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

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

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - NOVEMBER 13, 2013

MICHAEL E. PLOCHOCKI, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Tassone, Mrs. Rapp, *1Mr. Shepard

MEMBERS ABSENT: Ms. Williams

ALSO ATTENDING: See attached list

 

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order 9:06 AM.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY:

        a.     Confirming Reappointment of John V. Bianchini to the Onondaga County Water Authority Board

 

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

 

2.     METROPOLITAN WATER BOARDI. Holly Rosenthal, Executive Director

        a.     A Resolution to Amend the 2013 Budget and to Release Contingency Funds for the Purchase of a Wheel Loader ($160,000)

 

Ms. Rosenthal stated she would answers any questions they may, as items a and b have been before the legislature before. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Rosenthal confirmed the funds are in contingency.  Chair Plochocki added that the funds are in the 2013 contingency budget.

 

Chair Plochocki asked what she would say to releasing the funds in 2014.  Ms. Rosenthal responded that they are avoiding the added expense of a major overhaul by releasing them in 2013.  In addition, as the year turns over there will likely be an increase in the cost; have seen a couple of 5% increases during the time this has been under consideration.  This is a 32-year-old piece of equipment.  It is in the 2013 budget and has been discussed for a couple of years.  She would like to move forward on this item.  Chair Plochocki added there was a recommendation for replacement in 2002. 

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Appropriate Fund Balance Held by the Metropolitan Water Board ($186,000)

 

Ms. Rosenthal:

  • Original agreement with Town of Oswego for water system expansion - 20 year period ending in 2012
  • Agreement didn’t go into place until 2 years after the initial start date; didn’t have this information when 2013 budget was built, obligated to pay in 2013 and 2014 to satisfy agreement, funds already built into 2014 budget

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Rosenthal stated the funds would come from MWB fund balance for 2013.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Ms. Rosenthal confirmed the funds for 2014 are built into the MWB budget.  Mrs. Rapp stated that 2013 was a mistake and we have no choice, we are obligated to pay these funds.  Ms. Rosenthal agreed.

 

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

   

        c.     Confirming an Amendment to the Currently Effective Schedule of Rates to be Charged for Water and Water Service Provided by the Onondaga County Water District

 

Ms. Rosenthal:

  • Final 2014 budget reflects increase in MWB rate -  $.09 cents per 1,000
  • Normally would take action during budget process; item was late 

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Rosenthal stated a public hearing is required and will be taking place just prior to the next session.  The requirement to go through committee was waived. 

Mrs. Tassone stated that she would like to hold off voting on this item until after the public hearing.  Ms. Rosenthal stated that they want to be sure the vote is taken before year-end so that they can implement the rate increase January 1, 2014.

Chair Plochocki stated the item has been discussed, no vote will be taken.

 

*Mr. Shepard arrived at the meeting.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they had gotten any pushback from the news stories about this increase.  Ms. Rosenthal responded that they hadn’t received any at all.

 

3.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner; Robert Kukenberger, Vice President CDM Smith

        a.     Informational - Update on Clinton CSO Storage Facility Project          

Mr. Rhoads:     

  • Informational update works in conjenction with item 3b
  • Leadership from design and construction management teams are present
  • Mr. Millea unavailable to attend- in Albany for NYS Intergrated Planning; trying to better manage storm and waste water issues, relieve some regulatory burden and bring home some of the money if we get intergrated planning to happen in NYS

Chair Plochocki stated for the record, Deputy County Executive Millea, as well as Commissioner Rhoads have briefed him extensivily  on this item and also meet for several hours yesterday.  Mr. Millea was very aplogetic that he couldn’t be here.

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Clinton Storage Project details to be presented, coming back in December to discuss budget dollars; today’s resolution calls for public hearing
  • ACJ requires management of combined stormwater and sanitary sewerwater by 12-31-13; very aggressive and complex project, critical project for ACJ compliance
  • Not an expansion of the Save the Rain Program; primarily about the Clinton Storage Project and issues associated with this project

 

Mr. Kukenberger presented the following:

1  2

 

Notice proximity of downtown facilities to this project- high-rise building low-income housing looks directly over the site, MOST is located just across, pink bldg. on lower left is a pharmsotical company- very sensitive to fibration, Rescue Mission on lower right; number of issues effect the public during construction such as noise  

Bulk of costs being asked for relate to storage project, want to compare this to what the RTF’s would have been; County Executive Mahoney created a balanced green and gray program, one won’t work without the other

 

3  4

        

Hiawatha Blvd RTF operates mainly as a storage facility; Midland RTF completed without the conveyances; Harbor Brook RTF’s replaced with storage at Lower Harbor Brook and replaced the interceptor for Upper Harbor Brook under the stimulus program- $22M project, received $12M in grants, added sewer separation and green infrastructure, rain garden in Upper Harbor Brook RTF location; Clinton creek walk conveyances weren’t built

 

Expanded Clinton to include Lower MIS to combine resources for green and gray infrastructure and receive EFC funding in most effective way; blue on the map indicates the Clinton storage area

EBSS – Erie Blvd Storm Storage system

FCF – Floatable Control Facility; facilities are already built

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Kukenberger confirmed that the $54 million for Midland did not include the conveyances.  It was $70-$75 million for the entire project, with the conveyances.  There was another estimate to continue to complete the conveyances as planned - $60 million.  This would be large diameter pipe all the way through the community, very disruptive.  Much of this has been replaced with the green program. 

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Kukenberger confirmed that the Harbor Brook conveyances weren’t built however, roughly $10 million in conveyances are being built as part of the lower Harbor Brook storage facility.

                    

5  6

Tight ACJ dates - working hard to meet them; designed for parking or buildings on top of storage; flow comes into facility from 3 locations- bldg. on each end of Trolley Lot used for facility operations; made since to  build storage rather than conveyances across this property

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Kukenberger stated the $94 million estimate was without conveyances.  The conveyances were constructed between 2006 and 2009.  Taking advantage of this, was the reason for the storage.   The conveyances for Clinton were all built with the exception of those that would have gone under the creek walk.

7  8

Swirl concentrators being removed from Hartford MDC, started in 1995; Hartford MDC similar to WEP- represents many towns with major city in the center and combined sewers, were pumping excess flow reaching the treatment plant to the swirl concentrators, then putting into lagoon, would then overflow to CT River or go back to treatment plant for further treatment; floatables, grit and solids collected in the lagoon as swirl concentrators didn’t work; swirl technology to be replaced with treatment, storage, sewer separation and some green infrastructure

 

In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Kukenberger stated the existing RTF at Midland is swirl technology.  It has storage in front of it, but Clinton did not because there wasn’t enough space.  Midland had roughly five million gallons of storage prior to the swirls.  It is very effective using the storage and then swirls for the excess after that.  This is why Midland actually works.  They decided to keep Midland as is and not add any more flow; becomes less effective with increased flow.  In addition, there will be green infrastructure added to Midland to take care of the rest of this going south.  This is another green and gray balanced program.

         

9  10

Receiving end of storag facility shown in middle of picture - large box 50 ft. down, will hold pumps; bldg on top shown in later picture; blue and red pipes just supports for open cut, removed once tunnels were built, now all covered, will be part of parking lot  

 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Kukenberger stated there are pumps in this facility for two reasons.  Once the storm is over, we need to pump it back into the sewer, so that it goes to Metro; smaller pumps.  In a very large storm there are three pumps that would pump the affluent out to the creek.  These are big pumps but not nearly the size needed for RTF’s.  Mrs. Rapp added that they are only used speratically.  Mr. Kukenberger agreed, adding they would only operate in the case of a very large storm, to pump the overflow out. 

Mrs. Tassone asked if this cost increase was anticiapted.  Mr. Kukenberger responded that about half of it was anticipated and the other half was due to changes in construction.   Mr. Rhoads added that this was a great question and they will get into this further in the presentation.

 

11  12

            

DEC delays did not change ACJ deadlines; fisheries people say we could have discharged the chloride into the creek and the creek would have recovered, DEC would not allow this- had to work to meet their limit

Marginal costs to go bigger; have volume of capture requirements, this project part of 95% CSO capture – capturing over 120M gallons per year; minimizing impacts on the neighbors increased costs; storage designed to use conveyances already constructed for RTF 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the DEC was helping with any of the funding because of their regulations.  Mr. Kukenberger responded that there is state and EFC funding but nothing comes directly from DEC.

   

13         114

 

Mr. Kukenberger distributed the Clinton CSO Storage facility project bid tabulation sheet and the Clinton CSO Storage project bidding and award sheet (See attachment A and attachment B).   

Mr. Rhoads stated there was a budget allocated for this project.  If you look back in the Environmental Protection Committee minutes for 2011, you will see the construction cost estimate was $79 million.  The bids were received in July and the project was awarded in September.  There was an intense amount of pressure to proceed with this project to meet the ACJ deadlines.  He was not at WEP during this time but, from the record it appears that there was an abundant amount of knowledge that we had a budget of $61,500,000 and a project of $79 million and needed to proceed.  

Mrs. Rapp asked if we ever increased the bonding.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it wasn’t done at that time.  Mrs. Rapp stated she remembers talking about this.  Mr. Rhoads responded he believes the logic was to wait to change the amount until we were closer to the end of the project, reconciling all the numbers at one time.  This is the reason why they are here today, to reconcile where we are going to be and what the process was.

Mr. Kukenberger reviewed the information sheets distributed and added they could review them in detail at their leisure.  Jet Industries absorbed the cost for the redesign.  The first change order was a deduct order to assist with EEA’s portion of the redesign, about $250,000.  The award cost was $9.1 million more than the amount in the budget, starting this whole process.

Chairman Plochocki stated they are tight on time because of the long agenda.  He appreciates all the detail presented thus far.  He would like to hit on four salient points and then if the committee has further questions, we can go from there. 

Chairman Plochocki stated there are many details here but there are four key things to note.  First, all we are voting on, at this meeting, is for a public hearing.  The actually vote on the money will be at the January session, with further discussion at the December committee meeting.  Second, WEP is asking for $19 million and change because of cost overruns or as Mr. Rhoads prefers, reconciliation.  Third, this is not a surprise.  Per the records in 2011, the legislature was briefed and told of the increased costs due to higher bids.  As Mrs. Rapp stated there was discussion at that time.  The view was that there could be further costs, they decided to get a handle on everything and then come back.  Now two years later, this is happening and hence this is why we are here.  Fourth, there is some good news.  We are still ahead of the game because originally, we were going to build regional treatment facilities and just the RTF for Clinton alone, the counterpart to the Clinton Storage facility, would have been $16 million dollars more.  Mr. Kukenberger stated this was a great summary.           

Chairman Plochocki stated he was comfortable voting on the public hearing.  Next month we will continue to discuss the funds and the item will be presented to Ways and Means.  There will be more opportunities to ask questions.  He wants everyone to have the comfort level to send this to a public hearing.  Mr. Kukenberger added that slide number 15 summarizes the budget numbers discussed.

 

15    16

17  17

  

        b.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with the Increased Cost of Proposed CSO Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District of the County of Onondaga, New York

 

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

 

4.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Dave Coburn, Director

       a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Preservation and/or Removal and Replacement of Ash Trees in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($500,000)

Chair Plochocki stated the emerald ash borer is here.  We will need to spend a lot of money, over the next ten years, in the removal and inoculation of numerous ash trees, in drop zones on County property. 

Chair Plochocki asked if it would be safe to say, this is the first request in a series of requests to be made approximately every year for the next nine to ten years, as the project is phased in.  Mr. Coburn stated based on the trees already inventoried, we are looking at many millions of dollars for this program, but we to continue to move forward.  We expect the inventory to be completed soon after the first of the year.  At that point, he will be able to come back with a complete database and long-term projections. 

Mr. Coburn stated his support team today was Mr. Burger from Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District, whose office is carrying out the inventory, on behalf of the County.  Mr. Petrela from Management and Budget is working with the Soil and Water District and himself to develop a model that will help project costs.  One of the challenges with this issue is that trees don’t stop growing and cost for inoculation and removal grow with time.  Building those kinds of things into the model is an important and challenging task.   The thinking was to request $500,000 now, but we will be coming to you next year with long-term costs projection and strategy.  Mr. Skeval from Onondaga County Cooperative Extension is here and has been very helpful to him and the taskforce created, in understanding this issue. 

Mr. Coburn stated that most, if not all, of the committee attended his budget presentation, therefor he won’t go into anything further.  As the Chairman stated, this is an initial appropriation. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if they expected to get any budget help, grants or DEC money.  Mr. Coburn responded:

  • In the process of applying for a DEC Urban Forestry Grant 
  • Already received a grant to help complete the inventory
  • Not aware of any funds for tree removal at this time
  • Some funds are available for tree replacement – what he will be applying for; limit is $25k with 50% match, about 200 trees
  • Half-way through inventory already managing 25k trees; indications are numbers along highway right-of-ways may be even greater than the first half, don’t want to guess; diameter of the tree makes a big difference, having more trees not terrible, if they are all small  

 

Chair Plochocki stated that he had seen a request for $2 million for this first year, now reduced to $500,000.  Mr. Coburn responded that they learned that the bond had to be repaid within five years.  He asked Mr. Petrela to explain the term for this.   Mr. Petrela stated the bond council determines the timeframe in which the funds must be repaid, called the period of probable usefulness.  Our assumption was that the period would be ten years.  If it was ten years, it made since to spread the costs over ten years.  If you pay in five years and you borrow $500,000 for four years, it makes no since because of the costs when you overlap the debt. 

Mr. Coburn stated there were big spikes in what the debt service would be.  To avoid those spikes now, they decided to wait until they better understand the type of schedule they will be on.  Mr. Petrela stated that from the moment you start borrowing the time period begins, with the final year being 2019.  If you keep borrowing $500,000 per year, each year you borrow you will have one less year to pay for it.  Chairman Plochocki responded that this makes since.  He just wanted to be sure, there wasn’t another $2 million coming this year.

Chairman Plochocki asked who determines how the funds are spent on cutting verses inoculations, and if it would be itemized.  Mr. Coburn responded largely this will be determined by him, in consultation with the departments upon which property the trees are located.  Cutting verses inoculations or combinations have been discussed.  The expectation is for a combination, with criteria established for trees safe for inoculation.  He can share with you today the proposed criteria if you so desire.  Chairman Plochocki responded not in the interest of time.  His colleagues have heard him go on about this in the past.   

