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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:  Mr. Corl, Mrs. Tassone, Dr. Chase


ALSO PRESENT:  Also see attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 8:58 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Corl to waive the reading and approve of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED


1.     CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES:  David Sutkowy, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs


  • Involves transfer of duties from the state to counties; in the past, the state funded youth development programs directly to municipalities
  • In 2014, the state no longer wanted to do this; took dollars allocated, and transferred it to counties; expect counties to enter into the intermunicipal agreements – transfer of duties from the state; state giving the County the money


Mrs. Tassone asked how they are allocating the money.  Mr. Sutkowy responded this year they are doing it the same as the state.  This is based on the passing of the state budget, and not receiving the allocation until a month ago.  There would not be enough time to enter into an RFP process, or make a decision different than the state.  Next year they will see if there would be a reason to enter into a different funding program. 


Chairman Liedka asked what the money is used for.  Mr. Sutkowy replied it is mostly summer youth programs, and other types of youth programs the towns and villages may be running.  The amount is $120,000.


Dr. Chase asked how it was allocated, because some are so much more than others.  Mr. Sutkowy responded he is not sure how the state allocated the funds to the towns and villages, but is guessing it may be by population.  Chairman Liedka commented that it is by population.  Mr. Corl said Cicero has a fair amount because of the CanTeen Youth Program (funded by Clay, Cicero, North Syracuse and Salina).  Mr. Sutkowy agreed.  Mr. Sutkowy responded to Dr. Chase that this year they sent out applications, which they would like returned to enter into contracts.  Next year, the department will discuss if they are going to continue as the state did or if they will have a different funding strategy.  Chairman Liedka asked if the state could not supply the money.  Mr. Sutkowy excused himself for being cynical.  In his experience, when the state moves responsibilities, generally the first year is financed.  The subsequent year(s) is lowered to let the counties deal with the headaches.  Mr. Sutkowy is not saying that it will happen.  Chairman Liedka commented that some of the numbers do not look substantial, but to some of the municipalities, it is a big deal.  Chairman Liedka stated this might be a conversation they need to have with the municipalities to explain the funding may be in jeopardy of continuing in the future.  There needs to be a discussion of whether the County will continue to do this or not.  Too many times people find out too late in the game.  Chairman Liedka believes it would be better to be proactive, and start planning.  Dr. Chase commented that they do not want the programs to disappear.  Chairman Liedka stated the City of Syracuse has substantial programming that is needed, and it would be a huge hit to them.


Mr. Sutkowy said because they received he allocations too late, they will rely on this.  There is no merit to change anything or have a competitive process this year.  

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


2.     HEALTH:  Ann Rooney, Deputy County Executive/Human Services

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

        b.     A Local Law Authorizing Payment of the 2014 County Budget for the Relocation of the Health Commissioner up to a Maximum Amount of $2,000 ($2,000)

        c.     Personnel Resolution - Authorize Advanced Step Hiring for R.P. 01 4040300 2094, Commissioner of Health, Grade 40, Step 2, Effective Immediately, $173,021


  • Been in process of hiring a Health Commissioner; engaged outside firm to help with national search
  • Chairman Liedka participated in interviews; came to tentative agreement with a candidate, but will not divulge name to protect their current employment
  • First item is asking permission for travel expenses of up to $3,500 for all candidates who came to interview; second is for moving expenses; last is an increase in salary to highest step plus 4 weeks’ vacation

Dr. Chase asked if they are starting at the highest step, then what would be the plan for increments.  Ms. Rooney responded it would just be any raises given.  Mr. Troiano explained that it is the top of the schedule for that pay grade, and anything further would be changes to the salary plan.  Ms. Rooney responded to Dr. Chase that it is agreeable.


Chairman Liedka asked Ms. Rooney to explain why the vacation time is important.  Ms. Rooney responded it was one of the requirements for the candidate.  Often times they have difficulty hiring people in these types of positions where the qualifications are high and intense.  The way the vacation schedule works is the person would receive two weeks the first year, and they are only able to use one.  Mr. Troiano commented that it is on an accrual basis, which begins the day they start.  The person would not receive the allotted vacation until after the first full year of employment.  The candidate will already have vacation available, so to make the transition, it was necessary to provide the advantage.  Ms. Rooney stated every department head will attest that they are available 24/7, whether they are on vacation or not; certainly this candidate understands that.  It is important that this is made available.  Dr. Chase asked if they would be able to accrue above and beyond the four weeks.  Ms. Rooney and Mr. Troiano both responded that is the limit. 


Chairman Liedka asked where the salary stacks up as far as ranking in the state.  The number looks high, but not for a person of this caliber.  Ms. Rooney replied for large counties, where requirements are a medical degree and a master of public health, this salary is mid-level within the state.  This committee has seen the same from the MEO as far as difficulty to recruit because of salaries.  The salary is in line with other counties (i.e.  Erie and Monroe) for that position.  Dr. Chase stated this would be a bargain.  It is a big job, and it is comparable to a physician going into private practice.  Ms. Rooney stated once they come to a final agreement, the committee will be very happy with the selection and qualifications of the person identified. 


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Corl, to approve item 2a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


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


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Corl, to approve item 2c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        d.     Informational:  Health Department Reorganization - PULLED


Chairman Liedka stated due to the search process the reorganization has been stalled.  It is not far enough along to provide anything substantial.


        e.     Mosquito Update:  Michelle Mignano, Deputy Commissioner; Kevin Zimmerman, Director of Environmental Health; Stephanie Waldron, Public Health Sanitarian

Ms. Mignano:

  • Amazing group of people keeping eye on this; levels they do not know exist until they have unfortunate circumstances of finding EEE and a human case of EEE
  • Will discuss larviciding program and active pesticide program – relative to vector activities; July 22nd aerial spraying





Mr. Zimmerman:

  • Vector mosquito program starts in May every year; surveillance and control; 21 traps – covers whole county
  • Focus on Cicero swamp – EEE endemic in area; West Nile can be anywhere anytime - throughout NYS
  • EEE in Cicero swamp, Oswego County and Madison County
  • Trap mosquitos in various areas weekly, some twice/week; every one counted and identified; only save vector species
  • 3 fulltime employees, 12 summer aids; send mosquitos to Albany lab Thurs., see results late Monday or early Tues.
  • Do larviciding in late May, early June put larvae packet in every sewer drain in City for West Nile (most found in storm drains); larviciding in northern part of County in Cicero swamp area; did Cicero, Clay, Manlius and Lysander twice

Mr. Zimmerman stated they have done all of those areas twice, except Manlius, which they should start today.  Ms. Waldron commented that it will be tomorrow since it is pouring.  Mr. Zimmerman said the larviciding does not allow the mosquitos to develop into adults, and there is bacteria in the packet (not a chemical).


Mr. Zimmerman said they answer complaints from people.  There have been sixty-three complaints, and the majority are swimming pools that are not maintained, because of foreclosure; which creates a breeding ground.  Chairman Liedka asked what they can do.  Mr. Zimmerman responded when they cannot find the owner (takes too long to get the bank to admit ownership), they get a commissioner’s order.  They can then put a larvicide packet in the pool, which will take care of it for the whole season.  Dr. Chase asked if they can drain the pool.  Mr. Zimmerman replied they do not have the authority to do that.  Chairman Liedka commented that it is private property.  Mr. Zimmerman added that they need the order to do the pesticide application, and they have four pesticide applicators on permanent staff in Environmental Health (three that work mosquito control every day, and one backup). 


Mr. Zimmerman stated EEE started coming on the earliest he had seen since being in his current position.  There was one on the fourteenth, there was another a week later, and on the twenty-second, they did the aerial spraying of the swamp.  Mr. Zimmerman stated for the record that per the state of New York, they are not allowed to do an aerial spraying until they know there is a positive finding of EEE.  Mr. Zimmerman continued:

  • Last week 4 positives at Taft Road, Island Road and Rt 298 traps; EEE in Cicero swamp area; not seen expanded
  • History of Onondaga County – in past has expanding in different areas, but not seen this year
  • Yesterday received results – 6 mores positives:  4 at Taft, and 2 at Island Road

Ms. Mignano stated those are not new traps, but it shows that there is still EEE in the Cicero swamp.


Mr. Zimmerman stated the mosquito count is low (2,200 in all traps) with each trap at less than 300; Ms. Waldron agreed.  Mr. Zimmerman said before the spraying, they had a trap with over 27,000, so it is trailing off.  There is usually a spike in September, and it trails off in October; beginning of October has very few.


Ms. Mignano said last year towards the middle of September, they issued a press release saying they found EEE and West Nile.  It is a long season, and by the time they could get a plane in the air last year, it was the first frost of October.  When mosquito counts are high and have first showing of EEE, they worked with the state.  It takes time to get a plane in the air, and Onondaga County is not the only county (Oswego last week and downstate).  Mr. Zimmerman said the pilot does western NY and NYC area; a lot of West Nile in the city. 


Mr. Zimmerman responded to Mrs. Tassone there is a little uptick in September.  Mrs. Tassone asked if they will spray again.  Mr. Zimmerman thinks they will. 


Mr. Zimmerman:

  • Once see EEE, work with NYS Health Dept. to declare hazard; emergency spray of swamp – usually get that overnight; coordinate with DEC for permit to spray swamp - can’t spray over water
  • Cannot spray certain areas because of the Pygmy Rattlesnake; also some residents do not want spray on their land
  • Get with contracted pilot to get in air as fast as possible – dependent on pilot’s schedule and weather
  • Cannot spray:  in rain, when it gets below 50 degrees at night or when the wind is over 10 mph
  • Getting ready with reverse 911 message and press releases
  • Will continue to trap and monitor until first frost and no mosquitos to test

Ms. Mignano:

  • Counts low, but with additional mosquitos testing positive, know they have EEE in swamp
  • Emphasize personal protection - safest measure public can take; what to do to protect ourselves
  • No pesticide or spraying will wipe out EEE mosquitos or entire population
  • Given EEE in Cicero swamp, there are three neighborhoods around the swamp that will be trucked sprayed at earliest time – possibly Saturday or Sunday; will issue press release today (maps of truck spraying areas below)



4  5


  • 3 areas where public abutting Cicero swamp; will truck spray - limited affective application with 300 foot reach
  • Complaints on Island Road; allows public some measure of protection – ensure no breeding pools in neighborhoods


Mr. Zimmerman responded to Mrs. Tassone that this will be the first truck spraying this year, and first truck spraying since spraying the fairgrounds for West Nile in 2010.  Mrs. Tassone remembered when they used to truck spray when she was younger.  Mr. Zimmerman agreed that every night they had a crew out.  The weather is not looking good for truck spraying, but possibly Friday night; Saturday may be too windy.  They will spray at first opportunity when the weather allows.  Mr. Zimmerman thinks it will take two days to get through the neighborhoods, since the truck has to drive 10 mph to spray.  Mr. Zimmerman asks that the public follow the guidelines when the trucks go by.  This includes turning off air conditioners (can leave central air running), and if driving by the trucks, keep windows and vents closed.  Mrs. Tassone asked how affective is the spraying; aerial and truck.  Mr. Zimmerman responded the spray is quite affective if it is done at the right moment.  This moment is right around dusk with the least amount of wind as possible.  The pesticide floats through the air, and the contact with the insect will kill them.  Referencing the graph above, week ten was when they sprayed, and it shows how fast it went down after that.  In other years, it has gone up pretty fast, but the weather is not allowing it.  A couple weeks ago, it was thought the warm temperatures would be conducive to getting more mosquitos, but the nights have been cool enough.


Mr. Corl appreciates Ms. Mignano’s efforts and availability, and the efforts to do truck spraying.  With the increase from four positives to six positives, Mr. Corl would like to know when they see doing more spraying.  It looks like aerial is the only way to drop the numbers down, and it is still early, so Mr. Corl can only see it growing.  Ms. Mignano responded they anticipate more spraying, and initially it will be the truck spraying.  The choice for aerial spraying is if there is a large percentage of mosquitos caught that come up positive.  There is no one single reason.  They factor in the number of mosquitos going up, and also if the majority of mosquitos being trapped are coming up positive.  They are fortunate they have not seen an increase in the number of mosquitos.  Aerial spraying for a very few will not get the bang for the buck.  Ms. Mignano stated they do not swat a fly with a bazooka.  It is a matter of having a greater number of mosquitos, if they are human biting, and if they are testing positive.  It is not a good sign, but within some expectation.  It is a part of the community and environment.  This is why they emphasize personal protection.  Mr. Corl is concerned that there are growing numbers of mosquitos, but they are not addressing them.  Aerial spraying would address that, and then they could monitor for the rest of the summer.  Mr. Corl stated there will not be a frost for a long time, so the situation is different than last year.  Ms. Mignano commented they are trapping the swamp twice a week, and have a good sense.  At the first instance the numbers change (from 100 to 1,000) it would be a factor for spraying.  Fortunately the initial spray was affective, and the numbers are down.  Mr. Corl asked if the overall plan is to do the truck spraying and continue to monitor.  Ms. Mignano replied yes, and they are taking it one step at a time.  Each indicator will describe where to go.  They are spraying the neighborhoods to ensure public health.  If there are upticks and they are still testing positive for EEE, then they may do more truck spraying.  Ms. Mignano is not ruling out aerial spraying to control the population.  Mr. Zimmerman commented they will not rule out anything until the first frost.


Chairman Liedka stated when the season starts, they cannot just spray; they have to have a case.  When the state realizes there is a health issue, how long does that last for?  How long are they allowed to spray?  Mr. Zimmerman responded it lasts for the whole season.  Mr. Zimmerman agreed with Chairman Liedka that if they have to be proactive, the opportunity exists.  Mr. Zimmerman stated they look at all situations, and have the pilot on speed dial. 


Dr. Chase asked if truck spraying the swamp is an option.  Mr. Zimmerman responded no; they cannot get into the swamp to make the spray affective enough like the airplane can.  What they can do is protect the neighborhoods in the area by going by their houses and spraying 300 feet. 


Mrs. Tassone stated there are numerous traps throughout the County, and asked if they ever found EEE in other traps.  Mr. Zimmerman responded the only other time they found EEE outside the swamp was at a trap in Geddes above the fairgrounds.  It was many years ago, and they did truck spraying around the fairgrounds prior to the State Fair.  A couple years ago they found West Nile Virus in traps around the fairgrounds just before the Fair, so they sprayed the entire fairgrounds.  This was to ensure the public would be protected for the duration of the Fair.  


