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

Deputy Clerk





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Shepard, 1Mr. Corl

ALSO ATTENDING: Mr. Knapp and see attached list


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


Chairman Plochocki provided the following update:

  • 3 day trip to Washington, D.C. with Mr. Millea
  • Invited to the Whitehouse to speak with President’s Council on Environmental Quality, included Mr. Millea, Chair Plochocki and a few other county and city leaders from around the country; asked for funding
  • Change in federal water funding, need to lobby Congress as a whole to approve national program that distributes funds by population to everyone; starting to move to a fairness concept
  • Successfully lobbied Congress last year to restore all funding cuts; surprised as Congress didn’t seem engaged
  • President proposed 1/3 cut to the program this year; president’s staff suggested the cut  may have been too much and asked for their thoughts - advised them of past uses for the funds and how they are still greatly needed; staff very attentive, asked great questions, impressed by the staffs knowledge of Onondaga Lake  

1.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  David Coburn, Director; Mark Budosh, P.E., Senior Project Engineer -Barton & Loguidice

        a.     Authorizing the County of Onondaga, to Act as Lead Agency for the Bridge Street/Milton Avenue Streetscape Revitalization Project (The Project) Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; Adopting a Negative Declaration; and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service and Filing of the Environmental Assessment Form, and the Negative Declaration


Chairman Plochocki stated that no action would be taken on this item, as they do not have all the information.  


Mr. Coburn:

  • Mr. Budosh’s wife had a baby - project took a backseat to their good news, Part 1 of assessment has been provided (On file with the Clerk), Part 2 and 3 are similar with nothing new
  • Lead agency request has been sent to all involved agencies
  • Part 2 and 3  to be provided by weeks end
  • Type 1 Action due to the number of acres - no other aspect of the project leads to this conclusion

Chair Plochocki stated that this isn’t being built on a wastebed, for example.  Mr. Coburn responded that there is waste everywhere, but this is not on a wastebed. 


  • Proposed a negative determination of significance; ask that a resolution be passed next month establishing lead agency, accepting environmental review documents and posting the information

Mrs. Rapp asked if there was a reason for this item coming to Environmental Protection, rather than County Facilities.  Mr. Coburn responded that the project isn’t a bridge project.  It is a multitude of projects, providing a facelift of the Bridge Street/Milton Avenue area and is being presented to the Environmental Protection Committee because he is participating in the environmental report and reports to this committee.  Chair Plochocki stated that he believes the project will go through both committees in addition to Ways and Means; just the SEQRA portion is being presented today.  Mr. Coburn added that the SEQRA doesn’t require any funds and could go from the committee to session.  


Dr. Chase stated that this project was a piece of the governor’s presentation on the amphitheater and Solvay cleanup.  Chair Plochocki confirmed this was correct.  Dr. Chase asked if this would be done in pieces.  Chair Plochocki responded that the governor has approved the funds, which will go to the amphitheater portion.  The overall project has not been approved by the County Legislature, as of this point in time.  The SEQRA process has begun to get the environmental ball rolling.  It doesn’t hurt to have SEQRA’s completed for these areas as they would presumably do something in the future, if the project wasn’t approved.  


Dr. Chase asked if improvements to the Milton Avenue corridor would come through this committee.  Chair Plochocki responded that the environmental review would come before them; will vote formally on this item next month.  The actual project itself and funding would presumably go through County Facilities and Ways and Means.  Mr. Knapp confirmed that this was his impression also.  Mrs. Rapp noted that this item seems like a County Facility project and typically, SEQRA’s for those projects would be handled in that committee.  Mr. Coburn reiterated that he reports to the Environmental Protection Committee and brought the item forward.  


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn confirmed that there is no impact to the environment.


        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  Regional Solid Waste Partnership – Update on SEQRA – David Coburn, Director


Mr. Coburn provided the committee with an information packet (On file with the Clerk):

  • SEQRA documents to be approved by Cortland County Legislature this month; hope Onondaga County Legislature will approve them shortly
  • Unique action, 2 county jurisdictions formed partnership, both counties taking separate but related actions
  • Great deal of public interest and concern; essential need for transparency  
  • Partnership actions are outlined on page 3 of Draft Scoping Document (see below)


Remainder of page intentionally left blank.


  • Cortland County initiated SEQRA process several months ago which caused concern and confusion for Onondaga County residents – where they to responded to the Cortland County SEQRA process, what was the role of the Onondaga County Legislature; didn’t satisfy the intent of making everyone comfortable, will be adequate public input, allowing everyone to be heard and issues to be addressed
  • Initially thought there would be 2 separate but parallel SEQRA processes, each county acting independently as lead agency and focusing primarily on actions taken in their county jurisdiction, then attaching and linking pieces that overlap; DEC confirmed their concern that this could be viewed as segmentation under SEQRA and could be challenged - segmentation suggests not all pieces of a project are being comprehensively reviewed
  • Determined best way to insure comprehensive and transparent process would be to proceed with the SEQRA process as co-lead agencies; Onondaga and Cortland County’s would be co-equals under the SEQRA process, allows elected officials for each jurisdiction, authority under SEQRA, to act in the best interest of the their constituents, public concerns will be heard by those elected to make decisions for them, eliminates the issue of segmentation and ensures the review is comprehensive; 1 review for all actions listed on page 3, assessed and reviewed all at once     

1Mr. Corl arrived.


  • Cortland County agreed to reset the SEQRA process; new lead agency letters sent out, environmental assessment forms rewritten to thoroughly describe actions in Onondaga and Cortland County’s and revised scoping document
  • Scoping document first step in opening the process for public input 
  • Handout includes draft SEQRA resolution, memorandum in support, Type 1 determination of significance  - requires Environmental Impact Statement, lead agency letter, draft scoping document and appendix Part 1, 2 & 3 supporting the determination
  • Cortland County Legislature expected to pass the SEQRA resolution April 24, 2014; process can’t start until Onondaga County passes comparable resolution due to co-lead agencies
  • Publication of scoping document is 1st step in getting information out to the public and getting feedback returned; SEQRA process doesn’t bind anyone, simply informs of the process; scoping document provides much information; should be helpful in making decisions down the road

Chair Plochocki stated that the Regional Solid Waste Partnership has not been approved yet; this is merely approving the SEQRA.  Various SEQRA processes can put a halt to everything, depending on what is found, therefore performing the SEQRA before the overall project is approved is not uncommon. 


Dr. Chase asked the cost for the SEQRA.  Mr. Millea responded that for Onondaga County the cost should be close to zero.  Mr. Coburn added, staff time.  Mr. Millea agreed, adding that OCRRA would spend some money.  Mr. Donnelly stated they passed a resolution allowing for up to $35,000; $30,000 would be a good number.  Mr. Millea stated that Cortland County has approved $250,000 for SEQRA.


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn stated that Cortland County’s piece of the SEQRA is much more extensive than Onondaga County.  Cortland County is building a landfill and transfer station.  There is no construction on the Onondaga County side.  Onondaga County will be updating the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) and dealing with the importation law, but there is no disturbance of the land and no new permits are required.  While Onondaga County’s piece is as important, it has much less of an impact in terms of the environment. 


Mr. Millea stated it is important to note that no partnerships have been authorized, yet Cortland County is investing $250,000 to go through the study phase.  This is an important statement to Cortland County’s goal in this process.


Mr. Knapp stated he applauds the team for coming up with the co-lead agency concept, which addresses many of the concerns he and others had with regard to transparency.  Having Cortland County as lead agency for something that could have a significantly impact on Onondaga County was a concern. 


Mr. Knapp stated that Cortland County has extended their public hearing times on the scoping process a few times already and asked if the process would start over.  Mr. Coburn responded that the process has been reset, but all of the comments received are still valid and will be integrated as part of the scoping process; gives everyone even more time to comment. 


Mr. Knapp stated for his chronological understanding the process would start with the scoping document, followed by a public hearing to determine what will be looked at through the scoping document.  Once this is set they will work with the actual SEQRA process, investigating items addressed in the scoping document and providing another public input phase.  Mr. Coburn responded that they don’t anticipate having an actual public hearing on the scoping document; people will review the draft document and comment on anything that may be missing and could be addressed as part of the  Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  The comments received will be made public and will be used as the basis for filling out the rest of the DEIS. 


Mr. Knapp asked who makes the decision on what is to be included in the DEIS.  Mr. Coburn responded that the lead agencies collectively determine what is included.  Mr. Knapp asked if this would ultimately be the Legislature or OCRRA.   Mr. Millea responded that it would likely be a recommendation primarily from Barton and Loguidice, who is serving as engineer lead on the SEQRA documentation.  From there, the process would flow up to both legislatures for scope finalization.  Both legislatures will be able to see all the comments, then design, change or amend the scope.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Millea confirmed that Onondaga County would absolutely have input, noting that this was the value of co-lead agencies.  The Legislature is not just making comments and hoping that they are considered; they can actually change the scope.  Mr. Knapp stated that once the draft has been completed, they will move into the official SEQRA and there will be additional public comment. 


Mr. Knapp asked for thoughts on when there would be community meetings; during scoping process, SEQRA process or both – nothing he was holding them to, just asking for their thoughts.  Mr. Millea suggested that there should be several public meetings during the environmental impact stage; perhaps one or two prior to completion of the DEIS and the same after, for review of its contents.  To Mr. Coburn’s point, Mr. Millea doesn’t believe there is a need for public hearings in the scoping phase.  Mr. Knapp stated he was just trying to get his arms around the process. 


Mr. Millea stated in parallel, I-81 is currently in the scoping phase and they are holding many public meetings to determine alternatives.  In this case, they aren’t looking for discussion of 9-10 different approaches; just want to investigate the environmental impacts of the proposal.  The SEQRA analyzes different scenarios, but this is a different type of SEQRA review where they anticipate a broad dialogue with the community once they are in the environmental review phase, or if the Legislature asks to take the DEIS to the final phase, there will likely be 4 or 5 public meetings. 


Mr. Coburn stated that he realized the draft scope was just handed out this morning, but if they take some time to look through it, they will see how comprehensive the process is expected to be and the range and types of issues to be addressed.


In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Donnelly stated that this process is a wonderful example of resources working together - Cortland representatives, Onondaga and Cortland County attorneys, Mr. Coburn, all  stakeholders and experts, i.e., Barton and Loguidice.  Cortland County was a little upset that they had to step back, but are now moving forward and are where they were, or a little ahead.  Weekly meetings are held via conference call; collectively working together, not working in individual departments.


Chair Plochocki state he recently went on a tour of the Waste to Energy facility along with several representatives from Cortland.  This provided a good opportunity to speak face to face with representatives, instead of over the phone.  Chair Plochocki has every confidence that they are great partners to have.  Mr. Donnelly responded that an additional tour is scheduled and invitations have been sent out.  While many people have previously toured the facility, they would like to provide an opportunity for networking between Cortland and Onondaga County legislators.  Mr. Donnelly asked that legislators call if they haven’t received an invite and would like to attend.  The networking opportunity is the most important part of the tour, but seeing how the facility operates is impressive.  


2.     LAKE IMPROVEMENTTom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update http://savetherain.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014-Q1-STR-Quarterly-Report.pdf


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Quarterly report required per ACJ
  • Cover photo manufactured treatment device being installed on Fayette Street, part of Connective Corridor Project

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated that after a sewer separation, the storm sewers themselves could contaminate receiving waters.  The treatment devise will be a stilling area where grid and other debris from the street will settle, instead of capturing them at the end the pipe or in the creek, they will be vacuumed out here.  Mrs. Rapp asked if there was a screen so that water would drain and the debris would remain.  Mr. Rhoads confirmed this was correct.  

  • Submitted annual report April 1, 2014; reported capture of 92.9%, ahead of required 89.5% capture required by 12-31-13, compares favorably with future goals of 91.4% by 12-31-15, 93% by 12-31-16 and 95% by 2018
  • Major construction milestones completed including Harbor Brook intercepting sewer, and Clinton and Lower Harbor Brook storage facilities; fines would have been assessed if construction wasn’t completed
  • 50 green projects completed in 2013, including 27 GIF projects; now have a combined program of green and gray working in combination for capture, won’t be doing as many projects in the future - capture rate is getting there, will be very focused - only doing projects in areas with need or water quality issues  
  • Water quality next phase; snap shots of water quality comparing Onondaga Lake to other local lakes (see pages 1-4), phosphorus levels and algal biomass compare well to the Finger Lakes and Onondaga Lake, is approaching or in some cases better than Oneida Lake water quality
  • Onondaga Lake is a tremendous resource - recovery of the lake will require individual responsibility for littering or other actions that could cause receiving water contamination, now talking about doing exciting things around the lake due to lake recovery; must work together on smaller water quality items to get individuals involved, all street litter currently goes into the storm swear and has the potential to enter receiving waters


Mrs. Rapp stated that they have talked about removing the litter from roadways for years.  To date there has been massive finger pointing as to whose jurisdiction it was, and nothing has happened.  Mrs. Rapp asked how this was going to change.  Mr. Rhoads responded that they have to work on public education components, and added that he is not immediately involved with the aspects of state highway work.


Mr. Millea stated that they have moved away from the finger pointing; now go out on a regular basis with city/county crews for cleanup of state roadways.  The unfortunate part is that within three weeks the litter returns.  This is something that will have to be addressed or the County will have to spend tens-of-millions on facilities that they don’t need, just to remove received litter from the sewer system.  They are going to work very aggressively so that they don’t have to build those facilities; will work with the city and the state on strategies that attack the litter issue.  This will be an operation maintenance issue eventually, perhaps with WEP’s budget.  It is far better to spend a few hundred-thousand dollars over a couple of years, than to spend tens-of-millions to build facilities.  Mr. Rhoads and his team are strenuously negotiating with DEC for permission to use O&M strategy, in conjunction with the City, for street sweeping, litter pickup and public outreach.  They will be very aggressive.  


Mrs. Rapp stated that for 20 years this has not worked; previously had “Dunk Your Junk”.  Mr. Millea responded that he and Mr. Rhoads have talked about this.  Mr. Rhoads has some great ideas that they want to speak with the City about implementing; want to see the fines and penalties increased for littering, along with enforcement.  This is a challenge, Chief Fowler has his hands full and the cops are busy doing serious work and may not want to stop and issue litter tickets.  However, there is a public policy argument that could be made.  When you attack the smaller issues, some of the bigger issues tend to take care of themselves. 


Mrs. Rapp stated that Onondaga County has been such a leader in recycling; there is a local psyche tuned into this kind of thing.  She remembers, “Don’t Be A Litterbug” from the sixty’s, and thinking that you just can’t throw a wrapper on the ground; had an enormous effect.  Mr. Millea stated that litter is now a priority.  They have been so focused on capture projects, but litter is next.  This must be addressed in the next few years or it will be a huge liability for the County.  Mrs. Rapp added that litter was an economic development issue also - they don’t want litter to be a visitor’s first impression of Syracuse.       

  • New mindset must be created as waters value; the clean lake can be talked about in a completely different context, able to change the mindset because of the ambient monitoring program
  • Monitoring program is the focus of the current report; trying to help everyone understand all the water quality issues they report on, water quality will replace capture as the focus for future reports    


Chair Plochocki stated that he realizes phosphorus isn’t the only type of pollution, but if he was reading the report correctly, the chart indicates that Onondaga Lake is not only cleaner than Oneida Lake, but also two of the Finger Lakes.  The next lake it will overtake is Otisco, which is where everyone on public water in his district gets drinking water from.  This is very impressive.  Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this was correct.  Mrs. Rapp stated that in terms of a visual, this was a great statistic in itself.  Mr. Rhoads added that this was what he wanted to communicate to the committee – they have changed the entire discussion about the lake. 


  • Cities pump billions into sewer projects - March 10, 2014, article from USA Today states Washington, D.C. is spending $2.6B to put tunnels beneath the city for sewer capture, Cleveland is spending $3B, St. Louis $2.1B and Kansas City $2.48B; tunnels are expensive, can run into unexpected issues and don’t provide neighborhood redevelopment created but green projects; the green infrastructure course set by Onondaga County was the right choice for capture and additional community benefit
  • Report includes gray, green and GIF project updates, along with ambient monitoring, including fish restoration
  • Number of news articles included; due to cold winter and lake freeze the eagles are congregating on Onondaga Lake, eating good fish; opportunity to create lake amphitheater and new community interactions with the lake
  • Education and outreach progress report included; Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center led the public outreach program;  information on the Green Project Summit, National Leadership awards received and good work throughout the community


Chair Plochocki asked if one of Mr. Rhoads points was that the route taken has been very cost effective.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that if money was no object, tunnels certainly capture stormwater.  Clinton Storage was a tunnel project.  Tunnel projects cost a lot of money and don’t provide any of the other community development aspects.  There is also the sustainability aspect; once the tunnel receives the water it then needs to be pumped out and treated.  Green infrastructure infiltrates naturally into the ground, avoiding future pumping, management and treatment costs.


