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Meeting Minutes

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Meeting Minutes

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

Deputy Clerk





Members Present: Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Meyer

Also Attending:  Chairman McMahon and see attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Ms. Williams to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update (On file with the Clerk)

Chair Plochocki stated he meet with Mr. Rhoads to discuss the phosphorus TMDL and various projects.  It might behoove the committee to have a meeting specifically for the TMDL, updating the committee on what has happened in the past, what’s happening now and what may end up happening in future. 


Mr. Rhoads pointed out the Water Street project photo on cover of the report; another showcase Save the Rain project which enhances the area.  Mrs. Rapp asked about the Erie Canal Museum roof.  Ms. Quinn stated the protective waterproofing membrane was completed last year.  She has been told, they will be adding the soil medium and plants soon.


Mr. Rhoads:


  • $3M Suburban Green Infrastructure Program (SGIP),  17 applications from 13 municipalities (see attachment No. 1), purpose to reduce I & I, must be located in sanitary district, limited to public infrastructure; rain barrels are the only exception; request total over $3.9m, projects will be reviewed and brought forward next month for funding
  • TMDL 14 year crusade to reduce phosphorus; graphs located under WWTP tab, concentration reduced due to 2006 improvements to Metro, investments to Metro and continued investments to CSO are working
  • As drafted current TMDL would require approximately $20m in additional improvements – had potential of $700m, target level 0.10 mg/l verses 0.02 mg/l; comment period through April 27, 2012, DEC to reconcile comments and forward recommendations to EPA, EPA must then approve, completion date June 30, 2012

In answer to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Rhoads confirmed we aren’t the only phosphorus source.  All sources are managed by this TMDL; includes stormwater, industrial, farm, other wastewater treatment plants in the watershed, and our Metro and CSO.  Mr. Meyer asked for the largest sources besides Metro.  Mr. Rhoads responded that all of them are categorized in the TMDL paperwork.  Suburban landscapes would be the largest in total pounds per phosphorus.  Mr. Meyer stated that the cost to reduce this level is getting greater and greater; need to know other large sources that could be addressed.  Mr. Rhoads stated that the suburban component is being address by the adoption of the Zero P Fertilizer Law.  Per the TMDL, New York State forecast the impact of the law will result in phosphorus reduction into the lake; modeled after similar law in Minnesota.  The Metro-WEP county portion of the TMDL is about 22-28,000 lbs.  They have gotten down to sources that are in the neighborhood of several hundred pounds.  This is a very significant TMDL, looks at all sources and how they are managed for the benefit of the lake. 


Chair Plochocki added that there are indeed other sources for phosphorus into the lake.  The states theory had been that if they wanted to reduce the level to 0.02, they needed to make every source coming into the lake this level.  However by significantly reducing Metros number, even without getting down to 0.02, the lake was able to clean itself much quicker than realized.  We are well on the way to getting the lake to this level.  We questioned the states standard, to obtain the last hundredths of a percent would cost $200m versus $20m.  This argument has been accepted by the state. 


Chair Plochocki asked Mr. Rhoads to explain the standards and what people ultimately want for the lake.  Adding that the average person does not care about the 0.02 number; simply want to swim and fish in the lake.  Mr. Rhoads responded that there are two important parts of the TMDL.  The state has some dilemmas of its own.  This number is actually their guidance value.  Truly they can only regulate that our receiving waters meet their best uses.  Onondaga Lake has two different components, Class C-fishing and Class B–swimmable/fishable for three quarters of the north end of lake.  These are guidelines they have established for the lake.  When we reduce our phosphorus, we mitigate the algae and algae bloom and improve your fish and swim ability.  The state attributes swimming to clear water, have to be able to see a swimmer.  We are trying to improve the water so that there could possibly be swimming.  Chair Plochocki asked Mr. Rhoads to confirm that the 0.02 standard is an arbitrarily low standard.   Even if this level is not attained, doesn’t mean that people can’t swim or fish in the lake.   Mr. Rhoads responded that there are numbers that are higher but the state has also set lower numbers as well.  They believe that for us, this will be a fair standard.   Metro will be able to reach these numbers with a reasonable amount of additional investment and our continued CSO investment.


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated there will probably always be limitations on fish consumption.  This is not specific to Onondaga Lake.  There are many lakes throughout New York and the United States that are impacted by definitions of mercury.   



  • Clinton storage and trolley lot project continue, $70m being spent on small compact site, robust schedule working evening hours, noise mitigation to minimize disturbance to community


  • Library projects partner with Save the Rain, each have their own elements, site specific small projects, number of contractors involved (see report appendix for list)
  • 2012 Ordinance, work with City to mitigate combined sewer overflows, additional projects don’t overlap the 2010-2011 work


2.     FISHERIES ADVISORY BOARD:  Michael Cusano, Chairman; Les Monostory

        a.     Presentation


Mr. Cusano stated they would like to introduce themselves, give a brief overview of the organization and their mission statement and work with the committee to understand what they do and how they can help serve the committee. 


  • Mission Statement – OCFAB composed of diverse group of anglers and concerned citizens working in collaboration to advise public official on issues pertaining to promotion of fisheries based tourism, increase public access, improved fisheries management, maximizing the economic benefit of Onondaga County fisheries, while constantly working to ensure fisheries are sustainable
  • 8 member board
  • Focused business approach, fishing is a profitable business


Mr. Monostory:

  • NY DEC and USFWS report every 5 yrs on economic value of recreational fisheries
  • 3 categories – freshwater, great lakes, saltwater
  • Freshwater component has 740k licensed anglers, $1b per yr industry in NYS
  • Saltwater additional 300k anglers within Onondaga County revenues estimated to be $7m, DEC statewide calculations are $530m, site related numbers, could easily double figures to include trip related expenditures
  • Oswego County has 3 of the most popular fisheries, Lake Ontario (#1), Oneida Lake (#2) and Salmon River, also has large number of out of state fisherman


Mr. Cusano reiterated that the $7m figure is site related, it is the to and from figure; doesn’t take into account money spent in the community for lodging, gas related purchases, fishing tackle, etc.  Mr. Monostory added that Onondaga County has the largest number of licensed anglers per capita of any county in New York State. 


Mr. Cusano:

  • Majority of events and dollars spent for Oneida Lake will be in Onondaga County from Oneida Shores
  • $3.3m generated in 2008 from a 4 day bass tournament, figure not included in the DEC numbers
  • Oneida Lake hosted 60 plus bass events in 2011, not all large scale events, 200 person/1 day event estimated revenues of $75 -100k
  • 2009 Plattsburgh estimated $4.7m in direct spend/$8.4m overall spending for bass fishing
  • Carpenter’s Brook stocks 12-15” 2 yr old trout, only county that does this, added benefit, extremely attractive to bring people to the area, once they fish for trout, they can fish for salmon, bass, walleye – wide variety of fish
  • Members connected to wide range of groups, issues important to angling community brought to board for discussion and reviewed from all sides, formulated opinion presented to legislature through meeting minutes


Mr. Cusano stated they are not sure what they are authorized to do.  They are looking for some additional guidance.  He provided the following example brought forward by one of their members:

  • Cormorant funding for Oneida Lake
  • Fish eating native bird, numbers declined in the 70’s, since chemical control of DDT and other environmental changes population continues to grow
  • Federally managed bird species, 1lb of fish consumed per bird/per day
  • Federal funding has allowed for hazing birds, keeps them moving don’t nest, live 13- 20 yrs


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Cusano stated that hazing causes the birds to move onto another source.  You are protecting the resource of Oneida Lake.  They have gone to Onondaga Lake, where there was also hazing.  There was funding to keep them moving.  They have also oiled the eggs to keep the population down.  They don’t abandon the nest but the eggs will not hatch


  • Oneida Lake Association came to OCFAB with resolution asking for their support in obtaining federal funding, Oswego and Madison Counties have passed resolutions, looking for Onondaga County to do the same, shows unified support


Mr. Cusano stated he is looking for guidance as to how this should be handled; if this is something they can do.  This is just one example, they have situations that come up and they would like to be able to deal with them.  He again asked for any suggestions as to how they should proceed. 


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Cusano stated that both Madison and Oswego County have submitted their own resolution in support of this item.  He added that with the funding being cute over the past 2 years volunteers have stepped up and contributed voluntary hazing.


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Cusano stated that the birds are in flocks.  They keep track of the numbers and divide the lake into sections.  Everyone gets a section, you drive your boat at them and they fly away.  They like to be by islands.  Mrs. Tassone stated they destroy islands.  In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Cusano stated that in the first year there were some pyrotechnics involved.  Training was required with multiple people in the boat.  Hazing is only done during the week to avoid weekend traffic.  The Oneida Lake Association has done a good job gathering information in support of the cormorant program.  OCFAB supports this initiative as well. 


In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Cusano stated that they don’t give advice on fish stocking, leave this to the DEC.  The Chair asked if they got involved with native species verses non-native or heritage strains.  Mr. Cusano stated that if this came up it was not from an angler prospective.  Mr. Monostory added that the government trout fishery is a separate component from the historical fish populations in Onondaga Lake.  The Onondaga Lake Partnership had a large discussion last November.  They have 3 sessions planned for 2012; 1st discussion on the watershed, 2nd on fisheries, 3rd on planning for future lake management. 