Chairman Liedka asked why they do not migrate out further.  Ms. Mignano responded they have a range.  Onondaga County is not getting Thompkins County mosquitos.  Mr. Zimmerman commented they usually travel anywhere from two miles to sometimes as high as five miles.  Ms. Mignano said Mr. Zimmerman works a lot with New York State, and they have talked about making sure the fairgrounds are safe.  They hope the state will have repellant wipes for every fair goer, and they want to remind friends and family, who stay at the fairgrounds, to use repellant.  Mr. Zimmerman stated they do not want people to stay away from the Fair, and they want to make sure people are enjoying their summer. 


Mr. Corl asked if they have the permit from the DEC and make the decision to spray, do they have to go through any red tape with the state.  Mr. Zimmerman responded the only thing they have to do is give twenty-four hours’ notice.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:39 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature



* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  1Mr. Liedka, Mr. Corl, Mr. Knapp


ALSO ATTENDING: Mrs. Ervin and see attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:34 AM.   A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Liedka to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED


1.     Hotel Syracuse UpdateWilliam Fisher, Deputy County Executive


Chair Rapp stated that we do not a have contract yet.  Mr. Fisher:

  • Received final report from Pinnacle, Chairman has copy - no major changes; key finding is increased demand estimated at 10,500 rooms - doubling rooms attached to sales of convention center space 
  • Total rooms spread throughout the community, significant increase in number of room nights and spending associated with it
  • Weekly room block of 200 rooms for convention center – sales function of the CVB reserve and use rooms; typical room booking agreement have booking windows beyond 36 months, at some point CVB releases rooms back to hotel for other uses

Chair Rapp stated that the County or the CVB would not guarantee the 200 weekly rooms in the booking agreement.    Mr. Fisher:

  • Still a lot of discussion, Law Department and Mr. Riley’s attorneys meet yesterday, additional changes were made to the hotel agreement,  County Executive hasn’t seen changes, not ready for legislative review of final agreement
  • May have agreement for Friday’s meeting – if not will send to September Committee
  • Lawyers working to get everything tied together, seeking input from experts at CVB and SMG, trying to get this right before it comes to the Legislature, not ready to present summary or contact today         


Mr. Knapp asked how much we had to guarantee for the rooms and if they could come back and say, we didn’t use enough rooms and present us with the bill.  Mr. Fisher responded that we are looking for very advantageous pricing.  If CVB knows they can get aggressively discounted rooms, they will be more successfully in going after business.  We would like them to sacrifice a little on the room rate so that we are able to keep our margins up at the Oncenter.  They are looking for some assurances that we will be successful in partnering with them.  Some things haven’t been agreed upon, there is still some back and forth and until this is settled, he would rather stay away from the details. 


Mr. Liedka asked if paying them for unused rooms was part of the agreement.  Mr. Fisher responded that this hasn’t been settled yet.  If they are going to block off a certain number of rooms at a very discounted rate, they are going to want to make sure that enough revenue comes from that to make business since.  How this works out is still in progress.  Chair Rapp stated that the room guarantee is because they are discounting the rate as a special inducement for us.  Mr. Fisher agreed.  Chair Rapp added that she did not understand this part, and feels it is important. 


Mr. Liedka asked if we were talking about the mix they are holding based on the day of the week.  He finds it hard to believe... Mr. Fisher interjected saying, “No they are looking at months”.  There would be 5 months of the year that they would get $109, 3 months at $119 and 4 months at $129.  Mr. Liedka stated that this is not a significantly discounted rate; it is a typical group association rate for this market.  Mr. Fisher responded that it was a very aggressive discount from what that type of room will be sold for in this market place.  This rate is what you are seeing today at some of the limited hotels.  Mr. Liedka agreed, saying rack rate at a full service hotel, in this market, is around $320-$329.  This is the top rate they could charge; e.g. Sheraton or Double Tree.   In reality group convention rate is probably around $120 so this sounds like a good discount but in this market, with this many rooms, it is not.  Mr. Fisher said that they wouldn’t be sold purely on price; they will be sold on amenities.  This will be a very good product, hopefully the premium product in the market place.  Mr. Liedka responded that they would have demand just based on the name on their building.  Mr. Fisher added that their location will be good and their price will be very competitive.  We don’t want to be selling at a discount, hurting the hotels already there.  However, if we can sell at the current rate with an improved product, amenities and location that is very close, just as you said.     


Mr. Liedka stated that his concern is not necessarily year one, he would imagine that they would make many concessions.  After a year under their belt, with that name and reservation system, they are going to want to try to push rates more because they will have the demand and be worth more.  Marriot hotels, with limited service, are getting between $150 and $200 per night.  They are a full service hotel.  His concern would be year two, what will happen with the rates.  Mr. Fishers responded that this is why we would like to lock them in.  We would like to be where the current marketplace is so that they are not coming in under and hurting anyone, but as they drive their rates up, with a product that offers superior amenities, we can still have those competitive rates.  Mr. Liedka added that he is surprised at the number they are willing to offer because they are going to want to change up their mix based on the fact that if they are selling at $119.  They will want to sell everything else on the top end midweek.  He can understand January or February, every hotel will give you their inventory, but when you get into April, May, September, October and November it is a different story.  


Mr. Holder stated that one of the reasons for these agreements is that there are times of the year where many of our hotels will refuse to go into a room block because of unknowns associated with that time year; e.g.  September, October and November.  We don’t know if there will be a home football game when a convention is scheduled 2-3 years out, which is still a heavy convention time of the year.  We will be able to take on this potential piece of business, booking 3 years in advance, if we have a hotel that can lock in a set number of rooms for that event.  The convention center may be sitting empty, when hotels are operational on the hill or other parts of town, when we still have conventions that want to come here.  We have pieces of business that we cannot bid on because there is no supply that will commit to the rooms.  Mr. Liedka stated we are starting to see that soften, as far as special events weekends at the university; e.g. Sheraton last year was selling 1 night to the general public, the year before it was a lottery system selling 3 nights with payment in advance.  The inventory has gained substantially which has loosened up sales; e.g. Parents Weekend and Homecoming used to be when hotels made their hay.  This is not the case anymore because there is so much more inventory.  Mr. Holder stated they are starting to see it trickle down, but haven’t seen it come in room blocks yet.  There is still a lot of unwillingness to participate in a room block that goes into a weekend in October or November.  He thinks it will change with increased inventory but this would at least lock it in with this hotel as the Convention Center Hotel.    


Chair Rapp asked if they expected to works this out within the next week.  Mr. Fisher responded that everyone works harder when there is a deadline.  He expects the County Executive will be looking at the latest draft later today and give instructions back to the Law department by days end.  Sometimes when you are up against a deadline, like Friday’s Ways and Means, everything all comes together and then you have to deal with what everyone agrees on; there is a lot of complexity here.  Mr. Knapp stated absolutely.  Mr. Fisher added that the odds are against having everything ready for Friday, but he will certainly let the Chairman know what is going on.


Mr. Liedka asked what the target date was for them to get started.  Chair Rapp responded that it was mid-August.  Mr. Fisher added that they own it and are already stabilizing things on the roof, putting up scaffolding to keep things from falling, already spending money.  They are trying to complete their financing by the end of this year or by.... Chair Rapp interjected asking if that was dependent on this contract.  Mr. Fisher responded, “Yes of course”.  No bank will loan money if they don’t know that it is going to be the Convention Center Hotel.  This is a consideration but we also want to make sure that it is the right contract and that Mr. Holder and his team have what they need to be successful in the marketplace.


Chair Rapp stated that Mr. Fisher would be available if anyone has questions along the way. 


2.     Exploring the Feasibility of Consolidating the County and Town Sewer Systems: 


Chair Rapp stated was putting this resolution forward for discussion and debate.  She has been thinking about this for a number of years, going back to when she was on the Town Board.  The infrastructure of this County is very complex, with many different entities owning a piece.  However, at the end of the day, the County is responsible for it because of our METRO plant.  Since it is not sexy and dollars are short, people on town boards will often ignore it because it is not a problem, unless it is not working.  Chair Rapp said she is sure they have all talked to constituents with solids in their basement, which is horrific.  Matt Millea, Tom Rhoads and Chair Rapp have been talking about this for a couple months, discussing what the possibilities would be if we looked at the system as a whole, rather than all the different components.  To her, this is one of the core functions of government, to see if there really are both financial and work advantages to having a consolidated sewer system. There are many legalities and complexities involved so this will not happen overnight, but she would like their thoughts.  This is an opportunity to get this ball rolling.   


Mr. Liedka said one-step was taken a few years back when many of the local villages and towns put their money together for engineering work or review on their systems, if there was an issue.  Everyone paid into one pot, almost a retainer fee.  Understanding village finances, he cannot imagine many that wouldn’t want to be a part of this.  Infrastructure like this is an astronomical cost.  One major incident could bankrupt a municipality of a village size.  He suggested something similar to the way we get our water from OCWA.  He is not sure how many municipalities are still in the water business.  Mr. Knapp said, Tully and Skaneateles.  Mr. Liedka again suggested something similar to OCWA where the person in Dewitt and Cicero are all paying their fair share for infrastructure upgrades moving forward.  Some towns and villages don’t address this because of the cost issue, but those people should not be exposed to solids in their basements.  Personally, he thinks this is a great concept to explore and can’t imagine that people wouldn’t want to be a part of this.  Chair Rapp stated looking at the four of us, there are two former town supervisors, a town board member and mayor all taking those phone calls.


Mr. Corl stated that last year the Town of Cicero developed a Capital Improvement Plan for sewer systems, but he doesn’t know if other municipalities are doing the same.  If this was under one umbrella, the County could take a comprehensive holistic approach, determining if we are making the necessary improvements in the 5-20 year plan to address this before there is a major issue.  Chair Rapp agreed. 


Mr. Liedka stated to lump on what Mr. Corl said; e.g., one time in East Syracuse we had a backup issue, which was actually coming from the City of Syracuse.  They had an old brick sewer line next to one of ours and the water was infiltrating our system.  If the boundary of the town and village were all working cooperatively, perhaps that could be one pipe instead of two.  Instead of thinking about this in one little box, now you look at it from a comprehensive standpoint for the whole county.  It could save money in the end, when they rethink how these things are laid out from a County approach instead of a boundary approach.  Mr. Knapp added along with this, currently changes made in Cicero don’t consider how they affect Manlius or Clay, they are looking at their own situation. 


Mr. Knapp asked if any analysis would be done on the impact to town employees and equipment.  Chair Rapp responded that they would look at whatever we tell them to.  Mr. Knapp said that there could be a little bit of a pushback from the towns, if people are going to lose their jobs.  This is part of the savings of consolidating, but maybe WEP would bring many of the people in anyway.  Chair Rapp stated that when they consolidated and got rid of their Water department in the Town of Salina, moving to OCWA, the first year it failed.  There was a big controversy and the supervisor was thrown out of office.  The second time, we did it more methodically, educating the population about what was involved and it passed referendum overwhelmingly; one person retiring lost their job and everyone else went to OCWA.  The average person never skipped a beat, they continued to turn on their water and the water flowed.


Mr. Knapp stated that at this point some towns have their own, such as Minoa, Tully and perhaps Skaneateles.  Chair Rapp stated that in speaking with Mr. Rhoads, this is part of the complexity; how do you tie them in, do they remain independent.  This is not going to happen tomorrow or maybe even next year, there is going to be a lot of exploration and education.


Mr. Knapp stated that for a small village, like Tully, this is a huge cost between water and sewer.  Chair Rapp added and the taxes that are involved.  Right now, all of our taxpayers are paying sewer taxes to their town and to the County.  There may be a benefit to a larger pool.


Mr. Corl asked if Mr. Rhoads had any suggestions on where to start with this.  Just doing a comprehensive review would be a big undertaking and he’s sure Mr. Rhoads is not in a position to do it.  Chair Rapp responded that Mr. Rhoads said that there has been talk about this at the Executive level and asked that she let him know how things went; he wished he could be here to answer questions like this.  The Chair told him that she would put this before the committee and if the resolution passes, then we will get to the next step.


Mrs. Ervin asked how this affects the City of Syracuse.  Chair Rapp responded that the City has already consolidated with us.  Mr. Knapp added that their sewers are consolidated but the water is not.  Chair Rapp agreed.


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


Mr. Knapp asked if the Chair knew how many years ago the City consolidated.  Chair Rapp responded that the sewer consolidated because of the consent order.  It has been at least 20 years.  Mr. Knapp said that this would be a good template to follow.  Chair Rapp noted that the City had the same issues that North Syracuse, Mattydale and East Syracuse are facing, ageing infrastructure that is crumbling. 


3.     CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU:  David Holder, President; Julie Sageer

        a.     Branding Update

Chair Rapp introduced Julie Sageers, better known as Julie Taboulie, who will be helping us with our branding and product.  


Mr. Holder distributed the following update to last month’s meeting:


Branding Syracuse:  Direction, Progress and Next Steps

The Syracuse area has a long history of struggling to define its destination brand.  Despite having significantly strong tourism assets, the region lacks the iconic natural identifier that has traditionally been the base for most New York destination branding efforts.  The area’s intersection within three designated I Love New York vacation regions – Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Thousand Islands – only serves to create more categorization issues versus clarifying a possible regional identity.  The area’s urban hub of Syracuse is not a strong and compelling enough identifier to allow the city’s name to serve as the true, singular regional name.  Finally, the diverse array of destination experiences and trip purpose types limits the area’s ability to build a destination brand around a specific high-profile activity.  Conventions, sports, shopping, family getaways, weddings, special events, business travel, visiting friends and relatives, campus tours, wine/food/agricultures, arts and culture, recreation and numerous other reasons to visit harmoniously reside in the disparate region.  In response, the destination resorted to image based themes and localized creative logos as attempts to connect to some semblance of destination branding.  Help was needed.

The area found help in the form of a Virginia Beach based branding company that specialized in the tourism industry.  BCF helped the area reshape the allure of its diversity within the context of the destination’s brand.  Their process connected more organically with consumer emotions rather than with the product(s) of the place.  Their research provided a clear context for brand development as the consumers choosing Syracuse spoke of their connection and love of the area because the destination allowed them to pursue their passion, express their interest, and celebrate their unique individuality in a manner that was special to that single consumer.  BCF was able to capture this compelling brand dimension and expressed it in one simple statement – Do Your Thing.

The Syracuse area encourages visitors and residents to celebrate their passions. Individuals don’t find what box they fit into in Syracuse.  They bring their box to Syracuse; a destination that makes the box come to life.  Syracuse is the canvas for the individual to paint his/her own personal experiences.  They may come for a major event or a conference but they leave refreshed because they were able to engage in their own unique interests while they were here.