Chairman Plochocki stated he would rather not vote on this today.  We as a legislature have to decide what our overall strategy is going to be.  The Legislature may want to spend more money at this time and may want to discuss further cutting verses inoculation options and that sort of thing.  In addition, he would also like to talk with him further.  He and legislative leaders wanted to get this considered, so that it could potentially be voted on by the overall legislature in December.  Mr. Coburn responded that his hope is that as the Legislature considers this issue, he and other experts would be invited to the table.  The issue is very complex.  There are many considerations to take into account, which are not apparent on the surface.  As they formulate a prospective on this, he believes it would be constructive for all, if he were at the table with them to share the insights that he has gained in talking with others.  Some things that appear obvious are not so obvious.  This would be his request.  Chairman Plochocki stated the Legislature’s decision would be in consultation with Mr. Coburn.  

Mrs. Tassone asked if the towns and village are being updated.  Mr. Coburn responded:

  • This is where the taskforce comes in; County Executive asked Cornell Cooperative Extension to create the taskforce which contains experts, educators, regulators, utilities, municipalities, and other stakeholders,  meeting monthly, bringing experts in to talk about issues
  • Most recently had meeting of experts to discuss strategy going forward given the location of the known infestations; how best to proceed in a way that might slow infestation spread from those locations
  • All  municipalities attending have all been made aware- hasn’t been many

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Coburn stated currently all of the known infestations are in the City, Eastwood and Dewitt.  Mr. Coburn provided the following map:

Map

Mrs. Rapp stated this hasn’t even hit Onondaga Lake Park yet.  Chairman Plochocki responded that it hasn’t been confirmed, but there are suspicions.  Mr. Coburn added:

  • There are suspicions; will be taking down girdled tree near archery range and I-90 on 11/18/13 or 11/19/13, debarking and looking for telltale signs
  • Red dots on map are positive identifications of the beetle; expectation is area within 10 mile radius most likely to be already or soon to be infested; Onondaga Lake Park within that radius as well as Hopkins Park and other areas
  • Will be taking down sentinel trees in broader geographical area, may find infestations in corners of the County also; purple traps were setup in a concentrated urban setting
  • Once infestations are confirmed need to be nimble enough to redirect funds into those areas to stay ahead of tree mortality; targeting limited funds
  • Still on learning curve for rate of tree removals in populated areas; question if you can takedown 10k trees in a year given all the logistics such as traffic, utilities overhead and underground, and access; number of trees are located in right-of-ways in front of homes; happy to hear they recognize the need to spend money on this, however will have more insight to the rate at which we can carry out the program after this year’s cuts
  • Reminder dealing with Indian Bat- endangered species; US Fish and Wildlife Service  has limited removal period  from Halloween to the end of March, a timeframe with weather impediments, could also be a factor in the rate of removal     

Chairman Plochocki stated no vote would be taken today. 

 

Mr. Coburn asked if this item would still go to Ways and Means.  Chairman Plochocki responded that the item would still move ahead as normal, it has been considered.        

        b.     Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Action Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; Declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Short Environmental Assessment Form; and Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration for the County’s Ash Tree Management Project

No action was taken on this item.

 

5.     A Local Law Governing the Sale, Application and Disposal of Waste Associate with Natural Gas Exploration and Extraction Activities   

 

Chairman Plochocki advised the committee and speakers that there was about fifteen minutes left for the meeting and asked that they try to stay within this timeframe. 

Chairman Plochocki introduced Ms. Menapace a nurse who works in women’s health at Upstate and a member of the Concerned Health Professional of NY, and Mr. Kimball a retired CPA, currently serving on the Lysander Planning Board, a member of the Onondaga Council on Environment and a member of the Izaak Walton League.

Chairman Plochocki stated there are three things you need to know about this item.  First, since this item was just received, we will not be voting on it today.  As previously discussed, this doesn’t change the process for the item moving forward.  Second, he cannot emphases enough that this item is not a pro or anti hydrofracking issue.  It does not require people to take a stand or enter into that debate.  This item is about hydrofracking waste, often called brine fluid.  This is chemical laden fluid, ladened particularly with carcinogenic chemicals used in the fracking process.  Through Ms. Menapace and Mr. Kimball, he has learned that various counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania have started using this fluid on their roads in the winter, to help melt ice.  This is an unproven and untested thing to do, causing enormous concerns.   

Chairman Plochocki asked if they had found any counties in New York State that have used this fluid.  Ms. Menapace stated that Auburn and Cortland County have spread brine on the roads in the past, with a beneficial use determination from the DEC.  She does not know where either of those counties stands right now. Mrs. Rapp asked if this was hydrofracking brine.  Ms. Menapace responded, “Yes”.  Gas waste brine is no different from hydrofracking brine.  When a gas well is drilled whether vertical, conventional, fracked or unconventional they produce brine fluid, water flowback hydrofracking fluid, for the life of the well.  The composition of the waste is no different from a high-volume well, to a vertical well. 

Chairman Plochocki stated various counties in central New York have started passing resolutions, making official policy, that they will not spread hydrofracking fluid on their roads.  This local law is modeled very closely on Westchester County’s law.  It is not breaking new ground or going in a new direction.  We will be going along with the trend of several other counties.  He finds this to be a reasonable move.  Mr. Kimball added that at least ten counties have taken various steps including the idea of not allowing brine on county roads; all worded a little differently.  

Chairman Plochocki stated that he wants it to clear that no brine has been used on Onondaga County roads.  Mr. Donnelly and the County Executive do not intend to use this fluid.  The purpose of this local law is not because of an immediate problem, but we want to make sure that there is a policy in place.   This local law also addresses not having brine processed in our wastewater treatment plants because they just can’t handle it.  Depending on discussions here and in caucus, we may divide this out into a separate resolution.  Mrs. Rapp stated that we have legislation already in effect regarding the wastewater treatment plants.  Chairman Plochocki agreed, stating there is language in the local law that would tighten this up further.   If it complicates things, we could format the local law to simply address not using brine on county roads.

Chairman Plochocki asked Ms. Menapace and Mr. Kimball to address this issue.  Ms. Menapace:

  • Brought Westchester County local law to Chairman because law is much broader than brine
  • Law builds on Onondaga County’s thinking in 2010- banned hydrofracturing and waste in Onondaga County; Onondaga County’s ban language used by 14 municipalities out of 20 in Onondaga County to ban industrial gas drilling, including waste disposal
  • Gas drilling waste issue not going away, currently all kinds of this waste coming into NYS; NYS repository for 30% of unconventional gas waste from PA in 2011, solid waste landfilled in NY and traveling on our roads; in 2011 trucks were exiting I-81 in Homer and running the lake roads to Seneca Meadows with radioactive waste; waste is very dangerous and unwanted, currently a desperate national push to find locations for the waste; 3 kinds of waste- solid, liquid and gaseous
  • 2 takeaway concepts quantity and flowback; have been fracking wells for 60 years, DEC website lists over 300 wells in Onondaga County, most are plugged, only 1 producing well in Lysander

Mr. Kimball stated that he is not sure that the well in Lysander even produces.  It is listed on the map, but he has not been able to find it.  He has talked with neighbors and no one seems to indicate that there is any activity.  It is not accessible; therefor he is not sure who is using it or where the gas goes, if it is going anywhere.  Ms. Menapace added the concern with these wells is that they are in the exact same strata, a poor sandstone layer, that they are injection disposing in Ohio.  In Ohio, they had fracked sandstone wells that produced for about twenty years.  Then they were flipped and permitted for injection disposal.  There are three active injection disposal wells currently in NYS, one is at the head of Cayuga Lake and two are near Rochester.  Mrs. Rapp clarified that the waste product is injected into these empty wells.  Ms. Menapace added that they are emptied and then the brine fluid is injected under pressure into certain cores of the strata.  It then stays there and has to be monitored forever.  Injected disposal wells in Texas and Ohio are causing seismic activity and earthquakes.  In the United Kingdom, the first earthquake on record resulted from injected disposal fluid.

Mrs. Rapp asked if the wells leak.  Ms. Menapace responded that they do.  The pressure in the wells has to be monitored forever.  If the pressure drops, that indicates the gas has migrated.  Injection disposal wells are scarce.  There are six in Pennsylvania and scores of them in Ohio, but they are becoming full.

Ms. Menapace continued:

  • This fall the Dept. of Energy granted $1.8M to search northeast for new locations for injection disposal wells; we are sitting ducks for this, important to get this policy in place
  • Local law presented deals with brine and broadly defined gas wastes, including the solid waste applied over land, discharged into rivers and applied over roads, anywhere within the bounds of the county; urged to consider adding prohibition of injecting waste for disposal underground and storage

 

Chairman Plochocki stated that prohibition of injecting waste for disposal underground and storage could be another resolution, depending on how things go in their discussion.  He thanked Ms. Menapace for making them aware of this and asked that they address any further concerns with brine use on the roads, in the few minutes remaining.

Mr. Kimball:

  • Brine and flowback fluids contain heavy metals and some chemicals used in the fracking process, can be and often is radioactivity- particularly with the Marcellus shale, in the lower part of our county 
  • If spread on roads these items go into every swale, culvert, ditch and land alongside the road; DEC sgeis indicates produced brine is a beneficial use on the highway, not true for flowback yet brine basically contains the same items as the flowback- perhaps a lesser percentage      
  • Highway departments don’t have the ability to determine what they are getting and where they are getting it from, suggest that the county doesn’t have this ability either; towns may use this as it is cheaper 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked what the economic benefit was.  Chairman Plochocki stated that if you aren’t concerned about the environment, there is an economic deal here.  Ms. Menapace stated that two years ago in West Virginia, drillers were paying towns five cents per gallon to take it.

Ms. Menapace:

  • Solid waste is a bigger issue than the brine- don’t know what you’re getting and its coming to our landfills
  • DEC’s head in the sand with regard to radioactivity of solid waste; every landfill in PA has a mandated radioactive alarm, radioactivity amounts very depending on well age and the solid type; NYS taking unconventional waste as solids into landfills with no oversight on radioactivity; alarms go off in PA thousands of times per year – trucks are returned to well pad; last year truck in PA set off alarm- radioactivity so high it sat for months until an appropriate nuclear waste facility was found in Idaho
  • Last week US Coastguard released for comment 25 page draft policy allowing fluid frack waste to be hauled for disposal over waterways by barge; waste from Ohio and PA will be shipped to Louisiana and Texas; speaks to the need- no place to put this; can comment on proposal until Nov.; 12 full pages dealt with quantifying radioactivity, making sure it wasn’t too radioactive to go on the barge and dealt with keeping workers away from the outgassing radon while loading and unloading; this is frack fluid radioactivity
  • NY not testing radioactivity of  drill cutting received;  NY received 200,014M tons of solid frack waste in the first half of 2013
  • Local Law very important, deals solid waste, land application, road spreading, and sale of the waste;  sale of waste important as we have waste hauler in Syracuse- concerned are they storing here, are they brining it here to dispose of somewhere else; should also look into injection disposal and storage as well      

Chairman Plochocki asked if it was safe to say that if hydrofracking brine spreading is allowed on roads or land in Onondaga County, realistically some of it would end up being treated by our treatment plant facilities.  Mr. Kimball responded that eventually it would leach there or into our streams.  He questioned if we wanted to add something more to Onondaga Lake, probably not considering the cleanup costs.  

Ms. Menapace stated this is any easy sell to pass.  Fourteen out of the twenty communities on Onondaga County don’t want fracking.  We don’t want someone else’s fracking waste introduced into Onondaga County.  Chairman Plochocki interjected that the communities’ referenced refers to the towns in Onondaga County.  Mr. Kimball added that the towns that have not adopted a fracking ban are north of the thruway and Marcellus shale; maybe one or town towns have a little bit of Marcellus shale.  Most of the towns that are north, including his, have simply not done so because engineers have explained that they are not in the Marcellus shale.  It will be many years before they have to worry about the Utica and Black River shale because they are so far down.  It is not that these towns are pro fracking.  There is concern in the southern part of the county where there is potential and those towns voted for bans.

Ms. Menapace stated this law bans imported frack waste.  State level legislation was introduced last session, to ban the importation of drilling waste.  This legislation will put Onondaga County ahead of the game once again. 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:36 AM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

COUNTY FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES - NOVEMBER 13, 2013

JUDITH A. TASSONE, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Shepard

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:45 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Elizabeth Daily, Executive Director

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees (Merike Liis Treier-Reynolds, Debbie J. Stack)

 

  • Ms. Treier – on board approx. 1 yr filling term; this will be first full term; great asset to board w/downtown connections
  • Ms. Stack – this will be second term; educator at WCNY

 

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

 

Mrs. Rapp stated she knows both candidates.  They are very active in the community, good workers and will be effective on the board.

 

Mr. Andrews seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mrs. Dailey stated the book dispensers will be unloaded tomorrow morning.  The installation is extensive, and the vendor will be on site for seven days straight.  It will be another month to get all the materials and for them to be operational.  There will be a soft opening in the winter, and in January there will be bigger publicity.  These will be located at Great Northern and WCNY.

 

2.     FINANCESteve Morgan, CFO

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Appropriate Funds Generated from the Room Occupancy Tax ($155,000)

 

Mr. Morgan:

  • Resolution brought during budget cycle but pushed off until Nov.; seeking to appropriate $155,000, ROT fund balance
  • 1st - $75,000 second installment to support OHA (St. Marie); first $75,000 approved after OHA showed private donations in same amount; this is second year; same matching stipulation

Mr. Tripoli:

  • Progress going well; REDC Grant application out; $65,000 to use as a match to leverage an additional $125,000 from REDC; OPRHP and NYSCA – for architectural engineering design and content development for museum
  • 2 big events:  large event in Sept. – lacrosse event brought 3,500 people
  • 2 day long events tomorrow and Friday which are academic related; SU, Lemoyne, OCC, the Nation and OHA; symposiums at each school
  • Tomorrow night from 7 - 9 at St. Marie will be a reception; Mr. Tripoli will be speaking, as well as a representative from the UN and top scholars from Harvard/Yale and local colleges

Chair Tassone requested Mr. Tripoli send out an email regarding the event.

Mr. Tripoli:

  • Schedule available on OHA website; raised all money – $35,000 to put on lacrosse event; not fundraiser but did make a few thousand; raised about $15,000 to put on events for next couple days - most went to speaking fees
  • Match for the REDC grant – $105,000 in place; includes funds from private donations, a chunk from nation and in kind from academic collaborative
  • Director Phil Arnold, who’s salary covered by SU for first year, now in talks with Eric Spina (acting chancellor) and Honeywell – go towards next $75,000 match; raised equivalent as well as $75,000 from last year
  • Probably there and over; in addition this will leverage an additional $130,000 – grant money

*Mr. Shepard stepped out of the meeting.

 

Mr. Morgan replied to Mrs. Rapp that this is out of the 2014 fund balance.  Mrs. Rapp asked why it was not in the 2014 budget.  Chair Tassone responded there were other items that were changed and grouped together. 

