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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:  Mrs. Rapp, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Buckel, Mrs. Ervin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Meyer and see attached list (Attachment 1)


Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the minutes and to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

1.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Patricia Pastella, Commissioner

        a.  ACJ Update

  • “Save the Rain” Campaign Public Education and Outreach has been progressing – featured articles and advertising in the Scotsman Press, green edition and WCNY Central Issues; also participated in the CNY Jazz Arts & Crafts Festival and had an interview on the Jim Reith Show, ongoing presentations with community groups including Syracuse United Neighbors.
  • The pilot Rain Barrel Program (grant through EFC) – proving rain barrels to the south and west sides of Syracuse – have given out 135 barrels, giving workshops with 15 to 20 participants – all scheduled to get rain barrels – another 50 ready to be distributed.
  • Green Improvement Fund - fifteen applications have been received; contract awards are pending.
  • Construction of green enhancements to the City Creekwalk is proceeding and scheduled to be completed by the end of this summer.
  • Continuing the “green” parking lot program with the City of Syracuse – have received bids for Lot No. 3 and Pearl Street Lot.
  • Skimmer boat operation is continuing twice per week through August and then once per week until November.
  • Harbor Brook Interceptor Replacement – have installed 4,113 feet of interceptor pipe and 3,769 feet of sanitary sewer and storm sewer pipe.  Bulk of work is still scheduled to be completed by the end of this construction season with final restoration in spring 2011.
  • CSO 52 (Hunt and Elmhurst), CSO 060/077 (West Colvin) in the Midland sewer shed and CSO 027 (West Fayette) and 029 (Walton) in the Clinton sewer shed – in the facilities planning stage and work is progressing.
  • CSO 044 conveyance in Midland – will be starting construction by the end of this summer.
  • CSO 045 in Midland (West Castle and Hudson) – currently being designed, will bid at the end of this year.
  • CSO 022 in Clinton (West Genesee) – currently being finalized for design
  • Harbor Brook CSO Abatement – large storage facility near State Fair Blvd. will be in final design stage soon.
  • Ambient Monitoring Program – in full swing this summer – finishing up the tributary, lake and river sampling, continuing with the biological monitoring in the lake, completed habitat assessment for the lake.  Everything has been indicating that the species are becoming more diverse, bacterial levels have been nonexistent during the dry weather.
  • New Contracts – Retzcanter for marketing the Save the Rain Program.
  • Funding:
  • Reimbursements requests to Federal Army Corps of Engineers Funds in July ($44,864.02)
  • Reimbursements requests to EFC for Midland Phase III ($229,571.47) and for Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer ($4,111,549.34)
  • Received from EFC $2,214,459.30 on June 29 for CSO-051.

2.     WEP:

        a.   Authorizing the Grant of a Permanent Easement to the Town of Camillus, Relative to the Greenfield Pump Station

Town and developer have to get consent from the DEC to go underneath Nine Mile Creek and come up to a manhole which is on County property.  Concern has been expressed that the developer would still have legal rights on the County property even if they don’t get the permit from DEC (map of development on file with Clerk). The first Resolved clause says “upon demonstration satisfactory to the Commissioner of Water Environment Protection that DEC has issued required permits and/or approvals to install sewer pipe under Nine Mile Creek, the County Executive hereby is authorized to grant the aforementioned easement”; this covers the County.

  • Plans have been approved for the development, this allows connection into the forcemain,
  • Force main has adequate capacity to additional flow, would be approximately 31 homes
  • Town engineers will design the pump station criteria as if it were a town facility, developer may pay the town to build it
  • Will be a 4-inch main

Mr. Buckel voiced a philosophical objection – have developed the 2010 plan, population is declining, doesn’t know whether they are physically pushing out into areas that are removed from other developments and economically harming the rest of the community.  Ms. Pastella said she believes it was approved by SOCPA.  Mr. Corbett noted there is a large development on the other side of the creek and housing up Warners Road.


Mr. Rhinehart asked if the pumping station would be built to County specs with a generator.  Mr. Corbett said he was informed that it would be designed as if it were a town structure, but developer will pay; Mr. Corbett will confirm this.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve this item; Ayes:  4 (Corbett, Rapp, Tassone, Ervin); Noes:  0; Abstentions: 1 (Buckel); MOTION CARRIED.

        b.     Approving the 2009 Industrial Wastewater Surcharge

  • Industrial Wastewater Surcharge – calculated to be $939,972.45 by WEP Commissioner
  • Actual payment due - $96,218.64 (industries with a charge of more than $10,000 are billed on a quarterly basis and then any adjustments are made at the end of the year)
  • Charges are based on pre-established loading charge rates for the following selected parameters:  Biochemical Oxygen Demand; Total Suspended Solids, Total Phosphorus and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen.
  • If industry discharges are higher concentrations than normal domestic wastewater, they are charged for that overloading
  • Some companies have invested in their own treatment plants

(2009 Final Surcharge Summary, historical Industrial Wastewater Surcharge Summary, 2008 vs. 2009 Comparison of Charge and Surcharge Formula on file with Clerk)


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


     c.  A Local Law Establishing a Program to Promote Capacity Management, Maintenance and Operation of the Public Sewers and Related Purposes, and to Repeal Local Law No. 13 of 1989

Mr. Corbett noted that there were a number of questions, concerns and suggestions voiced at the Special Environmental Protection meeting held on August 5, 2010.  WEP and the Executive Office are reviewing the law to see if they can implement some of the suggestions to make this product even better and take away some of the fears people have.  There will be meetings with some legislators and town officials over the next few weeks.  Mr. Buckle requested redlined copies in order to see the progression of the local law.  A summary sheet will also be supplied.


