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Meeting Minutes

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Meeting Minutes

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

Deputy Clerk





MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Meyer, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Rapp

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.  Motions were made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTIONS CARRIED.


1.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update

Report from Commissioner

  • $3 million for suburban green infrastructure in sanitary districts, set aside by the 2011 Legislature
  • Funds will be used to reduce inflow and infiltration (I&I)
  • Grant applications due March 6th, mailed to all towns, villages, Mayors, Supervisors and Clerks located in the sanitary district


Mr. Meyer stated the sanitary districts and Onondaga Lake don’t overlap.  He asked if there was a priority.  Mr. Rhoads responded that most of the completed Save the Rain projects are located in the city sewer shed areas.  These projects are suburban green, to stop inflow and infiltration to ancillary parts of the sewer system.  In areas such as Cicero and Clay where they have considerable amounts of infiltration into the sewage treatment plants; green infrastructure that would help them to reduce storm water. 


Mr. Meyer stated that up to this point the programs have been CSO focused.  He asked if there was a scoring system based on where the inflow was going; were you more likely to receive a grant based on your location.  Mr. Rhoads responded the criteria will be the amount of I&I prevented from entering the sewer system for treatment. 


Mrs. Rapp stated that parking lots at Onondaga Lake would not have as much priority as something that is flowing into Ley Creek.  Mr. Rhoads stated that parking lots and streets may have manholes.  The manhole gets flooded and all the water enters the sanitary systems.  Rate payers in the sanitary district end up paying to treat the storm water. 


In answer to question Mr. Rhoads provided the following:

  • Each application must be approved by the legislature
  • Grant funds are for design and application
  • Application available on the website
  • $500,000 maximum single project assistance, could be some local match; nothing has been established waiting to see the applications, if there are local or state matches grant would be more competitive


Mr. Rhoads asked the members to remind supervisors and town engineers of this great opportunity. 


Mrs. Rapp asked if there could be a rain barrel program in the village of North Syracuse or Liverpool.  Mr. Rhoads responded if a municipality wanted to conduct the program within a sanitary district, this was the only type of private property program that they would do. 


In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads responded the grant pertains to I&I that would be going to the sanitary sewer system, not just Metro and Onondaga Lake.  Any project within the district can apply.  It will be based on cost effectiveness determined by the amount of County money required.  If they are able to use other funds as well, it would improve their cost efficiency. 


Mrs. Rapp added that the amount of water captured is included in the scoring, as well as the costs.  Mr. Rhoads responded that they have tried to use the dollar per gallon capture metrics; this will be the most important thing. 


Mr. Rhoads continued:

  • Grey projects required by ACJ are progressing nicely due to extended construction season
  • Number of green projects lined up for 2012
  • Media update contains blog from new person in Onondaga County and letter to the editor from Patrick Coyne



        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Michael Plochocki)


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve this item.  Ayes: 4 (Rapp, Tassone, Meyer, Williams) Noes: 0  Abstaining: 1 (Plochocki).  MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (Wayne Norris)


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


4.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovative Grants Program and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($472,000)


  • Applied for grant with New York State Environmental Facilities Corp.; part of their green initiatives grant program
  • Funds used for Route 690 down spouts; currently storm water and snow melt goes down the spouts and eventually into the sewer system
  • $.90 per dollar state money for design and construction; project not designed as of this time
  • For areas related to ACJ compliance; not the entire length of 690
  • Down spouts would be disconnected and going into green areas; not sure of the capture methods, perhaps bioswales or rain garden


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


In response to In answer to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Rhoads stated they had requested $525,000 and are receiving $472,000.  It is a 90/10 grant. 


Mr. Meyer questioned how the amount was determined, if they are not sure what they are going to be doing.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he believes they had conceptual ideas of what they would be doing.  The down spots have been on the books since long before he arrived.  The application was made because these projects will have a good storm water capture value.  It received a competitive award from the state.  


Mr. Meyer stated this project appears to overlap the GIF area.  Mr. Rhoads agreed that it does to a certain extent.  Mr. Meyer asked if this was going to be a onetime project.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it is still to be developed and designed. 


Mr. Meyer requested they come back with more information.  Mr. Rhoads responded that all green projects come back in the monthly report.  They will continue to provide progress reports on this and all green projects. 


Mr. Meyer asked who owns the land with these projects.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it will primarily be municipal property, either the state or the city.  


Mr. Meyer asked if there would be an intermunicipal agreement for this project.  Ms. Tarolli responded that it will depend on what the project consists of.  They have attorneys that work with WEP that will go through everything.  Mr. Rhoads added that they will have to acquire the right of way and obtain permits to work on state property.  Mr. Meyer stated they would have to get permits from the state for everything.   Mr. Rhoads responded that it would depend on who owns the property.  The down spouts would be state property but where the water exits to could be state, city or both.


Mr. Meyer requested with the concurrence of the Chair that Mr. Rhoads come back next month with more details.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he would come back with more details if he had them.  This is a design that has been on the books conceptually.  The design has yet to be created; will be implemented sometime this year. 


Seconded by Mrs. Rapp.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Plochocki stated he and a number of legislators discussed the amount of vacant city properties.  Many things are being considered for the properties, including the proposed land bank.  It was suggested that there might be properties that should be leveled to create more green space, specifically for water absorption, not for the purpose of parks.  He asked Mr. Rhoads to report back to the committee with any data or suggestions that they might have.  Mr. Rhoads responded that this has been considered for awhile, though he is not sure where they are in the process.  He believes they will be able to provide more information. 


Mr. Meyer added that the Commissioner is new but Mr. Millea, the Law department and a number of other people have been working on this for months.  Mrs. Rapp stated this was Mr. Meyer’s idea months ago.  Adding that it just seems so right, we don’t want to redevelop everything.  


Mr. Meyer stated there are a number of parks and communities in the city where having more frontages would greatly enhance the value of their property.  It would allow for increased parking opportunities, increased public safety as more vehicles would be off the road and increased pedestrian safety.  There are so many multipliers that you could go on and on with benefits.  Mrs. Rapp stated the amount of water absorbed just adds to this. 


Mr. Rhoads stated that we need to understand, there is also the neighborhood planning and development issues that go along with this.  We need to consider the best way to manage these properties and the best use to improve the neighborhood.  If you create a park there is also maintenance responsibilities to consider.  We will need to work with the City and their desires.  They have approached these items and are making progress on them.  He will update the committee further in the future.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *




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

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. McMahon, see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget and Authorizing the County to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $4,617,000 and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements for the Fremont Road Bridge Over the CSX Railroad, C.R. No. 136, C - 906, BIN 3358210, PIN 3754.78 ($4,617,000)


  • Federal aid – rehabilitation of Fremont Road Bridge; construction – payment:  80% federal, 15% state, 5% local
  • Required resolution guaranteeing upfront payment – pay in first instance for cost of project and be reimbursed
  • 5% local - $243,000; secured and bonded in highway work plan of 2011
  • Reimbursement approximately 90 days after submitted; historically used to pay up front but violations of rules and regulations – federal government didn’t get paid; now all expenses are proper and reimbursement is after review
  • 2 season project; bridge is 800 ft long, 6 spans; 12,000 cars a day drive on it; 3 day closure for one pour on deck
  • Had public meetings and met with officials from the Town of Manlius and Village of Minoa; familiar with project


Mr. Ryan asked for the record if there is a possibility of preference to local workers.  Mr. Ryan is hopeful that the $243,000 in County share on this project can go to a contractor within Onondaga County who will use local workers.  Sometimes contractors are out of state or in other areas.  What can the County do to protect this?  Mr. Donnelly responded he will check into it, and ask Mrs. Tarolli.  Mr. Donnelly continued that with federal funding he is not sure if the County can preclude a bidder.  Ultimately the bidder would have to be approved by NYSDOT, and it would have to be the lowest responding bidder to be considered.  Mr. Donnelly replied to Mr. Ryan that he will check with NYSDOT’s rules and regulations concerning expenditure of federal money.  Mrs. Tarolli responded the County is typically not allowed to refer a vendor.  There have been recent changes to general municipal law, but she is certain this has not changed.  Mrs. Tarolli stated she will check into it.


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

2.     PARKS AND RECREATION:  William Lansley, Commissioner; Nathanial Stevens, Administrator

        a.     Memorializing the New York State Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property at Onondaga Lake Park to the Onondaga Yacht Club for a Period up to Twenty-Five Years

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with the Onondaga Yacht Club for Property Located within Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five Years


  • Leases in Onondaga Lake Park – properties in existence over 100 years; time to put in lease for operation
  • Memorializing and authorization – has to go to the State Legislature; Home Rule
  • Yacht Club - 125th year in Onondaga Lake Park; stilted building in the lake with a ramp; in 1930’s the level of Lake was lowered; put building on State land; reverted to County for parks so Yacht Club building is on County property
  • 2 acres of property - run sailing club; small sailing boats up to 25’; marina next door different operation; Yacht Club installed lift which is used publicly to lift boats into the lake from trailers
  • Renting 13 slips at full rate and Yacht Club has a rescue boat; involved in community activities - public sailing
  • No space at Onondaga Lake Park – Yacht Club opens venue to rent to public; good working relationship
  • $50,000 investment in upkeep over past several years
  • 25 year lease – came late last year; added a 5 year opener to ensure a good working relationship
  • $1,800/year with increase of $50/year; had an appraisal done last year; County certified appraiser; looked at property value, tax website for County - average acreage between $20,000 – $30,000; market - $400; $1,800 plus is fair deal
  • Budget $0 – no investment in Yacht Club operation or property (i.e. parking); County only cuts grass; no added cost


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


        c.     Memorializing the New York State Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property Located at Onondaga Lake Park to Syracuse University for a Period up to Twenty-Five Years

        d.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with Syracuse University for the Boathouse Property at Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five Years


  • Spectacular partners; keep property in impeccable condition; they will maintain building inside and utilities
  • Repointing brick to be done; new roof; remodeled in 1987; garage doors will need maintenance soon
  • Great deal of good will; had regatta’s for economic impact; keep that end of Lake beautiful and accessible
  • Operate buildings; work with Chargers - non-fee program for City/County high school groups to experience rowing
  • Lease used same assessor of Yacht Club – looked at property; 2 ½ acres
  • Looking for 25 year lease with 5 year opener – $12,000 with a 5% escalator every year


A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve items c and d.