Mr. Meyer stated he believes the economic impact numbers provided are definitely low.  Looking at the hotel in his area, you will see a large number out of area plates.  Vast improvements have been made to Oneida Shores, focused on the bass tournaments but residents continue to receive the benefits.  This has been undervalued.  Secondly, once people have a positive experience they continue to come back, it isn’t just the tournament numbers.  Oneida Lake is also home for tournaments from outside areas such as PA and the national college tournament.  When the BASS Tournament was here, they had a parade on Route 11 in Onondaga County.  This is so big they have their own groupies and tournaments are actually on ESPN.  They need to work with the SCVB to spread the word about how big this is; how many dollars are spent that are totally under the radar, the jobs and sales tax that it creates.  Mr. Cusano stated he agrees it is extremely undervalued.   He is president of the New York Bass Federation and this was one of their battles.  He has been on each of the committees for the BASS events.  Mr. Rathbun from the SCVB contacted him when they brought the first BASS event on because he did not believe the numbers.  He is very conservative when presenting numbers; provides government numbers, wants to be taken seriously.  Spoke with DEC and advised them that their numbers are extremely low.  They have acknowledged that they are only picking up a small portion of the trip expenditures.  He noted that the surveys do not segregate tournament anglers; will spend 10-20 times what the average angler spends. 

Mr. Cusano:

  • Return on investment for events pennies on the dollar; Plattsburgh estimated their return at 2,400%
  • Top 100 nationwide fishing destinations, Oneida Lake (14th), Lake Champlain (5th), St. Lawrence River (53rd); Oneida Lake was never listed as bass location in the past
  • Will see an explosion of Lake Ontario, out of our county but people go through our county to get there    

Mr. Cusano stated that Mr. Monostory came up with the concept of creating a fishing trail much like the golf trail.  Within 90 minutes around Syracuse the water is very diverse with top notch fisheries and multiple species.  There are largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, pickerel, etc.  There needs to be a coordinated effort with the hotels.  The hotels are focused on anglers, asking for their guidance on construction to accommodate anglers.  We have the means to drive a much greater impact from the fishing industry.  Mrs. Rapp responded that this was a great idea; needs to be marketed, creating a need and letting people see what is here. 

Mr. Cusano:

  • Falcon Lake, TX No. 1 destination, catching enormous fish
  • Fish are bigger down south, our fish are more plentiful with beautiful waters
  • Problem with Falcon Lake borders Mexico, people being decapitated; 6 heavily armed gun boats patrol the lake so that people may fish
  • Need direction and guidance to form fishing trail; OCFAB volunteer organization willing to assist, need person focused and dedicated to promotion and package presentation

Mrs. Rapp stated that their timing might be great.  The Syracuse Sports Corp. was coming to the Planning committee tomorrow, allowing the opportunity to present this item.

Mr. Cusano:

  • Saturday, June 2nd Friends of Carpenter’s Brook Open House for county legislators, encouraged to come and see the facility, not just about the fish, about the quality of life provided, money spent coming back 20/30 times over
  • Concerned with water chestnuts, invasive species could be controlled, 3-6 wk window for harvesting, minimal money allocated, waters connected through canal system once something is in one body of water it makes its way to the other bodies, group focused on voluntary weed pulls, purchased pontoon boat with their own funds, received some grant funds to offset expenses, 2011 harvested 6k lbs. from Horseshoe Island area, education factor- would like to have each home owner care for their area, plants like lily pads, can establish themselves in 13 feet of water, could be way out on Oneida Lake, whole bays could be choked off, property values diminished
  • Floating rosettes pulled at the proper time with as much of the stem as possible, not enough time for them to regenerate, seeds no longer viable; each plant is a multiple of 16 if allowed to drop its seed

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Cusano stated they pull by hand as they do not have the equipment.  The initial cost for a harvester is $200-$250k.  He believes that they could get volunteers from SUNY-EFS, OCFAB and others.  There has to be a way to manage this, the problem is not going away.


Mr. Monostory:

  • Involved with access to lakes and creeks
  • Otisco Lake - possible transfer of county parkland to DEC, only Finger Lake without public fishing access
  • Oneida Lake - high usage of existing launch sites at Oneida Shores & South Shore Boat Launch located on Onondaga County side
  • Onondaga Lake – Westside future launch site once Honeywell dredging work is completed
  • Nine Mile Creek – DOT closed access off Route 5 in Camillus, lower part of the creek now much more difficult to access, gained new site on Airport Rd.; process underway to transfer 5 acre Amboy Dam site in Camillus from OCWA to DEC, critical connection between upper and lower creek
  • Onondaga Creek – new problems with mud boils, Armory Square Creek Walk completed, new fishing access site from Honeywell on Tully Farms Rd. in Tully
  • Seneca River between Baldwinsville and Liverpool internationally known for carp fishing, people come from all over the world to Onondaga County for carp fishing, 2 guide groups for international anglers, carp fishing most popular fishing activity in Europe and Asia, shore based fishing


Mr. Cusano stated his goal was to see the sport of fishing grow, resulting in more opportunities for all of us. 


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


Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. McMahon, See attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:31 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


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

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept New York State Division of Library Development Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($17,400)


  • Invitational grant from NYS – for public library systems to improve the systems themselves
  • 5 systems worked together to make joint application – ask state to fund project to train trustees
  • Counties involved are Albany to NYC – on resolution; product online – after first year, participating get special perks then may spread throughout state; relevant to every library location

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


2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($1,500,000)

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $10,683,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $10,683,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($10,683,000)


  • Bond ordinances; one for bridge; one for highway – separate projects
  • 2012 Highway Work Plan (attachment no. 1) - shows bond issues; dedicated funds; cash capital; federal aid received
  • 2nd Page; Section 2 – green infrastructure; new item added; addressed in budget presentation; department being proactive for inclusion of green infrastructure within MS4
  • First item; Green design project – RFP and consultant for plans; specifications; standard sections as related to drainage; providing alternatives for storm water management - rain gardens; bios wells; stay away from plantings – not on side of road; center island planting
  • Second item – design for Electronics Pkwy; approach delineation with flush mounted concrete isles; good delineator between the lanes; striping wears away; concrete islands – deteriorate greatly in environment
  • Between 7th North and Electronics Pkwy - need to repair; instead of replacing with standard concrete, design for storm water infiltration – cannot compromise sub base of road; allow water to percolate
  • It is in Salina, in MS4 - address storm water recapture and eye sore
  • Green infrastructure is both requirement and proactive; must be in compliance with DEC but may not address goals of ACJ; addressing pollution but not addressing minimizing storm water sent to Metro untreated
  • Paving – hot mix/cold mix paving; fuel escalation; 2008 – fuel went through roof which increases cost in liquid asphalt
  • Budgeted $250,000/mile for 2 11’ lanes, 2 4’ shoulders; $260,000 in previous years – this year at $300,000/mile but not sure it’s enough; pricing stabilizing but concern for spiking
  • NYSDOT index of liquid asphalt (25th of month); almost as high as highest point in 2008; 2008 shortage domestically
  • Hoping for prices to get mitigated because producers have a flush supply currently; $300,000 at the moment – if changes dramatically, will be back to Legislature for additional funding or reducing miles
  • Under budget from winter; looking at overtime, fuel, salt, town plow money; towns gave back 59 miles, surplus in acct.
  • Assuming Nov/Dec are average – looking at surplus of $1.4 or $1.5 million in budget; if huge amount of snow, back to $700,000 – $800,000
  • Could be at other end where liquid asphalt is ok but diesel fuel goes through the roof
  • Comfortable the suppliers have supply; they are being prudent; more foreshadowing of potential things to come
  • 2008 – topped at $335,000/mile; budgeted at $300,000 currently – in line with capital plan submitted 2011
  • Hopeful but may change – may get higher in late July, early August
  • In 2008 - additional funding from projects; presented another list of roads; recommended roads and deferred certain projects for additional funds
  • Last year’s budget; empirical model for what would need to happen to theoretically avoid full reconstruction of a county road – should be overlaying a certain percentage of roads; hot/cold mix
  • Average – 45 miles hot mix, 19 miles cold mix per year; in last 15 years, department only funded to that level once
  • How far behind depends on how far back – looking at 2008 forward; in 2008, 60-70 miles behind; $20 million
  • Currently looking at 33 miles hot mix, 14 miles cold mix; brings DOT to $24/$25 million range
  • Cannot guarantee DOT will not reconstruct another road with that level funding; odds would go down but things may change; looking at capital plan to ramp up to but County never funded at that level
  • Bridges – some under design and construction under federal aid program, and 3 under County program
  • District 8 - done Onondaga Boulevard and Grand Ave – very small amount of County roads in Geddes
  • Roads are prepped; bridge projects started; Barrett opened Monday; Suit-Kote – full mix open end of April/early May
  • Items 5 and 8 have multiple roads – bid paving contracts every 2-3 years
  • Hot mix in 3rd year of 3 year contract with CFR paving; cold mix rebid this year – Suit-Kote is low, will be awarded


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


Mr. Dougherty commented if there are other projects that can be included and bonded, now would be the perfect time.  Mr. McMahon responded that bonding offerings go at the end of the year or twice a year with group bonding offerings.  Mr. Dougherty replied not today but this year.