Mr. Meyer suggested that WEP include the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Boards in the towns.


Mrs. Rapp asked about implementing the Rain Barrel program in the designated areas in the suburbs that will be targeted by this new law.  Ms. Pastella said currently that project is designated for the ACJ.  Mrs. Rapp noted that 100% of those in the designated area will be required to have their property inspected during a ten year period, but only 10% of that population is going to have a problem; taxing 100%.


Mr. Rhinehart noted when the village of Skaneateles did this, the DPW did the inspections and property owner was responsible for any remediation, has been tremendously successful, the less inflow you have going to the system, the less you have to treat.  Mr. Corbett said it is better to be proactive than to be under a Consent Order with potential fines, etc.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:52 a.m.


Respectfully submitted, 

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Lesniak, *Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. DeMore


ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Jordan and see attached list (Attachment 1)


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. DeMore to waive the reading of the minutes; a motion was made by Mr. DeMore, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTIONS CARRIED.


1.     PARKS:  William Lansley, Commissioner 

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Roofs at Various County Parks Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $289,340, and Authorizing the Issuance of $289,340 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($289,340)


Proposal to replace roofs at six buildings in the Parks system – Main Office, Willow Bay Annex, Hiawatha Comfort Station, Beaver Lake Nature Center House, West Shore Trail Shelter and St. Marie Chapel (all roofs 15+ to 20+ years old).  Mr. Rapp noted that the cost to replace seems high.  Mr. Lansley explained that the person under County contract for roof repairs gave estimates.  Ms. Hann added that some of the estimates include repairing damage due to leaks (Beaver Lake house had a lot of damage on the ceiling inside). Mr. Langley said most of the buildings would be bid out; the Willow Bay Annex and the West Shore Trail Shelter currently are cedar roofs and will be replaced with metal.  Mr. Seitz said the bond resolution includes wording that the project cost would be paid in cash out of the 2010 General Fund Operating Surplus funds rather than bonding if there are funds available at the end of the fiscal year.


In answer to Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Langley said they wouldn’t be able to do a green roof at St Marie because of the historic nature of the building; the Main Office building wouldn’t support the additional weight.


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

        b.     Amending the 2010 County Budget to Provide for Improvements at Hopkins Road Park ($108,763)


Park has not had infrastructure repair in quite some time.  Hosting the Section III High School Fastpitch Championships and the American Softball Association Women’s Eastern/National Slowpitch Championship next year – these will have between 2,000 and 3,000 spectators, multi teams.  Park is also host to local softball leagues every year – about $125,000 in revenue.  Work being planned:

  • Remodeling of rest rooms by park staff
  • Water access for irrigation of fields – will go from 1-inch water line to 2-inch
  • Scoreboards (3 portable)
  • Redoing the electric within the facility
  • Additional portable fencing
  • Field lighting – re-aim, clean and re-lamp the fixtures, paint the light towers
  • Buildings and grounds – maintenance office there  siding  and increase the seating by having an additional bleacher section
  • Funding source – ROT.


In answer to Mr. Rhinehart, Mr. Lansley said the fields are in good shape, grass drains very well. 


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


2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Sale of County Highway Property Located in the Town of Marcellus to David Smith ($5,500)


*Mr. Dougherty arrived at the meeting.

Slate Hill Road was realigned back in the 1970’s.  Land is not necessary for County highway purposes; County will still maintain a right of way along the road.  Purchaser owns land on both sides of this property and used one of the appraisers approved by the county.

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

        b.     Authorizing the Sale of County Highway Property Located in the Town of Geddes to 3545 John Glenn Blvd., LLC ($7,500)


Highway property (0.75+/- acres) that is no longer needed for highway purposes abuts the purchaser’s property and railroad tracks; purchasing price is the amount of the appraisal.

A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Dougherty; passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


In answer to Mr. Masterpole, Mr. Donnelly said unless there was as compelling reason and it was approved by the legislature, he does not believe they would ever go below the appraised value for a piece of land.  Mr. Murphy said the County has to be careful about giving gifts; that is why an appraisal is done.


        c.     Authorizing the Removal of a Portion of Plainville Road, C.R. No. 32, in the Town of Lysander from the County Road System


In 2008 the County replaced a bridge on Plainville Road, County does not own this property; it is a right-of-way.  Town of Lysander has agreed to accept abandonment of the property and then will work with the adjoining property owner.  Mr. Murphy said the State requires the County to abandon the property to the town; typically, the town then abandons its rights and it becomes property owned by the adjoining property owner.

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


        d.     Authorizing the Removal of a Portion of Grand Avenue, C.R. No. 39 in the Town of Geddes from the County Road System Pursuant to Section 115-b of the Highway Law


Grand Ave. and Fay Road were realigned in 2008 at this location.  A considerable amount of Town of Geddes Little League fields are within the right-of-way, which causes liability concerns.  Town of Geddes is keeping this land for recreation purposes.  County will have a proper right-of-way in order to maintain the road in the future.

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


3.     OCPL:  Ms. Elizabeth Dailey, Executive Director

        a.     Confirming Appointment to Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees (Matthew Rayo)


Mr. Rayo is a 2008 graduate of SUNY ESF and a Syracuse Common Council member – 2010 to present. He has been very active in the neighborhoods and specifically, the White Branch library.

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


The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Dougherty, Ms. Williams, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. DeMore

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, also see attached list  


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


*Mr. Stanczyk arrived at the meeting.