Mrs. Rapp stated that at one time there was talk of touring Clinton Storage.  Chair Plochocki added that a tour of the wastewater treatment plant was first on the list.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he would love to hold an Environmental Projection Committee meeting at Metro and Clinton.  Clinton is a huge facility, very well constructed and fits architecturally well into the community.  They will be very proud of their investment.  Chair Plochocki stated that they would try to arrange the next meeting at Metro and then possibly a June or July meeting at Clinton.  Mrs. Rapp suggested that the tour of Clinton be a combined meeting with County Facilities and include the Loop the Lake Trail.        


Mr. Corl asked how the scope of suburban Save the Rain grants would change.  Mr. Rhoads responded that they expect to handle them as part of WEP’s regular budget, for the current year.  They have received a windfall due to Honeywell dredging.  Honeywell pays WEP for the final polishing treatment to the dredging waters and those dollars were used to fund money in the 2014-operating budget, which will likely be used to for I & I projects from the 2013 round of grants.  Legislative funding and budget discussions will determine what happens beyond the coming year.


Ms. Chase reminded the committee of Earth Day Litter Cleanup, Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Mr. Donnelly responded that OCRRA has been leading the community event that Mr. Rhoads started years ago.  The numbers have declined, but they have 4,700 people and 280 groups, participating this year.  With the renewed effort for litter removal, perhaps they will be able to get major groups to help sponsor the project and return to the former numbers of 7,000 plus.  In answer to Mr. Millea, Mr. Donnelly confirmed that OCRRA reports the amount of litter collected on their website and in their newsletter.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 AM.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature





* * *




Members Present:  Mr. Liedka, Mr. Corl, Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Knapp

Also Attending:  Chairman McMahon, Mrs. Ervin; see attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Corl, to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTBill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Confirming Appointment of Julie Cerio as Director of the Department of Economic Development


  • County Executive (CE) pleased the Legislature is considering Julie Cerio as Director of Economic Development (ED)
  • Process – CE can make appointments which become temporary appointments, and must be acted on within 45 days; have until May 6th session; Mrs. Cerio available and acting in role of Director at Washington Station
  • OCIDA has executive director who is the Director of ED; they will schedule a meeting with their board to confirm Mrs. Cerio as director of OCIDA after May 6th; Ms. Primo acting as director even w/promotion to First Chief Deputy in Law
  • 2 other entities – Onondaga Civic Development Corporation (OCDC) and the Trust for Cultural Resources – those boards have approved Mrs. Cerio as executive director of those entities
  • Ms. Primo came in without direct experience in Economic Development but lengthy experience as an attorney
  • Resume for Mrs. Cerio; admitted in NYS Bar 2001; graduate of Cooley Law School and Bachelors from SUNY Buffalo; doing business in County since 2001 and representing business clients
  • Ms. Primo built team - smooth transition with Mrs. Cerio taking over; proud of work the staff does and easily transitioned to new leadership without missing a beat

Mrs. Cerio:

  • Previously did work in matrimonial and family court; nice change from ripping things apart to putting things together
  • Husband was on OCDC, and she has sat in on meetings; sat in 4 or 5 meetings since becoming temporary Director
  • Sat through proposals by various companies with different packages; have seen some from beginning to today
  • Ie:  $40,000 to OCC; saw from beginning to end, even prior to being assigned; saw how operates
  • Excited about opportunity; resume indicates predominantly matrimonial law and family court law, however involved in everything going on in office, including real estate transactions; was on Planning Board for Town of Onondaga
  • Husband an entrepreneur – got into their own business of buying properties; proud owner of Mizpah Tower
  • Looking forward to going out to businesses, and helping businesses with what they need
  • Staff at ED is wonderful; stellar leadership by Mary Beth Primo; runs like clockwork
  • On phone with woman doing business half world away, and wants to come back to do great things in Onondaga County – able to sit in room with City ED, County ED and partners to talk about opportunities available
  • Usually a person goes to town gov’t first because that is where they pay taxes and are comfortable; currently reaching out to towns to let them know what County ED does so they can shift people here
  • Since taking over, been to three business who are looking to do great things, and working to get sites shovel ready
  • Looking forward to working with the Legislature and the County

Mr. Knapp wanted to thank Ms. Primo for her tenure.  Mr. Knapp served on OCIDA for many years before being appointed to the Legislature.  One of the big disappointments of being elected into the Legislature was having to step down from OCIDA, because Mr. Knapp really enjoyed it.  There are many little world class companies that exist in Central New York that the Economic Development Department supports with expansion.  The goal is to keep them here and thriving.  Mr. Knapp commented that Ms. Primo did a wonderful job at that.  Mr. Knapp asked Mrs. Cerio what her first thoughts were when she got the call from the County Executive.  Mrs. Cerio responded:

  • First thing was to know more about it; this committee was not born as Legislators same as she was not born into economic development
  • Everything she accomplished was partial legal training and partial good work ethic; i.e. Mrs. Cerio never did a matrimonial before, and the practice got so big, people had to be turned away
  • Had to find out everything before accepting; think County Executive knows Mrs. Cerio has good work ethic
  • It was not a definite yes; next call was to Ms. Primo who has stayed on late to explain things
  • Not familiar with bonding; going to a boot camp on bonding to learn more about and understand it

Mrs. Cerio agreed with Chair Rapp that she was recruited. 


Mr. Corl wanted to echo Mr. Knapp’s sentiments on Ms. Primo.  Two years ago Ms. Primo was able to show Mr. Corl what the department does.  It is truly amazing what Ms. Primo has accomplished.  Mr. Corl appreciates her efforts, and best wishes in her future endeavors in the Law Department.  Mr. Corl commented that Mrs. Cerio is a fantastic choice and will do an excellent job in this position.  The legal background will help greatly.  Being a business owner, Mrs. Cerio knows the daily grind of what businesses go through in CNY which will helpful with new businesses as well. 


Mr. Liedka stated the resume speaks for itself, but when Mrs. Cerio is going out to attract new business, what in her skill set will help market the County.  What will help Mrs. Cerio stand out against neighboring counties competing for the same type of business?  Mrs. Cerio:

  • Learning that a lot of this is being able to go out and sell Onondaga County
  • Lived here entire life, except for a stint of higher education; moved to a lot of different towns, and familiar w/entire area
  • Assets – being able to talk to people, sell to people and convincingly able to let them know what County has
  • Coming online with new program in next two weeks; will help a lot – keep people on same page
  • Totally different population of people she hasn’t met, but the old population already have projects coming forward because of the new role being played

Chair Rapp stated Economic Development is part sales, but there is a lot of technical background necessary. 


2.     ONONDAGA CIVIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONBill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; Declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Short Environmental Assessment Form; and Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration for the Lease of Hancock Airpark

        b.     Authorizing the Lease of Hancock Airpark Property to Onondaga Civic Development Corporation


Mrs. Berger stated it is a transfer to an LDC. 


Mr. Fisher stated in 1987 the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) headed into a lease with the County for the space that became known as Hancock Airpark.  They developed it, and there was a lot of success there. 


Chair Rapp:

  • Nothing happened until 1999/2000 when the Legislature (first time ever) agreed to put money in for infrastructure
  • Could not give the money directly, not shovel ready; potential site that sat for a time
  • $1 mil of surplus money funneled through IDA - as parcels were sold, the County would be paid back w/interest
  • They wound up paying over $300,000 to County in interest; now when County gets the million dollars back (happens with this last sale) – it will clean the books completely
  • Big payoff to taxpayer has been the creation of 800 jobs; almost fully developed airpark; couple sites left
  • $4 mill leftover from Dormitory Grant - the state allowing County to use to clean up barracks on city side, which is 50 or 60 acres right next to airport; has a lot of environmental issues w/asbestos on airbase
  • CNS agreed to take down all barracks

Mr. Fisher:

  • Chair Rapp on HFDC board since inception; board authorized the lease with County; selling parcels and occasionally lease; Jadak created jobs and recently sold for over $90 mil; will stay and expand
  • Reinforcement that taking property in one place and developing in an integrated way can have benefits to community
  • Legislature took a chance on this by putting money into it; OCIDA on hook for it, and won’t be fully made whole in interest, but over time 60% of subsequent sales will go to OCIDA to continue paying on interest
  • HFDC let lease expire; not lucrative; at end of life cycle developing properties; spending more money than bringing in
  • Gave plenty of notice; kept going for 1 year; continuing to sell with 1 sale left for $350,000
  • Money losing business if just looking at profit/loss statement; generated enough money to pay for itself

Chair Rapp stated the County is getting income from the property taxes, and they are the ones paying the expenses.  Mr. Fisher commented the lease expired, they came back to the County, and the County was wondering what to do with it.  Facilities Management manages this facility and others, but they are not in the business of managing business parks.  Chair Rapp asked if they need a management team there.  Ms. Spillane responded there are fifty acres available; thirty are saleable and twenty acres which may have to be turned back to the park.  Thirty acres is large to manage and sell; a couple leases pending.  Ms. Spillane replied to Chair Rapp that someone has to manage the leases, the fifty acres and market the park.  Chair Rapp asked why Facilities cannot manage it.  Mr. Fisher responded they could, but selling County property is challenging.  There has to be appraisals and other criteria when buying and selling property. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Local development corporation model that HFDC has and OCDC has are flexible – can do things with property sales, and as long as it promotes economic development, they can legally justify different way of operating than County can
  • Looked at IDA - lawyers drafted things in a way that gave IDA same challenges County would have
  • SEQRA required of lease, lease and resolution authorizing CE to enter lease
  • Lease provides for Special Redevelopment Account (SRA) that was HFDC’s, which will go to the County and be used for brief time to pay bills since January; been paying out of County’s side, but want to pay out of SRA
  • After paying those bills, will hand over what’s left; about $95,000 - $100,000 to start, after bills of about $10,000 to $15,000 so far, $75,000 - $85,000 left in SRA (bank acct w/restrictions); money generated through sales
  • Any subsequent sales - 60% of sale will go to OCIDA to pay down interest ($300,000+), and remaining 40% to SRA to be used; think the money that goes in there right now is enough for 3 years of operations
  • Should be able to get through 2014 - 2016; won’t come back for more money until 2016 for 2017 budget; OCDC not on hook, and lease says they do not bare any expenses; County bares anything above that
  • Will ask OCDC to sell more land so they don’t run out of money in 2017

Chair Rapp hopes this will be a private park that pays their taxes and is turned over to the Town of Cicero, so there is not government management.  Mr. Fisher responded the County does not want to be in this business, it is not strategic, there is not enough land left, and if it is a business by itself, the County should dump it.  There is an opportunity out there with this barracks to be able to do it again.  There is also an opportunity with some of the land the airport owns on Taft Road.  If they take the Taft Road land, the barracks land and what is left of the Hancock Airpark, they could put that together.  They are also looking at New Air.  This would be one of five sites in the country that will be allowed to fly unmanned aerial vehicles off of an airport.  If someone is willing to make a business out of that, and the County has an airpark next to the place where they can fly these things, then maybe the County can focus on that.  Mr. Fisher stated there have been conversations with Centerstate and OCDC about that, and they were excited; may grant money to New Air.  Ms. Spillane commented OCDC did grant money during the FAA application process.  Ms. Spillane responded to Chairman McMahon that New Air is a drone company.  Mr. Fisher clarified it is a non-profit, and they are unmanned aerial vehicles.  These drones have proven themselves, have protected the armed forces, and prevent people from blowing up the military.  The internet came from defense applications, and became very lucrative. 


Chairman McMahon asked if this is a potential partnership with Centerstate down the road, and Centerstate is currently managing it, why are they giving it back to the County.  Mr. Fisher replied that it may be OCDC or the airport, not Centerstate.  Mr. Fisher stated the County Executive would want the County to take the lead on this.  If the County has its own LDC, then why would the County need theirs?  In the short run, it is a tactical play, and if the County cannot find a way to make it more strategic, then they probably will come back to put out an RFP to see if someone wants to buy it.  Or they may come back and say it fits nicely with the barracks property and the other property, but there is no specific plan.  Chair Rapp commented the other way to do this is to have a private company come in to manage and take over the leasing.  Chair Rapp asked if this has been explored.  Ms. Primo responded there are two buildings on the vacant properties that the County is responsible for.  The roads belong to the town, and Ms. Spillane is looking into the lighting district.  Both tenants for the two buildings may be interested in buying them.  That will probably be the first thing OCDC looks into, and will come to some reasonable terms with the tenants.  That is the idea; to sell all of the property.  Ms. Primo does not see why the County would not be able to sell all the property within a few years.  It is a great location and business park.  In terms of fair, it will sell.  There is one strip of property that is long and narrow, that may be turned over to the town. 


Ms. Spillane responded to Mr. Knapp that based on revenues from the leases and expenses, it is about a $10,000 money loser, but it is replenished by the sale of parcels.  It is a net loser on the profit/loss sheet, but after selling the parcels, it ends up making a profit.  Chair Rapp stated it has not cost the County anything to date.  Mr. Fisher agreed.  Mr. Fisher stated the County does own structures, so when roofs fail, they are replaced.  Ms. Spillane added that the budget covers all of that and the liability.  Mr. Knapp asked if it was about $20,000, and Ms. Spillane agreed.


Mr. Fisher asked where they are with the landscaping.  Ms. Spillane answered the parcels that are not sold need to be maintained.  The parcels and roads that were sold are maintained by the owners.  Chair Rapp asked about the entrances.  Ms. Spillane replied the town handles it.  Mr. Corl asked about the sign.  Ms. Primo responded when it was set up, no one (not even the County) was responsible for that.  Chair Rapp stated someone is taking care of it.  Ms. Spillane said they will look into it.  Ms. Primo thinks the airport owns the parcel near the road. 


Mr. Corl asked if the parcels being sold have gone through.  Ms. Primo responded they both were done.  Ms. Primo replied to Mr. Corl that the funds are in the SRA being held by the HFDC.  Chair Rapp stated it becomes the revolving fund for operations.  Mr. Fisher commented the funds have been depleted, so the sale that is supposed to happen this week will replenish it ($95,000 - $100,000).  After paying the $220,000 to the IDA, $114,000 goes to the County which satisfies the County’s loan. 


A motion was made by Mr. Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Knapp to approve item 2a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Chair Rapp, seconded by Mr. Corl to approve item 2b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature




* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corl, Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Williams, Dr. Chase

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Kilmartin, Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Plochocki, Mr. May, see also attached lists

Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams to waive the reading of the minutes of proceeding of the previous meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Liedka asked Dr. Cynthia Morrow to discuss the proposed, next phase of the reorganization, hear her concerns and opinions, and then take questions from the panel.


Dr. Cynthia Morrow:


Dr. Morrow thanked the committee for the opportunity to share some of her concerns of the proposed reorganization for the 2015 budget.  She believes that the county administration and she share a commitment of providing the most comprehensive, coordinated and effective services for the people that they serve.  She strongly supports the need for increased collaboration and communication between all departments and between all agencies that serve the same population.  There are many different opportunities to improve collaboration and communication, however the potential intended consequences of the County’s decision to move Healthy Families out of the Health Department., and into the Department of Children & Family Services, jeopardizes the successes that have been made; has un untended potentially, long-lasting impact on the health of our community.  The impact that would be felt is likely not to be immediate and likely to be in years to come, but the potential is enormous. 


Dr. Morrow reviewed the programs that are involved.  She noted that it is important to remember that these services are available, for the most part, to all women and children in Onondaga County.  The proposed reorganization includes:

  • Special Children’s Services:  Early Intervention and Preschool Program – 3,100 children served in 2012; lead agency is NYS Dept. of Health
  • Home Visitation and Community Outreach: 

Community Health Nursing – over 2,000 served in 2012, over 10,000 visits – the Home Visitation model is a health model that operates under Article 36 -- licensed home care agency

Nurse Family Partnership:  partly grant funded, requires billing – 2 grants from NYS Dept. of Health to provide services

Healthy Start – serves approx. 1,000 women, 100% federally grant fund

  • Immunization – provided under Article 28 as a licensed diagnostic and treatment center, NYS Dept. of Health
  • WIC and WIC Vendor Management – 10,000 participants/month in 2012; approx. 11,000 participants/month in 2013; 100% grant funded; transition requires consultation with granting agency

Dr. Morrow said that she had provided a chart of this information to county administration earlier this year.


Potential outcomes she is concerned about –- there is a tremendous level of complexity to it and welcomes getting into it if more detail is needed – will be superficial today regarding the types of concerns.  She pointed out that she is available for any further details.  Her six areas of concerns:

  • Primary concern:  Maternal & Child Health no longer being considered a core public health function
  • Impact on program participation
  • Potential legal concerns
  • Unanticipated fiscal implications
  • Impact on accreditation process
  • Surge capacity


Maternal & Child Health is recognized as a core public health function in our community, state, and country.  She shared a history of Maternal & Child Health in Onondaga County:


        1918 Annual Report Syracuse Health Dept.:  Infant welfare – new branch established – infant welfare work.  Beginning July 1, 1918 an infant welfare nurse was appointed – enormous amount of work was done.  “The City’s sanitary work can be measured in no better way than by the care of babies in the City.  The City owes it to the babies, and they should certainly respond to that necessity.”