The “Syracuse. Do Your Thing” brand is a bold, open-ended, action-based challenge to the over-used, under-effective tourism slogan, “Something for Everyone”.  “Syracuse. Do Your Thing” reverses and customizes that message to speak specifically to the audience member the SCVB is trying to reach.  “Virginia is for Lovers” and “I Love New York” have similar levels of appeal because the audience interprets the manner in which they express that love.  “Syracuse. Do Your Thing” is the natural, modern extension of that expression, an open invitation for personalized activity.  It is Central New York’s “Just Do It”.  The SCVB leaves it to the consumer to define what his/her thing is.  It sets the stage for customer groups to celebrate unique and diverse interests.

The reaction thus far has been unanimous.  BCF’s success provided the brand position that had previously evaded the area’s branding efforts.  This positioning statement not only created a compelling emotional connection for potential consumers, it also provided a natural umbrella that could easily incorporate any regional product or experience.  The possibilities were clear and immense.  The only challenge was the identifying logo.

Logos are difficult to perfect.  Dana Communications captured this challenge in a recent blog by saying “Logos and symbols endure with companies that endure. Designer Michael Bierut describes a logo or mark as simply a vessel to hold things that need to be filled in over time. Successful logos thrive on ongoing associations with the brand.”  http://www.danacommunications.com/weblog/logo-design-trends-2014/    For Syracuse, this brand connection proved elusive until a different approach was proposed.

The region needed a logo that would connect to the position of the brand while also allowing for the varied nature of the region.  The Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau suggested adapting a concept used prominently in local breweries, wineries, restaurants, boutiques, and farm markets – the black menu board.  In this concept, the chalk board is used to hold the name of the destination in place.  It frames the name in the middle of the board, but allows for individual destinations, attractions and businesses to stake their claim to a region.  The menu board provides the image that connects these assets or destinations to the regional brand and its positioning statement.  Not only does this look establish the connection between the destination and the brand promise, it also creates a visual identifier that can link various attractions, businesses and organizations together under a common logo.  The statement “Do Your Thing” resides in the lower corner of the chalkboard in orange letters.

The uniqueness of the chalkboard effect will be determined by the frame placed around it similar in thought to this example, clearly not a standard classroom blackboard.


The menu board concept requires Syracuse to illustrate its name within the frame in a chalk-like font style, still allowing for dramatic color palette.  Though the font style is currently being finalized, the concept is progressing.  Unlike many regional branding initiatives where the name ties the region together, the menu board concept connects the region through a common framing style.  This menu board framing flexibility allows destinations, businesses, and organizations in the region to express their linked identity through either an association with the Syracuse usage of the board logo or through expression of their own logo within the menu board.  A style and usage guide will dictate how regional partners can live within this brand concept.  Uses that do not include the Syracuse name must include the “Do Your Thing:” registered trademark expression and be consistent with the style and usage guide.

For the Syracuse area, there is not a common regional title that succeeds in connecting our destination together.  Some destinations are going to never view themselves as being identified as Syracuse, but the chalk menu board can be used to help establish that regional connectivity.  In this concept, the chalk board is used to hold the name of the individual destination in place.  It also implies to our customers that the chalk board is a blank slate for their own individual use.  The destination exists for them to write upon it whatever they feel expresses their interests and reasons for travel.  In the end, our single “menu board” frame would convey an urban uniqueness that is connected to its countryside.  The concept expresses the individuality of the place and its customers.  It is a logo concept completely connected to the brand message and one that has incredible potential for diverse uses.  The look of our destination name expressed on the menu board could build off the strengths of the current identity or build around a new font style.  This will be determined in the coming weeks.  The logo is no longer limited to the word Syracuse, it is a look that is currently not being used in destination marketing.  It is not a matter of asking the logo to do too much, but rather, asking the logo to add strength, interpretation, and grounding to the brand.

Next Steps – The Unveil

The brand will be unveiled to the community in August.  Tourism industry stakeholders, local officials and businesses will be invited to the unveiling.  The actual presentation will take place at the Civic Center Theatres and consist of the following agenda:

8:00 to 8:30 – Attendees gather in the lobby area, signs show the logos of the past
8:30 to 9:00 – Introductions and statements by County Executive, County Legislature, Mayor, President of CenterState CEO, and Chair of SCVB Executive Committee
9:00 to 9:05 – Show brand essence video
9:05 to 9:30 – President of SCVB discusses brand use, brand toolkits, and answers questions
9:30 – Attendees depart through signs showing brand use and various formats (toolkits given)

Toolkits will consist of usb drive, folder with style and usage guide, and the following promotional items:  t-shirt, chapstick, ice scraper, magnetic chalk board frame and chalks, pen, and pint glass.  Toolkits will be organized and developed by business sector. 

Next Steps – Uses

The brand will be incorporated into all SCVB programming.  The following examples will be discussed during the unveiling: 

Video – The brand essence video exists only to express the brand’s meaning through a visual interpretation.  Outside the brand unveil, it will not be highly useful as it does contain stock photography.  The SCVB will be producing market segment specific videos that will capture the region’s appeal to specific targets.  These specific videos will target organizers of sporting events and hobby shows, conference planners of religious, agricultural, science/technology business/trade and educational meetings/conventions and leisure travelers (one single leisure video will be created in 2014 with other more specific market segment videos produced in 2015).  Video development will be awarded through competitive bid process with a decision before the end of September 2014.

Signage – The menu board logo will be introduced in treatments that include street pole banners (general and around specific events), airport welcome signage on terminal exit doors, flooring and at the visitor center, and new window signage at CenterState CEO’s office.  Signage will be developed through existing Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau vendors and will be introduced into the community in various stages throughout September and beyond.

Event Services – Convention services will utilize the logo treatment and theme to welcome groups to the destination.  Name badges will be printed to appear as the attendees name on a “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” background.  Welcome signs and banners will be created using the same treatment.  Welcome gifts and hospitality tables would also incorporate the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” logo treatment and theme.  The menu board theme will be provided as an additional service to planners coming into the area as a way to better tie their event into the region.  An example would include pre conference marketing, event signage and programs that feature the menu board creative treatment.  Event services concepts will be developed with existing SCVB vendors on an ongoing, as needed basis.

Marketing and advertising – A major launch of this brand will occur in the fall and involve substantial cooperative participation by regional partners.  The program will not be limited to Onondaga County businesses as the state funding was based on this being a regional initiative.  Details on the marketing and advertising program follow in the next section entitled Next Steps – The Launch.

Online – The www.VisitSyracuse.org website will be reconstructed over the course of the fall and be relaunched under the url address www.VisitSyracuse.com.  It will heavily feature visual elements and user interfaces that showcase the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” brand.  The website will continue to include listings but elements of the website will be more focused on must see and do activities than in the past.  Simpleview will create planned website development by November 2014.


Collateral – The Visit Syracuse visitors guide will be reworked to incorporate the new logo and the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” brand.  Syracuse Media Group will continue to produce the Syracuse visitors guide four times a year with editorial direction provided by the SCVB.

Sales – Sales initiatives will be reworked to weave in the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” theme and logo expression.  A new tradeshow display (or displays) will be developed that visually captures the impact of the brand as it relates to multiple market segments.  New sales sheets will be created to showcase the relationship of the brand to the destination and to the individual market segments.  The brand will be integrated throughout the sales message and through each individual sales initiative, tradeshow, site visit, etc.  The new display will be pursued for the brand unveil and developed by an existing SCVB vendor. Sales sheets will be developed internally by the end of September.  Integration into sales initiatives will be ongoing.

Hospitality training – A hospitality training program will be developed to help businesses and frontline employees integrate the brand and its various touch points with the regional product into their daily guest interactions.  The hospitality training will focus on knowledge of regional assets.  Area businesses will be encouraged to have their human resources and recruitment departments participate in the program to increase their familiarity with the area.  The hospitality training program will be developed through a local educational partner and be launched in the fall of 2014.

Measurement – It will be extremely important to translate the brand programming into fiscal results.  Research will need to be conducted to show the interrelation between the marketing and sales programs and the return on investment.  This visitor profile and conversion research will be conducted in spring of 2015.  A vendor will be selected following a competitive bid process by the end of December to create a benchmark round of research. 

Next Steps – The Launch

A major launch of the brand to target markets will take place over the course of the remainder of 2014.  The mass majority of the launch expenses are incorporated within a $370,000 Market NY grant funded by Empire State Development.  These funds must be expensed by December 31, 2014.  The launch program will consist of the following outreach methods:

Advertising -- Targeting Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal (if funds allow) with targeted, emotionally compelling brand messages delivered via a television, print and digital ad buy.  The desired viewer is female, aged between 30 and 65, with a household income of greater than $80,000 and having a wide degree of interests touching on arts, food, travel, recreation, sports, shopping and time with friends/family.  The ads will showcase the brand identity.  The ads will be developed and placed by an agency vendor selected in September 2014 following a competitive bid process.

Spokesperson – The SCVB will be underwriting the production of Julie Sageer’s nationally PBS syndicated Lebanese cooking show entitled, Julie Taboulie.  Julie films all of her shows in the region and features local sights and tastes that permeate the regional brand.  The region will be profiled as a show underwriter and will assist in integrating the brand as part of Julie’s production work.  Additionally, Julie will be participating in the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” Roadshow (see below) as part of the overall agenda. 

Roadshow – The SCVB will be organizing and leading a roadshow to physically showcase the regional brand.  Convention planners, sporting event organizers, tour operators, group travel leaders, AAA/CAA office personnel, travel agents, travel editors/journalists, bloggers, food editors/journalists, arts editors/journalists and media editors/journalists will all be targeted to attend the roadshow.  These mini-tradeshows will follow a circus-style format featuring performance time by each cooperative partner.  Partners will include any interested regional business that is willing to invest into this program.  Participation costs will be intentionally kept low, but the participants will be required to tell their story as an extension of the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” brand message.  The destination will serve as the common thread and the SCVB will act as the emcee for the roadshow.  Julie Taboulie will provide a Lebanese cooking demonstration as the headline event.  Creative displays of the brand will be incorporated into the Roadshow.  One desired promotional vehicle will be a wrapped truck that pulls a promotional client lounge.  The SCVB plans to hold a roadshow in the following cities:  Buffalo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Albany, Boston and New York City.  Additionally, the SCVB will look for opportunities to repeat the roadshow locally in Syracuse.  Event planning, promotion and set-up will be outsourced to a promotional company that will be selected before the end of September, 2014 through a competitive bid process.  The promotional vehicle will be acquired through a promotional partnership with a local auto dealer and a RV dealership.

Creative Signage & Billboard – The SCVB will place creative signage in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to showcase the diversity of the area as it appeals to each individual market.  The sign will be creative interpretations of the brand message that connect to the logo but don’t necessarily focus on the logo.  Signs that are humorous, captivating or intriguing will be sought for this implementation.  This placement might include some billboard placements.  An agency will be selected through a competitive bid process by October 2014.

Print Insert Piece – Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal are targeted to receive an enticing promotional insert that showcases the brand message.  Tourism business partners will be encouraged to participate in the program through cooperative advertisements.  The insert will include top reasons to visit and the stories that fulfill the “Syracuse. Do Your Thing.” brand.  The insert piece will be created by a full service agency from print production, editorial, advertising sales and placement/distribution.  The agency will be selected through a competitive bid process by September 2014.

Mr. Holder stated that in the video Ms. Sageer is about to show you, you will see not only Julie’s talents but how it showcases the region as well.  It is an excellent blend and truly lives up to the promise of “Syracuse. Do your Thing.”


Chair Rapp asked Ms. Sageer to provide a little bit on her background.  Ms. Sageer:

  • Brand and company name Julie Taboulie - a nickname bestowed on her as a little girl by her uncle
  • Brand celebrates the culure and cuisine of Lebanon and Middle Eastern food, founded on freshness, family and fun and putting all of those things first in our lives
  • Chef, host, writer and executive producer of the serious, set and situated here in Syracuse - Central NY and the Finger Lakes Region, sprinkle all the beautiful sights and scenes at our fingertips within the show; lives in Marrietta on Otisco Lake, wanted to capture all the beauty around her on screen and in the show – in the kitchen, out and about at “Mama’s Glorious Garden”, the farm, specialty food stores, and festivals, letting everyone know this is Central NY
  • Show airs nationwide from coast to coast in 80% of the country and in Canada
  • Started brand teaching cooking classes, went to festivals, and apperances all over the area sharing her passion; has strong base here and around NYS, the Northeast, and New England areas and building

While preparing to play a video Ms. Sageer stated that this is a ltitle taste of Taboulie.  The highlight reel is from the past two seasons and you will probably notice many different scenes that are right off of your door.  Chair Rapp stated that for her, this video captured the feeling and message of what we are trying to create.  It goes beyond the words and is something that will draw people in and make them want to be here.  


The committee watched the video. 


1Mr. Liedka left the meeting.


Upon conclusion of the video Chairm Rapp said, “Who doesn’t want to go there”.


Chair Rapp stated that this is just a little taste of what will be going on as we go out to market this community and the flavor that Julie brings to the table.  Ms. Sageer said that they are gearing up for a whole new season to include all the fan favorites and all new locations throughout our area.  We are very excited. 


In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Holder stated the unveiling is now planned for September and will coninside with the unveil launch of the other communities also.  We will be one of the underwriters of Ms. Sageer’s show; featuruing the brand nationally through this invocation.  This also means that we have a long term relationship that we are building to help with the roadshows.  This is just one part of the outreach we are looking for.  This is funded through our operation budget which you provide to us through room tax, as well as additional money secured through the Regional Economic and Development Counsel.  We will be pumping this brand really hard.  This part of the program is desinged to go through December, but we are already starting to plan into next year and our relationship with Ms. Sageer will go into next year as well.  This is going to be fantastic and Ms. Sageer’s sizzle reel really shows a direct expression of the that brand promise that our area is going to be able to live up to.


Mr. Holder stated we will need your help in pushing this out there.  After the brand unveil, if you have community groups you’d like us to provide an overview to, detailing where we are going and how it touches the local environment, we’d love to do that.  


Chair Rapp stated she had one more item that was not on the agenda, there has been a resignation from the IDA.  If you have thoughts or suggestions for the Chairman McMahon, feel free to make those.  This will be on the Ways and Means agenda for Friday.  


The meeting adjourned at 11:17 AM.                                      


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature



* * *




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

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:07 AM.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD:  I. Holly Rosenthal, Executive Director

        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of a Permanent Easement for the Relocation of a Metropolitan Water Board Water Line ($23,000)


Ms. Rosenthal:

  • Easement purchase from private owner adjacent to NYS Thruway exit 36; Thruway paying for easement
  • Waterline relocation required for improvements, existing easement not suitable

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Ms. Rosenthal confirmed that the state would reimburse us for all costs; waterline relocation, easement, and engineering, everything associated with this project.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.