1.     SOCPA: Don Jordan, Director

        a.     Approving the Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Land Within Certified Agricultural Districts Pursuant to Section 303-b of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law

  • 0.85 acreage is part of a larger farming operation
  • Nappi/Alliance Property Group, Inc. operates a contiguous farming unit


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


        b.     Renewing with Modification Agricultural District No. 1, in the Towns of LaFayette, Onondaga, Otisco, and Tully

  • 249 acres added
  • 675 acres removedDistricts were formed in the 1970’s with contiguous landAgricultural assessments given only to those who apply and meet the minimum requirements of $10,000 in gross sales per year
  • Agricultural assessments do not require the property to be in an agricultural district


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


2.     ONCENTER: Terri Toennies, CEO; Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive, James Maturo, Deputy Comptroller

        a.     Approving Additional Amendments to the Management Agreement between the County and the Onondaga County Convention Center War Memorial Complex Management Corporation

Mr. Fisher provided the following information sheets.


          I.       Update on previous modifications to Management Agreement approved June 1, 2010 by County Legislature and subsequently agreed Oncenter Corporation and the County

  • County Executive may elect to terminate portion of agreement whereby Corporation manages and operates the Civic Center cafeteria and/or the Madison Street Café
  • Clarification of language regarding “accrued reserve for repairs and replacements” to bring Development and Operations Plan into alignment with Management Agreement regarding this reserve fund.


          II.     Discussion of recommendations 7, 10, 11, 12, and 13 from Comptroller Report: “Blue Print to Success – Oncenter Complex and Onondaga County – The Management Agreement and Related Audits”


Recommendation 7: “See below (Recommendation 11) wherein we recommend the County retain responsibility for repairs and maintenance to the building but at a minimum all parties must recognize the subsidy funds the deficit from operations and maintenance.  It should be easier to determine the Corporation’s results of operations from its core business.  We recommend financial data, budget data and other information be detailed separating operational subsidy from maintenance subsidy in order to better gauge the Corporation’s success in its core business of booking conventions and holding events.”


Recommendation 10: “Oncenter is billed by the County for utility services consisting of steam and chilled water and provides direct payment to other vendors for electric and gas…Until very recently, County Facilities Department has been unable to accurately verify the usage of steam at the Complex and unable to determine the incremental cost of providing steam to the Complex…


Practically, we are subsidizing the Oncenter with ROT money to then be paid back to the County.  We recommend this arrangement be discontinued or the subsidy be renamed and characterized as recommended previously.  Further, we believe the County is better positioned to manage energy cost and shifting responsibility back to the County may result in better management of this cost.  We recommend the County develop or purchase equipment to better measure steam and chilled water usage.”


Recommendation 11:  “…Further our report identifies use of operation funds for non-routine items and use of capital subsidy for maintenance items.  We believe our report indicates that if the Corporation had been properly funded and expenses attributed to the proper accounts, the Oncenter financial picture would be different.  In the past two years alone, the Oncenter has lost cash flow directly attributable to ribbon lights…The County should retain an be responsible for maintenance of the buildings and steam charges.  We leave open discussion of any adjustment of ROT subsidy to defray these costs to the County.   We believe the County can best maintain the Complex, there will be efficiencies in merging maintenance personnel and the County has an energy expert on staff to best manage utility cost. “


Recommendation 12:  “The Corporation should be accountable for its electric bill paid to outside vendors.  We believe these cost must be accounted for in cost of goods sold and have correlation to the business operations”


Recommendation 13:  “The Corporation should continue to receive [a] subsidy that accounts for maintenance and repair items necessary for the Corporation to carry on its core mission.  The Corporation will be accountable for these cost based on results of operations.”


          III.       Supporting Information


          a)  Steam Usage per building, 2010 vs. 2009:


                                                                               July 2009                                           July 2010

Oncenter convention ctr                              469,244 lbs. (23.2% of total)             11,011 lbs. (0.4% of total)

War Memorial                                              93,344 lbs (4.7% of total)                    132 lbs. (0.1% of total)

Civic Center                                                268,974 lbs (13.3% of total)          1,315,692 lbs (47.3% of total)

…6 other buildings…                                  

TOTAL STEAM USUAGE                        2,021,719                                      2,782,476                             


          b)  Steam Charges

                    Amount owed for 2008 Steam: $273,257.02


                    2010 steam payments = $218,742.93


          c)  Ribbon lighting

                    Original loan amount: $618,501.77

                    Payments (p+i) $294,728.69

                    Ribbon lighting principal balance (7/29/2010): $415,464.08


          d) Parking lot revenue

                     Amount owed to County from Parking lot revenue 01/09 -10/109:            $168,688.00


          2010 payments against amount owed for parking lot revenue:                               $14,057.35


          Net owed to County for Parking lot revenue 01/09 – 10/09:                                $154,630.65


          Payment Analysis of Onondaga County and ONCENTER

                                    Agreement as of August 2010





Principal & Interest Ribbon Lights                           $ 294,728.69


2010 Steam payments                                                218,742.93


    Total amount paid by ONCENTER                     $ 513,471.62


Amount Owed By ONCENTER:


2008 Steam charges                                                $ 273,257.02


Parking lot revenue 1/09-10/09, net of pmts                 154,630.65


    Total amount owed by ONCENTER                   $ 427,887.67


            Net amount owed to ONCENTER              $  85,583.95 (NOTE)


NOTE: Amount to be recouped from future open lot parking revenues


Mr. Fisher stated the County Executive is close to making the decision to remove the cafeteria and café operations from the complex. 