Chair Tassone commented it is nice to have someone living at the end of the lake where there have been attacks on women.  It gives people a place to go if they are in trouble.


Mr. Lansley commented the building was constructed with 1/3 County money and 2/3 Syracuse University money.  In 1987 it was the same split of investment, and SU is willing to take on additional costs now.


Mrs. Tassone stated the committee will vote on the items, but the items will be sent to Ways and Means.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Vice Chair Dougherty called the meeting to order at 12:04 p.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded Mr. Ryan to waive the reading of the minutes of proceedings from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve the minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     FIRE ADVISORY BOARD:  Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Fire Advisory Board (John Linnertz)


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


2.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Position of Deputy Coordinator and Authorizing Reimbursement for Expenses Incurred in the Performance of their Duties


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


        b.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from the New York State Emergency Response Commission for Use by the Onondaga County Local Emergency Planning Committees ($4,585.86)


  • Funds used to enhance planning
  • Review of SARA Title 2 report forms for industrial facilities; update plans, prepare for emergency response


In answer to Vice Chair Dougherty, Mr. Wisely stated this is not a specific line item.  The funds go into Emergency Management in support of the review.  It is part of the State of New York grant program to support local training committees which they facilitate; used for analysis and planning purposes.


Mr. May asked the percentage of time or resources applied to this process.  Mr. Wisely responded that they receive reports from commercial industrial facilities throughout the year as part of the Title III reporting.  As the reports are received they are analyzed making sure they still fit within the guidelines and timeframe; not a large percentage of time applied to this.  It also supports the Disaster Planning Committee that meets monthly; brings in partnering agencies throughout the County and City to discuss hazard response planning and the like.


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


3.     SHERIFF:  John Balloni, Chief

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into an Agreement with Oneida County for Security Services at the Central New York Psychiatric Center Forensic Unit


  • Renewal of contract, pay Oneida County Deputy’s to provide security services to Onondaga County inmates housed at Central New York Psychiatric Center
  • Less expensive than County personnel


Mrs. Tassone questioned why the service would not have to be provided by the facility.  Chief Balloni responded that they are our prisoners.  When they go to a hospital we send Deputy’s with them.  Once they are in our custody they remain as such unless they are transferred. 


Vice Chair Dougherty asked if all counties paid the same rate.  Chief Balloni responded that he would guess that Oneida County has an established rate passed by legislation, as we do.  He would imagine that this is standard procedure across the state. 


Vice Chair Dougherty asked who owned the facility.  Chief Balloni responded that we are contracting with Oneida County.  He does not know who owns the facility.  Mr. Ryan added that he believes it is a state facility. 


In response to Vice Chair Dougherty, Chief Balloni responded that was planned for within the budget.  Unless there are major swings within the number of people, it is all within the budget.  This is not unusual just a continuation.  They can’t say how many patients would be going there over the year but want to have everything in place for patients currently there and any that may go there in the future. 


Mrs. Tassone asked if the price of $165 per inmate, per day, had increased.  Chief Balloni responded that it was $140.  He suspects that they are facing the same thing that we are, cost for providing the service have increased.  He confirmed this is a two year agreement.   


Mrs. Tassone asked if the price was increased at the last renewal also.  Chief Balloni responded he would suspect that it did.  The figures are based on the costs of providing the service; have to look at the cost of personnel and benefits.


Mrs. Tassone asked who negotiated the rate increase.  Chief Balloni responded that he believes Oneida sets a price and we determine if we want to take advantage of it; not really a negotiated one on one agreement.  They take prisoners from all over the state.  We either pay the fee or provide our own service.  Mrs. Tassone added this is expensive.


Mr. Ryan asked what the plan would be if this becomes non cost-effective.  Chief Balloni responded that we could look at providing the service.  However we would be paying for travel time, length of time worked, and would need multiple shifts.  It would be a tremendous cost for us to provide this service.  Mr. May added that this seems like a pretty good deal to him.  Chief Balloni agreed saying he has not thought of contingencies as the price would have to be really ridiculous for us to be able to afford to send our own staff.


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


        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Agreements with Various Government Agencies to Provide Helicopter Services


  • Initiative taken at urging of the Legislature, avoid subsidizing services provided to other counties
  • Several counties have responded
  • Want to create standard contract
  • Contract not providing anything new; if available, in service and the closest will provide services
  • Calls from 2005 – 2010 averaged for cost per County; don’t want to bill on per trip basis for those regularly serviced
  • Contract funds budgeted to cover operating costs for services
  • Oswego County passed resolution requesting same service



Average Annual # Police & Rescue Calls

Average Annual # of Flight Hrs. for Police & Rescue Calls

Anticipated 2012 Cost Assuming Same Average Flight Hours

Amount Already Committed to Be Paid in 2012




$ 4,775

$ 5,000




$    347





$ 3,038





$        0





$ 2,381





$        0





$ 3,944





$    868





$    347





$ 8,966

$ 10,000




$    409


St. Lawrence



$    459





$ 1,885





$ 27, 419

$ 15,000


Vice Chair Dougherty questioned how multiple calls with contracts would be handled.  Chief Balloni responded that they would be handled in the same manner currently in place.  If we are out on a call, we are not available.  Their fist concern is Onondaga County, where they spend 98% of their time and will continue to do so.  What has been a source of friction is providing these services to other counties without compensation.  We looked at what this is costing us, reached out to these counties and have received positive response to the outreach.  They want to see service kept.


In answer to Vice Chair Dougherty, Chief Balloni supplied the following:

  • Cayuga County has been sending $5,000 per year without contract for a number of years
  • Average cost don’t include medical, will begin billing for medical
  • Cortland is looking at appropriating funds


Chief Balloni reiterated they would like to have one standard contract for negotiations.  Vice Chair Dougherty asked if he had a copy of the contract.  The Chief replied that they haven’t completed the contract.  They know all the principals.


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Balloni stated they had not heard from several of the counties they had reached out to.  If they are a once a year type of county, it may be easier to send them a bill for any service using their Part 135 status.  For budgetary purposes, it makes since to enter into contract with counties we service on a regular basis; covering our costs up front. 


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Balloni stated they had heard back from Cayuga, Oswego and Cortland County’s.  Several counties had requested additional information, such as the number of times responding.  This type of information being provided indicates they are looking at it.


Mr. May stated he supports Air One and believes it is a valuable service.  He is thrilled with the data being provided, the direction and progress being made.  With that said, he wants to clarify some things.  If you look at the numbers $1,240 per hour is the cost to provide the service.  He asked for confirmation that the cost is all inclusive to the operating expenses; incorporating everything from depreciation to employee benefit costs.  Chief Balloni responded that they tried to be as inclusive as possible.  Everything they could think of was applied, though he does not know that they considered the actual cost of the helicopter.  Mr. Schuster stated they did not consider the actual cost of the helicopter but all overhaul costs are included.  


Mr. May questioned why the cost of the helicopter would not be included.  Mr. Schuster responded that it will not be replaced if you do the recommended overhauls on a timely basis.  Mr. May asked if we were depreciating it now.  Chief Balloni stated we were not, adding that we don’t get any tax benefit from depreciation.  Part of the reason is that helicopters from the 1950’s are still flying and save to operate.  With required maintenance, you are continually rebuilding sections of the helicopter.  For this reason, it really doesn’t have a life expectancy.  The cost of the ship was considered a sunk cost, paid for long ago and not part of the inclusive cost per hour. 


Mr. May stated his next point of clarity was an example that was cited at the last meeting, “one long flight to Oswego County could eat up the $10,000”.  He agrees that we need to lock down as many agreements as possible, allowing the defensible position for the Sheriff’s office in terms of operation.  However, down the road he would like to see a functioning escrow account where we draw for usage by county.  He suggested that they bill for one time trips, whether we recover or not is a different story.  Chief Balloni added that they won’t recover from every medical bill. 


Mr. May stated if we establish the bar in a good position from the start and keep raising the bar, it will leave the department in a good defensible position for the overall expense.  He has seen Air One in operation and believes in what they do.  However, we have to do as much as we can to make sure that we are doing the right things going forward.


Chief Balloni pointed out that they looked at 5 years for averages.  For budget and political purposes they believe that putting money directly into the budget, up front, from outside counties, tells people that we heard and listened to what the Legislature was telling us.  This can always be reassessed. 


Mr. May questioned how valid the numbers were, as accidents happen and you can’t predict when, where and how.  Chief Balloni responded that if you look at the record of trips you can see there are anomalies in the record.  He feels that by taking accurate information from all the counties they serve, over time it will track correctly.  He believes they are in good shape but can always revise them if something wasn’t accounted for or increased service.  Sometime people feel that they are paying for a service and might call more often, can’t anticipate this but, they are only available when they are available. 


Mr. Ryan stated he feels we are moving in the right directions but would not say we are in good shape.  Cortland, Madison and Wayne County’s aren’t committed to paying anything.  The calls on the graph do not include medical, so there will be more costs for which they are not paying.  Chief Balloni responded that they are in the process of setting up billing for medical flights.  They have the authorization from the FAA, which was the largest hurdle.  Reimbursement for medical flights is higher than actual costs; collecting 50% of medical costs would result in a profit.  He is not worried about the medical flights, certain they will more than pay for themselves. 


Mr. Ryan stated he hopes we can get to an escrow account sooner, rather than later.  Some county’s haven’t committed to paying any money in 2012 and haven’t paid any money for the past five years.  Onondaga County is getting shortchanged.  Everyone wants to keep Air One flying but as an Onondaga County Legislator he cannot, in good faith, continue to see us shortchanged.  Chief Balloni responded that part of the reason they are here bringing the contracts forward, is to show their good faith.  They are working in to bring these things forward.  This is just one more step in the process. 