Mrs. Rapp said that the improvement to this intersection is long overdue.  It has been an issue for years.


Seconded by Mr. Corl.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, P.E., Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Contract with the United States Department of the Interior for the Operation and Maintenance of Stream and Lake Gaging Stations in the County of Onondaga ($81,840)


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Standard contracts, gaging streams entering and exiting the lake, part of monitoring program
  • Contract with USGS, IMA approval required
  • Cost split 35% USGS 65% County Share, County share fully budgeted annually

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this is required by DEC. 

Chairman Plochocki stated that he was pleasantly surprised that the federal government was funding part of the mandate and asked if Mr. Rhoads knew how we got so lucky the last few years.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he didn’t know, he thinks they dialed it back a little bit before his time.  It has been a 35/65 split for a while.  

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Shepard to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        b.     Appropriating $16,800,000 of Bonds Authorized Pursuant to a Bond Resolution dated December 4, 2012, to Provide Funds for Construction and other Related Expenses of the Bypass Treatment Improvements Project at the Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant ($16,800,000)


  • Continuation of fully funded project, bond resolution adopted 12-4-12 authorized up to $20.2M for the 002 Bypass project
  • Project will disinfect then chlorinate primary bypass of METRO Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • $3.4M appropriated in 2012, asking for remaining balance to proceed with construction

Mrs. Rapp asked if we had already bonded for these funds.  Ms. Burger said her understanding is that there have been a series of bonds authorized to be issued for the total amount.  There was a prior resolution releasing a portion of those funds and now this resolution releases the remainder.  Mr. Rhoads added that we have gone through the bond resolution process, but we don’t go to the bond market until we actually start drawing money out; we aren’t paying interest on the money.  When the contractors start spending the money, we go to the bond market and get the money.  You have given us authorization for the full $20.2 million, appropriated $3.4 million, and are now asking for the remainder. 


Mr. Rhoads stated that this project will spend all of the $20.2 million and is going to be “nip and tuck”.  We were recently apprised of the seismic class for this project; thought we were going to be in a moderate seismic zone.  Mrs. Rapp asked what this means.  Mr. Rhoads responded that we had to do special borrowings and the results came back in a heavy seismic category.  Our design needs to incorporate a heavy structural load due to earthquake, instead of a moderate range.  This means increased structural costs; tanks restrained at top and bottom, additional restraints on pipes and additional structural analysis because of the seismic issue.  


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated that this is the first time we have seen this; believes NYS code changed in 2007.  This is the first major construction, at the METRO campus, since the change.  


Mr. Rhoads continued:

  • Very poor soils at METRO; also dealing with ick left from predecessors
  • METRO is a superfund campus, must deal with contaminated soils when digging
  • 2 railroads in vicinity of project - rails must be  supported when excavating to avoid train derailment
  • Waterline in back of the project must be avoided and National Grid high-power line will be relocated
  • Asked NYS for modification request, work was to be completed by April 1, 2016, extended to April 1, 2017
  • Map provided shows site; typo should be $20.2M


Mrs. Rapp asked why we had to do this project.  Mr. Rhoads responded that this particular project is for bypass treatment.  The phosphorus optimization is a DEC ACJ required project.  The bypass tank and treatment is by SPDES permit.  We currently disinfect the bypass with chlorine to kill any pathogens and are now being asked to remove the chlorine compounds before releasing into the lake.  It will vastly improve our treatment of pathogenic carriers from this bypass and prevent chlorinated effluent from going to the lake.  The potentially harmful byproducts of chlorine will no longer enter the lake, but it will come at a significantly high cost.  Mrs. Rapp agreed.


Mr. Corl asked if this part of the SPDES permit would be required at our other facilities.  Mr. Rhoads responded that this was a great question.  Our satellite treatment plants don’t have bypass, used with any regularity, as they aren’t combined sewers.  There are bypasses for an emergency.  We won’t have to do a bypass project but dechlorination is required in all new permits issued by the state.  Dechlorination requirements are coming down at Meadowbrook-Limestone, Brewerton, Baldwinsville-Seneca Knolls and Oak Orchard.  We have negotiated with the state to have them on a rolling compliance schedule and will be bringing them to you for discussion during the Capital Improvement season.  The Brewerton work is already funded and beginning.  


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads said we are a Consolidated Sanitary District therefore everyone in the district pays for treatment and conveyance services at the same rate.  Towns and villages have their own sewer districts and some of have consolidated their districts town wide.  Mrs. Rapp said that the town tax doesn’t pay for the plants.  Mr. Rhoads responded that no taxes pay for their plants; all WEP fees are paid from of the Consolidated Sanitary District’s budget.  This is why we go through special hearings for our budget.  Our budget is a special consolidated district that charges everyone the same fee.  In the towns, some have consolidated and charge everyone the same town sewer fee and some charge by the district in each town with each district paying something different based on where they are with debt service and things such as this.  Mrs. Rapp said that Salina charges by the district.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that it is all over the map. 


Chair Plochocki stated that for those not on the committee in 2012, this was discussed.  When the funds were authorized, it was made very clear that within the next year or two WEP would be returning and asking for the remainder of the money. 


Mrs. Rapp asked what this will do to our WEP charges, has it been layered in.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he did not have the figure off hand and would get back to them.  Mrs. Rapp asked if he could provide any insight as to what the sewer charge will be for next year.  Mr. Rhoads responded, “Pretty soon”.  Chair Plochocki noted that it would be low.  Mr. Rhoads added, especially when you compare it to cable TV.  WEP’s charge is $30 per month; think about your cellphone and how much you pay for it, which is more important.  In Atlanta-Georgia, they pay $1,000 per year. 


A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Dr. Chase to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Authorizing the Adoption of an Agency Type II List Under SEQRA for Certain Types of Actions that may be Taken by the County of Onondaga


  • Standard actions at WEP currently unlisted, takes additional time to process
  • Every agency authorized to adopt its own supplemental list classified as Type II; can’t classify Type I action as Type II but can classify some unlisted actions as Type II while protecting the environment
  • Developed list of 12 unlisted actions, want authorization to classify as Type II as they relate to the Sanitary District and WEP’s work


Chairman Plochocki said that from his prospective, as an attorney who has done some work in the environmental area, fundamentally this is a very good thing.  It is streamlining a process.  Overall, he is a big fan in principal of SEQRA.  It is great that we take this seriously and conduct a stringent environmental review process when we build or do other things to change the environment.  However, as with anything the government does, it can get very cumbersome.  The government tends to have a one-size fits all category so that whether you are digging a two-foot hole in your backyard or building an amphitheater, sometimes the same processes apply.  The state has given authorization to local agencies, like WEP, to determine minor activities that aren’t a threat to the environment, as long as they are defined, passed by the Legislature and there is no public outcry, to skip over the SEQRA process.  This list is a list of things that are really minor. 


Chairman Plochocki stated he is trying to stress two things.  The core of SEQRA is not being changed here; any project of significance would still go through SEQRA. This is just taking away what most would call “red tape” for situations where it is not needed.  Mr. Rhoads agreed.  Chairman Plochocki stressed that we don’t get bogged down in the details, and keep in mind the big picture of what we are trying to do, avoid unnecessary red tape.


Dr. Chase stated that she is a fan of making things run smoothly and avoiding red tape however, down the road we don’t know who we might be dealing with.  Some of the items could be pushing things so that they are not quite, as they appear here.  One of the things she was looking at was item 4, “construction, expansion or replacement of minor accessory/appurtenant structures”.  What you might consider minor, I might think is a big deal.  Mr. Rhoads responded that we caveat this, “where such structure is within the footprint of property owned by or subject to long-term lease”.  It is property that is already on one of our campuses.  Dr. Chase agreed.  Mr. Rhoads said what we are talking about here would be sheds and fences on the footprint of property already owned. 


Mr. Rhoads said we are drawing from state code Section 617.5 which was included with your packet (See attached).  We are allowed “construction or expansion of a primary or accessory/appurtenant, non-residential structure or facility involving less than 4,000 square feet” - this is what we are trying to talk about, “not involving a zoning change”.  If we want to put up a garage or shed, we want to incorporate it into these.  Chair Plochocki interjected saying he understood Dr. Chase’s point but wanted to confirm the phrasing.  “Where such structure is within the footprint of property owned”, taking this literally we are saying on the property, as opposed to a footprint of a building itself.  Ms. Berger said correct, it can be anywhere on the property.  Chairman Plochocki said he just wanted to confirm that there didn’t need to be an existing structure.           


Chair Plochocki stated that Dr. Chase’s fundamental point is one we need to be careful with and in fact, as he read each one of these, he did so with that eye.  Anytime language is put down things can be interpreted in all kinds of ways.  If anyone in the Legislature feels that these are too broad, this is something we want to be careful with, that is the correct analysis.  However, he wants to make sure that even though we are not talking about the footprint of existing structures, these things would apply to the county’s own properties. 


Mrs. Rapp said to be clear, this is waving the SEQRA requirement but we would still have to be permitted; e.g., I must get a permit from the town to put a shed on my own property.  Mr. Rhoads responded, “Yes”.  What you are actually doing is calling it a Type II action instead of an unlisted action.  You are not actually waving SEQRA, you are reclassifying these minor activities so that you don’t have to go through a whole SEQRA analysis and SEQRA resolutions coming back and bogging down projects.  All projects cost time and money and the engineering and SEQRA costs for putting up a shed... Mrs. Rapp interjected saying it was onerous and wouldn’t show anything.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that it was going to cost you money.


Mr. Rhoads said what we are more importantly describing is items not otherwise classified as Type 1.  They have carefully defined areas; “wetlands protected under the Freshwater Wetlands Act, smaller wetlands considered of unusual local importance, or other ecologically sensitive areas”.  There is criteria that we cannot violate if we call it a Type II.  It would still be a Type I action if we meet any of the criteria.  Mrs. Rapp stated that there was a process for Type II as well.  Mr. Rhoads said that we would review it and compare it to this list, the existing state list and then memo to file and move on. 


Chairman Plochocki said that everything Mr. Rhoads is saying is correct but we are using some legal ease with the terms Type I and Type II.  Type I is the legal ease for potentially bad environmental actions.  Within Type I, one of the things heavily discussed in SEQRA is wetland areas; e.g., if we wanted to build on the footprint of County property but there was a wetland meeting the qualifications for a Type 1 action as listed, we still have to go through SEQRA.  This doesn’t get us out of that, even on County property.  Type II actions are essentially the exemption list of small potato items that we don’t need to worry about.  As Mrs. Rapp stated, this doesn’t have anything to do with any other permit processing or rules; e.g., generally the Legislature has to approve the building of something – that would still happen.  This just means, in terms of the SEQRA process, these items would be Type II or exempt actions.  Mrs. Rapp said that this sounds fair.


Mr. Corl asked what resonated the idea of passing this type of resolution.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it was very time consuming, soaks up scarce resources and delays projects.  You have to go through several additional steps and time adds money in construction.  Mr. Corl said there wasn’t one single project that brought about this idea.  Mr. Rhoads said no, they are coming back for all the big projects, as they are Type I’s.   He will allow that for dechlorination we will probably add additional process tankage in a couple of the other plants.  Dechlorination tanks are not currently defined; we can have a gross floor area but it doesn’t talk about tankage.  We see perhaps 3 tankage projects in the wings and instead of doing an analysis on the environment for these actions it makes since to have a more expedient process, we are already on a wastewater treatment site, putting in tanks required by SPDES permit, aren’t going to be in a wetland, or harming the environment.  Mrs. Rapp added to keep us under budget.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding to keep us on time and on budget.   Mr. Corl said this was a good example and very helpful.


Dr. Chase asked for an idea of something that would be 17,000 square feet.  Mr. Rhoads responded that 17,000 square feet was fairly large, 100 x 107 square feet.  Schools are currently allowed to build 10,000 square foot items that are exempt.  We believe that we are not going to cause any significant environmental issues on our treatment plant campuses.  We are not going out into a pristine environmental greenfield.  We have been doing business with wastewater for the better part of 40 years and would like to put in additional tankage.  Mrs. Rapp added that they probably couldn’t have built this originally without getting the full SEQRA on the property.  Chairman Plochocki stated that in most cases this would be correct.  Mr. Rhoads added that he did not know when SEQRA came about.  


Chairman Plochocki encouraged anyone with reluctance to abstain from the vote, take more time to look at the language and talk with people in the environmental community.  He is confident that most would agree, this is red tape orientated types of things. This is not hurting the environment.  Where they would be concerned is if somehow the Type I actions were being adjusted.  This is just allowing medium to small size structures on already County owned properties, not meeting Type 1 actions, to be built.  As session approaches if someone starts hearing of objections for the environmental community, please let me him.  He would be very surprised if they have any significant problems with this list.  Mr. Rhoads said that he didn’t want to belabor it, but he would suggest that this is the right way to do it.  He attends many town and village meetings and frequently the first resolution on the board’s agenda will state that everything on the agenda is a Type II action, very broad-brush, taking liberties and declaring everything Type II.  What we are doing here is controlled and refined, balancing the environmental concerns with the opportunities to be more efficient and most effective.  It takes time and resources to do these things.


Dr. Chase stated that the Onondaga County Sanitary District includes everything, not just your workspace.  Mr. Rhoads asked which item she was referring to. Dr. Chase said items 3 and 4, where it talks about expansion.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it is, “within the footprint of property owned by or subject to long-term lease by the Onondaga County Sanitary District”.  It is property owned or leased by us, not everything within the district map.  Chairman Plochocki added that item 5 is, “within already established or approved subdivisions”.  Dr. Chase added, which would be their workspace.


Chairman Plochocki stated he understands what Dr. Chase is speaking of; item 4 is just County property, item 5 is saying anywhere within the consolidated sewer district, which is potentially about 1/3 of the County.  Dr. Chase said this was very specific to stormwater and wastewater. Chairman Plochocki reiterated that it also says, “within already established or approved subdivisions”.  In other words, in order for something to be a subdivision it would have already gone through the SEQRA process to meet the general subdivision requirements. Therefore, if we want to add something, such as a storm sewer to that subdivision, we shouldn’t have to go through SEQRA again.  Mr. Rhoads said items 5 and 6 are about this.  Currently you get exemptions on the Type II list if you are extending certain utilities within an approved subdivision.  Where this gets tricky is when we are doing work in an area where there are no approved subdivisions, such as the Village of Solvay, but we are simply adding or separating utilities that are already there, which would be allowed in an approved subdivision. 