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


3.     PARKS & RECREATIONMrs. Tarolli, Chief Deputy County Attorney

        a.     Memorializing the New York State Legislature to Enact Senate Bill No. S.____ and Assembly Bill No. A.______ Entitled “An Act in Relation to Authorizing the County Of Onondaga to Lease Certain Park Property to Syracuse University for Onondaga Lake Park Purposes”, and Concurring in the Preparation of a Home Rule Request

        b.     Memorializing The New York State Legislature To Enact Senate Bill No. S.____ and Assembly Bill No. A.______ Entitled “An Act in Relation to Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Lease Certain Onondaga Lake Park Property to Onondaga Yacht Club”, and Concurring in the Preparation of a Home Rule Request


  • Adopted memorializing resolutions for SU Boat House/Yacht Club last step for legislation; Home Rule Request
  • Waiting for numbers before session – have actual for Boat House, waiting for Yacht Club; hoping for both in May


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


The meeting was adjourned at 10:54 a.m.                                          

Respectfully submitted,           


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *





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

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Knapp and see attached list


Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 11:55 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. May to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds from the State Homeland Security Grant Program for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($559,390)

  • 60% of the grant allocated to the county, 40% to the city
  • Emergency Management manages the funds and programs; not actually disbursing funds


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


2.     SHERIFF:  John Balloni, Chief

        a.     INFORMATIONAL: Air-1 Contract with Oswego County


  • Law department approved current contract, what does legislature need to move forward, will amend if needed, needs to advance to get funds in the Air 1 budget
  • Becomes routine matter was in the budget, could easily amend contracts in the future if portions aren’t working to our benefit
  • Want money coming in on routine basis; would complete 2 counties and produce momentum for other counties to help fund the ship, excellent 1st step
  • Exact same agreement discussed last month, 3rd time discussed, looking for May session approval


In answer to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated the ship would not be back in service until mid May.  Mr. May asked where they were with regard to insurance billings.  Chief Balloni responded that he has been working with the Law department, sorting out some details.  Believes they have a plan to begin billing once the ship is back in service.  In the process of getting their own Certificate of Need (CON); decided this is the best way to bill.  In the interim there are other ways to do billing; Law department working through this.  Mr. May added that this would be similar to an ambulance service, once the CON is in place. 


Mr. Dougherty pointed out that Article 3 mentions a payment date of February 2012.  Chief Balloni stated this would have to be amended. 


        b.     Overtime Uptime


  • Holiday pay included in overtime number for allocated budget
  • Adopted Police/Civil overtime budget $1,209,044 of this $557,236 is holiday pay, remaining overtime budget $651,000, City budget many times this number, currently projecting negative balance -$17,192, close to flat, could change depending on events
  • Adopted Custody overtime budget $3,100,000 of this $476,279 is holiday pay, remaining overtime $2.6m, currently expecting surplus of $171k, could go up or down depending on events such as constant watch
  • Previously requested overtime as percentage of base pay, don’t have records in this format, requested IT write a program to pull numbers from payroll, will forward to legislator when completed & continue with quarterly reports per resolution, suggested program be written countywide for all departments


Chairman Holmquist stated the legislature is very interested in this issue.  It is one of their focuses for this year.  The open lines of communication are greatly appreciated; working together collaboratively from our point of view on policy and budget.  We are very interested and will be looking at the new contract.  Tier 6 is a good small step to the extent that we can keep this process going with the management side.  Mandate relief is the other item we would like to work together on.  It would be nice if the county could speak as one voice to make recommendations to Assemblyman Magnarelli committee on mandate relief.  The open and honest dialogue is greatly appreciated.  Chief Balloni responded that the Sheriff is committed to being open and honest.  They are happy to provide anything they need to take a look at, and happy to work on this issue overall.  The Comptroller is going to be looking at some of their numbers for the legislature.  He welcomes the Comptroller’s independent information; believes it will speak well for them.  Chair Holmquist stated we are all pulling in the same direction.  Chief Balloni agreed adding he would be happy to provide an update at anytime. 


Mr. Ryan asked for an update on Air 1 contributions from Madison and Cortland Counties.  Chief Balloni responded that Cortland County had a resolution pending for Air 1, not sure what stage it was at.   He pointed out that he can’t get the money they do have into the budget.  Mr. Ryan asked about Madison County.  Chief Balloni responded that Madison is not moving forward; Sheriff will have to reach out to them.  Mr. Ryan asked if they would fly there once the ship goes back into service.  Chief Balloni responded that they would fly there for any medevac; independently billing for service.  If they call of assistance, it will be dealt with by the Sheriff on a case by case basis.  If they don’t come forward, his preference would be to fly there and send them a bill; legally not sure you could do this.  Mr. Ryan added it would nice if they were a little more than unresponsive, he has a problem with this.  Chief Balloni agreed, adding it is easy to look at numbers and say the service is not utilized much; reality is when needed, the need is great.  He believes a strong message would be sent if we subsequently billed them for the service.  Mr. May added he believes ultimately moving to an escrow account system, for services to all areas, would be a solid direction. 


Mr. May suggested this legislature create a memorializing resolution detailing the value provided to other counties by the Air 1 program and formally requesting their help underwriting the costs.  Chief Balloni stated this was a great idea; cooperative effort with legislature specifically asking.  He will work with Ms. Tarolli to produce something for next month.   


Mr. Dougherty asked to be provided with copies of the overtime numbers.  Chief Balloni responded, copies would be distributed to the entire legislature. 


        c.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Drug Enforcement Administration Funds for Cannabis Eradication Work Done by the Air One Program of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into contracts to Implement this Resolution


  • Increased from $20k last yr to $30k this yr
  • During regular Air 1 flights look for cannabis, throws off different heat signal to infrared camera, grown in center of field, can’t be seen from the road, readily seen from the air
  • Subsidies ship, not incurring additional costs

In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni stated the funds should be received annually; asked for $100,000.  The program has been around for a long time; wasn’t open to them since they did not have Part 135. 


Mr. Dougherty asked how the funds were spent last year.  Chief Balloni responded that expenses were run against the Air 1 budget; ended up with larger amount going to the general fund at the end of the year. 


Mrs. Tassone asked in what areas this was typically done.  Chief Balloni responded, more of the rural areas.  Outside of the villages and city proper, Onondaga County is a big agricultural county.


Mr. Ryan asked for clarification on how the funds were spent last year.  Chief Balloni responded, funds could be used anytime they were up doing a marijuana type flight; number of hours in flight submitted for reimbursement.  Since they had already budgeted money for Air 1, the monies went into the general fund and the county recognizes a surplus.  No longer a budget for Air 1, funds will now be used to fund the ship.


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


Chief Balloni provided the following update on the Justice Center overtime and overcrowding:

  • Average daily population 427 in 2000, 613 in 2011, today’s opening number 621
  • 671 total spaces, separate spacing for juveniles, men and women, -10% for segregation of population as numbers won’t come in to hit perfect segregation, real daily maximum population 604
  • Steady growth since 1995, creatively moved probation violators to Jamesville, without this average daily population today would be 763-813
  • Problem reviewed by 2 Commissions, alternatives to incarceration widely looked at; don’t have many solutions to solve this problem, in addition constant watch problem
  • Considering solutions, Option 1- building 1 floor Mental Health unit on top of 4th tower site, 60-75 beds formulated to solve constant watch problem, 1 deputy watching 5-6 people in manner meeting Corrections’ specifications; solve huge overtime problem, need to determine how it would be configured; Option 2- build Mental Health unit as modular unit at Jamesville, current contractual obligations require our deputies watch the prisoners, may be cheaper to build on this site, would incur large travel expenses for transfers to court, lawyers and doctors most of which are downtown, currently use a series of underground tunnels, probably have to assign fulltime car for transportation from Jamesville, added danger to deputies; Option 3- displace federal prisoners housing them at Jamesville, downside giving up $2.5m in revenues
  • Working in conjunction with Facilities Management and County Executive’s office, need to determine building and travel costs, overtime savings and how long this will solve the overtime problem if Mental Health unit is built, current Mental Health space could be reconfigured to house regular prisoners
  • Best option needs to be determined, numbers will speak for themselves; need good solutions in terms of costs effectiveness and ability to perform the job safely and effectively
  • Capital Improvement Plan coming up in May, love to be included have to coordinate with others, National Institute of Correction (NIC) sending people to assist in process, free help-no direct charge from Federal government, outside experts lends credibility to presentation


Mr. May asked what the top drivers of increased inmate population were, aside from the mental health issue.  Chief Balloni stated that from 1995 to today the average length of stay has grown.  Chief Carbery added from 10.3 to 20.1 days; about the same number of people are coming in but stay twice as long.  Two jail population study committees were unable to pinpoint any single cause for a steady increase.  The population on this day last year was 551, today we have 621.  Around 12-13,000 people are being booked per year; consistent for past 15 years. 