  • RFP Committee selected a vendor this morning
  • $120,000 operational subsidy will no longer be necessary
  • Selected vendor will pay the County a small amount of money for the space
  • Vendor will have a license agreement; not a lease
  • Vendor will control space, make repairs, set hours, menu and pricing
  • Vendor will interview the current 10 staff members and make hiring decisions
  • Management and Budget and Law are working on a draft contract
  • Contract will be negotiated within the next 30 days
  • Vendor will perform an operational assessment
  • Goal - conclude contract; make transition by the end of October 2010; no interruption of service
  • Vendor has over a decade of experience in this business
  • Sampled menu items at vendors existing businesses; assured they can deliver what they are promising


Recommendation 7

  • Facilities will take over elevator maintenance, pest control, steam and chilled water, ice system maintenance, HVAC, skilled trade repair, fire alarm system, and bulb replacement
  • Facilities will not provide cleaning
  • Cost of maintenance and repairs for the Oncenter complex will be broken out in the Management and Facilities 2011 budget proposal
  • Cost saving expected


Recommendation 10

  • Approved, purchased, and installed state of the art meters resulting in accurate readings for July 2010
  • Ability to determine focus for future energy savings efforts
  • Increased transparency; County reimbursed for steam via ROT money and Oncenter receiving ROT funds to attract national and regional business


Recommendation 11

  • Oncenter has been paying for ribbon lighting since 2007; approximately $100,000 per year
  • Oncenter borrowed bank funds to pay for the ribbon lighting @ 5%
  • Amending bond resolution will be brought forward to pay off the loan; fair market value $510,000
  • Balance from bond minus payoff will revert back to the general fund to offset the parking lot revenue
  • Ribbon lighting defined as an improvement to County property via the Comptroller
  • Unable to determine revenue derived from ribbon lighting (No accounting from previous management for sponsorship dollars)
  • Rental fee includes ribbon lighting
  • Current administrations recognizes ribbon lighting as a potential revenue source


Mr. DeMore left the meeting.


Recommendation 12

  • Oncenter will continue to pay National Grid for electricity


Recommendation 13

  • Yearly budget request for capital reserve funds
  • Unused capital funds will carry forward to pay for future items; limiting the need for bonding


Payment Analysis of Onondaga County and Oncenter

  • Parking lot payments will resume under the existing agreement, once credit balance has been exhausted
  • Lag time will be eliminated in steam payments; 2011 steam will be paid for with 2011 ROT funds


Additional information provided by Ms. Toennies

  • 80% of the Oncenter business is social local
  • 20% core convention business
  • War Memorial and Civic Center assist in generating outside revenue
  • Future revenue events will be quantified by type
  • Currently do not have yearly parking tenants due to anticipated hotel; will market for 2011
  • Working closely with CVBB to attract outside business
  • Current rates are very competitive; rental rates are low or non existent for conventions
  • Oncenter was built to bring money into the community; funds derived from hotel rentals, food and beverage sales, shopping, etc. 


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


3.     A Local Law Transferring to the County All of the Functions and Duties of the Various Local Governments and Districts Within Onondaga County and Abolishing All Such Entities Within Onondaga County to the Extent Permitted By Law (Sponsored By Mr. Buckel)

Item was pulled.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Katherine M. French

Assistant Clerk

* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mr. Lesniak, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Buckel, Mr. Kilmartin, *Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Warner


ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list


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




1.     WEP:

        a.     Approving the 2009 Industrial Wastewater Surcharge


        a.     Authorizing the Sale of County Highway Property Located in the Town of Marcellus to David Smith ($5,500)

        b.     Authorizing the Sale of County Highway Property Located in the Town of Geddes to 3545 John Glenn Blvd., LLC ($7,500)

        c.     Authorizing the Removal of a Portion of Plainville Road, C.R. No. 32, in the Town of Lysander from the County Road System

        d.     Authorizing the Removal of a Portion of Grand Avenue, C.R. No. 39 in the Town of Geddes from the County Road System Pursuant to Section 115-b of the Highway Law


A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to approve the consent agenda items.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.




1.     PARKS:

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Roofs at Various County Parks Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $289,340, and Authorizing the Issuance of $289,340 Bonds of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($289,340)

  • Replace 6 roofs in County Parks
  • All are 17 years or older;  in the worst repair; leaking, damaging insides of building
  • Will look at putting metal on some roofs
  • Ste. Marie Chapel – need to keep historic  - wood slat
  • Beaver Lake Center Lake House – asphalt; water pouring into building; it is a 20 year roof
  • Other roofs:  Main office – currently flat tar roof, Willow Bay Annex and Hiawatha Comfort Station – cedar shingles now and rotted through – anticipate putting on metal roofs, West Shore Trail Shelter – cedar
  • An assessment was done of all roofs – many are in need of repair, but not in critical need

Mr. Stanczyk asked how many visitors come to St. Marie; Mr. Lansley will provide the number.


Mr. Jordan asked about the Beaver Lake House.  Mr. Lansley explained:

  • It is currently being rented out, but it is not the intent to continue renting it
  • want to use it as a park storage facility; there is limited storage in the parks system; storage for Lights on Lake is actually off site – a rental
  • It is 1700 sq. ft, will do a structural assessment of it.
  • house is in the confines of the park, original owners used as their summer home; interior is in nice shape.
  • Lease price is $850/month

Mr. Jordan asked if an assessment has been done regarding the cost to maintain this structure vs. utilizing other structures that currently exists.  Mr. Lansley said to knock it down and replace with something else would be very expensive.  With all of the educational pieces and displays at Beaver Lake, this property would be useful, as it is close to the nature center. 