Dr. Chase stated she didn’t have a problem specific to water treatment, her concern was with items 3 and 4.  Item 2 was specific to meeting codes but items 3 and 4 seem to be a little loose.  She is suspect as to what else could be done with these items.  Mr. Rhoads responded that we are trying to be specific - in item 3 where there is normally 4,000 square feet for others and 10,000 square feet for schools, 17,000 square feet is appropriate for our weight class and environment.  If there is a recommendation, we could come back with changes to those values.  However, we believe these numbers are not going to provide any environmental concern.  Some things are defined and we are trying to better define them within the context of what we do.  Mrs. Rapp stated that in item 4 must have an, “applicable permit or the requirements of an administrative order or a judicial order”.  In other words, that is not going to happen unless somebody has already received the legal permit or we are being required to do it.  


Mr. Rhoads read item number 10 from Section 617.5 (see attachment) and added that this is talking about residential structures and we are talking about non-residential structures.  We are “crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s”.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to approve this item.  AYES:  4; NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Chase).  MOTION CARRIED.


3.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Tom Rhoads, P.E., Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update   http://savetherain.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/STRQ2Report2014.pdf


Commissioner’s Report

  • Wastewater infrastructure critical for long-term stability, can’t have commercial or industrial activity without sanitary sewer services, infrastructure dramatically reduces impact of humans on the environment, clean water adds value to quality of life; Infrastructure WEP builds will last for decades, expensive but worth the investment
  • Closed on $129M of financing with EFC, 30 years, under 2%, huge savings;  bonds mainly for Clinton and Lower Harbor Brook storage projects and number of green projects in Clinton sewer shed, 1st time EFC funded green infrastructure in NYS
  • Financing included $11.7M in ARRA stimulus funds with full forgiveness and estimated $30.8M in economic output; County uses grants and low interest loans at every opportunity to reduce ratepayer costs
  • Met with DEC regarding asset management, over $1.5B in assets; classify risk and use risk based decision making process to determine repair and replacement of assets, managing risks best way possible and maintaining high level of service
  • New SPDES permits issued in 4 satellite plants, includes additional regulatory mandates to improve water quality; old plants working 24/7 required to meet tougher regulatory requirements
  • Want further discussion on integrated planning to better align whole regulatory landscape – combined sewers, stormwater, and multiple pollutant discharge permits; what are the priorities with limited resources
  • 9-16-14 Clean Water Fair 9AM-2PM; cobranding with Beaver Lake Golden Harvest Festival, attend Clean Water Fair and 1 person from your family attends festival for free

Gray Projects

  • Harbor Brook CSO 063 project at Milton Ave. and Emerson St.
  • Final stage of Lower Harbor Brook construction, fact sheet shows photo above ground, underground has huge storage

Green Projects

  • Slower, now very focused on location
  • Comfort Tyler Park construction to start at E. Colvin St. and Comstock Ave.

Legislation & Media

  • Includes local news on the Onondaga Lake Trail
  • Thousands of gallons of rainwater sent to Carrier Dome restrooms – example of the type of project inspired by Save the Rain for private sector

Financial Updates

  • Details on each project

Mrs. Rapp provided the following update from the 8-12-14 Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting:

  • Discussed the concept of combining all town and village sewer systems with the County
  • Had 2 former town supervisors, former village mayor and a former town board member in attendance, all vigorously supportive and from different parts of the County; Mr. Liedka had said that 1 major breakdown could bankrupt an entire village budget  
  • Clean water and sewers are an economic necessity and add vitality
  • Systems are aging, already consolidated with the City for this same reason, obligated to look into what it would take to complete this; towns don’t have money and ignore it
  • Pooling resources, take holistic approach and choose 1 priority per year to fix this; all are connected and going into treatment plants

Mrs. Rapp asked Mr. Rhoads what the steps would be, where we would start; what are the hurdles, the advantages and is it a practical situation.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it would take some time to understand…. Mrs. Rapp interjected saying that it will be years but we have to start somewhere.  Mr. Rhoads added, and how do you assess the absorptions.  Mrs. Rapp said that perhaps the first step is to list where we would like to see everything end up, where we are now, what the gap is and how we systematically overcome.   


Mr. Corl said that yesterday he made the comment that last year the Town of Cicero worked with WEP to form a comprehensive IMA plan for infrastructure.  He does not know if other municipalities are doing this.  If they are not, looking at the County as whole, we should be encouraging this and consider if it should be under one purview.  This is something that gets ignored.  Mr. Rhoads said that a pothole gets a lot of attention, but we are deepest infrastructure, under the waterlines.  When our stuff starts to fray, no one knows about it except us.  It is out of sight and out of mind.  Mrs. Rapp added, until it doesn’t work.  Mr. Rhoads said, and then it becomes an emergency repair.  Mrs. Rapp said that at that point, it is far more expensive than maintenance would have been.


Mr. Rhoads stated that asset management is no small thing.  We are trying to get our arms around asset management now.  He looks forward to being better able to discuss integration in the future.  Mrs. Rapp said that much of this is education; the towns have to buy in.  Mr. Rhoads added that it is almost like the highway system, state, county and town roads.  Within the City and Consolidated Sanitary District, 21 municipalities own small pipes.  We own some of the big trunk sewers and force main but there are still many pipes owned by others.  Still other communities have their own treatment plant, Marcellus, Skaneateles and Tully.  Mrs. Rapp added Minoa.  Mr. Rhoads agreed and added Jordan. 


Mr. Rhoads stated that he needs a better understanding of what the Legislature looking for, consolidation of the sewers in the sanitary district or going beyond the district and incorporating those systems that stand-alone.  Preview of things to come - this is what we will want to think and talk about.  Mrs. Rapp said that this is a big question.      


The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature




* * *




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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:32 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Ryan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     CNY ARTS:  Steve Butler, Executive Director; Jon Garland, Symphoria Board Member

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Make Funds Available To CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($70,000)































Mr. Butler:

  • Up to end of first full year of Symphoria; doing a good job
  • Asked Symphoria to stop using term free concerts, because they are fee paid concerts provided to the public for free
  • June expenses did exceed income, but with July’s numbers and projection, should end in black with slight surplus
  • Next season in place and being sold; healthy savings and checking account balance

Mrs. Rapp is concerned with the musicians making money, and asked how it is going.  Mr. Garland responded they are in the process of budgeting for the upcoming season, and are looking for ways to improve the compensation for the orchestra.  They want to make sure they are in the process of evolution with what the musicians are earning, and the organizations development as well.  There are a few ideas, and the board meets tomorrow; will discuss how to improve some of these things.  Mr. Garland agreed with Mrs. Rapp that they are committed and will stick with it.  Mr. Butler commented they have more musicians committing versus jobbing them in.  Mr. Garland stated some were on leave this year and are coming back, some accepted jobs elsewhere, and one musician recently passed away unexpectedly at age 34.  The motivation to keep the symphony is very strong.  Mrs. Rapp asked if anyone uses this as a primary income.  Mr. Garland replied some have spouses, so they are able to make this their primary employment.  Many others teach and work to make the community better.  Mr. Garland said the compensation levels are in the range of $10,000 - $12,000 a year, so it is not probable to make this the sole employment.  The board is looking to make improvements on that.  Mr. Butler stated CNY Arts is providing a scholarship for Symphoria to go to a marketing conference for marketing strategies that takes place in Atlanta. 


Mrs. Rapp asked if this is the last installment.  Chair Tassone responded it is the third installment.


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


2.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARIES:  Doreen Milcarek, Central Library Administrator

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Accept Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($315,266)


  • State construction grant approved in July for a three stop elevator in Central Library; part of overall redesign project
  • Relinquishing 2 floors, an elevator (if not sharing an elevator); leaves need of three stop elevator that goes to the basement – thousands of materials to be transported between basement and other floors

Chair Tassone asked if this elevator will be where a previous elevator was.  Ms. Milcarek responded it cannot be; looked at extending one into the basement, but the engineer said no.  Chair Tassone asked how many elevators they have.  Ms. Milcarek answered one, plus sharing the use of another with the tenant (yet to be decided), and the new one that will not go to the fifth floor.  Most of their need is between the basement and first two floors. 


Ms. Milcarek replied to Mrs. Rapp that 75% is funded by the NYS Construction Program with a 25% match.  Ms. Milcarek was told they can use either the Empire State Development Grant or bond for the match.  Mrs. Rapp asked if the total project is $315,000.  Ms. Milcarek responded that is the 75%, and the match is $105,088.  Mrs. Rapp stated that is expensive; $400,000 for an elevator. 


Mr. Shepard asked how the rest of the reconfiguration is going.  Ms. Milcarek replied it seems to be moving along after being stalled for some time.  They are looking at a potential tenant for floors three and four, and will have a conversation with the Galleries owner.  Chair Tassone asked if the holdup is the tenant.  Ms. Milcarek said yes, but it seems like all the lights are green. 


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


Chair Tassone asked Ms. Milcarek to keep the committee informed.  Ms. Milcarek agreed.


Mrs. Rapp asked if the new director started.  Ms. Milcarek replied Monday.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:42 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature








* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, 1Mr. Jordan, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Ryan

ALSO PRESENT: See attached list


Chairman May called the meeting to order at 12:04 PM.   A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Dougherty     to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

1.     DISTRICT ATTORNEYBarry Weiss, Administrative Officer

        a.     Transfer of $15,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to Travel/Training Account 694010


Mr. Weiss stated that two specific cases incurred unexpected expenses and were the reason for the transfers. 


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


Mr. Dougherty asked if this would affect the daycare program.  Mr. Weiss deferred to budget.  Ms. Gile said that there is an 8% reduction in caseload, so this does not affect the program. 


Mr. Ryan asked how much money was allocated for daycare.  Ms. Gile said the adopted budget was $20.3 million, the first quarter forecast was almost $19 million annually.  Mr. Ryan noted that we are close to spending all of the funds.  Ms. Gile responded that there is close to $1 million dollars remaining.  Mr. Ryan said that it could trend higher and they don’t feel that taking money out of this will hurt.  Ms. Gile responded that it will not hurt any children because they are still seeing a reduction.


Seconded by Mr. Dougherty.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Transfer of $160,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to Professional Services Account 694080


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


In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Weiss stated that the reason for all three transfers is the same, they are all tied together to the same two cases.  


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Transfer of $38,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to All other Expenses Account 694100


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


2.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTKevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Informational:  Training Compliance


Chairman May stated that there was a publicized problem a while back and asked Mr. Wisely to explain what happened and what has been done to rectify the situation. 


Mr. Wisely:

  • EMS Bureau has sponsored EMS refresher and original courses since early 1980’s when NYS started the sponsor program, 1 of 4 agencies in the County sponsoring EMS training
  • Main focus is BLS training, new training for EMT’s – certified first responders and refresher trainings
  • In the past sponsored 1 ALS paramedic refresher course each year; were evaluating continuation of program due to many changes in paramedicine, Upstate University Hospital very involved in original classes for paramedicine
  • 8-20-13 ALS refresher class submitted to NYS for sponsorship, went through submittal process, state approved  course, instructor and location, course began 9-2-13 and completed 12-19-13 with written and practical skills, mid-January 2014 those passing received certification and began practicing
  • Around mid-March 2014 informed of anonymous complaint on skills portion of testing for this class, April 2014 NYS Dept. of Health made site visit and discussed program, came back on 6-10-14 for audit of course paperwork; meanwhile people were still practicing, at no time was service jeopardized
  • 6-23-14 NYS issued findings letter on record keeping, looked at overall record keeping for course, oversight of the course and some documentation that went through the skills portion of the test, had issues with those portions of the class; determined everyone would be required to retake the skills exam portion of the test
  • 8-9-14 all students rescheduled for skills exam, handled by Dept. of Health and Upstate University Hospital; Emergency Management not involved and doesn’t have results of testing
  • Additional follow-up audit reviewed 5 years of paperwork; Mr. Wisely requested entrance and exit conference, during entrance conference found paperwork was in good order for BLS programs, were a couple little things, haven’t received official report
  • Advised Dept. of Health they don’t anticipate continuation of ALS refresher training; Emergency Management’s focus is to insure preparation of first responders with BLS and certified first responder courses, letting institutions really involved in paramedic medicine and the ongoing changes handle that
  • Instructor utilized and approved for ALS class is a contracted instructor, continues to be an instructor and maintains certification; received Central NY EMS Instructor of the Year award in 2013 by CNY EMS Council  
  • Programmatically decided not to continue sponsoring ALS training; Rural Metro, TLC,  & Upstate University Hospital will continue their programs

Mr. Holmquist thanked Mr. Wisely for the outline, noting that it was very helpful.  Mr. Holmquist said that it sounds like everything was in order, except for the portion on the skills exam, and asked what the problem was.  Mr. Wisely responded that there were some paperwork issues and there were people that did not intend to take the skills exam listed on the original roster, this is a violation.  On the follow-up exam there were three individuals that choose not to continue being paramedics and to go back to basic life support. 


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Wisely stated that as far as we know, individuals that received certification in January continued to practice and maintain this certification.  He has not gotten a report from Saturday’s skills test but the individuals were practicing up to this point.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the Department of Health decided to redo the skills portion of the test.  Mr. Wisely responded that they felt it was in the best interest to retest everyone on the skills portion, after reviewing the paperwork and the skills test.  No one had to take the written exam over, just the skills portion.  Mr. Holmquist stated that all the other items were in good order.  Mr. Wisely agreed, adding that if we were going to continue ALS refresher training we would be under probation once we corrected the deficiencies, but since we’re not going to be doing the training, there is no longer anything to worry about.  Our BLS, the main core of what we do, has not been in question and is not part of their review.


Mr. Holmquist said that we are not doing ALS refresher anymore because of this.  Mr. Wisely responded that we were evaluating this anyway because we only sponsor one refresher per year.  Also because of the way paramedicine is evolving, it would be more appropriate to have places like Upstate University Hospital manage those types of things for training paramedics. Chairman May added that ALS training steps out of your core focus.  Mr. Wisely reiterated that we have sponsored one or two over the last few years.  We don’t sponsor any of the private ambulance training; Rural Metro, TLC and Upstate University Hospital have their own, we don’t coordinate their course.  


Mr. May stated that we are talking about basic advanced emergency life support.  Of all the training that Emergency Management sponsors, administers or provides what percent of that training is EMT or paramedic related.  Mr. Wisely asked if he was referring to just the emergency medical field or including the sponsored fire training.  Chairman May said he was asking the percentage for all of the training.  Mr. Wisely responded that ALS training is a very small percent of the training we coordinate throughout all of Onondaga County.  If we don’t sponsor a course it really won’t be a blip and there is enough agency here to be able to support this in the future.  Chairman May said it was really interesting when you look at the whole scope of training, compliance, certification and things like that, the state is really putting things under a microscope with respect to compliance.  Many agencies, volunteer, professional or otherwise, are getting a lot of pressure to do things the way they want it done.  Mr. Wisely agreed, adding that these professions, volunteer or professional, are dangerous and they want to make sure that everyone has the proper training and guidance to be able to do these roles.  The state is looking for strict adherence to the courses that they develop.  Chairman May said that the ways of the past are history.  Mr. Wisely added that it is a new day and they are moving forward with close compliance and focus on how we prepare folks.