 

Mr. Morgan:

  • 2nd - $50,000 for Landmark; in line with $50,000 approved in 2014 budget; additional $50,000 to already appropriated
  • Asked for assistance in bringing big name acts to Landmark (i.e. Jerry Seinfeld); as opposed to operational costs
  • 3rd - $25,000 for Syracuse International Film and Video Festival - roughly what they receive from CNY Arts; desire to expand the festival; bring in more panelists at caliber of Joel Schumacher; looking to promote tourism
  • 4th - $5,000 for Red House
  • Out of surplus ROT funds, not current year ROT funds
  • $5,000 for Red House is in the Whereas on the resolution; may make sense to add it
  • Not in contingency; $75,000 – Mr. Tripoli would come over and prove secured matching funds

 

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

 

Mrs. Rapp requested Mr. Morgan send more information regarding the Landmark.  Mr. Morgan agreed.

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

3.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $800,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $800,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($800,000)

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $6,000,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $6,000,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($6,000,000)

 

Mr. Donnelly stated items 3a and 3b correspond with the orange highway work plan (2014 Highway Plan on file with the Clerk).  The items are annual bond issuances; one for bridge work and one for highway work.  They are separate because of the different period of probably usefulness for bridge work versus highway work.

 

Chair Tassone stated items 3a and 3b will not be voted on, and they will go to Ways and Means. 

 

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Work plan explains bond funding, operating cash CHIPS, fed funds planned for 2014, bonding and operating cash matches to CIP, $6.8 mil in bond, $1.5 mil in operating budget for capital projects – CHIPS remains at same level as last year at $5.6 mil (positive) – last year of this guaranteed amount
  • $1 mil in roll over funding - asphalt at $300,000/mile and came in at $274,000/mile – surplus funds not expended
  • Finished paving plan except 1 cold mix road, Pleasant Valley – due to DEC permit needed; will be done when weather breaks this year
  • 1 highway project - Thompson Road in Cicero; 2011 did Thompson Road at Rt. 31 – redid intersection due to accident and back up issues; this is second phase which is limited reconstruction and turning lanes on Thompson Road from South Bay to Northern; also adding a turn signal at Northern and Thompson
  • Assuming bonding approved for Dec., highway project would be out to bid in January and construction as soon as weather breaks; one season project
  • Fed projects – $928,000 in local share; match $4 mil in fed and state
  • Traffic Systems Management $100,000 for this year; $75,000 used to fund term agreement - 2 engineering firms for design of traffic related projects or review of needed traffic safety improvements; $25000 for road counts
  • Cold mix paving – 11.5 miles (equivalent mile is 30’ of pavement 3” or 4” deep); preservation approach – stretch 11.5 miles standard to 19 center line miles
  • Bridges - $800,000; 3 projects – large box cover replacement on Willowdale Road in Town of Spafford, Williams road in Town of Marcellus and design for limestone arch bridge on Salt Springs Road in Manlius (construction in 2015)
  • Hot mix paving – 20.77 miles standard but using preservation extends to 30.5 miles
  • Guiderails same
  • Surface treatment for cold mix - based on funding; put more seal on cold mix that was done in past
  • $275,000 in drainage; $75,000 in facilities repair

        c.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $160,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Bridge Maintenance Phase I Project, PIN 3755.16, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($160,000)

 

  • Payment initiating bridge phase 1 – design; new source of fed funding for bridge painting, washing, deck sealing; extending life instead of complete replacement

        d.     Amending Resolution No. 268-2009 by Increasing the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs by $275,100 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals of the Buckley Road and Willis Avenue Bridges Over the CSX Railroad Project, PIN 375425 ($275,100)

 

  • Additional design funds for Willis Road bridge; combined because both bridges over CSX railroads
  • Willis Ave. (State Fair Blvd goes to 690E, off about 250’) - originally deck replacement but all steel needs replacement
  • Bridge on Buckley between Morgan and Henry Clay

*Mr. Shepard returned to the meeting.

 

  • No additional local funding – don’t normally receive state Marcheselli funding, but this item did; local share covered

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Andrews, to approve item 3c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve item 3d.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     PARKS AND RECREATION:  Nate Stevens, Administrator

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Enable the Establishment of a Project Account for Tourism Promotions ($35,000)

 

Mr. Stevens:

  • Establishment of project account; appropriated and in Parks budget; contingent account - plan to spend money
  • 2013 budget - looking at website; took 2013 to do comprehensive analysis; for website, not brochures; 3 items
  • 1st - Improving exhibits through virtual means; quick response (QR) codes which have been successfully added to most brochures – scan with smart phone; directs to link on internet
  • i.e. – tiger exhibit has sign with info but not a lot to interact with; use QR codes on exhibit – it will show video talking about the tiger or showing live feeding; make exhibit interactive and more educational

 

Chair Tassone asked if there is a way to tell how many people actually scan the code.  Mr. Stevens responded they can track who visits the website.  Based on where the videos are hosted they could possibly track these.  Quick response codes are extremely popular. 

 

Mrs. Rapp commented there is a beautiful tiger to see but people would be looking at their smart phones.  Mr. Stevens replied that the octopus a lot of times is in its cubby hole, but if there is a video available of the octopus taking apart and putting back together Mr. Potato Head, then the visitor wouldn’t feel like they missed something.  Mr. Stevens replied to Mrs. Rapp that they are working on training the octopus for shows.  It is becoming less shy, and is more active around the keepers.  The video could show how active it can be.  The keepers are very popular at the zoo (i.e. when working with the elephants). 

 

Mr. Stevens:

  • 2nd – trail Google mapping (picture of mock up on file with Clerk) - lot of trails are great for running or walking; lots of places have iphone maps so the person can see what’s happening and preview the trail
  • i.e. running along Beaver Lake, this can show points of interest which will enhance park and visitor experience; shows elevation changes, where they are and weather conditions; people can get lost so GPS guides will help
  • It is a website not an app; will automatically show up

 

Chair Tassone asked what else they could use $10,000 for.  Chair Tassone commented that a lot of people bring their children to the zoo and leave their phones at home or in the car.  Mr. Stevens responded they could put TVs up around the exhibits.  The $10,000 would buy a handful of TVs that could show the videos of the animals, but the QR method allows for hundreds of QR codes.  Every exhibit could have four or five videos attached. 

 

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

 

        b.     Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to Accept Donated Items

 

Mr. Stevens:

(Map brochure and pictures on file with the Clerk)

  • New tables go into court yard where old tables are; lots of green space with the renovations done at the Zoo; planning on moving current picnic tables throughout the Zoo
  • Friends buying 40 new picnic tables; some handicap accessible, some child size; designed not to heat up as fast

 

Chair Tassone stated it is great that the Friends of the Zoo are doing this.

 

Mr. Stevens responded to Mrs. Rapp that Friends of the Zoo are buying the tables, and Parks will put them where they need to be.

 

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

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:19 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

  

Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES - NOVEMBER 13, 2013

KEVIN HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

 

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

ALSO PRESENT: see attached list

 

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 12:04 PM.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED

 

1.     SHERIFF: Chief Gonzalez; Captain Rinella

        Monthly Update on Status of:

 

Chief Gonzalez asked to take the agenda out of order, as he will be presenting items A and D.  Chairman Holmquist approved.

 

       a.     New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center

Chief Gonzalez:

  • RFP put on hold, waiting for engineering and architectural services RFP;  larger RFP with menu of services to choose from for all services, subcomponent of larger RFP will be ability to select appropriate architect to construct the Mental Health unit
  • Larger menu RFP currently in Purchasing

 

Mr. Ryan stated the larger menu sounds as if it will contain the scope of what is being engineered or architecturally designed as expanded.  Chief Gonzalez responded that it does.    Mr. Ryan asked for a brief description of some of the items on the larger menu.  Chief Gonzalez:

  • Not sure of specific items on board at this time
  • Per conversations with Chief Balloni and Ms. Rooney will be a menu of service in totality for Onondaga County;  will contain list of architects to choose from for the Mental Health unit,  will contain other services, designers and architect firms for other projects around the county
  • Fast track for all bidding; able to choose more efficiently for various county services

Chairman Holmquist stated this probably isn’t a good question for him, and asked what if not all the projects are approved.  Chief Gonzalez responded that he doesn’t know.  The whole idea sounds like a good idea at face value, but some things may not be approved.  Mr. Dougherty stated he believes the menu also allows us to keep track of projects currently being considered and those that we may want to hire out for with different companies.  If projects aren’t approved, he believes they just fall off the menu.  

 

Chief Gonzalez stated that he has not seen the larger menu, so he does not know whom the architects are that could be considered as designers for the Mental Health unit project.  He is excited to see who is on the list. 

    

*Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

Mr. Ryan stated theoretically we could go back to Purchasing and see what they have going on.  At the last meeting, we discussed specialized services.  The term specialized can be used so that firms either do or do not get the work; can be translated for someone that they have in mind.  He would like to get his arms around what they are designing.  

 

Mr. May asked if the larger RFP was going to cause a delay in their process.  Chief Gonzalez responded that it has currently caused a small delay.  Our RFP was ready and then this larger RFP was put ahead in order to save funds.  All capital projects will fall under this larger RFP, including ours.  We probably would have moved forward a little at this point, but in the grand scheme of things, this looks like an appropriate step.

 

Chairman Holmquist stated that this is just as well as the legislature has a great deal of work to do on capital projects that we haven’t started yet.  Mr. May agreed, adding he believes there will be some economies both financially and from a logistic standpoint, with this type of approach.  Chief Gonzalez stated the only bad part, is that their population has gone up and down; boarded out 18 inmates to Wayne County.  He keeps track of the population every day and financially this is wash.  The wash is the cost of sending the inmates out or keeping them in the county and going above the 60 inmates in a housing unit cap, thus necessitating a second officer on overtime to watch those inmates.  Four extra bodies being watched by one officer isn’t much of a return on investment.  Chairman Holmquist thanked him for doing this.  In the short term, there are no options.  Chief Gonzalez agreed.

 

Chief Gonzalez stated this is difficult because the Commission of Corrections, the regulator agency in Albany, sees the population twice a day at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM.  They know, even to the housing units and in booking, if we are in violation.  Anytime we are above 60 inmates, we are above violation unless we have a variance; don’t have variance for two officers until November 19th.  Technically, we are in violation today in pod 3c because we are over that cap.  We put the second officer in there; safety is paramount and we answer the Commission when they call, but we are technically in violation for not having this variance in place. 

 

In answer to Mr. May, Chief Gonzalez stated:

  • Application for variance in place addresses the exploding female population, happening all over the US; no room for female population of inmates, work back and forth with Jamesville every day; also out of room
  • Corrections Commission allows 3 variances, 3 times per year, for 30 days each, must apply for variance in Albany; he and others jail administers requested a change in the variance process, asked to be allowed to apply for a variance for an entire year, if variance is invoked anytime in a calendar year, 30 day limit starts on the day invoked as opposed to having to go back with request; only meet once per month- have to wait for them to be in session to approve variance
  • Wayne County also running out of room, had to pick 9 of the 18 inmates last week; immediately called the Commission, asked for other options such as Monroe County, was told Monroe County is on the banned list, closest options are Rensselaer and Albany County; must run a constitutionally compliant jail, will do what we have to do      

Mr. Ryan stated hopefully some latitude will be given on the variance, as we are often housing state inmates that they don’t want to take.  For the record, it is the least they can do for us.  Chief Gonzalez agreed. 

        

Mr. Dougherty asked if this was a temporary or seasonal problem.  Chief Gonzalez responded:

  • Population goes up and down; normally drops down at Christmas time; closed a housing unit in 2007-2008, got down to the low 500’s
  • Continues to increase a little each year, hasn’t dropped; November normally a busy time  
  • Last 3 years haven’t dropped to the low point it had been at years prior, trending upward
  • New Mental Health unit would eventually free up the current Mental Health unit, 56 beds; some hidden value  

 

Chairman Holmquist stated all the stakeholders involved are aware of our plight, but it is still not getting any better.  Mr. Dougherty added that they have known about it for a while and it hasn’t improved.

 

Mr. May stated that overtime tracking seems to be better than what has been historically done and asked what he attributed this to, aside from the challenges just presented and how he is trying to mitigate that.  Chief Gonzalez:

  • Overtime is $3,100,000, about $500k is holiday, leaves about $2.5M to work with
  • Have overtime tracking system thanks to former Chief, looks at overtime on daily basis; $2.5M is divided by month, week and day; day shift has 28 hours of overtime, lieutenants must  justify where overtime dollars are spent if they go over; have to be fiscal  
  • Training during shift if possible; some people take training as comp time, some ask for overtime once over 40 hrs.;  cut down any overtime not mandated or necessary for safety and security
  • Got rid of extras, nice to have things are no longer being done
  • Keep their eye on the ball every day; anticipate going over a little- not what it has been done in the past

 

Mr. May stated he believes the latest reports show something south of $400,000.  Chief Gonzalez responded that this was higher than he thought, he was thinking close to $100,000 over.  It is not good, but is better than past years.

 

        d.     Correctional Health

  • CCS is taking over for CMC 11-15-13 at 12:00 AM
  • Has been a process, dealt with a number of issues
  • CCS interviewed all current employees, did not hire everyone
  • Transition team in the building for the past week, conducting orientation and training for new staff  
  • Captain Caiella and Ms. Buck, Contract Compliance Monitor,  will be on site at midnight for transition; don’t know if transition will be smooth, sometimes things end of missing,  team will keep an eye County property; dental equipment has been an issue, changed lock on room containing $32k worth of equipment to insure it stays on site
  • Records situation is being fixed; CCS submitted solution proposal to fix records- fixing records that caused us to be in this situation; doing a great job, bringing in all their resources as a national company and moving forward on day on

 

Mr. May stated he had asked that the legislature be provided with a copy of the final contract.  Ms. Burger responded that the contractor has not signed the contract yet.  It is her understanding that it has been finalized.  In answer to Mr. May, Chief Gonzalez stated the RFP is part of the contract.   

 

Mr. May asked that the legislature be provided with a copy of the contract, including the RFP, once signed, for the record.

 

Mr. May questioned job retention under CCS; how many people lost their job.  Chief Gonzalez responded that the medical records department in totality, about four or five people, and a nursing supervisor were not kept; this is all he is aware of.  A number of these people came to him upset.  He advised them that he understands humanistically, but this is something they have to do on their own; it is a contract.        

