Meeting Minutes Archive: August, 2008

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 11, 2008

MEMBERS PRESENT:  *Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Jordan, *Mr. Kinne Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Masterpole
ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Rapp

Chairman Kraft called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.

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

Mr. Kraft took the agenda out of order.

4.   SMTC
a.   Route 1-81 Briefing - James D'Agostino
Mr. Kraft announced that Chairman Meyer was present to talk about the I-81 project and informed the committee that Mr. Meyer serves on the SMTC Policy Committee as Chairman; committee is made up of State, City, County, Thruway Authority and other transportation people.

Mr. Meyer noted that people from MDA, State DEC and economic development also serve on the committee.  Mr. Meyer said he, Bea Gonzalez and a number of people from the City and the State have been working on the I-81 project for months with the expertise of SMTC people and have come up with a plan for the I-81 project in Onondaga County.  He is here today to officially kick off the public participation component.  Mr. Meyer noted that there is an official website concerning this project - and there are brochures to hand out explaining the challenge.  There will be a number of community briefings from Cicero through the City of Syracuse and down to Lafayette.  Public Participation Project (public outreach and involvement) will last a minimum of two years.  There will be constant communication with SMTC staff and State DOT; SMTC staff has very sophisticated computers and will come up with scenarios working with State DOT for designs and costs.  Scope of this could be as little as doing nothing to a project like we have never seen before.  There is not a predetermined plan; everything is going to be on the table starting with the public participation.  Mr. Meyer introduced Mr. D'Agostino, Director of SMTC.

Mr. D'Agostino explained that I 81 is nearing its life expectancy, especially the portions inside the City of Syracuse.  This is a challenge and an opportunity to take a look at the systems that are a major interest in our community and evaluate what we want the future of it to be.  Mr. D'Agostino distributed a packet including a fact sheet that outlines the three projects that are being launched and a graphic that shows the timeline (Attachment 1), the brochure that will be distributed and a list of SMTC member agencies (on file with clerk).

Mr. Lesniak asked what the dollar amount would be to just replace what is needed.  Mr. Frechette said it would be hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the bridge.  Right now the bridge carries four lanes of traffic; there are eight lanes north of the city and six lanes south of the city.  The bridge portion wasn't built to today's standards, has two ft. curbs, doesn't have a place for people to pull over and is the only section on I-81 that is 45 miles per hour.

In answer to Mr. Kraft, Mr. D'Agostino said future work on I-81 would be federal and state funding.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is a list of priorities, are there elements of the project that are in dire need of improvement or replacement.  Mr. D'Agostino said that would be developed as part of the first phase of the Corridor Study, they are just starting out and in process of retaining a consultant.  The condition of some of the infrastructure has driven this issue.

Mr. Jordan asked if they would get input from Destiny; Mr. D'Agostino said they would.  Mr. Frechette said economic development and economic impact is part of the core of their study, have to walk together to develop a transportation system, have to have the City, County and other economic generators involved.

Mr. Kinne said it is his understanding that we can't just make repairs; the infrastructure is shot.  Mr. Frechette said the infrastructure could be maintained through very expensive maintenance projects for quite a period of time, just spent quite a bit of money rehabbing the bridges to extend the life.  They have a contract to keep it going when emergency repairs are needed. 

They are starting the process; the analysis to determine what is going to be the most preferred alternative.  Mr. Kinne asked who would make the final decision.  Mr. Frechette said he is hopeful that everyone who is part of this participation can at least understand why a decision is made based on all the facts that are laid out, it will be a multi facet approval process.  Mr. Frechette and Mr. D'Agostino don't think it will be one person, will be collaborative.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. D'Agostino said there would be an independent consultant for all three of the projects, did an RFP and selection should be soon.  The public participation is set up to make the open flow of communication very transparent, don't want to do this in a vacuum, information will be on the website so that anybody can review it.

Masterpole asked if there would be a local share of funding.  Mr. Frechette said right now federal aid eligible projects are 80% federal, 20% State.

Mr. Kraft said this item would be on the agenda for December.

a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to fund in the first instance 100% of the federal aid eligible costs at a maximum amount of $160,000 for the design (Scoping I-VI) and right-of-way incidentals of the Buckley Road Bridge over the CSX Railroad, C-903, BIN 3312840, PIN 3754.25 and authorizing the County Executive to enter into agreements to implement the intent of this resolution
Mr. Donnelly advised that the total design cost for this project is $200,000 of which $160,000 is eligible for federal reimbursement. 

Mr. Lesniak asked if they have approval from CSX to do this.  Mr. DeStefano said they would be working with them, have worked with them on other projects, there are some design and construction costs that they have to come up with.  Mr. Lesniak expressed concern that CSX takes so long for final approval process.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is a firm commitment from the federal government as to reimbursement and what the schedule for that is.  Mr. DeStefano said they should be reimbursed within two months after the claim is submitted.

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

b.   Abolish Administrative Analyst II, Grade 11 @ $44,012 - $48,711 effective October 1, 2008

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

Mr. Donnelly noted that this position is related to a grant that ends on September 30, 2008; next year's grant would then be administered by the Safety Council of Upstate New York.  Grant deals with law enforcement and bicycle safety, decision was made that it made more sense for a different agency to administer it.  Mr. Kinne asked if the Safety Council would hire the person who is now on the job.  Mr. Donnelly did not know.

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

Mr. Kraft added a new item to the agenda.

c.   Authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the City of Syracuse for the purchase of hot mix asphalt concrete products
Mr. Donnelly noted that August was no better than the last couple of months regarding the increase in asphalt prices, saw an increase to $819 per metric ton for liquid asphalt, up from $648 the month before.  The City of Syracuse has built a state of the art asphalt plant that went into production this year.  Mr. Donnelly would like to move forward with an intermunicipal agreement with the City to buy a limited amount of asphalt for the remainder of this season and then next season.  It is considerably less expensive through the City of Syracuse, this would not replace the contracts they have with paving vendors.  It will allow them to use their own paving crew to do an additional 2.3 miles of the 12.15-mile deficit.  The August index for asphalt is $288,000 per mile to pave; they would be able to go back to June pricing of $239,000 per mile with City.  Picked two roads that were cut this year that County crew can handle.  Would like to go to Ways & Means this week and, hopefully, have the intermunicipal agreement approved by the Legislature at September Session.  City Council will address it on September 8, 2008.

Mr. Kraft said that there is not a resolution at this point, would like to waive the rules to have a verbal discussion and give approval to move it on to Ways & Means.

A motion was made by Mr. Masterpole to approve the verbal municipal agreement.

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Donnelly said the agreement would probably be for a year, with a year renewable.  It will be limited in scope this year to make sure that it works, the County getting what we they need from the City and that it is working with them also.

Mr. Jordan asked if he is correct in assuming that with the reduction in the cost off oil, there would be a reduced cost of asphalt allowing the County to pave more miles than anticipated.  Mr. Donnelly said it is so volatile, the drop in the price of a barrel of oil has not been seen in the cost of liquid asphalt, there is a shortage, and refineries are not producing asphalt.  Mr. Jordan asked about using gas sales tax revenue for paving.  Mr. Mareane said there is an up tick in revenues from sales tax of gasoline, but the County is also paying higher prices for gasoline, energy, asphalt, etc.; when finished with all the calculations, the County, as a whole, will only finish up with about $2 million this year.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Donnelly said the municipal agreement does not limit the County, doesn't make them our sole provider; their price should be as aggressive as anybody else, as with escalation, price should also come back down in the event other provider's prices decrease.  Mr. Kraft asked if the contract provides for a specified amount to be purchased.  Mr. Donnelly said they gave the City a figure of approximately 6,600 tons for 2008 for things that can be done by their internal paving forces, would not obligate themselves to buy a certain amount.  Ms. Tarolli said they would talk to the city about putting a termination clause in the agreement and see what the city will agree to.  Ms. Tarolli will supply a copy of the proposed agreement soon. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked what allows the City to produce at such a competitive price.  Mr. Donnelly said the City controls the means of production, is not subject to income tax and overhead that a private company would have, they are not looking to usurp the private contractors, City becomes another provider, not the sole provider, City does not produce a lot of the mixes that they want to use, would be limited as to what they would buy and what the city could produce.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the County ever locks in prices in advance    Mr. DeStefano said the contracts usually have an escalation clause, Mr. Mareane said he is not sure the County has the capacity to store the product.

Mr. Kraft expressed concern that the County will have roads breaking up and the cost of reconstruction is many times the cost of paving, asked if they are satisfied with what they are doing.  Mr. Donnelly said they would do the roads in worst shape this year; roads that aren't done this year will go to the top of the list for next year, they are not in such dire condition that it will become catastrophic.  Mr. Kraft noted that they will be permanently behind. Mr. Donnelly responded that certain budget constraints in past years have caused delays in projects from one year to the next; it is not uncharted territory, they hope to get to a point where the price of asphalt is more manageable and stable and get back on track.  Mr. Kraft requested Mr. Donnelly to keep the committee informed about this issue and requested a short note in ten or fifteen days concerning what is going on with the paving.

Mr. Laguzza said he is not comfortable approving anything at this time, asked about the credibility that the City can accommodate our demands if the plant just opened in April.  Mr. Donnelly said they went out to look at the plant and watched the production of asphalt, he can't say they will never have any problems and that the plant will always be running.  Mr. Donnelly will find out how many tons have been produced this year for City use.

Mr. Kraft said we are not going to pay for it unless we can get it, hopes the contract is written in such a way that the committee will be satisfied that there will not be any risk for delivered materials.  Based on that assumption and assumption that they will see the contract, Mr. Kraft made the following motion.

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Masterpole to enter into a municipal agreement with the City of Syracuse to purchase from them asphalt for road paving for the year 2008 and 2009 subject to the review of the Ways & Means committee and the vote of the full Legislature.

Mr. Kraft asked if there was an objection the waiving the requirement for a written document. Mr. Laguzza objected.

Mr. Laguzza said he doesn't know what tonnage the city has put out, this is the initial year and there is no historic credibility, doesn't know whether we will be able to bounce back and forth between the City and the lowest bid contractor, there is no guarantee of the tonnage delivery; it is too gray to vote on it without concrete answers.

Mr. Kilmartin understands that it is not an obligation, but a mere option or right to purchase subject to Ways & Means and Legislative vote.  Mr. Masterpole said the city has been in asphalt production for many years, this is just a new plant; they do have the experience of producing asphalt.  Mr. Kraft clarified that he has no expectation of voting on this at the September Session without having seen a contract.

A vote was taken on waiving the rules.  Ayes: 6, Noes: 1 (Laguzza); PASSED

A vote was taken on the option to purchase asphalt from the City of Syracuse; a vote was taken; Ayes: 5 (Kilmartin, Jordan, Kinne, Masterpole, Kraft); Noes: 0, Abstained:  2 (Lesniak, Laguzza); MOTION CARRIED.

2.   PARKS:  Robert Geraci, Commissioner
a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to provide additional funding for equipment and improvements for the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($34,000)

Mr. Geraci said the Cemetery opened in 1986; an account was created to deposit money for burial fees and advanced payment for burial fees, that account creates interest.  At the time of burial, a portion of the fee is put into the Parks operating budget and the balance goes into another account that creates interest.  Over the years, they have spent the interest from the two accounts, with the approval of the Legislature working with the Veterans Advisory Committee, for a variety of things, such as expansion to cemetery, roadways, etc.  Items they would like to purchase are listed in the resolution.

Mr. Lesniak asked about the second whereas clause in the resolution.  Mr. Geraci said the right to burial is currently $500; when the person dies, $50 of that goes into an account, which is untouchable but derives interest; they only spend the interest, never the principal; $450 goes into the County Parks operating budget.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza to approve this item; seconded by Mr. Masterpole; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

c.  Mr. Kraft announced that there was another new item on the agenda for discussion, they will be asked to vote for this at Session.  Mr. Geraci reviewed that National Grid underwrote half price Wednesdays at the zoo for the summer.  National Grid would like to go ahead with a similar program for the fall; he would like to bring a local law to session in September.

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to move this item to Ways & Means for consideration, seconded by Mr. Masterpole; a vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Informational:  Stadium Beautification - Mr. Geraci
Mr. Geraci said a voluntary group of people headed up by John Rathbun, from the Syracuse Sports Corporation, has been meeting for months to discuss ideas for beautifying the landscaping and surrounding areas around Alliance Bank Stadium.  Legislature passed a resolution last July that authorized spending $75,000 ($60,000 for planning and $15,000 for implementation).  Since it is County money, the contract went through County Parks, did an RFP and the contract went to Barton & Loguidice for a plan, they are 95% done.  Plan is for millions of dollars that can be broken down into different brackets and choices that can be made.  Those on the committee:  City of Syracuse, County Parks, Syracuse Chiefs, CENTRO, Syracuse Sports Corporation, several private businesses and the Regional Market.  Mr. Kraft passed around pictures of some of the ideas they came up with.  Mr. Geraci said he is looking for direction from the committee, said the plan is something to work from to implement in stages, he does not have a proposal at this time.  In answer to Mr. Kraft, Mr. Geraci said there is currently $15,000 to spend, could be spent on flowers.

