Meeting Minutes Archive: August, 2007

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

August 13, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Mr. Warner, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Laguzza, Mrs. Winslow

MEMBERS ABSENT:           Mr. Lesniak

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order 9:00 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   HEALTH:  Ms. Jean Smiley, Deputy Commissioner

a.   Authorizing payment for overtime hours worked to Management Confidential staff involved in casework at the Forensic Science Center

Ms. Smiley said they are requesting permission to pay overtime for four positions - Senior DNA Scientist, Latent Print Examiner, Senior Forensic Chemist and Senior Firearms Examiner and Toxicologist.  There would be no overtime for less than 40 hours per week.  Compensation would be for anything over 40 hours per week that has prior approval by the laboratory Director and is specifically for casework (70% of their work), will be paid for by one of the grants.  Requesting permission to pay overtime up to a total and not to exceed $12,000.  Ms. Smiley noted that the Senior Latent Print Examiner worked 973 over the normal County hours last year and earned $9,218 less than the highest paid person he supervises and $2,417 less than a Firearms Examiner, Senior DNA Scientist earned $8,904 less than the person she supervises, clearly have an inequity.  Have permission from the State Department of Criminal Justice Services to pay overtime with three grants, proposing to try this as a pilot.

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

Mr. Warner asked about the time worked between 35 and 40 hours per week.  Ms. Walter said the payroll system is set up for a 35-hour week for Management/Confidential with the expectation that most people will work 40 hours with no extra pay, time is kept either by a time recording devise or by paper.  Mr. Warner asked if it is mandatory, Ms. Walter replied no.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the three individuals are eligible for overtime right now.  Ms. Smiley replied yes, Latent, Firearms and DNA are the biggest backlog areas (Senior Firearms is unfilled at this time).  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Walter said new hires would be eligible for overtime for the senior titles only.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the overtime pay would also be charged to the NYS Retirement System for eligibility for increased pension benefits.  Ms. Walter said it would if they happen to retire within three years of earning that money; pension is based on the highest three consecutive years.

Mr. Laguzza asked if they would be allowed to earn overtime as well as comp time.  Ms. Smiley said they can't have both; would be the employee's option.  Mr. Laguzza said the resolution should specify that if they opt for the overtime, they forfeit the opportunity for comp time, would like to do anything to help clear up the backlog, but will abstain until he sees this in writing.  Ms. Smiley said they would adjust the resolution before Ways and Means.

Mr. Meyer asked if the basic reason for this request is the backlog issue and the extra hours worked by these employees to get the casework out.  Ms. Smiley said the backlog issue and an equity issue.  Mr. Meyer said there are people all over the county earning less than people they supervise.  Ms Smiley said overtime would only be allowed for casework backlog.

Mr. Warner said he is familiar with a similar situation where Management/Confidential formed a union, went to court and immediately won the right to overtime.

Mr. Kilmartin seconded the motion to approve this item.  A vote was taken; Ayes: 5 (Mr. Warner, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Winslow, Mrs. Rapp); Abstained:  1 (Mr. Laguzza); MOTION CARRIED.

Chair Rapp took the agenda out of order.

2.   MENTAL HEALTH:  Mr. David Brownell, Commissioner; Ms. Lisa Alford, Commissioner of Aging and Youth

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($100,000)

Mr. Brownell provided a program and financial information sheet (on file with Clerk).  Advocates for older people recently made a case with the New York State Legislature saying older citizens with significant mental health issues were not receiving the attention and services that they aught to have.  A law was passed that created a council and appropriation of $2 million for the first year.  Office of Mental Health awarded about ten grants around the state in two categories, this one is for outreach "gatekeeper".  Mental Health partnered with Aging and Youth and was successful in receiving a $100,000 grant renewable annually for up to five years (only upstate county that received this).  Mr. Brownell said he thinks it is necessary, depression, suicide, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer's, and dementia are all prevalent among the elderly, hoping to do a better job of finding people who may need help and refer them as appropriate.

Ms. Alford explained the program called Project REACH, a way to train persons who are non-traditional when it comes to identifying people who may have substance abuse or mental health issues.  Primary part of the grant would be for training persons such as National Grid and Time Warner employees who are going out into the community for their business, who may see things that indicate a person may need some assistance.  Goal is not to be invasive, but to identify persons who may ordinarily go unchecked; also a way of providing outreach to other community services that are available.  Highlights of the program:

  • Early intervention of community support services will help decrease inappropriate and unnecessary placement in publicly funded care facilities
  • Approximately 63% of older adults with mental health issues do not receive the services they require
  • Diminished functioning, substance abuse, poor life quality and increased mortality can result from untreated mental health problems - many physicians are not making referrals
  • Adults over the age of 75 have the nation's highest suicide rate
  • 100% grant funded - No local match required
  • Monies awarded via a competitive process by the NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Grant is for $100,000 per year - renewable for up to five years
  • Will be training partners to recognize various signs and symptoms
  • Partners include: National Grid, Time Warner Cable, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse Housing authority, Christopher Community

Mr. Warner expressed concern about privacy issues.  Ms. Alford said the person who would be sent to the home would be a trained mental health professional, not asking a Time Warner person to do it; referrals are confidential.  Mr. Warner asked where the $100,000 is going; Mr. Brownell said the funds would come to Department of Mental Health and then transferred to the Office of Aging and Youth for implementation of the project.  Ms. Alford said they will be paying one part time outreach person to go out to do the assessments, also would be providing some information and materials to the community to let them know that the service exists, would provide internship opportunities for a LeMoyne or SU student to assist with needs assessment and evaluation, and would make sure they have very qualified trainers to train the non-traditional people who will identify the people.

Mr. Laguzza asked what action they would have to take to renew the grant.  Mr. Brownell replied that they would contact the NYS Department of Mental Health concerning the timetable to request renewal as they reach the end of first year, renewal is not guaranteed.  Mr. Laguzza asked if the State gave benchmarks; Mr. Brownell said they have to develop a work plan and they will set some targets for themselves.  Mr. Laguzza asked to be added as a co-sponsor.

Mr. Meyer asked about their work plan.  Ms. Alford said goals would be based on research they are seeing in the community.  Mr. Meyer asked why Meals on Wheels is not part of this as those persons generally have a relationship with the people they deliver to.  Ms. Alford said the decision was to first look at the service industry, will not be limited to just the groups mentioned.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza to approve this item, seconded by Mr. Warner; passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mrs. Winslow asked to be a co-sponsor.

3.   VAN DUYN:  Mr. Martin Skahen, Director of Long Term Care Planning

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds from the New York State Department of Health for a Dementia Grant project and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution

  • Four services to be provided:
  • Orientation for Van Duyn Participating coordinator
  • Peer mentoring for 15 of their top nurses (2 full days in mid-September)
  • Booster mentoring a couple of months after initial training (1 full day plus three hours)
  • Planning meeting held in Albany in the fall to create a sustainable peer-mentoring plan for Van Duyn.

Training focus is on skill development in the area of leadership, management, supervision and communication:

  • Short falls in these areas are the cause of many system problems, the root cause of recruitment, retention and care challenges in the nursing field.

Mr. Skahen said Van Duyn would be reimbursed for training costs up to $10,000; payment will be made upon receipt of monthly reports documenting satisfactory progress.  There are no matching dollars, grant will expire December 31, 2007 with final reporting due February 2008.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Laguzza to approve this item.

Mr. Meyer asked why they are doing this.  Mr. Skahen explained that shortfalls in peer mentoring lead to problems, if people don't feel they have someone to turn to in the work environment to learn more, who isn't necessarily their manager, they may make bad decisions, may not develop, feel out of place and leave; it is also a matter of retention, world of nursing has become very competitive, focusing on things they can do that are non-monetary that attract people to work for them.

A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Laguzza left the meeting.

1. b      Discussion:  Correctional Health - Ms. Colleen Clancy, Administrator for Correctional Medical and Health Services

Ms. Clancy presented a Power Point entitled Correctional Health Services - Onondaga County Justice Center and Correctional Facility (Attachment 2).  Pointed out key differences from their system and other jails - an integrated system whereby medical and mental health staff fall under a single administrator.  Health and Mental Health service providers report to their respective commissioners rather than to a security authority; separate reporting structure helps them to achieve a better balance in their system. 

Ms. Clancy said as an administrator, one of her challenges is finding and maintaining the right balance of the care they provide.  This is a population that truly needs their services and does not take very good care of their medical needs when not in custody.  Some are very receptive to health education and most will be back in our community soon; any positive changes that can be made for them improve the health of our community.  Everything they do takes funding and their resources are limited, many things they do are mandated or because they are urgent and necessary.  They don't control who enters, when they leave, the environment, security rules for visiting - things that interfere with their ability to provide health care.  A lot of health care providers don't want to work in a correctional setting, some find it difficult to provide objective care.  They go through stages of extreme difficulty in recruiting and high turnover.

Mr. Warner asked if they draw blood for DNA testing; Ms Clancy said they do not, would violate standards for collecting forensic evidence.  Mr. Warner asked what the cost is for prescription drugs; Ms. Wilson said $600,000 - $650,000 for the year 2007.  Ms. Clancy said they have achieved a savings of about 20% during first six months of this year; generic drugs have helped and they have negotiated better rates and better capitation as part of the contract.  Mr. Warner asked if the prescription drugs are bid out.  Ms. Smiley said it goes out as a request for proposal; CPS Contract Pharmacy Services has the current contract.  Mr. Warner referred to a recent article in the paper concerning partnerships in other NYS counties, between the counties and some companies that reduced the prescription drug costs by about 50% for those who have no insurance and those who are underinsured.  Mr. Warner said they would look at it here in Onondaga County through Social Services Committee.

Mr. Kilmartin asked what the fastest growing diseases are, which had the most rapid increase at the jail facilities over the past couple of years and which are the most expensive to treat per prescriptions.  Ms. Clancy said it tends to vary year by year; cardiac events usually wind up being very expensive if person is hospitalized or surgery is performed, Cancer, HIV and AIDS have expensive medications, some antibiotics are very expensive, but the alternative is sometimes to remain in the hospital on IV antibiotics.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. DiBlasi, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Jordan


ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Rhinehart called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.

1.   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Mr. Donald Western, Director

      a.   Local Law Designating a Regionally Significant Project within the Onon. Co. Empire Zone (PPC)

There are 4 types of regionally significant projects--only used manufacturing here.  Production Products submitted a 2-page application (on file).  They are a 65-yr. old company, owned by the Mezzelingua family; manufacture cable, telephone technology, traps, signals, etc; moving toward other telecommunication type projects.  There are 4 tax parcels in the zone for purposes of production, East Molloy Rd., Dewitt.  The key manufacturing plant was put in the zone in ‘02.  Total investment of over $16 million; approx. 900 employees, approx. 450 locally; plants in Denmark, India, China.  This will produce 52 new jobs.  Must have 50 jobs to be regionally significant.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what happens if the company falls short of 50 jobs.  Mr. Western said that they would be decertified, and it would take a 2-year cycle.  Many companies have been decertified; some fail because they didn't do the paperwork.  The State sent a letters to about 3,000 companies, about 800 certified, that didn't make the goals in terms of employment or investment in the ‘05 final report.  PPC did not get one of the letters. 