Vice Chair Dougherty stated he would hold off voting on this item until a copy of the contract was available for review.  There are sufficient concern and questions.  Chief Balloni responded that Oswego County is waiting for us to act before sending their check.  They have been 2 months going through the committee process.  He asked that the item be listed on the session agenda, as long as a copy of the contract was provided prior to session. 


Vice Chair Dougherty asked if this would allow enough time for a legal review.  Ms. Tarolli responded that there was already a contact.  Chief Balloni added that it was their wording and the Law department has been reviewing it.  He believes they will be able to provide a copy of the contact shortly.


        c.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with Various Towns within the County for the Provision of Enhanced Police Services by the Sheriff’s Office


  • Periodically asked by towns to provide enhanced police services, towns pay for the services
  • Renewed annually after Sheriff determines the costs, calculate cost of vehicle, personnel, and benefits
  • Individual agreement with each town
  • Approval of set cost allows contracts to be created as needed throughout year, avoiding 2 month committee process
  • $66.95 hourly rate of pay


In answer to Mr. Ryan, Captain Rinella provided an example from the Town of Salina:

  • Contract for $26,000
  • Parks checked on weekend evenings due to vandalism, enhanced traffic enforcement certain times of the day, additional patrols for Halloween
  • Sheriff dedicated a car for this service, once the $26,000 is used up the contract goes away


In answer to Vice Chair Dougherty, Chief Balloni responded they are looking to set up an annual rate for enhanced services.  If anyone requests enhanced services the Sheriff department could enter into contracts without coming back through the committee process for individual contracts.


Vice Chair Dougherty asked if any towns were currently interested in enhanced services.  Chief Balloni responded this is what prompted them to bring this forward.  They have ongoing and renewed contracts.  While they are in the process of renewing contracts, they would like to clean this up, setting the rate for renewals and enabling them to process any new ones as they come along.  They can only provide what they have resources for.  If they are unavailable to meet the needs, the service will not be provided. 


Vice Chair Dougherty stated he was concerned with the blanket approval.  He understands their burden in the process but it puts the Legislature in control of the budget and the contracts that they are entering into.  Chief Balloni responded that he understands the concern and can commit on behalf of the Sheriff, that if there was anything major, it would have to come before the Legislature.  They would need resources to meet any major need.  If someone came to them wanting to consolidate police services; this would not be the way it is handled.  This is routine, minor need items with hourly rates as established by the Legislature. 


In answer to Vice Chair Dougherty, Ms. Tarolli responded that terms could be defined and added to the resolution.  The terms could be as specific or as general as you want, such as hourly rate, number of hours, entities; as many terms as desire.  Chief Balloni added a limit could be added so that anything major would result in them having to come back to the Legislature.  Presenting every single incident; seems like a waste of time, for a number of people.  They are talking about very minor contracts.  We know the costs of the services.  It is presented to the committee, voted on the following month and then we start the process where it goes through their attorneys and ours.  Adding that after the park season is over, we can agree to patrolling their parks, this is the reality of the process. 


Vice Chair Dougherty requested that an hourly rate be defined and wording listing a maximum by which the Sheriff could enter into contracts be included in the resolution.  For anything above the maximum, the Sheriff would report back to the Legislature.  Ms. Tarolli responded that they could specify the contract terms.


Mr. May commented that the hourly rate needs to keep up with actual cost.  He asked what concerns they had beyond that.  Vice Chair Dougherty responded that we are responsible for the Sheriff’s budget.  If they are entering into agreements, we would like to know about it.   Mr. May added that these may or may not be budgeted.  The Vice Chair agreed, adding that it would be hard to close the gate afterwards.  Chief Balloni stated they are not looking for blanket authority to do their own contracts.  They are just trying to take something that is burdensome in process and make it easy. 


Vice Chair Dougherty stated that they would not be taking a vote on this item.  He asked that the Sheriff’s department and Law get together to work out an agreement.  Chief Balloni added that the item had been discussed and could be brought to session if the Legislature was satisfied with the terms.


        d.     Overtime Overview


  • Report completed in answer to questions from committee
  • Staff appropriately placed on 3 shifts, per percentages fairly even
  • 3 shift operation in effect; nighttime overtime hardest to fill; try to minimize in custody setting
  • Bulk of staffing required during the day, going to appointments, lawyers coming in; takes less people to watch those sleeping than those moving about
  • At minimum staffing levels set by New York State Commission of Corrections
  • Cheaper to pay overtime than hire additional staff
  • Point comes when staff is burned out costing additional money, trying to walk the line between cost effectiveness and mandatory overtime hours; will likely ask for additional custody staffing at budget; will reduce some overtime hours not necessarily overall costs


In answer to questions Chief Balloni provided the following information:

  • Number of tasks cause overtime, 1 of the main tasks is constant watch for persons deemed suicide risk by Mental Health personnel
  • Person must be able to respond and stop an action, Custody Deputy’s have exclusive right to watch prisoners; exclusivity biggest hurdle
  • Looking at possibility of building semi circle glass cells or dormitory style, 1 deputy watching more prisoners
  • Costly problem needs to be addressed, no easy answer, will require spending money upfront, hopefully resulting in long term savings to pay for it; talked with state and County Executive’s office, answers not as easy as they would like; will be bringing to the Legislature in the future
  • Considered on call retiree, must get approval from the union, becomes another issue
  • County contracts with CMC for Mental Health services; assessments error on the side of safety


Vice Chair Dougherty asked the Law department to provide a copy of the state law requiring constant watch.  He would like to review it to be sure that everyone is interpreting it correctly and to see if anything could be done to relieve some of the pressure at the state level.   Chief Balloni believes that Eileen Perry may already be working on answering some of these same questions.   


Mr. Ryan asked the number of rank and file verses management on the custody side.  Chief Balloni responded that he would provide the breakdown; sergeants and lieutenants are also deputies. 


Vice Chair Dougherty asked if there was any reason to believe that 2012 would be any better or worse than normal.  Chief Balloni responded that jail population continues to increase.  There is no indication that it will turn the other way.  They have been trending this in anticipation of critical mass and have discussed it with the County Executive’s office.  Critical mass is coming, the population escalates to a certain point and the County Legislature makes decisions or the State comes in and makes them for us.  We would rather make our own decisions.  They are continually watching this and have charts they would be happy to share.


The meeting was adjourned at 1:01 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *




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

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Meyer and see attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:29 a.m.  Motions were made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Knapp to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTIONS CARRIED.


1.     ONCENTERTerri Toennies, President and CEO; Peter Casper, Chief Financial Officer

        a.     2011 Year End Review


Chair Rapp asked Ms. Toennies to update the committee noting that there were all kinds of disappointing headlines last May and it was nice to have some good news.  


Ms. Toennies:

  • Oncenter Management Corp has agreement with County to manage the War Memorial, Civic Center and Oncenter Convention Center; includes operation, sales, services, everything except for engineering and mechanics which is handled by the County, work in partnership with County for building maintenance
  • Management agreement up for negotiation at the end of 2012, usually a 5 year contract; currently in negotiations, committee considering outside management companies


Ms. Toennies reviewed the following information sent to members prior to committee:



  • Oncenter Management corporation- what it is and what it does
  • Why did we need an additional 1.8 million last year?
    • Weakness of The Oncenter Balance Sheet
    • USBC put us in an operating deficit due to no revenues being generated over a six week load in period and a four week load out period.
    • 2011 subsidy $700,000 less than years past

Ms. Toennies:

  • $1.2 of the requested $1.8 million used to clear up balance sheet
  • No room rental for 6 months due to USBC, very common; generated $35 million into the County and City, displaced $700,000 in business
  • Budget for 2011 submitted in July of 2010, their business is 18 month and in business, difficult to forecast budget
  • Books are now cleaned up and where they should be
  • Changes in Revenue stream 3rd & 4th quarter
  • The direction of concerts and event bookings has changed significantly as this department has much more flexibility than in the past to negotiate co promotes and four walls with national, Regional and local promoters.  The loss of the Symphony for the third and fourth quarter actually resulted in the ability to book profitable events into the Crouse Hinds theater.  Additional ticketing information to be shared later in this presentation
  • Stable and experienced Executive Management team, new hires now at Oncenter one to two years. CEO and CFO three years


Ms. Toennies:

  • War Memorial completed upgrades, great place for concerts, no bad seats, midsized market 6,500 seats, major name required for 10,000 seat venues, not many names available
  • Came on board in 2009; things were being done the same way since 1992
  • Majority of Executive Management Team changed, Executive Chef from 1995 remains; most are from or returned to Syracuse
  • First year transition, learning where they were going, getting process and procedures in place


Oncenter Business

 Our business consists of solicitation, booking and production of the following:


Ticketed Concerts and Events

Sporting Events (Crunch and Silver Knights tenants)

Convention Group Business

Local corporation day time meetings, banquet functions

County meetings and events

Trade shows

Social/local events including non for profit/fundraising events

Managing Veterans relations in conjunction with the Memorial Hall, the Honor Wall and other aspects of the War Memorial


Ms. Toennies:

  • Silver Knights new this year, 3 year lease
  • Need to increase convention business
  • Can accommodate social/local events over 400, Holiday Inn, Liverpool only other location in Onondaga County


Organizational Chart (Attachment No. 1)


Executive Team Accomplishments 2011


Box Office

  • Continued to work with Venue Coalition, a California based booking agency representing 50 mid size to large concert/sports arenas across the United States.  This alliance has allowed the Oncenter to bring shows like Dane Cook, Jeff Dunham, Pretty Lights, DJ Tiesto, and Batman Live to the Oncenter.  Weekly conference calls with all fifty of the arena booking managers on the call allow for a sharing of ideas, routing of talent and necessary networking in a relationship driven business.
  • Completed successful 32 show Lion King in the Civic Center Theater
  • Instrumental in contracting three year lease with Silver Knights Indoor Soccer team, at 12 regular games per season.
  • With the loss of Sporthorse and Symphony from the budget, still exceeded forecast by $600,000  in revenues
  • Extremely successful third and fourth quarter with highly profitable four wall and co promote events