Mr. Ryan asked if the problem could be that they are committing a higher level of crime and have a lesser ability to afford the bond or be released.  Chief Carbery responded that bail might be higher but if there is a certainty of going to state prison, they don’t want to leave.  They choose to stay and complete some of their time here; closer to families.  Mr. Ryan asked if they were saying that we needed to do a better job of getting them sent to prison.  Assistant Chief Wasilewski stated the process is they come in and stay until they are sentenced.  Once they are sentenced, the state has 10 days to get them out, and has been doing a good job moving them on.  We are backing up with people that know they are going to serve time; don’t have their attorney petition for release on their own recognize or request bail.  They don’t want to get out, as their time won’t count.  Bail is being set; they are choosing not to avail themselves of it. 


Assistant Chief Wasilewski stated the Maxwell School just completed a survey of the inmates to try and determine this antidotal information; the raw data is not conclusive.  Even with all these studies, can’t say it is one factor.   Believed to be a multitude of factors, makes it difficult to nail down.  In raw numbers the justice system works better now than in the past.  The DA can show an average of 75 days from arrest to conviction but you see in the paper all the time, someone just going to trail on a murder committed 18 months ago.  Chief Carbery added this is not the DA’s fault.  Assistant Chief Wasilewski stated this is just the way the justice system works.  Whether or not this slows down for specific cases can’t be determined from looking at a broad spectrum of data.  Individual cases would need to be looked at to determine why someone ends up there for 18 -24 months on a charge and someone else is in and out within 6 months. 


Chief Carbery stated the important thing was to address the problem.  We are sitting in a building that cost $52m and was built by federal court order; would like to get ahead of this.  The fact that 427 inmates has turned into what would be over 800 if we didn’t get rid of the federal and parole/probation without charges inmates.  They are now all at Jamesville; three tricks used to reduce the population, out of gimmicks, problem has to be addressed.   This coincides with the suicide watch problem.  When taking the tour on 5c you will see four cells with a full glass front for suicide watch; thought this was overkill when built, staffed 1 person to watch 2 inmates in 1995, have had as many as 20 in one day, over 2 results in overtime.  If we can solve the constant watch problem, will partially solve overtime and overcrowding.


        d.     Tour of Justice Center


Chief Carbery introduced:

  • Assistant Chief Vincent Wasilewski, 30 yrs on the job, helps set policies, covers for the Chief when out, head tech, transition team sergeant for justice center, helped with design and programs
  • Captain Kevin Brisson, 30 yr veteran, security and operations commander, will lead the tour
  • Captain Esteban Gonzalez, support services commander, handles 38 person transport unit, over 50 Town and Village Judges plus City, County, Supreme and Family Court, 50% of population will travel somewhere within the day inside/outside the jail, handles administrative compliance answering to the State Commission of Corrections (minimum standards) and NCCHC (health), State Sheriff’s Association accredited jail, handles inmate grievance and discipline

Chief Carbery advised the committee that they could contact any of them with questions; will be answering questions during and after the tour for anyone wishing to stay.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, Ms. Williams

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Meyer, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m.  A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Community Services Advisory Board (Stephen A. Russell, Jr.)


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


2.     PULLED


3.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Robert Long, MPA, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Federal Funds for Physical Improvements to the Onondaga County Children’s Psychiatric Day Treatment Program, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($150,000)


  • Accept $150,000 in federal money to improve physical plant at Children’s Day Treatment and Clinic Program
  • Program started as Fairmount Children’s Center – state owned building; joint county collaboration 25 yrs ago; at 15 yrs ago building was uninhabitable; state didn’t want to invest
  • Now at Hutchings Campus (530 Cedar St); County provides building, maintenance, repairs; rent free
  • Number of years since made investment in physical plant – need cleaning, patching, painting, carpet and furniture
  • Federal funds to pay; did fair amount of pricing already and cost will not exceed $150,000

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


          b.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Long Term Stay Residential Treatment Facility Project, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($150,000)

  • Hillside Children’s Center – based in Rochester; facility in Cayuga County which serves Onondaga County
  • Number of children back and forth between inpatient psychiatric hospital and residential treatment – never go home
  • Looking at why, and how can reduce the number of kids going back and forth between institutions; not long at either
  • Contract with Hillside Children’s Center – work with 3 other residential treatment facilities in state – pilot program to analyze what’s going on and design solutions in terms of training, support for families; if successful – state wide model
  • Hillside and the other 3 will take 10 kids and follow; find out what barriers exist that prevent them from going home
  • Could be used for a child that is not sleeping, parent is worried – would install doorbell device to wake up parents
  • Most will go to analyze what’s going on, look for solutions - additional staff or parent training
  • Staffing – may hire one but Hillside will employ


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve this item.


  • Flexible pool of money; until study done, not sure what the barriers will be; 1 year funding
  • If successful, the state will continue on with other areas in state
  • RTF’s and Psychiatric Hospitals cost the state and county huge amount of money in Medicaid dollars
  • Most expensive level of care; kids spending more time is not good for families or state/Medicaid costs
  • Hillside hire – if the funding is only 1 year, they would have to absorb that person in another area or lay them off

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:41 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




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


ALSO ATTENDING:  Mr. Kilmartin and see attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:33 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     SYRACUSE SPORTS CORPORATION:  Michele Evanson, Board Vice President

        a.     Role/Overview


Ms. Evanson passed out an information sheet (see attachment no. 1) and presented the following:

  • Established in 1980
  • Current Vice President, Chair of Government Relations and Community Affairs Committee, in her 5th term
  • SSC sole partner for 501C3 - Syracuse Event LLC
  • Partner with CenterState CEO & SCVB, utilized to brings sports to the area as a non-profit, plan, organize & conduct sporting events
  • Goal bring state, national and international events to Syracuse, bottom line economic development & revenue
  • Assist in nurturing grassroots events & programs
  • $500 grant program for individual participants or groups looking for additional funding to come to the area; must apply; board reviews and determines grant recipients
  • Believe to Achieve Committee brings awareness to the community; recognizing those who have gone above and beyond
  • Assist in maximizing success of events through volunteering
  • 100% volunteer organization, Board consists of approximately 40, proud to have Legislator Liedka on the Board, all community members from various assets of the community


In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. Evanson confirmed the SSC is all volunteer; don’t receive any stipend.  They try to augment what the SCVB does, work side by side to some degree yet have a separate entity in Syracuse Events LLC.  Try to bring in unique sports, drawing people from surrounding areas.  Mr. Liedka stated there is a diverse group of people on the board.   Mr. Cooley is a great example, as a former Parks employee.  They also have a number of coaches that understand the athletes and venues.   In other cities they have similar arms of their CVB, however they are fully funded, actually go out and solicit sports business representing the CVB.  Chair Rapp stated she thought this was what the SSC did.  Ms. Evanson stated they work side by side with Jeff Nickel from the CVB; travel with him when looking to bring events into Syracuse, see what they can do for their part. 


Chair Rapp stated she was speaking to the volunteer arm, as opposed to the actual negotiations.  Ms. Evanson responded that they negotiate as well; most recently the East Coast Showcase Event.  The event runs July 31 – August 4 and will bring in about 1000 people, most recently held in Delray, Florida.  Alliance Bank Stadium brought this to our attention and then we assisted in negotiations to bring them here.  Mr. Liedka added the event is basically a prospect tryout camp.  Every major league team will have a scout here, to find the hidden gems.  In Florida, they have 10 fields and the weather is great.  It is a major accomplishment to get the warm weather sport of baseball to Syracuse in one venue.  Hotels are already seeing the impact; a number are sold out for the week.    Chair Rapp stated this was a big cue, pretty exciting. 


Ms. Evanson:

  • Liaison for facility operators, goal to assure optimal use and public access of facilities
  • Nonpartisan, ideal group to be used as clearing house to assist tax funded facilities, assure they are being used
  • CenterState CEO part of decision process due to fiduciary responsibilities, holder of funds, funding comes from assisted events; example: selling ads for East Coast Showcase program and assisting with program layout, receive limited funds allocated from legislature through CVB and CEO
  • Open dialogue and communications, contact board for information on any event and/or ideas of areas where they could assist


Chair Rapp stated yesterday the Fisheries Advisory Board presented to the Environmental Protection committee.  They were discussing the economic impact of fishing, bringing in millions of dollars.  They suggested a fishing trail for the County, similar to the Freedom Trail.  This might be something that the SSC could take over; creating a map of the fishing venues and upcoming tournaments.  Ms. Evanson responded absolutely, she’d be happy to act as the liaison for the legislature, adding Mr. Liedka is also here, but has enough on his plate.  Chair Rapp stated she believes this is a relationship that could be developed; also handle promotion.  Consider the amount of money that fishing could be bringing to this community and how under developed it is.  Mr. Liedka added this was a good place to start.   Having the BASS Masters Tournament has put us on the map for fisherman.  This is a good opportunity to grow.  Chair Rapp added we also have the Carp Tournament, as well as all sorts of other fishing.   If they could assist in doing something to encourage this, it would be great.