Mr. Kraft asked if the beautification committee has the authority to spend the $15,000.  Mr. Geraci said he could probably make the decision but he has been deferring to the County Facilities committee.  Mr. Kraft suggested contacting garden clubs to see if they would like to take on the plantings as a project, County would pay for the materials.  Mr. Jordan suggested asking local nurseries to donate product and then put up plaques to recognize them.  Mr. Geraci said just putting down flowers is probably not the answer for the stadium, have to water them, maintain them; it may take more than just plants to beautify.

Mr. Kraft suggested that Mr. Geraci come back next month with his ideas concerning the beautification plan.  Mr. Geraci replied that he is uncomfortable doing that because he doesn't represent the Stadium Beautification Committee, they are an independent group and they are without a leader right now.  Mr. Jordan suggested that a member of the committee come in next month with some type of proposal as to how we should proceed.  Mr. Kraft suggested doing this in October rather than September.  Mr. Kraft said somebody has to communicate with the group that the whole plan isn't likely at this time.

Mr. Masterpole asked if the baseball club has a contract in place for a minor league team for next year.  Mr. Geraci said as far as he knows the club can't discuss that yet.  Mr. Masterpole suggested that nothing be done until we know there will be baseball.

Mr. Kinne said it is barren land; would be nice if we could find a way to make it more appealing to the neighborhood and the people going to the stadium; suggested working a deal with a nursery where they would be supplied with ten season passes for some tradeoff.

Mr. Laguzza said his thought is to have a park like setting at the entrance with trees and lighting, then go from there.

Mr. Geraci noted that the Bass Fishing event was a spectacular weekend.  Mr. Meyer said Mr. Geraci's comprehensive plan for the Bass anglers and the community fell into place perfectly; not only attracted people to come to it, but did it in a way that residents would have years of benefit, the economic development for the community was huge.

3.   FACILITIES MANAGEMENT: Mr. Kochian, Deputy County Executive; Mr. Barbas, Deputy Commissioner, Facilities Management

a.   Authorizing the reconstruction and construction of improvements to the OnCenter Complex at a maximum estimated cost of $10,600,000 and authorizing the issuance of $10,600,000 bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof
Mr. Kochian reviewed that the War Memorial, built as a multi purpose facility, was planned during the peak of World War II and opened in 1951.  It was the host of world championship boxing, NBA Syracuse Nationals, conventions, concerts, operas, etc.  Passed around the original booklet that dedicated the building, included historic information about the battles placed around the building.  Building attempted to do all things for all people, found in the 1980's that it couldn't and that it was best to revert it back to a sports arena, musical entertainment and graduations facility.  In 1987 the County negotiated $40 million from the State of New York to build a convention center ($75 million project).  $40 million came from the State, $30 million from Onondaga County and $5 million from the City of Syracuse to build a convention center and reinvest in the War Memorial.  Convention Center opened in 1992 and War Memorial was rededicated in 1993.  Mr. Kochian said the current plans to do things for the War Memorial and Civic Center theatres are to protect structure or infrastructure, enhance public use and enjoyment and to enhance the marketability of the buildings.

Mr. Barbas presented a Power Point regarding the War Memorial & Civic Center Capital Improvement Projects 2008-2009 (Attachment 2) and distributed a handout on costs (Attachment 3).  Mr. Barbas noted that there is an asterisk next to items that need consultants for design; other items are basically commodity purchases or companies that come in to do routine things such as elevator work.

*Mr. Kilmartin left the meeting.

Mr. Kraft suggested taking one item at a time for questions.


Mr. Barbas said he has an estimate from company that did a roofing report in 2006 and escalated it to 2009; roofing and insulation prices have gone up dramatically over the last three years.  Mr. Kraft asked why design is needed since the roof is already there and just has to be replaced.  Mr. Barbas said it won't be done like before, there are many flashing details that have to be addressed; when they go to bid, the roofer has to understand the level of quality that he has to meet.  In answer to Mr. Kraft Mr. Barbas said the roof leaks and has splits in it, insulation is minimal and wet, the energy code has changed and they will be required to put more insulation than it now has, plan is to put it out to bid this winter so that they can put it on in spring and summer of 2009.

Floor Finishes:

Numbers were arrived at over a period of time by contractors and escalated to 2009.

Telescopic Seating:

Mr. Kraft suggested that everyone on the committee look at the seats and try sitting in them, many are ripped and they are very narrow, not comfortable.  Mr. Barbas said those are the premium seats for a hockey event, he has been told that a lot of people sit on the edge because they can't sit all the way back.

Mr. Lesniak asked if they would be gaining or losing seats.  Mr. Barbas said they would lose some seats, but at the expense of improving circulation of people by cutting through the concrete wall and creating isles that line up with the concourse isles (people would be able to enter and exit from either ice level or concourse, now have to enter and exit from ice level only).  Mr. Kochian expressed concern about losing seats, have to try to make a great experience, but also have to make it profitable, he will have to look at what they are talking about in terms of lost seating before the final decision is made.  Mr. Ferrara noted that ADA would be highly improved under this plan.  Mr. Masterpole asked how often the building sells out.  Mr. Kochian said the Crunch sells out about 12 times out of 40 games.  Mr. Lesniak asked if there is somewhere else in the stadium where they could gain the seats back.  Mr. Kochian said in the past, they had some concepts that would have added seats to the facility which included opening up Assembly Hall on the third level for Crunch club; that is not in this plan, doesn't know what those numbers would be now.  Mr. Kochian said they first have to look at what we would lose and if it is a manageable number, if this is made smaller, you are limiting its appeal to people who want to bring something in.  Mr. Gaines said the telescopic structure right now has a lot of wasted space, they will design it so that you can actually have a little more seating up front (will not have the wide isle in front, could add a whole row); if they go through the wall to concourse level and line up with the isles on that level the isles will be smaller, will also put seats down on top of the stage lift; there a lots of ways to reconfigure.  Mrs. Rapp asked what the current seats measure.  Mr. Ebner, Bonacci Architects, said some of the seats are 19 and most are 20 inches.  Mr. Marnell said they show 19 or 20-inch seats at the tradeshows.  Mr. Ebner said they have not done a seat for seat layout; they did a study to see what they could do, how much it is going to cost to replace them, and whether they could break through the wall.  There was discussion that the armrests on present seats take up a lot of room.  Mr. Barbas said they have talked with seating vendors, told them they wanted to replace what was there, got some budgetary numbers and that is what this is based on; there is an asterisk next to the number which means they still have to design it and then they would have more definitive answers, need authorization to get started on the design.

Stage Lift:

Mr. Barbas said this needed to be done to meet code and make it safer.


Mr. Lesniak asked if they could get corporate sponsors for this item.  Mr. Kochian said the revenue capacity in the building is limited, the cost has gone up for the Crunch due to dollar exchange between Canada and US and the league has gotten bigger geographically.  Doing this as an enhancement to the public's use of the facility, the enjoyment of the facility, we are up against newer, larger facilities in the league; in order to be competitive and keep the Crunch we have to do some things that make this building attractive to the public.  Mr. Lesniak asked about naming the building, Mr. Kochian thinks the commission for naming county buildings rejected naming this facility.  It might be possible to consider some elements within the building, but Mr. Kochian said our veterans have been aggressive about protecting this building and its historic status in the past.  In answer to Lesniak, Mr. Kochian said he believes that as long as we make improvements, the Crunch will stay.

* Mr. Kinne left the meeting.

Mr. Masterpole asked where they got the number for the scoreboard.  Mr. Gaines said they did a preliminary RFP a couple of years ago, does not include trade value for existing scoreboard, resale value is not good.

Mr. Jordan said most of his constituents probably would not think too highly of spending $700,000 to replace a scoreboard that there are no problems with, hasn't heard anything that convinces him that they need one.  Mr. Kochian said the Oncenter is obligated to make some of these improvements as part of the Crunch contract; the scoreboard is one of those.  He reviewed that the original local law regarding room tax was put into place to do two things: pay debt on improvements to the War Memorial and support of the Convention & Visitor's Bureau; there are funds available in room tax that would go into these improvements.  Mr. Kochian confirmed to Mr. Kraft that the contract with the Crunch was entered into by the Oncenter, not the County; it specified several things that would enhance the experience for fans, that the people would, in turn, be willing to pay the price of a ticket.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Marnell said that the County would get the revenue for the scoreboard for events other than the Crunch.

Locker rooms:

Mr. Barbas said there are three new locker rooms involved, training rooms, coaches' rooms, bathrooms, modest amount to paint and do some repairs in the crunch locker room and the existing visitor locker room.  Would go from a two locker room building with one dominated by the Crunch to a five locker room building, makes the building far more marketable.  Mr. Marnell announced that they have signed a contract with SU women's hockey who will play four of their home games at the War Memorial this year, next year all of their games will be here, along with the men.

Mr. Rapp asked why it would cost $800,000.  Mr. Barbas said it includes heating and ventilating, electrical, plumbing, new finishes.  Mr. Ebner said he has an extensive report on how they arrived at this number; RobsonWoese looked at all the mechanical electrical and plumbing numbers.  Mr. Ebner said locker rooms are some of the most expensive spaces in the buildings they occupy because of the ventilation, plumbing, tile finishes, and lockers.

Civic Center theaters - New ADA Compliant Elevator:

Mr. Barbas said this is not an easy thing, have to create a new opening, move things around on the basement level, need to make it esthetically pleasing; it is not your run of the mill elevator, car will be custom, a lot of glass involved; this will go out to bid.

Civic Center theaters - Upgrades to Stage Lift:

Needed for safety and control issues.

Civic Center Theaters - Acoustical Ceiling/Eyebrow & Loudspeaker Bridge:

Mr. Barbas said this is an acoustical issue as well as lighting and sound.

Mr. Kraft noted that there is a grand total of $10,525,700, including soft costs of $2,385,273, pointed out that there is a contingency of $740,039 (10%) for items that require design services.  Mr. Barbas once they get into design they will look at code issues and other impacts, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made before finalizing the number.  Mr. Kraft said he calls that Design Contingency a cost contingency and the amount listed below that for architectural and engineering fees (12%) for someone working for the County to protect our interests.  Mr. Lesniak said he has a problem with a Design Contingency of $740,039 and a project contingency of $814,043, asked how much would be bonded through room occupancy tax.  Mr. Mareane said the County would borrow the whole $10,600,000, debt service would be about $800,000 per year, County has the capacity in Room Tax revenue to pay for about half of that.  First year of debt service is interest only of about $400,000 that can be fully covered by Room Tax revenue, would probably bond for 20 years, shorter for the scoreboard - 7 to 10 years.

Mr. Laguzza asked about getting state or federal assistance because the building is historic.  Mr. Mareane said in today's environment in Albany, he doesn't think there is anything on the state level; Mr. Kochian said when they did the original renovation to restore the building, it was all state and county money, nothing was available federally.

Mrs. Rapp mentioned the state money for renovation of special historic properties.  Mr. Mareane said there is apparently a $120 million for Upstate New York, for our region of Central New York alone there is a request for $119 million, there is a long line of requests, they will continue to be aggressive to find other money to pay for this.  They are at a point now with a new hotel coming on that they have to get going with this series of improvements.

In answer to Mr. Laguzza, Mareane said they have not found any opportunities for funding because it is a veterans memorial.  Mr. Laguzza said we got backed into preserving the building, would think there would be some kind of assistance from those organizations that put us in this predicament, have them advocate for us to congress and senators.

Ken Andrews introduced himself as a Town of Dewitt councilman and a member of the Oncenter Board of Directors, sits on their Facilities committee.  The board has tried to look for grants from the state and federal government, wants everybody to realize just how important these projects are.  From board's standpoint, they are obligated to administrate the management end, but the facilities are the County's, at this point these things are mandatory.  Mr. Laguzza said he is concerned about the burden it is going to place on local property taxes; his advocacy for searching for grants is to make sure that we can do these projects. 

Mr. Masterpole said he doesn't want to bond for things that are going to last 15 years, such as the scoreboard.   Mr. Kochian said they couldn't bond for longer than the useful life of a project.  Mr. Masterpole said the County taxpayers are getting the short end of the stick; when there are improvements that need to be made, it is the county's problem, when there is revenue coming in for advertising, someone else is taking the revenues.