Mr. Meyer asked about the $4 million for new construction.  Mr. Western said they are buying and renovating the former ice cream factory to the east, 65,000 sq. ft.  They will undertake work this year; employees will be added in 2007.  They are currently certified, this is an amendment, adding the additional addresses. 

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the committee could obtain a list of the companies that the State sent the letter to.  The Legislature has a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers; 2 meetings ago a request was approved from Syroco--2 weeks later they closed their doors.  He has an interest in the jobs and economic development, but also interested in knowing about the companies that have come through committee, approved for Empire Zone benefits, and not met their commitments.  Mr. Western will provide a list.

Mr. DiBlasi asked what changes have occurred in the Empire Zone rules concerning regionally significant properties.  Mr. Western said that the program has entirely transformed since legislation in '05.  There are 4 categories:  manufacturer creating 50 jobs; agribusiness, high-tech or bio-tech investing $10 million and creating 20 jobs; distribution finance or insurance firms creating 300 jobs; others--those that create significantly unique jobs or employment opportunities.  The State has not created the administrative regulations to qualify this category.  The only category used is manufacturing.  There are no acreage limitations or maximums. 

A motion by Mrs. Rapp, second by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item; passed unanimously; CARRIED.

b.   A Local Law Designating a Regionally Significant Project within Onon. Co. Empire Zone (US Optical)

A new company-leasing free standing building on Ellicott Dr., Dewitt, undertaking a manufacturing process using digitalized services for progressive lenses for a national market.  Mr. DiBlasi asked if they could also fall into the high-tech category; Mr. Western said that they would need to have a $10 million investment.  High tech is measured a certain way--not just what is being done; a percentage of production spent on research work.

Mr. Stanczyk asked who gets benefits if leasing the property.  Mr. Western said that the company does, not the property owner.  If they lease the property and are responsible for the tax bill, they can earn a credit against their real property tax.  They get the wage tax credit, which is $1,500/employee/year for 5 years for full-time employees who stay for a period of time.  The new law allows for the tenant to get the tax credit if they pay the taxes.  Mr. Stanczyk said this is contingent upon a grant from Empire State Development and is hard pressed to prove that the 52 jobs are not just a projection to get it to be over 50.  Mr. Western explained that this is the first step, then the state sends a letter.  An application has to be done which has 11 components and a lot more documentation of cost and history.  Then they have to get certified, which is a more elaborate process.  This is the first step and the easiest to go through before they are in a position to get any benefits.

Mr. Jordan asked if there is a recoupment of benefits if a company is decertified.  Mr. Western said "no."  Mr. Jordan asked if a company has to incrementally provide documentation to the State to receive benefits.  Mr. Western explained that they get benefits only in their tax return--there are at least 5 documentary supplements needed to get zone benefits.  The business annual report is a separate document that tracks what the company is doing compared to what they applied for.  It looks at the last fiscal year and compares it to the certification application, which can be the basis for decertification.  Property tax benefits have to be earned.

Mr. Stanczyk said that it would be beneficial to go through a proposal to show what was projected and what was received so that the committee could get a sense of what the State is paying in tax credits per job created.  Chairman Rhinehart said that once the list of companies that the State sent the letter to is received, then some comparisons could be made.

Mr. Meyer asked about the company contact.  Mr. Western explained that they are not in their new location yet and they are a new company.

A motion by Mrs. Rapp, second by Mr. Jordan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  CARRIED.


2.   INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY- Ms. Michelle Clark, Deputy Commissioner

      a.   Amend 2007 Budget to accept NYS Shared Municipal Svc. Incentive Program Funds for the Onon Co Dept of Information Technology and Authorize the Co Exec to enter into contracts to implement this res.($100,000)

Ms. Clark distributed and reviewed a summary of background and funding (attach #1).  This grant is for the arrest module for CNYLEADS.  Currently, law enforcement agencies do not share arrest information--can take up to a couple of weeks for information to be entered into a system.  This module will provide a common place for the information to be entered.  There are written participation agreements with the every law enforcement agency in the county.  Chair Rhinehart asked if other counties have this; Ms. Clark did not think so.

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

Mr. DiBlasi asked if there is a way to import this or show other counties how to do this.  Ms. Clark said that there is an IT Directors' group that shares information semi-annually. 

Mr. Meyer asked who will do the work.  Ms. Clark explained that consultants will do the work; IT staff will work along with them to obtain the knowledge, which will end up in the IT Department. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with the implementation date and who the consultants are.

Mr. Jordan seconded the motion to approve this item; passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

3.   ONCENTER - Mr. David Marnell, President

      a.   Quarterly Report

Mr. Marnell distributed the 1st quarter report (copy on file with Clerk; for statement of revenues, expenses, changes in fund balance see attachment no. 2)

  • Hotel Project - ongoing support with Wilmorite, Westin Sales and Marketing Team
  • RPF'd marketing program; selected Pinckey Hugo--needed fresh approach; subtle changes but significant impact
  • Revenue - 2006 to 2007 up $17,000, just under 1%
  • Expenses up $55,000, 2% 
  • Utilities back in line as they were in first quarter of '06
  • Other revenue $186,000; mostly due to ROT increase $143,000; other income up $43,000, 50% over last year as a result of box office an parking garage
  • 1st qtr. '06 operating loss nearly $100,000; 1st qtr. ‘07 positive contribution $50,000; up $150,000 over last yr.
  • '06 budget amounts were never hit-put in factors for increased business, constantly fell behind, creating deficits
  • '07 budget is more in tune with what is actually happening
  • '07 opening balance=$299,821, contributed $50,000; fund balance of $450,000; requested $295,000 in '06 because they were not making budget revenues in space, food & beverage; utilities spiked in 1st and 2nd qtrs.  Felt loss would be compounded.  At '06 yr. end $295,000 was not used--utilities regulated, maintained expenses, generated tremendous business in last qtr. of '06.
  • Strong 1st qtr - $450,000 positive; '06 first quarter was -$208,000
  • Constant struggle with lack of hotel; business is very short term; July '07 23% of business was picked up in the month of doing business
  • Have creative sales dept.; thinking out of the box; creative food and beverage dept.
  • 2008 capital infrastructure program, County is asking for $19 million for capital improvements; of it $3 million is for the convention center.  Ball room, carpet, chairs are 15 years old.  Carpet has been patched, repaired, taped for 15 years.  Facility has aged; needs to be revamped; carpeting and chairs need to be replaced; walls need to patched and repainted.  Have a concept design ready to go.  Co. Executive is hopeful that the building will be up to speed when hotel opens in Spring ‘09.  Are competing with Rochester, Buffalo, who have capital infrastructure. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked how the second quarter looks; Mr. Marnell said very good and asked to present it next month.  Mr. Stanczyk asked where the $3 million request would be used.  Mr. Marnell said that it is just in the Convention Center; and there are additional monies, $10.7 million primarily for the War Memorial, telescopic seating, etc. (located on pg. 53 of capital improvements).

Mrs. Rapp asked if the $19 million would be bonded.  Mr. Mareane said that they plan to package and bond; hope to supplement whatever is put into it and define State aid and internal revenues.  He referred to the marquis idea, where there may be a vendor that would sponsor it.  In early fall he would like to bring a bond resolution to the Legislature that would describe this package of improvements that they would like to have done; and have it ready for the hotel opening in 2009.  Mrs. Rapp asked if some of it could come from ROT money; Mr. Mareane said that there is not an adequate inflow of ROT; some could come from county general fund.  Mrs. Rapp asked what the priority is for the improvements.  Mr. Marnell said that the ballroom is the priority. Mrs. Rapp asked about the ovens; Mr. Marnell said that they are on the capital side and are installed.

Mr. Jordan asked if complaints have been received from people who have rented or looked to rent the facility.   Mr. Marnell said that they have lost a significant amount of business.  The place is tired and people have to spend a significant amount of money to decorate and enhance the room. 

New ovens have been installed, the County Executive approved, out of the OnCenter's annual $250,000 capital reserve.  The ovens were 15 years old; food product was very inconsistent.  The new ovens cook with moisture and it has made a big difference.  They are trying to get ready for when the hotel opens and will be serving 2,000 meals per day to conventioneers and make them want to come back. 

Mr. Meyer suggested that dollar amounts be placed next to the projects and that priority list be created.  Many projects will have to be installed in phases, and asked that an outline be provided.

Chair Rhinehart asked about the positions filled and if they were existing positions.  Mr. Marnell said that they were; none are county employees; work for 501C3, not-for-profit, board of director's corp.  Mr. Rhinehart asked about benefits.  Mr. Marnell said they RFP for health insurance yearly; try to keep it low; it is 80/20.  Pension has not changed--company gives 3% for qualified employees; have matching on $.50 to the $1 for another 3%. 

Chairman Rhinehart asked what makes up other income.  Mr. Marnell said that they run their own box officer, have their own phone center.  They collect fees from tickets sold, which generates revenue.  Also interest income and monies that sit in escrow are put in deposits until paid out.  Fifty percent of parking garage revenue has shown a profit every year since opening--between $30,000 - $70,000.  They write a check to the City of Syracuse.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the County is paying the bonding on the garage--it is a loss, not a profit.  Mr. Mareane said that the garage will be paid off relatively soon.  Mr. Stanczyk asked about the box office operation.  Mr. Marnell said that there is a box office manager and part-time people.  They are making money from the revenues.  Mr. Stanczyk requested a one-page detail.

Mr. Marnell request to be on the agenda next month for present the 2nd quarter report.