Mr. Corbett asked about the costs of the roofs provided; Mr. Lansley explained that the estimates include damage to the plywood. 


Mr. Lesniak questioned why bonding is being requested prior to going out to bid.  Mrs. Hahn noted that it is typically done that way.  Mr. Lesniak questioned the policy and asked if a roofer sees that the county went out for bonding for $220,000, why would a roofer bid for anything less than that amount.  The process is reversed and would like the policy reviewed.  Bonding before bidding sends a message that the county is set on a dollar amount.  Mr. Seitz said that the problem is that if they go out to bid without an authorized project, the bids come back and the project is brought to the legislature, then there is a two month lag and the legislature may or may not authorize the project.  Mr. Lesniak said when a contractor provides a bid for work at his house, he then decides when he will do the project.  There is usually a clause in the proposal that it is good for 90 days or something.  Mr. Stanczyk suggested that bids be discussed in executive session, so it is not revealed to the public what the internal number is.  Mr. Corbett suggested that it could be contingent on the amount; for $290,000 he would hope that somewhere in county government there is enough money to cover that expense until it was bonded. 


Chairman Jordan said that he has pursued this issue for some time – has talked to contractors, attorneys that do corporate work  and no one can come up with a logical reason to do it the way Onondaga County does it.  He suggested approving a resolution for the work to be put out to bid, and in concept approving the project, subject to coming back to the legislature with a proposal accepting a particular bid.  It would essentially take one session to approve it.  The process is backwards and is resulting in price inflation.  Mr. Seitz said that it may work for some of the smaller projects; some of the bigger ones, with project budgets and different phases of the budget, may not work as well. 


Mr. Fisher noted that there are legal issues – the RFP process has very specific constraints imposed on the County by intermunicipal law.  If all of a sudden an RFP is put out and brought to the Legislature, there are all kinds of opportunities for influence to be directed at someone who gets a bite at the apple.  They are very careful while RFPs are on the street; it is not as simple as just changing the sequence.  Mr. Lesniak said that it is done for contracted services--a lot things are RFP’d first, and then they are brought to the legislature reporting that a process is going to change and the service is going to be done by contract.  When it comes to construction projects, it is done the opposite.  Mr. Jordan said that at any point in time when an RFP is put out there are specifications of what is wanted; it doesn’t have to say that the up to a particular amount has been authorized for spending.  It doesn’t have anything to do with having the specifications already in hand.  Mr. Lesniak said that he is asking that the policy be looked as to how projects like this are bid out.


A motion was made by Mr. Lesniak, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.  AYES:  7 (Corbett, Lesniak, Holmquist, Kilmartin, Warner, Stanczyk, Buckel); NOES:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Amending the 2010 County Budget to Provide for Improvements at Hopkins Road Park ($108,763)

  • Very busy facility – sold out softball leagues year after year
  • Last real work done was in 2003
  • Need to increase a water line to more efficiently take care of fields between games – currently have a 1” line
  • Restrooms have not been touched for many years
  • Next year hosting a national women’s softball tournament and state high school championship games
  • Anticipated several thousand additional people there next year
  • Venue is the sole facility for OCC’s baseball and softball teams
  • Two scoreboards currently--one doesn’t function, the other is sporadic; proposing to buy 3 portable scoreboards
  • Also proposing:  electrical distribution, portable fencing, aiming/cleaning and relighting field lights, taking care of building issues, additional seating for spectators
  • Most work to be done by county employees

Mr. Stanczyk made a motion to approve this item.


Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with a detail of status of ROT from the Budget Department.


In answer to Mr. Warner regarding the total attendance at the park, Mr. Lansley said that there are over 100 teams that play softball in spring and fall.  Mr. Warner said that this is putting $108,000 into this facility and every year there is an effort to close Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery, with a budget that is about $200,000.


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


2.     ONCENTER:  Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Approving Additional Amendments to the Management Agreement between the County and the Onondaga County Convention Center War Memorial Complex Management Corporation

  • Process began with Mr. Warner asking the Comptroller to look at audit and financial statements
  • Audit focused on the management agreement and operations agreement – some things were in conflict between the two agreements
  • Uncovered different areas where money was being lost on things that the county was more/less telling Oncenter Corp. that they had to do – i.e. café and cafeteria – losing about $120,000 per year
  • Some steps taken already to address shortcomings in the agreement
  • Other recommendation came out in Mr. Antonacci audit, which was presented to the legislature last month


Mr. Fisher referred to the handout (on file with Clerk).  Recommendation 7 – Comptroller recommends the county retain responsibility for repairs and maintenance to the building.  The County Executive agrees with the recommendation—on the path to take responsibility for taking back repairs and maintenance from the Oncenter Corporation.  Co. Executive is planning to put money into the County budget for it next year; Brian Lynch will be hiring people.  It is expected that the Oncenter not have any funds in their budget for maintenance and repair of the buildings.  People doing that work today will be offered interviews by the County’s Facilities Management Department and some are expected to be hired.  They would also be doing work at Parks, Civic Center, Court House or elsewhere -- wherever Facilities Management works.  By having less supervisory staff or by using specialized workers more effectively, he expects that there will be some savings to the county.  The reduction at the Oncenter will hopefully be more than the increase in Facilities Management budget so that there is a net savings to the taxpayer. 