        1930 Annual Report – The Care of Mother & Child – “The services maintained for the care of mother and child is a continuous, closely coordinated medical and educational nursing service.”

        1949 Annual Report Dept. of Health – “Nutrition plays an important role in public health.  It has a definite affect upon illness such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.  The scope of public health work is so broad that the cooperation of governments and voluntary agencies is essential.  It is necessary to include nutrition in any public health program.”

        1951 Annual Report – “To render good public health services, there must be more than service programs.  There must first be a study of the data.  It may be to other professional groups.  Research, teaching, and service are essential to a well-balanced public health program.”


Dr. Morrow addressed her 6 primary concerns:

1.     She brought the examples to show that in Onondaga County there has been a strong structure of public health in the field of maternal & child health.  It is important to understand that the infrastructure to support Maternal & Child Health is in public health at the county, state, and federal levels.  To take Maternal & Child Health out of the infrastructure that has been developed to support it, poses a risk.  These are primarily clinical programs – anchored by public health professionals who maintain strong relationships with health care providers.  She acknowledged that there were several health care providers present today that share her concerns.  She is concerned that this decision moves programs from a well-established, successful health model of service delivery, that has infrastructure from the local, state and federal levels, to a social services model, which has no experience in evidence based Maternal and Child Health programming and evaluation.  It does not have the local or state infrastructure for it to perform this function.  These are health programs, and need the infrastructure to support them.


2.     Program Participation – Healthy Families programs are voluntary and highly dependent on ability to gain trust and develop relationships.  The Division of Healthy Families has worked diligently over the years to cultivate a safe and trusting environment for the women and babies served.  An entire rebranding of the program occurred in 2011, which was formed in part by clients.  Public health officials are the experts in Maternal and Child Health; trained in community engagement, trained in outreach, trained in understanding the social, behavioral, and emotional needs of their clients.  It is her opinion, and that of many experts across the country, that bringing Healthy Families into the same agency as Child Protective Services, and other things in the Department of Children & Family Services, has the potential to undermine the trust of the clients that are being served and thereby cause irreparable damage to Healthy Families’ reputation as being a safe environment for women and children.  The Nurse Family Partnership model, embraced several years ago in Onondaga County and recently received grant funding to expand, has expressed the same concern. 


3.     Legal Implications:  Health Department is currently operating under Article 28 and Article 36.  Article 28 – Diagnostic & Treatment Center – currently use that license to a health agency, from a health agency.  It is used to provide immunization services, STD, TB & other communicable disease services.  Home Visitation is under Article 36 – a certified home health agency.  Would have to go through a lot of machinations in order to be able transfer – currently licensed to the Health Department.  She believes that the Law Department is looking at this diligently and will be able to find a way to work around these.  “In the meantime, it is really incumbent upon us to look at what all of the legal implications are.”


4.     Fiscal Implications:  Currently the County Health Dept. receives almost $8 million revenue in Healthy Families grants from Article 6 State Aid.  It includes WIC, which is a huge grant.  She has been assured that funding will not be compromised.  Dr. Morrow stated that she knows that the county administration would in no way, shape or form, intentionally harm the fiscal stability of these programs.  That is not her concern.  Her concern is unintended consequences.  Many of these funds will likely remain available under a different structure, she remains deeply concerned that the funding agencies will not grant a competitive application to a non-health entity.  Even if they have been convinced to continue the grants that the county currently has, there is certainly no assurance that they would, in a competitive process for the next cycle, give it to a non-health entity.  She provided the example of Syracuse Healthy Start – county just reapplied for – has about 100 grants across the county, about 40 are granted to governmental agencies.  She believes of those 40, 38 are to health departments, and 2 are two health and human services.  There is no federal government grant to a non-health entity.  She absolutely believes that the intention of the county administration is to maintain funding, but does believe that there are potential long-term consequences to taking a health program out of a Health Department.


5.     Accreditation:  They have spent the last 2 years, many people on the legislature, know the work that has been done on accreditation.  The accreditation application will have to be withdrawn.  Accreditation is voluntary; the Health Department will certainly do a new application under new leadership, but will have to be completely restructured without Maternal & Child Health.  It will be interesting for the evaluators to look at.  It has been made very clear on the national level that accreditation will become a funding issue for competitive grants – probably not in the next few years, but in 5 or 10.  The expectation is that entities that are not accredited will be less competitive than entities that are accredited.   


6.     Surge capacity – It could be accomplished under a different structure, but would be extremely difficult to do so.  Public health preparedness is different than emergency response to a natural disaster.  It is predicated on our staff being trained to respond to an emergency.  Public health preparedness was exercised after anthrax attacks after 9/11 – established a hotline and responded to community needs.  The clearest example was during the H1N1 epidemic, where all of the nurses were mobilized, school clinics were coordinated across the community, vaccinating over 20,000 children within a few weeks.  It was entirely dependent on public health nurses, the vast majority of whom were in Maternal & Child Heath.  They are part of an infrastructure that supports ongoing training.  Under a different department, it is possible that they could be mobilized in an emergency, but it would take more time, more coordination, and more training to have them up to speed if they have been taken out of the context of public health.  It is pretty clear that it would be more difficult; it is surmountable challenge and she doesn’t understand the necessity of undertaking that challenge. 


Dr. Morrow said that given that there is a long history of success, and given that there is a rationale for having Maternal and Child Health Programs in the Health Department, the burden of proof must be on the county administration to justify moving these critical services to an untested model of service delivery.  To her knowledge, there has neither been a clear defined problem that instigated this, nor is there a clearly defined process by which to solve the problem.  Dr. Morrow said that she believes that assessment drives policy.  In her opinion, the decision to move Healthy Families to the Department of Children and Family Services, was made prior to an adequate assessment to the situation.  As an example, to this day, to her knowledge, there has been no consultation with the NYS Department of Health, which both regulates and funds the Healthy Family Programs.  Most importantly, there has been no assessment on the impact of participation in the programs through any type of engagement process.  She has spoken with many community members, and believes there is significant concern on their part.  She suggested that perhaps the legislature could ask for that process to occur. 


Dr. Morrow said that for all of these reasons, she was uncomfortable continuing to participate in a process that would move Healthy Families to the Department of Children and Family Services.  That was the cause of her resignation last week.


Dr. Morrow read a story of Neetza and Jeremy, which she was given permission to share.  They recently went to Albany to share their story with legislators and promote maternal and child heath programming.  Neetza became pregnant while in high school in Syracuse.  She and Jeremy became enrolled in the Nurse Family Partnership; had a full term baby girl; all are doing well.  Dr. Morrow said that Jeremy commented that the program has really helped make an impact on their perspectives, beliefs, and ideas as parents.  As being young parents, the program has been very guiding and reassuring for them; knowledge and ideas shared and gained with each visit with Erin (their public health nurse) leaves them feeling confident and encouraged to be the best parents they can be.  Dr. Morrow said that Neetza said that the program has been such a huge help to she and Jeremy with the big and little issues in their lives.  Dr. Morrow reported that Jeremy is at school and holding down a job; Neetza plans to go to OCC in the fall.  Neetza and her family will graduate from the NFP program in the November, when her daughter turns two.  Dr. Morrow said that she is not willing to risk this type of success.  


Mr. Corl referred to an assessment, and asked if Dr. Morrow was aware of any documentation that shows any deficiencies in the Health Department or anything that shows a lack of collaboration with DSS.  Dr. Morrow said that to her knowledge, that kind of assessment has not been done.  The Deputy County Executive has been very interested in the overlap of the programs.  Over the past year the Health Department has been asked if they can determine the amount of overlap.  That required some input from Law Department about what information could be shared.  To her knowledge, the Health Department did not get clearance from the Law Department about what information could be shared.  She did receive a request for information on March 11th, and she provided the data on March 20th.  To her knowledge, no problem has been identified.  There has been concern about lack of coordination, but she has not seen any data to support it.


Mr. Corl asked Dr. Morrow if she sees any positives/benefits in going in this direction.  Dr. Morrow said that there is always a benefit when there is increased communication and coordination between services.  There are many different ways that they can change the structure.  One suggestion she made last year was to have dedicated liaisons between the departments.  That model exits with a social service worker in Health Department, who has a direct linkage with Children’s Division, and it appears to have worked very well on both sides.  There are many opportunities to increase collaboration and she thinks that it needs to be increased.  There is benefit if making sure it is looked at on what to do, but doesn’t think there is benefit in taking Maternal & Child Health programs out of the Health Department. 


Ms. Williams thanked Dr. Morrow for her service.  She asked about the NYS Dept. of Health not being notified of this process.  Dr. Morrow said that she notified them last year when it first came up.  She received an email that they had concerns.  Dr. Morrow read the email and stated that she believes the Law Department is looking at the concerns and will find an opportunity to comply with the law.  She is not concerned about the county engaging in illegal activity; she just feels it would be beneficial to formally get that back before any decisions are made. 


Ms. Williams asked if the NYS Health Department has to give their approval before this goes through.  Dr. Morrow said that the State Health Department must approve changes in Article 28 and Article 36.  The county could move forward and find out about reimbursement later.  Ms. Williams said that it also has to come back to the County Legislature for approval as well.  Chairman Liedka agreed.


Mrs. Tassone referred to Dr. Morrow’s concern regarding the nurses in disaster planning and asked how often they train currently.  Dr. Morrow said that it depends on the situation.  There is ongoing training, typically twice per year.  Trainers from Texas came up last year to train many people in the Health Department, including staff from MCH and Disaster Response.  It is more about the day to day communication that allows them to be constantly on the same page.  Dr. Morrow said that it is possible under a new structure, but doesn’t think it would be as natural and would probably be a little more work in the middle of a disaster. 


Dr. Chase thanked Dr. Morrow.  Having working in the health care profession for a lot of years, and having had the opportunity to interact with the County Health Department, Dr. Morrow’s leadership and expertise has been exemplary. 


Dr. Chase said that she has concerns about supervision of the licensed nurses.  By the Nurse Practice Act, and under their licensure, nurses need to be practicing in a medical model.  They also need to be supervised in a medical model.  Technically a nurse can report to another nurse, a physician, or a dentist.  Her concern is that once they move out of the purview of the Health Dept., policy and practice issues are going to be supervised by people who do not fit that bill.  Therefore, it puts the licensed professionals in danger of jeopardizing their licensure.  People need to understand that you can’t just take a group of licensed professionals and put them in another spot.  Legally, they are aren’t allowed to practice under anything other than what is a medical model.


Mr. Corl asked what the negative impacts are to the infant mortality program, which Dr. Morrow has worked on.  Dr. Morrow said that infant mortality is a complex issue that has many determinants of health or influences.  The successes in the community are the successes of the entire health care delivery system, of the physicians that we have here, and of the public health system.  She has full faith that there is the staff and expertise to serve the population in the way that they need to be served.  She has confidence in Ms. Mignano and the Dr. Quoc Nguyen.  Her concerns are for the long-term consequences.  If program participation decreases (evidence based Maternal & Child Health Programs), and it is known that these programs work, by definition, over time, an increase in poor outcomes will be seen because people won’t be using the services that are known to be effective in changing those incomes.  The only way to know whether there will be a change in program participation, is if the clients served are asked.


Mrs. Rapp thanked Dr. Morrow for coming today and for all of her years of services.  Mrs. Rapp said that today is the first formal presentation as to this change and move.  Dr. Morrow has been very eloquent in describing what the problems could be and the potential unintended consequences.  She can’t get her arms around what is driving this; what the benefit is to having this type of upheaval. 


Chairman McMahon thanked Dr. Morrow for her service and for being present to provide her feedback.


Chairman McMahon said that right now there is talk about a potential policy change.  Any policy change has to get the State Health Department’s blessing.  The Legislature is the policy making body of Onondaga County.  The County Legislature would have to go through a process and better understand what is being asked and what the impacts are.  Dr. Morrow has helped out tremendously with some questions to ask of the administration.  He has had numerous conversations with the executive branch, and according to them, they are not set in one direction.  It is important to note, that there isn’t any intent that if funding is going to dry up because of a potential change for any of these programs, that the Executive nor the Legislature wants to move forward.  He spoke with the County Executive this morning about it.  This is the beginning of a process; there may be recommended changes coming before the legislature, or there may not be.  The legislature will have the final say.  He wanted to clarify that nothing has been voted on previously; these are things that may (if at all) be asked for in the 2015 budget.  


Chairman Liedka thanked Dr. Morrow for her service and for speaking today. 


Chairman Liedka asked to hear from the executive side on the proposed next phase of the reorganization.


Ann Rooney, Deputy County Executive/Human Services


Ms. Rooney reiterated the well wishes for Dr. Morrow.  She noted that Dr. Morrow and she have worked very closely over the last five years.  It shouldn’t be characterized by anything other than professional; it was not contentious.  Together, with the excellent work of the Health Department, a lot of wonderful things were accomplished.  She said “like any organization, there is no need for all of us if problems don’t arise and issues don’t need to be solved.”  She said that she can’t express enough how closely they worked together and in tandem on many, many issues.  


Ms. Rooney said that regarding the reorganization, there have been my questions about how we have gotten to this point at the beginning of April, compared to last year’s reorganization.  The first time last year’s reorganization was mentioned was in the County Executive’s State of the County Address.  Ms. Rooney said she saw the noted for what was intended for this year’s state of the county address, it was absolutely in there.  The County Executive was going to mention it.  As everyone knows that were in attendance, “that address, because of the Governor coming in quickly, it was one of the things never intended not to be mentioned, but it was certainly in the address.”  At the same time, Dr. Morrow had asked that she present to the the Health Advisory Board.  Legislator Williams is a member, and Legislator Chase was in attendance as a visitor.  Ms. Rooney said that she went through what is a planned change at Dr. Morrow’s request, understanding that the board is made up of a lot of physicians, community members, and legislators.  She reviewed what is intended to be a plan for 2015; nothing is set in stone.  It is similar to what they went through with last year’s reorganization.  The legislature heard about it in the County Executive’s speech.  The next time they heard about it was at an informational session in the summer of last year.  There were quite a number of months between those two time periods.  Last year they had the same opportunity to lay a plan out.  It should be expected that they are taking an awful lot of time to plan something like this.  It was mentioned briefly as they were continuing to look at fiscal, legal, and personnel operations and align services where they belong to best serve this government.  She referenced what had recently happened with the Sheriff’s Dept. – with a reduction of their fiscal staff, had it happen before the reorganization, there would be no one to identify to carry on that work.  Within two weeks’ time, the Division of Fiscal Operations had picked up the ball and are successfully running what used to be out of the Sheriff’s Dept.


Regarding 2014, they went through the planning phase, the people at the table (Gordon Cuffy, David Sutkowy, Peter Troiano, and herself) were part of this last year.  In consultation with the Law Dept., Personnel Department, and with the individual expected to run the operations, it was put together in a planning function. 


All of the issues Dr. Morrow has raised are things that are being considered.  They consulted with many departments on the state level last year, not just Health.  Last year they had the office of Children and Family Services, the Division of Criminal Justice Services, OPWDD, and all of the state public benefit programs that they had to consult.  It would have been presumptuous on their part to go to state officials and take up their time, with a plan that was not finalized.  That is what they were allowing the Law Department to do – a road map that allows, at the end of the day, to have much better coordinated services for all of the individuals in our community.  The sole intention has been children and families on one side and adults on the other.  No one is contesting what the end goal is; it is how we get there.


Ms. Rooney said that there was never any intention to not consult with the State Health Department.  To look at what was done with last year’s reorganization, they did not, and would not jeopardize a single dollar of very valuable resources that come into this community.  Its counter intuitive.  If trying to provide betters services, a better service delivery system, they would never, ever jeopardize a dollar of funding.  This County Executive is adamant about it.  It didn’t make sense last year; it doesn’t make sense this year.


The legislature didn’t have the advantage last year of seeing the original plan; they saw the last plan.  It was tweaked during the legislative process and came out with something very workable for the community.  It makes easier access, and makes a lot of sense for the community.  She provided one example of many from last year.  In last year’s original plan, the juvenile probation officers were moved under the Department of Children and Family Services.  The plan was communicated to Bob Maccarone, Division of Probation under DCJS, and they immediately communicated that probation officers, by state law, have to report to a probation commissioner.  To address Commissioner Maccarone’s issues, and in trying to accomplish in concert with them the probation officers still report to Probation Department, they are now co-located, sitting next to our child protective workers.  They are working in a team approach, which allows better service delivery models.  It went through the budget; it worked fine.  They had to rely on the expertise of the Law Department; she pointed out the Kelly Berger, Deputy County Attorney, has done yeoman’s work on all of this to allow for providing coordinated services while meeting every state law.  She said that the feeling is that this is so premature, because they are still in the planning phase.  Ms. Rooney said that the Legislature will have every opportunity to ask every single question that they have on this. 