  • Designated and orchestrated a 20 hour a day, seven day a week, 88 day tournament over United Bowling Congress.  Included servicing 35,000 bowlers from around the Country.  $350,000 in revenues
  • Increased previous year concession sales on concerts at $8.50 to $9.50 per head
  • Furthur concert- $77,000 in concession sales, $12.50 per head
  • Lion King at Civic Center Theater- four week theater run with $103,000 in concession sales in 32 shows
  • Crunch opening day $35,000 revenue, $8.60 per head, up over 2010
  • Crunch average per head this season, $6.92 vs $5.91 in 2010-2011 season.  With $1.00 per head increase this season projecting $100,000 more in additional Crunch gross revenue over last year
  • Reduced departmental costs
  • Revamped menu mix and pricing
  • Restructured the department –two former Union hourly employees now ten month supervisory positions
  • Eliminated many one sided “deals” with Crunch sponsorships

Catering/Convention Sales

  • 2011 definite bookings  769 versus 2010 definite bookings 642
  • The USBC event displaced a significant amount of annual banquet business ($750,000) and we lost Sporthorse that was in the original budget at $250,000.  Despite these revenue challenges, the team missed the budget by $153,831, with aggressive sales outside of the USBC tournament
  • Added a National representative in Washington DC, joining 60+ other cities with representation in this large Association market.  Position is a direct report to the CVB
  • Realigned sales team to solicit convention business not in CVB’s database concentrating on mid West Association market.  Early positive results end of 2011
  • Implemented new policies, procedures and p & l measurements for all banquet food and beverage functions
  • Labor controls for front and back of the house scheduled on weekly basis with ongoing analysis of actuals versus forecast
  • Client evaluation system with thank you letter process implemented
  • Formal Banquet server training


  • Decreased overhead by three senior level operational management positions
  • Negotiated new Operating Engineers Union contract reducing guaranteed 40 hour work weeks for full time employees
  • Updated signage throughout the venue
  • Continue to work with County facilities management team on new and existing projects throughout the facility

Financial Department

Policy, Procedure and Processes implementation throughout Oncenter venues


Ms. Toennies stated that Mr. Antonacci can confirm their financial team is solid.  These systems were not in place prior to 2009. 


Mr. Casper:

  • Came on board in July of 2009, was the 7th or 8th Comptroller in two year period, Financial department never had stability
  • Basic fundamentals put in place, know profitability, controls on cash, billing, purchasing and procurement policies
  • Balance Sheet Trend (See Attachment No. 2), past 2 years clean audits no major material write-ups, many material items were documented in prior audits, $.5 million short fall for 2004 & 2005, increased ROT in 2006 by $.5 million, by 2008 $.5 million short in cash, 2009 down another $1.4 million requested subsidy of $1.5 million, 2010 whole management team in place can see the improvements, 2011 shows strength of balance sheet
  • Currently in cash positions, all reserves are funded; note cash reserves were previously used for operating capital
  • Trend Income Statement (See Attachment No. 3), (Deficiency) Excess from Operations = subsidy, with implement of controls down to $1.6 million, believe it can be lowered further between $1.3 - $1.1 million


Chair Rapp stated from the time the Oncenter was built, it was meant to be subsidized.  It was never meant to breakeven.  Mr. Casper added that they are working to keep the subsidy as low as possible.  You can see that they have pushed the number down in 2011.  Based on an audit completed by the County Comptroller’s department there have been a number of modifications to the management agreement.  Expenses were being absorbed by the Oncenter that shouldn’t have been.  They have been transitioned out, with ROT adjusted accordingly.  He believes the subsidy can be lowered through the use of facility fees.  Currently the facility fees charged are restricted for capital improvements.  Typically facility fees are also used for working capital.  $250,000 generated in facility fees, could push the ROT subsidy lower if it wasn’t restricted. 

Chair Rapp stated this was a function of this Legislature, they instituted the facility fee.  Ms. Toennies added it was initiated in September of 2009 and is in full swing as of this year. (See Attachment No. 5)  Agreement was made that fees would be used at the area collected.  $182,000 has been used to take care of facility items, things they would not have been able to do without theses fees. 

Mr. Liedka stated he understood the nature of the business and the fact that concession food has a longer preservation than banquet items which require a lot of fresh food.  He asked if there were any controls in place to measure food costs.  Mr. Casper responded absolutely, policies have been put into place.  They are running 18 to 20% for concessions previously running 28 to 30%; Mr. Liedka stated 18% was exceptional, hotel standards are in the high 20’s to low 30’s. 

Mr. Casper stated beverage was between 24 and 26%, now 20 to 21%.  Mr. Liedka stated this was excellent.  Mr. Casper added this includes the cups and ice.  They have software integrated with their point of sale system.  When you are at the cash register purchasing your hot dog, it is imported into their financials as 1 hot dog, 1 roll, 2 condiments, paper, etc.  The inventory is relieved accordingly.  

Mr. Casper stated food costs for the banquet side are running between 24 and 25%.  Previously they were averaging a little over 30%.  Controls are in place and weekly meeting are held.  Ms. Toennies added that they changed menu pricing.  In the past there was an automatic 10% discount if you booked an event at the Oncenter.  This was quickly eliminated. 

Mr. Casper:

  • Number of controls put into place
  • Management reports number of labors each week
  • Preliminary P&L Performa based on event, if percentages aren’t met they are questioning why


Mr. Knapp asked if they wrote off $19,000, thought he show it somewhere in the material provided; wasn’t sure if it was for an event.  Mr. Casper was unaware of what he was referring to.  Mr. Knapp stated he would find it and get back to them, didn’t want to hold up the meeting.  Ms. Toennies confirmed she would send him her contact information. 


Cash Management

  • Implemented Point-Of-Sales System in Venues for controls over sales and cash deposits.
  • Controls on start banks sign out/in through Security Department
  • All Cash Reserves for facilities fee, capital reserve, box office and customer advance event deposit are managed properly
  • Finance Dept has 8 week rolling weekly cash management systems


Accounts Receivable

  • Event invoices are processed timely within 3 days following events. 


Account Payable

  • Implemented a Requisition and Purchase Order System to control spending.



  • Implemented weekly labor scheduling review process that resulted in lower labor costs.



  • Implemented inventory system to ties to the POS system and allows us to know our event food and beverage profits next day. 
  • Implemented controls over inventory by weekly inventory and POS system sales mix.



  • Financial Statements are complete monthly by the 15th.  
  • Financials by Venue
  • Implemented a job costing system to track event profitability that ties to the income before indirect expenses on financial statement.
  • Implemented weekly financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow) forecasting for the remaining fiscal year against annual budget
  • Audited financial statement with NO audit journal entries and no material audit findings.



2004- 2011Balance Sheet Trend (Attachment No. 2)

2000-2011 Trend Income Statements (Attachment No. 3)

2011 Oncenter Consolidated P & L (preaudit) (Attachment No. 4)

2011 Facility Fees Account Balance Report (Attachment No. 5)

2011 Capital Reserve Account Balance Report (Attachment No. 6)


Chair Rapp stated this has been a herculean turn around.  They have really gotten a handle on things, now we just have to get the convention numbers up.  Ms. Toennies stated she is working on it. 

Mr. Liedka stated it was a remarkable for them to end the year this way, hitting or exceeding their budget while having the loss of revenues from the USBC.  The hotel community certainly benefited a great deal from this effort but the Oncenter had to suffer the loss.  Ms. Toennies responded that they had to drive almost $1 million in sales to replace that business.  They have a solid, professional, Executive team.  She believes this is important for everyone to recognize.   She is just one person and is only as good as the people underneath her.  They are very good at what they do.  It is nice for us, as a County Facility, to have these kinds of professionals onboard. 

Chair Rapp took the agenda out of order.


3.     INFORMATIONAL: Clay Business Park:  Mary Beth Primo; Walter Kalina, Principal Planner CHA


Ms. Primo:

  • Governor created 10 Regional Councils summer of 2010, Central NY Regional Council includes Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, Cortland and Madison County’s
  • Each Council charged with creating a Strategic Transformational Plan and list of projects for their region, competitive process
  • Plans submitted in November, decision on best plan and project to be award money made in December
  • Central NY one of the top awardees, just over $1.5 million reimbursement grant
  • Bringing Clay Business Park to shovel ready status included in the plan, project over 15 years old
  • Maps reviewed by the committee
  • Site map (on file with the Clerk); located at Caughdenoy Road/NYS Route 31
  • 335 acre industrial zoned site, included in Clay’s Master Plan as industrial development site
  • 4 miles from Route 481, 2.2 miles to Route 81, close proximity to interstate highways and major road networks
  • 5 miles to international airport, less than 1 hour drive to Port of Oswego
  • Mainly flat land; limited workable wetlands, small mitigation
  • Serviced by CSX rail, service cuts across top portion of site
  • Located across the street from National Grid substation
  • Major fiber optic lines on site and access to natural gas and water mains
  • 2 miles from Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment facility, once sewer lines are installed system has capacity for treating waste from the Business Park site
  • Foreign Trade Zone Magnet Site designation by the end of the year


Chair Rapp stated there are not many sites of this size in all of the state.  In answer to Mr. Liedka, Ms. Primo stated this was the same site that Bristol and a chip fab once considered.   