Mr. Buckel questioned what the purpose is for shifting the cost, as opposed to allocating from the county executive.  Mr. Fisher said that in any large enterprise you want to figure out what your competencies are.  The county facilities managers need to be world class at what they do.  They maintain buildings; repair and keep them operating at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.  When Van Duyn, Parks, or the Oncenter are doing that, it is not their core competence; it is not going to be done as well as if the County Facilities Department could do it.  The purpose of the Oncenter is not to run our buildings well, but to generate the type of economic development that was contemplated when this was set up in the first place.  They should be looking for people to come and stay in nearby hotels and motels because they come to the convention center or another event at the Civic Center theaters or War Memorial.  The Oncenter management team and board need to be focused on accomplishing the economic development issue.  Any focus put on them to maintain the buildings draws their focus away from what they should be thinking about.  Mr. Buckel said that legislators and taxpayers still should be able to look and see the actual cost of the operation.  Mr. Fisher said that Mr. Lynch’s budget next year will break out what they are actually spending.  Mr. Buckel said generally accepting account principles would require the County to show the maintenance and building operations, including steam.  He wants to see the expenses appropriately allocated on the Oncenter’s financial statements.  Mr. Maturo said that from the Comptroller’s perspective, the Oncenter is a component unit of Onondaga County; whatever happens at the Oncenter is swept into the County’s financial statements anyway.  From an accounting perspective, they are viewed as a county department just like any other county department.  Facilities Management charges are not billed out to other departments in the county.  He does not believe there is an accounting requirement that would require that all of the steam costs and maintenance costs be in their financial statements.  Mr. Buckel said that the Oncenter is not a county department; it is a separate entity.  Mr. Maturo agreed that it is legally, but under generally accepted accounting principles they are a component unit of Onondaga County and are part of Onondaga; much the same way that OCC is. 


In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Fisher indicated that the title to the Oncenter facility is in the name of Onondaga County.  Mr. Kilmartin noted that the management agreement between the County and Oncenter Corporation would dictate the services that will be provided.  Mr. Fisher said it basically spells out what the county is asking them to do and where the line is drawn between them and the County.  Mr. Kilmartin says that the Corporation is better to drive sales and events and process of attracting people here as opposed to being the property manager.  In this case, there is in-house property -- management services in the County Facilities Dept.; the County owns the real estate, the cost should be on the county’s nickel, not the Corporation’s nickel.


In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Lynch said that he is confident that his department can do this and do it well.  They have been reviewing all of the facilities and the repairs of what is needed.  They have a great collaborative effort; plumbers are doing some work in the Oncenter today that is not in the Oncenter’s purview and it will save Oncenter some contractual dollars.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin regarding the number of hires needed, Mr. Fisher said that there are 8 people there now. 


In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Toennies said that she sees these proposals as being extremely beneficial.  One of the biggest challenges has been taking their subsidies to pay for things like repairs and maintenance and using operating for things that are capital expenses because there is no more capital budget to take care of them.  By shifting it to the County Facilities Dept., now she can use the dollars in a smart way to market the building as it should be marketed and not be concerned.  Their core competency is taking care of the building; the Oncenter’s core competency should be getting the building filled.  She explained that 80% of their clients are social/local business; 20% are out of town business.  The majority of the out of town business is the 2 – 3 day show.  The general matrix for filling a convention center should be around 38% -- exhibit halls filled year round.  That is supplemented with galas, balls, luncheons, dinners, etc.  About three months ago she met the CVB and they have developed a Convention Development Director, who will be paid by Oncenter’s sales budget and overseen by the CVB.  There are specific goals; it is cold calling, networking, and monthly visits to Washington.  It is taking a whole different approach to driving businesses here.  Resumes are coming in; it was posted 3 weeks ago.


Mr. Stanczyk said that it is important to know what the net subsidy and cost is.  Conventions are needed here -- it makes sense to know what the cost of this is and hopefully generate less cost and more results.  To take on this function and have 8 new county employees, the cost has to be assigned back to the subsidy for the convention center.  The cost of their chilled water and steam has to go back to the cost of their operation.  If these things are stripped out of their budget, it provides a very jaundice view of what is going on there.  Mr. Fisher agreed that a clear picture is needed, but it has to be done the right way.  A clear picture is also needed for where the money is coming from.  Mr. Stanczyk said there has never been a focus on ROT and what it is supposed to be driving.  If 20% comes from conventions and 80% comes from bar mitzvahs, we shouldn’t have the same draw from ROT to do it -- that is not putting the money where it is supposed to go to drive that.  It is important that at the end of the year a budget is put together for 2011 that shows the actual costs.  Mr. Fisher noted that the Comptroller did a very good job going back to the history of why the Oncenter was built and why ROT went from 3% to 5% at the very time the convention center was built.  It was because it was know that more money would be needed to subsidize it.  Now we need to make sure that the Board of Directors knows that is what the county is giving them money for.  There is a subsidy so that they bring these things in that we want for economic development. 


Mr. Buckel asked if the Oncenter counting on this to offer a lower price structure.  Ms. Toennies said that there is a standardized rack rate; however, everything is negotiable as long as hard costs are covered and a profit is being made.  Mr. Buckel said that the hard costs are going to go down.  Ms. Toennies provided the example of the convention for the U.S. Women’s Bowlers scheduled for Feb. 21 – July 15 -- the exhibit hall is booked.  They don’t pay rental; they are paid to come here because they will generate over $36 million throughout the city.  Every rate is negotiable dependent on what that group is bringing in.  Mr. Buckel asked if there will be an expense item for the building maintenance and steam on the operating statement.  Ms. Toennies said it will be in the County’s budget.  Mr. Buckel said it would not be a fair presentation of actual expenses and revenues of Oncenter.  Mr. Maturo said that the when the Oncenter Management Corporation was set up they were supposed to run the convention center and do maintenance on the convention center.  Over the years it has morphed into maintenance on the War Memorial, on the Civic Center, and taken over the cafeteria.  They have morphed into something they weren’t intended to be.  The Comptroller is trying to scale them back – they will still have maintenance, but it will be maintenance for their operation.  The county is going to hold back the maintenance on its county buildings.