Ms. Rooney referred to the data, and agreed with Dr. Morrow, that she has asked for well over a year to get access to the data that allows her to see how many of the children which have had involvement with our Nurse Family Partnership, with visiting nurses, and subsequently in their lives become involved with Child Welfare.  She still does not have that information – it is one of the issues they are trying to address.  Having it coordinated under one administrator, makes cross referencing and information systems able to talk to each other in a more usable way – “it is a win for all of us.” 


Ms. Rooney referred to the medical model.  There was never any intention to have anything but a medical director overseeing Healthy Families.  They can’t do it – it’s not allowed by law.  Frankly, Dr. Morrow is acting in that capacity right now, because the county doesn’t have a medical director overseeing it.  Ms. Rooney said that when all of this was happening, she was dumb founded when Dr. Morrow submitted her resignation because they wanted her to continue to be that medical director--to have that oversight of this program because of her expertise in this area.  She likened it to St. Joseph’s Hospital:  Kathy Roscitto, President of St. Joseph’s hospital, was for many years the administrator for human services in Onondaga County.  She does not hold a medical license but she is certainly, what we would all agree with, is a medical model.  That is what is being attempted here – to bring our services, serving children and families, under one place, under one roof.  “Nothing more; nothing less – it is about serving our community.”


Chairman Liedka said that a consistent theme from many different parties has been about Maternal and Child Health and Protective Services and how it may cause those families not to access those services.  He asked Ms. Rooney for her viewpoint on it.  Ms. Rooney said that she does not agree with that.  Half of the services offered in Child Welfare are voluntary, just like they are in Healthy Families.  She provided an example of how an argument can be made one day, but a couple years previously, the same argument didn’t hold.  Three years ago, Nurse Family Partnerhip’s’ funding was jeopardized – it was not in the federal budget.  Countywide, the clear value was seen in this program.  Dr. Morrow came to her and was very worried if the funding went away because of the valuable services that are provided.  Immediately she met with David Sutkowy, the Commissioner of DSS at that time, and Dr. Morrow.  It was going to be in the County Executive’s budget, but the federal budget cycle is before the county’s.  Up to the last minute, there was a proposal included in the budget where Nurse Family Partnership was going to be funded through Child Protective dollars in DSS, to allow the program to continue.  “So you can’t have it both ways.  It can’t be bad today, but it was good 3 years ago to preserve these services”.  The executive side was all prepared to bring it to the legislature – there would still have been a medical director, nurses, which is all that will be seen in 2015.  “All of the things that you see, will still be in place.”


David Sutkowy, Commissioner – Children and Family Services Department:


Mr. Sutkowy said that he wanted to talk about the whole issue of the potential chilling effect the association of Child Welfare and Child Protective Services may have on participation in the Maternal and Child Health Program.  It is a critical issue that this community cannot lose sight of.  When it first hit the media, outside of the personal issues, the big issue that the public was talking about was integration and coordination.  The ire expressed was that the coordination and integration was a bad thing for this community.  It took him by surprise; nowhere is anyone talking about anything other than improving coordination, collaboration, and integration of services.  That is the mantra of their system.  They are called service area silos – the individual services or programs that stand alone.  You can’t read any bit of literature without a discussion of “have to break the silos down, have to integrate, have to coordinate”.  He didn’t fully understand some of the comments he was reading with some of the bloggers and commentary.  As information started to become clearer, a phrase struck him, which made him understand why the community was really upset by this.  The phrase was that “Child Protective Services is introduced into Healthy Families”.  It conjures up an image of a pregnant mom or mom who just delivered, who is at risk and really is trying to do a good thing in terms of the parenting of her child.  Then all of a sudden, Child Protective knocks on the door questioning her parenting with the risk of removal of the child.  He needs to reassure the community, that there is nothing in this model that even remotely approaches that.  The comment is a mischaracterization of what this realignment of services is all about.


In the reorganization in 2014, the Department of Children & Family Services has five service areas.  Including: 

1.     Child Welfare Services, of which Child Protective Services is only one component

2.     Juvenile Justice Services - a child will enter because she/he has gotten in trouble with the law

3.     Mental Health Services – includes the operation of two licensed mental health clinics, single point of entry – Access center – voluntary services

5.     Contracted services – funded through Youth Bureau – youth development services voluntary services


Children and families are asking for these services.  School Based Initiatives are all the services the county provides in conjunction with the school districts – access to these services are all voluntary. 


Last year during the planning of this department, they were aware that this was talking about pulling together, under one administrative entity, services where some children might enter involuntarily and some enter voluntarily.  They tried their best to provide due diligence.  He and Ms. Rooney went to a number of different counties; spoke to different commissioners, who had already done this.  It was talked about with the community, with families in the mental health world.  No one had any issues that in pulling together services in mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice, would do anything other than improve integration and coordination of services.  No one had any concerns that this was going to cause a chilling effect and cause individuals who needed services for their children to shy away from the system.  They have been operating for 3 month, no concerns have been expressed yet.  There has been no indication in the numbers – no indication that there has been a decrease in voluntary enrollment, mental health programs, or youth development programs.  He hasn’t heard any anecdotal information to even remotely suggest that a family is deterred from receiving services.  When presentation are made to the community, including the medical community, they get nothing but rave reviews.  Everyone’s attitude is “this is the way to go.”


When they did this realignment, it didn’t have to be done – nothing was broken.  They were doing pretty well in the performance of the individual silos.  It was a realization that “we are more than that” -- more than just mere compliance and fidelity to the particular standards of this silo – we can be more to the community if we pull together, act as a team and coordinate on a policy basis, practice basis – working more as a team with families.  “We are getting nothing but good reviews from the families, that are participating with us, and from providers in the community who are interacting with the families.” 


Moving forward in 2015, he sees this more as sixth service area – keeping independent from the others, keeping fidelity to the model, but coordinating with families that are participating in the different service areas at the same time.  When families and children are transitioning between service areas, drawing upon the strengths and resources of each area to support the other.  


Mr. Sutkowy referred to the old alignment where DSS, Probation, Mental Health, and Youth Bureau had their own contracted services.  The children and families would have access to those services specified to that program.  When the five service areas came together, he looked at it and said it was ridiculous.  What should determine what a county funded service needs and access to, depends on what the family needs, not the door that they enter.  They are working hard to de-labelize all of the services that they have and make them generally available to all of the staff, all of the participants across all of the programs so they can be more selective and attuned to what the family needs – be more flexible in meeting their needs with the appropriate county funded services.  It is an example of coordination that wasn’t really possible in the old alignment. 


Nothing is, by design, intended to disincentivize enrollment through some reckless behavior on our part – and in not being conscious of the issue of voluntary and involuntary association of the department.  He really wants to reassure the community on this.


In Child Protective Services, they did something different a couple of years ago.  The traditional model of Child Protective investigations were half law enforcement and half social work.  The State asked counties if they were interested in participating in a pilot program 4 or 5 years ago, Family Assessment Response (FAR).  It was a different way of approaching Child Protective Services investigations.  It was to de-emphasize the law enforcement aspect and emphasize the engagement piece.  The principal behind it is that the better way to engage parents to address parenting issues, which might be interfering with their ability to parent their child safely and securely, is through engagement.  It is helping them address the issues that are going on; helping them address the issues pertinent to them.  Onondaga County and five other counties tried it.  It felt right.  They started slow and without giving all of the details, it was one of the best things they have ever done.  About 33% - 35% of all of the reports that they get are handled through FAR.  They are finding that the outcomes are far superior to the investigation model.  It has gone from a pilot status to being institutionalized at the state level – Onondaga is seen as the grandparent of the FAR approach.  It didn’t have to be done; the system wasn’t broken.  They did it because they thought it was a model that would better serve families. 


Half the children living at home and associated with the Child Welfare system do so voluntarily.  The parents want to be connected with them.  Sixty percent of the voluntary connections are after an investigation.  They are because of the engagement; people want to stay connected to it.  The stigma is not as much there as people believe; 17% of the referrals for services come from parents directly.


The 2015 plan is a work in process – there is a lot of work to do.  Right now there is really nothing to show -- can’t say how it’s going to look and operate; waiting until there is more of a finished project.  Despite what is positive about engagement with families, they are taking the issue of stigma very seriously.  They do not want to do anything that would deter people from receiving services.  He has spoken to a couple of counties that have organized similar to what is being proposed.  He has gotten some reassurance that they haven’t seen anything that would cause them to believe that access to Maternal and Child Health Services are compromised by an organization chart connection with Child Welfare.  Nonetheless, they need due diligence – “trust but verify” – needs more information, needs to pay visits, need to talk with them more deeply, verify what they see – need to talk to the community with a far larger audience.  No plan will go forward with his blessing, unless this issue of access is adequately addressed.  


Mr. Kilmartin said that he specifically remembers a lot of these issues being discussed before, especially at budget time, in some of the committee meetings.  He remembers Ms. Rooney talking about access, duplication, overlap, one point of contact, streamlining, and use of technology.  While he is not intimately aware of all the nuances of all the different departments involved today, he has experience with some of them through work in family court or through work in the DA’s office.  What resonated with him was that in working in family court, there might be one case and one family that involves five different departments from Onondaga County.  When the issues have been brought up over the years, Ms. Rooney’s comments resonated with him.  He asked how these issues would or would not be contemplated by what is being proposed.  Ms. Rooney said that it was the spirit of why they were doing all of this – especially duplication of effort.  One of the big things they are working on right now is the sharing of information – with all of the appropriate allowances regarding confidentiality.  Family court is the greatest example that they have of it.  Something goes before a judge, and they have information from what used to be up to four separate departments regarding that child.  It has gotten to the point that Hon. Martha Walsh Hood, supervising Judge in family court, has dedicated one of her judges to working specifically on juvenile justice issues.  There is now the capacity to bring the cases in front of Judge Julie Cecile in such a way that they have been able to marry the information together.  They will continue to work on it.  There will never be one, gigantic human services database, but they will have the ability for existing databases (often State databases) as a repository for information.  The appropriate information that a worker needs can be extracted from the various areas.  The opportunities are all in front of us to continue to better coordinate, which helps be able to better engage with families. 


Mr. Kilmartin asked if some of the debate is structure over substance concerning the proposed changes.  Ms. Rooney said that this is looking at one further change in an organizational chart of and organization of $1.2 billion.  It is moving a service area without changing any of the service delivery model.  It is further incorporating what they do in all of the children and family servicing areas for the county.  There is contemplation of changing the model; it is a model that works, but it has to be engaged into the rest of the county, not just solely in the Health Department.  “We are one county, and this is just that further effort.”  It is just looking at an organizational change without changing the components that make it up.


Chairman Liedka asked if there has ever been a situation where Healthy Families and Child Welfare have been combined.  Ms. Rooney said that hopefully there has always been referrals coming both ways.  The best example is the Nurse Family Partnership example she discussed earlier.  The the funding was clearly in jeopardy and it was something that they didn’t want to see go away.  The idea was that the funding would be provided from Child Protective monies received.  A mom, getting services for her child wouldn’t know where the funding came from.  She would only know that she was seeing the same nurse and getting the same services.  They are always attempting to access funding streams in such a way that they can braid them together and link them so that there is not only informal services delivery, but formalized also.  The team approach really can work.


Chairman Liedka asked if when the reorganization process was done last year, were there any discussions with the State that changed the end product that was presented to the legislature.  Ms. Rooney said that they had many discussions with the State.  She and Mr. Sutkowy went to Albany several times to describe what they were working on.  The State is embarking on the idea of child well-being – a theme for all of the counties to really focus themselves on.  It is the whole child – not just the physical health, not just the safety, not just school performance, and not just mental health.  She said that it is something the county is very engaged in and why they created the Bureau of School Based Initiatives.  Children are in school 180 days/year.  If they are not in school for a substantial amount of time, there is often a reason that doesn’t involve academics – i.e. a situation at home, challenges with parenting.  The State is asking for Mr. Sutkowy’s input on how to best address the idea of child well-being.  What they are trying to accomplish with the creation of this department, in putting all of our children and family servicing areas under one department, is to have that same sense of child well-being – carrying on the mantra that they are getting from the State of New York.  


Chairman Liedka referred to an Article 6 funding requirement that the programs be administered by a local Health Department, and asked how the potential move affects that.  Ms. Rooney said that it has to be a Health Department, but a Health Department that is under the auspices of the county.  There isn’t a Health Department anywhere in the state that isn’t part of a county.  Health Departments don’t just stand alone.  The Article 6 designations say “Onondaga County”; they don’t say “Health Department”.  Last year, with funding of this nature, it was still under the auspices of the county, but there is the ability for MOU’s which exist between the county departments, with an understanding that the umbrella is Onondaga County. 


Mr. Cuffy said that they have been looking at Article 6 for quite a while.  This reorganization involves the Municipal Home Rule Law, giving the county the authority to organize its government, and the Public Health Law.  Article 6, does call for a Health Department to supervise these programs, but the key term is “supervision”.  Supervision has been defined; this matter has been litigated and decided by the Court of Appeals.  It is being structured to match what the Public Health Law requires, so funding can be maintained.  The first thought was to contract the Child & Family Services with the Health Departments.  Actually under the Public Health Law, the New York Code of Rules and Regulations specifically provided for the ability to do that – statute exists that says it can be done.  There is a case with the Court of Appeals with NYC.  In NYC, at one point, the health department contracted with various city agencies to provide some of the services that the health department provides, including housing and environmental services.  In that case the State Department of Health refused to reimburse NYC Department of Health, saying that it wasn’t under the supervision of a health department.  The case went to the Court of Appeals, which decided NYC could do that; that it is supervision to contract to another city agency.  That is the model being followed here.  He said he is pretty confident that they will be able to overcome Article 6 issues.


Chairman Liedka said that the County Charter specifies that the commissioner hold a medical degree, and asked how that requirement is being met in the interim so that we are not jeopardizing any monies that the county may be soliciting.  Ms. Rooney said that there is a provision with the Department of Health, that there is a 6-month period, providing there is an active search, to designate someone like Michele Mignano to serve in that capacity, as long as there is a medical director on staff.  Certainly the health commissioner that is selected will have all that is required at the state level, and on the local level, complying with the Administrative Code.


Mr. Corl said that he doesn’t think anyone is opposed to streamlining so that families can be better served in the county.  He has a fair amount of experience in family court and sees families struggling as to where to go, where to turn, and the bureaucracy.  He is in favor of trying to make things more efficient.  He asked if there is a formal assessment as to the deficiencies.  If not, will that be part of the package presented to the legislature in the future.  Ms. Rooney said that none of this is being proposed because Onondaga County’s human services delivery system is in a critical stage, as far as non-compliance.  The information she has requested for an over a year is information to look at children who have gone through the Healthy Families Program, who may have ended up, or at the same time, were being served by Child Welfare in Children and Family Services.  The fact that it is so difficult to tease out that information because they are in two different silos, is one of the things that will be addressed.  One concern she has had over the last few years is the number of referrals that they get from Healthy Families through their partner, Child Welfare.  They get more referrals for voluntary child welfare services from outside community than inside county government at the Health Department.  Mr. Corl asked if it fair to say that when the proposal comes through the legislature, it will be a written proposal of how it will be addressed, how it will make it easier for families, etc.  Ms. Rooney said “yes”.


Chairman Liedka asked about a time line for this.  Ms. Rooney said that they are in the planning phase.  When the plan is solidified to such a point, it will be presented to the state.  “The state will have comment, and we will go back.  It will be brought over to the legislature as an informational, like they did last summer.  The legislature will have comment, and we will go back.”  It will be presented in the budget.  Right now the plan is to have some form of it in the 2015 budget. 


Chairman Liedka said that Dr. Morrow brought up the concern that there wasn’t contact with the state.  He asked if it is something that would occur further down the process when there is something more definitive; he questioned what the reasoning is for contact with the state for approvals.  Ms. Rooney said that “we were giving the law department the time they needed for us to solidify a plan that we could present – we aren’t to that point.  Once we have what we are proposing in place, then we are more than willing to sit down with them immediately after, but we aren’t to that point”.  Mr. Cuffy said that they have had one meeting and have some structured proposed for the executive staff to look at – he doesn’t think that they have looked at it yet.  It is a little early to be talking to the state.  He changed that structure two days ago, and asked Ms. Berger to change it again the other day – are very early in this process.


Dr. Chase said she was very impressed with the last reorganization, and it made a lot of sense.  One concern is when looking at a health care model, the goal is always collaboration.  Health care professionals realized that physically they can only provide a certain percentage of all the things that residents need.  The health care profession has a history of reaching out to whoever is appropriate to get the rest of those needs met.  She is concerned that this model has gone on for a long time, yet there isn’t any information about how collaborative they were to get these services from other people.  That being said, it works.  There is a good history, the Department of Health in Onondaga County is well thought of, not only locally but statewide and national also.  “We are not in the horse and buggy era; there are all sorts of ways to communicate with people”.  She doesn’t understand taking a piece of the Health Department and putting it under Social Services.  She asked “why are we doing this?”