Mr. Knapp asked about the coordination with all the facilities, such as SRC and the Dome.  Ms. Evanson stated it works out great, as each of them is represented on the board; OCC, LeMoyne, SU, and the stadium.  It is their goal to have each represented; able to see things from their prospective as well.


Chair Rapp stated they were talking about putting in community use ball fields at Carrier and OCC.  Mr. Liedka stated the land at Carrier was declared surplus, donated back to the Town of Dewitt; $1 million dollar project through donation, nice facility if they are able to raise the funds.  Chair Rapp added she is not sure they need to build new ball fields at OCC, with these coming in.  Mr. Liedka responded they were different; talking grass fields verses artificial.  OCC fields artificial surface; no artificial softball or baseball fields in the state anymore that he is aware of. 


In answer to Mr. Plochocki, Ms. Evanson confirmed the SSC was involved with bringing soccer into the area.  They look at all types of sporting venues; noting Peter Waack would really like see volleyball brought in.  Chair Rapp stated she was in Indianapolis for the Women’s High School National Volleyball Tournament; 35k people attended, 100 courts setup in conventions center, huge economic impact.  Mr. Liedka added this is a great sport.


Mr. Plochocki stated some have criticized the SRC arena.  Dr. Sydow has made a strong case that they are fulfilling an unfulfilled niche, particularly in the sporting area with the closing of Manley.  Ms. Evanson responded that she personally agrees; very pleased with the track.  They have been pushing for a large track for a long time, this fulfills that need.  She reiterated this was her personal opinion; there are ups and downs to it.  Mr. Liedka added the loss of Manley was crippling for track and field sports.


Chair Rapp took the agenda out of order.


3.     ONCENTER / SMG:

        a.     Informational Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive


  • RFQ Committee selected SMG to handle Oncenter Complex and county sponsored events at Alliance Bank Stadium
  • Negotiations Committee includes Mr. Fisher, Chair Rapp, Michael Kauffman, Gordon Cuffy, Jim Rowley; meeting regularly, meet twice with SMG directly, numerous phone conversations
  • County Executive briefed this week, updated the Oncenter Board through Gary Lavine and Mr. Kauffman, they asked that Ms. Toennies and her team also be advised, tried to do this as well
  • Good progress on negotiations, can’t give details, still working on one point
  • Oncenter Board doesn’t see governance roll for Oncenter Corporation making since going forward, currently hire and fire management, make compensation & policy decisions, have fiduciary responsibility over all assets and liabilities, establish the budget; if agreement is reached should be between the County and SMG, transition from governing board to advisory board
  • County Executive wanted board’s decision on their role going forward; comfortable either way


Ms. Toennies stated Mr. Lavine wanted to make it very clear that there has been no formal polling of the entire board.  He has spoken to the Vice Chair, Chairman of the Audit Committee, and the Chairman of the Finance Committee and all are in agreement with this.   However, without a formal contract, there has been no formal polling of the board.     Mr. Fisher stated Mr. Lavine polled the Committee Chairs.   In the last couple of years they have moved to a strong committee system, with the committee trying to make decisions on things. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • $1.6m subsidy for 2012, like to see decrease overtime; not putting more money into this, propose SMG be paid out of subsidy via increase in revenue or reduction in expenses; if we have to spend more money their money is at risk to some degree
  • Likely to see annual management fee slightly less than $200k, 50% of management fee at risk if budget isn’t hit
  • Additional incentives tied into convention center occupancy, primary purpose bring visitors stay at motels/hotels and spend money; second incentive non-local consumer shows and sports competitions


Chair Rapp stated that at first, the incentive was just bottom line, cutting costs.  This is OK but it is not what the mission of the Oncenter is.   The agreement has to be two pronged; can’t hit the numbers by just cutting, have to bring things in. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Incentive pool of $75k tied to specific performance with significant jump from recent performance; trying to measure, more complicated than it first looked, looking at industry occupancy standards for exhibit halls of our size and region, probably set number at double recent history; occupancy improvements of 10% = $15k, 12%=$30k, and so on up to $75k adjusted for inflation
  • Additional incentive for financial improvements to bottom line, up to double base fee
  • Subsidy of $1.5m for 2013, management fee of $190k from this, further improvement to the numbers would result in money coming back to taxpayers at the end of the year, 65% would go to the taxpayers and 35% to SMG capped at the base fee


Chair Rapp stated this was complicated and needed to be seen in writing.  Mr. Knapp responded the take home message is that they have done a good job of making this a performance based package.  This is what we need.  Chair Rapp stated there were two overriding themes.   We are always going to have a loss at the Oncenter, nature of the business; wanted to be able to quantify that loss.  She has every confidence in the board and team currently in place, however it is a volunteer board and what happens if they turn over or if Ms. Toennies was to leave.  This is of a very complex business; impossible to know what would happen.  Going forward, this gives us the means to quantify the loss and create some sustainability at the Oncenter. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Executive and Legislative branch insist SMG continue with current management team; up to SMG to persuade the staff, tied into private sector with different incentives such as car allowance and bonuses; hope current management stays in place, risk in changing staff; team understands this is not a turnaround problem, it is consolidating gains, capping money to be spent, tied into broader network of expertise, hope to continue momentum seen in the past 2-3 years
  • Trying to complete as soon as possible, not fair to leave people dangling; should be resolved within 2 days
  • Law department working on draft contract from SMG, agreement considered by Legislature in May; contract should be in hand 1wk before Ways & Means meeting


Chair Rapp asked if the details would be available for the Planning Committee.   Mr. Fisher responded, he may not have the contract but could discuss the top 10 issues and other things that Legislator Kilmartin suggested he bring over. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Legislature to vote on 3 items: contract between Onondaga County and SMG, modified management agreement with Oncenter, and reappropriate funds
  • Transition must be gradual in some respects, management agreement with Oncenter expires Dec. 31, may amended and allow it to expire under its own terms; number of commitments tied into their assets and liabilities, can’t undo all at once, example: labor and vendor agreements, Crunch and Silver Knights leases, Ticketmaster, all expire various dates, 4 attorneys currently working on this item, may not have determined what happens with the Oncenter Corporation prior to July 1, may continue for a number of months in amended form
  • Reappropriate funds, expectation of July 1 date, remaining 2012 Oncenter appropriated funds would likely go to special revenue fund, not directly to SMG; SMG as our agent able to write checks from fund, our Comptroller would have control over the fund, including audit rights for all SMG records; setting up appropriation and creating the fund subject to legislative approval, Mr. Maturo suggested working name of Convention Center Operations Fund, June session vote


Chair Rapp stated this turned out to be more complicated than anyone thought.  Mr. Liedka responded that he needed to see it on paper.  Chair Rapp stated this is why she thought that it would be helpful to hear it a few times, think about it and formulate any thoughts, ideas or questions.  They hope to have something in writing soon. 


As a segue to the next presentation Mr. Fisher stated SMG has worked in a number of different environments where convention center and destination marketing organizations forged new ways of working together.  A lot of this comes from industry standards; not doing things wrong, things changed, for example the booking windows.  Best practice appears to be a tighter coupling of the two organizations.  We have had conversations about this for the last year; not an easy decision, don’t feel they have the expertise.   They are excited that SMG has forged these types of relationships; Denver Alliance and the Detroit Alliance.   This is an alliance of the CVB and convention center as well as hotels and in some cases the arts counsel.   Tying those together is something we haven’t done before; very excited for the opportunity of a single alliance, going to the marketplace with a targeted message, pulling everything together, and generating more sales. 


2.     CONVENTION & VISITOR BUREAU:  David Holder, President; Ed McWilliams, Reach Marketing Planning LLC, President

        a.     Destination Marketing Study


Chair Rapp stated they funded a Destination Marketing Study last year for the first time.  Among other questions, they wondered if convention business was a paradigm that had come and gone due to teleconferencing, travel expenses and the recession.  Need to look at what the opportunities and risk are; what will draw visitors of all types to the community.  RFP sent out, hired Reach Marketing.


Mr. Holder:

  • Recognized product, destination, management systems, and opportunities were changing
  • Better prospective of market necessary to adapt; where Syracuse and Onondaga County fit, how to best compete in marketplace as a destination against other destinations
  • Broad standpoint, could be convention, sports, or leisure business
  • Looking at changes with the Oncenter and new venues coming on board, SRC arena, Landmark Theater and long standing venues such as the NYS Fairgrounds, even individual hotel upgrades and renovations; our marketplace business changed dramatically; add in expansion of Carousel Center, what our arts & cultural organizations are doing, and what a solid destination Skaneateles has been
  • How do we maximize what we are & what the tourism industry can be in our community, needed help with this, reached out with RFP, 6 proposals received, 2 interviewed, Reach Market Planning unanimous choice
  • Mr. McWilliams has destination marketing, product development and research experience; Ph. D in tourism, incredible business background, able to analyze business scenarios, perform market research and understand market opportunities


Mr. Holder stated Mr. McWilliams arrived very early Tuesday morning.  After a couple of hours of sleep, threw him in a car and have shown him everything the community has to offer, from a tourism standpoint; some sit down sessions and a number of tours through our great facilities. 