Mr. Lesniak asked if the first payment of $400,000 would be in the 2009 Budget and if so has it been figured into the Budget.  Mr. Mareane replied "yes" and it is being figured in right now; room tax revenues will be earmarked to cover maybe all of that $407,000, it would become part of the ROT baseline, that cut of money would be there every year to cover that part of the debt.

Mr. Jordan said he would feel more comfortable approving the money without the contingencies, would rather address them when they come up, would know why they are approving the money and for exactly what.  Mr. Barbas said five of the items haven't been designed yet, the first 10% of contingency is part of what they expect the bid openings for all of these items to add up to, expect the work to be done for $8.1 million.  Regarding the second contingency, they could run into something during construction that the designer never anticipated, can't come back to committee in the middle of a project; it is a 60 to 90 day process.  Mr. Barbas said this project is designed so that he doesn't have to come back to committee, it is designed to bid for $8.1 million and there is a 10% contingency during construction, this is based on worst case.

Mr. Kraft said he thinks there is some benefit to the Legislature keeping in touch with some of these projects and being a partner as it goes along, sees nothing the matter with them coming back another day.

Mr. Kochian said he has overseen a lot of projects such as construction of the Convention Center, Justice Center, stadium, expressed concern about having sufficient money to award and move forward, not be so tight that the first unforeseen thing causes them to stop and may be subject to a delay claim.  Mr. Kraft said if things got out of line, they could put a hold on one part, such as the elevator, and go back to the Legislature; they could still go ahead with the rest of the project.

Mr. Kraft said he generally supports the project, roof needs to be done, seating is a disaster, can't have safety issues.  Believes there are issues to talk to caucuses about, would like to set aside the scoreboard for sixty days and suggested making some adjustments in the contingency fees.

Mr. Laguzza would like to know what the contract with the Crunch says regarding the scoreboard, doesn't want to put the county in the position where they are not meeting obligations of the contract.  Mr. Kochian said they would have to look at the contract, contract also says best efforts to do these things.

Mr. Laguzza made a motion to approve this item as is, seconded by Mr. Masterpole.

Mr. Lesniak would like to move forward with the project except for the design contingency.  They would have $7.4 million to do the project; if they go over, they could come back to the legislature for that piece, hates to send the message that there is another $740,000 out there if we don't need it.

Mr. Kraft said there is a motion to amend this item by removing $740,000, which would affect the numbers going down.  Mr. Laguzza did not accept the motion.

A vote was taken on the amended resolution.  Ayes:  2 (Lesniak, Kraft), Noes: 3 (Jordan, Laguzza, Masterpole); FAILED.

Mr. Jordan suggested removing the scoreboard for now and removing the design contingency fee and approving the resolution for $9 million.  If it turns out those funds are not sufficient, then they could come back to approve additional monies.

A vote was taken to amend the resolution by removing the scoreboard for now and removing the contingency fee.  Ayes:  2 (Jordan, Kraft); Noes: 3 (Lesniak, Laguzza, Masterpole); FAILED

A vote was taken on the original resolution without any amendments; Ayes:  3 (Lesniak, Laguzza, Masterpole); Noes: 2 (Jordan, Kraft); MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:04 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb
Deputy Clerk

* * *

Held at the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce - Marketing Center
MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Stott, Mrs. Rapp, *Mr. Rhinehart
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. Williams
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

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

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


Chairman Jordan referenced several announcements and articles, which appeared in the most recent Chamber Newsletter, and he praised the Chamber and CVB for their efforts. 

1.   INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY - Michele Clark, Deputy Chief Information Officer
      a.      Create Systems Administrator, grade 12 $46,868-$51,884 Effective September 13, 2008
The position will be assigned at Van Duyn.  Since 2003 a vendor has been doing the work.  By bringing the position in-house, there will be a $20,000 savings.  This will maintain IT support and provide better back up coverage.

A motion by Mr. Stott, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this position.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.      Create Network Administrator, Grade 12, $46,868-$51,884 effective September 13, 2008
The position will be assigned to the library.  Duties were previously performed by a Librarian III, who retired.  The job title was changed to be more in line with the duties. 

*Mr. Rhinehart arrived at the meeting

A motion was made by Mr. Stott, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this position.  AYES:  4 (DeMore, Stott, Rapp, Jordan); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Rhinehart).  CARRIED. 

2.  SOCPA:  Don Jordan, Director
      a.      Confirm the appointment of Brian J. Donnelly to the Syracuse/Onondaga County Planning Bd.

Mr. Don Jordan stated that Mr. Donnelly was unable to attend due to a conflict.  He is appointed to the SOCPA Board by virtue of his position as Commissioner of DOT.

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

Mr. DeMore asked if the Board is working on the "new 2010 plan".  Mr. Jordan reported that it is in the planning phase.  A committee has not been created yet, which would be appointed by the County Executive.  Mr. Rhinehart said that a person was hired in SOCPA to primarily work on this and was surprised to hear that nothing had been done yet.  Mr. Jordan said that preliminary meetings have been held; they are working on presentations to summarize their thoughts.  Then it will go to the County Executive for feedback.  Mr. DeMore asked to be kept informed regarding the make up the committee and the process.  Mrs. Rapp questioned when the new plan will be done; Mr. Jordan said it is a significant undertaking--are trying to have it done by 2010.

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



Mr. Holder gave a Power Point presentation (on file with Clerk) and noted the following:

  • Intense focus by CVB staff to drive message
  • Commercial ran April-June, new batch will be run in Sept and Nov. in Albany, Scranton, Ottawa,
  • Happy with results--have seen 38% increase in website visits; 90% increase in calls and emails. A 50% increase in website visitation is project by the end of the program.

Chairman Jordan asked about feedback from local merchants.  Mr. Holder said that they are witnessing some "staycatations" and it is flat.  In some places there is a loss; there has been growth in only two locations - Buffalo and Niagara Falls.  Canada is holding up the ship and Ottawa is key to running this campaign.

  • Formed relationship with Travelocity. Travelocity has seen 20% increase in bookings for the Syracuse area. It can't be proven that it is from the campaign, but it is significant.
  • Over the next couple of months a booking engine will be put on the website
  • Emailers are running - great ways to reach out to targeted audience.
  • Huge event coming up - S.U. Art Galleries for Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth
  • Media Relations: 3 markets--Media blitz, interviews with media outlets, AAA travel writers - are hosting more travel writers into the area. expressed interest in Mirbeau. It was put together and the next day there was an article in place associated with it.
  • Media blitz - first one done was in Scranton--sit with editors and talk about stories and events coming up. The result have been incredible:

      WBRE TV - one tank trip series will be shot in mid-August
      The Citizen - interest in Penn State weekend
      Journal Newspaper - want to know what is unique in the area and tell the story about it

  • Website-number one travel tool used to plan trips; more aggressive about adding information - creating ways for users to include photos; packages are aggressively put out there; Travelocity is the booking engine: continue to look for ways to drive people to the website; Blog is the next big thing to look at.

Mr. Stott asked about the possibility of getting gateway money for exits 36 and 37 off of the NYS Thruway; it is very important for convention business.  A collaborative way to work on beautification is needed for the traffic coming off of the Thruway.  Mr. Holder stated that a focus has to continue as to what the community looks like when visitors come in.  The two exists are critical of showcasing a persons first experience to the area.

Continue to look at packages - details with arts and cultural partners

  • Talking with the Post Standard to increase availability of travel information. Currently the travel guide is produced every 1.5 - 2 years; want to put it out every year.
  • Very aggressive outreach to hospitality employees, i.e. Washing Taxi Cabs event, Aug. 19th.
  • - bundling attractions and paying one price-will be rolling it out this fall. It is another direct indicator of what kind of travel is occurring. Partnering with the County Parks and all museums.

Chairman Jordan asked about publicity for the Sunday Parkway, a great way to see the park and lake.  Mr. Holder said that they are always pushing different pieces like Parkway Sundays; the more that can be packaged together and made easier for the visitor, the more the visitor is likely to do. 

Mr. Holder said that up until now most of the discussions regarding conventions has been about the absence of a hotel.  They are reconnecting with different sizes of hotels for smaller pieces of business.  This is being pushed hard, and a major increase in business is seen.   They continue to push hard with local technology firms, cultural firms, green industries etc.  They are getting a close relationship with NYC Council on the Arts; who hasn't been here in a decade.  Relationship building is crucial. 

  • For the 6th year in a row-the Service Dept. has received the Pinnacle Award from Successful Meeting Magazine
  • In 2007 they rolled out a 3-year strategic plan and are midway through it. There has been an incredible change in the economic environment; in the next few months they will radically be looking at the plan and get input on where they are going. It could be challenging, tough years--need to be aggressive. As part of it, they will complete a review of the sales process.
  • Will be going through process of accreditation. Accreditation gives them the level of peak performance to showcase.

Mr. Rhinehart asked about cost.  Mr. Holder said that their annual budget is $1.3 million; 50% is for salaries and benefits for 14 employees.  The rest goes into the sales program.  Most marketing dollars have come out of the investment into the Destination Image program.   There has been near $150,000 additional support from private sources.

Chairman Jordan asked if advertising is sold.  Mr. Holder said that the travel guide includes an advertisers insert; that piece alone generates $70,000.

4.  CHAMBER OF COMMERCE  - Economic Initiatives - Mr. Holder

Mr. Holder stated that the Chamber management sends their apologies that they couldn't be here today because of conflicts.

Mr. Holder provided a Power Point presentation.  He noted the following:

  • Membership is strong; 2,200 members
  • Represents 160,000 employees
  • Mission is to create and economic climate to enhance growth, prosperity and quality of life.
  • Chamber support for local businesses: advocate, connect, market, expand, revitalize

Jeannette Jones, a representative of Benefits Specialist of NY, addressed the committee.  Benefits Specialists of NY is an independent insurance agency to help stabilize cost of health care in employee benefits to ensure growth in a business.  It is a subsidiary of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.  Chairman Jordan asked if there is collaboration with the ProAct plan.  It can help business by offering more for their employers or an alternative coverage.  Ms. Jones stated that with are meeting with ProAct.

Ms. Jones discussed the family business center, a service to help family businesses in succession planning, and other areas beyond the business plan stages.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:08 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Onondaga County Legislature

* * * 

Held at Sheriff's Heliport, Cessna Drive

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DeMore, Mr. Buckel, Ms. Williams, Mr. Warner, *Mr. Masterpole, **Mr. Holmquist,
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Lesniak called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Ms. Williams, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

      a.   Reclassify Office Automation Analyst, Gr. 14 @$57,414 - $63,603 to Senior Office Automation Analyst, Gr. 15 @$63,138 - $69,962 effective Sept. 2, 2008

The person working in the Office Automation Analyst grieved that he was working out of title. The arbitrator agreed and said that he should be working in the Senior Office Automation Analyst title.

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

       b.  Authorizing establishing of a petty cash fund for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office for the purpose of making and providing change in the Clay Police Station

This is in the amount of $20; it will be used just to make change; cannot be used for purchases.

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

Chief Peverly provided legislators with copies of the Air One Task Force Report - it was the basis upon the County making a determination to replace the helicopter.  It gave a minor review of the facility, which was adequate the time.  Regarding the facility at Cessna Drive, besides the helicopter, mechanics, parts, supplies/inventory for the helicopter, armory, navigation equipment, snowmobiles, SWAT trailer, dive team trailer, all special function are housed at the facility.  The building has outlived its useful life and is beyond its ability to handle all of the equipment that is housed at this location.  They are looking to tear it down and rebuild on site or look for another location.  There has been preliminary discussion with Hancock, who has identified a site if it is desired to relocate there.  They do not sell; it would be a long-term lease. 

Chairman Lesniak said that last month the County Facilities Committee took a tour of the Molloy Road DOT facility.  They are talking about moving, closing, consolidating the other half of the Camillus facility and making one northern facility.  That would leave the Sheriff's facility as the only thing left on the site.  It may be time to look at Hancock and explore with the State police a joint facility out there.  He wants the committee to see the shape that this facility is in. 

Mr. Buckel asked if there has been any discussion regarding a need that the Sheriff may have for new offices facilities.  Chief Peverly said that their interest for headquarters facilities is to remain in the downtown County complex.  There is another issue, which is the Justice Center.  It has been at capacity; they also had to reduce the federal inmates that can be housed--down to about 8 or 9 a day.  It used to be 60-70/day, generating revenue of $102.50 per inmate, per day.

*Mr. Masterpole arrived at the meeting.