Chairman May said the issue was largely administrative on our side, people were inconvenienced, had to come back and do the skills test and asked if the nature of the complaint was along those lines.  Mr. Wisely responded that from what he gathers the anonymous complaint was about the skills testing; doesn’t know anything more specific than that. 


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Wisely confirmed that skills testing referred to hands-on.  With fire, EMT and paramedic training you take a written exam after the course and after passing you must demonstrate your skills; e.g., there would be a station on hemorrhage control with a skill sheet that must be followed and filled out properly, with “T’s crossed and I’s dotted”.  There are different stations where you demonstrate your skills.  Mr. Jordan asked if the complaint received was relative to the documentation or that the skills portion was too difficult.  Mr. Wisely responded that it involved which skill sheets were used.  There was a discrepancy between the state manual and the national registry manual; skill sheets are a little different in each manual.  There was also discrepancy as to who was taking the skills test and when, which has all been remedied.   


Chairman May asked if it was the intent of the three individuals not taking the skills test to “audit” the class, to go through the training but not take the test.  Mr. Wisely responded that there were two on the list that made a decision, as they were taking the class, not to test for it and then three subsequently decided not to take the retest.  Chairman May asked if this was common among the higher-level training course they provide; do people come in to learn or refresh and not take the test.  Mr. Wisely responded, just to learn, keep up their skills and have a good understanding.  Some of these folks have been paramedics for many years and sometimes get to a point where they decide that they have done enough and it’s time to let the younger generation take on these roles.


In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Wisely said he believes that Upstate University Hospital has already scheduled ALS refresher training for this fall. Mr. Ryan said that he wanted to be sure that the training would continue and that people in this field are getting up to date training.  Mr. Wisely responded that they have their own training but offer it to outside individuals also.  There will be plenty of options for people to get their refresher or become paramedics and we weren’t doing new training anyway, just a refresher ALS class.


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Wisely confirmed that looking back no public safety was compromised and added that we have very good emergency medical service agencies in our community.  Mr. Holmquist asked in looking forward, if there were other training courses that didn’t fit the mold of core training.  Mr. Wisely responded that ALS was the only one, all other sponsored training is part of Emergency Management’s core operation.  


Chairman May said there is an informational update on the storm and then he has a question or two that he would like to cover.  Mr. Wisely responded that he could review this quickly now.


Chairman May stated he and several others have been receiving calls with regard to the heightened awareness of dangerous materials on rail cars going through densely populated municipal areas.  There has been concern as to whether or not we have a plan to address such things.  We have a plan and in response to some of those concerns, Mr. Wisely and I talked about this a long time ago.  For informational purposes Mr. Wisely will talk about the existence of these policies, not specifically how they are addressed and why. 


Mr. Wisely:

  • March 1989 OSHA created standard for hazardous material response
  • Early 1990’s began to plan and prepare for any type of hazardous material in our community, very aware of this as he volunteer as a team leader for the hazmat response team at that time, regional response team handles any type of hazard in our community
  • 9-11-2001 began heightened awareness and additional training; preparing for any eventuality that might occur, responders are trained and prepared to respond
  • Open source information is not provided on our response capabilities and where assets are located so those wanting to do us harm aren’t provided with more opportunity and information than needed
  • Continue to have regional response plan in cooperation with Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse; City of Syracuse Fire dept. is the core of the response team, does excellent job, work together in regional fashion to respond
  • Continue to plan and prepare for new eventualities that may occur; most recent is increased rise in crude oil transportation through our community, core between Albany and Buffalo is some of CSX’s busiest rail lines, rails inspected and checked on regular basis, because of increased transportation have enhanced preparedness with additional training and worked closely with CSX, talked about rail cars transporting crude oil, also ethanol which comes through the City and heads south to Solvay switching station
  • Working with City/County Planning have enhanced mapping tools, can identify critical infrastructure and where rail lines come in, helps in preparedness and exercises, can do table tops and discuss what ifs as it relates to our plan
  • Met with CSX public relations, got information on products coming through, confidential and proprietary – don’t want to provide easy access to specific information for those wanting to cause harm
  • We are fully prepared and communicate this to public agencies in our community; regional hazmat team gets together periodically, do exercises and training together, discuss new hazards, how we would respond, and if increased training is needed
  • June 19th-21st CSX brought their safety training to our community - 3 days of comprehensive training on rail transportation issues, trained approximately 100 public safety personnel; focused some on crude oil the largest commodity increase CSX has
  • Leveraged some Homeland Security Grant funds to enhance response capabilities, developed foam tender – foam unit on trailer with 500 gallons of alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foam (AR-AFFF), top of the line foam to be used for rail event involving crude oil, doing modification on how foam will be dispensed, additional 500 gallons to keep on supply; intent is for Minoa Fire dept. to house this close to the rail yard, could bring anywhere in the County if needed, just 1 enhancement to what we already have
  • Have well trained and prepared public safety responders throughout community to deal with multitude of incidents
  • Every couple years a large-scale hands-on exercise is conducted; 2 years ago did full-scale exercise with a number of events happening on the Northside of Syracuse simulating a terrorist attach and at the same time did triangular drill at the airport, activated the EOC, 57 local, state and federal agencies participated  with over 500 participants; this spring will do a simulated rail disaster, no dates yet, in evolutionary stage, will exercise plan, look at assets and equipment and develop an After Action Report to see if anything is needed to continue to enhance preparedness
  • In June US DOT issued emergency order requiring rail lines transporting 1M gallons or more of oil  through a community to report to the state, CSX complied and shared report with Onondaga County, who shared the information with our public safety agencies; approximately 70-73 trains go through from Buffalo to Albany daily  
  • Beginning 2015 Radioactive material will be transported through our community, are aware and prepared, training specific fire depts. in these areas                       

Mr. Jordan asked if there are areas of the County that pose particular hazards for a rail accident.  Mr. Wisely:

  • Look at population density, critical infrastructure, whether it goes through key assets in our community and there locations, understand rail derailment can be catastrophic, consider all of these items and prepare how to respond to a particular incident in a particular area
  • 11-11-2011 propane tank car and soybean car derailed on Colvin St. rail siding going south, very fortunate propane tank came over onto its cover, stable situation, Syracuse Fire and Police did extraordinary job, could have been catastrophic event; coordinated response agencies all together in unified command post working together, event went well
  • Early 90’s CSX train hit Amtrak train in Lyncourt, treated 80+ patients, well managed with no facilities
  • Have had some exposures, look at incidents that occurred overtime to build into preparedness training and exercise
  • 12 years ago had chlorine tank car derailment in Central Square, 12 chlorine cars stacked up, fortunate nothing leaked, response community came together and managed the issue making sure everyone was safe
  • Crude oil is highlighted due to unfortunate events - Quebec incident was human error, allowed train to roll downhill at up to 80mph in 10 mph zone, had catastrophic failure and derailment, Dec. 2013 North Dakota had grain car derail on other siding causing crude oil car to hit grain car and derailed because of this
  • Look at After Action Reports of response agencies attending events to learn and communicate this with our  public agencies     

Mr. Jordan asked if the CSX railroad bridge on the Parkway posed any unusual hazard, as it seems to keep being hit by tractor trailers or buses.  Mr. Wisely responded that any crossing, such as this, poses additional hazard to us.  That line is the north-south line and we don’t have the volume of tank cars coming through there.  There is a lot of intermodal traffic, cars look like stacked tractor trailers.  Those cars could have anything in them and we train for those types of things.  NYS DOT and the Railroad Administration evaluates the bridge anytime someone comes in contact with it, to insure that it is safe. 


Chairman May stated that Emergency Management knows where the areas of venerability may be, has planned for this and identified the issues, but are not going to be discussed publically for the reasons explained.  The key takeaway is that there are plans and procedures. 


In answer to Chairman May, Mr. Wisely confirmed that the executive summary is posted on their website under Hazardous Materials Response. 



Mr. Ryan stated that the bulk of the crude oil comes through the east-west line and goes through the City of Syracuse, which has the greatest density in population.  It is important to continue working with the City of Syracuse, Fire and Police so that we can respond, believes this is where we need to be to protect the general public.  As you get into the towns and villages it is more rural; City has the biggest impact.  Mr. Wisely responded that they look at these things and consider density.  To be clear, the crude oil transportation goes through the Northside and back out.  It does not come on the north-south line.  Ethanol railcars periodically come down the north-south line.  The crude oil it strictly going west to east, heading towards the port of Albany.


Mr. Ryan said to Legislator Jordan’s point, Emergency Management does a great job, but he thinks legislators should be advised as to what parts of this County these things are coming through and the population density.  We have to do what we can to protect the public.  Mr. Wisely responded that the rail enters in the Town of Elbridge, exits in the Town of Manlius and goes through the Northside.  


        b.     East Syracuse Storm Update

  • 7-8-2014 began communicating with National Weather Service about 1:30 PM, weather pattern caused concern, contact continued throughout afternoon, late afternoon provided City/County government leaders with situation awareness, that evening at meeting downtown and monitoring the radio, Skaneateles Fire had stranded boater and reported waterspouts on the lake, immediately new significant weather would pass through the area, went to EOC, continued to provide situation awareness to community responders and citizens, tornado alert went out to phones via reverse 911 call
  • 6:48 PM in EOC doing situation awareness, had damage in Marcellus, Camillus-Fairmount, Northside of City to Eastwood areas, then into East Syracuse with significant damage
  • 6:45 PM 11k residents were without power, large number of trees and conductor down
  • From EOC determined other areas of the County were largely covered but Village of East Syracuse was greatly impacted, received phone update from Mayor Tackman, then request from East Syracuse Fire Chief, responded and moved operational center to regional operation center in East Syracuse
  • Worked in coordinated fashion – Mayor, Mr. Wisely,  Village Fire Chief, DPW Supervisor, National Grid and ambulance representatives
  • On the phone throughout the day insuring National Grid would have crews available; worked well, very responsive, sent someone to regional operation center
  • Coordinated response, initially damage assessment, then recovery effort for the next 3-4 days; at Mayor’s request Mr. Wisely served as the Public Relations Officer, Mayor had to go this job the next day and Mr. Wisely assisted by staying in the regional operation center and working with the DPW Supervisor and National Grid Supervisors, got prints and layouts, much damage, many trees and poles were down
  • Legislator Liedka and Chairman McMahon came to the command post, provided them with situation and awareness briefing, Mr. Liedka stayed in regional operation center for a while and then into the field for damage assessment
  • National Weather Service came to the village the next day, spent time with them doing damage assessment, determined it was a microburst with 65-85mph winds, storm built as it left our county causing EF2 tornado in Smithfield, Madison County
  • 2 senior living facilities without power, prioritized having National Grid work on this area first, setup reception center at Town of Dewitt community room to provide food and water, Red Cross staffed and PEACE Inc. made 30 sandwiches to pass out on Wednesday for lunch, power restored to all within 72 hours and streets cleaned, DPW crews in surrounding villages and Onondaga County supported the effort, able to do this because of the severity, state of emergency was declared for village limits
  • 0 injuries throughout Onondaga County for entire event; some car and house damage and a lot of tree damage

Chairman May said that it was good to put the plan in practice.  Mr. Wisely agreed, adding that a year ago there was a similar event in the Village of East Syracuse and a state of emergency was declared, it was almost identical.   It was a good response and Onondaga County’s support for the village was well received.


Mr. Holmquist said that he wanted to voice concerns that he has talked about with our leadership.  When a state of emergency is called, as you described, everybody helps and it was as good as it could possibly be.  In the Town of Manlius we didn’t have a state of emergency or tornado, which is the path from East Syracuse to Smithfield, but it was plenty bad enough.  Our highway superintendent, who is also president of the Onondaga County Association of Highway Superintendents, had six surrounding municipalities reach out and offer assistance on the night of the event.  Basically the northern section, around Freemont Road area, was heavily affected.  Many trees were down and for individual residents there was an emergency, even though we didn’t have a state of emergency.  Everything worked out fine in terms of the other departments, Minoa and Fayetteville went to East Syracuse immediately and others helped reciprocate.  Our highway superintendent reached out to the County and it took him 2-3 days to reach the appropriate people.  No one from the County reached out to Manlius and it took some time to get going on this; eventually they got together.


Mr. Holmquist said his request is that we work collaboratively, in an event such as this, so that all the highway departments send resources.  There are no lawyers or politicians involved, they just help each other out.  In our case, it was about a 2 week emergency for this event and these residents.  The residents affected had their trees cut up and placed at the curb, they were just asking that someone have a chipper come by and pick them up.  The Town of Manlius did this but the idea was to have the County do it.  From what he has been able to deduce, after the fact and has addressed with our leadership, County DOT isn’t empowered, in those conditions, to go out and proactively help because it isn’t County policy.  Every person he spoke to was very empathic and they agree, much like highway superintendents would agree, but the problem is at the top.  By the time the County Executive’s Office was brought into this, they agreed that this was a good idea as well.  However, you have to proactively let people know in advance, like Emergency Management does with their training and exercises, that we need assistance immediately.  By the time they unofficially gave an ok, it was three weeks later and too late, we had cleaned it all up.


Mr. Holmquist said this can and will happen to any and every town in the County.  As the policy making branch of our government, we don’t want lawyers and politicians involved to come up with a policy, just do the right thing.  Why does our DOT have to get permission, when perhaps the person to grant permission isn’t available and wasn’t available for a few weeks. There should be something in place to empower the people, like the DOT superintendent, to be able to act, collaborate and do the right thing.  On other issues the County is asking towns and villages to reciprocate and collaborate going the other way, but when we have an emergency everybody comes to help except for Onondaga County.


Chairman May said Mr. Holmquist has raised an interesting point.  It is probably no different than a town can’t clean out a drainage ditch in the village. We are talking about crossing taxing jurisdictions.  There needs to be a mechanism in place and a policy that enables and activates that kind of assistance, without fear of some kind of problem.  We need to know what other communities do on that front, if they do anything. 


1Mr. Jordan left the meeting.


Mr. Holmquist stated that there should be a mechanism, though he is not sure that it can be a formal written policy.  However, he was told it is the policy of Onondaga County not to do this.  Of course you wouldn’t normally do this but if the County can pave roads in Elbridge, it seems that we should be able to pick up emergency trees for a couple weeks like everyone else does. Mr. Dougherty said that this wouldn’t be a bad idea to propose, probably Commissioner Wisely group could manage something like that, in the event that of this type of emergency.  Chairman May added, a local declaration of a certain status that frees Onondaga County to assist in certain events outside of our jurisdiction. 