Respectfully submitted,

Deborah L. Maturo, Clerk, County Legislature

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Farrell, *Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kraft, Mrs. Winslow


ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mr. Corbett to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Rhinehart to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT - ACJ Update - Mrs. Susan Miller

Midland Phase II

o        Backfilling the 144" pipe; topsoil and seeding; caulking on exterior bricks and concrete panels.

o        At 86.2 % of total contract sum

o        20,500 cubic yards of concrete

o        Current sum is $53,841,000 for prime contracts including approved change orders

New Projects Began Construction:  Sewer Separation 050 (Parkway, Rockland) & Clinton Conveyance Phase I

Sewer Sep. 050

o        Started on Rockland, began on July 9th ,

o        Have 2 manholes, approx. 370 ft of new sewer pipe installed

Clinton Conveyance Phase I

o        This is all the pipe not in the Trolley lot or Armory Square; contract began July 23rd, installation of geomonitoring equipment and the beginning of the building of shafts for micro-tunneling on West Street.

o        Demolition work began along West Onondaga Street; will start work near Byrne Dairy

o        Bids for building demos for Midland Phase III and Harbor Brook; went out 8/2; will be opened 8/28

o        Bids for Clinton RTF went out on 8/8; will be opened 9/19

o        Building demo bid estimate at $400,000 - $500,000

o        Engineer's estimate for Clinton RTF is $67 million

Mr. Farrell asked if impacts the budget.  Mrs. Miller said that it is within the budget--$111 million is authorized; have expended $15 million on Phase 1, $67 million for engineers estimate, leaves about $30 million for Phase II conveyance.  Mr. Farrell suggested having a breakdown of the 3 critical elements on a monthly basis.

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the engineer's estimate includes administration.  Mrs. Miller said it includes only construction and 5% contingency.  Construction will start at the beginning of the year.  Mr. Rhinehart asked how many packets went out for the bid.  Mrs. Miller said it just occurred last week, it is being advertised widely.  Mr. Ott said that they are advertising above and beyond what has been done in the past - publishing in Builders Exchanges NYS, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester newspapers, Cleveland Builders Exchange, Central Ohio Builders Exchange, Pennsylvania Builders Exchange; Mid-Atlantic Builders Exchange, and Pittsburgh Builders Exchange, and sending copies of advertisement to top 50-100 wastewater contractors in the country.  The bid time was also expanded.  Mrs. Miller said it relates from rejecting all bids on Midland Phase III project; are looking at all cost-saving measures on that project.  It will be re-bid, don't have an estimated time right now. 

Mr. Farrell questioned soft costs.  Mrs. Miller said they are engineering, design, legal, and project management costs.  Mr. Farrell asked for a breakdown of all of soft costs on all of the projects.  Mrs. Miller will look into it. 

Mr. Kraft asked if there have been problems getting money from EPA.  Mrs. Miller said "no."  Contracts have to be signed and projects have to be underway; to get the reimbursement.  The same process is with the State.  It takes about 6 months from the time the bills are received, submitting the paperwork and then getting the payment.  Mr. Kraft asked what is being done with going to the Congressman to get more money.  Mrs. Miller said that they did get more money.  She distributed a breakdown (attachment 1).  Mrs. Miller said $100 million was pledged from the Federal government; and have received more than pledged; additional money from Corp of Engineers.  Mr. Kraft said that federal government needs to be reminded of increased costs as result of meeting their demands and the county desperately needs their help.  Regarding NYS, there was an original bond act of $75 million; there was a handshake agreement with the governor for $85 million.  Mrs. Miller said that they have no reason to believe that it won't be received.  Mr. Kraft asked when the number was last changed.  Mrs. Miller said it changes regularly and keeps going up.  All of the $75 million, bond money has been received.  Regarding the handshake money, $85 million, $55 million as been approved in contracts.  There is $30 million worth in the work; it is not assigned--contracts not signed yet.  The total amount of approved contracts is $94.9 million.  Mr. Kraft asked about getting more money from the State.  Mrs. Miller said that the State and Federal governments are not putting the money out there; there are is no grant money to apply for and get.  The only way to get more money is through special appropriations, "handshake money".  Mr. Kraft said that a list should be presented in Albany of all the projects put on the county that cost a lot of money.  Something needs to be done; the county can't fund another $125,000,000. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked about Midland Phase II and if the County does the re-seeding and replanting.  Mrs. Miller said "yes".  Mr. Rhinehart asked if Soil and Water hydro-seeds for the County.  Mrs. Miller said that they do not, it is part of the contract-landscaping and restoration work.  Mr. Rhinehart said that all the finished work should be followed.  Mrs. Miller said that it is a concern; it is observed closely.  Mr. Ott said that there are inspectors assigned to the projects.  Mr. Rhinehart agreed with Mr. Kraft--need to find more money from the federal and state governments to finish the projects. 

Mr. Kraft suggested that there be a specific plan and commitment to meet once a month and include legislator, to discuss funding supplements.  Chairman Corbett said that the executive branch would have to be included. 

Mr. Farrell said a month ago an event was lost on Onondaga Lake because of public perception.  He suggested that we start to look at how to promote the health, improvement of water quality in Onondaga Lake on an ongoing basis.  There is a lot of work being done, and the message needs to get out to the community on the substantial change.  There are dramatic improvements in the quality of the lake; in the near future the public will be able to use that lake for substantially more than it has ever been able to use it.  As a fishery it is getting the recognition that it deserves, but the next step is the other recreational usage.  Mrs. Miller said that she believes the perception is changing as a result of activities.  She referred to many positive quotes that she heard during the Bass Masters event.  Regarding swimming, the clarity has improved--there isn't the algae that there used to be.  She referred to the Onondaga Lake Progress Report - shows progress - ammonia inputs going down, ammonia concentration in upper waters going down, phosphorous concentration going down.  The clarity in 2006, at Onondaga Lake Park 90% of the time was in compliance for bacteria levels.  In 2005 there was 100% compliance.  Mr. Farrell suggested that Onondaga Lake is very close to normal for swimming elsewhere; it is not the perception in this community.  Mrs. Miller said that there are over $200 million worth of additional projects to be done that relate to bacteria levels.  There is still a problem; the projects need to be completed.  Mr. Ott said that they are working with Bob Geraci to improve the perception of the lake. 

2.   Establishing a Committee to review and make recommendation to the Legislature regarding the licensing of Home Builders and Home Improvement Contractors - Mr. Sweetland

Chairman Corbett said that there was an adhoc committee that met for 3 years that discussed contractors being insured and having a license.  He introduced Mr. Robert Tomeny, Home Builders and Remodelers of Central New York.  Chairman Corbett said that the prior ad hoc committee included 5 legislators and 4 reps from the Home Buiilders Association.  This legislation will establish a committee, who appoints them, and for them to report back by Dec. 3rd

Mr. Tomeny said that this grew out of the fact the Homebuilders Association was frustrated.  They have a very good program, standards of performance, which they police.  There are disciplinary and conciliation hearings.  Over the course of 10 years they have expelled 6 builders from the Association and censored several others for failing to live up to the standards of performance.  In most every case those builders changed their name and went back out and created a problem for the pubic.  This issue is about consumer protection and public safety.  Electricians and homebuilders do not have to be licensed.  In the last several years it has been aggravating because of the liability insurance crisis.  There are a lot of people working without insurances.  He said that there is support from the DA's office, Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations.  NYS is one of only 2 in the nation that does not have a licensing and/or registration program.  There has been legislation in the state legislature for the last 6 years, which would require registration of contractors.  Many counties in NYS have a licensing program; many others are looking into it.

*Mr. Jordan left the meeting.

Mr. Kraft asked what the problems are with this.  Mr. Tomeny said that it has been more of a matter of other things that have come up.  It is not something that has been a burning issue at the top of a list.  Chairman Corbett said that in the beginning it involved everyone--not just trades and building.  Mr. Kraft asked how this is going to be managed.  Mr. Tomeny said that a number of things have been discussed; prefers an independent operation.  The easiest, best way for the County to handle it is to put out an RFP to administer the program.  The fees collected for the license would be used to operate the program; not on county payroll, not involved in county process.  Mr. Kraft asked if the Home Builders Association would be a potential administrator.  Mr. Tomeny said that they would be interested in bidding on it.  Mr. Kraft said he would like to hold this for one month--would like to know more about it.  If a committee is formed, he would like to end up with a positive result.  He asked if there are others interested in being the administrator.  Mr. Tomeny said that there are a lot of people that might be interested - unions, ABC, inspector organizations, engineering companies, etc. 

Mr. Farrell said that he was directly involved with this previously and there are many other aspects to it.  It is a complicated question on how to deal with it effectively.  It is important the people get comfortable with the concept, he thinks there needs to be some more exposure.  Mr. Farrell suggested that this be held for a month.

Mrs. Winslow questioned if the group is separate from the County, why is a sanction needed from the County Legislature.  Mr. Tomeny explained that the license would be issued in Onondaga County, i.e. the plumbers' license is issued by Onondaga County.  This is for residential construction; the commercial people are self-regulated by the business community.  Mrs. Winslow asked if a new administration would have any better luck as opposed to what is out there now, i.e. Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies.  Mr. Tomeny said that it would, and there has been discussion in the past for a restitution program that would be funded by the fees of those people that are licensed.  Restitution funds could be available to people who go through the courts, sue and win.  They file a judgment against a company wherein that company is no longer around or unable to make restitution, then they can apply to the restitution funds to get some of their money back.  Mrs. Winslow question if contractors that won't comply now, will now actually go and get a license.  Mr. Tomeny said that the code enforcement officers could enforce it.  People are supposed to have permits to have work done.  At the time of getting a permit, it could be determined if a license and insurance exists. 

Mr. Farrell said that there are a lot of specifics and many different elements to this.  All of the things need to be gone through in great detail.  It is a fragmented industry with a lot of people in it--not just a few suppliers and contractors.  Whatever is done, needs to be done carefully.  Mr. Tomeny said that when this was discussed several years ago, the BBB informed him that upwards of 75% of complaints were contractor related. 

Chairman Corbett said that if a contractor does not have their own insurance and something happens, the homeowner can be liable.  This is one issue that could be addressed.  He feels strongly that if this committee can't get this done here, it should be moved to Ways & Means.  Mr. Kraft said that there should be more discussion.  He does not want to shut down the economy of this community.  There are people that know what they are doing.  They may be retired and may not go through the process to get a license and pay fees, but are willing to work, and that is all that someone can afford.  He feels this should be held one month.  Chairman Corbett said that he would like to bring this to a vote today.  Mr. Rhinehart said that the committee will set up parameters.  Mr. Tomeny said that the committee would bring back a recommendation on whether or not the licenses are needed.  Following the legislature's approval, there would be an Onon. Co. Licensing Board, which would put together the particulars.  It would come back to the legislature for approval.  Mr. Rhinehart said that he would like to wait one month.  Mr. Farrell urged it be delayed, not go to Ways & Means; bring it back next month.  There are many new members of this legislature; there needs to be a basic understanding. 

Chairman Corbett held the item for month; suggested that members talk to Chairman Sweetland.  Mr. Tomeny said that he would be glad to share all information that he has.  The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * *



AUGUST 14, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:     Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Chaplin, Mrs. Winslow

ALSO PRESENT:   Mr. Sweetland, Mr. Meyer and see attached list (attachment 1)

Chairman DiBlasi called the meeting to order at 11:16 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes; a motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.


a.       Interim Report - Mr. Jim Dungey

Mr. Dungey said Syracuse Stage began about thirty-five years ago and has contributed significantly to this community.  Do about seven plays per season, sometimes more.  Mr. Dungey noted that Menopause the Musical ran 20 weeks during the last two seasons; generated $1.3 million last season (shared with the production company).