Chief Peverly said that he believes that dormitory style housing in the downtown complex, in the vicinity of the Justice Center, is a better alternative.  It would house low risk inmates, and open up additional space in the Justice Center and add to that the wing for the administration.  It keeps the Sheriff's operation in the central core with the County government complex and addresses the needs of headquarters and housing.  In recent years there has been discussion of the City needing housing of their headquarters-may be forces could be joined with the City Police and Sheriff's office.  That is what it was in 1964 when the Public Safety Building was opened.

Mr. Warner asked about the timeframe.  Chief Peverly said that replacement of the helicopter is in the County's capital plan; funds have not been sought for it yet, as they are still looking at options.  Also, if the hanger facility is replaced, should the special enforcement unit functions be included in one facility. There is not timetable.  The building they are in has a number of problems:  roof, windows, and walls leak; mold is growing in the front office; men's room has been shut down for over a month. 

**Mr. Holmquist arrived at the meeting.

Mr. DeMore questioned how the building got into this bad shape-question why it wasn't fixed.  Chairman Lesniak said that the building does not see a lot of public access; and problem on the bottom of the pile.  Chief Peverly said that it is a history that has existed.  He references a former substation on Taft Road-there was no financial investment in the building to maintain it and sewage backed up into the basement.  Also, in the old Hillbrook building, the female deputies had to walk through the men's locker room to get into the office area. There was no maintenance or upkeep to the facilities.  The facilities got to be in such deteriorated condition, that the Public Safety Committee was brought there to get a first hand look at them.  The Cessna Drive facility is another situation where there has not been much of an investment.  In 1998 there were recommendations made to doing things to the building, but only the doors were replaced.  The Justice Center opened up in 1995; it is 24/7 facility; it has a real active use of about 40 years.  They approached the County last year and said that the building was starting to age and that it needed to be maintained.  Through the budget process a full time maintenance position was created.  It is something that has to be done in that type of facility. 

Chairman Lesniak suggested that the Committee take a look at the total Sheriff's Department capital plan-have the Sheriff's put together a report to be addressed at this committee-where it is going in the future to see where this is going.  The building downtown needs to be replaced; need space for inmate population; many substations are on shaky ground.  Chief Peverly said property and evidence facility, located in the North DOT facility, which is beyond capacity now, and the building will eventually be shut down.  Chief Peverly said that they will put something together.  Chairman Lesniak said that this can be accomplished in phases-first address what needs to be done; and then address what is envisioned to be done.  The Committee can then establish a timetable from that.

Mr. Masterpole said that last month the Co. Facilities Committee went to the North Area facility to see its condition; yesterday they went to the War Memorial, who has a $10 million project.  The Sheriff Dept. will have a huge capital request.  The legislature will have to prioritize or the bond rating will weaken.  There has been a priority in the past to put a lot of money in the bank and get a good bond rating, but every place that has been visited is falling apart.  Chairman Lesniak said that there hasn't been any capital request from the Sheriff yet-suggested seeing what is really needed.  If it has to be phased in, maybe it can be over a number of years and not affect the bond rating.

2.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  John Balloni, Commissioner

a.   A local law authorizing the lease of County property located at the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in the Town of Dewitt to Syracuse SMSA Limited Partnership and Authorizing a contract for the construction of a communications tower

b.   A local law authorizing the lease of property located along Weeks Road in the Town of Skaneateles from Syracuse SMSA Limited Partnership

c.   Approving the classification of an unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; declaring lead agency status; accepting the short environmental assessment from; and making and declaring lead agency status; accepting the short environmental assessment form; and making and declaring a negative declaration for the lease of property located in the town of Skaneateles form Syracuse SMSA Limited Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless

Mr. Balloni said that at the Correction facility there is a water tower that Verizon had approached them to lease space on.  The water tower needs to be painted; it may be replaced.  Verizon looked at potentially building a tower site there.  Emergency Communications has been looking at building a tower site for the new radio system in Skaneateles.  During the course of their research, it was discovered that Verizon was building a tower site almost exactly where Emergency Communications would like to build theirs.  With the County having property where Verizon wants a tower site, it seemed like an ideal situation for a quid pro quo.  The County would build the site on it's own property.  Skaneateles has the site approved by Verizon and they it is ready to be built on.  They would then go on each other's towers to utilize the facilities.  Because of the long-term nature of the project, they have asked for local laws to authorize it.  It is win-win for Verizon and the County.  It is win for the people in Skaneateles, as they will only need one tower vs. two.  It is financially beneficial for the County to build on its own property.  No access will have to be built. 

Mr. Warner moved items 2a, 2b, 2c.

Mr. DeMore asked about the cost of building the tower.  Mr. Balloni said that 3 towers were bid; the cost of the tower is known less the cost of site development, which is always an unknown.  Mr. Sparks said that the bids came back, and if it is broken down per site making all things equal, it is probably upwards of $120,000 per site for steel and foundations.  The tower in Jamesville is in a very easy site development; the roads are in place, the electrical runs are there and it is flat.  There are currently 2 other carriers on the water tower now.  When the County decides the water tank needs to be removed or repaired, those carriers could also be moved to the Emergency Communications tower, and the County would enjoy the revenue stream.

Mr. Buckel asked about the cost of the Skaneateles site if the County were to build on it.  Mr. Sparks said that he didn't have the number.  Mr. Buckel asked who SMSA Limited Partnership is; Mr. Balloni said they are an independent developer for Verizon.  Mr. Buckel questioned who the owners are, as they are not always owned by the company.  It is important to know who it is; it is not necessarily Verizon. 

Mr. Buckel moved to table this for further information.

Mr. Warner said that no matter who the owners are, the cost is where it should.  Mr. Balloni said that building a road to a site like this and leasing the land underneath it, will cost a lot more money than building at the Correction's property.  It is 30-year lease; feels the County is fairly well protection.  The new system will be rolled out either way next June/July for emergency service.  A delay of even a month can create a problem because of weather. 

Mr. Stevenson said that SMSA is a sub corporation of Verizon; every cell site in this county is owned by them. The County currently has a lease with SMSA at the WEP site.

Mr. Buckel said that many of these corporations deal with independent, freestanding developers; most are not entities that are owned by the corporation.  A full packet of the information-important financial data, contracts, etc, needs to be provided to legislators.  Full disclosure of the details is needed to make informed decisions, so that mistakes aren't made.

Mr. Buckel withdrew his motion to table.

Mr. DeMore seconded Mr. Warner's motion to approve items 2a, 2b, 2c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m.

Following the meeting, Captain Mike Pellizzari provided a tour of the facility. 

Respectfully submitted,
Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

August 13, 2008

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Laguzza, Mr. Lesniak, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Buckel, Mr. Kilmartin, *Mrs. Winslow
ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list (Attachment 1)

Chairman Warner called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.

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

a.   Confirming the appointment of Robert Long as Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health
Mr. Long said he has worked in mental health for about 36 years - 11 years at Hutchings Psychiatric Center (Assistant Medical Director), 10 years at Benjamin Rush Center as Administrator and CEO, one year in private consulting and then came to the County as Dir. of Quality Improvement in 1998, became the Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health in 2006.

Mr. Warner said he finds Mr. Long's work to be of the highest standard.

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

Mr. Buckel said Mr. Long went over backwards to provide information when the Legislature was discussing the Student Assistance Program, commended him on his professionalism.

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

Mr. Warner took the agenda out of order.

3.   Informational:  National Kidney Foundation - Marion Makhuli, Director; Mary Gillis, Senior Dir. of Clinical Programs
Ms. Makhuli said we have a national epidemic going on with kidney disease, over 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease and another 26 million are at risk and don't know it.  Kidney Disease is the most under detected, under diagnosed and under treated condition in this country today.  Diabetes is the leading cause of Kidney disease, followed by hypertension and obesity.  The key to the epidemic is prevention and the key to prevention is early detection.  The Kidney Foundation of CNY has a screening program where they can pick up the early warning signs of Kidney Disease.  Of all the people they have screened, over 67% learned for the first time that they may have some type of kidney disease, 15% learned that they may have hypertension, and 4% learned they may be diabetic.

*Mrs. Winslow arrived at the meeting.

Ms. Gillis said they had their first kidney evaluation program in January of 2001 funded by a grant from the Office of Minority Health.  They target African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos who are most at risk, but anybody is welcome no matter what their ethnic background is.  Screening takes between 45 - 60 minutes.  Anybody with a first degree relative (mother, father sister or brother) who has diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease is eligible to be screened.  They test for red blood cells, white blood cells, and protein in the urine, draw blood to check their GFR, which is the best indication of whether or not a person has any signs of kidney disease.  The blood work is then sent to a lab.  It is a great opportunity to get educated, learn if they have a risk factor and to see a physician at the end of the screening.  If there is a gross abnormal lab result, the person is called in immediately.  National Kidney Foundation takes over the follow-up, the person's doctor is notified; if they have no doctor they are give the choice of Syracuse Community Health Center, a federally funded health center in Pulaski or one in Cortland.  They have used the Salt City Center that takes people without insurance for free from August to May, they can get three months of follow-up care and medication.

In answer to Mr. Lesniak, Ms. Gillis said a normal GFR rate would be above 90 for a person with no risk factors, the number drops as we age.  All labs in Onondaga County report the GFR to the physicians.  They have made a concentrated effort to reach primary care physicians, have worked with residents at Upstate concerning identifying the risk factors early to get people under control so they don't cascade into kidney failure.  African American population is the biggest group; they would like to reach African American males between the ages of 18 and 30 who are at a great risk for hypertension.

Mr. Warner asked what the symptoms are.  Ms. Gillis said none, it is silent killer, and a lot of young people don't get their blood pressure checked.  Mr. Warner asked if the right medication cures the disease or just stops it where it is.  Ms. Gillis said it stops the process and improves it, along with good diet and exercise.  If the process is stopped early enough, could live to 90 years old.  With early intervention, they can get people on the right medication and diet control and they will never have a kidney problem.

Ms. Makhuli said the point is to pick up kidney disease early before one has end stage renal disease and has to start dialysis.  Nationally, there are 400,000 people with end stage renal disease, those consumed more than 6% of the national Medicaid budget.  Mr. Warner asked what they do for outreach.  They have a collation of about 24 agencies within the community to get the word out, word of mouth, and risk identification program.

Mr. Buckel asked about the financial impact in Onondaga County.  Ms. Gillis said there are 737 patients on dialysis in Onondaga County.  The average cost of someone on dialysis is $75,000 per year; for these 737 people it is $55,275,000 per year, very few of these people have insurance.  In answer to Mr. Buckel, Ms. Gillis said Central New York is third in the Country for doing screenings (includes entire states), our county statistics mirror the national percentage rates.  Ms. Gillis will try to find out what percentage of dialysis patients are on Medicaid and the cost associated with this in Onondaga County.

2.   Informational:  Pro Act - Monthly Update

Ms. Stanczyk gave an update on the numbers that have come in since November of 2007.  The total savings for people who have used the Pro Act cards for prescriptions is $544,631.  They are averaging about a 33% price savings when they use the Pro Act card.  124,000 cards have been mailed at this point; do not have a set date for an additional mailing.  Representatives from Pro Act will give a full annual update at the October meeting.  There are 100 pharmacies in Onondaga County that accept the cards and 55,000 nationwide for those who are traveling or living in another area part of the year.  Mr. Warner noted that it is mainly for people who don't have insurance, asked if it also kicks in for those with insurance to give them an additional savings.  Ms. Stanczyk said it would for those who are underinsured or don't have a prescription savings with their insurance; would not be viable for those who do have prescription benefits.  Mr. Lesniak said the co-pay for a generic drug could actually be higher than what you could buy it for with a Pro Act card.  Mrs. Rapp said it is helpful for self-employed people and young people who just have catastrophic insurance and no prescription plan.  Ms. Stanczyk said 15,000 cards have been used, 2,937 cards were used just in the month of July.

4.   VAN DUYN:
a.   Informational - Systems Administrator Position - Roberta Sprague
Ms. Sprague said she has been working with Mr. Beam, County IT Department, to work out a relationship so that they will have a permanent IT person located at Van Duyn rather than a consultant who has been there since 2003, would reduce the bottom line of their budget.  The dollar amount that has been in the budget for the consultant is a little over $100,000.  Position would be a Grade 12 (pay range $46,868-$51,884), would be about $65,000 including salary and benefits.  They would retain about $23,000 in the budget to use in case they need databases built, should still result in a $20,000 annual savings.

Mr. Warner asked for an update concerning the State funding and what is being projected, what it could do to their operation; also where they are at with the Berger Commission consolidation with Community General Hospital.  Ms. Sprague said it is premature to speculate on the numbers, they don't know what will happen at the
Governor's level, what she has seen does not make her feel hopeful.  State is talking about holding back the rebasing (current base was back in 1983, State was going to rebase up to 2003).  Ms. Sprague has also heard talk that the Governor is going to hold back on the public grant monies for public facilities that they were going to give Van Duyn.  Mr. Warner asked for a rough dollar amount if that happens.  Ms. Hann said for 2008 we are looking at $2.5 million and somewhere around $5 million for 2009.  According NYSAC, the County may be able to make up some of that money with federal funds, waiting for further information.