Ms. Rooney said that she thinks the same question could have been asked last year – the answer remains the same – “we can do better”.  We can do better coordinating families.  If you look at what the state is doing, and the way federal government is going for Medicaid – people are enrolled in Health Homes.  It is not just a physical health issue any more – it is all of their co-occurring issues that have to be managed through managed care.  Medicaid used to just serve the physical component – no longer is that the case.  Managed care agencies are having to get up to speed on what that means to deliver social, emotional services, as well as the medical model.  No one has ever said that this was broken.  The coordination can be much better – can look at the idea that Health Department Healthy Families made eight referrals last year on the voluntary side to Child Welfare.  There were 1,000 cases, and 8 referrals were made for other than health related services.  The list goes on and on regarding the services available to families; she believes that better access and better advantage to them should be made and this model allows for that to happen.  Dr. Chase asked if since Ms. Rooney was aware that there was a low number being referred, by policy can’t it be changed rather than moving it into another box in the organizational chart.  Ms. Rooney said the culture can be changed a little bit by our health professionals, nurses sitting side by side with our child protective workers, mental health professionals, school based services initiatives, week by week, day by day, side by side – no more silos – coordinating for the whole department.  There is something to be said for relationships.  This is not going to compromise the medical model; it will still have a medical director.  It will just be more incorporated to what Onondaga County does as a whole. 


Chairman McMahon said that this has been a very informative meeting for the public to clarify what has and has not happened.  He directed questions to Ms. Mignano, noting that this is an emotional time in the Health Department.  There is a friend who has served and done a good job.  From the emotional side, for this to move forward, “we have to turn that page”.  He asked Ms. Mignano about her transition and business as usual and things moving forward.  Ms. Mignano said that Dr. Morrow is well respected in the community and what she brings to the community, how she has been collaborating with our partners, work with Healthy Families, work with environmental, managed some of the CD cases, worked with health promo.  Ms. Mignano said that she can’t recreate that and is a “steward of what she has built.”  Certainly, Dr. Morrow has a very collaborative style internally.  “We are a team and you should be very proud of both Dr. Novick and Jean Smiley, Dr. Morrow and Linda Karmen, for creating a structure that has placed highly professional and kind, thoughtful, and supremely dedicated staff throughout our department.”  She is very proud to be a part of that.  Because of them, the department is running on track.  There is some emotionality of the loss; it is a loss.  They have been processing it and have had a number senior staff meetings to “take the temperature” of how the staff is doing.  There is a certain amount of stress; the folks at Healthy Families have additional worries; they are managing them.  The Center for Forensic Sciences is humming along offsite.  The County Executive has reached out to her and Dr. Stoppacher to make sure that they are moving forward and needs are being met.  They are taking this opportunity to consider how they will transition to the new commissioner.  Dr. Morrow left them some amazing seminal documents – a Community Health Plan and Community Health Assessment.  They are requirements of NYS.  There is a strategic plan – moving forward with accreditation because accreditation has many, many pieces.  There are a number of documents, need of processes, that they have to prove and do back up – “it is like doing homework”.  There are a lot of pieces to put in place to assure that they are meeting the national standards.  They are continuing to work on those background pieces as they continue with a new commissioner, as they move forward in what may be a different direction.  There is a strategic plan, which will be coming out to the legislature shortly.  It supports what they plan on doing for accreditation; what the core functions are, and where they see themselves going.  They have looked 5 years out and have done it with the community.  They have a road map; it is a credit to the commissioner, and they are on task for it.  Nothing is going to slow them down from upholding great work that they have built up so far.  At this time, they are caught up with their grants, state aid, had a small audit; “there are no concerns in the community at this time.” Ms. Mignano continued, stating that Dr. Nguyen is the medical director; she was in Management & Budget, an analyst for 11 years.  She has been the Public Health Compliance Officer and is very familiar with the Public Health Law – having had to defend many of their own Articles 28 and 36 audits herself.  Dr. Nguyen is a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist.  They have a great community of partners – Dr. Tom Dennison and everyone has reached out – willing to provide support to the Health Department.  Dr. Morrow has also offered support; she is here and strongly believes in this community.  They have had tremendous support from everyone.


Chairman McMahon directed his questions to Ms. Rooney.  In going through this process, have heard some of Dr. Morrow’s concerns, and is sure that Ms. Rooney will make sure that those concerns aren’t reality.  Over the next 30 days, it is important to get information to legislators regarding those on the team, who is studying these proposals, what the input is from the professionals in the private sector and other partners, so the legislature can better understand where this is coming from and make sure that there is input from other sources.  The legislature can then know whose eyes have seen it, and who has signed off on some of these changes potentially.  Ms. Rooney suggested providing an update at next month’s Health Committee meeting; Chairman McMahon agreed.


Ms. Rooney referred to surge capacity.  When there is emergency preparedness, there is a Department of Emergency Management.  She doesn’t think there is any concern with Healthy Families moving under Children and Family Services -- would still be able to rely on the nurses if there were another disaster.  They are county employees and she can’t stress that enough.  In an emergency, it is all hands on deck – it is not all hands on deck plus the Health Department.  An emergency is orchestrated by Emergency Management with all county partners in tandem working together.


Chairman Liedka asked for an update on the search process.  Mr. Troiano said that they are trying to keep an open mind in terms of the search process that they have undertaken.  It is expected to be a national scope; they have 10 firms that are under consideration; working with Purchasing to engage one of them as a partner as quickly as possible.  The expectation is to look for someone who “runs at the front of the pack” in this environment; someone who innovates and has an ability to reinvent.  It is underway and they expect it to go very smoothly.  Mr. Liedka asked how the process moves once it is narrowed down.  Ms. Rooney said that a search firm will provide a pool of candidates to consider.  A committee will be put together for selection.  It will come to the legislature for approval.  There is somewhat of a time constraint because of the Public Health Law, with a 6 month window.  She said that she can’t stress enough that Dr. Morrow’s resignation was unexpected.  The department is running well – keep it going in that way; tap into someone who has the expertise for a county of this size; bring someone in “who we can be very, very proud of.”


The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature




* * *


APRIL 28, 2014



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


ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mrs. Tassone, see also attached list


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



        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the Tentative 2014-2015 Budget of Onondaga Community College


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



        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Fire Advisory Board (Melissa Mott Abend)


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


3.     ONONDAGA CIVIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONBill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Declaring Lead Agency Status; Accepting the Short Environmental Assessment Form; and Accepting Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; and Adopting the Negative Declaration for the Lease of Hancock Airpark

Mr. Fisher:

  • This hasn’t changed since presented last month
  • Now have the contract


Ms. Tarolli explained that Section 1411, Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, requires a public hearing first, then the lease after that--just like how the sale of Van Duyn was done.  The public hearing will be held before the next session.  She explained that this is a standard SEQR resolution, but it was broke into two resolutions with the lease being under item 3b.  Normally it is all done under one resolution.


Mr. Fisher noted that Hancock Field Development Corporation has concluded the sale of the property that was pending and received $350,000.  Ms. Smiley said that there is $126,600 remaining on a county loan, which was done through OCIDA, who then passed it to HFDC to work on the barracks.  The money will be turned back over to OCIDA, who will then turn it over to the County to pay off that note.  Mr. Fisher said that the Special Redevelopment Account will be turned over to the county with about $95,000 in it.  The money will make the county whole--whatever is left will go to OCDC, which should be enough to get them through the next 3 years.


Mr. Jordan asked if the monies were anticipated in the 2014 budget.  Mr. Fisher said that they weren’t, explaining that it was a loan.  Mr. Maturo said that the money was loaned and it was set up as a receivable from OCIDA.  The final payment will come in and reduce the note receivable.  The funds the county has been paying out on behalf of HFDC have been coming from a liability account.  When the funds are turned back to the county, the liability will be netted out; anything left over will go to OCDC.  It is his understanding that the county won’t recognize any revenue from the transaction.  Mr. Fisher agreed; there is no income; it is just a repayment of a loan.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Maturo explained there is a receivable set up, which is due to the county; when the cash comes in, the receivable is reduced, and it is put into the county bank account.  Mr. Jordan asked if it goes to fund balance.  Mr. Maturo said that it isn’t fund balance - it is replacing one asset with another.  Mr. Fisher explained that fund balance increases when there is more income then appropriations.  It’s an accounting construct that allows it to be spent, but when a loan comes in, the fund balance doesn’t go up.  Mr. Maturo explained that there is no operating effect to it; there is no revenue and no expense.  Mr. Kilmartin said that there is no new money because there was a historical debit/credit for it.


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


        b.     Authorizing the Lease of Hancock Airpark Property to Onondaga Civic Development Corporation


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


4.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTDavid Coburn, Director

        a.     Authorizing the County of Onondaga, to Act as Lead Agency for the Bridge Street/Milton Avenue Streetscape Revitalization Project (The Project) Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; Adopting a Negative Declaration; and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service and Filing of the Environmental Assessment Form, and the Negative Declaration

Mr. Coburn:

  • Launch SEQR process on Bridge Street/Milton Ave Streetscape project
  • Have notified involved agencies – Onondaga Co. intends to be lead agency – no objections
  • Based on environmental assessment forms – determined that it is a Type 1 action, no significant impact on environment

In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Millea explained that this is a component of the project that was announced in January by Gov. Cuomo and the County Executive with Chairman McMahon.  To date the legislature has appropriated $500,000 from ROT surplus; $300,000 has been dedicated to the advancement of the amphitheater on county park land on the west shore of Onondaga Lake; $200,000 has been budgeted for advancing the Bridge Street concept.  There is an additional $60,000 that the County Executive and Chairman McMahon have agreed to dedicate for brown fields assessment -- $560,000 is the total county commitment to date.  He is hopeful to come to committees in May to talk about the macro budget of roughly $100,000,000 - $30 million was included in the State budget.  He said they will be sitting down with the legislature for a very thorough discussion for the $100,000,000 budget.  Mr. Kilmartin said that ultimately it will be some combination of State and county funds; Mr. Millea agreed noting that the Chairman, County Executive, and Governor have discussed funding this initiative with proceeds from the State settlement with the Oneidas, and supporting a level of bonding from the county.  Mr. Rhoads is working on a sewer project on the west side, which ties in with the roads and revitalization on the west side – there will also be discussion about how to fund that – potentially using funding form EFC and bonding.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin about where the project is, Mr. Millea said it is the west side pump station – Towns of Geddes, Camillus, Village of Solvay--large population on the west side.  The pump station is critical; it is about 40 years old.   


In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Millea said that that infrastructure is part of the $100,000,000.


Mrs. Ervin referred to the $30 million from the State and asked where the rest of the funding will come from.  Mr. Millea reiterated that there will be a thorough discussion and full budget proposal with the legislature – revenues from Oneida Nation settlement, bonding, potential sewer revenue, looking at other resources.  Chairman McMahon explained that $30 million is State money – from the gambling settlement, the county will receive $2–$2.5 million/year earmarked for economic development.  It will be used for debt service on $750,000,000 worth of bonds.  On top of that is the upgrades to the west side pump station, which will allow for further development in Camillus, Warners, Lysander parts of the county – in process of looking at grant applications; could potentially be some bonding level through WEP.  


Mr. Jordan asked if this is part of a necessary component of the amphitheater project, or for an ancillary project that ties into that project.  Mr. Millea said that when the Chairman and County Executive discussed the project with the Governor, this was part of the package.  It was an entire comprehensive strategy for the west shore of the lake which included sewer upgrades, Main Street revitalization, and the amphitheater.  The projects are not reliant upon one another; they are part of the overall package.


Chairman McMahon said that the amphitheater is a nice bell and whistle to this project, but the goal was to build and redevelop on west side of the lake – jobs, revitalization brownfields, and other revitalization efforts.  Ideally it is to give economic development the tools needed to market assets that we have in Radisson, Lysander and other western parts of the county. 


Mr. May said that there has been a plan right along portrayed to create revenue streams to substantiate the entire project.  It is important to note that we are not talking about additional costs, or burdens to county taxpayers.  There is a plan to offset these costs with new revenue.  Mr. Millea said that is absolutely the mission.  The intention is to find as many different streams of revenue to get to the $100,000,000 without looking to general fund.  Chairman McMahon noted that the new revenue, $2.5 million could be piecemealed out or used to do something big like this, for a true regional project, and used to pay the debt service.  He added that a ticket surcharge would be appropriate to create revenue to help sustain itself.


Mr. Millea said that very soon conception designs will be provided for the Bridge Street project.  It isn’t going to be a huge piece of the overall budget; it a gateway concept to show people that this a booming, bustling area that is coming back.  They are looking at a 150 acre site, working with Barton & Loguidice and folks selected to develop nanotechnology sites for the State, potential to partner with Honeywell to get one of the brownfield sites back into industrial/commercial use.


Chairman Knapp clarified that the committee is just voting on the Bridge Street/Milton Ave project today.


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


5.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  William Fisher, Dep. Co. Executive; Elizabeth Dailey, Exec. Dir.

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the OCPL Board of Trustees (Christina Rothman Ondrako)


Ms. Dailey announced that she will be retiring at the end of June and introduced Deborah Herbert, the new Director of Administrative Services.


Mr. Fisher reviewed Ms. Rothman Ondrako’s credentials and resume.


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


        b.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Accept State Construction Funds for the OCPL and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($307,925)

Ms. Dailey:

  • Grant is formula driven, based on population
  • To be used to update the Central Library HVAC system

Chairman Knapp asked for an update on the library project.  Mr. Fisher suggested that a more thorough discussion take place in executive session.  The County Executive has been engaged and has instructed staff to find a tenant for the 3rd and 4th floors.  If able to find a tenant, will then have the wherewithal to go forward with a lease on floors and 1 and 2 without the rather complicated arrangement, approved by the legislature earlier.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Fisher said that the construction has not started.  An architect and engineer has been selected; expect to start very soon.


Chairman Knapp said that this is for the current HVAC, and assumes whatever is done will have to be redone with the project.  Ms. Dailey agreed and said that is why it is so important to get the same architect on board.


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


6.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – Sean Carroll, Director


Mr. Carroll distributed and reviewed the following:


TO:                 David Knapp, Chairman, Ways and Means

                       Committee Members, Ways and Means

FROM:            Sean Carroll, Director

DATE:             April 28, 2014 

SUBJECT:       Reporting Requirements under 2010-241 and 2010-242, Revenue Contracts



The vending RFP was pulled off the schedule to protect sponsorship opportunities which should have been excluded from the scope.  This has been completed and the RFP release date is April 29, 2014.


He noted that this is an update on continuing items from last month; no new items to report.


        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  Authorizing Electronic Bidding in Connection with Purchase Contracts

Mr. Carroll:

  • Electronic bidding authorized in General Municipal Law
  • Opportunity to not provide 25 – 50 copies of public solicitations; opportunity for people to interact with the county through technology
  • Concerns were how to keep proposals secure.  Technology in PeopleSoft allows for secured bids.  It is called “Lock Box” – part of a system where no one in Purchasing or the County would have access to it
  • Vendors would submit a proposal; it would stay there; can verify that no one had been in it, other than vendor if they wanted to make changes to it
  • At time the proposal is due, the vendor would no longer be able to participate – it would be known that all proposals were timely; then Purchasing would be able to review them
  • General Municipal Law requires security – confidentiality of bids and electronic security
  • It is required that all bidders sign a public bid when submitted
  • The signature piece triggers an additional requirement in NYS law – ESRA (Electronic Signatures and Records Act) – a variety of standards that the county will have to live up to
  • The department is required to do a business assessment and risk analysis of a physical ink signature and how to get the same thing or more
  • This is the first step in the risk analysis; halfway through the process; the functionality of the current system is providing opportunities to do this in a very secure way; risk analysis is still ongoing
  • Believes they will be very successful and reduce risk in the bidding process by going through this process
  • Very conscious of small businesses and low income business participation in the process – cannot exclusively go to electronic bidding; there will still need to be a way for vendors to participate on paper. 
  • Part of the plan is to eventually provide training for vendors; provide training on the website, along with a disclaimers in terms of participation
  • Hope to provide a public computer space for vendors to put an electronic proposals in
  • A requirement of General Municipal Law to have the legislature approve it -- without authorization will have to hold back on design decisions

Mr. Jordan asked if a vendor submits a bid in writing would the bid then be entered in the computer system or treated separately.  Mr. Carroll explained that they would be guaranteed the same sense of security that they are guaranteed now – their envelope comes in sealed and would remain so until after the deadline.  Bids would be opened publically; anyone who wants to see that bid would have access to it.  The hope is to eventually be able to scan that bid in and attach it to the file; enter it as real data so that it is searchable – they are working on how to verify that.  In the short term, the hope is to have the system in place before they teach vendors how to do it, scan everything in and loading in the winning vendor so that it is searchable.  The long term would be that everyone’s proposal is in the system in the same format. 


Mr. Jordan said that it makes sense, but is concerned about “wiz kids” out there who can find ways around security systems and get to the data.  There could be some potential chilling effect, even if submitted in writing and accessible through the computer.  In order to avoid that chilling effect, perhaps the information shouldn’t be uploaded or entered until after the bids are open, preserving the security of a written bid.  Mr. Carroll said that there is no way for him to enter them in advance; they come in and sit in a stacked, sealed envelope.  The envelopes are opened at 2:00 every day in the conference room.  The comfort level they will be able to offer for electronic submission is going to be fairly consistent. 