Ms. Primo:

  • Early 90’s IDA and Chamber discussed need for publicly owned parcel to attract large capital investment from outside the area
  • MDA and County Planning were brought into discussions
  • IDA hired consulting firm from Connecticut to work with local engineering firm to come up with sites to review for this purpose, initially selected 12 sites, reduced to 6, 4 in Town of Clay, finally choose this Clay site
  • Town of Clay 2nd largest municipality in CNY Five County Region, 3rd largest municipality in CenterState Twelve County Region, potential for large workforce
  • Location easily accessible to workers in Onondaga and neighboring counties; 142,000 residents located in northern Onondaga, Oswego and Madison County’s within 10 mile drive, 348,000 residents within 15 mile drive; good sized workforce as well as good site necessary to attract project from outside our area
  • IDA’s development of site is basic Economic Development, has been done across the state for years
  • Cayuga County 200 acre Business Park landed $90 million milk processing project just getting underway,150 acre Business Park in Cortland competed for same project, Mr. Bottar of CNY Regional Planning Board instrumental in development of site secured $3.5 million from various funding sources to put in sewer, road and power lines; Mr. Bottar has been working on development of Clay Business Park for a few months, Madison County 100 acres working to develop into shovel ready site, Oswego County has 3 Business Parks with 14, 60 and 100 acres, Operation Oswego County a not-for-profit associated with IDA owns 2 additional parks approximately 170 acres each, Herkimer IDA has 200 acre park, Oneida County has 6 different Business Parks non larger than 200 acres; parks are all smaller than Clay site, gives us advantage
  • Have had 16 different attraction projects that they could not accommodate over the past 18 months, often because they don’t have the buildings; if Clay site was shovel ready at this time would have been strong candidate for a number of these projects, need development of this site
  • Site selectors and corporate real estate executives attracted to sites owned by public development corporations, know their mission is to attract public development and create jobs, more flexible eager seller
  • Shovel ready status makes site viable to site selectors and corporate real estate executives, also allows us to leverage resources that NYS, National Grid and CSX can provide for marketing the site; need to seize this opportunity and push the project forward
  • Under contract with CHA to complete environmental impact statement, anticipate summer completion; will then need mitigation of wetlands, installation of sewer lines, road work at intersection of Route 31 and Caughdenoy Road


Mr. Kalina discussed the concept:

  • CHA came on board late 2009 to develop generic GIS under SEQRA for preapproval of all agencies involved; necessary for shovel ready site certification through the state
  • 339 acres owned by OCIDA, concept map displayed listing possible buildings, parking and storage areas
  • Looked at the needs of past projects interested in site, development profiles put out by the state and coordinated with OCIDA staff for acreage development
  • 200 acres are developable, additional land could be developed but would encroach on wetlands, goal to get approval through DEC and COR in terms of wetlands, 2006 early coordination agreement with Bristol, DEC and COR had 4 acres of wetland being filled and mitigated, low quality wetlands, hope to start from where discuss left off
  • 200 million square feet of building space; could be one or more users


Chair Rapp asked when they would be coming back to the Legislature for this project.  Ms. Primo responded that they expect to have the SEQRA complete by the summer.  At that time she would like to speak with them about supporting this project.  They have already asked the County to issue bonds for installing the sewer line.  Chair Rapp noted they would be looking for about $5 million. 


Mr. Knapp noted that the leadership received all the press on the success of this award however it was Ms. Primo and her staff that really did the vast amount of work and didn’t get a lot of credit from the media. 


Mr. Knapp asked if there were limitations on the award from the state and what it could be used for.  Ms. Primo responded that they are still working on the details of the award letter.  The funds can’t be used to install the sewer.  They can be used on engineering of the sewer however there are limits as to the amount of funds that can be used for engineering work.  The funds can be used for the wetlands and road work. 


Ms. Primo stated they are seeking funding from National Grid, initially asking for $125,000 to support engineering costs.  If they see progress they can then go back and apply for additional monies for infrastructure work up to $250,000.  Further down the road, they could also apply for marketing funding with support from NYS, National Grid and CSX.


2.      INFORMATIONAL: Inner Harbor Development – Steve Aiello, COR Development Co.; Carlie Hanson, Director of Architecture and Design


Mr. Aiello:

  • COR Development develops and holds their own portfolio
  • Awarded Inner Harbor project by committee, Memorandum of Understanding with Common Council, one final meeting to ratify contract


Ms. Hanson provided a PowerPoint presentation; summary listed below.

  • 28 acre property, boundaries North - Bear Street, South - West Kirkpatrick Street, East - Solar Street, and West - Van Rensselaer Street
  • Goal to develop neighborhood unique to City of Syracuse with public access to water edge, variety of users, diversity of usage
  • 3 anchors, OCC, hotel and boat house
  • OCC satellite campus offering continuing education, retraining programs, core courses and featuring hospitability management and professional cooking programs, classes setup with hotel partnership (Bldg. #8), learn/work opportunity; 2 phase project, first phase brings in about 1,000 people in 50,000 square feet, total build out 150,000 square feet expanding to 4,000; fully parked behind building with separate stand alone parking garage
  • 3 story 100 bed hotel, 1st level retail on Kirkpatrick Street side with marina support off the pedestrian walkway, 2 upper levels hotel rooms along with banking facility for 250-300, fronts the length of the canal
  • Existing canal maintenance building 1 of 3 to remain on site, historically significant, housed tools used to maintain the canal, currently vacant, SU looking to expand boathouse on the north end of the lake, discussed pulling the program down to this site, maintaining small presence on the north end for early season boat launches, offer community rowing programs in visible location, partnering with community high school teams
  • Harbor Masters house and freight house will also remain on site, freight house currently 6,000 square foot unheated vacant facility, looking at this for community events and education of the canal
  • Piers controlled by the Canal Corporation, in discussions with them, looking to construct two-story building supporting retail and restaurant space
  • West side focuses on residential, 24/7 occupancy of the neighborhood, Building No’s 3 and 4 are four-story apartment buildings, fully parked 1/2 flight below, residents ½ flight about grade
  • Buildings No. 1 are mixed use, 1st floor retail, four-story residential with two- tier parking deck contained within building
  • 2 blocks of ownership opportunities with three-story townhouses, 2 car garage access from alley behind, first floor studio apartment or home office, 2 levels of townhouse above (Bldg. #2)
  • Understand the importance of the maintenance building as it is now, large amount of work to be done with State Preservation office to maintain significance of our past but serve the needs of the new boathouse; have had discussions with SU and their program, measured building, lends itself to this use, half building for boat storage and maintenance other half supports locker rooms, offices, and dry land training area
  • 1.4 million total occupied square feet (not counting parking), includes 30,000 square feet of renovated space


Chair Rapp asked if this would be all private development.  Mr. Aiello responded that COR Development has been award the project and their hope is that all of the property will go on the tax rolls with the exception of the boathouse being envisioned as a community facility; not sure how this will play out.  Chair Rapp stated it was being privately funded.  Mr. Aiello responded that most of it was.  The only exception might be OCC as they are entertaining the possibility of a lease, not sure of the funding avenue for this.  Their goal is to do some bonding and build independently. 


Mrs. Ervin asked for a timeframe.  Mr. Aiello stated their goal from start to completion is 5-7 years.  Bear in mind that there are some significant environmental issues on the west shore, could range from $12-15 million from the study they looked at.  The material is contaminated but not that significant, it will depend on where they have to bring the material.  This will delay the residential component.  He is hoping that Phase 1 which includes OCC, the hotel, the boathouse and possibly an office building could be under construction within a year and completed by year two.  By year three, occupied buildings should be on site, subject to a number of variables. 


Ms. Ervin asked if there was going to be some way of making sure that there was a diverse workforce.  Mr. Aiello responded that he has had extensive discussion with the City in this regards.  They are not going to sign a blanket PLA agreement.  Yesterday, he met with the trades about the project.  Their commitment is to work with diversity and involve as many of the trades and unions as they can.  This is a big project, they are going to need all the labor they can get, there is not as large of a labor pool in this area as people think.  There is a defiant commitment and certainly local.  Local workers have always been one of their trademarks.  We are a developer, not a general contractor, we are the end owner.  It is important for us to keep our costs down and the only way we are going to that is using local trade 90% of the time.   In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Aiello confirmed that he would be talking more about this at a later time.


Mrs. Ervin asked about affordable housing.  Mr. Aiello responded that they are looking at an affordable component.  They are just breaking ground on a 300 unit project in Watertown.  It is an 80/20, 20% affordable component based on income, received grants from Housing Trust.  They will definitely have some sort of affordable housing, not sure if it will be geared toward seniors, will depend on demand and size of the project.   They are forecasting 432 units, maxing out the site.  There are some construction site constraints in terms of geotechnical, you can see the buildings possibly compressing down.  432 is the max they hope to achieve.  In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Aiello confirmed that there would be some affordable component.


Chair Rapp asked if the OCC piece would come back before the Legislature as there was no funding coming directly from here.  Mr. Aiello responded that he is also Vice Chairman of the Board for OCC.  He noted Mr. Antonacci has voiced his concerns with regards to this matter.  


Mr. Aiello stated that for a great deal of time, OCC has been looking for a location in the urban core downtown region.  They have looked at many building but have not been able to find something that could create both a satellite campus and highlight some of their program developments.  In the past both he and others have presented various sites.  When he presented this site, they talked about the potential of deeding the land for $1 and letting the college go forward and do their own thing.  Noting that he is not currently representing the college, from the dialogue he has had, the college is concerned with the tightness of the County’s budget.  They are exploring the possibility of a lease, as you receive a higher reimbursement through the state.  The state is obligated to reimburse 50% of both the operating costs and expenses.  This would significantly diminish any sponsor participation.   From the studies completed by the college, he has been told that they/we believe they could cover the remaining costs of the lease via general student growth and tuitions.  The objective is to bring the project in under the normal appropriation of the budget; no County subsidy.  This is a key element; not going to come in with a spiked budget all of a sudden asking for $2-$3 million more.    


Chair Rapp stated that this was the ideal public/private partnership.  Mr. Aiello agreed, adding that they would be seeing more of this in the community.  He is also involved with Upstate and the former Kennedy Square site; this is the way of the future.  The state wants to see economic institutions that are truly economic generators, not taxing the communities for them.  This is what they are hoping to do and based on the initial discussions he believes they can accomplish it.