There was discussion about lobbying.  Ms. Sprague said the County does not have a lobby group, nursing homes do.  She has been reading about Home Care Association being very active, one of the main things they are talking about are funds for administrative overhead for programs such as Long Term Home Health Care being taken away.

Concerning the consolidation, Ms. Sprague said she received an e-mail yesterday that said the contract for the grant money from the State to Community General should be forthcoming any moment, Van Duyn is anticipating getting a portion of that ($3.3 million).  Van Duyn put out RFPs some months ago for the three planning studies that were included in the grant monies.  One of those will be dealing with culture change and staffing, one for architectural design for the units (specific in Berger Commission language that they were not happy with long hallways and the fact that from the nursing station cannot see the residents, nor is the facility homelike) and one study to look at programmatic changes.  They have put the vendors on hold with the hope that can begin in September.  Certificate of Need must be done by the end of this year, they should be able to meet that with preliminary information from the studies, other money needs to be spent by June of 2009, which puts them on a tight schedule; they have asked for an extension on that because it has been held up at the State level.

Mr. Warner said recently there have been opinions of different people that the Medicaid budget could be reduced by keeping more people in their homes and paying caregivers much less than what is currently being paid to keep hospitals and nursing homes full.  Mr. Warner asked for Ms. Sprague's opinion.  Ms. Sprague said she believes there is misinformation out there about what it costs to be at home versus a nursing facility, pointed out that if you need a lot of home care service, such as 24 hours, it very costly.  People fail to look at all the associated costs.  If you are in an institution, it is all-inclusive - medications, doctor, medical transportation, housing, food, therapies with a rough estimate of $7,000 cost per month.  If you are at home and you were to use $20 an hour as an average price for an attendant and multiply that out by 168 hours a week times 4.3 weeks, it would be over $14,000 per month just for that portion of care, not including everything else.  It would be more cost effective if somebody only needs limited services (a couple of hours for a couple of days a week).  Ms. Sprague believes there are enough people in this community today and going forward that they will be able to fill the nursing home beds that they have.

Mr. Warner asked if it was part of the Berger report that Van Duyn and Community had too many people in their facilities who do not need to be there and at a tremendous cost to the taxpayers, asked who makes the decision.  Ms. Sprague said she had people who run the Assisted Living Program look into it shortly after she came to Van Duyn, there were about ninety people who could have been at a lower level of care.  Ms Sprague explained that Van Duyn is their home, many don't have a home to return to, don't have family or friends to take care of them, they cannot evict them, but can encourage them to seek other opportunities.  Moving forward, she sees more people going back to the community, but there are enough other people in the community, there is a need and always will be for this high level of care.  Ms. Sprague said Van Duyn has change its admission policy for the past two years, they no longer take the low scoring people who don't need a lot of help.

Mr. Buckel requested to see the data that tracks the population, the elderly so that they can put data to the belief.  When they did research for the Berger Commission on why they didn't feel they could go below the 513-bed target, they gathered information that shows the occupancy rate and what was available in the community, Ms. Sprague will share that report.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Johanna H. Robb
Deputy Clerk

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. DeMore, Mr. Buckel, *Mr. Stott.
**Mr. Warner
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Laguzza called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. DeMore, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   AGING & YOUTH:  Lisa Alford, Commissioner
      a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept federal funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2008 County Budget for the Senior Community Service Employment Program and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($21,524)
The additional funds will be used to fund existing participants; this is a continuation of the program that exists.  It supplies 20 hours of paid training to low-income seniors.  The goal is to get them employed in permanent positions; they are employed by non-profits and other local agencies in the community.  No local dollars.

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. DeMore to approve this item.

In answer to Chairman Laguzza, Ms. Alford said that there are 15 participants in the program. 

*Mr. Stott arrived at the meeting.

A motion by Mr. Lesniak, second by Mr. DeMore to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      a.   Informational - Satellite Program Offices/Networking - Steve Morgan, Deputy Commissioner
Mr. Morgan said that the underlying theme is accessibility to DSS services.  DSS currently offers many services in terms of language barriers-translators, interpreters, Spanish-speaking income maintenance and casework titles.  Video conferencing for Medicaid applications and interviews for those that are in nursing homes is utilized.  The individual does not have to travel to the Civic Center, wait in line, potentially have an appointment and be interviewed for benefits.  The biggest initiative in the last few years has been to use mail - majority of public benefit programs can be applied for and accepted through mail or phone.   Applications done through mail or phone:  100% Day Care; 75% food stamps; about two-thirds of HEAP.  About 95% of non-long term Medicaid applications are done in the community by facilitated enrollers.  Temporary Assistance is required by the State to have a face-to-face interview--those applicants come to the Civic Center.

**Mr. Warner arrived at the meeting.

The goal continues to ensure that individuals don't have to come to the Civic Center to access benefits.  They want to be efficient and flexible--have concluded that technology is the way to do it.  They are looking to allow on-line screening of benefits, related links, applications, directions, instructions, on how to apply for benefits.

Chairman Laguzza asked if North Area Athletic club, for example, could be a viable satellite site where people could go who are seeking temporary assistance and still meet the criteria of the face-to-face interview.  Mr. Morgan said that it could be if there was staff there.  Chairman Laguzza said that Probation Department would staff a facility once a month and those on probation would report at that time.  He said that he County Clerk also has staff at various locations in the County.  Mr. Morgan said that anything is on the table, but the concern would be fixed costs and inefficiencies with satellite offices.  It would require staff for a certain demand and the demand is unknown.  DSS is open to those discussions--are really focusing on technology right now.

Mr. Warner asked about the progress of Medicaid fraud and the software.  Mr. Morgan replied that it is going well; they have had successes.  Regarding dollars saved, he will provide a one-page detail to the committee.  They were recently allowed to participate in a pilot project that allows counties to look at audits of providers, which is typically an auspice of the State.  Mr. Morgan said that they are looking at homecare wherein an individual is allowed to sell direct care.  Many times it is a friend or family member that provides care for the individuals, and a number of cases have been found where the care wasn't being provided.  Mr. Warner said that the alternative would be a nursing home.  Mr. Morgan said that in some cases there are individuals who need care that don't have the capacity to communicate that aren't receiving it.  Mr. Warner referred to the massive Medicaid costs in nursing home care.  He asked if a study could be done to see if what the difference in cost would be.  Chairman Laguzza suggested that it could be a collaboration between DSS and Van Duyn.  Mr. Morgan said that that one of the main goals of the Long Term Care Resource Center at Van Duyn, is to try to evaluate individual situations and slot them properly. 

Mr. Lesniak asked about the tracking of someone who applied for home care - how is it being monitored.  Mr. Morgan said that once someone applies for Medicare and starts receiving home care benefits, DSS is not involved in monitoring benefits; they determine eligibility.  Ms. Rooney said that it is done at Long Term Care.

Regarding the satellite program, Mr. Stott asked if there are any estimates as to the number of people in the community that would utilize it.  He would rather look at the possibility of taking people from the office, maybe adding a person and having a mobile service that could go to people's homes.  If they are unable to get 20 blocks from their home, what says they can get 10 or 3 blocks away.  There would be no cost for a facility or a  shared cost of going into a YMCA (for example), there would be reduced liability cost for insurance purposes; wouldn't have utility costs.  It could have a more immediate impact.  There are far too many unknowns with a satellite office.  It is necessary to be accessible, but we need to look at the possibility of become mobile.  Mr. Morgan agreed; that is why a lot of public benefit programs are pushed to go through the mail and over the phone.  Mr. Stott referred to the required in-person interview.  A large percentage of population would likely be applying for temporary assistance.  The learning curve would be much shorter with a mobile system; the appointments could be scheduled throughout the day. 

Chair Laguzza said that the satellites aren't fixed sites; they would be similar to what the Clerk's office is doing.  Mr. Stott said it is a different population of the area.  Chair Laguzza said that it would be put where it is needed.

Mr. Buckel asked if there is any feedback through technology on whether the populations trying to be reached can be accessed.  Is there data available for assurance that technology is reaching people.  Mr. Morgan said that not with the Internet, but with they do with mail and telephone.  A thought is to have some type of kiosk station within community agencies; a computer with the website.  Hopefully there would be a partnership with the agencies to assist someone who comes in. 

Mr. Stott suggested looking at the idea of having a specific computer terminal at the public libraries.  There would be a little cross training with library staff.  Mr. Morgan said that it has been discussed.

      b.   Informational - Amnesty program for non-custodial parents with back child support - Steve Morgan, Deputy Commissioner; Robert Antonacci, Comptroller

Chairman Laguzza said that he received a letter from Mr. Antonacci regarding an arrearage amnesty program for child support -- monies owed to the County.  Mr. Morgan said that he was contacted by Mr. Antonacci regarding an amnesty program for arrears of non-custodial parents' child support.  In the past, it has been done non-consistently.  They looked at situations and compromised arrears.  The State indicated that the County can't do that; it is the State's jurisdiction.  When arrears are forgiven it is the federal, state, and local governments that are paying for those benefits.  There are many states across the country that have toyed with amnesty programs.  Many have focused on low-income custodial parents who have built up arrears for any number of reasons.  A lot of states have implemented programs that have focused on getting the non-custodial parent current--have started to waive back arrears.

NYS has yet to come out with a program.  They are close to issuing guidance as to how a program might work in this state.  It will have to be under the State's purview and perimeters.  He believes that the State's program will focus on low-income custodial parents and be tied to a current PSI program (run by OCM BOCES).  The program helps custodial parents find work, retain work, so that they can stay current on their child support. 

Chair Laguzza asked how many dollars are involved.  Mr. Morgan said that there are approximately $78 million in arrears owed to the County.  There are thousands of non-custodial parents, about 20,000 accounts.  In answer to Chair Laguzza, Mr. Morgan said that about 25% on average would be owed to Onondaga County vs. Federal and State, a approximately $20 million.  Mr. Morgan stated that the success rate across the country is low, about 10%-15 % of non-custodial parents actually comply. 

Mr. Lesniak asked of the $20 million is due the County, how much is interest/how much is arrears.  Mr. Morgan did not know, estimated that it could be 25% interest-will provide the exact numbers.  Mr. Lesniak asked if it has ever been done before.  Mr. Morgan said not on a statewide basis.  Some counties have dabbled in it, but the jurisdiction is the State's.  Mr. Lesniak asked for an explanation on how this happens.  Mr. Morgan explained that a lot of times a custodial parent does not have the means to live so they come in and apply for temporary assistance.  While on temporary assistance, any payment made from the non-custodial parent is due to the County.  When the payments go unmade, the arrears are due to the County, State and Feds. 

Mr. Buckel asked if there must be a child support decree before a custodial parent seeks support.  Mr. Morgan said that they have attorneys that go to court to represent the Commissioner and establish order.  Mr. Buckel said that if there is no pre existing decree, the County has the right; it is a means of recovering.  Mr. Morgan agreed.  He said that a lot of these situations are inability to pay, not unwillingness to pay.  Studies that he has looked at in other states, the average salaries are $10,000 - $12,000 and child support orders range from $400 - $600/month.  They have the inability to pay and it surmounts; in their minds they can't get out from under.

Mr. Lesniak asked Mr. Antonacci if he would be looking at this favorably.  Mr. Antonacci said that the policy decision is the administrations and the Legislature's, but his office is concerned with fairness and the administration of the program.  He is familiar with compromised programs; knows how they work and how they are set up and that they can be very successful.  He thinks there is opportunity for people that are looking for that fresh start, who may not have all of the money, but may have a relative willing to help them.

Mr. DeMore asked if judgments are taken against people.  Mr. Morgan said that there are various enforcement tools used ranging from revoking driver's license, seizing assets, intercepting tax returns and lottery winnings, a whole litany of things.  Mr. DeMore asked if one is compromised, with the idea that someone will be current on payments, and then they fall behind, would the back amount be reinstated.  Mr. Morgan said that it would.

Mr. Stott said that by taking a driver's license away from them, it further pulls them away from earning money or having the ability to go out and find work.  He asked if there is ever jail time; Mr. Morgan said that there isn't.  Mr. Stott suggested said that instead of looking at just amnesty, why not have these people be required to work on community programs that the County subsidizes.  It would benefit the community and pay back for the 85% of the people that can't.  Mr. Morgan said that some of the programs that he has looked at do this...they require completion of some type of community service.  Mr. Stott said he would like to see it come back to this committee with a list of agencies that could participate in this program.   Chairman Laguzza stated that we first have to wait to see what the State's position is. 