Mr. Lesniak disagreed with Mr. Buckel; noting that it is a county building and the cost should be on the county side.  What the county repairs are should be the county cost.  Mr. Buckel said it is completely different in the private sector; looked at properties owned independently, as a snap shot to seeing if a building is profitable and the appropriate expenses are allocated to costs. 


Mr. Kilmartin said that the way this is transitioning is exactly the way the private sector runs things.  The county owns the real estate and improvements and the Oncenter Corporation is hired for specific purposes line itemed in the management agreement.  He does not want their core business to be managing leaky faucets and toilets; wants their emphasis on leasing the facility.  In the past, if the cost for repairs and other facility related items were transferred to them, then that was the wrong thing to do.  Why would a management company, analogous to a leasing company, be burdened on their balance sheet for repairs for the property owner.  This is headed in the right direction; a more transparent direction.  Regarding Mr. Buckel’s point, there is something to be looked at for the whole model – what does the county invest in Oncenter property, what does county pay Oncenter Corporation for their management, what does the County invest in the CVB to see that the overall model works.  The accounting should be in the comprehensive model.  He wants to judge Ms. Toennies more on the 20% - 40% threshold as opposed to how well she manages the repair line items for a building that we own.  He agrees it should be known what the County’s return is for the various investments. 


Mr. Stanczyk reiterated that they need to be accounted for clearly – not going to know what the cost is – spreading to everybody; electrical cost will be kept, gas and chilled air will be spread.  Mr. Fisher said that the cost will be known and Facilities will break it out.  After discussion, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Maturo agreed that it can show up as note in the Oncenter’s statement.  Mr. Maturo said that the Oncenter produces quarterly statements to the County; they can be given the quarterly amounts on the steam, etc, and they can be included in the statements. 


Mr. Jordan asked about the facilities use fee, its purpose being for capital improvements and those monies going into Oncenter budget.  If the county is essentially taking over the responsibility for capital improvements, then the facilities use fee should now come to the county in a dedicated fund.  Mr. Fisher explained that there is a distinction between capital improvements and maintenance and repairs, and the Comptroller criticized that the distinction wasn’t made in his audit.  The county is not taking over all capital improvements.  A line will be drawn where the roof is in the county court, but things like tables and chairs are in their court.  They will still have capital improvements; will still pay for their portion of the scoreboard; and will continue to come to the legislature and ask for capital reserve.  It is clear now what will be paid for out of their capital reserve and what the County will pay for by whatever mechanism the County finances its capital improvements.  Mr. Jordan said that the facility use fee was set up for capital improvements, if the County takes over the responsibility, the county should accordingly be receiving those monies.  Mr. Fisher said that if the County takes those monies over, then it is a tax.  It is currently structured so that it is not a tax.  Mrs. Tarolli explained that state legislation would be needed to have it come back to the county; it would be a tax.  Mr. Jordan said that if the County can’t now receive those monies because it would be a tax and would need to go to Albany to be authorized, then perhaps the county shouldn’t be taking over the capital projects.  It was specifically set up for the purpose funding capital improvements.  Mrs. Tarolli said that the facility use fee would ultimately reduce the subsidy to the Oncenter. Mr. Fisher referred to recommendation 13 in the outline – “The Corporation should continent to receive a subsidy that accounts for maintenance and repair items necessary for the Corporation to carry on its core mission.”  It is distinguished between core mission improvements and non-core mission improvements where the county pays for it.  Mr. Fisher said that if they continue to need that money; they should continue to receive that fee and put it towards these expenses and not other things, which reduces the request of the annual reserve.  Mr. Jordan agreed, but said that this is the type of thing that everyone complains about with government.  A fee is imposed for a specific purpose and then the monies are utilized for something else.


Mr. Kilmartin said that there is not an inconsistency with maintaining a facilities use fee and the county taking back the repairs and maintenance.  Any capital projects to those facilities should be on the county’s nickel.  The entity was hired as a manager of the facilities.  In the private sector if there is a capital project to be made to a piece of real estate, to a facility, it is to be allocated to the owner, not to the manager of the facility, unless an agreement expressly provides for that.  If it is utilized for capital projects and there is reporting to the legislature and to the county about it, then it is a proper utilization of the funds.  It can substitute for capital improvements that Ms. Toennies would otherwise have to come to the County Executive or Legislature for.  In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Toennies provided the following:

  • Currently they have accumulated $64,000 in facility use fees
  • Majority has been War Memorial generated (Crunch and concerts)
  • It is to be maintained per building, i.e. if the Symphony and theater goers put $1 into the facility use fees, the funds would go to Symphony building as opposed to the War Memorial.
  • $48,000 has been spent so far this year on the score board
  • $11,000 is dedicated to the Civic Center--probably used to upgrade dressing rooms in back of Civic Center, pending board approval
  • If the facilities use fee didn’t exist, it would come out of capital to i.e. upgrade dressing rooms, seats or put acoustic panels in


Mr. Kilmartin said that in the past the capital line item hasn’t necessarily been properly funded.  Ms. Toennies agreed.  Mr. Cambareri noted that if the management agreement changes are approved, there still has to be a $250,000 capital improvement portion to the Oncenter budget each year.  They can provide details of the projects that it would be intended to be used for, but can’t account for capital improvement projects that come up on a day to day basis that are not anticipated.  If the management agreement changes are approved, they will be able to use the $250,000 in exactly the manner that is reported to the legislature and outside of the score board, may be able to use the facilities use fee for the type of capital improvement projects that are not anticipated.  Mr. Fisher said it can be left there… if $250,000 is put in and not spent, then it can be used in the next year and can accumulate. 