Mr. McWilliams:

  • Partnering with 2 additional organizations for evaluation
  • Because of background he will look at 30,000 foot level; destination offering, key attractors, amount of business drawn in, where people are coming from, what segments are coming etc.; then using current infrastructure, systems, communications, strategy, budget, etc. determine what is realistic in terms of capture and where we can go from there, what barriers have to be overcome to rise to another level
  • Next step digs into specific detailed market segments, identifies business potential, capture rate, looks at competitors and their product service infrastructure offering; ascertaining whom we compete against, in what way
  • Marion Associate specialized firm bringing in convention center sales and marketing analysis; detailed look at systems, procedures, policies, qualifications, programs, structure, budget, etc., making sure when we align the lists of all the target pieces and segments of business we understand where the leisure, sports and convention side fits in terms of current capture and potential
  • Mike Bogucki, Paradigm Economics President, fabulous feasibility market study person on public facilities, venue public facilities with a focus on sports and arenas, performed pre-study work for SRC arena and team member on the project, completed projects for the city around public skating facilities; has background and inventory for competition, brings a wealth of resources to the team, allows project to be completed in a compressed timeframe, 2 months to complete
  • Process has engagement with industry stakeholders that is twofold, half day workshop, will react to their findings from an assessment point: here is where you are, do you agree, help us understand your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities not able to reach because of barriers; next step bringing leadership together and focusing in on 30,000 foot level, focus on short term operational plan next 24-36 months, identifying low hanging fruit and the policies, procedures, and budget allocations needed to make it happen
  • Also long term, where community wants, needs and has resources to go, how to build destination; enlargement of microcosms of economic activity existing around the community now but not coherently connected; everything from Destiny to Armory, consider long term big ideas that will move destination to the next level, resulting in new private sector capital investments


In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. McWilliams stated July 3rd is the due date.  This is a compressed timeline, normally double this length.  Chair Rapp stated several factors were working side by side to provide them with something to work with by budget time.  Every dollar of sales tax brought in, is one less property tax dollar we have to raise.  Our destination is not the same destination it was 5 years ago with the Landmark, SRC arena, Destiny and underperforming facilities.   If we were able to fill all of these on a consistent basis, it could change the whole character of how Syracuse is seen; become upstate NY’s tourism entertainment destination.


Mr. Knapp asked if and how all this information would be shared with the SMG group.  Mr. McWilliams responded that they had already had this conversation amongst themselves.  Mr. Bogucki is a personal friend of the regional manager for SMG and has a lot of prior experience.  He will open up the conversation for us; will have some face to face meetings, assuring we are all on the same team, don’t anticipate any problems.  Mr. Knapp added they may also have some input.  Mr. McWilliams responded they will be a benefit, no question. 


Chair Rapp stated when they were talking to SMG, she wondered if we really needed another firm, if we were hiring someone, maybe they should be doing this as part of their work.  SMG declined saying having this body of information would be enormously helpful; might actually be a conflict for them, should be done by an independent organization.  Mr. Knapp added that in some cases, they may be representing our competitors as well.  Chair Rapp agreed, adding this is more of a hand and glove thing instead of a competition; one will feed the other and provide direction. 


Mr. McWilliams:

  • Focus on plan to address short term goals, longer term systems and how you might shift thinking or reallocate resources, organizations, structures and partnerships to more effectively compete in the marketplace


In response to Chair Rapp, Mr. Holder stated the implementation will actually guide the budget; critiqued, strategic marketing and sales direction for the CVB and the destination as a whole.  It will be a budget planning tool for the County Executive’s office, the CVB and their partners, as well as the Legislature.  


Mr. McWilliams added that he and Mr. Holder discussed the metrics.   They meet with the various art groups and discussed the fact that they are all feeding from the same trough and must be measure the same way.  Difficult discussion to have; can bring understanding to all players that the industry has standards against which to measure themselves.


Chair Rapp asked what had been his biggest surprise so far.  Mr. McWilliams responded, Dinosaur BBQ was a home run and Empire Brewing had a great beer.  There are a lot of great surprises here.  He was sorry to hear about the symphony; was a surprise and something they can talk about.  Chair Rapp responded that SMG had some thoughts on this as well.  The symphony may be resting, but she doesn’t think it is dead. 


Mr. McWilliams stated they needed to think about right-sizing in every category.  Once we get a handle on how big the marketplace is we can have a real scaled approach. 


Mr. Knapp stated he believes there are a number of good things going on, however there isn’t a lot of coordination; believes this alone would be a good thing.  Mr. McWilliams added that the alliance concept is directly supportive of this; this is what it’s all about. 


Mr. Fisher asked if he could shed any light on how they might think about the role of right-sizing the convention center hotel in the context of what we are trying to do here.  Mr. McWilliams responded that there are two issues.   As a foundational piece, don’t think we can look at 2004 and before.  The marketplace has changed dramatically in multiple ways.  Trade shows which use big spaces are declining, corporate and other meetings utilizing smaller and/or flexible spaces are growing; there is a footprint difference and structural difference in the facilities themselves.  The marketplace has changed and the industry is responding in some fashion.  There are capital costs to the response and a maintenance costs that differs, this needs to be talked about.  Technology has changed, drives cost changes and requirements to be in the consideration set of convention centers.  Need to think about how the center evolves.   Some investment is required to bring it up to standard.   On the hotel side you need to think about civic space in two capacities.  If you have a convention center, ideally you want to fill it with guest, don’t want to fill it with civic activities as there is no revenue stream of imported tax dollars.  Your goal is to think about how you can create a collection of space across the public and private sector in such a way that you have adequate space for local events and the ability to bring in the higher yield convention business, with the ability to schedule.  There is a major player on the hill that effects your scheduling.  Sport seasons, graduations, etc. have shutdown convention bookings because they take up so much space. 


Mr. Liedka stated the biggest impact is that those events are announced so late, in a market that doesn’t have 20,000 hotel rooms, typically the rest of the year is shot and you can’t recover.  Whereas in a larger city you have the capacity of hotel rooms and can plan a little longer term and sell your space, instead of hanging onto it.  Mr. McWilliams responded that we don’t have the room block here to be able to meet this.   One hotel is not going to fix this.  Looking at the investment trends in hotels, everything has shifted to midrange and economy properties; universal for the past 15 years.  A Mirbeau or high end is a different animal; it doesn’t play in this space.  It does effect the numbers on the supply side, so that it appears that high-end is still carrying its own but the reality is that high-end, which was often a convention/business hotel is not the same animal that it used to be; just doesn’t see the same type of business flowing through it.  Here there is a need for consideration of the local civic space as opposed to the convention center side.   Also, in the current economic climate, how can someone get financing to build a property that would support the convention center; if they get it financed it will be feasible.  Whether you have the public/civic space inside that hotel or in a completely different location and business operation is another question.  It makes since to combine them but you have to be able to build this so that it is phased, staged and scaled appropriately.  From the plans discussed so far nobody is thinking this way. 


Chair Rapp stated this was an interesting take away; something they hadn’t heard before.  The background will help them make some decisions as they go forward.  Mr. Fisher stated it was nice to bring in outside expertise.   We have been thinking about this and have made some progress; hope to consolidate this with people who have seen this done or have done it themselves elsewhere.   Chair Rapp added they love the July end date.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *



MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. May, Mr. Jordan

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:51 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.




        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Federal Funds for Physical Improvements to the Onondaga County Children’s Psychiatric Day Treatment Program, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($150,000)

        b.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Long Term Stay Residential Treatment Facility Project, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($150,000)



        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds from the State Homeland Security Grant Program for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($559,390)



        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept New York State Division of Library Development Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($17,400)


4.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Drug Enforcement Administration Funds for Cannabis Eradication Work Done by the Air One Program of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($30,000)



        a.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature to Enact Senate Bill No. S06843 and Assembly Bill No. A9760 Entitled “An Act in Relation to Authorizing the County Of Onondaga to Lease Certain Park Property to Syracuse University for Onondaga Lake Park Purposes” and Concurring in the Preparation of a Home Rule Request

        b.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature To Enact Senate Bill No. S.____ and Assembly Bill No. A.______ Entitled “An Act in Relation to Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Lease Certain Onondaga Lake Park Property to Onondaga Yacht Club”, and Concurring in the Preparation of a Home Rule Request


Chairman Knapp referred to item 5b, noting the Senate and Assembly bill nos. are blank.  It is his understanding that the items have not been introduced at the State level.  If the bills are in place, the numbers will be added prior to session, or the item can be pulled before session if there are still no bill numbers in place.


4a. - Mr. Stanczyk asked how much time is spent in the air on this; how many convictions from it.  Chief Balloni noted that cannabis eradication has been done for years – fly over fields, see it growing.  It is something that they routinely do, but now the federal government is paying them to do it.  Once they had the Part 135, they could accept payment for doing it.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if an individual flight is done for it or is it an add on concern while in the air.  Chief Balloni noted that it is an add on as they do their routine.  If they have information that there may be cannabis growing in an area, then the go up and look for it.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Chief Balloni noted that $20,000 was received for this last year; he will provide a breakdown on how many convictions resulted and how much time was allocated to it.