 

        b.     Special Operations Facility

Captain Rinella:

  • VIP Structures completing program report outlining facility requirements for special enforcement unit, and property & evidence
  • Report should be received within 7-10 days, will be reviewed and site selection process will begin; anxious to  move forward and into RFP process
        c.     Pistol Permits
  • Continue to move forward with software- Gunkeeper 2;  obtaining data from vendor– **Comnetix; daily process working with vendor
  • IT personnel at Sheriff’s office working on software
  • Moving forward and making progress, sometimes painfully slow; want to function correctly when we go live  

Chairman Holmquist stated that last month the County Clerk met with Chief Balloni and they ironed out some wrinkles.  He believes this will go very well, once we get to that point, as both sounded very optimistic. 

 

Mr. May asked if the new system would go into effect totally or if elements of it would be phased in.  Captain Rinella responded that he did not have the answer; believes it will depend on where they are at when it is determined that we can go live.  Like any situation, there may be some bugs in the system.  We would want to vet this in the best way that we can, to ensure there aren’t any problems.  It may a gradual role out, as opposed to putting something out there and then being overwhelmed.  We are pleased with the vendor and things look promising.  They have been very responsive. 

 

Mr. May asked if there was a ballpark estimate as to when we would try to go live.  Captain Rinella responded without a definite date, he would say sometime in the spring.  The vendor is trying to fit our protocol, certain forms and things such as this, into the software.  Writing programs and things of that nature is a process.  We are moving forward.      

 

        e.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with Oneida County for Security Services at the Central New York Psychiatric Center Forensic Unit

  • Ongoing contract; provides behavior health services, don’t have the capacity to provide services here
  • Mandated expense, included in adopted 2014 budget

Mr. May asked if this was an annual contact.  Captain Rinella stated the cost of the service is $165 per inmate, per day – the same as it was for the previous two-year contract.  Ms. Stanczyk stated that the resolution stated the contract is for a three-year period.  Chairman Holmquist asked which was correct.  Captain Rinella responded that the previous contract was for two years.  The new contract has been extended to three years.

 

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

2.     HILLBROOK DETENTION CENTER: Andrew Sicherman, Commissioner of Probation

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget with Respect to Funding for the Onondaga County Hillbrook Detention Center ($180,000)

Mr. Sicherman:

  • Additional funding to cover unsecure remands; increase in PINS petitions and non-secure detentions
  • Increase in secure detentions as well; 22 youths at Hillbrook today
  • Judiciary increase in non-secure orders, resulted in shortage of funds
  • Moved from 2 to 3 beds for 2013; 2014 budget has 3 beds and additional funds for per diem usage if necessary

Mr. Dougherty asked what the difference between secure and non-secure was.  Mr. Sicherman responded:

  • Secure detentions are at the Hillbrook facility;  locked areas, wings and rooms, kids locked in their rooms at night with monitors to insure they are safe and in a secure location
  • Child could leave a non-secure facility, it does happen
  • Typically, judges use non-secure for PINS behavior- persons in need of supervision; could be truancy or ungovernable behavior– not listening to their parents; juvenile delinquents can also go to non-secure
  • PINS kids can’t go to secure detention; secure detention just for JD population

In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Sicherman confirmed that a child could leave a non-secure facility.  Mrs. Tassone asked who was responsible for the child.  Mr. Sicherman responded the non-secure facility was responsible.  It is not a secure facility, no barbed wire fences or locked doors.  Mrs. Tassone stated that they are watched over and you don’t have youths just getting up and walking out.  Mr. Sicherman agreed and added that to some degree it depends on location.  Years ago, before he was in his current position, he was told that sometimes a non-secure facility would be placed in an area where it was easier to get out of, because it was close to the youths homes.  At that time, they had a facility within the city limits; had kids trying to get out more frequently than they do now.  Skeele Valley is currently used for non-secure, part of Elmcrest Children’s Center; believes they are located in Tully.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Sicherman confirmed that non-secure is not located at Elmcrest’s Syracuse location.     

 

Mr. Sicherman stated the cost of non-secure is reimbursed by the state at 49%.  In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Sicherman confirmed that they are actually looking at about $360,000, but half is coming from the state. 

 

Mr. Dougherty asked why there was a jump in spending.  Mr. Sicherman reiterated there has been an increase in the judicial use of non-secure.  Recently started a JDAI initiative and believe this initiative will have some impact on lessoning the judge’s use of non-secure.   However, we have seen an increase in criminal and PINS behavior, resulting in more costs on the non-secure contract.

 

Chairman Holmquist stated this is for the 2013 budget and asked if we know the situation for the 2014 budget for non-secure.  Mr. Sicherman responded that three beds have been built into the budget along with some overflow money for per diem, which is more expensive.  Once you have the beds, you pay for them whether you use them or not; have to try to calculate this considering the increase trend.  Chairman Holmquist added that we don’t know what the judges are going to do.  Mr. Sicherman agreed.  

 

Mr. May asked if there were state regulations that could change the relevance of Hillbrook, as far as the definition of a minor.  This could possibly alleviate some of things happening in the Justice Center, whereby older kids could end up incarcerated at Hillbrook.  Mr. Sicherman asked if he was referring to raising the age.  Mr. May responded that he did not know the details, but has defiantly heard some rumblings; asked if this was out there and real.  Mr. Sicherman responded:

  • Believes this is very real; NY and NC only states that treat 16 and 17 year olds as adults, all others treat them as juveniles
  • Eventually will see this change in NYS, no idea of timeframe
  • People very worried about this; would be huge changes in resources, where the kids would go and so on
  • Change initiation varies greatly from state to state; e.g., first 2 years treat just 16 year olds as juveniles, 3rd year treat 17 year olds as juveniles
  • Would result in changes to where juveniles go when arrested and how they are treated – Family Court verses criminal justice environmen

 

Mr. May stated that he has heard this is more than an idea and is formally being kicked around by Albany, perhaps by the governor.  Mr. Sicherman responded that this is a fair assessment. 

 

Mr. Ryan stated that if this change were made we would have to change everything.  They would be coming back to use saying there is no room and we will have to build a new wing in Tully.  Mr. Sicherman responded:

  • Hillbrook has some capacity
  • Adolescent Diversion Court operates within City Court, similar to test environment for raise the age scenario; strict case requirements – nonviolent offenders and so on; if youths apply with certain court directives their charges are dismissed or reduced
  • Would see a specialized court handling 16 and 17 year olds; similar to Diversion program –  try to keep juveniles committing crimes out of Family Court, work with them, service providers and therapist; this is similar effort for our criminal court system just for 16 and 17 year olds; these kinds of efforts would continue a raise the age advance
  • Believes this is s a good idea; need to separate high profile dangerous behavior from average young person making a mistake, and how it is dealt with; once step has been made into family or criminal court, especially criminal court - very difficult to extract yourself    

  

Mr. Ryan stated that he agrees and disagrees, to a certain extent.  He agrees that diverting kids out of the criminal justice system and into his hands is the goal of juvenile justice.  We don’t want kids locked up, but the neighborhood association for some of the areas he goes to would not agree.  They would say that they have 14 and 15 year olds running around and shooting off guns, picked up and back on the streets tomorrow.  They aren’t even arrested, because of the juvenile justice laws.  He would say the same thing.  He has areas where the same kids are dealing drugs, 13-15 year old kids are picked up and taken somewhere at noon and then are back at 6:00 p.m. dealing.  They aren’t arrested; there is a true safety concern.  In two areas he represents, they will tell you the same 15 kids, some as young as 9 years old, are terrorizing the neighborhoods and should be in jail.  Mr. Sicherman responded that this is not for all kids.  He goes to the meetings, hears the neighbors’ concerns and tries to address them as best he can.   The Family Court system is the system that currently exists.  Your concern is what happens to the kids in the Family Court system that are getting off with a slap on the wrist; could potentially have more of them if we change this.   

 

Mr. Ryan stated this is not up to the legislative body or Mr. Sicherman; it is up to Family Court.  He is not sure who is kicked back to Family Court.  Juvenile delinquents, designated felons, go to criminal court and wouldn’t be coming back into Family Court.  Perhaps more kids need to be there, instead of Family Court.  He doesn’t know the solution, but this is a conversation starter.  Mr. Sicherman responded:

  • He shares his concerns; discussed at monthly meetings and working with wide variety of partners and organizations; if everyone follows the program real bad kids will end up getting placed
  • Nobody is saying we shouldn’t be placing bad kids, especially those detained in Hillbrook
  • Automatic detainment for gun passion in Onondaga County; risk assessments are completed – soon going to statewide risk assessment for juveniles; even if assessment does not score for detention in Onondaga County there is no tolerance for guns – they are detained
  • Family Court rules aren’t geared toward punishment; not much different for adults, bail is set even for serious crimes; real drop off on the punishment end; e.g., youth works his way through Family Court system, judges send him to detention, only in detention for 12 months
  • Wants neighborhood meetings to understand the system we work in and what is possible, doesn’t want different agency’s saying different things; all need to be on the same page in terms or what is possible
  • Longest placement is 12 months, except for juvenile felons who can be sentenced longer; even burglary is 12 months, can be extended 6 months and then are back on the street
  • Extremely important and worthwhile to try and work with low level youths, via  services, monitoring, supervision and working with the parents, so they don’t end up in placement; raising the age could have an impact on this
  • Social Services reorganization is a direct focus to try and stop some of these problems earlier 

Mr. Ryan stated that often there is not even one parent.  Mr. Sicherman agreed.  He added that he was at a neighborhood meeting last week.  There was a woman talking about how a 10 or 11 year old was on the streets with 15-20 year olds, selling drugs.  She went to tell the mother and the mother was doing getting high, not being a mother or parent.  Those are terrible stories, but this has been going on for years and the answers are never simple.  We just have to keep working at it.    

 

In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Sicherman confirmed that he expects the 2014 budget to cover the expenses for the 2014 non-secure contract.

 

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

 

3.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: Carl Loerzel, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Voice Recorders at the Main E9-1-1 Center in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $424,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $424,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($424,000)

Mr. Loerzel:

  • Replacing 6 voice recorders- 4 located at main site with end of life July 2014,  2 located at backup site with end of life 2016
  • 2015 installing new phone system due to technology such as text; digital voice recorders required
  • Packing recorders and phone system together completes everything at once, meets end of life cycle and provides lower costs   

 

In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Mr. Loerzel stated the new recorders include storage so when texting comes, we should be able to take it and store the information. 

 

In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Loerzel stated 8.9 is the software version for the voice recorders. 

 

Mr. May asked if the backup site could be analog and the main site digital or does it have to fully compatible on the backup side.   Mr. Loerzel responded that it could be for one year, but the saving would not be substantial.  We could hold off until the new phone system came on, which will be digital and IP based to allow for all this.  In reality, the price could go up, and we could be spending more money for the backup site.  This also provides more reliable offsite storage.  If something happened to the main center, we would have our backups and are meeting the retention laws for NYS.  Currently we use media and put them in a fire safe, this would allow network storage of the drive at out backup site, providing two different areas for storage.

 

Mr. Ryan stated that we could function but ideally, we would never want to have two systems because of the compatibility.  Mr. Dougherty stated that he doesn’t believe the two systems could talk to each other.  Mr. Loerzel stated that Mr. Spraker is our technical person and could probably clarify; have discussed this.   We could communicate, until we go to the new phone system in 2015; would just be putting off something minor, for a short term.  

 

Mr. May stated we would save on the VoIP.  Mr. Loerzel responded that when we go into the next generation 911-phone system this part will be already done and that is much larger, but we will still be seeking grants.  Mr. May added that they are counting on it.

 

Mr. Ryan asked if we were moving forward with the six county consolidation, as not everyone will have the capital to complete system upgrades.  Mr. Loerzel responded that they were.  Mr. Bleyle was notified yesterday that we were awarded the grant for the Central NY Consortium.  He is not sure when the money is coming forward.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Loerzel confirmed that we were the lead applicant.  Mr. Ryan added that Onondaga County took the lead as everyone wants to text 911.  We are moving forward to be able to text and other counties such as Madison, have to go through multiple upgrades to get to where we are. 

 

Mr. Loerzel:

  • Not sure where other counties stand on their text for 911
  • There is another solution; getting ready to move forward with text to 911 for Verizon only, a separate free website through TCS; have done initial testing, seems to work well, if logoff get a bounce back message; need to complete internal procedures, training and hope to have this implemented by the end of the year
  • FCC mandated all major carriers must provide text to 911 by May; not sure if we will be able to take all of them now, may have to wait for phone system to be up and running
  • Currently call takers will have to handle incoming calls and view separate webpage for text
  • Continue to talk to surrounding counties; try to share whatever is possible

Mr. Dougherty stated it sounds terrible for call takers to have to monitor a website as well as take calls.  Mr. Loerzel responded that it is not ideal; it will ring a noise.  In order to accommodate what is coming fast and furious to us, we are doing whatever we can to meet the public demands, until we can get the right equipment in. 

 

Mr. May stated this also sounds like a confusing scenario for the public, only Verizon works.  Mr. Loerzel responded that if someone tried to send a text, they would receive a bounce back message stating you cannot text 911 in your area, please call 911.     

 

Mr. May questioned if bonding was a sensible thing to do for this amount of money.  Chairman Holmquist stated the item has been discussed and can continue onto Ways and Means.  Mr. Dougherty stated he would not like to bond for this amount.  Chairman Holmquist added if it makes since.  Mr. May stated he is not questioning whether we need to do this, just how we pay for it.    

 

Chairman Holmquist stated in general he does not believe that we should be considering a lot of capital requests now, as we have not had a chance to look at the entire picture.  He made an exception for this item largely because Mr. Bleyle keeps us apprised as to what is going on.  This was not a surprise and we knew the importance and urgency of this item.  Some other items have not made the agenda.  In his view, this is an exception.  Mr. May added this keeps it on track.  Chairman Holmquist stated, how we pay for it is a totally separate matter.

 

Chairman Holmquist stated no vote would be taken on this item.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 1:06 PM.     

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

**For the record, on November 20, 2013, Captain Rinella advised that Comnetix has gone through some name changes; quote came through from Comnetix Inc., sales representative says the company is MorphoTrust USA. 

 

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES – NOVEMBER 14, 2013

KATHLEEN RAPP, CHAIR

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Andrews, Mr. Plochocki

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Liedka, Mr. Knapp

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

 

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:43 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Plochocki, to waive the reading of the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Plochocki, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     CENTRAL NEW YORK REGIONAL MARKET AUTHORITY:

        a.     Confirming Reappointment of JoAnn Delaney to the Central New York Regional Market Authority

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

 

2.     ONONDAGA COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY:

        a.     Confirming Reappointments to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (Jessica Crawford, Donna DeSiato, Ed. D.)

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

 

3.     SYRACUSE-ONONDAGA COUNTY PLANNING AGENCY:  Andrew Maxwell, Director

        a.     Calling For Publication of the Notice of Eight-Year Review of Agricultural District No. 3, Towns of Camillus, Cicero, Clay, Elbridge, Lysander, Manlius, and Van Buren in Onondaga County

Mr. Maxwell said that all agricultural districts are renewed every eight years.