Chairman Jordan said that the line is fuzzy as to what the county is responsible for and what is the Corporation’s responsibility.  If the agreement says the county is responsible for capital projects, then it seems there would be a problem with the Oncenter turning around and using the Oncenter’s money to do a capital project.  Mr. Fisher said that they have had meetings specifically regarding the maintenance and repairs.  It has been agreed that County Facilities Dept will do elevator maintenance, pest control, steam/chilled water, ice system maintenance, HVAC, skilled trades repair, fire alarm systems, and bulb replacement.  The Oncenter will be responsible for:  closed circuit TV maintenance, scoreboard maintenance, security, waste removal, digital telephone system, postage, and security.  A similar discussion is occurring on who is paying for what regarding capital.  He will be happy to provide that detail once determined and will also report on whether or not ROT is being proposed for a project. 


Mr. Cambareri stated that the capital improvement list has approximately $20 million of items.  With this better relationship they are trying to address them – maybe in a bonding issue on a priority basis.  The facility use fee isn’t going to take care of all of that.  For the most part, it will be used for the scoreboard.  It will be transparent, as there will be ability to see what the facility use fee is being used for. 


Mr. Warner said that when he asked for the audit some time ago, he was not sure what was going on at the Oncenter, expect that it was going downhill fast.  The Comptroller’s office did a great job producing this audit, but the figures that Mr. Stanczyk and Mr. Buckel have asked for must be provided to have a total idea of what is going on at the Oncenter.


Mr. Lesniak referred to a RESOLVED clause in the resolution which refers to crediting the Corporation for an amount equal to any payments made associated with the heat, steam, and chilled water dated back to Jan. 1, 2009.  He questioned going back to that date, as the agreement indicates that there has just been the ability to put a meter on and get numbers.  Mr. Fisher said that there has been a lag, which will be corrected.  The Oncenter and War Memorial uses steam and are billed for it at the end of that year; they pay for it in the following year.  Their payments this year will be credited and they won’t make any more payments this year; it will be absorbed into the Facilities budget this year.  In 2011 ROT will be proposed to be used for 2011 steam.


*Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.


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


Mr. Corbett said that this product has allowed the Oncenter to go forward and do what has been asked of them.  With what the Comptroller has done and with the plan that has been set up, the Oncenter has been given the opportunity to use both arms to do it.


Chairman Jordan referred the 4th and 5th RESOLVED clauses – reference the County Executive terminating portions of the agreement.  They have a budgetary impact and feels they should come back before the legislature for approval if it is the County Executive’s intention to terminate portions for the agreement.  Mr. Fisher noted that if it is terminates on or after Jan 1, 2011, it will be in the budget.  If it is terminated earlier, he could come back and explain the impact on the budget.  Mrs. Tarolli said that if they don’t have sufficient funds to cover it now in their budget, there would need to be an amendment.  Chairman Jordan said that if it is the intent of the County Executive to terminate portions of the agreement, he would like the discussion to come back to the legislature, to be kept fully informed of the budgetary impact.  Mr. Fisher stated that if money is needed, a resolution will be done; if money is not needed, they will report to the legislature as an informational item and provide a briefing on how the costs were absorbed.  


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


        b.     Amendatory Bond Resolution - Authorizing the Purchase of Ribbon Lighting at the War Memorial as Part of Improvements to the Oncenter Complex in and for the County of Onondaga, NY

Mr. Fisher noted that the Comptroller came to the conclusion that the County should not have required the Oncenter to pay for the ribbon lighting.  The Oncenter took out a loan of $618,000; have made payments of $294,728 (principal and interest).  A credit would be given to them for the payments they have made; $415,000 is owed on the loan, which would come from this amendatory bond resolution.  There is a previously authorized project of $9.1 million, which came in with a savings of more than $1 million.  Bond Counsel advised that the fair market value has to be found, which has been determined to be $510,000. 

  • $510,000 bonds would be used
  • $425,000 would go to Oncenter
  • Credits for ribbon lighting and steam exceeds what Oncenter owes county for 2008 steam and parking lot revenues from lot 17
  • Excess $85,000 – accounting entry to recognize it as a revenue – difference between the credit and what is owed to the County


In answer to Mr. Corbett, Mr. Maturo said that between what Oncenter paid and what they owed us for past steam and parking revenue, there is a difference of $85,000.  Instead of Onondaga Co. cutting a check to Oncenter, they will credit open lot parking against that bill.  Comptroller’s office has to recognize that Onondaga County is getting the benefit of $85,000 worth of parking revenue.  The ribbon lights will be recorded at fair market value in the capital project; $415,000 will be given to Oncenter to pay off ribbon lighting; the difference will be sent to the general fund as parking revenue. 


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



        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the 2011 County Budget

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


4.     LAW:

        a.     Settlement of Claim:  John Sharon, Deputy County Attorney

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett to close regular session and enter into executive session to discuss the pending lawsuit entitled Amy Meiers V. County of Onondaga and Van Duyn Home and Hospital, seconded by Mr. Lesniak.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Lesniak to exit executive session and enter into regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  No action was taken during executive session.


The following resolution was introduced.  Authorizing the Settlement of the Supreme Court Action of Amy E. Meiers V. County of Onondaga and Van Duyn Home and Hospital.   

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


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


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature

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