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




1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Resolution Authorize the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Bridges in and for the County of Onondaga at a Maximum Estimated.  Cost of $1,500,000, and Authorize the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($1,500,000)


        b.     Authorizing the Reconstruction and Construction of Improvements to Various Highways in and for the County of Onondaga at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $10,683,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $10,683,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($10,683,000)


Mr. Donnelly: (2012 Work Plan on file with Clerk)

  • Two bond items: a. bridge bond, $1.5 million; b. highway bond, $10.630 million; both itemized in 2012 work plan
  • Notable changes to this year’s work plan:
  • Green Infrastructure - item 2 on work plan is new - $300k for RFP to have consultant review all standard specifications and plans with an eye for storm water retention
  • Electronics Parkway Design – in the past, flush concrete islands were used for delineation between multi-lanes is heavy traffic areas; tendency to deteriorate relatively quickly and difficult to maintain.  Will go out and repair them and put in a green infrastructure solution – have same delineation and ability to recapture storm water; need to come up with a design for slow importation on the islands without compromising sub-base of road.
  • Items 5 & 8 – cold mix and hot mix paving – price of fuel, oil going up, consequently price of liquid asphalt has gone up.  Last year budgeted $260k/mile for paving; estimating $300k/mile this year. 


Mr. Stanczyk made a motion to approve items 1a and 1b.


In answer to Mr. Stanczyk regarding green infrastructure monies, Mr. Donnelly said that local dollars will be used.  Mr. Stanczyk said the businesses and industry isn’t doing a thing unless they get incentives to do so; surprised that it is being done with local dollars rather than our own department or a federal or state program.  Mr. Donnelly said that there is a robust federal aid program, but there hasn’t been any FHWA money at this point allocated towards green infrastructure.  From a highway perspective, highways have been lagging behind other areas in looking at green infrastructure.  Most of the county highway systems in New York are very rural; Onondaga is one area that has a relatively urban highway system.  They look for any opportunities, but at this point there hasn’t been any.


Mr. Stanczyk said that there are green projects in the city, will be projects in towns, villages, and projects with commercial property owners.  There was money to support those; questioned that if the County got involved there, why are the highway projects being done with local dollars and not getting support.  Mr. Donnelly said that there has been money from WEP, within the City of Syracuse, that are within the ACJ.  This is a look at existing plans and specifications to make sure that there are green infrastructure alternatives for when they do projects.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if any of this can be supported by WEP.  Mr. Millea said that there are incentives.  This ties into the TMDL allocation being imposed upon the Onondaga Lake watershed.  The intention is to avoid $70 million investment into Metro; get more wide spread and diverse green infrastructure through the highway work plan through Metro; there are some really good green infrastructure projects coming in the suburbs.  This is getting the DOT in line with where we are going as a community with green infrastructure.  They will pursue every option – State DOT, EPA, EFC’s green grant program; feel this is the right step to take. 


Mr. Stanczyk said that he assumes green initiatives are more expensive than normal initiatives.  If they are, why doesn’t the highway department go through the exercise to prove the inflow into the system has a value, and WEP should incentivize them to do it.  Mr. Millea said that there is a distinction in the suburbs, bringing next month, directly associated to provide relief to the sanitary sewer district and water infiltration in the district.  A lot of the projects they expect DOT to work on will be more beneficial to local governments, separate storm sewers perspective, MS4s--not necessarily a WEP benefit; they are really a best practice.


Mr. Kilmartin noted that Mr. Millea is very good at identifying sources of revenue; it is a good opportunity for Mr. Millea to work with DOT and try to identify those opportunities.  If this is infrastructure that would otherwise have to be repaired or rebuilt, then it can be done with a sustainable view of things.  In the interim maybe there are dollars that can be secured at the federal, state levels to try to offset the local dollar costs. 


Mr. Kilmartin seconded item 1a. 


Mr. Kilmartin noted that through the economic crisis, over the past 3 years, DOT has taken the brunt of some budget cuts.  As a result, the County is probably at least one year behind in terms of paving schedule.  Because we have to incrementally start to catch up on the paving schedule, because interest rates are low and competitive right now, he would like to offer an amendment to 1b.  Mr. Kilmartin made a motion to amend items 1b to provide for cold mix road paving schedule to go from 13.9 miles to 18 miles.  It would increase the total project by $1.221 million; a total bond of $11.904 million. 


Mr. Jordan asked what the cost comparison is between just rebuilding what we have and the cost of it using green infrastructure.  He asked what the anticipated life expectancy is of one vs. the other.  He asked what the anticipated capture is of implementing the green infrastructure.  Should be allocating money in the most cost effective way possible--utilize dollars where we are getting more bang for buck where there will be a much larger amount of capture.  Mr. Donnelly said these funds are for design; the questions will be answered when they go through the design of the projects.  They know that repair has to be made to the concrete islands – whether they are put back traditionally as concrete, tore out and put in as asphalt, or look at green infrastructure – there will be a cost for maintenance.  They don’t know what they might implement there; it is in the middle of the road; want to have something that will help storm water recapture, but also something that is as minimal maintenance as possible for the Highway Dept.  These are things that remain to be seen.  If it came back to a situation where it was outrageously expensive and couldn’t prove a capture, then they would take a step back and maybe look at something more traditional.


They will do the design and come back in next year’s work plan with a cost for construction.  Mr. Jordan asked for confirmation that the Committee would have all the comparisons in terms of cost, capture, why the project would be done, why the project would be done vs. doing other project.  Mr. Millea confirmed that the information would be provided.  Mr. Millea said that DOT has never cared about is phosphorous loading into tributaries of Onondaga Creek and Harbor Brook.  Agrees it has to be cost effective and has to make sense.


Mr. Jordan questioned DOT’s limitation on how many roads they can pave annually.  He doesn’t necessarily agree that the county should borrow for everything because there are low lending rates.  The County will borrow the money and end up spending the cash; in the end the County could end up spending a lot more money.  There will be more debt service on the backs of our taxpayers.  Mr. Donnelly said that traditionally whatever the available funding is, is what they would be able to do.  Bandwidth is a difficult question to answer – never have been pushed in that direction because there has never been a situation where there was so much funding and what will they do with all of it.  DOT has had significant reductions in staffing over the years.  DOT does not pave internally, but provides most of the road prep – brushing, ditching, replacing of cross culverts.  They don’t have as many resources as they once did to perform that work.  There is more road prep in cold mix than there is in hot mix.  Regarding the breaking point, taking them up to 18 miles for cold mix is doable.  He would have to analyze the hot mix – a lot of that road work is provided by contractor – would have to look at how much they thought they could get done.  There is primarily one contract for the replacement of hot mix, but does have other avenues that they could look into.  Rarely a contractor will turn work down, but realistically with the amount of work they have now, they tend to jump – their bandwidth is high because they are not just paving for the county, they are paving for the towns, villages and state.  The state has a number of projects this year that were not planned – Governor put another $1 billion into the budget for this year, with approx. $150 million in Region 3 (CNY area).  It will have an impact on the number of contractors.  He is sure they can handle a little bit more than what is in the plan right now, but would have to take a look at it, talk to the vendors to be sure of what the maximum output would be.  Mr. Jordan is interested in having that information.

Mr. May asked if there is a financial benefit to locking in some of that work now; if the County locks into that work would it stand to gain now financially rather than doing it later.  Mr. Donnelly said “yes and no”.  Prices are lower than what they are expected to be later in the summer, but all contracts for asphalt have escalation clauses.  NYS DOT publishes asphalt escalation on the 25th of every month.  It will be the price going for the next 30 day period.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Donnelly said that it is a multi-year contract, but subject to the asphalt escalation.  It is never a “fixed” price. 


Mr. May referred to the green infrastructure specific to Electronic Parkway.  He wants to make sure that the concept of green infrastructure isn’t taking priority over what he views as serious problems with the road – i.e. handling surface water.  He asked if this is an initiative to solve those problems.  Mr. Donnelly said the area and the concept mirror well together.  It is know that there is an issue out there regarding condition of concrete islands and the drainage concern.  If they have to address it, they want to look at alternative ways to address the drainage and make the road better. 


Mr. Stanczyk noted that we have lagged and deferred maintenance of roads for a long time.  It is a wonderful time to bond long term; it is also a good time to put more money into our infrastructure – need to make sure we are improving it and not deferring it yet again.  Regarding green infrastructure, $300k is just for engineering to look at the concerns.  Mr. Donnelly noted that $100k is to modify all of the existing plans and specifications in house and provide for green alternatives.  It is does not necessarily mean that a green alternative is always going to be implemented, but making sure that when plans and specifications are made that the opportunity is there.  As they go forward and design other projects, will have the consultant on board to look at the projects and see if storm water retention is being maximized--being done with an eye toward maximizing capture.  The $200k of the design is specific for the Electronics Parkway area.  Mr. Stanczyk said that in order to do something different, you have to show that there is a problem with the way things are going and there is a perceived benefit going forward.  He would assume that there is some information out there about people that have done things like this in the past.  He questioned if it is important for us to spend this money ourselves; do we have to prove it to ourselves or do we already know.  Mr. Millea said “we know”; this is an investment in the analysis so that they can answer the questions of the legislature – is there a cost effectiveness to green infrastructure or not.  They intend to find that there are very cost effective, green infrastructure solutions for Electronics Parkway; that it will be a better investment than the conventional means.  It is cutting edge; the transportation sector hasn’t embraced this yet.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Millea explained there is “this is how we’ve always done it/why asking to change it approach” vs. having a broader view on what we are trying to impact.  The traffic patterns, capture, public safety is very important.  We may hear from a highway engineer that the conventional, gray way is cheaper; it is not necessarily better.  In the long run, it is better for us to invest a few $100k additional in the project.  He views that in the next 5 years there will be more onerous federal regulations on towns and villages that have separate storm sewers; to get ahead of it now is a very good place for this community to be in.