Mr. Dungey highlighted some of the educational programming they do, servicing about 30,000 children per year:

  • Student Matinee Program: service 24 counties, for middle school and high school students.  Work closely with school districts and teachers to connect their study guide with NYS learning standards, make connection between play content and what they are learning in school.
  • Carrier BACKSTORY! Program:  develop characters in partnership with the SU drama program based on NYS learning curriculum, tour throughout the schools in 24 counties.
  • Lockheed Martin Project Blue Print:  Interactive lesson brings science and technology to life for students.
  • JPMorgan Chase Young Playwrights' Festival:  playwriting competition, services over 200 students per year.
  • Bank of America Children's Tour:  brings live theatre to elementary schools, servicing 24 counties
  • ArtsEmerging:  Partner with Nottingham School, connect with their curriculum, if have a play with more difficult content, they reach out to them with more background.

Mr. Dungey said they also partner with many non-profits to bring issues to light.  Business leaders who support Syracuse Stage tell Mr. Dungey that it is important to maintain a strong cultural presence; when potential employees from outside the community are interviewed, it is something to point to in terms of quality of life.

Mr. Dungey noted that Syracuse Stage is going through a transition, they are looking forward to national prominence in partnership with Syracuse University, noted that Tim Bond is the new Producing Artistic Director (from Oregon Shakespeare Festival which draws 400,000 people from the entire northwest coast), Mr. Bond's vision is to raise their artistic profile to a much higher level.  Syracuse University drama program is housed in the same building; Syracuse Stage is separate non-profit run with its own board.  Syracuse University supports them on an annual basis; also have a renewed long-term lease with them.  The facility is going to be renovated at an estimated cost of approximately $7 million (for interior and exterior).  Scope of project has increased over the last three years, working with internationally known architectural firm - David Rockwell Group.  Between the facility renovation and programmatic changes with new leadership, they are poised, along with the Corridor Project, for a major significant change; want to be a part of the economic engine that helps this community.  Mr. Dungey provided an information sheet regarding Syracuse Stage Capital Renovation Project (attachment 2).

Mr. Corbett asked about commitments for the capital campaign from the community.  Mr. Dungey said Congressman Walsh was able to procure $372,000, Senator DeFrancisco - $250,000, they have close to a million dollars in individual support and $100,000 in corporate support, will be able to go to the next level of fundraising now that they have floor plan drawings.

Mr. Kilmartin asked how they intend through the artistic program to increase their profile and attract patrons from different cities.  Mr. Dungey said they have had production values that are very high, Mr. Bond hopes to do more plays that are considered world premiers, will include plays that are more challenging.  Mr. Bond has also expressed that the plays they do will reflect the desires and interest of the local community.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how many schools might benefit from the Bank of America Tour program on an annual basis and how schools are selected.  Mr. Dungey replied that the schools self select, they are able to keep the fees down because of sponsorship and other support, out reach has increase by about 20,000 in the last couple of years.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the funds referenced for the capital campaign are pledges or cash in hand.  Mr. Dungey said the government money is hash in hand, 50% of individual gifts are pledges, corporate is cash in hand.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the funds have been used for the architectural design or are they set aside for the actual deployment of the capital project.  Mr. Dungey said some would pay for the architectural design; some are restricted gifts for seats, and a new elevator for handicap accessibility.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how Syracuse Stage compares to theaters in surrounding areas.  Mr. Dungey said there are regional theaters in the other cities; Syracuse Stage is different because of its partnership with Syracuse University, is in much better fiscal health.  Mr. Dungey said Syracuse University contributes close to $900,000 on an annual basis, they are on board with this project, and SU has opened the door to Syracuse Stage, which is a separate 501C-3 with the opportunity to go to their loans for support of this project.  University has stepped up, community is stepping up; it is a golden opportunity to bring to another level.

2.     OCPL:

a.     Mundy Branch Library Review - Joyce Latham, Director

Ms. Latham provided the committee a handout regarding objectives set by themselves for the Mundy Branch Library and where they are in terms of those objectives (on file with Clerk).  Ms. Latham noted that Library administration and Mundy branch have been working with a number of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with a range of issues.  Ms. Latham said they had two incident reports last month and five the month before; that is in the normal range of any other library in the city.  Key things they have done:  shifted staffing to later in the day when they have highest traffic levels, added security guards from the community who know the kids, and have made some organizational changes that help segment activity levels.  Ms. Latham said they have a plan that is working.

Mr. Holmquist asked if there are policies or procedures in place regarding unattended children.  Ms. Latham referred to their manual - have a lost child policy, another for children who are left at the library when it is closing and also a disruptive behavior child policy that has been in place for three years.  Mr. Holmquist requested copies of the policies for the committee members.  Mr. Holmquist asked if a parent has to show proof when picking a child up.  Ms. Latham said if the child seems disinclined to go with the adult, they don't let the child go.  Mr. Holmquist asked about the lunch program.  Ms. Latham said it is run by the Food Bank, going well and is a good opportunity to engage the community.  Mr. Holmquist asked if Mundy is considered a non-traditional library; Ms. Latham said yes, it is heavily used by children, they needed to have some programmatic strategies in place to help engage the kids, not always reading to them.  Mr. Holmquist asked if there is dialog with the schools in the area concerning services provided to make sure they are not duplicating.  Ms. Latham said the most direct contact is with Delaware School, would like to have more of an engaged partnership with the schools.

Mrs. Chaplin asked if they have staff and volunteers at Mundy, on a regular basis, who are culturally diverse enough to deal with the population they serve.  Ms. Latham said not on a regular basis, they have hired a clerk from the community (they are working with her to get her through the Civil Service test) and another Hispanic part-time person.  Ms. Latham said they are intentionally recruiting within the community, but they have to pass the Civil Service test; with help from the Legislature, Ms. Latham said they could create some specific job titles.

Mr. Kinne asked why they hired a retired sheriff rather than someone from the Syracuse Police Department who would know the community better.  Ms. Latham said they talked with the Syracuse Police, but they didn't advance anyone.  Mr. Kinne requested a one-page report on the security for each branch.  Mr. Kinne said the train of thought is that urban schools have lost their focus on education because they are expected to do too much by providing other services; with non traditional libraries, are we going down the same road as urban school districts.  Ms. Latham said they are looking at that, want to make sure every member of the community has access to the resources, not sure how they can be effective in achieving that if they just keep doing libraries the way they were done in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Mr. Kilmartin mentioned the last two months of incidents and asked for the historical context as to the number of incidents per month that have been reported for the prior ten months at the library.  Ms. Latham said it was consistent at about ten, but peeked in the summer.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how many years the trend of the higher level of incidents occurring at Mundy as opposed to other branches has continued; Ms. Loftus replied three years.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if they found a higher number of complaints from employees about security at Mundy as opposed to other branches.  Ms. Latham said she did not have information.  Ms. Loftus said they have always had representation on the Security Committee for city libraries.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about staff turnover at Mundy as opposed to other branches in the city.  Ms. Latham said she could get that data, she would like to see an opportunity for the library to turn over staff on a more regular basis from library to library, thinks that if folks could move to new locations it would help them refresh.  Mr. Kilmartin said according to media, some employees left Mundy because of the ongoing security problems.  Ms. Latham said revolving staff to different libraries is an issue separate from Mundy.  Ms. Latham said she took on the Chairmanship of the Incident Review Committee in January in order to have a fuller sense of what is going on, as a result of her direct engagement, they have made some significant changes that have produced positive outcomes.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how they utilize the retired sheriff at Mundy.  Ms. Latham said they looked for someone who could be an authority figure, but at the same time kind, gracious and welcoming to work the afternoon hours (busiest), have hired a retired sheriff and a school monitor, have enough money to get through the calendar year and funds will be in the budget for next year.  Mr. Kilmartin said it is imperative that the library provides a safe environment for the patrons and the employees, asked what they have identified as the core of the problem.  Ms. Latham said she would identify it as a systemic problem, not core problem, doesn't think something this complex can be reduced to a single item; involves not only administration, but everyone coming up with the flexibility and intention to want to address the issues in the library and the issues in the community.

Mr. Kinne asked what happens when an incident report comes in.  Ms. Latham said it first comes to her for review, then to an incident review committee meeting with members of the staff, union and security guards within two weeks to a month depending on when the report is filed.  They discuss whether there was a better way to handle it, if there was there something needed that was not addressed, if there was something else they could have done; most of the time it is a single incident and it goes away.  After it goes through the library committee, it goes to the County Incident Committee.  Mr. Kinne asked if employees are invited to this meeting and asked how employees find out about the results.  Ms. Latham said they normally do not attend, staff has representatives on the committee who can advocate for them with administration, if there is a need to suggest a better way to handle an incident, it is communicated back; Ms. Latham said her office is open and employees have direct access to her, there are no barriers.

Ms. Winslow asked what would constitute an incident.  Ms. Latham said it is primarily disruptive behavior.  They do not discourage staff from filing incident reports, also have asked them to keep journals with any concerns that don't rise to the level of an incident.  Police would not be called for disruptive behavior such as knocking books off the shelf, but would be if the child refused to leave when asked.  Ms. Latham said they have looked at incidents, are training staff on how to defuse incidents, how to create safe space for kids and staff, complicated but up to the task with strategies they have in place.

Mr. DiBlasi asked why the Food Bank is at the library and not a nearby school, is it considered a gift that the Legislature has to authorize to accept.  Ms. Latham said the Food Bank was having a problem locating a place on the west side and library agreed to help them, library staff is not involved.  Ms. Tarolli said it is just the use of the location.  Mr. DiBlasi noted they can't deny access to libraries by age, asked what the American Library Association sanctions would be if policy were violated.  Ms. Latham said nobody would take their money away if they had an age specific strategy, but they have chosen not to create age specific limits, have taken the behavior specific approach.  Mr. DiBlasi asked at what level policy changes are made; Ms. Latham said by the OCPL Board of Trustees.

Ms. Chaplin asked about the age level range that most incidents fall within.  Ms. Latham said they tended to be one set of kids, names that repeat over and over.  Ms. Latham said they need to utilize volunteers to work with the disruptive children, mentioned that the Westside Community Outreach Initiative, Director has indicated that she will be able to help them with issues during the school year; the library still continues to be a buffer between school years, need something that bridges that gap.