In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Morgan said that there are 20,000 cases that owe the County.  There a lot of broken families.  Mr. Morgan will check the numbers on the cases; they can go back pretty far. 

Mr. Buckel said that if the State gives the County any discretion on this program; it is a moneymaking opportunity, which is what any good amnesty program does. 

Mr. Stott clarified that the program he suggested would be a last possible resort, if there were no other way to obtain the money owed to the County.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

Held at Onondaga County Water District, Metropolitan Water Board
4170 Route 31, Clay

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Rhinehart, Ms. Williams, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Jordan
ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to waive the reading of the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Rhinehart, seconded by Mr. Masterpole to approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Sue Miller, Deputy Director
a.   ACJ Update
Clinton Phase I

  • Second microtunneling is complete, pipe installed under Creek
  • Due to high levels of chlorides in dewatering wells, discharge from wells was re-directed to sewers to be treated at Metro
  • Scheduled to be completed in fall this year

Clinton Phase 2A

  • Haven't started installation work behind the MOST; have put in some test wells
  • Closed the short section at the back of the MOST to traffic--can still get in and under railroad from the Trolley lot.

Sewer Separation

  • A copy of the notice was distributed to the committee that was hand delivered to the people in the CSO#050 area yesterday and today
  • Will start milling Rockland; paving to follow
  • A number of forms had been received from the residents in the area - each has been checked out and have added them to the contractors punch list to take care of - reseeding, replacement of bushes, hedges

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the law department. is involved at all.  Mr. Ott said that they are not.  WEP takes before and after photos and; inspectors are on the job.  If something is disturbed by the contractor, they take care of it.  If it is something more than they are entitled to, then it is discussed and negotiated.  If it went beyond a reasonable request, then they would involve the legal department.

Mr. Kraft asked if the new regulations require the county to take care of the drain water that goes to the Creek.  Ms. Miller said that at some point in time, the storm water is going to have to be dealt with.  The City is well aware of it.  The city ends up with the storm sewers.  Chairman Corbett said that the County took over the wastewater sewer.  If something becomes separated, then the storm water is not part of that system any more.  Mr. Masterpole said that he City has been pushing for separation rather than RTFs, but are ultimately pushing to take on more responsibility for themselves.

Mr. Kraft asked about Clinton.  Mrs. Miller said that the Green and Gray committees are meeting weekly looking at alternatives to an RTF in the Trolley lot.  They will come up with alternatives, which will go to the Policy Group, which are the parties to the ACJ.  It all relates to amending or changing the ACJ and what everyone will agree on.  She believes it will be a marriage between green and gray.   She chairs the Gray group, which took a tour on Monday looking at opportunities for additional storage.  Gray is anything that can involve, concrete, mechanical, equipment, anything not natural.  The Green Committee is looking at green alternatives.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Miller said that the County Executive and the State DEC have both mentioned that sometime in mid October reports would be back from the committees.

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the design on Clinton and if money is being spent on it.  Ms. Miller said that it is not; the design was nearly complete.  As there is currently a moratorium phase, no design work is occurring at this time.  Mr. Rhinehart asked about the design for the two RTFs for Harbor Brook.  Mrs. Miller said that they were at 75% completion for them, but that has stopped.  She believes that all design work is paid, or in the process of being paid. 

  • Flexipave, porous pavement from recycled towers will replace the sidewalk on east side of MOST
  • Skimmer boat operating
  • Two RFPs were put out, received, and are being reviewed: 1. fix up harbor brook floatables control facility; 2. project management assistance and engineering and technical services for Green and Gray Committees

Mr. Kraft asked about Midland - he doesn't understand why it was rushed to be built and tie up County money.  Mrs. Miller said that the County was under ACJ milestones; had deadlines that they needed to meet.  Regarding the Phase 3 pipeline, all parties involved are looking at things and want to take this time.  Mr. Kraft asked if the County has been relieved of deadlines on Phase 3.  Mr. Ott said that it is part of the discussions with the DEC.  Currently the plan it to design and build the pipeline to connect the upstream overflows, about 500' of pipeline.  There is an agreement between all parties involved that this makes sense to do, but are still looking at further discussions on the remaining six.  Mr. Kraft was concerned that it is not being used.  Mrs. Miller said that it has had input nine times. Mr. Kraft said that it is hooked up to 3 overflow points; there are 7 more out there; that is using about 40% capacity of a $100 million asset.

Mr. Masterpole said that he was informed recently about a new intermunicipal agreement coming between the City and the County on mitigation money.  He was told that the County Executive has said that because there is a change in the plans for the Skunk City neighborhood and Sacred Heart neighborhood as to what it being built, that the intermunicipal agreement is being changed for the mitigation money.  He said that the neighbors in Skunk City and Sacred Heart neighborhoods are now concerned as to whether there will be any mitigation money there.  Mrs. Miller and Mr. Ott said that they were not aware of it.  Mr. Masterpole asked Mrs. Tarolli, Law Dept., if she is working on anything regarding this issue.  She stated that she is not, but would check with the other attorney's if the Law Department. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked about the East Syracuse project.  Mr. Ott said it was a very difficult repair, in addition to repairing the broken pipe, they had to line three sections of pipe both up and down stream as they had stress fractures in them.  The cost was $1.65 million.  The road is repaved, top soiled and seeding put in.  Money will be used from the 960 account for the repairs, but it will short money for other projects.

2.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Randy Ott, Commissioner
a.   Approving the 2007 Industrial Wastewater Surcharge
Mr. Ott said that the total is $1.185 million.  The system was revised a number of years where payments were collected in advance on a quarterly basis.  It is reconciled at the end of the year on final data, and then a refund or an additional charge is made to the industrial users.  As a result of the Comptroller's audit done last year, it was recommended that a provision be included to pre-approve modifications to surcharge bills by the Commissioner of WEP, if an industry requests and properly justifies the request for modification.  The Comptroller's office would like to have the numbers finalized so that they can close the books at the end of the year.  Mr. Kraft asked that he Legislature be notified of any changes. 

Mr. Masterpole asked what happens if they don't pay their bill.  Mr. Mastriano said that if they don't collect, it goes to the Law Department.  First dunning letters are sent out.  Once it goes to Law, there are potentials for fines and penalties, but they have never run into that situation.  There is ultimately a potential withdrawal of permit and cessation of services.

b.   Informational:  Rate Change for the 2009 Industrial Wastewater Surcharge
Mr. Ott said that in 2000 engineers reviewed the way industrial waste surcharge program was done.  Their recommendation was to update the surcharge dollar amount and rates every 3 years.  The Comptroller's office did an audit in 2007 and recommended that it should be updated every year.  This is the first update; proposing to modify surcharge rates in 2009 based on concentration levels of biological oxygen demand, suspended solids, total phosphorous and total nitrogen.  He provided the committee with a copy of the estimated increases, about 20% total increase (copy on file).  The plan would be to update the surcharge every year based on current capital and operations and maintenance costs that go into the surcharge formula.  The big change in surcharge rates are for phosphorus; chemical cost escalating significantly in the last few years.

Mr. Jordan asked if it is standard practice throughout the country; are we driving more businesses away or creating incentive for them to locate somewhere else.  Mr. Ott said that it is pretty typical for municipalities to have some type of an industrial waste surcharge formula. It is a requirement of EPA to have a user charge and based on flow, concentrations, has been in place for over 30 years. 

Mr. Rhinehart asked if the companies know that this is coming; Mr. Ott said that they haven't been notified yet; they wanted to bring it to the legislature first as an informational.  They will be sending out letters this fall.  Mr. Rhinehart asked if the fees could be phased in over a couple of years.  Mr. Rhinehart expressed concern on some of the increases.  Mr. Kraft said that if they don't pay, the homeowners have to make it up.  Mr. Ott replied the audit recommended that it be based on actual expenditures for any given year rather than any type of estimate.  The amount of surcharge can vary on rate, flow & concentration that they would discharge. 

Mr. Masterpole questioned why a company was paying something and are now paying $0.  Mr. Mastriano said that they are in the process of a pretreatment system to address some of their issues.   He said that there are two components:  1.  incompatibles (metals, etc) - they have huge costs that they bear on their own;  2.  biological treatment process--designed to remove (shared cost of what the County's cost is for treating those materials.) 

Mr. Ott distributed a table of historical industrial wastewater surcharge - 1983-2007 (attachment #1).  The formula incorporates the actual cost for a given year for operations and maintenance.   Mr. Mastriano said that as they evaluate year to year, they would not expect them to fluctuate this much.  This analysis is the first one to take in the new HRFS system - the first phosphorous system.  They expect them to be pretty flat from year to year. 

A motion by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve item 2a.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

Mr. Rhinehart strongly suggested that the 2009 industrial waste surcharge be phased in over a 2 - 3 year period.  Mr. Kraft objected, as he doesn't want homeowners to pay for it.  Mr. Masterpole agreed with Mr. Rhinehart's suggestion.

c.            Authorize Department of Water Environment Protection to acquire ownership and maintenance of two 10 inch sanitary force mains installed by Destiny USA and to acquire the necessary easements
Mr. Ott said that the call for the public hearing was authorized at the August session.  They are now asking for the County to authorize WEP to acquire and maintain two 10" force mains to be installed by Destiny to serve their current expansion and existing facility and include spare for potential future development.  There has been discussion with Destiny's engineers; they want to go forward with this, but are also looking at other options due to the cost.  WEP is working with them to determine what the other alternatives are.

Chairman Corbett said that one alternative is to go through their parking lot and tying downstream.  As he just found out about the alternative this morning, there will be discussion of this item, but no vote.  Since it is considered, it can go to the full session in September.   At that point, there will be more information available. 

Mr. Kraft asked if the County is doing this for any other place.  Mr. Ott said to his knowledge the County has not taken ownership and operation of any private sewer. 

Mr. Masterpole said that if they decide to go through the parking lot and tie in up stream, would they still want the County to maintain ownership of the pipe in a different location.  Mr. Ott did not know, as they are still exploring alternatives.  Mr. Masteropole would be surprised if Destiny decided to put it in their parking lot and not have the County own it.  He thinks their goal is to make the County have the ownership, so if there is an issue it will be the County's problem.

Chairman Corbett moved the item to the floor.

d.   Amend '08 Bud. to Accept a Grant under the Urban & Community Forestry Program up to $75,000
A motion by Mr. Kraft, second by Mr. Masterpole, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

3.   Creating an Onondaga County Fisheries Advisory Board to the Environmental Protection Committee of the Onondaga County Legislature (Mr. Corbett)
Mr. Corbett said that there was a request to have a slight modification for the second resolve clause, which is a to have a member be appointed upon the recommendation of the Legislature's representative to the NYS Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board, with such appointment being confirmed by the Chair of the County Legislature.  Chairman Corbett said that he is the Legislature's representative.

Chairman Corbett said that there has been such a change in the fisheries in Onondaga County.  The last Bass Master's program was tremendous.  Local groups came to him to inquire about taking a resolution, which has been created in some counties, to see if it could be done in Onondaga County to enhance our ability to be proactive, maintain and control the fisheries around us.  

Mr. Kraft questioned why se on the fisheries in the county.  The intent is to have people that understand the biological approach and all approaches to maintaining the fisheries. 

Mr. Masterpole asked if there is a cost; Chairman Corbett replied that there isn't-all volunteers.  Mr. Masterpole questioned how many new boards and special interest advisory committee are we going to create; feels it is another layer of government.

Mr. Kraft referred to the 2nd to the last RESOLVED clause which reads that the Fisheries Advisory Board shall advise the Environmental Protection Committee on matters concerning protection, development, and access to the County's fisheries.  He said that it could have been done without this formality.  Chairman Corbett said that there would have to be a board to provide the advice.   

Mr. Rhinehart said that this resolution is a good idea; it will give a forum and a place for any or all organizations throughout the County to bring their issues or concerns to.  Project Watershed, involved with the Health Dept., uses volunteers from high schools and parents to monitor stream quality.  This would be a good area for them to go to.  It also can connect with the County hatchery. 

Mr. Masterpole asked how much power is being give to the new board.  Chairman Corbett said that power given to the board is to make recommendations and report to this committee.  They will not have any authority to start or stop anything.

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

4.   METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD - Update:  David Fitch
Mr. Fitch continued with an update, which he started in June.  He discussed details of the facilities in Oswego, consisting of the raw water pumping station, water treatment plant, and the clearwater pumping station.  He gave a slide show and provided a spreadsheet from a report provided by O'Brien & Gere Study in 2002.  He discussed what the recommendations were, what was actually done, what the estimated costs were, what the actual costs were, and which projects still need to be addressed. (on file with Clerk).