Mr. Jordan said he prefers to do things in a green fashion rather than gray, but gets uncomfortable with “cutting edge” as it sounds like the County is becoming a guinea pig.  He questioned that in creating green infrastructure, does it undermine the abutting road structure because it is holding more water in a particular locale.  Will there be twice as much cost to maintain the roads because they are buckling even more than they were before.  Mr. Millea said that State DOT has added some green infrastructure to some medians.  These are all great points; do the design and see the opportunities -- can have this discussion when the plans come out.  Mr. Jordan emphasized that the goal is affecting the means; we want to be here but are putting blinders on and finding ways to justify things in a particular fashion.  He noted that he sponsored legislation last year to take a broader look at these things. 


Mr. Kilmartin said that once the engineering is done, is there potential that it could be a system that could be replicated in the entire county.  Mr. Millea said that there would be.


A vote was taken on item 1a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Holmquist seconded Mr. Kilmartin’s motion to amend item 1b.  A vote was taken on the amendment.  AYES:  6; NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve item 1b as amended.  AYES:  6; NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


2.     SHERIFF:  Chief John Balloni

        a.     Authorize Co. Exec. to Enter into an Agreement with Oswego Co. to Provide Helicopter Services

Chief Balloni:

  • Sheriff feels it would be very beneficial to get this as part of the adjoining county’s budget/process every year
  • Now getting paid for services that were provided for on an emergency basis for a long time
  • The amount seems reasonable for compensation; if it turns out that it is not, they can amend it
  • They will look at it and report on it every year
  • Discussion at Public Safety Comm. mtg. re: memorializing additional legislature’s in the areas served to start the same type of contract to cover cost and provide operating fund to work from
  • Working with Law Dept--most things worked out for billing once the ship is back in service from required overhaul


In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Schuster said the helicopter has been out of service since the beginning of February; Chief Balloni said that it will be back in service in mid May.


Mrs. Tarolli confirmed that she was comfortable with the wording in the contract.


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


3.     BOARD OF ELECTIONS:  Helen Kiggins Walsh, Commissioner; Edward Ryan, Commissioner

        a.       Amend 2012 Budget to Accept an Allocation of Federal Title II HAVA Section 251 Funds from NYS, and Authorize the Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($250,000)

Mr. Ryan:

  • HAVA money came in; had “x” amount of time to spend it; have quite a bit left compared to other communities
  • money is being moved into on pot in Albany
  • most of what is bought is under contract with state or federal government
  • Have over $1 million; want to put $250k into an account to draw from
  • Ordered 25 new scanner only machines
  • Privacy screens ordered-–on aluminum stands, go between back & front of machine—can’t see in from the side


Chairman Knapp stated that previously there was ability to draw directly from this money; now have to front the purchase and get reimbursed.  Mr. Ryan agreed.  Mrs. Walsh explained that upon until March 1st, they were able to order items directly off of state contract and they would be paid for out of the account.  For anything ordered after March 1st, they have to upfront the money and get reimbursed. 


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


        b.      Transfer $9,375 from Acct. 300-9300 Supplies & Matls. to Acct. 408-9408 Fees for Services

Mrs. Walsh:

  • Have voter registration system, NTS
  • NTS has developed a new process, WorkFlow
  • WorkFlow scans everything when it comes in; paper gets put away; person brings up work file on screen and sends it where it needs to go
  • Old system required about 6 people touching the registration; this system will only require 2;
  • Eliminates key strokes for ID #’s thereby eliminating mistakes
  • Estimate it reduce time to process a registration from 15 minutes to 10
  • will reduce the number of temporary employees this time of year
  • Saves time, more efficient

In answer to Mr. May regarding set fees and expense over time, Mrs. Walsh said that they are paying the full cost over 4 years.  The ongoing cost is about $7,500/year; it is slightly less after 4th year.  Next year they will put the amount in their budget.


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


4.     PURCHASE:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.       Revenue Contract Report (on file with Clerk)

Mr. Carroll:

  • Lights on Lake Management RFP – sent out request to every media, events company in the area
  • 2 responses – Galaxy and Comcast
  • Comcast: commit $700k in advertising, $150k commit to New Years Eve event; reference of $70k to County
  • Galaxy: commit $980k in advertising; $320k commit to County plus half of the ticket sales about $379k
  • Some difference in program; Comcast suggested addl. activities for the New Year Eve event
  • Galaxy was selected; Comcast model would have set the Parks Dept. back from what they have achieved by having an outside person involved in this 
  • Recreational Equipment Rental - new RFP out – bicycles and other equipment rental at Onondaga Lake Park

Chairman Knapp referred to Lights on the Lake and asked what the contractor does for the County besides advertising:  Mr. Carroll explained that the County has an investment in staffing the event; the $320k is meant to offset most of the County costs.  The County provides police coverage for New Years Eve event, which comes out of Parks budget.  The contractor manages the tickets, does some ticket presale, and some of the advertising dollars generated go back to the vendor.  The recommended vendor has been in place for 2 years; their books have been presented to this committee, legislature for audit and made available to Parks Dept.  They own the radio stations; they are selling air to the County and filling space.


Mr. May noted for clarification, that the contractor is not staffing the event, it is staffed by County employees, the process is managed and overseen by Galaxy.  Mr. Stevens said that Galaxy provides all of the advertising and runs the First Night event.  Staff for First Night is technically paid for by Galaxy.  On regular nights, Parks Dept. staffs the ticket booth and costume characters.


Mr. Stanczyk asked that a comparison be provided to the Ways & Means Committee before the next Ways and Means meeting re: the amount of money put in terms of time, effort, manpower; what it was before this contract/arrangement was entered into Galaxy.


Mr. Jordan asked if the County has any say in what the entertainment is for First Night, as there were some concerns last year.  Mr. Carroll said that there are protections built into the RFP--will look at them and provide an answer.


5.     FINANCE:  James Rowley, CFO

        a.       Letters of Distribution Report (on file with Clerk)

Mr. Rowley:

  • Same report as last month; made changes requested at the last mtg. regarding how we charge out grant positions
  • Will have a resolution next month eliminating most letters of distribution

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

Mr. Rowley:

  • This is done periodically – long term bonds callable after 10 yrs
  • Engage underwriters to look at market to see what can be done to refund bonds
  • Asking to refund about $26 million in bonds – present value basis anticipated saving $1.6 million over remaining life of the bonds

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Rowley explained that these are 2003-2004 series bonds to be refunded/refinanced.  Call the bonds and reissue new bonds at a lower interest rate.  The projection is that the average coupon rate will be 3.878%; sell bonds at a premium with yield of about $1.8%.


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

6.     WAYS & MEANS, MISC:

        a.       Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2012-2013 Budget of OCC

Chairman Knapp:

  • OCC budget public hearing – May 28th at 11:00 in the Chambers
  • Quorum of Ways & Means Committee is needed
  • Regular Ways & Means Committee meeting time is changed to 11:15 or immediately following the public hearing


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



        a.       Litigation update – Kathleen Dougherty, Deputy County Attorney

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin to exit regular session and enter executive session to discuss the matters of:  John R. LaRose vs. State of NY, County of Onondaga, Community College, Robert A. McKenney, Michele Reed and Stephanie Reynolds; Maparo Ramadhan vs. Onon. Co., Onon. Co. Sheriff’s Office, Kevin Walsh, Lorenzo Booker , William Pufky, Todd Cerio, Kathleen Vickers, Joseph O’Neil, Kevin Moore, Jane DeMarco, Robert Wolfe, Douglas Paninski, Anthony Gorgoni, Chris Wilson, Neal DeStefano, Alex Caprilozzi, Donna Conklinm Nurse Shields; Chundra Smith, individually and as administratix of the Estate of Chuniece Patterson vs. Co. of Onon, Onon. Co. Justice Cntr., Kevin Walsh, Onondaga Co. Sheriff, Onon. Co. Sheriff’s Dept, Robert DeForge, Melissa Clayton, Deputy Diane Stech, Deputy Elizabeth Smith, Deputy Susan Nye , Deputy Cheryl Spina, and John/Jane Doe; James Turner, individually and by and through his Power of Attorney, Debra Tanner vs. Van Duyn Home & Hospital, Onon. Guild to the Van Duyn Home & Hospital, Inc. Co. of Onon Long Term Care and Co. of Onon.  Mr. Holmquist seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously.


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:31 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature

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