Mr. Jordan asked what the anticipated pricing would be for the townhouses and residential units.  Mr. Aiello stated this was a good question.   The townhouses are 2,700 square feet.  He is hoping to bringing in somewhere between $275,000 and $325,000; pretty aggressive pricing for new housing construction.  Residential offices are available as a potential option, which would drive up costs.  They are going with the national model of $1 per square foot for rental costs of the apartments.  They are staying within this range as most appraisers coming in for conventional loans, would use this figure.  This is the same model they have used in Watertown.  It has been very successful.  They were able to obtain conventional financing from M&T Bank and put together some of the state funding as a reportable component of this. 


Mr. Aiello added that any member of the Legislature with questions could contact his office.  He would be happy to sit down with them.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:48 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Shepard, Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 11:53 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Confirming Reappointments and Appointments to the Community Services Advisory Board (Timothy J. Bobo, Mary Beth Frey, Sarah G. Merrick, Judith S. Hight, MPA, Elizabeth Nolan, LMSW)


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


2.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Barry Beck, MSW, Director of Contract Services

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Recovery Center, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($250,000)


  • Asked by NYS Mental Health to develop a peer recovery center; not physical structure but connection to supports
  • Peer supports – set up infrastructure where former people in recovery help those in recovery or needing recovery
  • Cuts down on emergency room visits, inpatient visits, doctor visits; working well
  • Have centers now but not a peer run organization; $250,000/year to set up peer run agency to offer these services
  • Money goes to not-for-profit through RFP process; no contact with any not-for-profit until permission to release RFP
  • Some interested providers; currently have providers that support the services; might have some new
  • Long history with services for peers in County; part of boosting services in County; budget cuts every year since 2003
  • Have been lobbying state since then to do something with Peer Services - responded with this grant
  • No formal application; series of meetings with Office of Mental Health and Peer Services; lobbying overtime – started to put together plan for recovery center to implement; County asked to do it; not competitive grant
  • Discussed need in community; had more robust services in past and would like more at a time when insurance pays less; state aid less – this is an inexpensive way to provide services that get people away from expensive services
  • i.e. using emergency room as primary care for a cold; Peer Services will reach out, educate people so they don’t go to emergency room for cold; i.e. a neighbor helps with car repair instead of paying $75/hour


Chairman Liedka commented part of the process of the peer system is the peers take ownership of patients to help them get to appointments regularly which may eliminate exaggerated costs in the future because they didn’t attend treatment.


  • No change in staffing
  • Typical services or patients:  2 parts
  • First selecting fiduciary; not-for-profit to get money; meet with peers that will take leadership roles; peers will develop 501c3 and board of directors – completely peer run agency in community
  • Second is services provision – providing connections; keeping someone checking in; medication management; peers will educate what services are available for needs; employment training; seeking mental services; stable housing
  • Setting up a new agency
  • Office of Mental Health never promises multi-year funding but already talking several years down to make it a grant that will be annually renewable
  • If state does 2 years and cuts funding - not the vision to have County pay for but hope and dream

Chairman Liedka commented because it is a not-for-profit separate from the County, if the funding dries up, then the agency goes away unless there is funding from another source.


Mr. Meyer commented that he does not believe people have an appreciation for how much regular care the clientele needs.  He stated it is not like having a broken arm that gets fixed once.  Chairman Liedka responded to Mr. Meyer that the case sample used was reference a broken arm.  Chairman Liedka appreciates that the board of directors will be made of those people that have been through this, and were treated properly.  These peers know the pitfalls along the way, and will take ownership of another person to help them manage how they are cared for.


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


The meeting was adjourned at 12:06 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *





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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list.


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:50 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovative Grants Program and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($472,000)



        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from the NYS Emergency Response Commission for Use by the Onondaga Co. Local Emergency Planning Committees ($4,585.86)


Regarding item 1a, Mr. Jordan asked about the project and its location.  Mr. Rhoads said that it is the downspouts for Route 690; drainage comes down and enters into the sanitary sewer system.  This is a grant to be used to move that drainage.


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



1.     TRANSPORTATION:   Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget and Authorizing the County to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs at a Maximum Amount of $4,617,000 and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements for the Fremont Road Bridge Over the CSX Railroad, C.R. No. 136, C - 906, BIN 3358210, PIN 3754.78 ($4,617,000)

  • Authorization to pay upfront costs on federal aid project – rehab deck (full replacement) of 3 mile bridge over CSX Railroad
  • Resolution needed to guarantee County will pay cost up front; reimburse on the back end
  • Bid this spring; work will commence in 2013
  • Bid in conjunction with Costello Rd. Bridge (1 mile to east) – bid together to make sure that they are not under construction at the same time


Mr. Knapp asked if there is any mechanism in place to encourage local companies, local labor.  Mr. Donnelly said that there is not; it has to be awarded to the lowest bidder regardless of physical location, per State rule.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mrs. Tarolli indicated that legally there is not a way to write this type of mechanism in.


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

2.     MENTAL HEALTH:  Robert Long, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the New York State Office of Mental Health for a Recovery Center, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Contracts to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($250,000)

  • Grant to establish a Recovery Center in Onon. Co – not a physical location; a series of a number of employees contracted to a non-for-profit agency
  • Assisting people with serious mental illness, recovering from mental illness; finding jobs; making social connections
  • The organization has to be peer run organization – 51% or more of board are individuals who have recovered from serious mental illness
  • County will issue RFP for existing non-for-profit agency to spend the next year developing the 501C-3, which will ultimately become the recovery center


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.


In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Long said that it is ongoing state aid; it is not a one year grant.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if there is confidence that this will start this year and continue going forward.  Mr. Long said “yes”.  In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Long said that they will be sending the RFP to a large variety of local non-for-profit organizations.  There is no organization that does this for a living; will be looking for one that is in interested in partnering/developing, i.e. Catholic Charities, Burton Blatt Institute, etc.


In answer to Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Long said that there is a 15% limit on administrative cost; no other specifics on the budget.  The agency will make the application in concert with the Mental Health Dept; hope to get RFP out in next few weeks.  Hope to have the program up and running before the end of the year.  Mr. Stanczyk asked that Mr. Long report back to the legislature in regard to this program.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


3.     SHERIFF:  Chief John Balloni

        a.     Discussion:  Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into an Agreement with Oswego County to Provide Helicopter Services

Chief Balloni:

  • Looking to do an IMA with Oswego Co. to cover costs of Air 1 flights to Oswego which are not medical related.  Medical related flights will be billed for separately.
  • At request of legislature, last year contacted counties served and asked them to help fund Air 1
  • Cayuga Co has been doing this; Oswego Co. has stepped forward; Cortland Co. has been asking – believes they will be stepping forward
  • Total cost of non-medical flight is around $27k; will have commitments for $15k so far
  • Foundation has sent letters to adjoining counties; have received thousands of dollars of commitments from the citizens of those counties in support of Air 1
  • Same work that they have been doing for adjoining counties - not looking to do anything different than what they currently do.  Have met with Law and Risk Mngmt. regarding insurance qualification – have $75 million on Air 1 per occurrence. 

Mr. Jordan commends the move to making the operation as self sustaining as possible.  Concerned that medevac will be covered by insurance – will be lucky if it is 50%–75%.  Chief Balloni said that quite a bit more is charged for medevac; believe that the 50% will more than pay for all of the flights for medevacs.


Mr. Jordan asked what costs are going into the allocation – maintenance, hanger, replacement, etc.  Chief Balloni said that they have figure in all costs except the original cost of the helicopter.  The ship has a long life expectancy.  They basically rebuild the ship every couple of years when they pay all of the maintenance costs.  It made sense to not charge them for that cost, as it may not come up for 30 or 40 years.


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Balloni said that currently the budget is set up like a grant budget, so they can put funds into it and the money will carry over from year to year.  The long term goal is to have more money in the grant account than they need to start paying for things.  Currently the overhaul is being paid for by asset forfeiture. 


Mr. Jordan suggested charging the counties per flight; charge them the amount spent in the air.  If charging a flat fee, to get more bang for their buck, they could utilize the services as much as possible--could be doing more calls because it doesn’t cost them anymore.  Chief Balloni said that the approach makes sense; they looked at 6 years worth of data – this more than covers the cost.  It is a one year contract; if it is discovered that they are going over it in any given year, the contract can be amended.  The object is not to increase flights to adjoining counties; the object is to pay for the costs.  He hopes the calls don’t increase.  If they are busy on an Onondaga Co. call or any emergency anywhere, they can’t respond at that given time. 


Mr. Jordan asked about language providing for protection or indemnification, which is not included in the contract.  Chief Balloni said that Onondaga County is the contractor; he has been assured by Law Dept. that if there was an issue, everyone involved would be dragged into it.  He does not want go back to Oswego Co., the first to come forward, and tell them they have to indemnify Onondaga County, in addition to the money. 


Mr. Stanczyk agrees that if a blanket amount is given, we might be called on to do more; it could be a problem going forward.  If the ship continues to run, there will be an ongoing, permanent subsidy by the taxpayers going forward.  The reason the ship is afloat right now is because the Sheriff has $70 million budget and a lot of flexibility to move expenses. 


Mr. May noted that a lot of this discussion occurred at the Public Safety Committee.  There is measurable progress being made; it is a work in progress.  The mechanism for the rescue and police work, whether billed or drawn from an escrow, needs to be explored closely to make sure we are optimizing whatever revenue that comes in.


Mr. May said that he realizes that a new helicopter may not need to be purchased for a long time.  However, but If a new helicopter needs to be purchased, it would be prudent to have reserve amount built into the $1240/hr. of flight time, even if it is a nominal amount.  If accounting for all of those costs, it puts the whole program in a very defensible position in terms of being run properly.  Chief Balloni agreed it is a valid point, even if it 30 years down the road.