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

  • Following the presentation, committee members were invited to take a tour of the Clay facility.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah L. Maturo, Clerk
Onondaga County Legislature

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Rapp, 2Mr. Kinne, Mr. Warner, 1,2Mr. Stanczyk
ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman Meyer, Legislator Lesniak, see also attached list

Chairman Rhinehart called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  CARRIED.

1.   AGING AND YOUTH:  Lisa Alford, Commissioner
      a.   Amending the 2008 County Budget to accept federal funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2008 County Budget for the Senior Community Service Employment Program and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($21,524)

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

2.   FINANCE DEPARTMENT:  Karen Carney, Director
      a.   Approving and directing the correction of certain errors on tax bills

Mr. Kraft asked why a penalty would be paid first and later fixed.  Mrs. Carney said that it is the State law.

Mr. Kraft made a motion to approve this item without charging the penalty; seconded by Mr. Kinne.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if that is legal; Ms. Berger said that she would have to take a look at it to see if the law would allow a waiver.  Mr. Corbett asked if the motion is contingent upon being legal.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested that since the item was considered today at committee, the original resolution could be considered at session.  Ms. Berger said that a legal opinion will be provided prior to session.


3.   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  John Balloni, Commissioner
      a.   A Local Law Authorizing the Lease of County property located at the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in the Town of Dewitt to Syracuse SMSA Limited Partnership and Authorizing a Contract for the Construction of a Communications Tower

Mr. Balloni noted that items, a, b, & c are tied together.  There is a tentative agreement with Verizon, DBA SMSA, to lease County Property at the Onondaga County Correctional facility site.  Verizon will build a tower on Weeks Road, Town of Skaneateles.  The County will build on the Correction site; they will use each other's towers and there will be a quid pro quo.  It is much cheaper to build a tower on our own property.  Verizon was already approved to build in Skaneateles.

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

Mr. Kraft asked what the cost of building a tower is without the lease.  Mr. Stevenson explained that it varies; this particular site is approximately $150,000

1Mr. Stanczyk arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Kraft seconded the motion.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the County has ever considered eminent domain for towers.  Mr. Balloni replied that it has been discussed, but they have tried not to do it.

Vote was taken on the motion.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   A Local Law authorizing the lease of property located along Weeks Road in the Town of Skaneateles from Syracuse SMSA Limited Partnership

A motion by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

4.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Randy Ott, Commissioner

      a.   Approving the 2007 Industrial Wastewater Surcharge

This is the annual surcharge program, $1.1 million for the year.

Mr. Stanczyk said that Bristol Meyer Squibb put in their own system and asked how long it has been since were charged a surcharge; what is the advantage/disadvantage to pre-treatment.  Mr. Ott said that Bristol put in their own pre-treatment facility, which significantly dropped their surcharge and have now ceased production of penicillin, so the County has lost the surcharge revenue from Bristol.  Solvay Paper Board is the largest user now; they do pre-treat but they are still discharging enough that results in a surcharge.  Surcharge is based on four parameters BOD, total suspended solids, nitrogen and phosphorous.  They are pre-treating, but are still over the threshold in terms of the surcharge.  They have a settling and biological process; they have production increases where they exceeded their ability to pre-treat, which is why their surcharge went up in the last few years.  It is a matter of economics for an industry to determine.  The process is run the same for anyone who discharges to the County system.  The surcharge is based on rate for operation & maintenance and capital costs.  Mr. Corbett asked if Bristol was brought in when Solvay Paper Board was set up, to give them some insight on what they did.  Mr. Mastriano said that there were two opportunities for industrial input program changes:  Many years ago there was a 3 meeting sequence where a group of industrial users participated with staff to look at all rules and regulations regarding industrial waste surcharge.  As Solvay Paperboard was contemplating putting in treatment, and before the cost benefit analysis, they were set up with Bristol for a sequence of meetings to discuss technology and cost benefits. 

Mr. Stanczyk said that the system dilutes the waste.  Mr. Ott said that it gets diluted, but there are more pounds coming into the system because they have a higher load.  It is based on concentration, based on pounds, depends on the particular parameter that they have to comply with.  Mr. Mastriano explained that there are 2 categories -compatible with existing treatment process; and those that are incompatible, metals and things that are regulated by federal government and are removed before they get to the system. 

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

      b.   Amend '08 Budget to accept a Grant under the Urban & Community Forestry Prog.,up to $75,000

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


5.   OCPL:

      a.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Institute of Museum & Library Svcs Grant funds for OCPL ($238,755)

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Holmquist.

Mr. Kinne said that there were several questions that legislators had about this item.  As no one was present from the Library, Chairman Rhinehart held OCPL items to later in the meeting.

Mr. Corbett withdrew his motion.

6.   PARKS DEPARTMENT:  Robert Geraci, Commissioner

      a.   Amend '08 Budget to Provide Addl. Funding for Equip. & Improvements for the Onon. Co. Veterans Mem. Cemetery and Authorize Co. Exec. to enter into contracts to implement this res. ($34,000)

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

      b.   Informational:  A Local Law amending Local Law No. 22-2002 to Provide for a Limited Special Fee at Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park

There was a promotion with National Grid this summer wherein they provided $25,000 of sponsorship and on Wednesday's visitors to the zoo paid half price; it was a phenomenal success.  Attendance and revenue doubled.  National Gird has asked if the County would like to continue a similar program in the fall.  He doesn't have all of the details at this time, is hoping to have a local law ready by the 22nd and would like to bring it to session.  Chairman Rhinehart asked if anyone objected to that; no objections.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if it is tax deductible for National Grid and suggested that other companies may be willing to do the same thing.

7.   INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Ken Beam, Chief Information Officer
      a.   Create Systems Administrator, Grade 12 @ $46,868 - $51,884 effective September 13, 2008

Two positions being created on IT roster to be reimbursed through other departments.  The system administrator will be stationed at Van Duyn.  They will eliminate some of the contractual money; will be keeping about $23,000 in contractual money, a savings of  $20,000.  There will be an in-house person doing the work.

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

      b.   Create Network Administrator, Grade 12 @ $46,868 - $51,884 effective September 13, 2008

A network administrator is being created for the library; OCPL is unfunding a grade 13 Librarian III creating about a $10,000 savings.  The position will report to IT.

In answer to Mr. Kinne there are 5 or 6 departments doing this and there is a memorandum of understanding between the department and the County to get reimbursed from the departments.  It is working out well.

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

Mr. Kraft asked about the Librarian III that will be eliminated; it is not noted in the resolution.  Mr. Mareane said that the Librarian III will be unfunded.  Mr. Kraft asked why the position isn't being eliminated.  Mr. Mareane said that it is conceivable that it can be eliminated later on.

Mr. Kilmartin said that the first year for network administrator's salary will be drawn from a grant, which will be discussed later in the meeting.  It is a $45,000 benefit next year for the network administrator if the position is eliminated.

Mr. Kraft said that the legislature has been working on cutting down on unfunded positions.  He suggested that someone follow through on this item.  Mr. Kilmartin said that it can be discussed at the next meeting of Education and Libraries. 

Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

8.   SHERIFF:  Chief William Peverly
      a.   Reclassify Office Automation Analyst, Grade 14 @ $57,414 - $63,603 to Senior Office Automation Analyst, Grade 15 @ $63,138 - $69,962 effective September 2, 2008
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Authorizing establishment of a petty cash fund for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office for the purpose of making and providing change at the Clay Police Station
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

9.   TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner
      a.   Amend '08 Budget to Fund in the First Instance 100% of Fed. Aid Eligible Costs at a Max. of $160,000 for Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right-of-Way Incidentals of the Buckley Rd. Bridge over the CSX Railroad, C-903, & Authorize Co. Exec. to enter into agreements to implement the intent of this res.
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk, to approve this item. Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      b.   Abolish Administrative Analyst II, Grade 11 @ $44,012 - $48,711 effective October 1, 2008
A motion by Mr. Kinne, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  CARRIED.

      c.   Authorizing the County Executive to enter into an agreement with the City of Syracuse for the purchase of hot mix asphalt concrete products
A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.

Mr. Kilmartin asked what stage the agreement is in; Ms. Berger said that to her knowledge the terms are still being worked out.  Mr. Donnelly said that they would like to take advantage of it this year; there are savings involved; roads that can be done with internal paving crew.  If not, it still makes sense to have it in place for next year.  Mr. Kilmartin said that he understands that it is an option of the County to purchase the materials, not an obligation.  Mr. Donnelly agreed; there is no minimum tonnage that will have to be purchased from the City.

Mr. Kraft asked that the legislature be provided with a copy of the contract before a vote in September.

Mr. Kinne asked if the County Executive can automatically renew it, or does it have to come back to the Legislature.  Ms. Berger said that she believes it will have to come back to the legislature.  Mr. Kinne said this will only be utilized when County employees would use it.  Mr. Donnelly said that there are contracts with Suit-Kote and Barrett to produce asphalt and lay it down; they couldn't go to the City and buy asphalt on the County's behalf.  Mr. Kinne asked about hot mix asphalt concrete products.  Mr. Donnelly said that asphalt concrete is the technical term, it is petroleum product, a liquid, mixed with an aggregate--size of the stone depends on if it is a binder or a topcoat.  The contract is for binder and topcoat.

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Donnelly said that right now the cost based on the existing contracts is $288,000/mile for paving.  The price for the City allows them to do topcoat and binder at $239,000/mile. It is subject to escalation, as any other asphalt contract is.  If available this year, they can do 2 to 2.5 miles.

Mr. Stanczyk referred to contracts--a lot of contracts were written which gave authority to the County Executive to negotiate something.  He wants the Law Department to know that blanket authority is not being given going forward.  If there is something like that in the resolution, it should be pointed out.

Mr. Kraft suggested that it become standard practice that contracts be provided prior to a vote on everything.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if there is a downside to this agreement.  Mr. Donnelly said that he doesn't feel that there is one; it is an opportunity for the County to save some money and keeps County forces working.  No other contracts will be ended.  All contacts are subject to escalation.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the City will keep their asphalt plant open longer then the private side.  Mr. Kinne said that they all keep them open as long as possible, but there is a point where they have to be shut down.  Mr. Donnelly said that there are certain requirements from NYS DOT as to when paving can be done; the plant being open depends on the supply of liquid asphalt.

Mr. Kraft asked if there is an opportunity next year to up the amount from the City, given the cost savings.  Mr. Donnelly said that the City has capacity to produce about 200 tons/hour.  Their plant is underutilized at this time, which is why this is advantageous for the city.  They created the idea with wanting to produce for other municipalities.  The more it runs, the more efficient that plant is.  There is limited use for the County.  This is a test program.  The mixes from the City will be a little different from that being received from the private sector.  There are a limited number of areas where it can be used.

Mr. Kinne seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously.  CARRIED.

      Chairman Rhinehart announced the OCPL items would be addressed at this time.

5.   OCPL:  Deborah Bendig, Systems Librarian
      a.   Amend '08 Budget to Accept Institute of Museum & Library Svcs Grant funds for OCPL ($238,755)
The grant funds are from IMLS to enable the library to refine, manage, and enhance its technical infrastructure.  Specific projects:

  • Splitting Internet bandwidth between staff and administration
  • Manage internet bandwidth that they have; there will never be a time when the can provide pristine internet access
  • Seed money for creating a wireless service at Mundy Library; in partnership with S.U. for businesses in the area; limited access for individuals; it is a pilot, encompasses about 1,000'
  • Computer lab at Mundy

Mr. Kilmartin referred to $46,000 for the Network Administration's salary for one year coming out to the grant; it will be an additional cost to the county, but will even out once the Librarian III position is eliminated.  He asked about $20,000 for part-time project staff.  Ms. Bendig said that she anticipates that to be multiple individuals.  In some areas it will be extra hours for part time people that already exist.  Regarding any positions created specifically for the grant, they would be eliminated once the grant expires.