Mr. Dougherty said that an event like this are sometimes helpful to point these things out. Chairman May agreed.


Mr. Ryan suggested that this committee work in conjunction with County Facilities to say that if there is some sort of state of emergency, as declared through Emergency Management, and they need help from highway departments, Onondaga County DOT can offer immediate relief.  We could adopt this as County policy, work it through Emergency Management, and all it would have to take is one call.  Chairman May said the trick is defining the emergency. 


Mr. Holmquist said whatever the designation is, short of an official a state of emergency, which frees up participation. Chairman May said that Mr. Wisely may be able to find something for us to use.  Mr. Holmquist added that it is an emergency for those affected, trees on houses, cars and other properties.  For them it was an emergency and they still took the responsibility for putting the trees out front. 


Mr. Dougherty said that we do this a lot, Chairman May mentioned crossing taxing jurisdictions but this is different as all of these people pay County taxes.  Chairman May responded that he understands that, but they pay for road work on village and town roads through their village/town taxes.  He hates sounding like a bureaucrat but that is the obstacle here.  Mr. Holmquist said that is why they don’t have an agreement between highway departments, they just do it and they all do it because it is the right thing to do.  Chairman May responded that they just do it, but they are a little more flexible with something like this. 


Mr. Wisely said that perhaps we could handle something like this by developing a memorandum of understanding between County DOT and the municipal DPW’s.  Somehow we must define emergency situations, it might not be a state of emergency declaration, but it might be an unusual event in which they will work together.  Mr. Holmquist said that unfortunately that memorandum of understanding is going to issues just at the County because everyone else is already doing it, this is a memo war.  Someone has to tell the people of the County that they can go and help these people. 


Mr. Dougherty said that we do this now with mutual aid agreements for public safety.  Mr. Holmquist agreed.  Mr. Dougherty added that it has become an issue of contention in this committee and the Legislature at Large, where we have Air 1 flying to nearby counties to help people in a situation, for whatever reason, needing the unique capabilities of the helicopter.  Chairman May added, with no means of reciprocity.  Mr. Holmquist noted that we can be reciprocal here because the County asks the towns and village to work together collaboratively going the other way all the time.  


Mr. Holmquist said that this is unnecessarily upsetting.  Towns and villages try to be collaborative and cooperative with everyone else and with the County it is a one-way deal.  Chairman May said that we just need to give DOT the teeth to do the right thing.  Mr. Holmquist said that it may not be this committee or Mr. Wisely creating the policy, this is just a good venue. Mr. Ryan responded that we can work with Ms. Johnson to write a memorandum of understanding, she will transfer it on and we work with Facilities, give everyone the green light and “happy days are here again”.  Mr. Holmquist said it sounds good, go to it, whatever we have to do would helpful.


The meeting was adjourned at 1:01 PM.         


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French                                                                                           


Onondaga County Legislature




* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Ervin, Ms. Williams, Mr. May, *Mr. Jordan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. May, to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous session.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous session.  MOTION CARRIED.





        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs



        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Contract with the United States Department of the Interior for the Operation and Maintenance of Stream and Lake Gaging Stations in the County of Onondaga ($81,840)



        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of a Permanent Easement for the Relocation of a Metropolitan Water Board Water Line ($23,000)


4.     OCPL:

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Accept Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($315,266)



        a.     Transfer of $15,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to Travel/Training Account 694010 ($15,000)

        b.     Transfer of $160,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to Professional Services Account 694080 ($160,000)

        c.     Transfer of $38,000 from Day Care Program Account 661260 to All other Expenses Account 694100 ($38,000)


A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the items on the consent agenda.  Passes unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


*Mr. Jordan arrived at the meeting.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, regarding item 1a, Ms. Flynn explained that the money goes to the towns from the State; it is is determined by population and is basically the same every year.  The towns have to apply, and not all of them have done so.  Chairman Knapp asked if there is a mechanism in place to remind the towns to apply.  Ms. Flynn indicated that there is.




1.     CNY ARTSSteven Butler, Executive Director; Catherine Underhill, Executive Director - Symphoria

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($70,000)

Mr. Butler:

  • One month shy of Symphoria’s end of season
  • June expenses got a little ahead of income, but receivables will end this year in the black
  • Balance sheet shows $150,000+
  • Subscriptions up 60% for upcoming year – marketing began early
  • Symphoria is recipient of CNY Arts grant to send staff to National Arts Marketing Partnership


Mr. May gave congratulations, expressing that an awesome job has been done.  He stated that he will oppose this until it is funded the way he would like to see it funded; opposes the use of ROT.


Chairman Knapp asked about highlights for the fall season.  Ms. Underhill noted the following:

  • Opening with the Wizard of Oz – full movie with orchestra accompaniment, Civic Center
  • Continuation of Sunday afternoon concerts at St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Collaboration with Everson, MOST, & WCNY on Spark series
  • Continue to offer free student (18 & younger) admission; college student admission for any concert is $5

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  AYES:  5; NOES:  1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.


2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTIONTom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Appropriating $16,800,000 of Bonds Authorized Pursuant to a Bond Resolution dated December 4, 2012, to Provide Funds for Construction and other Related Expenses of the Bypass Treatment Improvements Project at the Metropolitan Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant ($16,800,000)

  • In 2012 the legislature bonding for $20.2 million for 002 Bypass Treatment Improvement Project
  • In 2012, $3.4 million of the $20.2 million was appropriated
  • Asking for the appropriation of the balance
  • Ready to go into construction phase
  • Using one existing tank as the de-chlorination tank; creating a 2 million gallon tank for disinfection; will use existing disinfection tank for de-chlorination
  • It is a hazardous waste site; officially a Superfund site
  • Adjacent to 3 railroads; high power National Grid line, and and OCWA water line
  • Will be dealing with exciting soils, geotechnical issues, and environmental issues as they build the tank
  • Design estimates suggest they will need the entire $20.2 million

Ms. Williams asked if more will be needed than what was authorized.  Mr. Rhodes said that they have started to think about ways to take whatever they can out of it; pruning back.  It will be tight; a certain amount of contingency is built in for things still waiting to be bid, but are on the edge with them.  In answer to Ms. Williams; Mr. Rhodes said it is too soon to tell; will keep the legislature posted once bid.


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


Mr. May asked how things are going in Lysander.  Mr. Rhoads said that they put the emergency procurement in place; contractor is there working.


3.     HEALTHAnn Rooney, Deputy County Executive/Human Services

        a.     Personnel Resolution - Authorize Advanced Step Hiring for R.P. 01 4040300 2094, Commissioner of Health, Grade 40, Step 2, Effective Immediately, $173,021

  • Search process for Health Commissioner since April 1st
  • Engaged national search firm; gone through interview; have identified a candidate
  • Legislators Liedka sat in on the interviews
  • In negotiation phase:
    • advance step higher – commensurate with the salary that the candidate now enjoys;
    • 4 weeks of annual vacation


Ms. Rooney explained that often there is difficulty with filling positions for certain department heads with what is required at the state level.  A physician is needed who also has a dual degree with a Masters in Public Health.  With those things combined, it makes it difficult in the hiring process to start with.  With people that have obtained that level of employment, and with the vacation policy the County has in place (accrue 2 weeks in the first year and can use 1), has caused road blocks -- with this case in particular.  The position requires 24 hour availability, and the candidate certainly understands that.


In answer to Chairman Knapp about identifying the person, Ms. Rooney indicated that it can’t be done yet to protect their current position.  Chairman Knapp asked about the time frame to do so.  Ms. Rooney said that in speaking with the candidate, once full approval is given at the September session, then it can be announced.


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


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

  • Reimbursement for travel expenses associated with interviews


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


        c.     A Local Law Authorizing Payment of the 2014 County Budget for the Relocation of the Health Commissioner up to a Maximum Amount of $2,000 ($2,000)

  • Payment for moving expenses


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


        d.     Informational:  Health Department Reorganization


Chairman Knapp said that a letter was received from Ms. Rooney regarding the Health Department reorganization.  He says that he applauds the decision--with everything else going on right now, it is not the time to do this; let the new person get on board.


Mr. Holmquist referred to Ms. Rooney’s letter.  He referred to the Onondaga County Medical Society – 14 doctors – all on the record publicly, in an unprecedented political statement, saying that they oppose this.  All 14 of them are unaware of any doctors, nurses, or medical professionals in the community that support this.  He appreciated this getting pulled, but in looking at the letter it says “our team has been aggressively exploring the reorganization of the Onondaga County Human Services Department; that our efforts have been going well and we appreciate your continued support.”  Mr. Holmquist said that nobody supports this.  Ms. Rooney said that (sentence) related to last year – Human Services, not Health.  Mr. Holmquist read from the letter “we have decided to to extend the planning process.”  Ms. Rooney said that those sentences refer to last year’s reorganization, not this years.  Mr. Holmquist said that is not how he reads it, and read from the letter “we will continue to explore this reorganization in the coming months.  This demonstrated cooperation will assist in smoothly implementing a formal integration.  He would have expected it to say “we are pulling this and will never see it again”; “it is dead on arrival it; that we wouldn’t put the county at risk.”  The employees now have another year to worry about this.  The medical community is incensed; the president of the Medical Society has called the proposal “nonsensical”.  He has received many phone calls from nurses and doctors.  It hurts the county to leave the door open.  There should be some kind of a statement from the County Executive saying that this is not going forward--that this is the end of it.  It was a terrible idea; there is no merit to it; no one supports it other than people that work for the County Executive.


Chairman McMahon said that over the past few months Mr. Holmquist and others have done a good job of articulating some of the concerns.  The message has been sent -- the timing didn’t work out with the new health commissioner and also some buy-in from the medical community is needed.  It is a contingency for the legislature to look at something in the future.  He thanked Mr. Holmquist for his diligence on the issue and Ms. Rooney for all the work she has done and the success with last year’s reorganization. 


Chairman Knapp said that he has had a lot of discussion with people on the Social Services side, although the genesis is still coming together, the general feeling is that the basis seems to be very positive from what was done last year.


Mr. Holmquist said that the message needs to be sent that this portion is not going forward.  Chairman Knapp said it has been sent by the legislature, who makes the decisions, and that we need to get the support of the medical community, which is a high bar.


4.     PURCHASE:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.     Authorizing Electronic Bidding In Connection with Purchase Contracts in Onondaga County


Chairman Knapp said that this has been discussed in the past, and held off until it was known from a technology standpoint that we knew where we needed to be and that we could do this without being sued by a potential vendor and keeping the system open and transparent.


Mr. Carroll:

  • Clearly have technology and policy to support it
  • PeopleSoft program has delivered functionality that provides verification of signatures, widespread opportunity for people to participate
  • Statute does not allow the county to go exclusively to electronic bidding – anyone who doesn’t have access to a computer or ability to participate electronically, will be able to participate on paper
  • Web based program – do not need to download software
  • Opportunity to look at cost and timing on executing bids and contracts
  • All of the things done now remain (timestamp bid, leave it sealed, etc.) – technology to contain in one record on the system
  • County will have not have access to public bids until after the expiration date – meets requirement of being a sealed process
  • Vendor only will be able to look at their own proposal; county will not be able to see it
  • Upside in terms of efficiency, increasing competition, encouraging to make it easier
  • Companies can get on the system at any time; don’t have to wait for the office to be open to see a public bid or get a question answered


Mr. Jordan referred to computer geniuses that figure out a way to get into computers, programs, accessing files.  He asked if Mr. Carroll has spoken to contractors, people who would be bidding, to see if they are comfortable with the arrangement.  Mr. Carroll said that the vendors that have been exposed to it have a fairly high comfort level.  There is more of it going on at the State level and NYC level than in upstate, but it is being done all over the country – a lot of vendors have a comfort zone.  Smaller vendors have not done it yet; there will be some education and comfort level development.  If concerned about the security, they are welcome to submit in a sealed fashion.  The security will be taken as seriously as it can be.  There would be a record of someone getting in.  If there was any issue with the bid, it could be reissued.  There is no way to say that nobody will hack into the system. 


Mr. Jordan said that PeopleSoft came in with great fanfare, and it has turned out to be much more arduous than thought.  He asked if testing has been done with bids submitted electronically to make sure it is working properly.  Mr. Carroll said they wouldn’t roll it out to vendors without going through a full testing and vetting process – vendors have been identified for beta testing.  It hasn’t been done yet; legislature hasn’t told him that he can accept electronic bid.  A test model is being prepared. 


Chairman Knapp asked what other counties have adopted this.  Mr. Carroll said that the State and NYC does it; he can get back to the legislature with a list of others that do it.

Mr. May said that it is great, but with change there will be issues.  It is appropriate to allow vendors to go the old fashioned way or use the system.  He asked if it is an encumbrance on the vendor in using the system.  Mr. Carroll said it is a fairly low encumbrance; they have to read and follow instructions.  They do not download software or have to be technologically savvy.  They have to register and create a profile; sign up for what items they want to be solicited for.  Mr. May referred to PeopleSoft and feels at the end of the day it will be a good move for the county.  His concern is if it will be more difficult for the vendors to participate.  If that is case, will they be precluded or reluctant.  He wants it to be easy.  Mr. Carroll said that from everything they have seen, it will be as easy or easier.  The county will prepare web training and things that can be downloaded to walk through it step by step.  He expects phone calls, and plans to roll it out to vendors in stages.


Mr. May asked if it is a canned module or costumed to our system.  Mr. Carroll said it is very specific, delivered functionality.  IT is looking at security and redundancy.  From a PeopleSoft perspective, every bit of the functionality is delivered – part of the package; there is configuration, but not customization.


A motion was made by Ms. Williams to approve this item.


Mr. Jordan asked if there is an additional cost association with the implementation.  Mr. Carroll said “not that I know of; it is delivered functionality on what we have coming in”.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Carroll said that he would defer to IT, as he doesn’t have a proper answer - the county builds servers all the time, but doesn’t know if this is part of that or if anything in particular is required.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Carroll indicated that as far as he knows, it is not a major expense.


Mrs. Ervin seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Informational:  A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Administrative Code In Relation to Procurement


Chairman Knapp said that this is informational; will be voted on today.  There are several counties that have passed this and are in the process of implementing it – Genesee County just started the process this week.