Mr. Holmquist asked if Onondaga County is a little ahead of the curve; what are other counties doing.  Mr. Carroll said that there are municipalities that do it; some in parts, some municipalities accept some of their bids electronically.  The requirement of putting the full business case together is a challenge for municipalities to get together.  New York State does a fair amount of this; accepts a lot of their signatures electronically.  It is not new from a big government perspective.  For a county or smaller municipality; there is a fair amount of effort that goes into it; Onondaga County is timed correctly, as it has software that delivers this already.  


Mr. May supports this, but does not like the resolution – it reads that the legislature is basically approving it.  There is an extraordinary amount of liability associated with public bidding.  He would like to see a stopgap or some period or additional authorization that occurs once through the process.  Also, it is one thing to have the tools and another to make them work.  He asked what the cost is to get function to go live.  Mr. Carroll said that he didn’t have a sense of the cost of the consulting cost for this module.  He asked to defer the discussion to item 9a on today’s agenda.  All of this functionality is included in the discussion for that item.


Mr. Carroll said that the intention of the last RESOLVED clause is to make certain that all standards are met in General Municipal Law and ESRA before this is ever implemented.  It is something they can continue to report on. 


Chairman Knapp said that this item was placed on the agenda as informational, as it is a “chicken or the egg” thing.  He questioned where we are IT wise, capability wise, and are we authorizing something that can’t be done yet.  He supports the concept; it is how we get there – would like to see something in the interim – authorize to get it going, but come back and let the committee know when it is set, foolproof, and ready to go.  Mr. Carroll said that it is important to have a sense from the legislature that this is the direction they want to go in, before the design effort is put in.  That is why it is before the committee.  He is getting the sense from Ways & Means Committee that this is the direction they would consider if all of the ESRA.  Chairman Knapp agreed. 


Mrs. Ervin said that that the sense of desiring this is fine, but regarding authorization, more information is needed before going forward with it. 



        a.     Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Act as Co-Lead Agency for the Regional Solid Waste Partnership Project Pursuant to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act; Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; Adopting a Positive Declaration; Accepting A Draft Scope for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Establishing Public Scoping for the DEIS; and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service and Filing of the Environmental Assessment Form, the Positive Declaration, and Draft Scoping Documents


Mr. Coburn:

  • Begin SEQRA process for proposed Regional Solid Waste Partnership; similar resolution was approved by Cortland County Legislature last Thurs.
  • Resolution formally establishes lead agencies – Onondaga and Cortland Counties; start preparation of DEIS to help inform decision makers about the impacts associated with various proposed actions; start public input process by inviting public to comment on draft scope of work
  • This SEQRA process is a little unique in that there are 2 county jurisdictions; proposed to form a partnership
  • Both counties will take separate, but related actions
  • A lot of public interest and concern – greater need for transparency in this process
  • Cortland Co. initiated SEQRA process several months ago; it was clear that there was some confusion and concern with that – some residents in Onondaga Co. weren’t clear if they were supposed to comment with the Cortland process; not clear on what role elected officials in Onondaga Co. might play
  • Initial thought was to carry out 2 separate, parallel SEQRA reviews – each county acting independently as lead agency, focusing on actions to be taken within their jurisdictions, but siting, referencing or tying in the actions that would be taken by the other
  • There was concern, shared by NYS DEC, that the approach could be viewed as segmentation under SEQRA.  Intent of SEQRA is that all of the actions that are tied and dependent on each other taken together.  Under that approach, it might have been less unintentionally comprehensive and less transparent than it needed to be. 
  • Sat down with OCRRA and Cortland County – asked what the best way was to ensure the public that this process will be comprehensive, transparent--elected officials in each jurisdiction have authority under SEQRA  to act in the best interest of their respective communities
  • Concluded that the best approach was to carry out SEQRA as co-lead agencies
  • Onondaga & Cortland Counties are co-equals with equal decision making authority under SEQR
  • Residence in counties should be confident that their concerns will be heard and given equal consideration
  • Eliminates concerns about segmentation; ensures SEQRA process is more comprehensive
  • Cortland County agreed to reset the SEQRA process that they had begun earlier
  • New lead agency letter sent out and have been returned; environmental assessment forms have been revised; revised scoping document--describes in greater detail the things that would be addressed in DEIS
  • Any comments submitted in either county under the previous scope are still valid; will be accepted as comments under the pending scoping session
  • All action proposed are laid out on page 3 of draft scoping document – only 2 or 3 of them involve Onondaga County, the rest are being taken by Cortland Co. or OCRRA
  • Scoping document – a lot of useful information that will come out of the investigation to help decision makers make more informed decisions about potential impacts associated with this process
  • Passage of this resolution allows the SEQR process and public input process to begin
  • Until Onondaga county passes this resolution, Cortland County is basically on hold concerning SEQRA

Chairman Knapp said that this resolution is only for the SEQRA process.  Mr. Coburn said that passing this resolution does not approve the partnership; doesn’t obligate anybody to any future actions; it is simply intended to inform the process. 


Chairman Knapp said he, Chairman McMahon, and others were really pushing hard for this to open up the process.  There was a lot of confusion with Cortland County, as far as our residents knowing who to talk to and get comments too.  This is a definite step in the right direction for openness and giving our folks a say in something that will be a very significant decision for the county.


Chairman Knapp asked for a chronology, assuming action is taken on this at the May session.  Mr. Coburn said that if action is taken at the May session, the expectation is that public scoping would start at about May 14th and continue for 30 days.  If the legislature would like, it would be possible to have a public meeting to get input on it.  Typically it is not done, they get input in writing, but it would be possible to do so.  One action being taken at the same time as considering the partnership, is to update the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan.  A draft needs to be sent to DEC in June, get them to review and consider whether or not the update to the SWMP is complete and acceptable.  Then, a public process would occur to review the update to the SWMP.  In July, based on input from the scoping document, a DEIS would be prepared.  Then, a public comment starts on the DEIS.  The expectation is that in August, all of the input would be received on the DEIS.  If there weren’t any substantive comments, it would be approved then.  If there were significant changes as a consequence of the public input, then amendments would be made to it.  A final EIS would be made and put out for a couple of weeks for people to look at and make sure it is complete. 


Chairman Knapp asked who the arbiter is, if someone makes a comment during the scoping phase, to determine if it is a good idea or not.  Mr. Coburn said that he wasn’t sure what the final formal decisions is on that; if there were reasonable comments, they would be added in.  He said that if the legislature would like, it would be possible for them to come back for informational purposes and share the scope.  Mrs. Tarolli said that they would err on the conservative side and address everything that comes in.  Mr. Coburn said that he didn’t know that it would require formal action to get on the record and say that it looks complete, looked at the comments, looked at changes made to the scope, but if there was concern about it, further action could be taken.


Chairman Knapp asked that if after the scoping phase, does the legislature have to consider it again and vote to go forward with the environmental assessment.  Mr. Coburn said that the legislature does not have to.  He suspects the legislature will be very comfortable with it--looking at the draft scoping document now, it is very thorough.  They can share all of the comments that they get, if the legislature feels there was something missing from it, it could be added in.


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Coburn said that he can lay out a calendar, similar to what he just reviewed and will provide it to the legislature.


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Coburn explained that the committee is just voting on the co-lead process; committing to the SEQRA process—acceding the DEIS, accepting the scoping documents and positive declaration.


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


8.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

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


Mr. Donnelly:

  • Items 8a & 8b correspond with the highway work plan that was presented last November
  • No change to the work plan and the bonds remain the same

Chairman Knapp asked how this compares to previous years concerning amount and cost of work.  Mr. Donnelly said that the cost has come down.  It is always difficult to estimate what the cost of asphalt will be.  The price of oil is up, but hasn’t translated to liquid asphalt.  After 2008 when there was dramatic increase in asphalt, the domestic holders of liquid asphalt made sure that they had large domestic reserves.  The price is still now down to what it was prior to 2008, but has prevented dramatic fluctuations in the cost.  This year they are estimating that it will be $275,000 a centerline mile.  Bonding plan is smaller; it corresponds with the capital improvement plan.  The proposed work is really looking at pavement preservation rather than reconstruction.  The premise is to take roads in decent condition and prevent them from deteriorating to a point to where the repair is extremely costly.  This is putting money into roads that are in decent shape and making sure they stay in decent shape.  By going with a pavement preservation strategy, it allows taking a limited set of dollars and expanding them across more miles than might ordinarily be done.  There are a variety of surface treatments; instead of large mill and fills – it is dong 1.5 inches of hot mix, a couple inches of cold mix, rather than 2 and 4 inches as might have been done in previous years.  They won’t have as long of useful life, but will hold those roads in good condition and prevent us from slipping and sliding into a situation where we would need to get into a full reconstruction on those roads.


Mr. Jordan has noticed that the condition of the NYS Thruway was extremely good – did not see a lot of potholes and broken pavement.  He questioned what the State does differently on the Thruway.  Mr. Donnelly said that he can’t say for sure; the Thruway Authority has made a massive capital investment in the last few years, particularly Syracuse westbound.  Over the last few years they have done a tremendous amount of work between here and Rochester.  They put an enormous amount of work from exit 39 to 40 with doing a concrete road.  It is an interesting premise – theoretically the road is supposed to last for 50 years; it remains to be seen as to what kind of success they get out of it.  Mr. Jordan asked if the the Thruway Authority is doing anything different with the asphalt part of it.  Mr. Donnelly said “not to the best of his knowledge”.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly said that the road specifications aren’t any different – they use state specifications, and that is what the county uses. 


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded By Mr. Jordan to approve this item.  AYES:  5; NOES: 0; OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.


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


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded By Mr. May to approve this item.  AYES:  5; NOES: 0; OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Authorizing Highway Construction Projects and Execution of Agreements in Connection With Supporting and Enhancing the 2014 Onondaga Co. Highway Work Plan (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


        d.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Transfer County Fund Balance to the Onondaga County Department of Transportation to Support and Enhance the 2014 Highway Work Plan ($1,500,000) (Sponsored By Mr. McMahon)


Chairman Knapp inquired about IMAs to go along with this.  Mr. Donnelly said that he believes they are still being worked on.  Chairman Knapp said that without the IMAs, it will be difficult to take a vote.  Items c and d were discussed together.


Mr. Donnelly said that item 8c allowed County DOT to conduct or oversee work off of the county highway system, specifically for work in the downtown area and certain towns, in an effort to better the highway system as a whole, as opposed to a spot approach on the county system.  Item 8d is a fund balance resolution to support item 8c.


Chairman McMahon said that details need to be worked out with the IMAs.  Of the $1.5 million, $1 million would go to either town governments at their population center or those that have business districts, and $500,000 would go to help fund two roads in the City of Syracuse, where there are significant county assets – Harrison and Adams Streets.  The towns in the proposal are:  Clay, Camillus, Van Buren, Elbridge, and Onondaga.  The IMA for the towns would be similar to the IMA with the State for CHIPS funding.  The funds would be dedicated to categories within the towns’ highway plans.


Chairman Knapp asked what the criteria is for picking the roads in the towns.  Chairman McMahon said that it would basically be for the town’s own highway superintendent to make.  Similar to item 8e, the county accepts money from the state on what it can be used for.  The county would take essentially the same rules and use them with towns – their highway superintendents would live within those guidelines.  From a metropolitan standpoint, there are other areas within the county, where the roads aren’t graded at 5, 6, & 7s, but maybe at 2 or 3, whether it’s the business district in the City or Syracuse or downtown Elbridge, or Town of Clay, which has heavy traffic – taking this money with a metropolitan view of the county overall.


Mr. Jordan asked what the proposal would encompass; would the town personnel be used to do the road work and the county would just be providing funding, or would the county essentially be doing the work on roads owned by municipalities.  Mr. Donnelly said that the premise would be the funding from the county would go to the towns, for them to do the work; it would be administered effective with the way the CHIPS program currently is.  County, City, towns all participate in CHIPS and get allotments so they are all familiar with what types of treatments and activities are reimbursable under CHIPS and which ones aren’t.  It was thought that this would be the most straight ahead, most simple way for towns to utilize this money and utilize it quickly.  With the city, the County DOT would be overseeing the projects.


Mr. May said that he is struggling with this concept.  He has questioned why we are doing this; and it has failed to be answered from his perspective.  He fully understands the rationale; respects and admires the intent, but it offers a lot of contradictions in the way of things that we have been trying to accomplish in the past couple of years and even before that.  Even though the Sustainability Plan wasn’t approved a while ago, he fully agrees with the concept and the need of strengthening our urban core.  He is unsure if it justifies crossing over taxing jurisdictions for such a purpose.  If able to find the revenue, he questions why not apply it toward tax savings or reducing debt within Onondaga County--know all of the demands that need to be met in the next few years.  In 2014, we just adopted a road preservation strategy for county roads – not doing everything we necessarily could or should – a new strategy, which allows the County to do more with less.  Then, we will take that extra money and send it to municipalities.  The sales tax agreement was changed drastically a few years ago – a big selling point of the agreement was for taxpayers throughout the county to be able to look at their bill and see how much county government is costing.  Now, this is creating a process, which would take step backwards and dilute ones vision in what county government is costing because we will expand outreach with these purposes.  This is a good thing to think about, but not a great plan.  When he looks at the paving roads in municipalities, he sees the county putting Band-Aids on problems, but definitely not solving an issue.  He is all for devoting county dollars towards consolidation, shared services, and creating, deep, meaningful returns on investments for taxpayers.  He questions why not put the money towards programs and services that have ongoing benefits to us. 


Mr. Holmquist agrees with everything that Mr. May said.  He can’t remember any agreement like this in the time he has been at the legislature or with the town or village.  It is his understanding that the city didn’t ask for the original plan that the County Executive courted in the media.  He doesn’t know what the city paving plan is, whether they have been collaborated with.  They have obtained a pothole killer and established a hotline to report roads to be fixed.  He doesn’t understand why the county would take on these obligations; it’s a band aid type approach – it is not anything that is going to be sustainable.  This is a scaled down version of the original proposal, but questioned why it was announced in the media that we going to give a municipality all of this money, when they didn’t ask for it and it isn’t known what their plan is.


Mr. Millea said that this is an important policy discussion.  The County Executive first mentioned this in her budget address in 2012.  He doesn’t believe there is any intention on the County Executive’s part to have this become a permanent program.  In the letter she sent to the Mayor, she was very clear that this would be a one shot, cash funded, targeted approach for some critical core thoroughfares that connect all of our county users.  The reason Harrison and Adams Streets are being looked at is because they are two critical corridors that many constituents likely use to get in and out of the city, and that could use some work.  The County Executive’s argument is because a lot of county residents use those roads, they are impacted.  A study was announced in the legislative chamber, which said that some of the road conditions in our community cause up to $1,300 per year in damage to people’s vehicles, delays, etc.  Her view is that the way the sales tax agreement worked, shoring up the balance sheet over the last two years, gives an opportunity to make some targeted investments on a cash basis, a go forward basis, where there is a discussion each and every time, not instituting a permanent program where the county takes over city roads.  In this case, the charge was that they were hearing a lot about issues with the City infrastructure.  The County Executive offered in her letter to the Mayor that “we would like to come in and help,” particularly in the core business area of the community.  There was discussion with Chairman McMahon and others about it, as well as with helping other core business areas in our our community, and target those.  It fits in with the whole “fix it first” strategy that the County Executive talked about in her Sustainable Development Plan – in urban cores, community cores, includes the villages.  A lot of great work has been done - this is part of a broader, policy plan.  He does not believe that moving this forward now, in any way, binds us to some kind of permanent funding stream where we do this.  The view is that the county is in a fiscal position to offer some assistance right now, so let’s go ahead and do it.


Mr. Holmquist asked if there was a letter from the County Executive to the Mayor or was there a dialogue to target specific streets that the county should pave.  Mr. Millea said that there has been ongoing dialogue.  The County Executive and Mayor talked about a number of partnership opportunities.  He referred to the 2012 budget presentation, where the County Executive proposed the idea.  It wasn’t ultimately considered in her final budget.  When a lot of stories hit about critical infrastructure issues in the city, the County Executive decided to revisit it.  The Mayor and County Executive did communicate before the letter was sent, and have since; respective staffs have had some of the technical discussions.  There are concerns about an IMA needing to be presented first – that is understandable and how we have been doing business.  From a policy perspective, it is helpful to know what kind of money they are dealing with – asked if there could be an approach to having the funds authorized and put into contingency, then work on the IMAs, so they can have some knowledge of what kind of pool of funds they are working with.  They can come back before the committee with a negotiated IMA.  He can’t negotiate an IMA with the city yet because he is not sure about the amount; Mr. Donnelly and his team are working with the City to make sure they don’t bight off more than they can chew.  It will be surface road reconstruction, not full depth reconstruction, or getting into the utility business.  This is a unique, singular opportunity; “by no means is this intended to be some type of permanent funding stream to either the towns or the city.”