Mr. DiBlasi asked Ms. Latham to recap what Legislative action she would like to see taken to remedy these problems.  Ms. Latham said she would like a title created so that they could hire a Spanish speaking person.  They also need to hire a Librarian 1 to focus on youth services for Mundy Branch; they currently use and Librarian 2 from another branch that enables them to hire a number of part time people for summer.  Ms. Latham said they would like to be able to rotate staff; if staff are in a challenging situation for too long, it is hard on them, they technically have authority, but need the support of the Legislature and the County Executive.

Mr. Kilmartin recommended that they engage with the Sheriff's Office to see if there are deputies available during the summer months; mentioned that deputies are hired by some of the schools for nine months of the year and are then dedicated to general Sheriff duties during the summer months; possibly could be utilized by the library for the summer months, they would be addressing similar issues that are present in the schools.  Mr. Kilmartin said it would probably be worthwhile to analyze the cost benefit of utilizing the person they have on staff now (retired Sheriff deputy) versus the cost of hiring a current sheriff employee for two or three months.

Mr. Corbett said there is a fine line between doing service and becoming babysitters; Mundy is a tremendous benefit to the whole area, kids have nowhere else to go; need to protect the employees, but need to protect the children too; this is doing that.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:26 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *  

AUGUST 16, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kinne, Mr. Laguzza

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Farrell called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   A local Law authorizing the lease of County property located in the County of Onondaga to TCM Mobile, LLC

A motion was made by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to approve this item.

Mr. David Stevenson, consultant, said he has been working on the 911 project.  TCM Mobile has approached the County for use on top of the Civic Center.  Mr. Stevenson said part of that area will be used for the new communications system and the two would be a good fit.  Rental would start at $800 a month with renewals and increases annually, would use less than thirty-six square feet of rooftop space.  Space is currently being rented to other carriers on county property at Van Duyn, WEP and on Rose Hill Road.  In answer to Mr. Farrell, Mr. Stevenson said the rent amount is probably more than marketplace for wi-fi; there is nothing making them exclusive if another company wanted to rent space.

Mr. Jordan asked about other locations that the company could co-locate on downtown.  Mr. Stevenson said wi-fi's are very close tower systems, if located on a building such as the State Tower building; it probably wouldn't cover area around the Civic Center.  Mr. Jordan asked if there was a mapping program done to show why they have to locate in this particular area.  Mr. Stevenson replied that it wasn't asked for, but they could ask to have it made available.

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Stevenson said there would not be corruption of frequencies with the 911 backup system.

Mr. Kraft asked if the maximum for leases with the county is five years.  Ms. Tarolli said five years with renewals without further approval of the Legislature, would be included in the budget.

In answer to Mr. Farrell, Mr. Stevenson said the company could not sublease space under the terms of the contract, it is strictly for their operation; any electrical power they use would be sub-metered; access to roof is secure, lease covers their requirement to use according to the terms and conditions of the County.

A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.   PARKS:  Mr. Robert Geraci, Commissioner

a.     Discussion:  Status of Friends agreements - no discussion

b.     Discussion:  Plans for each park - no discussion

c.     Discussion:  Interagency Marketing - no discussion

d.   Special Events Quarterly Report:

Mr. Geraci provided the committee members with a handout regarding the quarterly report that has been reviewed by the Comptroller's office; clearly spells out the activities to date (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Geraci said they concluded that they have dollars that could be put to some good use in Parks, have talked about putting them into a proposal for an infrastructure program in the future with Legislature approval.

Mr. Kinne asked how the vendors are picked for the Balloon Festival.  Mr. Geraci said that for the past two years they have contracted with an intermediary food vendor who coordinated with each of the individual food vendors; Jamesville Fire Department and the Sportsmen, the original vendors, will always have a place.  Ms. Skahen noted that there were still expenses coming in for the Balloon Fest when this report was compiled, next report should show all the Balloon Fest expenses.  Mr. Kinne requested information concerning the name of the person contracted to coordinate food vendors, length of contract and how much he is being paid.

Mr. Lesniak asked if they offer vending to the local organizations first.  Mr. Geraci said traditionally there have only been two - Jamesville Fire Department and Sportsmen; they want to work with the community, also want to come out of the event without being in the red.  Mr. Farrell asked Ms. Tarolli to come back next month to explain the issue of fees for vendors and whether they fall under the Executive Branch or the Legislature.

In answer to Mr. Kraft's question about Reserved Encumbrances, Mr. Maturo said all the expenditures haven't come through yet for this past Balloon Fest; when it is complete, all the encumbrances could be gone; encumbrances could be for services for the upcoming year, have contracts that span years.  Ms. Skahen said they are reviewing all their encumbrances for to see which were for that year and which may cross over the fiscal year.  Mr. Kraft requested information concerning the encumbrance for Lights on the Lake for the next meeting, would also like more information about encumbrances and restrictions for all programs (any items more than a few hundred dollars).  Mr. Kraft noted that if they are going to show Reserve for Encumbrances, maybe aught to show Anticipated Income also.

Mr. Kinne requested a historical column to compare current year to past years.

Mr. Farrell urged the committee members to look the report over, e-mail questions to Mr. Geraci or to him; item will be on the agenda next month.

e.   Bass Tournament Update:

The 2007 Bassmaster Memorial BASS Tour Summary was provided (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Geraci noted that this was a partnership program between Onondaga County Parks and CVB; ESPN Bass program recognized that their hosing role was better than any other community in the USA, raved about the quality of fishing in Oneida and Onondaga Lakes.  Tournament had an economic impact of $2.4 million.  Mr. Geraci thinks we have turned the corner on the image of Onondaga Lake, puts us on the map in terms of people coming to visit, Clear Channel has offered to mount a PR campaign.  Fishermen were saying that New York State is perhaps the best fishing in the country.  Final of the Elite Series will be brought back to Oneida Lake next year.

Mr. David Holder, CVB, said they tracked 2,600 visitors associated with the tournament, gave us national exposure, had incredible things to say about the area.  Legislation is being introduced to create a New York State Fishing Trail (we would be one of the focus points).

Mr. Kraft said he shares the excitement, challenged them to continue the fantastic success, but to minimize the taxpayers money and make it self-sustaining.  Mr. Farrell mentioned the challenge to increase local sponsorship dollars, believes the event can be done at no cost to the taxpayers, including allocation of ROT money.

Mr. Jordan noted that the more we can get sponsorships in the private sector to fund these programs, the chances are that we could eliminate taxes and make our community more inviting for businesses to locate here.

Mr. Geraci said with all their events, they try to get sponsorships, but are limited in time and staff; this particular event is more difficult because Bass dictates and has so many of the sponsorships already tied up. 

Mr. Holder noted that when investing dollars, look at the impact from the tournament, but also the promotional value, how much exposure we will get for the area; the program had such a high media value, made sense to make the investment.  Mr. Lesniak said there is also a cost for quality of life, that weekend there were three major events going on in the community.

Mr. Farrell said they would discuss this again next month.

f.    Audit Review:

Ms. Skahen said in the winter they were asked to come back to the Legislature to report on the status of the progress they are making in addressing the audit findings.  They immediately developed a corrective action plan on each of the findings, held a series of meetings with the Comptroller's office, Budget, Health Department.  Ms Skahen noted that the status report is very detailed for each audit finding, shows what approach has been for addressing it, what, if any, action items remain to continue to be addressed, whether ongoing or complete.  One of most significant findings by the Comptroller's office was that they could be more efficient in they way they are doing their accounting processes; they have addressed that, have eliminated an internal ledger they were keeping, eliminated some reports that are duplicative.  Another finding showed they were remiss in submitting reimbursement for some state and federal grants, Ms. Skahen said they are on top of that now, have identified almost all of the dollar amounts in the audit and submitted to the state, will not lose any money.  Mr. Farrell asked to have the committee provided with a summary of the important aspects.   Mr. Farrell said this would be on the agenda again next month.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:13 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Warner, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Kinne, Mr. DiBlasi

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M.

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   PROBATION:  Mr. Al Giachi, Deputy Commissioner

      a.   Amend budget to provide addl. funds for Probation Dept. from NYS Div. of Probation and Correctional Alternatives and authorize Co Exec to enter into contracts to implement this res. ($120,000)

Mr. Giachi said that this for the ‘07-‘08 fiscal year; will be used to enhance services related to sex offenders. 

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.

Mr. Ryan asked if the grant is normally received.  Mr. Giachi said in ‘06, $88,000 was received for sex offenders; $22,000 for DNA production.  Two RFPs are out for treatment for individuals under supervision who can't afford sex offender treatment; one proposal is out for polygraph testing.  Equipment and training will be for the sex offender unit--go in homes to check videos, computers, etc.; min. of 50% will be used in-house.

Mr. Warner asked if any of the money will be used for DNA this year.  Mr. Giachi said that DNA collection is done on a regular basis.  The money received last year was for enhanced services, as they had to go back into caseloads and collect DNA via a new state law, which added felonies and 33 misdemeanors.  Right now DNA is taken upfront at the initial interview for all felonies and 33 designated misdemeanors. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

      b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to provide additional funds for the Probation Department and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($14,917)

This money is for the juvenile intensive supervision unit; partially funding (25%) one probation officer position, who works with a low caseload; provides enhanced services, more contact with juveniles and schools, more family involvement, more contact with treatment agencies. 

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

2.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly

      a.   Transfer funds from Reg. Employee Sal. Acct. 101 to Maint., Utilities, Rents Acct. 413 ($170,902)

This transfer is needed to pay for an engine overhaul on the helicopter; estimate is approx. $170,902.  The engine overhaul was scheduled for Jan. '08 and has been moved up because of an engine over speed that occurred during training.  The chief pilot was conducting training with the pilot, which is required under Federal regulations.  Fadac mode electronically monitors the engine, controls engine and the instruments and gages.  In training a fadac failure is performed, which puts the aircraft in the manual mode, and simulates an emergency situation where the system fails.  In manual mode the pilot has to maintain the rpms.  As he was making an approach toward landing at the heliport, the rpms increased.  The chief pilot advised the trainee and took control of the ship; the ship went into an over speed.  When it gets to 13% over the tolerances of the rpms increasing, an engine overhaul has to be done-it went to about 14%.  The funding was originally being requested in the ‘08 budget for the Jan. engine overhaul.  The ship will be down for a few weeks; quotes were received and the company selected to do the overhaul will provide a loaner engine.  The officers assigned to heliport have been transferred to patrol; the chief pilot will be working with the mechanic to remove the engine.  It will take a couple of weeks to remove the engine and put the loaner engine in.  It will take 30-45 days for the engine to be overhauled, and then it will be shipped back.  The ship will be down for another week so that the loaner engine can be removed and the overhauled engine installed.  There are surplus funds in the 101 acct.; as there are 16 vacancies; there is no academy until Sept.  No additional funds are being asked for.