 

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

 

4.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTRobert DeMore, Director

        a.     Authorizing the Transfer of Tax Delinquent Properties to the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company

        b.     Authorizing the Transfer of a Tax Delinquent Property to the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation

Items 4a and 4b were discussed simultaneously.

 

Mr. DeMore:

  • Reviewed slides of houses that were previously rehabilitated, as well as the properties included in the current resolutions.

Item 4a:

  • 4a was revised – an additional property was added:  124 West Roswell Ave, Nedrow
  • Property sold at auction last month; after the owner saw it, he forfeited his down payment
  • Tree through the roof
  • Surrounding properties are nice--most have been rehabbed by Comm. Dev; a lot of intensive housing rehab in Nedrow
  • 3 bedrooms, nice foundation
  • People are living in the house; arrangements have been made to move them to a shelter

Chair Rapp asked if it worth just taking the property down.  Mr. DeMore said “no”; thinks it will cost approximately $100,000 to fix it, but $25,000 will be from the Lead Removal Program, which does not have to be paid back.  Out of pocket, $75,000 has to be paid back to the revolving fund to the County.  It will probably sell for about $90,000; if money is made, it goes back into the program.  There is a need for houses.

 

  • 124 Christopher Dr., Van Buren – pulled from auction
  • Neighbor indicates there is a foundation problem, mold
  • Have been tracking houses – redeemed before the auction – wanted to get one that was in semi-decent shape; would have gone for about $30k at auction
  • Needs a new roof
  • 8951 Delphi Falls Road, Pompey
  • Can’t walk through house; needs a lot of work, rot in back of house, roof leak for years
  • 2 bedrooms, septic and well
  • House is full – part of the contract will be to empty it out
  • Asked to have deed transferred to the County - if it decided not to give the property to Community Development, the County would have title and could sell it at next year’s auction; would give the ability for Comm. Dev. to get in there in the next week or so--would like to get the power and plumbing working; hasn’t had running water in a couple of years; will be a lot harder to find well and septic with snow on the ground; could work on it during the winter
  • County would have title – there is some liability issue
  • Will cost about $80,000 to fix it up
  • Doubts property would not have sold at auction

Item 4b:

  • 304 East Heman Street, Dewitt
  • County house to be transferred to the land bank – title to landbank
  • Spoke to Legislator Liedka, who looked at the property
  • Landbank received $3 million grant - $500k going to Comm. Dev. to buy these houses and fix them up
  • Would be fixed up and sold

 

Chair Rapp asked why this property was chosen.  Mr. DeMore said that they were tracking houses; tried to find one in a neighborhood that was and eyesore of sorts.  There wasn’t a big choice.  It is not a wreck, but does need a lot of work.

 

Chair Rapp asked if it was thought that Van Buren property wouldn’t sell. Mr. DeMore said at the auction it would have sold for $20,000 - $30,000.  Depending on how much work they do on it, may do a little bit better than breaking even.

 

Chair Rapp asked if this will be the first land bank house; Mr. DeMore said that it will be for the County.

 

Mr. Plochocki said that he would have thought that the Nedrow property would have to come done.  Mr. DeMore said that with the grants, they can make it work, and people need homes.  It is a pretty house and is sound.

 

Mr. DeMore asked if he could get the title to the Delphi property and maybe the Nedrow property, so he can turn the property on and check out the well and septic system at the Delphi property .  Chairman Rapp said it makes sense to get in there and get it buttoned up.   Mr. DeMore said that if there is a problem with the septic, he can get it fixed before Spring.  Mr. Plochocki said that he does not have a problem giving a blessing for Mr. DeMore to get started on this.  Ms. Johnson said that she had spoken to Marty Murphy, Law Department, and he had some thoughts on this.  Mr. DeMore said he spoke to Mr. Murphy about liability; the County does not have liability insurance on any buildings; there are risks.

 

Chairman Rapp asked how long before the County could get it turned over to Community Development; Mr. DeMore said sometime in the middle of December, and they would lose about a month.  If this were done now, he can get in there this week.  Chair Rapp asked if the Committee has the power to give permission.  Mr. DeMore said that it would be more a recommendation from the Committee; the Finance Department can do it – does not think permission is needed from the legislature.  Ms. Johnson will look into it.

 

Chair Rapp said that the Committee can give an informal blessing for Mr. DeMore to go check out the property with a vote at the December meeting; Mr. Plochocki and Mr. Andrews agreed. 

 

Ms. Andon-McLane said that they are currently reporting to HUD for the annual report.  HUD asks for the amount of local support being received for the program.  It is reported that the County donates the back taxes on the houses – it is a big plus to say that they have that local support.  Mrs. Rapp asked if the County pays back taxes on any of these; Mr. DeMore said “no”; HUD sees that as the County’s contribution.  It is one way to put a little money into the program.  Ms. Andon-McLane said that when they apply for the subsidy grant from the State, they say that it is the local support they are getting for the program – it is a match.

 

Chairman Rapp noted that once the properties are back on the market, the County gets taxes.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Andrews to approve item 4a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED

 

A motion was made by Mr. Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Andrews to approve item 4b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES – NOVEMBER 25, 2013

DAVID H. KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin, 1Mr. May

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mr. Andrews, Chairman McMahon, Mr. Plochocki and see attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:52 AM.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp stated items 4a and 4b would be moved from the consent agenda to regular agenda and be presented first (items A1a and A1b).

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

1.     PARKS AND RECREATION:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Enable the Establishment of a Project Account for Tourism Promotions ($35,000)

        b.     Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to Accept Donated Items

2.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with Oneida County for Security Services at the Central New York Psychiatric Center Forensic Unit

3.     HILLBROOK DETENTION CENTER:

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget with Respect to Funding for the Onondaga County Hillbrook Detention Center ($180,000)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve items 1 through 3 on the consent agenda.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

REGULAR AGENDA:

 

A1.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Robert DeMore, Director

        a.     Authorizing the Transfer of Tax Delinquent Properties to the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company

        b.     Authorizing the Transfer of a Tax Delinquent Property to the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation

Items A1a and A1b were discussed simultaneously.

 

Mr. DeMore reviewed slides of houses that were previously rehabilitated, as well as the properties included in the current resolutions:

        Item A1a:

  • Asking for 3 properties 
  • 8951 Delphi Falls Rd., Pompey; small home needing a lot of  work; just pathway to walk through, can’t get into the rooms
  • 124 West Rosewell Ave., Onondaga; tree came through roof; have extra money from another program, believe they can breakeven; home in nice neighborhood, surrounded by well-kept homes; home was pulled from auction
  • 124 Christopher Dr., VanBuren; better shape than the others; possible mold problem; slight bowing side of house

        Item A1b:

  • 304 East Heman Street, Dewitt; small house needs some work
  • To be sold via the landbank
  • Received $500k via NYS grant to repair homes for the landbank

 

Ms. Andon-McLane stated that each year we report to HUD all funding from other sources.  One of the things emphasized is that the County is giving tax delinquent property to the home ownership program.  This is also important when we apply for home owner subsidies.  We sell these houses to low-income first-time home buyers and provide a $30, 000 subsidy, generally from the state.  In the grant applications, we show our local match; give us more points when evaluating the application.

Mr. Jordan asked if he knew what this would cost.  Mr. DeMore responded that he has estimates but did not bring them with him; breakeven figures.  The Rosewell property is in bad shape but we have extra money from another grant that we don’t have to pay back; most money has to be paid back to the county.  

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve item a1a. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve item a1b. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     COUNTY CLERK:  Chris Plochocki, Deputy County Clerk

        a.     Mortgage Tax Apportionment

Mr. Plochocki:

  • Total distribution $4,596,306.11
  • 10% increase over same period last year and 14% increase over beginning period this yea

 

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

 

2.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

 

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

 

3.     FINANCE – REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES:  Donald Weber, Director

        a.     Call for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Southwood-Jamesville Water District

        b.     Call for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Warners Water District

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve items 3a and 3b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     Onondaga County Sanitary District General Apportionment

        d.     Onondaga County Sanitary District, 2014 City Abstract

        e.     2014 City Drainage District Abstract

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve items 3c through 3e. Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        f.      Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax – General Apportionment

        g.     Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax – Town of Clay Apportionment

        h.     Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax – Town of DeWitt Apportionment

        i.      Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax – Town of Salina Apportionment

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve items 3f through 3i.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        j.      Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax – General Apportionment

        k.     Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax – Town of Clay Apportionment

        l.      Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax – Town of Salina Apportionment

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve items 3j through 3l.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        m.    Authorizing General Apportionment of Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax

        n.     Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax – Town of Geddes Apportionment

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve items 3m and 3n.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        o.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax General Apportionment

        p.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax – Town of Dewitt Apportionment

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve items 3o and 3p.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        q.     Onondaga County Water District, 2014 City Abstract

 

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

 

1Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

        r.      Allocation of 2014 Onondaga County Water District Special Assessment Among Zones of Assessment and Fixing the Composite Rates for the Several Towns and the City of Syracuse within said District

 

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

 

        s.     Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Tax Collection and Delinquency Software in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $600,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $600,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs thereof

Mr. Weber:

  • Current software mainframe – black screen, green type
  • In place 30+ years; getting to be unreliable
  • Single IT person responsible for system maintenance; retired and works a few days per week to keep them afloat
  • Requesting modernization of tax collection program; windows based; ability to communicate with PeopleSoft; take online payments and apply automatically; make tax billing program more seamless
  • Standardize tax collection throughout County; 15 villages, 19 towns and 25 school districts, all use their own software; tax collection information comes to the County; County makes them whole and collects delinquent taxes; cumbersome program, some don’t use computers and are sending stacks of paper; want 1 system everyone can use

Mr. May stated PeopleSoft is a learning process for everyone in the county and asked what the PeopleSoft integration will do for his department down the road.  Mr. Weber responded that payments are broken down between the number of years owed, principal and interest balance, and any penalties and fees.  All the information goes out in a report each morning.  A lot of man hours are spent balancing this back to the receipts from the previous day; can be a couple hours per day.  This then goes to the Comptroller and gets manually entered into PeopleSoft.  We want to eliminate this with our system talking directly to PeopleSoft.  When we take a payment it knows what accounts we need to updates and updates them.  Mr. May added it will automate your department.  Mr. Weber agreed, adding this is the goal.

 

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Weber responded that we do not have particular software in mind.   We will send out an RFP to four or five different companies specializing in this; not an option with PeopleSoft. Chair Knapp stated that part of the specification would be that the software interfaces with PeopleSoft.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if they have spoken to other counties about the type of software they use and their success and failures with these software’s.  Mr. Weber responded, “Yes”.  Erie County is a similar size and Orange County standardized a couple of years ago.  There is no one system that everyone is in love with; will send RFP to all of them.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if they were acquiring software that would integrate with towns, villages and possibly the City or was this looked at as a holistic process for collection; County would overtake that responsibility.  Mr. Weber responded that we can’t compel them to come onboard with the system.  We would purchase the software and offer the use of the system at no cost.  Some won’t use it; will have to work with them, the same as we always have.   Hopefully, overtime their fears will be reduced and they will all come onboard; don’t see the county taking over any duties, just standardizing the software. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if they had conveyed this to the towns and villages.  Mr. Weber responded that he meets with tax collectors once per month; some think this is a great idea.  Some love the software systems that they have and want us to talk their vendors.  The City just bought a new program.  Some of our larger towns use the same vendor and seem happy so far.  They will be in the discussion.  

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the estimated cost contemplated additional licensees for all the towns and villages.  Mr. Weber responded that it should be included.  The number came from informal discussions with some of the vendors.  They anticipated the delinquency side would be about half the cost and the tax collection piece would make up the other half.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested that if towns and villages weren’t going to be on board from day one, perhaps there could be a process to spend what we need for county services and then add on users as we go.

 

Mr. Jordan stated the rollout of PeopleSoft has been extended and more complicated than anticipated.  He is concerned about bringing on another substantial software program.  We have other software programs also being implemented, with their own learning curve.  It seems that we are going in many directions and taking on too many software changes, quickly and perhaps inefficiently.  It is hard to focus on one project when you are going in many directions at once.  Secondly, borrowing $600,000 for a five year life span is an awful lot of money.  There is always a better program and a better way of doing things; doesn’t know that the payback to us justifies spending $120,000 per year.  Mr. Weber responded that he hopes the useful life will be much longer.  Mr. Morgan responded that he understood his concerns with regard to implementing software and the issues with PeopleSoft; this isn’t connected.  It will be an off the shelf product; customized for us but doesn’t foresee it being in the same scope as the PeopleSoft project.  This is something that Mr. Weber, his staff and the vendor will be able to implement without a bunch of other dedicated infrastructure.

 

Mr. Jordan asked what the estimates were in terms of cost savings.  Mr. Morgan responded that the system we have used for thirty years is not reliable anymore.  Part of this is to have a better process but, it is also out of necessity.  The system we are using is a homegrown system, built by an individual that no longer works for the county.  A reliable system is required to keep track of this information.  The county, as a whole, is trying to get away from software systems that are developed and built internally; down the road the person is no longer there and the program is not supportable.  This is a two-pronged approach.

 

Mr. Jordan stated you are asking us to authorize spending up to $600,000. but haven’t put this out for an RFP yet.  It seems premature to be authorizing expenditure, without knowing who we are going with and what the program is going to be.  Why not put it out for an RFP, get the responses and then come back to say these are our options or this is the option we think is best and how much it is going to cost.  Mr. Morgan responded that we have a good idea.  Mr. Weber has been informally talking to some of the vendors.  Typically we get the spending authorization before we go out with a competitive RFP process.  Mr. Jordan stated that he is aware that this is the way it has always been done, but he has always said this doesn’t make since.  If he was putting an addition on this house, he wouldn’t tell the contractors what his estimate of costs are.  He could guarantee that every estimate he got would come in close to what he thought the costs would be, may not be the best price that he could get.  We should put this out for an RFP, come back and tell us what the estimates are, and we can approve it.

 

Mr. May asked if they had an ROI timeline and  how this $600,000 will matchup to efficiency, knowing that part of this will be a cost to accomplish a task important to the county.  Mr. Morgan responded that they did not have a timeline and Mr. Morgan spoke to the efficiencies that we look to gain.  This is a long term project, looking at 18 months or more to implement.  After that time, they will look to adjust the processes. 

 

In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Morgan stated they wouldn’t need an outside consultant to prepare the RFP, could be done in-house. 