Mr. Kilmartin asked about ongoing costs that might be incurred operationally, at the end of the grant, or that aren't completely covered for two years.  Ms. Bendig said that there would be ongoing cost; the second year they would pick that up in the operating budget.  Mr. Kilmartin asked about estimates for ongoing operational costs that aren't covered.  Ms. Bendig referred to furniture and furnishings acct.-hardware & software for managing Internet traffic, which is a total of $46,000--the estimate for initial purchase is $24,000.  Also hardware and software for a 2nd Internet line filtering, estimates range from $12,000 -  $16,000 and ongoing costs are estimated to be $9,000.  They will be looking at ways to reduce it.  They are costs that would be difficult to move forward in providing service to the library without them, regardless of this grant.  The grant provides the money to set it up.  Mr. Kilmartin asked the Finance Department if there are any concerns about ongoing additional operational costs for these systems.  Mr. Mareane said that it as the library becomes more digital, more of its resources will go in this direction and less in paperbound products.  Those things work themselves out in the budget. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked if any of the libraries are using fiber.  Ms. Bendig said that they don't; they go through Roadrunner Business Class.  It is not as much a matter of slowness as it is connectivity; they have had frequent outages and it drops the Polaris connection.  The access is specifically tunneled access for the libraries, which are not in the Time Warner areas, and it is specific to Polaris staff activity.  The goal is to get 6 - 8 of the smaller member libraries on to better connections.  Mr. Stanczyk questioned why the library is on Time Warner when fiber optic is a much better system.  Ms. Bendig said that it was set up that way.

Mr. Kinne asked who made the decision to go to broadband width of 40 for the public.  Ms. Bendig said she made the request; it was a guess and had looked at comparable systems and libraries and connectivity all over.  Rochester is going to 100 megabytes for just their central library and supplying 10 for each branch. She said that OCPL is asking for 40 for the central and the branches (11) will share it.  Mr. Kinne said that it doesn't sound like much, Ms. Bendig agreed.  She said she was trying not to ask for the world, due to economic issues.  She thought 40 was a reasonable amount to ask for and see how it goes.  Currently, they are at 30 shared by staff, public, branches and central.  She would ask for another 20 for next year to give the public more room.

Mr. Kraft asked if the library is providing public Internet access.  Ms. Bendig said that they are at central and the branches.  Regarding wireless, it is available at a limited extent--within 1000' from Mundy branch.

Mr. Stanczyk said a cable based Internet system is slow; there is fiber throughout the City, which would provide very quick connections.  Ms. Bendig said that the city libraries, central and branches, are running off of Metro Net, as are some of the member libraries.  There are several Internet items in the grant proposal - it does not affect how the public is being supplied with Internet in the city and branches, nor the Polaris piece.  Polaris is using the Metro Net, it is tunneled and protected within the City.  There are no problems for the Polaris use.  The Roadrunner Business Class is for the other members, which is where the connectivity problems are.  The free Roadrunner is what most libraries use to give access to their public; it is separate from Road Runner Business Class.  Mr. Stanczyk was concerned that this may be a patch for something that isn't working too well--wants to get to something that will be working fine, using the talent in the IT Department to help.

Mr. Holmquist asked when making decisions on various technical questions, to what extent is there collaboration with the IT Department.  Ms. Bendig said that she will be constantly talking to Ken Beam.  Because of the network administrator positions.  Bill Murry is a consultant for many of the county departments, and is very knowledgeable about the network; he designed the library network.  They also use an advisory group.  They don't make decisions on their own.  She will be working with Internet providers to work towards an average price instead of a peak price.  She works with the staff at MetroNet, and they have helped with arranging the network.

Chairman Rhinehart said that the list seems vague and somewhat repetitive.  He asked if it was discussed in committee.  Mr. Kilmartin said that it had and also Mr. Kinne had suggested that at one of the Education & Libraries Committee meetings a representative from the Library and the network administrator come in and describe how the computer and Internet systems work within the libraries.

Chairman Rhinehart asked if the grant has already been awarded; Ms. Bendig said that it had been.

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

Mr. Kraft asked why it is a project account, rather than going into operating budget.  Mr. Seitz explained that all of the money may not be spent by the end of the year, so it is put into a project to account and all of the dollars that are kept with the grant.  Otherwise whatever was left would roll into fund balance, and they would have to come back and reappropriate it. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

      c.   Informational: Transfer from Acct. 650 Contingency to Acct. 408 Professional Services in the amount of $5,000 as it relates to the Board's strategic plan development ($5,000)
Mr. Kilmartin said that this was discussed at Education & Libraries Committee meeting -- the proposed use of grant funds and a line item for $5,000 for a strategic development plant.  At the time the legislature passed the grant, they asked that the $5,000 not be authorized at that time.  They wanted a report on what it would be used for first.  Mr. Bill Fisher, OCPL Board of Trustees, attended the committee meeting and addressed this issue.  He had noted that when he first came to the board there was no strategic plan about what should or could be done in the library system.  This $5,000, and $10,000 from a completely separate grant, will be used to hire consultants to do long-term planning for the library.  Mr. Kilmartin said it seemed very legitimate, very justified.  It was passed by the Education & & Libraries Committee.  Mr. Fisher will be reporting to the committee in the coming months.

      b.   Local Law Amending Local Law No. 18-2002 to Provide for a Lost Library Card Replacement Fee
Ms. Loftus said that this is an amendment to the local law to implement a $2.00 fee in central library and city branches for lost library cards. 

Mr. Kinne said that there is an effort to encourage people to read and now this is asking for a charge to someone for a lost card.  He questioned why only city people are being penalized.  Ms. Loftus said that it is a result of PC and print management software introduced last fall in the library.  A spike in the number of lost cards has been send because of the way the system works.  Patrons are allowed 2 sessions/day and need a library card to register.  Some population is wise to the system and reporting lost cards so that they can get additional time on the computer.  If the fee is introduced, it is felt that the rate of lost cards will go down. 

In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. Loftus said that about 1,200 lost cards are reported/year.  Mr. Stanczyk questioned the system check and asked if the old card numbers are being deleted.  Ms. Loftus said that they are.  Mr. Kilmartin said that the user goes through the 3 hours and then asks for another card, day in and day out.  Ms. Loftus said that the card is tied to a bar code, not the person.  Mr. Stanczyk said there has to be a better way to control the abuse of Internet access rather than penalize everybody who loses their card.  Ms. Loftus said that the cost is $2 to replace the card; the cards cost $.10 per card, plus clerical staff and it takes 12 minutes to issue a card, a cost of $144.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the staff is being paid to be there anyway.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the reason why it is only applicable to central and city branches is because the problem has only been seen there.  Ms. Loftus said that was correct, central and city branches implemented the pc system; only two of the suburban libraries have such a system.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the library has the authority to implement such a fee on town and village libraries.  Ms. Loftus said that they would not.  They feel it will be a moot issue and that people will become much more responsible.  Mr. Kilmartin asked how many cards were lost prior to the software implementation.  Ms. Loftus didn't know--it was a staff initiative.  They found that they were spending much more time replacing cards and researched what other libraries do throughout the state, $2.00 is the going rate to replace a card. 

Mr. Warner said the system is being abused; people have found ways around the system.  Ms. Loftus said that one woman had 4 cards in her possession. 

Chairman Rhinehart made a motion to table this item and send it back to Education and Libraries Committee, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk.

Mr. Corbett suggested that something be implemented for the second or third time someone loses a card, and not the first time.

Mr. Kraft said that there could be a charge in the suburban libraries, and we may not even know about it.  This is a applying a charge to the ones where there this is authority to do so.  It is an appropriate way to manage it.

A vote was taken on Chairman Rhinehart's motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

      a.   Authorizing the reconstruction and construction of improvements to the OnCenter Complex at a maximum estimated cost of $10,600,000 and authorizing the issuance of $10,600,000 bonds of said County to pay the cost thereof ($10,600,000)

2 Mr. Kinne and Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.

Mr. Barbas stated that the project is about the continued investment and improvement of our entertainment, sports, and convention business.

Mr. Barbas gave a Power Point presentation and provided a list of the estimate (attachment #1).

Mr. Holmquist said that facilities around the country have surcharges on tickets; it is common to use that money for capital projects.  Many things on the list are needed.  The scoreboard is a want.  He asked why there isn't a ticket surcharge, as it is a more appropriate way to fund the items rather than putting it on the taxpayers.  The Sheriff's Department and many other facilities don't have the possibility of revenues to pay for needs.  In this situation the needs could be paid for with revenue.  The scoreboard should not go to the taxpayers.  Mr. Mareane said that he didn't know if surcharges were looked at in detail, they have looked at surcharges in other facilities almost as a tax, and were advised that they can't be selective in taxation.  The market issue is that if money is raised through a ticket, the market may react negatively.  It may diminish the attendance.   Historically ROT has been tapped as a means to do improvements to that facility.  Debt service came off last year, have capacity to pay for half of debt service on this project with ROT.  In terms of the 2009, the debt service is neutral; there is $400,000 of ROT to be applied.  In 2010 debt will grow beyond what ROT provides, and would have to look at either enhancing the amount of ROT to put into it or supporting the rest of it with property taxes.

Mr. Holmquist said that his thought is to implement a $1 - $3 surcharge, so that it wouldn't hinder attendance that much.  The ROT money could then be used for other things.  Mr. Mareane said that he would look into implementing a surcharge.  Mr. Holmquist said that with the other needs that are forthcoming, he feels the scoreboard should be taken out.  It should be paid for by revenue or someone else other than the taxpayers.  It is low on the priority list of where taxpayer money needs to go.

Mrs. Rapp asked if there is anything in the contract for a capital-sharing plan.  Mr. Mareane said that he was not aware of any. 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if there are other capital improvements needed in the near future at the War Memorial or OnCenter.  Mr. Barbas said that there are, the bulk being in the OnCenter, they will be including in the new capital improvement projects.  Mr. Mareane said that the other projects can be spread out over a period of time, and are not similar to the projects being discussed today.

Mr. Kilmartin discussed the process.  It was his understanding that there were negotiations going on with the prior administration and in entering into a new agreement, which took place over a period of time.  Eventually, the representatives from the OnCenter Board executed a contract with the Crunch, approximately 2.5 years ago.  He has never seen a copy of that contract. There were expectations in that contract regarding improvements, facilities, timelines, and timetables.  He is concerned about the process that was followed.  The only entity charged with the responsibility to appropriate funds for projects like this is the legislature.  He understands that there are financial obligations placed on the County in that the contract, and the legislature was not at the table at all during those discussions.  There is a board, entity, or somebody writing checks without any knowledge if there is money in the checkbook.  It is critical for the legislature to see a copy of the contract entered into between the OnCenter Board and the Crunch.  It is now, only 2.5 years later that the legislature is being addressed in the issue of spending $10.6 million in improvements that are part in parcel of a contract being presented.  The cart is completely before the horse.  He appreciates that the concrete, flooring and roof work need to be done, but the process was very backward in terms of how financial obligations were made. 

Mrs. Rapp said that there are enough questions to hold this item to address later in the month, at least until there is opportunity to review the contract.  It was noted by Mr. Mareane that there has been a request for the legislature to receive a copy of the contract.   Chairman Rhinehart stated the item would be held.

      a.   Requesting the County Executive to form a Shared Services Committee to conduct a feasibility study for shared services among municipalities within Onondaga County (Sponsored by Mrs. Rapp)
Mrs. Rapp said that it is a critical and pivotal concern to be discussing shared services and creating a smaller government

A motion by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this itemPassed unanimously; CARRIED.

Mr. Kraft said that it is critical that an appearance isn't created that anything is being forced on anybody; this is just opening the door.  Mrs. Rapp agreed and said the Clay police merger was a big one, but there have been a number of other successes.  It is important to have it as a priority, and as projects are coming forward they are being reported to the legislature on a bi-monthly basis.

Chairman Rhinehart said that by the State offers a number of grant opportunities to encourage this and experts can be hired to do the legwork.

Mr. Warner asked if the 2010 plan addressed this issue, but was not being followed through on.  Mrs. Rapp said that was correct.

      b.   Calling for a public hearing on the 2009 County Budget
A motion by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; CARRIED.

      a.   Settlement of Claims
Mr. Corbett mad a motion to leave regular session and enter into executive session to discuss the following:

1.  Lawrence Corriders, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Johnny Corriders, Decedent, and Priscilla Corriders, by Lawrence Corriders, Guardian of the Person and Property of Priscilla Corriders, an Incapacitated Person, Plantiffs vs. County of Onondaga, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, Gerard Mainville, Donald Hilton and Staci Hilton, Defendants.

2.  Shelley Lee O'Neil, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of William L. O'Neil, deceased, Plaintiffs vs. Onondaga County, Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, Onondaga County Justice Center, Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh, Onondaga county Deputy Sheriff Nehemiah Taylor, Onondaga County Health Department, Defendants.

Mr. Warner seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously. MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Corbett made a motion to leave executive session and enter into regular session, seconded by Mr. Warner. 

Chairman Rhinehart stated that no determinations were made during executive session.  The matters were discussed and resolutions may be forthcoming for the September session.

Mr. Warner stated that that he may be presenting a memorializing resolution to the state regarding cigarette tax, as the Senate and Assembly bills are identical.  He will also be presenting a local law regarding tobacco 19 with a military exemption.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Onondaga County Legislature

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