Chief Peverly said this occurred Aug. 7; the ship has been down since then but it was scheduled to be down anyway effective Aug. 12th for 2 weeks for a new infrared system installation.  Mr. Ryan asked about the 101 acct.; Chief Peverly said that they will be hiring people in Sept. to fill vacancies that will adjust the 101 line.  They are projecting that there will be about $1- $1.5 million in the 101 acct.  When the ‘07 budget was adopted, the transition of the court security people was not completed and funding had been made available for the court security people.  Mr. Ryan asked how long the engine overhaul is good for; Chief Peverly said it has to be overhauled every 2,000 hrs.; it is a scheduled maintenance and good for about 3.5 yrs.  Mr. Ryan asked fort the total budget for the helicopter.  Chief Peverly said that the ‘08 budget is projected to be under $1 million.

Discussion was reiterated regarding the time the engine would be down while being replaced.  Chief Peverly explained that it will not be down the entire time that the engine is being overhauled, as there is a loaner engine.  Mr. Warner asked about the mechanic.  Chief Peverly said that the mechanic is the helicopter mechanic, who performs maintenance on other equipment at the aviation unit--where all of the special enforcement equipment is stored, i.e. boats, snowmobiles, trailers, SWAT vehicles, etc.

Mr. Kinne requested that for September meeting he would like to know the numbers in the 101 acct.--how many officers the department is down.  He asked about the rationale for getting a replacement engine.  Chief Peverly said that it is so that they can fly while the engine is being overhauled.  Instead of being down for a month and half, a loaner would be put in so that they can fly during that time period.  Mr. Kinne asked how much the loaner engine costs.  Chief Peverly said that it costs $195/hour for every hour that it is used; project 100 hours.  If they don't fly it that much, then they don't pay for it.  Mr. Kinne asked how many weeks the helicopter will be down.  Chief Peverly said it will be about 3 weeks on the front end; about 1.5 weeks on the back end.  If they did not have a loaner engine, they would be out of business for 2 - 3 months.

Mr. Ryan asked if it was fortunate that the ship was in the heliport area when the incident happened.  Chief Peverly said that the training only occurs in safe areas; it was planned to be in the area of the heliport. 

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. DiBlasi to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Warner, DiBlasi, Lesniak, Holmquist); NOES:  0; ABSTAINED:  2 (Ryan, Kinne).  MOTION CARRIED.

3.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  Ongoing Projects Update - Mr. John Balloni, Commissioner

CAD - largest project; the electronic brain of the 911 Center.  The cutover was June 2nd; went to the backup site and operated there for about 1.5 days, while it was being installed at the main site.  It is a substantial project; hadn't been done in 15 years, a great deal of training and data entry was done.  The project is moving along fine; have to use the product for a while to know how it effects work flows, as it is substantially different from the old CAD.  After using it for a while, a reassessment is done, which was completed for the fire and police on the mobile end--not done yet for EMS.  Have done an internal assessment at the 911 Center.  They continue to tweak the system.  It has been a difficult project, but are moving forward within budget and effectively using it every day.  The CAD system assists the human being.  If the CAD makes a recommendation and if it doesn't make sense, they will change it and dispatch other units.

Mobile Data Radio/Mobile Data Terminal - installing over 800 data radios in every emergency vehicle in the county, which has effectively been done.  Some laptops are still being rolled out to EMS.  There were some problems with software so the rollout was delayed.  It is now working much better; about 50% of the laptops are out; in the next 3 weeks the remaining laptops will be rolled out.  There are still some performance issues with the system and things they would like to see improved.  Engineers from Data Radio and Radio IP are working on it and reporting significant progress.  All the projects are interrelated and it makes it more complex. 

Records Management System - was rolled out to Syracuse Fire Department first, as they are the biggest user of that system.  It is functioning well.  County IT is ready to roll out to the rest of the agencies that wish to receive it.  Syracuse Fire put it through the heaviest stress test; issues were identified and resolved.

Microwave Project - have started the active rollout; it is up and in place, are still using the old microwave system.  Towers are built and the system has been through a series of tests; seems to work very well.  They are in cutover--an incremental, single site at a time--started July 30th.  OCC and Otisco will have the final cutover on 9/12 and 9/14.  This controls the speed that data can travel around the system.  It is inter-related to both CAD and mobile radio projects.  The system will not be complete until all facets of the project are complete.  This will be the final major project to cut over.  The Otisco site was purchased based on the recommendation of the Public Safety Committee.  Downtimes will be minimized, but that site will take more time as they are moving a substantial distance to the new tower. 

Mr. Balloni said that never before in history of 911 in this county has so many major technological upgrades been done at one time.  They are working very hard on all levels to get this done.  Police and fire communities have loaned them people and given support to these projects; everyone will be happy with the end product.

Mr. Lesniak complimented Mr. Balloni; the 911 staff has done an excellent job of fixing the glitches when they occur.  He asked about printouts for some fire departments - there were about 13 that were compatible, what is the status with the rest of them.  Mr. Balloni said that all but a few are getting printouts and most situations have been resolved.  Mr. Lesniak asked about SUNY campuses; SUNY has communicated about getting into the system so that they could be interoperable.  Mr. Balloni said that he has been working the Executive's office to come up with a program to accomplish that type of thing.  They are getting a lot of requests to come onto the new system.  Each thing has a financial component, an impact on 911 in terms of personnel; each request is at a different level of service.  He has suggested that when requests are made, they are brought to their proc committee to see if it is an appropriate request.  If it is deemed appropriate, then they do an investigation as to the technological costs and impact to personnel and 911.  They will then make the information available to the financial people and Executive's office.  Mr. Lesniak said that the police officers at SUNY have gone through hearings in Albany and training since the Virginia Tech. incident.  Not having an interoperable communication with police and fire bothers him.  Mr. Balloni said that not all of the projects they are working on impact the voice radio system, which is where the interoperability occurs.  That occurs with the OCICS project, which is still on the board.  He would give it the request to the consultant; Mr. Gabriel would do the impact, financials, and produce that part of the investigation.  Some things have multiple effects.  Mr. Lesniak said that they want to get into the system to get a DR number--simple things not being done diminish capabilities as police officers.  Mr. Balloni said that those issues are being addressed.

Mr. Warner asked for a few major components of the new CAD system.  Mr. Balloni said that it largely helps the dispatcher keep track.  There may be 25-30 units out and when it was all written down, there were paper cards all around.  Now they can look at the screen and get a printout.  The dispatcher can tell how long a unit has been at the call.  The CAD can tell who is out of service, and tell who can be dispatched to the emergency.  The human being does the interpretive things.  It does many things that the old system did, but it is faster, don't have to wait for the computer to do its thinking; should be instantaneous.  It is a map centric--based on mapping so that when the call comes up, it shows the area on the map and there is a lot less confusion.  There are tremendous technological advantages to the new system.  The new server is in, but not installed yet.  It is being loaded with all the information; it will have the actual photos of location.  Will be able to drill down on a map to bring up a photo of the building that the fire department is going to. 

Mr. Warner suggested holding a meeting at 911 Center.  Mr. Balloni said he believes the committee would be pleased with results of the monies allocated.  Mr. Warner asked about technology with a monitor in the car that shows location of cars.  Mr. Balloni said that while in pursuit, the vehicle can be seen on a map.  They can track every emergency vehicle that has a radio; they know where they are and how fast they are going.  Mr. Warner asked if all laptops issues have been resolved.  Mr. Balloni said that the police were not given any new laptops in this project.  Fire and EMS are getting new laptops in this project.  Everyone gets a new data radio, which makes the laptop work, over 800 in the county.  The MCTs (computers) are new to EMS and fire; those are the ones that the county is paying for, as it did for the first issue to police.

Mr. Ryan asked if there is a mechanism built in on equipment bought to enhance systems.  Mr. Balloni said that they have ability to do some updates over the air.  There are maintenance agreements with the manufacturer, which will cover most of the routine upgrades. There will be times in the next several years, where he will request upgrades to the system.  A certain amount of upgrades are in the contract.

A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Warner to adjourn the meeting at 10:03 a.m.  CARRIED.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * * 


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Farrell, Mrs. Rapp, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Warner, Mr. Ryan


ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman Sweetland, see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.  A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Warner to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous Committee.  CARRIED.

1.   Mental Health Department:  Mr. David Brownell, Commissioner

      a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds from the NYS Office of Mental Health and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($100,000)

This is a partnership with Dept. of Aging and Youth for Project Reach. It will provide training to non-traditional referrers, i.e. Time Warner Cable, National Grid people, etc. who might have occasion to notice the home of an elderly person.  They could be trained to look for indications that a person may be having difficulties. It is an outreach effort.  If something is noticed, they will call Aging & Youth and someone will visit the home. 

Mr. Warner asked how much of the grant will be for training.  Mr. Brownell said that most of it is for training; also supports a part-time social worker that will go to the homes.  No new workers will be hired.

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

2.   Water Environment Protection:  Mr. Randy Ott, Commissioner

      a.   Calling a Public Hearing in connection with proposed establishment of an extension to the Onondaga County Consolidated Sanitary District, known as the Sanctuary Sewer District Extension, in the Town of Cicero, and the construction of improvements proposed thereof

A motion by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

Mr. Ott said that this is to extend a sewer district in the Town of Cicero, 41 acres.  There is a development that has failed septic systems--want to connect to county sewer system with 800' run.  The builder is paying for the sewers; County is creating the sanitary district to allow the town to create a sewer district and the builder to build the sewers to allow this development.  Chairman Meyer said that that the developer is Bragman; the builder is Alberici.  Mr. Ott said that the town is meeting next month to create the sewer district.  WEP is requesting the hearing and will be back next month to approve the extension.  The town will own the sewers when completed.  Each house will pay the annual sanitary district user charge.

Mr. Ryan said that this same problem occurred in Town of Onondaga, and our Health Dept. must have given them a permit to put a leach field in based on a perk test permit.  Mr. Ott said that his understanding is that the builder had an engineer involved that did the perk test, which apparently came out good, then after one of the septic leach fields were installed they had problems. The builder hired Clough Harbour to take a look at the problem; they re-did the perk test and found that it was not acceptable.  Mr. Ryan said that there should be some accountability for that.  He asked if they are building the sewer to accommodate the 14 homes.  Mr. Ott said that 9 are being homes are being built and there are 2 other lots that could be developed for another 10-15 homes.  Chairman Meyer said it will also provide sewers to the property next door that doesn't have it. 

3.   Van DuynMr. Martin Skahen, Dir. Long Term Care Planning

      a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept funds from the NYS Department of Health for a Dementia Grant Project and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($10,000)

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

This is a grant for a peer mentoring program; allows 15 head nurses to be trained.  It is hoped that it will help with retention and help people make better decisions.  They were able to get the grant because of the new staffing model.  Mr. Farrell asked if supplemental payroll is part of the grant; Mr. Skahen said that the money will be used for the payment of back fill.