Mr. Holmquist said that the county has roads that need to be maintained – dedicated roads the county is responsible for.  The city has the same with their roads, as do the villages and towns.  Philosophically it seems that it would make more sense, if these two roads have a lot of County assets on them in the City, that they should be dedicated as county roads with the county being responsible for them – rather than a piecemeal or one-shot approach.  He questioned what happens if the city is in receivership in two years and a State financial review board points out that the county paved the roads, covered up substructures, it isn’t sound, and says that the county is now responsible.  He feels there should be a discussion about taking those roads over.  Mr. Millea added that there are no county roads in the city, but all residents of the city are also in the county.  Mr. Holmquist added that city residents drive on village roads every day.  Currently the county has its own dedicated roads, potholes, and responsibilities – a core reason why county government exists.  He has not seen or heard about a city road plan.  He doesn’t understand why the county would come in and pave roads, when we could reduce the tax rate or dedicated the funds to the county’s own infrastructure needs, which are ongoing.


Chairman McMahon said part of the issue as to why it makes sense to consider this for these two streets is because the city really doesn’t have a plan.  As a former City Councilor he knows that each year the city had about four streets to reconstruct and address.  Seeing the downtown business district and the county assets, with the Oncenter and a lasting impression of people going out and marketing business, and people coming in seeing the conditions of the streets there – it is embarrassing.  It is our problem from the sense of the economics, as the county has true assets on these streets.  The resolution is not what was presented in the media; it was scaled back drastically.  It recognizes that there are heavily populated business districts in towns/suburbs; it is balanced.  It is trying to figure out a way to get something done – the reason is that the Legislature put forth a budget and there is a surplus – money that could be appropriated to county roads.  It is taking decent roads and making them good roads, or good roads and making them very good roads, or taking very poor roads and making them better roads.  Nobody is wrong in this debate; we are in a fiscal position where we can do something.  He has diversified it by adding other geographical areas.  Regarding concerns about the IMAs, which is the Law Department’s job – making sure liabilities aren’t there going forward.  He asked that this information be considered and some of the details be worked out in the next few days.


Mr. Kilmartin noted that legislators have brought up some good points; there are a lot of overlapping issues.  There can be a strict, constructionist view – city is responsible for their assets; county is for theirs, towns and village are for theirs.  There is a valid argument to be made for it; it is one way to approach it and simplifies saying that it makes it very clear cut.  In the sales tax agreement, the legislature tried to take a step closer to that.  Originally, sales tax was supposed to be a county tax, for county services to reduce the property tax.  Through the decades that changed – the legislature decided to sprinkle it to towns, villages, & school districts.  It was really a county imposed tax to offset all of the other budgets.  It could have been used to offset property taxes for years or to reduce county budgets, but it wasn’t.  We got far afield from the original intent.  We tried to regulate it with the most recent sales tax agreement, and use if for its original intent – use sales tax dollars to reduce property tax.  There was a ratcheting down of sales tax for the towns, and then there was a continuation of sales tax use for villages.  It was not the strict, constructionist theory.  The reason was because there would be a dramatic impact on the towns for a couple of years.  The villages could have a dramatic impact for years, so they were thinned out and carried them on for the duration of the agreement.  This issue is similar to the sales tax debates that occurred.  On today’s agenda, item 8c – proposal for City, Towns of Clay, Elbridge, Van Buren, Camillus & Onondaga; item 11a is a proposal strictly for the Village of Marcellus; item 11b is strictly for the Village of Minoa.  It would be easy to question allocating dollars for them when it could be used to reduce county property tax, reduce spending, increase county fund balance, but with debating the VIP funds as they have terrible infrastructure problems, and maybe the county should give them a little assistance.  Some of these funds are for sidewalks, drainage, etc., the same type of issues as in item 8c.  The difficult thing is to find a balance between the strict constructionist and focusing on solving problems. 


Mr. Kilmartin explained that for seven years he has had a terrible problem in the Town of Onondaga with a sewage issue.  It had gone on for approximately 20 years; there is also a long standing problem with drainage in a different part of the Town of Onondaga.  For years, people from both the county and the town said “it’s not our problem” – they don’t control the failed drainage or septic systems.  In the one area of the town there were 50 residents who were terribly flooded every year – 4 feet of water in their basement.  In the other area there was a foot of sewage sitting on top of the surface, in grassy area, where kids were playing.  He tried to work to bring some people together, and within a short period of time a solution was found for it.  People stayed in their box and didn’t do anything for 20 years.  The flooding and sewage could have been avoided if we had gotten a little creative and thought outside of the box. 


Mr. Kilmartin said that there are a lot of folks from the towns that drive through the city; a lot of folks from the city that drive through the towns.  A lot of people in one part of the county might benefit from a pump station in Minoa or sidewalks in Marcellus.  It is complicated, but we have to set priorities and make the best vote that we can.


Mr. Holmquist said that the sales tax agreement got us going in the right direction.  If we were here 40 years ago, the sales tax funds would have been used the way they were originally intended – as a direct reduction in county property tax.  With the recent sales tax agreement, the difference with the villages is that they had to take the sales tax in cash – it represented about one-third of their budget.  That was a reality in 2010 – to cut off a third of their revenue stream because of being against it philosophically, would have been catastrophic.  For similar reasons as the city, there are 15 other smaller, urban cores that need support.  With the sales tax agreement, the sales tax was cut dramatically – the VIP funds are about 45% of their previous funding revenue.  They have taken a tremendous hit – philosophically, rightfully so.  The other items on the agenda help to mitigate that tremendous cut.  The towns that were responsible, used sales tax as a direct credit to the county property tax.  The towns didn’t have to take a penny in cash--many did, some over a period of time.  It resulted in tax increases.  The Town of Manlius took dollar for dollar to reduce the tax rate – using the sale tax revenue appropriately.  This road plan is going in the opposite direction; we have already worked on these issues, already mitigated; already passed VIP.  There are some side projects and inequities with Save the Rain for the 5 villages that weren’t included – trying everything that we can.  With roads, he is concerned about the precedent and what it would mean for the future.  He would be more comfortable if these City roads were dedicated as county roads.  He is not advocating for it, but it should be the discussion. 


Mr. Holmquist said that he doesn’t know if the city literally has no road plan, and questioned if there has been discussions with them specifically as to what their plans are for these roads downtown.  It was not helpful when the County Executive made the announcement to the public as if it was policy.  The policy is done at the legislature.  The public perception currently is that “this is going to get done.”


Mr. Kilmartin said that he agrees with Mr. Holmquist regarding the sales tax, regarding the village and how some towns were more thoughtful and disciplined with it than others.  He voted for the VIP because it was critical infrastructure issues that people advocated for and he was convinced that they were worthwhile.  It is tough to be a strict constructionist on 8c and not be one on 4a, 11a, and 11b – they are all infrastructure related items.


Mr. May said that he owes it to the people he is working for to look at this beyond pure theory and philosophy.  He asks himself when comparing sewer infrastructure to road surfaces – he can draw the lines to every taxpayer within the consolidated sanitary sewer district in Onondaga to how and why they benefit from these investments.  From one end of town to the other – everyone benefits in the long run.  It is more than philosophy – have to draw into the details.


Mrs. Ervin said that we always lose sight of the fact that we were one county – the city is not a separate foreign country.  When folks come downtown to the War Memorial for a Crunch game, or to the theater, they go across those streets that are in terrible condition.  She questions how we cannot want to do something with those streets.  It is not whose idea it was, or who announced it – that means nothing – we have to save tourism coming into our metropolitan area.  People are coming in for conventions at the Convention Center and going across the potholes – it is embarrassing.  The folks that live in all of our towns come to the city for one reason or another at some point and are faced with the city streets that are in terrible condition.  If we can help, then we should.  Mr. Jordan said that the argument could then be made that we should eliminate all other governments besides county government -- to take over all responsibility and duties of every municipality within the county.  Mrs. Ervin said that she is not making that argument.


Mr. Jordan said that there were a lot of municipalities that were upset about the sale tax because they came to rely upon those monies.  They weren’t designed to be a one-shot, but have heard too many times that we have put a lot of faith in something truly being a one shot.  It’s a one shot, and then next year it’s another one shot, and a few years later it’s another one, etc.  His concern is that there tends to be a reliance upon it.  He has an office in the City of Syracuse – in 20 years of being downtown, he hasn’t seen one road truly being repaved.  He’s sees a pipe burst, they dig it up and patch it.  It is not an appropriate way to maintain the roads.  Because the roads haven’t been appropriately maintained for so many years, we are coming in and trying to save the day.  He questioned if that is encouraging other municipalities to not spend as much money on paving roads and eventually go and ask the county to bail them out.  It is one thing to maintain things-- eventually pumps breakdown and become old and have to be replaced.  Sometimes despite good maintenance, huge projects come up.  That is more appropriate for the county to help out with because it is something that gets thrust upon a community at no fault of their own.  If there is a huge sewage problem with health issues, an argument can be made that it is a broader scope project.  Roads are not broad based, county wide projects – every municipality has a road system – a number one priority to maintain the roads within their jurisdiction.  If they fail to do that appropriately, he doesn’t feel it is an appropriate to look to have someone else bail them out. 


Mr. May said that Mr. Jordan captured the dilemma perfectly – these are resources, not our responsibility, but part of the big picture.  He struggles with -- when Onondaga County has a good sales tax year, the City of Syracuse has a good sales tax year, as well as every other benefactor of sales tax revenue.  He questioned why it now becomes the county’s dilemma.  He asked for items 8c and 8d to come back to Ways and Means.  Chairman Knapp said that it has been considered; some numbers and IMAs are missing.  Questions if this is a “chicken or the egg thing” – can’t have the IMAs without the dollars; can’t have the dollars without the IMAs.  Mr. May said that this shouldn’t go to session without more vetting.


Mr. Millea said that the County Executive has never been shy about talking about the importance of our community core – the impression we give to people in the community and to all taxpayers when they come down to the Civic Center or War Memorial, which is why these particular roads are targeted.  Regarding the open item, they need to have some context from the Legislature, as far as discussions with the City.  Given the concerns raised, he requested that something be moved forward to give a framework to go have discussions and come back to the legislature with an IMA that can be reviewed, before they do anything else.  He said that the resources are available; there will no material impact on the work plan presented in November – it’s not about harming the plan as it was; it’s about enhancing and supporting the plan.  If they could move forward with some type of direction that the resources might be available, so they can enter into some good faith negotiations with the city, come back to the legislature with an IMA and simultaneously continue the discussion.


Chairman Knapp said the proposal is to do Adams and Harrison Streets conceptually.  Mr. Millea said that we are getting a little ahead of ourselves regarding discussions with the city, but Mr. Donnelly has had some very good discussions with DPW and city engineers, and those are targeted areas that they are looking at.  It doesn’t suggest that the Mayor or her staff has agreed to those streets.  Chairman Knapp said it is difficult for those of us that aren’t experts in paving to pick out a number.  Mr. Jordan said it would depend on what has to be done – how significant the reconstruction is.  Mr. Millea said that it shouldn’t be open ended – finality to where we are headed and gives Mr. Donnelly some definition – have put together a package of roughly $1.48 million that could be available for this.  It would not exceed that; not going to expose ourselves to additional expenses – where it is a running tab and they will reimburse.  Mr. Donnelly will manage the project; set strict controls on it to make sure they don’t exceed the budget.  Mr. Millea asked for a one shot, to put it into contingency and provide the ability to have a good faith negotiation.


Mr. Holmquist agreed with Mr. May that this should not go to session – have not fully vetted this.  The direction from the legislature has been not to release any funds; the project doesn’t exist.  There has been a macro discussion of a lot of different options.  He couldn’t envision the possibility of this being considered at session – haven’t heard from the city; haven’t heard from the legislature as to whether we want to do this; there is no plan; don’t know what roads will be paved; questions have not been answered.


Chairman Knapp said that the door will be left open; there are a lot of questions that have to be answered.


        e.     Amending the 2014 Onondaga County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from New York State’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) ($469,589) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


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


9.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of an Additional $988,741 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs Related to the Acquisition and Installation of PeopleSoft Enterprise Products In and For Said County ($988,741)


Mr. Fisher referred to Resolution No. 127-2010 – original bond resolution.

Mr. Fisher distributed the following:

County Seal










Onondaga County has used the FAMIS mainframe software as its Financials application since 1977. The County has used the GENESYS mainframe software for payroll (101) and human resource planning (HRP) since 1989, adding temporary payroll (103) in 1992.


Since October 2009, the Office of County Executive has worked with other County offices and departments, including the Office of the Comptroller, Management and Budget, Finance, Personnel, and Information Technology to evaluate whether to migrate from a technology platform based on IBM mainframe hardware on which the County runs its enterprise software applications, which include FAMIS, GENESYS, and BuySpeed, to a modern technology platform that would include an integrated suite of enterprise software..


As a result of this evaluation process, we have decided to ask the County Legislature to approve bond financing for a project that will migrate the County from the IBM mainframe hardware that the County has leased for more than 30 years to IBM hardware that the County will purchase and own. This project will also result in the replacement of the FAMIS, GENESYS, and BuySpeed applications with the Peoplesoft Enterprise software application suite, which the County will license from Oracle Corporation.The County will also license Oracle’s relational database.


The project to migrate to Peoplesoft will begin in June 2010.  We expect to be running Peoplesoft’s Financials, Budget, and eProcurement applications by January 2012. We will be running Peoplesoft’s Human Resources and Payroll applications by January 2013.


We plan to purchase an enterprise license for the Peoplesoft Enterprise software that will also enable any of the 19 Towns and 15 Villages in Onondaga County to use Peoplesoft for their own operations, at no additional cost to these municipalities. The Peoplesoft software will run in the County’s data center, with the municipalities given remote, secure access, as well as support, from the County’s Information Technology department. Towns and Villages will be given access to the Peoplesoft Enterprise software by January 2013.


The County plans to hire CedarCrestone for the system integration services needed to migrate from FAMIS, GENESYS, and BuySpeed. The CedarCrestone firm has been engaged in projects to migrate several other counties, including Broome County, Orange County, and Nassau County, to Peoplesoft. We have consulted extensively with our counterparts in Broome County about the quality of the system integration services they have received from CedarCrestone.  As a result, we fare very confident in the cost estimates and project schedules that this vendor has provided to us.


The County also plans to outsource certain database administration, system administration, and software development services that will be required for the hardware and software migration project described above.


FUNDING SOURCE: 5-year and 10-year bonds (General Obligation)




Purchase Price

Period of Probable Usefulness (PPU)

Oracle/Peoplesoft (Financials + HR/Payroll + Budget + eProcurement application software)



5 years`

ORACLE for z/Linux (database)



5 years




5 years

IBM System z10 (z/Linux operating system ), including Disk Storage & Backup



10 years

IBM Blade Servers (Application & Web servers)



`10 years

CedarCrestone system integration services, including design, implementation, and data conversion



10 years

Outsourced database administration, system administration, and software development services



10 years




10 years





  • Proposal made in May 2010
  • County mainframe system – in 2009-2010 spending over $1.6 million on mainframe, related software, leases
  • A complete project pan was put together which included bonding and annual financing – total of $16,079,616
  • Benefits from replacing mainframe:  save the $1.6 million; had started to move towards commodity hardware—inexpensive servers in data center to be virtualized and used across many different departments
  • Resources can be shared much more efficiently – most other enterprises have moved in this direction
  • Rational for project – pay for a far better system, entirely out of savings from turning off the mainframe
  • The business case never depended on reducing headcount or doing things better, faster, cheaper



Mr. Fisher distributed the following:




2009 Budget

2010 Budget

 2013 Budget

 2014 Budget *

 2014 Budget Decrease



694130 - Maint.,Util.,Rents




 $    441,000


 $      417,715


 $     475,000



 $ (352,000)



694130 - Maint.,Util.,Rents

IBM Credit Corp.

IBM ICC (various add'l leases)






694130 - Maint.,Util.,Rents


(Various leases)







694130 - Maint.,Util.,Rents


OS/390 Software & Addl



DB2 for z/OS







Rational CBL RT for zSeries







Enterprise COBOL z/OS & OS/390 Full







Enterprise PL/I Alt Func







CICS TS for z/OS







IMS Database Manager














z/OS V1 Base







z/OS V1 DFSMS dss







z/OS V1 DFSMS rmm




























z/OS V1 Security Server







Total - IBM OS/390 Software & Addl








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

BMC Software

(pack) ULTRA OPT







694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Chicago Soft







694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Computer Associates








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

H&W Computer Systems







694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Innovation Software








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents


DB/2 Connect S&S






694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents


Tivoli Decision Support z/OS (was CIMS)











694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

IBM / Tivoli







694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Mackinney Systems









694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Pacific Systems Group

Spectrum Writer






694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents


Plus!Pack (JCL Plus)







694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents








694130 - Maint.,Util., Rents

Genesys Software Systems









 $   1,607,805

 $   1,119,841

 $  528,098


 $ (591,743)

* The 2014 Budget assumed the discontinuation of the z/OS mainframe system by June 30.