      

In response to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Weber stated that vendors are very reluctant to respond to RFP’s if there is no money in place for them.  Mr. Holmquist asked if there was a mechanism that would require the RFP to come back for final approval.  Mr. Morgan responded that if we go out for an RFP and no founds have been identified to support the project, vendors will question why they should spend the time to respond to it when they are not sure it is even going to be awarded.  Mr. Jordan stated this was a cost of doing business.  It is done in the private sector every day.  He brother is a contractor and provides estimates; may have eight contractor bids and only one receives the contract.   For the other seven, it was a cost of doing business.  He doesn’t see this as a valid argument.

 

Mr. Holmquist stated that we should be looking out for the taxpayers, more than the vendors and asked if this was every tried before.  Mr. Jordan added that it has not been done in the seven years that he has been here.  Mr. Morgan responded that this is the first time this concern has been raised.  Mr. Jordan stated he has been saying this for seven years and has had this conversation with legislators that have been here for twenty years.  He doesn’t think this has ever been tried in county government.  Mr. Morgan stated this is the first time he has ever heard this concern. 

 

Chair Knapp stated there is still a lot of discussion to be had on this item.  Year end is coming and depending on the cash on hand, we may want to pay for this as opposed to bonding.  More discussion is needed with regard to process.

 

Chair Knapp stated no vote would be taken on this item.

 

4.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $800,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $800,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($800,000)

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $6,000,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $6,000,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($6,000,000)

Items 4a and 4b were discussed simultaneously.

 

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Items 4a and 4b are bond items aligned with 2014 work plan (On file with the Clerk)
  • Bond issues separated due to different useful lives
  • Completion of Thompson Rd. project, Phase 2 from South Bay Rd. to Northern Blvd.; programed for last year- differed funding for paving
  • Cold and hot mix paving was averaging $300k per mile, less over the past year - now reduced to $275k per mile
  • Preservation based approach to paving; traditional cold mix would treat 11.5 miles, preservation will treat slightly less than 19 miles of pavement; traditional hot mix would treat 20 miles, preservation will treat about 30 miles
  • Hot mix 3 inches traditional and 1.5 inches preservation, or other types of treatment such as Nova Chip; helps keep good roads good, not as long term as traditional   
  • Cold mix 4 inches traditional and 2 inches preservation
  • Other items in work plan same as in past years; increase in surface treatment, cold mix roads need surface treatment prior to paving and five years after pavement for preservation; last year only had funding for roads being paved

 

Chair Knapp stated the work plan typically comes forward in the spring.  We are trying to get ahead of this from a bonding standpoint, however must of us just received the plan.  

 

Chair Knapp stated he would not be calling for a vote on items 4a and 4b.     

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there was an estimate to the useful life of the pavement using preservation.  Mr. Donnelly responded that it was difficult to say.  Preservation keeps a good road good, instead of letting it deteriorate so that it needs a much more extensive treatment.  NYS DOT has been actively pursuing preservation over the last couple of years with their Forward Four program.  It is something that we are trying to adopt; looking at pavement process based on condition, traffic volume and significance.  Every road in the county is significant, but with limited budgets and the debt service we are seeing, this will allow us to focus on the areas we believe to be the most important.  Preservation will not last as long as a traditional treatment; traditional 10-15 years, preservation 7-10 years.   

 

Mr. Jordan asked if there were other things that we could be doing to extend the useful life of the roads, aside from paving.  Mr. Donnelly responded that there are and we do.  Every work plan has a portion that is preservation; nova chips, mirco paves, crack sealing.  They will be more widely used in this work plan than in the past, but have always used some level of treatment service on our highways. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated that the state has been considering concrete verses asphalt roads and asked if they had considered replacing roads that rapidly deteriorate with concrete.  Mr. Donnelly responded that we have not.  The large scale concrete project was on the NYS Thruway from exit 39-40.  In theory a concrete road last for 50 years but it is more than double the cost of full depth reconstruction.  It is an interesting premise.  Asphalt shoulders were used, so he believes this is an experiment for them.  It is not maintenance free.  Chloride used on the highways has a deteriorating factor.  He would need to see the success level from this project before he would commit to brining this level of expense to the legislature.

 

Mr. May stated he appreciates what they have creatively done to expand the 2014 work product through the preservation strategies; getting more done with less.  

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked how the spending compares to prior cycles.  Mr. Donnelly responded that compared to last year, our operating cash is up; $1.2 million in 2013 and $1.5 million approved for 2014.  The chips are staying the same.  Bond issue as proposed for highway and bridges is down $572,000 from last year.  Our federal money is down this year, mainly because we are in design not construction cycle.  Historically bond issues have been all over the map.  Mr. Kilmartin stated he is aware that we took a dip during the recession.  It would be interesting to see if what is proposed is able to accomplish more paving and bridge work.  Mr. Donnelly responded that we have been spending as much but not getting as much paved, mainly due to catastrophic increases in paving material costs.  In 2008, we were programming around $180,000 per mile for paving, that summer increased to $325,000 per mile because of liquid asphalt costs.  The price has dropped, but it has never dropped back down to where it once was. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin requested the total dollars spent, cash or bonds, on roads and the number of miles accomplished over the past 10 years and the same for bridges.  Mr. Donnelly responded that he would put this together for him.   Mr. Kilmartin stated that we will be able to see the historical trend and whether we need to pull in or extend our spending to accomplish more road work. 

 

Chairman McMahon stated that it looks as if we have a serious cut in the road program overall for 2014, compared to the past two years.   Cold and hot mix dollars are declining and there is carryover money that wasn’t spent.  He asked what wasn’t being done; are we not bonding for roads.  Cash was left in the budget, wants to know where the cuts are coming from.  Mr. Donnelly responded that cash has decreased over the years; 2008 work plan had $3.5 million and last year was $1.2 million.  In 2011, we bonded almost $13 million dollars for highway and bridges, this year asking for $6.8 million.  The debt service within County DOT’s budget went up $2.5 million in 2013-2014 and will be another $2 million in 2015.  We won’t get to a point where the debt service levels and comes back until 2018 or 2019.  Most of this is because of increased bonding; large chunk due to consolidated highway facility.  Bonding is less than it has been in past years.     

 

Chairman McMahon stated during budget there was debate as to whether we should be paying cash or bonding.  Perhaps we should be bonding for roads and paying cash for software.  He did not expect to see this type of a cut to the road program.  The legislature is looking at the overall picture of bonding and roads have precedence over software.  The overall difference in the DOT budget is that bonding is down.  Mr. Millea responded:

  • This was discussed before budget and during budget, now critical to continue talking
  • Debt service for roads is charged to the DOT operating budget
  • In acute situation - debt service is capitalizing the DOT budget; this is a steady state we need to be in to get out of the debt portfolio
  • $2 million increase to DOT budget could have gone to roads at the expense the snow plowing budget;  operating two core businesses
  • Debt service will overcome the DOT budget for 2014 -2016 if we don’t cut back on borrowing, would need  significant cash increases on year to year funding; 100% of large cash increase went to debt service this year
  • CIP plan shows less spending on roads for the next 5-6 year; no federal highway strategy, NY’s strategy status quo; on our own to maintain facilities
  • Work Plan tires to find balance between debt service and cash; decrease in year to year road construction- simply all we can afford now

 

Chairman McMahon stated in the DOT budget, he understands this, but they are looking at it from a micro standpoint.  In the macro perspective we are being asked to look at many different things from a lot of different venues.  It is our job to help prioritize.  One of the reasons why we don’t vote on these items late in the previous year is because we get a complete financial outlook at the beginning of the year.  We also get an idea of where some of the other county projects are, whether authorized or not.  Just because debt service goes up in one department, if we are saving it in another department we are net neutral.  He appreciates these discussions, but believes it is in the best interest of all of us, to go through this process over the next couple of months.  We will see exactly where the cash is and what condition the roads are in; could be a bad winter, may need to put more money into DOT and take it from somewhere else.  Mr. Millea responded that this was a valid point.  It is important that we are starting these discussions now.  In the past, when funds were more fluid, it was easier to come over in March or April, with thirty days to consider it.  They recognize the shift in policy and this is why they are starting discussions now.  If it takes two or three months to get through, they are ready for it and will answer any questions.  

 

Mr. Holmquist agreed with Chairman McMahon; budget and policy is our job.  It is very important that each legislator be able to move forward with absolute clarity on the macro, to understand the debt load that we have.  He is concerned with the phase we are entering, there are a lot of capital projects and we can’t just pass things because they sound good.  We need to be concerned with the debt macro and proceed slowly.  The legislature should set the cadence and priority, particularly with CIP projects, which will have far reaching impact; doesn’t believe we can afford to take any of these in solo.  A few months is not a lot to ask.  He would like to see the legislature work closely with the Comptroller’s office so that we are clear on the numbers for this year, and the debt load and debt service moving forward on everything.  Mr. Morgan responded that these were good points.  He spoke about the debt service in his budget presentation and the information is available in the CIP book; scheduled debt, authorized, unissued and proposed.  He would be happy to work with the legislature so that everyone understands where we are. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated he agreed with most of the comments made.  On top of prioritizing debt service, we need to prioritize the role of County government.  Maintaining our roads is one of our top priorities.  The core duties of County government are providing good roads, maintaining our water supply and sewage system, providing public safety and public health.  We need to reach a consensus on what the role of County government is.  Maintaining our roads and bridges should be the focus of what we are doing and not getting into other areas that aren’t within the scope of government in general, let alone County government.   

 

Mr. Holmquist stated it has been very clear over the years that the legislature places a high priority on highways.  Perhaps they could think about increasing the work plan, should the legislature decided to increase funding.  He understands there are capacity issues on getting work done and can work with them and the Comptroller’s office to figure out what the real number would be.  This is a priority for the legislature.

 

Chairman Knapp asked where we were with regard to the 2013 plan.  Mr. Donnelly responded that one cold mix road was not completed due to a late DEC permit; substituted for a hot mix road with low emissions asphalt.  Two roads were not completed on the hot mix side, about 1.5 miles and those roads will be taken care of first in 2014 with 2013 funding.

        c.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $160,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals Phase of the Bridge Maintenance Phase I Project, PIN 3755.16, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($160,000)
  • New project Phase 1; federal government never had much money for bridge maintenance, has always been for deck replacement and reconstruction
  • Now have money available for bridge washing, painting, and deck sealing
  • Pay in the 1st instance $160k - 40k local share
  • List of 10-12 bridges, determining which will fit into overall construction costs

 

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

        d.     Amending Resolution No. 268-2009 by Increasing the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs by $275,100 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals of the Buckley Road and Willis Avenue Bridges Over the CSX Railroad Project, PIN 375425 ($275,100)

  • Additional design funds; project originally scoped as deck replacement,  all steel needs to be replaced
  • No additional cost for local share

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

 

5.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONSCarl Loerzel, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Voice Recorders at the Main E9-1-1 Center in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $424,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $424,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($424,000)

Mr. Loerzel:

  • Replacement of 6 analog voice recorders with digital; 4 at main site, 2 at backup site
  • End of life July 2014 for main site, Jan. 2016 for backup site
  • Prepare for next generation 911, implementing in 2015; coincides with FCC mandate of text to 911 and replacement of phone system
  • Public Safety Committee questioned bonding verses paying cash

Chair Knapp stated this is not an emergency.  He would like to hold off for a month or two to see the final cash numbers for 2013.  This is a small number for bonding; would prefer to pay cash. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked for more information on the lifecycle of the prior recorders, the new recorders and more information on the technology.   Mr. Loerzel and Mr. Bleyle responded:

  • Current voice recorders are analog and cover current phone system
  • Have a digital set that covers radio system, was installed with new radio system
  • Radios installed in 2006 at main site; model no longer supported by manufacturer after July 2014
  • Critical piece of equipment; answer many requests from DA’s, courts and attorneys, have someone doing nothing but this 8 hours per day; need phone and radio recordings
  • Current backup on disk, new recorders backup on server, more reliable and will have off sight storage
  • Currently have NICE servers proprietary to that company; replacing with Dell, will last 5-7 years 

Mr. Jordan stated that it seems self-serving when companies put out a product and then don’t service it 5-7 years later, causing us to need replacement.  He questioned how long the vendor was going to service the replacement equipment.  Mr. Loerzel responded that he did not have an exact answer.  Software versions are typically supported for 8-10 years.  Mr. Bleyle:

  • End of life not only issue; changing to next generation 911- planned for 2015
  • Signals will be digital VoIP in 2015; analog recorders will no longer work
  • Equipment lifecycles getting shorter; all computer based, as technology advances no longer support older products – partially because technology is phasing out, computer equipment is not profitable for them to maintain moving forward with next generation; true for almost every aspect of technolog

 

No vote was taken on this item.

 

6.     METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD:  I. Holly Rosenthal, Executive Director

        a.     A Resolution to Amend the 2013 Budget and to Release Contingency Funds for the Purchase of a Wheel Loader ($160,000)

Ms. Rosenthal:

  • Wheel loader recommended for replacement in 2002 condition assessment from O’Brien & Gere

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Appropriate Fund Balance Held by the Metropolitan Water Board ($186,000)

  • 20 yr. agreement with the Town of Oswego; thought agreement expired in 2012, due to modification agreement ends in 2014
  • Payment included in 2014 budget
  • Transfer from general fund for 2013 payment

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

 

        c.     Confirming an Amendment to the Currently Effective Schedule of Rates to be Charged for Water and Water Service Provided by the Onondaga County Water District

  • Rate increase corresponds with approved budget - $.09 per thousand gallons
  • Predominately to pay for capital project

 

In response to Mr. Jordan, Ms. Rosenthal stated any time we have a rate increase we speak with OCWA and discuss the impact.  They have done their best to mitigate the impact of our increase, but they also have their own expenses that they build into the consideration of their budget and rates.  Mr. Jordan asked about the end user increase.  Ms. Rosenthal responded that she did not have the information with her.  It is about a 2.6% increase to a residential customer on an annual basis, which is very few dollars.  The impact to industrial customers is more is in the 3% range.  Our cost is more directly passed on to the industrial users.

 

Chair Knapp requested the anticipated changes from OCWA.  Ms. Rosenthal responded that she would be please to get this information for him, adding this increase is wrapped up with their program.  Chair Knapp responded that he understood; it won’t be one for one.  Ms. Rosenethal added that OCWA held their annual meeting for budget review after our increase was approved by budget.

 

Mr. May stated this increase is essentially a bill for projects that they have been working on.  Ms. Rosenthal agreed, adding the tank projects and the Farrell Road pump station project. 

  

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Ms. Rosenthal responded that within the week we will be starting to test our flow between the tanks and pump station at terminal.  We are very excited about this.  This has been done quietly, productively and quickly; really pleased with the results.   