4.   Information Technology:  Mr. Fran Simmonds, Commissioner

      a.   Amend 2007 Budget to accept NY Shared Municipal Service Incentive Program funds for the Onon Co Dept of Information Technology and authorize the Co Exec to enter into contracts ($100,000)

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

Mr. Simmonds said that this grant is for the arrest module for CNYLEADS.  Chairman Meyer requested to be a co-sponsor.  Mr. Simmonds explained that the arrest module portion will allow the data entry to happen; will back fill CHAIRS.  This is successful here because in Onondaga County because all law enforcement agencies use the same system; there are plans to go outside of Onondaga County.  Live Scan is the fingerprinting and mug shot system for NYS; there are 19 counties coming into Onondaga County to use that system, which is hosted here.  There are other counties that are not 24/7; Onondaga Co. has a great rapport with the State.  When they call, IT can get them back up.  If they were on their own, things would have to wait until morning, as they don't have the support.  They are looking to do that more and more, but need to get it here first.  Then they will go to surrounding counties and show them what was developed and see if they can make the shared services larger.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if it will lead to the creation of more jobs.  Mr. Simmonds said "possibly", but if they are hosting systems for other counties, there would be a funding source to pay for it.  It is worth something to the other counties to not have to build or buy their own system.  Mr. Rhinehart was concerned that another department or layer is created that would have to be taxed for to pay for it. 

Mr. Warner asked if there is a way to tap into this statewide.  Mr. Simmonds said that the State system is old and it is not any kind of leading technology--are in the process of redoing their system.  He is talking to DCJS.   Once they are in a better position with their data, they will be looking to get their information pumped into ours.

Mr. Farrell asked if this is being done with present staff.  Mr. Simmonds said that this grant does not allow him to fund positions.  They are using outside resources to help.   County employees will work on this project, but there is 10% kick in for IT.   County people will be working, learning the system, and will take it over from the contractors.  Mr. Farrell asked how much of current resources are being applied from the State; what is the County's cost outside of the $100,000.  Mr. Simmonds said that the match is 10%; it is approximately a half of a programmer to work on this.  The target date to finish this March 2008.  Mr. Farrell asked how much additional costs will there be to the county as this is implemented.  Mr. Simmonds said that there isn't any; the old system is being replaced and there is grant money to help them get there. 

Mr. Kraft asked if the database design is being done from scratch or if it is existing.  Mr. Simmonds said that there is an arrest file with CHAIRS, but if they just take what they have and turn it into the new database, something could be missed.  An effort is being put into the new design; they will migrate all of the old arrest information into the new system.  There is language that allows them to go after and manipulate data.  Mr. Kraft said during budget review he would like to know which applications are off the shelf, which ones are not, and why off the shelf can't be used.  He is concerned that everyone is making their own program, and it seems redundant.

Mr. Rhinehart seconded the motion.

Mr. Warner asked if the new system gives details of incidents.  Mr. Simmonds said that it is done with a law enforcement team; they tell us what they want to see and IT makes it happen.  The CNYLEADS system has ability to put everything together, including officer's notes.  There is far more detail available in CNYLEADS.

Mr. Ryan asked if the consolidation of vendors has slowed down the implementation of this.  Mr. Simmonds said that it makes it more difficult when a company is bought out to make sure they will still support the product hope that the key staff is kept.  However, they are doing fine.  Mr. Ryan said that the County bought into the FAMIS system and seem to be the only ones that did.  The County seems to be base loading that software; it doesn't seem to be universally accepted.  He doesn't want the County to be out there by itself.  Mr. Simmonds said that is why they are trying to develop more in-house.  His experience is that if it can be built, like CHAIRS, then it should be, as it will last a long time.  Chairman Meyer said that the County will own the product.

Mr. Stanczyk said that thousands of counties are putting together their own.  It would be reassuring to know that IT is aware of how everyone else in counties across the state and country are dealing with computer programs.  It is troubling to him to see that there is not a bigger sharing of information.

Mrs. Rapp asked if we got this grant because we are further ahead than other counties.  Mr. Simmonds said "yes".  He noted that Rome. Utica and their Sheriff's Dept. are on 3 separate systems.  Onondaga County is fortunate to have everyone on one system--they all bought into CHAIRS a long time ago.  There are not many counties NYS where all law enforcement agencies participated under one umbrella.  That is what CNYLEADS is and it lines the County up for grants.  Other counties have not developed better systems, some still use paper.  Mrs. Rapp that if the county is current up-to-date leader, perhaps a development roll should be taken.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

5.   Health:  Ms. Jean Smiley, Deputy Commissioner

      a.   Authorizing payment for overtime hours worked to Management Confidential staff involved in casework at the Center for Forensic Sciences

This is part of discussion that occurred last month at committee; a lot of questions were asked about positions, hours worked, etc.  It is felt that additional positions are not needed.  This is relatively short-term issue over the next couple of years.  This is requesting the 5 titles, only 3 of 5 are filled, to earn overtime for casework only.  The laboratory director would authorize overtime to be paid for specific casework.  It cannot exceed $12,000/year.  If the backlog resolves itself, there would be no more ability to earn overtime.  The dollars will only be paid out of grants. 

Chairman Meyer said there has been a lot of discussion to be sure this was framed properly and that no precedent is set for county government.  Last month a step Z was set up and there was some discussion about a sunset. 

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

Mr. Farrell asked if these employees earn compensatory time.  Mrs. Smiley said that they can earn comp time but because of the backlog, the individual that worked 973 hours over, also lost 200 hour of comp time, because they don't have time to take off.  The line staff can either earn comp time or overtime; management/confidential employees cannot earn overtime currently and this would give a special dispensation.  The Health Dept. allows employees to carry 35 hours of comp time and then they either use it or lose it.  At no point in time can they have more than 35 hours.  Mrs. Walter said that currently M/C staff cannot be given cash for any overtime.  Mr. Farrell asked about the $12,000. Mrs. Smiley said it pays for overtime hours, straight time.  Mr. Farrell questioned how this will be resolved in the next two years.  Mrs. Smiley said that they have people in the line staff that are developing skills to be fully trained.  The supervisors are now doing some casework; they will not have to do that in the future.  They will be doing the signing off.  Also, there are still several positions that are unfilled; they hope to get them filled.  With the new technology and equipment that was purchased, they are able to do some of the work faster.  Once they get to full staff and full training, the issue of backlog will go away.  Reductions in backlog have been seen each year.

Mrs. Rapp seconded the motion.

Mr. Ryan asked about the vacant positions. Mrs. Smiley said that they are still looking to recruit people, currently are not experiencing much backlog in chemistry.  No staff is moving into the empty positions short term.  Mr. Ryan asked about the benefit package, if it is added to the $12,000.  Ms. Wilson said that they will claim for the salaries and the associated fringes; it is typically 11% - 12%.

Mr. Farrell said that these employees are putting in an extraordinary effort and asked how they are recognized.  Mr. Ryan said that it would set a precedent.  Mr. Farrell felt that they should be recognized.

Mr. Kraft asked about the salary range; Mrs. Smiley said that they between $59,000 - $72,000. 

AYES:  6 (Meyer, Rhinehart, Farrell, Rapp, Stanczyk, Ryan); NOES:  0; ABSTAINING:  1 (Kraft). OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Warner).  MOTION CARRIED.

6.   Probation:  Mr. Al Giacchi, Deputy Commissioner

      a.   Amend 2007 Budget to provide additional funds for the Probation Dept. from the NYS Div. of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, and authorize Co Exec to enter into contracts ($120,000)

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

There are 2 RFPs out - one for polygraphs and one for treatment of sex offenders that do not have insurance or cannot afford to pay for their treatment.  The rest of the money will be used in-house for training probation officers and purchase of equipment to monitor sex offenders.

Out of Room:  1 (Warner); Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

      b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to provide additional funds for the Probation Department and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts $14,917

This is to be used toward salary of a juvenile intensive supervision detention probation officer-the person works with high risk juveniles; people have been arrested for arson, assault, possession of weapons, robberies; very serious crimes.

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Chairman Meyer to approve this item.  OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Warner).  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

7.   Sheriff:  Chief William Peverly

      a.   Transfer from Acct. 101, Reg. Empl. Sal. in the amount of $170,902 to Acct. 413, Maintenance, Utilities & Rents to cover costs associated with overhaul of the Sheriff's helicopter engine ($170,902)

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Chairman Meyer to approve this item.

This will be used for moving up an engine overhaul on the helicopter, which was scheduled for Jan. 2008, due to an incident that occurred in training, which has caused it to be overhauled now.  When in normal operating mode, the instruments, gages, engine are automated.  For training purposes, the helicopter is put into a manual mode, which simulates operating without power.  The pilot experiences a failure so he can train to safely land the helicopter.  While in this mode, the chief pilot noticed that the rpms were increasing and getting near the tolerance levels.  The trainee was alerted and the chief pilot gained control, reduced the rpms and landed the helicopter.  However, the rpms had exceeded the tolerances, and when that happens there is a requirement to overhaul the engine.  The funds were going to be requested in the 2008 budget.  Two vendors had an engine available for a loaner.  The quotes have been received and the lowest price was chosen. 

Mr. Warner questioned when the engine goes into over speed, is there a print out that goes along with the pilot's observations.  Chief Peverly said that after the helicopter lands, the computer is put onto the ship's instruments and it gives a digital readout.  There are tolerances; the maximum before an overhaul requirement is 13.1% over the normal operating rpms.  In this incident, it went 14% over normal operating rpms.

Mr. Ryan asked what authorization is needed to rent an engine.  Chief Peverly said that they need the legislature to approve the authorization.  They can then get a PO and have an agreement with the vendor to ship the engine, recognizing that they can't get paid until it is approved by the legislature. 

Chief Peverly said that the deputies have been reassigned to road patrol while the helicopter is down.  Mr. Ryan said it will be down about 3.5 weeks.  Chief Peverly agreed and explained that the helicopter was scheduled to be down anyway because new equipment was being installed on it.  Mr. Ryan thought the engine was last overhauled on Jan. 15, 2005 and was shut down for 3-4 months.  Chief Peverly stated that the engine has to be overhauled every 2000 hours.  There are 1700 hours on the engine right now.  At the time of the last overhaul, they were down for an extended period of time because there was considerably more activity in the Middle-East and parts were not available.