Purchase Price


Support / Maintenance (2010 - 2020)


Oracle/Peoplesoft (Financials + HR/Payroll + Budget + eProcurement application software)

5 years





ORACLE for z/Linux (database)

5 years






5 years





IBM System z10 (z/Linux operating system ), including Disk Storage & Backup

10 years





IBM Blade Servers (Application & Web servers)

10 years





CedarCrestone system integration services, including design, implementation, and data conversion

10 years





Outsourced database administration, system administration, and software development services

10 years






10 years











  • Mainframe is still running
  • Maint, Utilities & rents (694130) – spend about $4 million/year on it
  • Spend in 2009 - $1.632 million, 2010 - $1,607 million (leases, software licensing fees, specific mainframe applications)
  • Had hoped to be completely off mainframe by now; had hoped to see $1.6 million moving into a different part of the budget that would be for the cost of PeopleSoft
  • Have not succeeding in moving everything off of mainframe
  • Spent $1.119 million in 2013 budget; saved $500,000 so far
  • Have to finish the project to get the rest of the savings – get all mainframe software off of mainframe, including some applications that PeopleSoft is replacing
  • FAMIS has been replaced with PeopleSoft Financials – went live a year ago Sept – it’s been rough going – have had more challenges than expected in stabilizing that system –
  • Still have work to do to stabilize it--will ask for some money in the amendatory bond resolution to stabilize that system
  • Comptroller’s Office doesn’t’ like some things in the system – would like to have additional funds to help them clean up some things that don’t work
  • 2014 budget – thought they would be off mainframe by June – budgeted significant savings as a result -only have $528,000 in budget for mainframe; just spent $1.1 million on it – are approx. $600,000 short – challenge to live within that budget this year
  • Have to continue the project to get to zero – key components of PeopleSoft system (HR, payroll, benefits) – have to finish to take GENESYS off of mainframe
  • Other challenges – not asking money for
  • Consequences of not approving this would be to budget $1.1 million next year for mainframe and associated software
  • Prefer to borrow more money -  5 year time frame  - finish job and get off mainframe by the end of the year


Mr. Fisher distributed the following:

info sheet


  • OnGov Enterprise (more than just PeopleSoft)
  • Kronos – bought time and labor module in PeopleSoft, but decided to go ahead with Kronos – working reasonably well – upgraded to version 6.3 last year
  • All county departments will be keeping track of their leave in Kronos in near future – will eventually come to the PeopleSoft Payroll system
  • Project started in Sept. 2010; original schedule was to be done by now
  • In 2012 DMB rolled out Hyperion – used to budget–working well – can budget at a level that we couldn’t get to before
  • Jan. 2013 – money spent at program level; 2014 some enhancements made; more will be made next year
  • Nature of system to make improvements - not in a silo, but in an integrated ERP environment
  • Didn’t do a good enough job for making sure the different departments would adequately communicate to Comptroller or other departments that were affected, by some of the decisions made by other business process owners
  • Sept. 2012 – Commitment Control (financial system-general ledger) – control expenditures so they don’t exceed authorized appropriations
  • Commitment Control – given some new capabilities – hasn’t been smooth, but working as designed; working in a way that he Executive side can standardize on
  • 2013 - Budget was loaded successfully last year; CAFR published; eProcurement (Purchasing module) system implemented; 2014 budget built and loaded; upgraded to Oracle running on new system purchased-–database running on commodity hardware; implemented Oracle 11g; gotten better at using People Tools
  • 2014 – still have significant challenges in stabilizing live financials and supply change management modules; trying to implement 3 more modules on the financial side (Supplier Contracts-contracts to be tied into PRs, POs, vouchers; Strategic Sources-automated bid specs, Asset Management – tie in depreciable assets into system in a consistent way)
  • Other 3 priorities for 2014 – get HR, benefits, and payroll implemented
  • Going forward have to upgrade to v9.2


Mr. Fisher continued:

  • Original budget - $5,950,000 to bring in a system integrator – CedarCrestone System Integration Services – after Ways & Means, but before Sept., the team at Cedar Crestone that did the project at Broome County, left that county and went to another company – CMA.
  • All executives at CMA and CedarCrestone said they are good with it - worked it all out - negotiations with CedarCrestone will pass over – were skilled in the use of this methodology (Propel) -- the team rolling off of Binghamton will be the team of Onondaga County.  Mr. Fisher said that the biggest mistake he has made was buying that story.
  • It didn’t work out as planned--by end of 2010 it was clear--one of the people running Commitment Control design went to India and didn’t come back.  There were a number of other setbacks along the way; had several resets in the project in 2011 before starting to gain momentum
  • Behind by end of 2010; started to make some progress in 2011, but it was still very slow
  • March 2013 – Deputy Comptroller sent a very passionate letter to the Comptroller and County Executive and others
  • Some dramatic changes were made – he became personally involved in overseeing the project
  • Realized he couldn’t do it by himself--brought in a consultant, who is helping to oversee the project from the county’s perspective for the last 5-6 months
  • At this point the consulting company and county have differences of opinion about the contract; thinks a settlement has been reached with them
  • Essentially will hold back some of the money that they feel is owed them –not pay the full $5.95 million
  • County will take over the project, effective almost immediately; will use some of the month that doesn’t go to the consultants to keep the project going for a little longer
  • Will not be able to finish the work in 2014 without a significant increase in the dollars
  • He thinks a 10% increase in the original bond should take them to January 1st - $988,000
  • It is not known exactly what the Comptroller’s office will need, but have committed that whatever they do need, there will be money for it
  • Recently put in place a series of master agreements of about 7 vendors--gotten better at putting out mini bids and procuring IT services -- write a very narrow scope of work, put the item out to bid, and bring in that specific consultant to work under county control and direction
  • Feels the consultants now are more qualified, more efficient, more productive than those supplied by prior vendor
  • Will see significant acceleration in the pace of the project when county takes over the project;
  • A lot of unknowns -- can’t guarantee they can accomplish everything with the money that has been budgete


Mr. May referred to the upgrade to version 9.2, and asked if it is a separate issue.  Mr. Fisher said that they are live with a number of financial modules in v9.1 so there has to be an upgrade there.  It could be next year or 2016.  ON the Human capital management pieces (HR, payroll, benefits), there may be an opportunity to move to v9.2 before they go live.  Mr. May asked if there is any additional capital requirement for the upgrade.  Mr. Fisher said that there would be eventually, whether or not they can take that capital out of the operating budget, as approximately $4 million in maintenance, utilities, and rents, funds capital purchases out of IT budget on a very frequent basis.  It is only when something becomes a very large budget and can’t fit within that budget that they bond for it (i.e. voiceover IP phones). 


Chairman Knapp asked if this gets approved, is it realistic that this can be wrapped up by the end of the year, and be off of the mainframe.  Mr. Fisher said that he thinks that all of the pieces that are being replaced by PeopleSoft can be by the end of the year.  There is a sizable list:




They were optimistic that by June of this year, all of these applications would be off of the mainframe; there are 3 that are actually off of it.  There is a lot of work to be done between now and January 1st.  Mr. Sexton said that they are in the process of establishing project qualities, determining applications that need to be rewritten, determining the scope, who is dedicated to the projects, prioritizing, etc.  Mr. Fisher said that $500,000 has already been cut out of mainframe budget; may be more as more applications get off of it -- there might be some line items that can go.  They will look at it before the budget gets put together for next year. 


Mr. Maturo said that Comptroller’s office has some concerns; had figured that more money would be needed to finish the project.  He pointed out that the modules in this timeline, with the exception of the upgrade to v9.2, were supposed to be done by the current contract.  It was evident several years ago that they weren’t going to be able to deliver.  Without a doubt, it is time to move on and get other consultants in here.  The schedule provided today is extremely optimistic.  If the current consultant was kept on, there is no way to hit it -- opening it up to other consulting firms is a step in the right direction.  The Comptroller’s office would not expect the current consultant to receive any more money, as they have already been paid to theoretically put these modules in.  Additionally, the Comptroller’s office would like the ability to contract with their own consultant, who answers to the Comptroller’s office to address the needs of the stability of the financial side.  Mr. Fisher has agreed to that.  Mr. Fisher added that the County Executive has agreed to that also.


Mr. May asked if the Comptroller’s stipulations and requirements are factored in the $998,000; Mr. Fisher indicated that they have been.  Mr. Maturo added that he doesn’t see major expenditures on the Comptroller’s side, but have a couple of issues that they would like to see addressed prior to bringing the other modules on line.


Chairman Knapp asked if this amount will be added to the existing bond.  Mr. Fisher said that this will amend the bond – typically they wait until they expend the money to bond.  Bond Counsel has advised that this will be a five year period of probable usefulness.  It would be interest only payments in 2016, principle and interest in 2017-2020.  Chairman Knapp referred to the probable useful life from the original bond, and asked if this now is extending those useful lives.  Mr. Tarolli said that it is just for the $988,000; the original bond would remain as authorized. 


Mr. Jordan questioned why this is coming from the contractor that was originally hired.  Mr. Fisher suggested that the committee go into executive session.


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session for the purposes of discussing a potential litigation strategy involving CMA, and for a discussion with the County Attorney’s office on an attorney-client basis.  Mrs. Ervin seconded the motions.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* Mrs. Maturo left the meeting; Mrs. French took the minutes for the remainder of the meeting.


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


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to approve item 9a. 


Mr. May stated that the agenda states the item is informational, though he has no problem voting on the item.  Chairman Knapp stated the item has been discussed and asked to take a vote.


Seconded by Mr. May.  Ayes:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, May, Holmquist, Ervin); Abstaining:  1 (Kilmartin).  MOTION CARRIED.


10.   MANAGEMENT & BUDGET:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature to Enact Senate Bill No. S07030 and Assembly Bill No. A09345, Regarding the Process for the Imposition and Collection of Real Property Taxes Within the County of Onondaga and Concurring in the Preparation of A Home Rule Request

Mr. Fisher:

  • 1937 NYS law requires the County to deliver a certified copy of City Abstract in the 1st week of November; some discussion on changing the budget calendar, would require the NYS legislature to change deadline to Dec. 20th; Syracuse Common Council set to enact the same memorializing resolution and expect Senate and Assembly to pass legislation
  • After approval could discuss delivering the budget later in the year – when more details on expenditures and sales tax receipts are available, after the current Sept. 15th deadline; would provide additional time for Ways & Means changes
  • 1st step in 2 part process - if passed would come back to committee next month for specific calendar discussion

Mr. Holmquist stated that if the memorializing resolution is passed, the calendar would come back to the committee for discussion, allowing for presentation after September 15th, but before or after Election Day.  Mr. Fisher agreed, saying the administration code sets forth the budget calendar and is a creature of the Legislature.  In order to change the dates and deadlines placed on the County Executive, the Legislature must pass another law.  


Mr. Holmquist stated that there are a number of concerns.  It could be considered negative to be setting a budget and tax rate after Election Day; wants to be sure that the memorializing resolution doesn’t define the date, if they choose to present it before Election Day.  Mr. Fisher responded that the resolution does not change the date yet.  It changes the date for delivery of the City Abstract to the Syracuse Commissioner of Finance.  Mr. May asked if there was anything in the resolution that mandated changing the budget schedule in anyway.  Ms. Tarolli responded, “No”.  Mr. May stated that the budget is the most important thing that they do as a committee and he doesn’t want to be painted into a corner on how a budget is developed or vetted.  This morning was a good example of how the potential exist.  Mr. May doesn’t want to endorse a timeline that would put them in that position; has no problem allowing for a better and more descriptive bill to the City of Syracuse, but that is about the beginning and end of it. 


Chairman Knapp stated that the budget is like a root canal – it must be done but there is no good time.  Moving it back a little may have merit, but Chairman Knapp is in agreement with Mr. Holmquist, they must consider the election.  Immediately following the election is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  The last thing they want is to have their backs against the wall and be forced to make decisions that they have not had time to explore.  Chairman Knapp stated a great deal of input from Mrs. Maturo and Mrs. Stanczyk would be necessary to ensure that any changes could be accommodated, as they are a huge part of the budget process.  The flexibility to tweak might be good, but any wholesale changes would absolutely require discussion.


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



        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for Distribution to the Village of Marcellus, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements ($49,880) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Kilmartin)

Mr. Kilmartin:

  • 11a and 11b are similar, releasing money from contingency
  • Respective mayors submitted documentation – costs, purpose, use, mapping, etc. (On file with the Clerk)

Chairman Knapp stated this is based on monies set aside specifically for these programs.  Mr. May added, for villages outside of the sewer district.  Chairman Knapp agreed.


A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  Ayes:  4 (Knapp, May, Holmquist, Kilmartin); Abstaining: 2 (Jordan, Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Jordan stated he wanted to see the Intermunicipal Agreements for items 11a & 11b before voting on them.  


Mr. Kilmartin cautioned that in both cases, the documents submitted by the villages reference phases; not necessarily the only request.  There may be another request in upcoming years.  Chairman Knapp added that this could be verified between now and session.


        b.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for Distribution to the Village of Minoa, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements ($49,717) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Knapp, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Corl)

Mr. Kilmartin:

  • Mayor provided some details on the pump station and miscellaneous work (On file with the Clerk)

Chairman Knapp stated that Mrs. Stanczyk has confirmed that no private benefits are involved.


A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  Ayes:  4 (Knapp, May, Holmquist, Kilmartin); Abstaining: 2 (Jordan, Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Millea stated work needed to be done on their end with regard to the IMA.  WEP has an IMA to be used with the Save the Rain program, but the County Executive will have to enter into contracts with the municipalities to transfer the funds.  The background information provided is helpful, but a discussion will necessary between the County Executive’s staff and the villages to get the contracts in place and signed.  Mr. Millea will follow up with the committee on this matter.   


        c.     A Local Law Providing for a Waiver of Parks Admission Fees for Eligible Veterans and Active Military Members (Sponsored by Mr. Dougherty)

Mr. Lansley:

  • Proposed by County Executive in last budget address – policy was written, authorized and implemented Jan. 1
  • Community has been very receptive
  • 1st quarter 2014 admission/revenues waived


  • Overwhelmingly approve of local law permanence; small thing to do for Veterans serving Onondaga County

Chairman Knapp asked the annual financial impact overall.  Mr. Lansley responded that this was difficult to answer as there is no way to know if a person was coming because it was a free service or was planning on attending anyway.  Additional park properties will come on board with the busy beach season.  This is not something that Mr. Lansley can put a number on; impossible to know someone’s intent and feels it is irrelevant with so many other dependent values on their revenues.  Chairman Knapp stated this is not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Mr. Lansley stated $25,000 for the entire year might be a fair estimate.


Chairman Knapp stated that military ID would be used for active members and asked what retired Veterans would use.  Mr. Lansley responded that all Veterans have some form of military ID.  


Mr. Lansley noted that the admission to the beach is a carload.  Anyone in the car with the Veteran or active military is admitted for free.  Zoo admission is free for the Veteran or active military and up to three of their immediate family members.


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


12.   HEALTH DEPARTMENT:  Michelle Mignano, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing Payment from the 2014 County Budget up to A Maximum Amount of $3,500 for Travel Expenses for the Position of Pathologist ($,3500)

Ms. Mignano:

  • Both items 12a and 12b have been presented for the past 3 years – go together, looking for new pathologist as Dr. Johnson is leaving in May
  • Have been recruiting, knew this was coming up; have been down positions supporting the MEO
  • Significant importance with the addition of the Oneida contract – more work;  accreditation standards for cases
  • Item 12b is for moving expenses, item 12a is for travel recruiting; items presented at once due to time burden –ME unable to stay but willing to answer questions
  • Difficult to recruit for key scientific positions; would like local law to allow the use of relocations funds whenever necessary
  • Current staff is being recruited by other communities with sizeable salarie


Chairman Knapp stated that item 12a is a one-time expense for travel recruitment and asked if item 12b would be permanent.  Ms. Mignano responded that item 12b is also a one-time cost.  She would like to see it open so that if there were additional turnarounds, they wouldn’t have to come back to the legislature for authorization.  Mr. May asked why this wasn’t policy.  Ms. Mignano responded that she was not sure.  It has been discussed with the County Executive and the Law department is researching it.  Chairman Knapp added that there is an immediate need.


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


        b.     A Local Law Authorizing Payment out of the 2014 County Budget for the Relocation of the Pathologist for the Medical Examiner’s Office in the Center For Forensic Sciences up to a Maximum Amount of $2,000


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


13.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

a.     A Resolution Approving Various Sewer Improvements as Outlined in Local Law 1-2011 for the Purpose of Mitigating Inflow and Infiltration of Stormwater Into the Consolidated Sanitary District Sewer System in and for the County of Onondaga, New York ($785,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Part of project in 2014 budget
  • $800k set aside to resolve I & I issues in sewer district  – funds received from Honeywell dredging

Mr. Millea stated that the Law department was looking into the potential need for a public hearing and may substitute this resolution with a public hearing resolution.  Chairman Knapp stated that the need for a possible public hearing has been considered and the item may be replaced at general session if needed. 


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


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


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature






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