Mr. Carroll:

  • Best Value is a purchasing tool available to the State and Federal government levels for a long time
  • NYS is one of the last states to extend it as an option
  • Revision to competitive bidding process
  • It is still a public bid; still publically advertised, sealed solicitation
  • Everything about what they would be giving points out for would be outlined in the bid; outline how points would be accumulated
  • Same protest rights; all the same process
  • Difference – when committing to just a low bidder, there is motivation to not produce a great product.  The motivation is to drive the price down and give you something that has to be bought again in a year or two
  • Best Value gives the ability to say that it is not always in the the best interest to buy the lowest price
  • In a lot of cases, it makes a lot of sense to pay a slightly higher price for a much better quality, better assurances, better work
  • Under State Finance Law, a very ridged vetting process is required – would have to show Law Dept. what was being used as criteria and would want to cap it
  • Not talking about giving up stability, rigidity of a public bid process, transparency, and not really about increasing any discretion other than it is important to get better value, etc.
  • There is potential for increased costs, but only in the context where they have identified value that they are getting for them – i.e. longevity in products
  • Making real investments in the stability of the organization
  • Knows that concerns are if giving up protections for the taxpayers that come with a public bidding process – this is a public bidding process – allows counting price and additional criteria
  • Not intended to use on every item

Mr. Jordan said a concern is when vendors give a low-ball bid to get the contract and then end up having a history of enabling litigation with the county.  The vendor says there are things that are extra and the County says that they aren’t extras.  Mr. Carroll said that the State legislation lays out a methodology for the bids.  They didn’t box the county into deciding priorities; they didn’t legislate a list of criteria that can be applied.  When the county has a problem with a vendor, with their delivery, with change notice percentages being very high, etc., the Purchasing Dept. tries to collect those complaints and documents them.  There would be a set of back up documentation.  Public works labor is specifically exempt from this law – cannot use best value to determine who would get a construction job.


Mr. May asked if the law requires that best value be a standardized set of criteria or is it something that has to be established with every bid.  Mr. Carroll explained that the law doesn’t legislate it specifically on each item.  The work load to establish criteria on every bid would be fairly cumbersome.  He is working on the mechanics of it with Law Department; haven’t gotten very far, as there is no authorization to use it yet.  One concept is the creation of a menu of things that would work, and how applied -- a set of 8 or 9 criteria in general, with ability to to apply 2 or 3 specifically.  The language would be standardized – picked up and put into a public bid.  A concept is to not let it become a runaway train – not looking to do 50% above the price in order to gain some additional values.  To have 4 or 5 possible criteria in the bid, they might cap how many points to accumulate in order to make sure it is regulated.  Mr. May said that he is hearing that the hope is to standardize the criteria and apply it to individual bids.  Mr. Carroll agreed.  If there is criteria that they get complaints about from vendors, having the flexibility to pull that criteria out and restructure it will be important.  Once settled, it is important that it appears the same way and the language is accessible to the vendors.  He feels some language will have to be vetted with the vendors so that it is understandable, and they don’t see concerns in participating.


Chairman Knapp suggested that this be structured similar to the venue contract report – have Mr. Carroll include an update monthly regarding the bids being done via the best value program for the first year or two.


        c.     Revenue Contract Report


TO:                   David Knapp, Chairman, Ways and Means

                         Committee Members, Ways and Means

FROM:             Sean Carroll, Director

DATE:              August 15, 2014 

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


The County wide vending RFP responses have been reviewed and questions have been sent back to all vendors to clarify their responses.


There are no other new updates for Revenue Contracts.


Mr. Carroll:

  • Vending - two vendors submitted proposals with some overlap
  • Has been a revenue contract with Coca Cola for the Parks Dept.
  • Clarifying Coca Cola’s  proposal and the other one to ensure some/all revenue remains exclusivity for the Parks Dept. is still maintained
  • Solicited Pepsi, RC, other manufacturer of soft drinks and did not receive responses
  • Coke is locally based

5.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution


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



        a.     Authorizing Burial Allowances for Eligible Recipients of Public Assistance or Care and Indigents, and Further Amending Resolution No. 124-1990, as Previously Amended


Chairman Knapp asked if Ms. Merrick or someone wanted to come to the table; there was no reply and no one came to the table.


Chairman Knapp said that there is a current situation which is incredibly bureaucratic, 25 years old, really doesn’t cover a lot of needs today.  On the county side, we are forcing people to be buried, not necessarily where they want to be, and at the same time, are rapidly filling up the cemetery on Loomis Hill.  It will cost thousands of dollars to expand.  Once it is full, he would assume we would have to contract with outside private cemeteries.

On the other side, there are local, small business people who have not seen any changes in reimbursement for many, many years.  They have been working for several years to get some type of resolution and haven’t had any luck.


Chairman Knapp said that it seems that the goal posts keep on moving on both sides of the field.  It has been incredibly frustration.  He had really hoped to vote on this resolution today, but the goal posts moved again - seeming that there isn’t support for it from the Funeral Directors Association.


Chairman McMahon thanked Chairman Knapp for being willing to sit down with both sides of this issue; understanding the concerns of both side, and trying to address them in a fair and reasonable manner.  He is also extremely frustrated with what has happened.  He understands the frustration from the funeral directors’ side of things.  This has been going on for years.  In their opinion, there has been conversation and representation that this would be addressed.  He understands from the administrative side, that this is a tough issue to address.  Going forward – the legislature knows what the challenges are and will come up with a policy, which is our job and no one else’s, that will address the challenges.  “At the end of the day, if both sides are a little bit mad about the policy, then we probably did a good job.”


Chairman McMahon said that if the legislature choses to advance something that increases the costs outside of the budget, it would require an executive initiative.  The County Executive has said that she does not favor supplementation.  Chairman Knapp had a proposal, which many legislators were considering, and apparently this morning it was not a consensus-driven resolution.  Yesterday, for the record, the legislature had an analysis that says it would not increase costs.  He doesn’t care what the other analysis said – feels an analysis was done to back fill the executive’s position on this.  It is the opinion of the legislature, that this would not increase costs and does not require an executive initiative, so it can move forward.  Chairman Knapp has spent hours on this; many people have; it is time to get some middle ground; it is time to move on this.  If it does increase costs, and there isn’t an executive initiative, then the legislature can do it in the budget process – would have to find the money and move it around. 


Chairman Knapp said that he isn’t calling for a vote on this today; it is considered.  He hopes to have something for the September session.  It seems like it is one step forward and two steps back.  He said, for the record, that he is “incredibly disappointed that no one was sitting in this chair” (at the table).


Mr. Holmquist thanked Mr. Knapp for his efforts, knowing that it has been a challenge.  He was involved in it early on, and hasn’t been involved lately.  He knows there has been a lot of discussion and doesn’t know the specifics lately.  He questioned why no one was sitting in the chair and who should be in it.  Chairman Knapp said that at this point, he would take most anybody, but is not going to open the door.  He said that he will move on but is incredibly, absolutely disappointed.  He has reached out trying to get a consensus; it has been thrown back in his face and it is incredibly disrespectful.


Mr. Jordan asked if this isn’t being voted on because of the disagreement of whether it will increase costs or not.  Chairman Knapp said that it isn’t being voted on.  Mr. Holmquist said that the resolution has been considered, so there are 2-3 weeks before the next session.  He said that he needs to know who should be sitting in the chair; who specifically is disrespecting the county legislature.  Chairman McMahon said that there is plenty of fault to go around.  Mr. Holmquist said that the fact there is no one sitting in the chair, means that the goal posts will move a whole lot closer to here than over there.  Chairman Knapp said that this does not affect his feeling that we need to come up with a balanced approach that isn’t going to bust the budget and will solve the problems. 



              a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency – Steven R. Morgan (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Chairman McMahon:

  • Mr. Morgan is a small business owner and will be fantastic addition with that experience
  • Dr. DeSiato, Superintendent of ESM, has served for 5 years – She is torn in many directions; has the utmost respect for her
  • Dr. DeSiato would like to step back at this time, but may like to serve again in the future – he thanked her for her service


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


8.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Reimburse Municipalities that Plowed Onondaga County Roads During the Winter of 2013-2014 Based on New York State’s Winter Severity Index ($369,001)

        b.     Amending the 2014 Onondaga County Budget to Accept Additional Revenue for Plowing State Roads During the Winter of 2013-2014, and Authorizing the County Executive to Amend Onondaga County’s Contract with New York State for Such Period ($603,067)


Mr. Donnelly discussed items 8a and 8b together:

  • County plows 230 miles of State roads, per contract
  • State determines a severity factor based on the average number of miles driven in the course of plowing operation vs. the actual miles driven
  • State determined the severity factor with 33.3% - an additional $603,000 in revenue of the county
  • Item 8a - Accepting funding--distributed to 3 accounts:  1.  DOT overtime; 2.  Supplies (salt); 3.  Contractual expenses – pay for the towns agreement to plow county roads
  • Towns plow 316 miles of county roads
  • When the last contract was negotiated with towns and villages, a stipulation was put in that whatever the  severity percentage is that is given to the county by NYS DOT, it would be attributed to the towns and villages
  • Item 8b - releases the contingency funds – DOT budgets an average severity factor, 17%-18%; this is a higher percentage than budgeted and needs to release contingency money to pay towns and villages


Mr. Donnelly distributed the following:


2013 - 2014 Severity Payout to Towns and Villages

2013/14 Base Rate per Mile


2013/14 NYSDOT Severity Factor


Additional Revenue Per Mile


2013/14 Final Rate per Mile


County miles plowed by towns and



Total Town Severity


        2013 –


Revenue @





$6,732 Per Mile





 $         80,313

 $         26,744

 $           107,057



 $        202,701

 $        67,499

 $           270,200



 $        130,668

 $        43,512

 $           174,181



 $          52,442

 $        17,463

 $             69,906



 $          12,118

 $          4,035

 $             16,153



 $        133,496

 $        44,454

 $           177,950



 $          11,848

 $           3,945

 $             15,794



 $         171,935

 $         57,254

 $           229,190



 $         217,780

 $         72,521

 $           290,301



 $           80,649

 $         26,856

 $           107,506



 $         111,482

 $         37,123

 $           148,605



 $         150,864

 $         50,238

 $           201,102



 $           64,896

 $          21,611

 $             86,507



 $         125,686

 $          41,854

 $           167,540



 $           50,557

 $          16,836

 $             67,393



 $         102,663

 $          34,187

 $           136,850



 $           77,485

 $          25,803

 $           103,288



 $           86,775

 $          28,896

 $           115,672

Van Buren


 $         252,517

 $          84,088

 $           336,606

Village Of Minoa


 $              9,223

 $              3,071

 $             12,294

Village of North Syracuse


 $              3,366

 $              1,121

 $               4,487

Cayuga County


 $              2,491

 $                 829

 $               3,320




 $       2,131,957

 $          709,942

 $        2,841,899


Mr.  Holmquist asked if the percentages are all the same for the severity factors.  Mr. Donnelly said that it is the same across each NYS DOT region.  Region 3 includes 6 counties (Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland, Tompkins, and Madison Counties) all would have severity factor of 33.3%.  Each DOT region develops a severity factor on its own. 


Chairman Knapp said that this is good news for the towns, who also had a difficult winter.  It is also good for the county, because it will be getting more from the state than had budgeted for.  Mr. Donnelly said it was a good clause to put in the contract with the towns for 5 years – there were concerns on the towns’ part for a number of years for reimbursement for plowing.  This a great safeguard, in the event that there is a harsh winter, they will receive additional compensation.  All 19 towns participate, as well as 2 villages. 


Chairman Knapp asked about the process.  Mr. Donnelly said that with the normal snow plow contract 2 payments are made – normally January and May.  Usually the severity factor is determined earlier than it was this year.  After this is passed at session, vouchers will be sent to towns and villages for their second half payment and severity payment.  Once DOT receives the signed vouchers back, they will be forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Donnelly said that half of the $67.32/mile amount was made in January to each town.  The balance would normally be paid in May, but they knew that there was going to be severity factor and wanted to include it with the 2nd payment.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve item 8a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve item 8b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


9.     MISC.:

        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the 2015 County Budget


Mrs. Maturo said that that the hearing will be held October 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the chamber.


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


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mrs. Maturo indicated that the legislature sets the hearing, per the Charter.


b.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Release Contingency Funds for Distribution to the Village of Tully, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements ($35,000)  (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)


Chairman Knapp:

  • Contingency money in 2014 budget for the villages
  • Several proposals from the 5 independent villages have been submitted; Marcellus and East Syracuse have been approved; Skaneateles is in the hopper
  • This is for a park in the Village of Tully – currently all pavement, non-porous
  • Tully has its own sewer system, and has the same issues that the County does with flow during rain storms
  • Project will help capture the rain coming from the hills into the village
  • The state is also putting in some money for this project

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


        c.     Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Authorizing Various Construction and Improvements Related to the Western Onondaga Lake Revitalization Effort (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Chairman McMahon said that Mr. Holmquist sponsored a resolution last month calling for a public hearing on any bonding or spending in regards to near West Side/Onondaga Lake Revitalization Plan.  This resolution schedules that hearing and there will be a request to consider this in the budget.  The hearing will be October 1st and we are working on a location.


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


        d.       Amending the 2014 County Budget to Provide for the Appropriation of Fund Balance for Bargaining Unit Awards and Settlements Related to Personnel Matters ($3,026,465)


Mr. Morgan:

  • Appropriates fund balance to fund the recent award for OCSPA contract and a settlement award for various employees at Hillbrook
  • OCSPA award is 2.5% increase in 2012, 2.75% increase in 2013, and additional dollars for longevity
  • There is no way for the Sheriff’s Dept. to absorb these dollars; therefore requesting fund balance use
  • Trickle affect; - the current year adjustment relates to increased wages gone forward; a retro piece will b be pay in July of this year; going forward there is salary impact; will trickle into next year’s budget
  • OCSPA back at the table now for 2014

Chairman McMahon asked if 2.75% will be used in budgeting for 2015.  Mr. Morgan said that they are factoring in this award right now and have to decide if something else will be factored in for anything additional.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Morgan said that they are only budgeting what they are entitled to in the contract.


Mrs. Ervin question why this is two years’ behind and asked when we will be able to catch up.  Mr. Morgan said that there is a process for resolving the contract issues.  Chairman McMahon said that it is interest bearing arbitration – it give this unit an enormous advantage to stall away, have someone come in that hardly looks at a municipalities ability to pay.  Mr. Morgan said that this was an arbitrator’s award – panel award.


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


10.   LAW:  Kathy Dougherty, Senior Deputy County Attorney

        a.     Litigation Update


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Ms. Williams to enter into executive session for the purpose of discussing litigation strategy in the case Thoreck v. County of Onondaga.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May, to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.


Mr. Cuffy noted for the record that Kimberly Hurrell-Harring, et al, v. State of New York, et al, was also discussed during executive session.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:53 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Onondaga County Legislature





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