Mr. Ryan said that the helicopter is high-maintenance item.  The County bought a "Cadillac", a very sophisticated helicopter that has a lot of whistles and bells.  It has a lot of maintenance on it, compared to a stripped down version that could have been bought.  Chief Peverly said that the committee that made the decision to purchase the model studied it for 13 months; it was comprised of 60 members of the entire Onondaga County community and they opted not to buy a double bladed, 2 rotor system.  They opted for a single-turbine engine.  Mr. Ryan said that in order to do medivac, a bigger ship need to be purchased.  Chief Peverly agreed.  Mr. Ryan questioned if this kind of ship would be purchased again, given what it is really used for, with the operational expense that it incurs.

Mr. Farrell asked what the total cost of an engine overhaul is; are there additional costs because it is done on an emergency basis; are there any changes projected for training procedures.  Chief Peverly said they project the cost to be $160,000 for the overhaul.  The extra $10,000 is because the 14% (tolerance) was reached, a couple extra components have to be included in the overhaul.  Regarding training, an internal review of the entire process has been initiated.  Bell Helicopter provided a technician to come in and reconstruct what occurred and make recommendations.  Bell will not provide anything in writing, because they don't want to assume any liability for any recommendations that they make for training, etc. 

Mr. Kraft questioned the balance of $1.8 million in the 101 account.  Chief Peverly said that it is a result of vacancies that exist in the police department.  There are about 17 positions vacant; they are recruiting and going through the selection process for the academy.  The academy will begin Sept. 4th.  Mr. Kraft asked about the impact to the overtime account.  Chief Peverly said that the police overtime will come within $100,000 of budget.  Mr. Kraft said that there is a potential of six-figure balance, he would like to see some of it saved.  He asked about the impact on the vacant positions as a service to the community.  Chief Peverly said they are doing everything that they can to fill those positions.  They are hard pressed to fill the positions that they have; it is part of the reason why they are over budget in 102 account on the police side.  Earlier in the year, they had projected that they would come in under budget.  They are maintaining the service to the community.

Mr. Farrell asked if other police organizations in Onondaga County are having the same difficulties in filling positions.  Chief Peverly said that there is the issue of salary equity in County Government and there is natural attrition.  A list of over 540 people was just canvassed on the Civil Service list and there may be 13 candidates for the next academy.  There are a variety of reasons why--there are other agencies out there at the same time that are going through the same process so there is competition from towns and villages.  Also before the County started its canvas, the SPD had an academy scheduled before us-they canvassed the list and took candidates off it.  Additionally, there is a high incidence rate of people not passing the agility test. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if the Civil Service list is just from Onondaga County or is it statewide.  Chief Peverly said it is Onondaga County, but people from outside of the county can take the test.

Mr. Warner asked what the beginning salary of a deputy is vs. a beginning salary of a NYS Trooper.  Chief Peverly said that a deputy is $34,000; a trooper if $50,000 before the academy and upon graduating, it is $61,000.  Mr. Warner asked if a degree is received after going through the Sheriff's academy.  Chief Peverly said that there are 30 credit hours towards an Associates degree. 

AYES:  6 (Meyer, Rhinehart, Warner, Farrell, Rapp, Stanczyk); NOES:  0; ABSTAINED:  1 (Ryan); Out of Room:  1 (Kraft)MOTION CARRIED.

9.   Emergency Communications:  Mr. David Stevenson, Consultant, Mr. Sean Sparks, Emergency Commun.

      a.   Local Law authorizing the lease of Co, property located in the Co. of Onon. to TCM Mobile, LLC

This is a start up company in narrow band, wireless communications.  They plan to try to sell services in the downtown area and would like to expand towards the university.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if this is exclusive; Mr. Stevenson said that none of the leases are exclusive.

Mr. Stanczyk asked what they pay when they go to a privately-owned building.  Mr. Stevenson said that most likely they are paying quite a bit less.  They want this site because of the elevation.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if it can be seen.  Mr. Stevenson said that it could be; it is an antenna system with all the electronics; 11" high, 43" in diameter. 

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

8.   Budget:  Mr. Joe Mareane, Chief Fiscal Officer

      a.   Informational:  Second Quarter Financial Forecast.

Mr. Mareane provided a 2nd quarter report (copy on file with Clerk).  The projected surplus is $3.7 million; better than projected in 1st quarter.

*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.


o        Prior years taxes - delinquent property tax collections-expect City to do a property tax lien sale.  They will come in next month for County's participation; est. $1.4 million surplus

o        Interest & earnings - investment earnings tied to interest rates that have stayed high, balances were stronger than expected

o        Sales tax - coming in a little slower than expected; based budget on assumption of 1.3% growth in '06 and 2.1% growth in '07; growth is down and expected to be 1.4%; if trend continues, expect to be down $200,000

o        Deferred/uncollected taxes - down $200,000; nothing to give immediate concern; watching the housing market and current year tax collections


o        Salaries & wages - surplus of $1.5 million - part Sheriff's Dept. and holding vacancies as long as possible

Mr. Rhinehart asked where 207C is included; Mr. Mareane said it is in salaries & wages.  Chief Peverly said that there are about 4 long-term 207Cs.  It is down substantially.

o        Salary settlement - expect to settle contracts that are currently outstanding - OCSPA and Correction Officer component of CSEA; when settled there will be retroactive payments; $800,000 deficit

o        Maint,Util.,Rents - energy costs down, Carrier Project working well; $800,000 surplus

o        Medicaid - $2.7 million deficit due to:  1.  received IGT for $2.5 million, a local component of it hits DSS in Medicaid, goes down by $750,000;  2. last year hoped to get under Medicaid Cap; now exceeding cap;  3.  advised by State that there will be a 53rd week of Medicaid payment this year due on 1/1/08.  Because it is a holiday, the State is saying they want it paid in '07.  It is being shown as an '07 cost; it could be moved over to '08; the cost is $1.7 million for the one extra week.  Mr. Mareane said that they thought the cap was going to be basically $90 million; not $90 million divided by the number of pay periods that year. 

o        Welfare - caseloads continue to drop; actual decline greater than expected

Mr. Warner asked about the opinion of the Law Dept. on the 53rd week for the Medicaid payment.  Mr. Mareane said they have not been involved yet.  NYSAC has been asked to be the agent in dealing with the State.

Mr. Ryan referred to the Sheriff's overage in road patrol and jail and questioned the overtime in the jail.  Mr. Mareane said that the estimated combined 2-division overtime overage is $500,000.  Chief Peverly said that $1.7 million was budgeted.  Mr. Mareane said that there are population pressures there; there are some one-on-one issues--some inmates in justice center are special cases that need one-on-one supervision; some are receiving inpatient care in hospitals; which drive overtime. 

Mr. Farrell referred to expenses, all other accounts, and asked what triggered it by 20% this year.  It has doubled in almost 3 years.  He asked for a one-page explanation.

Mr. Kraft asked about the IGT money and what it does to Van Duyn.  Mr. Mareane explained that Van Duyn will finish by $1 million better than budgeted.

Mr. Kraft asked about Social Service caseloads and costs are dropping; has to be part of good employment and a new mentality about Social Services.  Yet the Medicaid doesn't see the same kind of decrease and will go over our cap.  Mr. Mareane said that caseloads peaked in 2004 where there was a significant expansion of the eligible recipients of Medicaid.  At the same time, there was expansion of scope of coverage.  It has plateaued over the last two years, and there has been a slight reduction in the number of people on Medicaid from 2006, dropped about 1,000 people.  It hasn't followed the same trend as welfare because of the income levels; people can get jobs, it is income based-they may not be getting public assistance but are still getting Medicaid.  248,000 cases have been processed year to date; 41,000 monthly average.  Mr. Kraft asked for a study on Medicaid caseloads and the number of people it includes.  Mr. Mareane said that the total number of individuals is around 60,000 - 65,000 individuals.

      b.   Informational:  Medicaid for Sales Tax Swap - Mr. Peter Seitz, Deputy Director

Mr. Seitz distributed an executive summary (copy on file with Clerk).  Mr. Mareane said that as part of the Medicaid Cap, that the state enacted in 2005 that limits county's growth to 3% per year, the State is saying that in 2007 the County would have a one-time opportunity to keep paying the 3% per year or give up a piece of sales tax forever, which is equivalent to the Medicaid cost, and then Medicaid can be taken out of the budget.

Mr. Warner asked if it would be fixed rate, or could the State escalate it.  Mr. Mareane said it would be fixed by the State.  Mr. Seitz said that the State calculated to take 1.24% of the 4%.  The State is saying if the County opts into giving the sales tax, they will take 1.24% of the 4% forever.  If there is big growth, they take a lot of money.  Since the Medicaid cap is not a compounded cap, the average growth in Medicaid is 2.7%.  He referred to history of the last 10 years, '96 - '06 wherein the average growth rate was 3.3%.  Anything over 2.7% would not want to be given up in sales tax for in the Medicaid swap.  The NYS Comptroller came out with a report at the end of July confirming that the 2.7% is the breakeven rate.  The State Comptroller came out with a report (copy on file with Clerk), which includes a precautionary note that if sales does grows above $2.7% then it is not a good deal.

Mr. Warner asked how much the County gave up because of the sales tax exemption on gasoline.  Mr. Seitz said that the initial estimate, when gas was over $3/gallon, was $7 million gross.  Mr. Meyer said that it was based on a higher number for gas.  Mr. Warner asked Mr. Seitz to provide the numbers.

Mr. Mareane said that no vote is needed if things are kept the way they are.  If the County opted in, a vote would be needed by Sept. 30th and the State would start taking sales tax by Jan. 30th.  Mr. Mareane said he is not aware of any county in NYS that is looking to take the option of swapping out sales tax.  Monroe County was looking most closely at it.  They have a much different sharing formula than Onondaga County. 

Mr. Kraft said that if the County were to do it; the $90 million is out of the budget.  He asked about the impact on the municipalities that we share with.  Mr. Mareane said that it would come out of the County pocket, largely because of the way it is written; right now the county guarantees that they will receive a certain amount of money and level of growth; any reductions in sales tax revenues fall to the county.  Mr. Seitz said that if it went below 0% growth it would hurt the County.  Chairman Sweetland said that we did not guarantee growth; we guaranteed they would get the same amount that they got the previous year.

10. Law Department:  Mr. John Sharon, Deputy County Attorney

      a.   Settlement of Claims

A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Warner to go into executive session to discuss the matter of the Supreme Court action of Leon Koons as Administrator of the Estate of Chelsea Koons and as parent and natural guardian of Amanda Koons and Rachel Koons v. the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  

A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Chairman Meyer to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

Authorizing the settlement of the Supreme Court Action of Leon Koons, as Administrator of the Estate of Chelsea Koons, and as a parent and Natural Guardian of Amanda Koons and Rachel Koons V. City of Syracuse and County of Onondaga

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Meyer, Rhinehart, Warner, Farrell, Rapp); NOES:  0; ABSTAINED:  2 (Kraft, Ryan).  MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:28 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature