted to be aware of what was going on.  This was not voted on at Planning as the Chairman had some questions, but they have now apparently been resolved.  Perhaps Mr. Holmquist has been out of the loop, but the entire legislature has not.  The urgency is everyone’s urgency because we want to make sure we do this right, rather than coming back and having to do something differently.  Doing it before the July first date makes since.  Sometimes we are left out, but this isn’t one of those times.  Mr. Maxwell stated he would be happy to speak with Mr. Holmquist or any of his colleagues at any time, if he thought it would be helpful.

 

Legislator Jordan stated he agreed with Mrs. Ervin, they need to do this right. This is all the more reason why they shouldn’t approve this now; still a number of questions that need to be vetted.  It is one thing to have one or two people on the legislature know about this, but we ask questions and those legislators don’t necessarily have the answers.  The answers are with the people who have been working on this for months and months.  He is reluctant to restructure everything when he still has some questions, other members of this committee have questions and he would imagine that other members of the full legislature would have similar questions.  He would rather put this off, allow questions to be answered and fully vetted before jumping head first into the icy waters without really knowing what the total ramifications of this move are.

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated he just spoke with Ms. Tarolli with regards to the local law and the issue of confirmation by the legislature; doesn’t see that expressly written in this form.  She indicated that she was going to look into whether this was the most recent form and whether that concept was already imbedded in our charter or code.  Eventually we may have to incorporate this into the local law, if it’s already imbedded in the charter or code.  He believes it would be helpful for clarification; makes everyone aware of the process for the appointment and who does or does not confirm the director’s position.    

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated that to a degree this processes is the norm for an issue like this.  It is a substantial issue for county and city government.  The Common Council, the County entity, and the County Executive branch are all working concurrently and trying to shepherd a process like this.  Unfortunately when you have IMA’s and personnel shifting, these processes don’t always go in consecutive order.  There is difficulty in collecting all the information and dispersing it as quickly as possible.  The Chairman has been working on these efforts over the last couple of weeks and months and has tried to keep people updated as progress was made.  This was discussed at our last caucus.  At that time, the general consensus was that progress was made, but everything was not firmed up; good to hear additional progress was made on one of the agreements last Friday.  He suggests that everyone obtain a copy of the most recent form of the local law and the complete IMA before leaving today. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked Mr. Jordan and Mr. Maxwell to create and distribute to all legislators an organizational chart listing the different positions.  This will allow for a clear picture of the entity and how it’s shaped and sized going forward.  Because there are still open questions and issues, he respectfully recommends that the Chairman doesn’t take a vote on this; allowing everyone the opportunity to review the IMA, the local law and the organizational chart.  If possible, he would ask that the organizational chart be distributed today, along with email and contact information.  This would allow legislators to convey any questions directly to them, over the next week.  A lot of progress has been made, but there are still open issues and these are permanent changes to the County and City government.  He wants to make sure everyone is comfortable and has a chance to pose all their questions and have them answered over the next couple of days.  Mrs. Ervin stated this made since.

 

Ms. Tarolli confirmed that the copy of the local law in the packet is the most recent.  Page 3 of the IMA was missing in the packet, but has been recirculated.  Mr. Kilmartin stated he wasn’t privy to the most recent discussion on Friday afternoon and asked if it was contemplated that the local law had incorporated or would be revised to incorporate confirmation by the legislature for the director.  Ms. Tarolli responded that article 19 of the charter provides that certain county executive appointments are subject to legislative confirmation - historically the Planning director has been confirmed by the legislature, per article 19.   If need be, the local law could be amended at a subsequent time; local law day was this past Friday.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Tarolli confirmed the last day to put local laws on the desk for the June 4th session was Friday, May 24th and that in the past the director was confirmed by the legislature pursuant to the charter.  Mr. Kilmartin stated based on this information and depending on legislators comfort level, the local law could be amended subsequently, or they could ask for further clarification, or they could review the charter. 

 

Chairman Knapp stated this is important and he supports the concept.  It clarifies roles and responsibilities and makes it much easier for the County as well as the City to plan financially.  From a metropolitan area standpoint, this degree of coordination is exactly what we are going to need.  The organizational chart is a wonderful idea and will solidify things.  Mr. May asked that the organizational chart include both the current and proposed organization for the Planning department.  Chairman Knapp agreed, adding it would be very helpful.

 

Chairman Knapp stated no vote will be taken.  The items have been considered and can go forth to session.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Chairman Knapp stated that all four items have been considered.  Mr. Kilmartin stated he wanted to clarify this for the record. 

 

7.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – Sean Carroll, Director

  • Unable to provide information in advance – was out of the office; available to answer questions anytime
  • RFP issued for MEO Tissue Recovery Services – awaiting responses; MEO’s office has space available for companies performing tissue recovery- is separate for organ donor,  all tissue recovery vendors are for-profit, RFP specifies quality and ethics of service 1st priority
  • Pistol permit software update – award letter sent to Sheriff’s office, Sheriff finalizing contract negotiations with vendor – simultaneously vendor authorized to begin planning process looking at software integration points, per direction of Co. Ex. Purchasing will be expediting each step of the contract; not the usual practice, low risk opportunity for the County, wouldn’t want vendor on site without insurance and contract documents, but know this is a legislative priority so they are making the option available; final contract details should be finished by tomorrow

 

Mr. Holmquist thanked Mr. Carroll, the Purchasing department and the Sheriff’s department for their work on this issue.  It is a top legislative priority to properly service our law abiding citizens.  The number is significantly higher than one thousand citizens; just don’t have time to count them all.  The collaboration between the Purchasing department and the Sheriff is greatly appreciated and he strongly encourages this to continue until this waiting time is reduced.  The demand is increasing and with the actions of the governor, this is not going to stop; we have to react.  It is going to be awhile before we can get back to the two month goal, but it is all hands on deck.  The legislature will do everything that they can to make sure this is properly funded and supported.  Mr. Carroll stated he appreciated this and to some extent, when they approved the deputy commissioner position for his department, it helped fix some of the delays in his office. 

 

Mr. Carroll continued with the 2012-13 Lights on the Lake report:

  • 19% increase in web page use from 2011-2012, 38k vehicle – estimated 172k people drove through
  • Dog Walk raised over $9k for Hillside Work Scholarship Connection and the Human Association of CNY
  • Galaxy allocated $820,960 for event promotion – TV, billboards, print media advertising
  • Lights on the Lake program reached over 200k readers via the newspaper
  • 7k participants in First Night
  • All positive - in most cases items were on par or increased from previous year
  • Galaxy partnership resulted in $336,740 in revenue - covering $274,725 in operating expenses; successful revenue contract
  • First Night better experience than last year in terms of performance
  • Additions for 2013-14 include Robin Hood and Beauty and the Beast scenes, tornado scene for the Land of Oz, laser element and rehabilitation of 6 scenes; total cost $75,841

 

Mr. May asked that the revenue and expenses be provided on a spreadsheet.  Mr. Carroll responded that Lights on the Lake is a revenue contract and one of the primary reasons he reports, but he is not the Parks department.  He will pass this onto the Parks department and one of them will deliver the information.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

 
 
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