 

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

 

7.     FINANCE, DIVISION OF MANAGEMENT & BUDGET:  Steve Morgan, Chief Fiscal Officer

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Appropriate Funds Generated from the Room Occupancy Tax ($155,000)

Mr. Morgan:

  • Resolution was part of budget package; supports 4 entities
  • $75k for Onondaga Historical Association (OHA); 2nd round of funding; OHA took over administration and implantation of the Skä•noñh Center;  funds have been matched by private donations

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Tripoli stated that things are coming along great.  Had a great event with wooden sticks and followed that up with a two day academic event at Syracuse University, OCC, Le Moyne College and the Skä•noñh Center, all of which we standing room only capacity crowds.

 

  • $50k for the Landmark Theatre; match of funds appropriated during regular budget cycle – totals $100k
  • $25k new item for Syracuse International Film & Video Festival; broaden scope and bring more tourism to the event; supported by County Executive
  • $5k for Red House 

Mr. May stated common sense dictates these are venues that are certainly going to generate tourism on some level.   Anytime we touch ROT, outside of the traditional marking scope, it would be nice to have a little background; i.e., CNY Arts presents data.  He is not saying that we need data per say, but touching on how these initiatives will be consistent with the mission of the fund; in terms of generating room nights, travel and tourism related economic development in this area.  It would be helpful to us as shepherds of those funds.

 

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

 

        b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept NYS Department of Labor Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Management & Budget-Insurance Services, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($14,886)

  • Grant for training; Risk Management will administer
  • Will hire someone to perform training - don’t have abilities in-house; hazardous waste operations handling, confined space entrant & supervisor training program, respiratory protection, fall protection, hazardous materials transporting, etc.; important employee training

 

Mr. May stated that in various county departments we have people in the role of safety officer.  The more he learns, the more he questions the possibility of consolidated that function countywide.  This is a great example as there is very specific level of expertise required and would guess that this particular expertise is applicable across many facets of counties operations.  This is something to think about going forward; are we managing this process as efficiently and effectively as we can.  Mr. Morgan responded his point was taken.  This was discussed during the budget cycle, when he presented his portion of the budget.  The model for years has been that the person in those departments handles these duties as part of their job, not necessarily their fulltime job.  They are the person on the ground floor that then coordinates and works with Mr. Bratek, from his office.  Mr. Bratek provides assistance and oversight of those programs.  This is something to consider looking at; will continue to do so.  Mr. May added this is a huge opportunity to protect the county on the risk management side.  Mr. Morgan agreed.

 

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

 

8.     SHERIFF:  Chief John Balloni

        a.     Release 2014 Sheriff Civil Contingency Funds ($525,718)

        b.     Release 2014 Sheriff Custody Contingency Funds ($632,537)

 

Items 8a and 8b were discusses simultaneously.

 

Chief Balloni:

  • 2 resolutions releasing a portion of contingency funds
  • Funds required to open annual purchase orders (APO’s) and contracts; most departments now entering annual items into the system; work that needs to be completed to pay expenses beginning January 1, 2014
  • Legislature looking for tighter controls on the Sheriff’s budget; trying to balance with operational needs of the Sheriff’s office
  • Requested all funds for contracts and APO’s – items such as utilities, office supplies, software maintenance; frontend loaded costs  and 25% of the remaining contingency funds
  • Will come back quarterly to request 25% of the remaining contingency funds; trying to do this in a balanced way that allows them to function
  • Some costs cannot be planned in advance; i.e., travel – learned on Tuesday going to FL next Wednesday to pick up 2 prisoners; don’t have time to come back to the legislature for funds     

Mr. Kilmartin stated that the level of detail in the supporting documents is identical to the line items on the resolutions.  He was looking for an understanding of where funds were going for certain purposes and periods of time during the year.  He does not have a high level of comfort appropriating line items without context and detail; doesn’t have an understanding of what all the items are.  It would be educational to know the context, background and line items for each account, allowing a better opportunity for review.  Otherwise we are relying on the same level of detail that we have had in the past.  Chief Balloni responded:

  • Has more details, could put into better format before the legislative session
  • Concerned they have the funds necessary to operate the agency on January 1
  • Came prepared to discuss all other expenses; $750 fire extinguisher upkeep and maintenance, $12k janitorial services for property and evidence facility, Salina substation and special enforcement unit, $500 rug laundry, $1k medical and hazardous waste removal, $3,700 membership, $6,500 microfilming; left out things that we don’t need January 1, etc.

Mr. Kilmartin stated once we have that information, we could get into more detail.  Having that level of detail prior to a meeting is helpful and would allow us to put things in context and move forward with actions or decide to defer something for a month or quarter.  He was not present for the conversation that took place with the representatives from the Sheriff’s office and the Chairmen, but he believes there was a different level of expectation about this resolution.  A 25% block appropriation each quarter based on this level of detail is perpetuating the same old process.  It would be helpful to have what the item is for; date needed, and reason why.  Chief Balloni responded that to set up APO’s or contracts funds are needed for the entire year.  This is what they have asked for.  This reason for the meeting was so that we could present whatever was needed, it is the pleasure of the legislature.

 

Chairman McMahon stated that we haven’t taken the funds out of the budget, they are in contingency; doesn’t know why this would stop them from moving forward with PO’s for certain things.  The vehicles are a whole new ballgame, as they were not released.   As a bipartisan body, these decisions were made to have a hedge in the event that the overtime lines went up.  If overtime goes up, he will not vote to appropriate new cars.  He doesn’t understand why the funds would have to be released now, to move forward with the purchase order for day to day operations of the office.  Mr. Morgan responded that the funds are in contingency.  In order to set up the annual purchase orders, the funds are encumbered and set aside to be paid for that purpose.  If they are not in that account, the purchase order can’t be created. 

 

In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Carroll stated National Grid was paid on a monthly basis, released against one purchase order; annual purchase order January 1 – December 31, with payments processed against it monthly.  This could be done as four separate purchase orders but complicates the reconciliation of those bills; typically done as anticipated spend for the entire year, would be challenging.    

 

Chairman McMahon stated releasing 25% quarterly is a fair number to operate the office.  His main concern is front loading these APO’s and releasing almost 75% of the funds held in contingency; doesn’t know if they all need to be done right away.  The overall number goes against what we were trying to accomplish.  Chief Balloni:

  • Resolution required in Dec. for Jan. 1 operations; funds needed to set up APO’s, contracts and for operations
  • Glad to comeback with any proposal that allows office to function; prepared resolution without guidance; know funds need to be encumbered
  • Need action now to encumber funds and pay bills Jan. 1
  • Many areas of contingency have APO’s; standard operation for County government, can work differently, more difficult to do
  • Quarterly reports will be provided
  • Request action this month; can modify going forward if they don’t like 25% quarterl

 

Chairman McMahon responded that he liked the 25% quarterly, but it is a great deal more than that because of the APO’s.  Chief Balloni agreed.

 

Chairman McMahon suggested a working group be put together to come up with the a balanced approach for this fist disbursement; Ways and Means member, Chief Balloni, Mr. Morgan, and Comptroller’s office member.  Chief Balloni responded that this puts them in a position whereby they cannot do their APO’s as they are entered now.  Chairman McMahon responded that perhaps they wouldn’t release any money for supplies as they weren’t all being paying out now.  To him it is all about the budget.  He cares about how the money is spent, but as an elected official the Sheriff is allowed to spend the money appropriated in his budget.  Unfortunately, over the past two years the budget number has not been honored.  Using our financial team we can figure out a number close to the 25% for the first quarter or a little higher due to some financial needs now, to come to back to the legislature with.  Mr. Carroll asked to be included in the conversation.  In addition, he advised that power and energy are 15 day nets; not sure how long it takes to release things from contingency but there are actual mechanics to paying these bills.  His department has to process these items and allocate their resources; if PO’s are done monthly in place of annuals, processing 12 times the work.  

 

Mr. Jordan stated he was requesting funds be allocated now but paid out quarterly or monthly and asked for a breakdown; percentage of annual contracts actually paid at the beginning of the year.  Chief Balloni responded that he could provide this.  Mr. Kilmartin stated that it would be helpful if they could understand within these line items, what the sub-line item is, quick description of service – onetime payment for vendor providing service in January, a different description for services provided varying times throughout the year and time for required payment; provides understanding of funds released and when used.  This would help everyone, including the working group.  Chief Balloni responded that he is concerned with breaking this down into a form that everyone understands; county process to pay bills very methodical, designed to protect taxpayer.  It is not possible to go through multiple committees to get authorization to pay bills we already have; would put them way behind.  

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated creating the form once, during this month, would be very educational for all of us.  The goal wasn’t to have five line items in every release of funds.  It was for us to understand what the funds are used for under those line items, urgency, timeline and then we can reconciled those with what is happening with overtime lines and other lines; understanding the big picture as we go along throughout the year. 

 

Mr. Jordan suggested taking a quarter of the money for APO’s paid out monthly.  Chief Balloni responded that those PO’s are done on an annual basis; would be four times the amount of work.  These funds are encumbered to pay the specific vendor; money not available to be utilized in any other fashion.  Annual purchase orders are the most efficient utilization of time.  It can be done anyway they please, but we need to do something this month in order to pay bills in January.  This is his concern with the working group.  He would have loved to have had this prior to now; needed direction.  Mrs. Ervin stated that we concur, bills need to be paid on January 1, but we need to have a handle on what you’re doing; doesn’t know what all other expenses are. 

 

Mr. May stated that tactically everyone eyes are on overtime through this process.  Strategically we are trying to understand the budget and work together to provide excellent public safety to the taxpayers of Onondaga County and determine what funds we have opportunity to manage and control together.   He suggested separating the annual and quarterly items into two resolutions; getting the annual encumbrances out of the way, as strategically they don’t change.  This would keep us moving forward in the right direction and gets us closer to the issues we really want to know and understand. 

 

Chair Knapp stated there are two session in December and asked if there was enough time to prepare APO’s if the resolution was considered at the second session.  Mr. Carroll responded that if the item was already under contract, they would be able to meet the APO deadline.  For items that don’t already have procurement behind them, there is a real chance that it would be too late to execute for January; not possible if bid is required, may not be possible for quotes.  This would only allow 14 days and two are Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  Every department is about to open all their APO’s now.  He would prefer to do this in an easier way, rather than a hard way.  As long as they can put a legal procurement process in place, they will make sure the Sheriff’s office bills are paid.  Chairman McMahon suggested leaving the door open for the first meeting in December, but it has to be something that everyone is comfortable with. 

 

In response to Chair Knapp, Mr. Morgan responded that he would work with the Chief Balloni.  He believes this comes down to what is discretionary; things such as utilities have to be paid.  Chief Balloni added that all software and maintenance contracts had to be paid.

 

In response to Chair Knapp, Mr. Holmquist volunteered to be the Ways and Means member on the work group.  

 

Mr. Carroll stated from a requisition standpoint, funds that are in contingency have a lock on them; can’t be encumbered.  The process isn’t started until the funds are release.  Chief Balloni responded that this was the concept behind the quarterly release of funds; provides time for legislative approval, months in advance of needing funds and also gives them the quarter to look at the expenditures.  He believes this is reasonable.  APO’s are fixed day to day expenses; the big concern is the overtime budget.  

 

Chairman Knapp confirmed the work group would consist of a member from Finance, Purchasing, the Comptroller’s and Sheriff’s office, and Mr. Holmquist from Ways and Means.

 

Chair Knapp took the agenda out of order.    

 

10.   PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – Sean Carroll, Director

Mr. Carroll:

  • 3 ongoing contracts – 2 discussed prior
  • Corrections inmate email RFP similar to phone functions; received and being evaluated by Corrections; will be submitted to Purchasing for RFP committee meeting
  • Corrections inmate commissary RFP response received, meeting pending; 2 respondents – Keefe and Swanson; must manage accounting and banking – considered fees charged to inmate account or persons adding funds to the account, considerable language to keep fees reasonable; revenue component can be seen in Corrections budget; highlights will be presented after the committee meeting, on next repor
  • County-wide vending RFP; contracts on 3 year cycle, typically put out 5-7 contracts in a cycle; different vending for Parks verses 911; i.e., sandwiches, soups, hot coffee for 911 and chips, candy, soda for Parks; fee charged has percentage built in for County revenue; very expensive projects, working to cut down the number of times the vendor has to submit proposals so savings is passed down to us; consolidated vendor contracts now being finalized; anticipate putting out RFP before the next committee meeting; pouring rights contract expiring -separate line item; separate line item for each facility in case of different needs – one vendor may be able to provide for one facility better; opportunity to package all together or for multiple vendors depending on facility     

 

9.     CORRECTION:   Matthew Millea, Deputy County Executive/Physical Services

        a.     Authorizing the Construction of a Dog Shelter Facility on the Grounds of the Jamesville Correctional Facility in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $350,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $350,000 Bonds of said County to Pay the Costs thereof ($350,000)

 

Mr. Holmquist requested that this item be pulled from the agenda.  As discussed earlier, we need to prioritize capital projects; most could classify this as a want, not a need.  We have a list of needs and even needs go to program committee.  This item has not been before a program committee and is certainly not an emergency.  Most have not taken a position on this item as we don’t know anything about it.  He has great concerns for implications going forward on this item, for many reasons.  One of which is that any legislator could bring this item to the floor for consideration.  He would be very concerned about considering this item without any debate.  Earlier today we discussed that process matters.  This is unfair to the Public Safety Committee, who would love to hear this, and all the other capital projects, many of which are needs.  His objection is not with this specific proposal.  We have had some discussions recently about process, this is a recognition that process matters.  It is our job to determine the cadence and prioritization of capital projects.  He would like to see this item be considered in the right order; doesn’t know how it got on the agenda.  An information meeting should be presented to Public Safety.

 

Mr. Kilmartin stated he respected Mr. Holmquist comments.  Today’s considerations, prior to this presentation, are a good example of how the legislature conducts its work and is a positive reflection on the legislature.  We had critical issues coming before us, road issues and software issues, legislature said we need more information and need to vet it through more committees to get a good understanding.  A good deal of the discussion pivoted around spending cash or bonding.  He does not see this item as being any different.  It would go through a committee process.  Unless he hears something different, this item is not an emergency and will go through other committees and/or through this committee again.  He agrees that we don’t know anything about this item because it hasn’t been presented.  The committee process is the way to do that.  Anyone in this room can say there have been some things that have gone to the floor and been rejected.  This is the process and why we are here.  He understands Mr. Holmquist’s concerns about respecting committee process and chairs, but we also have a chairman that decided to hear this item today.  This is a respect for all committees and committee chairs.  As a professional courtesy to the County Executive, it is respectful to let something be heard and then decide if it has merit.

 

Mr. Holmquist stated that each of the items Mr. Kilmartin referenced went to program committee first.  He does not think we are disrespecting the County Executive in any way.  She proposed the capital projects and it is our job to look at all capital projects as an aggregate, which hasn’t been done yet.  She can provide her priorities, but that doesn’t mean that it has to land on an agenda ahead of all the other projects.  There is no question that it is up to the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee to hear this item.  Out of respect for the Public Safety Committee Chair, the legislature as a whole, and all the capital projects proposed, he hopes this goes to committee first.  It is our job not to put one want ahead of all the needs.  We have to have discussions in our prospective caucuses to prioritize.  There is a lot of debt coming down the pike.  Hearing this item today provides an unfair advantage over all the other items that deserve just as much consideration; many of which need to be done.     

 

Chairman McMahon stated that he respects Mr. Holmquist’s concerns.  Although we don’t have all the details on this project, the reality is that this project could have gone before numerous committees; Public Safety, Facilities or Health.  The Public Safety Committee chose to pull the item from the agenda.  Mr. Holmquist stated the fact is that this didn’t hit any program committee agenda.  Chairman McMahon stated that any item on this agenda could be brought forward for a vote, as they have been considered.  The reality is we know those items won’t be brought for a vote because there aren’t enough votes to pass them at this time; information hasn’t been vetted.  It is the same thing for this item.  This is the first opportunity to hear the proposal, a proposal that has our constituent’s attention, as seen by the two hundred plus emails and phone calls we have received.  It is the first chance to make a sound judgment on the merits of the program and then try to figure out the financing.  He has a number of questions on the finances and would like to ask Mr. Morgan today.  He can assure Mr. Holmquist that this won’t be a rush judgment and will not be voted on at the December 3rd session.  Everyone needs to get comfortable with it, determine if there is a valid need in the community, and the cost basis for what has been proposed.  The only way to get these questions answered is by hearing the presentation and for all of us to ask the questions we have.

 

Mr. Holmquist reiterated that all the items referenced went to program committee and are needs.  Roads are needs, they have to be done.  The two hundred plus emails are very unfortunate.  If the item wasn’t put on the agenda improperly, there wouldn’t have been an expectation on the part of the public that this was going to be voted on; emails state vote yes on Monday.  He doesn’t think that they know what voting yes is, don’t have all the information.  This is another unfortunate out crop from this item being on today’s agenda.  The public expects us to be moving on this.  He believes this was a mistake and shouldn’t be compounded by discussing this item today.  Every other item discussed today was a need.  This is separate case that should be treated as such.  Chair Knapp responded that he has given this a lot of thought.  We have a CIP with a many projects; all have to be taken individually and have to start somewhere.  The County Executive decided that this item and the Carnegie Building would be the first two items out; up to us to take it from there.  The Public Safety Committee had an opportunity.  Out of courtesy we decided to hear this item.  There will be a lot of questions and a lot more work will need to be done, but the discussion needs to start.  If anyone tries to push this forward prematurely, it will fail.  He is not and never planned on taking a vote on this item today.  It may end up going back to another committee; see where the discussion goes and take it from there. 

 

Mr. Millea:

  • Changing the CIP process since he started; CIP had $800M worth of projects when he arrived; was a wish list not a functioning policy document; startled in Aug. 2010 to hear $600k request for roofs - just 30 days prior to budget process, CIP request didn’t make since to him; moving away from crisis management, valuable to start discussions; agreed not to drop them all with the budget- would come over in Nov.; CIP now functioning as policy document, departments know ensuing years CIP requests must be in the CIP or be an emergency, vet with the County Executive making sure it aligns with her priorities,  then vet through pre-budget meeting and then budget; now dropping approved items in
  • When crafting this year’s CIP, County Executive stated her desire for this item; presented to CIP committee, now bringing forward to committee; willing to work through whatever questions come up
  • No immediate demand for a vote; County Executive wants process to formally start and proceed down path to a vote, sooner rather than later; important initiative for her and constituents
  • He is standing in for Ms. Rooney, who is on vacation; received some good questions to date, has some answers; needs to do work to get answers to others
  • Critical for legislature to consider funds for engineering design; will come back to legislature for CIP approval
  • Target of $350k  based on square footage of year round kennel holding 20 adult dogs with appropriate staffing; want to move forward with work required for real number; authorizing procurement for engineering services to review property and get schematic in place; have an idea of where to place it – map provided (On file with the Clerk); investing a little money on the frontend to get the answers need – how much per sq. ft., what is the ground suitable for; kennel outside secure perimeter of the correctional facility and close to main entrance, indicative of partnership facility – volunteer organizations and Corrections; volunteers won’t have to go through all the security; ancillary property suitable for inmates; $350k rough estimate from Facilities
  • Bond resolution for full amount; would ask for limited amount of money  to be released for due diligence on the facility side
  • Facility will house animals that would otherwise be euthanized
  • Finding antidotal and written evidence on dealing with inmate recidivism – sample articles provided (On file with the Clerk); standard 1 year of good behavior to qualify in program, seeing remarkable dividends in recidivism; NY prisoner costs $60k per year, if we keep 5 from coming back the cost analysis makes since; County Executive exposed to program from others; Albany County, Oklahoma and Louisianan 
  • County Executive concerned about the statistics;  63% of dogs received at Dewitt Animal Hospital are euthanized – 910 delivered and 510 euthanized
  • The Asilomar Accords – a national organization developed metrics to track the effectiveness of adoption processes in certain communities; Erie County participates – had 6355 dogs delivered  and 1,625 euthanized = 25%; have evidence  63% are euthanized here compared to 25% in Erie County
  • 2 critical issues for County Executive –can we give inmates training and connection, leading to a better path when the leave and can we reduce the amount of healthy treatable dogs euthanized for no reason, establish facility as a no-kill facility; shelters have strict deadlines, dogs not adopted within a number of days are euthanize
  • Understands there are many questions, will work aggressively to provide speedy answers

 

Mr. May stated this is a tough emotional issue.  We are faced with difficult decisions because over the last several years we have done specific things to get the government down to its essence, focusing on the things that we do best and bringing outside resources in to do what they do best; SMG-Oncenter, Van Duyn, NBT Bank Stadium.  Emotional issues aside, we have a business decision to make with respect to this program.  What we are really talking about is a program, the facility is ancillary. 

 

Mr. May listed a reflections of his thought process, some comments, areas of clarification.  They don’t need to be answered today and are in no particular order:

  • What is the priority, dogs or rehabilitation of prisoners
  • Input and validation at committee level for new programs critical to create buy in
  • Does Mental Health support the idea that prisoners can be rehabilitated in the course of 1 year
  • What are the implications for Corrections; additional cost for program process
  • NYS Ag and Mkts dictates boundaries for shelter facilities; will matter with respect to design and construction  
  • Highly regulated by NY Ag & Mkts; need to understand this from multitude of perspectives; will be compliance costs associated
  • Need to understand the logistics; are we taking dogs that haven’t been adopted, can be rehabilitated
  • Cost of care, food and vet care responsibilities; some dogs in bad shape, expensive to getting them back in shape
  • Don’t know if we can voluntarily staff facility, needs to be considered
  • Tight plan and vetting with committee will be important
  • Need to consider dog control dynamics and how this effects things; NY Ag and Mkts law changed a few years ago, county gave up their portion of the dog licensing, towns and villages sent a portion of the money to the SPCA

 

Chairman McMahon stated that he was looking for a breakdown from Mr. Morgan; what is the yearly cost to the department for a $350,000 bond, reduced in increment of $50,000, down to $200,000.  We don’t know what this is going to cost.  There are many ways this could go; we could vote to give a certain dollar figure and the costs could come back, we could approve the whole amount, nothing or we could approve something that we are comfortable with as far as what is hitting the department.  Mr. Morgan responded that he was looking for the debt service.  Chairman McMahon agreed and asked that the length of time also be included. 

 

Chairman McMahon questioned the liability and asked if inmates participating in the program would be signing a waiver in the event that they are bitten by a dog; are they allowed to sign a waiver as inmates.  He understands that we aren’t going to be taking in disturbed animals and shouldn’t be the norm, but could happen.  These are the things that we need to prepare for, and will help some people be a little more comfortable, from a programmatic standpoint.  Mr. Millea responded that the legal question would be an easy one to answer.  We can reach out to Albany County and see how they have managed this.  Excellent questions were raised on a programmatic level.  One point critically important to the County Executive is that we are already doing something akin to this with the pheasant program.  What troubles her most about the pheasant program is that we are not releasing them into the wild for expansion of the species.  This would be a different approach, but an expansion of a good program that the county already does with a different animal species.

 

Mr. Millea added that he wants to be very clear, we are looking for the treatable, rehabilitatable and manageable animals; not proposing a training program at this time.  We will need a strong partnership with our shelters, whereby they advise us of appropriate dogs for the program.  Mr. May questioned who does this.  Mr. Millea responded that we need to figure this out.  It is an important discussion that we have together.  The SPCA will be a huge partner to us.  It would be a good thing for them to come in and have this discussion at a program committee; how would we do the animal transfer, which shelters would be priority ones that we work with. Clearly we have some targets that we can work with now; Dewitt Animal Shelter with 63% euthanized – what can we do together to get that number down.   

 

Mr. Millea stated he would have to speak with Corrections as to the costs.  Believes there is some good evidence of how this works and what the costs are, with the pheasant program going on there.  The plan here is for outside the facility, dealing with low risk population; six months to a year of good behavior.  This is similar to using inmates in the parks, with one corrections officer; not looking for huge correction staffing, looking for volunteer staffing with appropriate guard.  Mr. May emphasized that we have to be careful hanging our hats on volunteers, that only last for a very short time.  You run the risk of having needs that no one expected; performing surgery on a dog.  Mr. Millea responded that he would note this.  It won’t be a veterinary facility; won’t be doing veterinary procedures there.  He will look into what our backstop would be for this.  Mr. Kilmartin stated to put the dog back into society may require a lot of care.  Mr. May added just spaying and neutering alone. 

 

Mr. Jordan stated he has a number of questions or concerns:

  • Long term construction and operation costs; no-kill facility adds a different view, will fill up quickly; sizeable number of dogs will still be euthanized; potential to want program expanded no turning around once in place – could become bigger and bigger
  • National programs are used in long-term facilities; this is short-term facility, maximum sentence is 1 year; must have 6 months of good behavior to be in program, inmate won’t be with dog long; multiple inmates will be working with dog
  • Programs he reviewed are not kennels, dog in cell with inmate taking care of them 24-7; suggest having the inmate take care of the dog in the cell and see how this works before investing $350k into a facility
  • Programs reviewed were much smaller than this – 6 to 8 dogs; seems this goal is to save dogs not rehabilitate prisoners; rehabilitative component maybe more significant at long-term facility, don’t know that recidivism benefits will play out in this situation; all the more reason we should enter into this on a smaller scale
  • No cost benefit for construction of facility
  • Liability for injuries to dog and/or inmat
  • Proposed as an overflow facility; won’t be the most adoptable dogs, hard to place animals that could be kenneled indefinitely  
  • Need to determine role of County government; great idea but perhaps should be instituted via private fundraising, raising fund for construction and continued operations, staffed  by volunteers and partnered with Jamesville; accomplishes same mission without taxing citizens  
  • Doesn’t see this as County governments role; would be taking money involuntarily from people and spending their money; 50% opposed to idea is a high percentage
  • Willing to keep his options open; responds to facts     

Mr. Kilmartin stated that when this was first discussed informally at caucus, he sent an email to Mr. Millea with a list of questions and provided some of the highlights:

  • Costs in terms of capital and operational going forward
  • Location
  • Need for it; how many are euthanized and so on
  • Source of funds; bonding, cash or leftover capital accounts
  • Relationships with towns and villages; what they are doing
  • Other counties
  • County zoo personnel providing assistance at some level
  • Level of participation from the SPCA and volunteers; volunteers that happen to be veterinarians; a since of personnel within the facility and outside 
  • Doesn’t expect answers today 

Mrs. Ervin asked what the savings would be verses the costs of operations, if they were able to rehabilitate prisoners.  Mr. Millea responded that it is about $60,000 per year, per inmate.  If we are able to keep three or four from returning, we are getting a very good return on investment, even one or two, if repeated annually.

 

Mrs. Ervin asked what it would cost to perform the engineering piece now.  Mr. Millea responded:

  • County Executive put this in the CIP, wanted discussion before any expenditure of any funds
  • Easy to answer questions on the facility side with small expenditure for firm to do some design work; answers critical questions on lifecycle, not just construction costs, but operational costs on an annual basis
  • Question - if able to come up with $10k in this year’s budget for design work, would we want to proceed forward or should we focus on the program side answering those questions first or do both simultaneously
  • Program questions not his area of expertise; some very good questions have been posed
  • County Executive feels strongly that there is a significant role for the county; clear to her that this is a business we should be in for many reason

 

Mrs. Ervin asked how long it would take to get answers to some of the programmatic questions that came up today.  Mr. Millea responded that he will do his best to work with Ms. Rooney, Mr. Cowin and the Health department to get at least the start of good answers, for program committee.  We will go through the normal committee review process with the Clerk and submit those answers to her as soon as possible.  Very quickly he will begin working to get some more substance to the questions he has been asked.   

 

Chairman McMahon:

  • Thanked Mr. Millea for pinch hitting for Ms. Rooney
  • We are talking about a public-private partnership
  • Need to determine if there a true cost savings
  • Perhaps we should be designing our own program, as Mr. Jordan suggested
  • There is a lot of skin in the game; don’t want to create another level of bureaucracy without having a real public-private partnership
  • Haven’t heard from the private stakeholders pushing for this,  getting emails and phone calls but what is the SPCA going to do, who are the vets volunteering, what vets will step up and supply surgery; need to hear from these people
  • This isn’t what we do for a living; will need to hear from partners going forward
  • May go to 2 program committees, Public Safety and Health; distinct issues effect both     

Mr. Millea responded that this was extremely valuable feedback. He will be debriefing with Ms. Rooney when she returns tomorrow and will be back before whichever committee is deemed most appropriate.

 

In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Millea responded that he would work with Ms. Rooney to better define what a no kill facility is.   

 

11.   LAW:

        a.     Litigation Update

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, to enter inter executive session for the purpose of discussion of pending litigation regarding the matter of Therese Ciszewski and Joseph  Ciszewski, V. Nicholas J. Fick and County Of Onondaga; seconded by Mr. Kilmartin.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, to exit executive session and enter regular session, seconded by Mrs. Ervin.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.   

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:07 PM.                               

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

* * *

 

 
© 2001- 2017 Onondaga County, New York  All Rights Reserved.   |  Ongov.net  |  Privacy Statement | Directions & Parking | Language or Disability Access Assistance