Mr. Holmquist said that this is a process; thinks all the right things are being done.  It will continue to be discussed in Public Safety Committee.  He recognized the amount of work which has been put into it.


In answer to Mr. May, Mrs. Tarolli said that the Law Department and Chief Balloni worked with the Oswego County contract and made some revisions.  The contract in the packet was created by the Law Dept.


Regarding indemnification, Mrs. Tarolli noted that usually the person receiving the service asks for indemnification.  In this case, we are providing the service.  Oswego Co. has not asked for defense and indemnification.  Mr. Jordan said that his concern is that if the helicopter has to be landed in a less an ideal location in Oswego Co., and we hit a power line, maybe there needs to be some type of projection.  Mrs. Tarolli noted that the protection is our insurance policy.  Mr. Jordan asked if we would refuse the service in a situation like this.  Chief Balloni said that if it is an unsafe situation, the pilots have the duty to not risk taking it into an unsafe situation.  He reiterated that they are doing nothing more than what they have been doing for 30 years.  Mr. Jordan pointed out that now there is a contractual obligation. 


Mr. Stanczyk suggested that the other counties make a donations or a payment to Onondaga County, rather than sign a contract.  If something happens, Onondaga County will be sued.  Chief Balloni said that if something happens today or tomorrow with or without the contract, Onondaga Co. would be sued.  Mr. Stanczyk asked why we are pursuing a contract.  Mr. Jordan said it hasn’t worked the other way.  Chief Balloni said the Oswego County has indicated that they need to have a contract.  Mrs. Tarolli said that a contract does not abate a lawsuit; the reason for a contract is to make it clear. 


        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into an Agreement with Oneida County for Security Services at the Central New York Psychiatric Center Forensic Unit

  • When someone is taken to psychiatric unit in Oneida Co., Oneida Co provides security
  • It is a cost benefit – it would be very expensive for our people to stay there on overtime
  • Renewal of current agreement – increase based on cost or retirement, etc.


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


Chairman Knapp noted that the following item has been added for discussion purposes.


        c.     Declaring the Policy of the Onondaga County Legislature with Respect to Limitations on the Amount of Overtime that Individual County Employees May Accrue, and Providing for Quarterly Notification to the County Officials when Employees Have Reached $5,000 in Overtime Pay (Sponsored by Mr. Stanczyk)

Mr. Stanczyk:

  • A lot of feedback received from the article in the paper -  abuse of overtime at jail
  • Legislature is county policy making body – legislature should have policy of what is appropriate and inappropriate overtime
  • Charge administration and departments to hold within certain parameters the amount of overtime people are earning/accruing
  • There is an obvious abuse of pension system
  • Concern about readiness of people working incredible hours and if they were on their 15th hr. of watch if they would be physically, mentally, emotionally capable of reacting the way they should
  • Reporting back on who and when individuals are outside of this policy – triggering mechanism at budget time so that the policy is adhered to or there will be budgetary consequences


Chief Balloni:

  • This is an item that they have wrestled with for years
  • Believes the current contract, plus past practice, locks this in
  • Seniority is one of the founding ideas behind labor union in U.S.


Mr. Stanczyk said that one thing that has been a problem in the past with sheriff is the absolute abuse of overtime, continued and perpetually.  Have had problems for years.  There has to be some controlling mechanism, should try to establish and enforce one.  There has been explanation that we are much better served to not have more employees, but to run overtime with the employees that we have.  He believes that statement is patently untrue.  There needs to be some type of containment on this; feels the general public believes that it has been abusively run.


Chairman McMahon said that in order to do something responsible, we need to see what progress is made this year.  There are a lot of issues that impact this.  There is no question the jail has been equivalent to the airport for the City of Syracuse – overtime there and where people’s pensions get fat.  On today’s agenda there is a resolution talking about a Tier 6 for the pension system – as the system is less attractive to abuse from the state level, it solves some of the problem.  Contracts are another issue.  The contracts will be negotiated this year; there will be an opportunity to work out some of the kinks.  Another issue is management; there is a management responsibility from the sheriff and his team.  The 4th issue is mandates from State of NY and Correctional Dept. on our officers – man per man in certain units.  These are things that don’t make sense and need to be pushed -- should be addressed collectively.


Mr. Stanczyk said that his point is to address this publicly in a Ways & Means forum saying that the legislature intends to be on top of this issue and will not let it slide any more.


Mr. Holmquist noted that the four points that Chairman McMahon brought up and what Mr. Stanczyk was discussing were on the agenda in January at the Public Safety Committee.  There is a great open communication here; between now and budget we all agree it is a focus.  It will be talked about at every Public Safety Committee meeting.  The dialogue has been helpful; all four areas have to be worked on.

Mr. Stanczyk said that the concept is to say that as policy no one should be making more than $10,000 above their base pay as an Onondaga County Employee.  A triggering mechanism, where any time any employee was over $5,000 of overtime for the year, that there is a trail on those positions.  Instructive to get this information from department heads this year so that the legislature knows where abuses are occurring and where the focus has to be.


Chief Balloni said that it is critical for members of the legislature to come over and see the operation, to get education about what the operation is and how it runs, see the mandates that they live under.  They track overtime by the day, hour, by officer – in every way imaginable – they look at it constantly.  They have looked at the financials – the dollars don’t figure.  There may be a true cost savings to hire new deputies and increase the size of staffing, if there go to another tier.  Every time they came to budget, he would be the first in line to ask for more personnel if the dollars were justifiable. 


Mr. Jordan said that every county in the state needs to address this; pensions are becoming out of control.  The burden placed upon the local level is becoming unsustainable.  A lot are obligations imposed by Albany, and we have no expression in it.  Another part is the existing collective bargaining agreements.  It has to be addressed in the contract negotiation process. 


Mr. Stanczyk said that one of the calculations to be done in terms of the cost, is not taking into account the ongoing pension costs, which are being bumped up by overtime.  He disagrees that the numbers don’t work.  Mr. Jordan asked if Management and Budget has done an analysis in terms of all of the costs.  Mr. Rowley said that it hasn’t been done in recently.  Mr. Jordan suggested it be looked at.


Chief Carbery reiterated Chief Balloni’s invitation to come to the justice center.  The men and women of the Justice Center work hard and play by the rules; to characterize them is abusing and unfair. 


Chairman Knapp said that he is concerned that someone working 16 hrs/day 6 days a week – over time it could really wear on someone.  He is not intimating that bad decisions are being made, but we are all human beings.  Mr. Jordan noted that now, since it has been highlighted and something happens, the county is going to end up in court.


Mr. May said he would like it confirmed that it is truly a collective bargaining issue.  Mrs. Tarolli said that it is.  He questioned if there is management flexibility any where right now to affect some kind of change or if we have to wait to negotiate a new contract. 


Chairman Knapp referred to the number in Mr. Stanczyk’s resolution, it may be something that with some analysis can be decided on; don’t want to hamstring the Sheriff, because we are mandated to have the coverage. 

4.     PARKS & RECREATION:  Bill Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property at Onondaga Lake Park to the Onondaga Yacht Club for a Period up to Twenty-Five Years

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with the Onondaga Yacht Club for Property Located within Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five Years

  • Building is owned by Yacht Club – they are in their 125th yr of having a presence on Onondaga Lake
  • 10 yr agreement is coming up
  • Decided to make the leasing similar to the SU boat house
  • Reopener added – take a look at it every 5 years


Mr. Jordan referred to the market rent of $410, which seems reasonable, why is the county charging $150.  Mr. Lansley said that the Yacht Club is comfortable with the rent they are paying; looking to continue it.  There is $50/year escalator.  Mr. Stevens noted that the rent amount is $410 per year.  Mr. Lansley said that an assessor gave the assessment on the Yacht Club; used a formula adopted for real estate.  The real estate value form the County Clerk’s office was used for the assessment.  Mr. Stanczyk noted that when the cleanup of Onondaga Lake is complete, the property will be very valuable.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve items 4a and 4b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Memorializing the NYS Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property Located at Onondaga Lake Park to Syracuse University for a Period up to Twenty-Five Years

        d.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with Syracuse University for the Boathouse Property at Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five Years

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to approve items 4c and 4d, seconded by Mr. May to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED

In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Lansley explained that this property is different from the boathouse discussed with the inner harbor project.


5.     ONCENTER:  Mike Kauffman, Board Member; Peter Casper, CFO

        a.     2011 Year End Review


The following was distributed:

1   2

3  4

5  6

7 8

Mr. Kauffman:

  • 3 yrs ago – an organization in distress – no management team, no business plan, bloated payroll, hemorrhaging money with serious internal control weaknesses
  • Since then, a new management team put into place with clear vision to improve financial performance
  • 3 CPAs added to board
  • Internal controls improved; performance measures put into place
  • Problems of last 3 yrs came to a head in May 2011 – an immediate need for additional cash infusion

Financial Snapshot

  • 2001 -2007 gross margin equaled operating expenses until.
  • 2008 – 2011 county subsidy no longer efficient to cover operating expenses
  • With bowling event, cash crisis early in 2011; Legislature funded deficits – subsidy and loan
  • With addl. subsidy over last 11 years – gross margin subsidy covered operating expenses –made them a viable organization again
  • 2011 – with subsidy now have a surplus 
  • In summer 2013, surplus has to be paid back to the county
  • 2011 preliminary results:  $8.6M operating revenues; operating expenses $10.3M; deficiency for operations $1.7M; $3M in 2010
  • 2011 – revenues went up and expenses went down


Mr. Casper:

  • 2012 operation – Jan. $30k finished over budget; projecting Feb. to finish over budget
  • Operating and managing debt
  • Comptroller audit’s – management agreement modified, which helped expenses do down
  • Brought in new sales team, new concession operation, new managers from business background
  • Growing company, have controls and processes in place; managing labor dollars, managing expenses

Mr. Jordan asked about a projection for 2012.  Mr. Casper said that they project to meet their number of $1.6M; subsidy is $1.6M.  Have forecasted to end of June, right now $100k short of that number; know they can make it up.  Need to work on cutting costs during slow time--July and August.  In that time frame, two concerts have been booked.  Typically it is very slow time.  Mr. Jordan questioned why the summer is the slow time.  Mr. Casper said it has been the slow time in the history of the OnCenter – trying to change that philosophy and get concert business again.

Mr. Jordan asked how the absence of the Syracuse Symphony has impacted the OnCenter.  Mr. Casper said that it has helped them.  They put in a lot more profitable events.  They are working with the Symphony now to see how to work their next season out.  Mr. Kauffman said the OnCenter now looks at profitability by venue, which they weren’t able to do before, it is very helpful.  Going after more business for the War Memorial is key.  A lot of the deficit is a result of the overhead of the War Memorial.  Mr. Casper said that 3rd and 4th quarter was strong because they were busy in the War Memorial.  One of the events bring $50-$70k margin in one show; generating $80k in concessions. 


Chairman Knapp said that the bowling tournament took up a block of time last year.  Mr. Casper said it was 6 months, and lost about $450k on that event.


Mr. May asked about the national representative.  Mr. Holder said that this is a case of ultimate collaboration.  Bill Adams is in a national satellite office in Washington DC.  D.C. is important because there are over 4,800 associations based there that all have different conferences and meetings across the country.  He is paid for by the OnCenter; his programming is shared between CVB and OnCenter.  CVB manages his direction, points of contact, where he is going with his work, etc.  The collaboration is see what can be done to grow convention business.  Mr. May asked if he brings a group to Central New York, but their event is held at the Fairgrounds, is that still a win.  Mr. Holder said that it is not likely that will happen.  He is focused on events that will be the perfect fit for the OnCenter – 400 – 600 peak room nights – business that needs to be at the convention center.  If he finds business that is less than that, he passes it off to one of the CVB’s sales managers to follow up on.


Mr. May questioned realigning the sales team not in the CVB database.  Mr. Casper said that CVB has a convention data base; OnCenter has started to target some convention business that isn’t in that data base and are going after them.  They are being solicited for new business.  Mr. May asked if OnCenter is competing with CVB.  Mr. Casper said it is collaboration.  Mr. Holder said that largely it is very complimentary.  It is a system that most convention bureaus work with.  When conducted in the right way the convention center is out prospecting for new business; the CVB is also out prospecting for new business and following up on the business already in the community.  Traditionally you get to a point where an RFP is issued, traditionally done by CVB.  It was a system that was in place 5 or 6 years ago and we have gotten away from it, now are back into it.  It should be a complimentary system; the two sales teams meet on a monthly basis. 


6.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – Sean Carroll, Director

  • Lights On the Lake RFP is out; due March 9th


        b.     Memorializing Support for and Authorizing the Purchasing Director to Submit an Application for a NYS Shared Municipal Services Incentive Grant to Offset the Expense of the Implementation of Shared Purchasing Services with Various Municipal Subdivisions, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Intermunicipal Agreements

Mr. Carroll:

  • Heavily engaged in purchasing consolidation with a variety of municipalities
  • Secretary of State’s office created an opportunity to offset expenses for programs that are already in place
  • To apply for the grant, authorization is needed from the County Legislature and at least 4 other legislative bodies in order to be lead agency


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


Chairman Knapp asked about the $100k.  Mr. Carroll said that with the improvements to the Purchasing Dept., staffing and other investments already made; the local share is covered – in kind is acceptable; no additional cash commitment needed.


7.     FINANCE:

        a.     Providing a Tax Exemption on Real Property Owned by an Enrolled Volunteer Firefighter of Ambulance Worker Residing in Onondaga County, and Amending Resolution No. 277-2005 to Continue said Exemption

Chairman Knapp announced that a public hearing will be held regarding this matter, prior to the session on March 6th.


Mr. Webber:

  • Impact is $10,165
  • Exemption had sunset originally – this extends the exemptions


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May to approve this item.  AYES:  5 (Knapp, Jordan, May, Stanczyk, Holmquist); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Ervin).  MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Approving and Directing the Correction of Certain Errors on Tax Bills

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


        c.     Letters of Distribution Report – James Rowley, CFO

  • Same report as last month; still working with Comptroller;  plan to adjust some going forward


8.     WAYS & MEANS, MISC.

        a.     Declaring the Policy of the Onondaga County Legislature that the Real Property Tax Bill be Clear and Understandable, with the Amount of County Real Property Taxes Readily Identifiable (Sponsored by Mr. Stanczyk, Mrs. Ervin)


Mr. Stanczyk:

  • Topic brought up at a recent Mayors and Supervisors Association mtg. – many people question – where are they paying the Onondaga Co. taxes, as it doesn’t state it on the bill; it says “state mandated services”
  • 15 yrs. ago the County – there was a change in the wording on the tax bills – it was de-clarification, making things more opaque and less identifiable for taxpayers
  • Live in federated government system – have state and national levels above us; have levels underneath us
  • Mandates imposed on us, have to participated according to our Charter; they are costs-are not going to go away
  • Need clarity in tax bills
  • Most powerful thing the legislature does is set policy; it is important to be clear regarding what the citizens are being taxed

Chairman McMahon agrees with much of what Mr. Stanczyk is saying.  He has reached out to the executive branch and asked for some feasible ways to get there.  It is not his intent to disregard this, but would like to have this item tabled and work with the Executive to come to a conclusion that all can live with and get done feasibly.  Mr. Stanczyk said that is fine as long as it is taken up in the following month.  Mr. Stanczyk said that no other counties do this; Onondaga Co. is the only one that does it.  Other counties break down the expenses of the county government. 


Mr. Jordan is in favor of clarity in the tax bills and pointed out that the bill clearly, in large, bold letters reads County and Town Tax Bill.  It is clear on the very top of the bill.  It is coming to people as a county tax bill; it is not coming from Albany, it is coming from Onondaga County.  He strongly disagrees that taking out what state mandated costs somehow clarifies the bill.  Every taxpayer should be well aware of what is paid in state mandated costs.  It would be disservice to remove it and eliminate any reference to state mandated costs.


Mr. Jordan said that there is no reference in Mr. Stanczyk’s resolution to the city abstract.  To make a bill clearer, then perhaps the city abstract should be eliminated and show what the city taxpayers are really paying in county tax. 


Mrs. Ervin said that if it were clear that it is a county bill, then the question would not have come up from so many people at the meeting.  They all said the same thing--that is not clear.  Let’s make sure it is clear to the taxpayers.


Chairman Knapp assured Mr. Stanczyk that the item is not being table to kill it; he supports doing something.


        b.     Memorializing the Support of this Onondaga County Legislature for the Move to Amend Campaign Relating to Corporate Personhood as Decided in the citizen United vs. Federal Election Commission; and Calling on Congress to Enact Legislation Limiting Corporate Personhood to its Historic Parameters (Sponsored by Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Ryan, Mrs. Ervin)


Mr. Stanczyk introduced Dr. Joan Cuff, who distributed a handout (on file with Clerk).  Mr. Stanczyk said that this is not a political thing.  In Florida $18 million was spent in super PAC money - $15 million to throw mud at Mr. Gingrich by Mr. Romney’s super PAC; and $3 million at Mr. Romney by way of a Casino in Las Vegas.  93% of the ads of super PACS are negative.  The president wanted to avoid it and now is drawn into it.   Money corrupts the game; the more money brought in, the worse it is.  There used to be limits to what institutions, corporations could give to individual candidates.  This was changed with a ruling that basically said that corporations have to be treated like individuals.  It gave the ability for super PACS to grow. 


Mr. Stanczyk said there is a system where there are individuals’ rights, rights of personhood.  A number of those rights have been rolled over into the corporations to give them the same.  By saying that corporations are individuals and should be treated that way, has created a horrific monster being played out nationally.  It is important to understand the consequences of it and come out with a statement that we are for or against it.  He is against what money is doing to our national scene.  He does not plan to bring this forward in March; is hoping there is an opportunity for Dr. Coff to talk to individual legislators over the next month.


Dr. Coff:

  • Referred to Richard Florida who came to Syracuse in 2005 – spoke about created class, how to keep Syracuse/Onondaga County a place where young people are more comfortable, stop brain drain; keep students form SU in the area – this issue resonates with that demographic – important to Onondaga County
  • Issue as a whole is important – can’t get enough attention at federal level until it is at the state level.  It can’t get to the state level without the county legislature acting as a voice of the citizens of Onondaga County and bring it to the attention of the state level
  • Working with a group, Move to Amend – oldest volunteer is 72; youngest is 18; majority of them are the demographic looking to keep in Onondaga Co. – young, professionals, educated, articulate, passionate about things they value; very informed about politics
  • To keep these young people in Onondaga County, have to be willing to be flexible, look at the issues that they find important, and have a discussion about it and see if there is some way we can support them in their value system


Chairman Knapp said that the issue is very political across country.  The basic statistics that he has seen is roughly 50% – 50% between the two parties.  However labor unions, who he considers corporations, are 90+% to one party vs. the other.  Without something relating to that issue being included, he finds it difficult to support this.


Mr. Stanczyk stated that he did not want to move this item.


        c.     Amending Resolution No. 37-1995 Regarding Partial Payments of Village Real Property Taxes (Sponsored by Mrs. Tassone)


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


        d.     Memorializing Opposition to Any State Legislative Action that Would Result in Three Primaries in NYS in 2012 (Sponsored by Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Stanczyk, Ms. Williams, Mr. McMahon)

Mrs. Ervin:

  • Cost associated with having 3 primaries is unconscionable.  This is a matter to try to save from the burden
  • It doesn’t make sense to set up and take down 3 different times.

Mrs. Walsh:

  • Bipartisan, Association of Commissioners has gone on record to urge the State legislatures to adopt June 26th as the primary for local, state and federal primaries; there is a hold up in the Senate
  • Confusion to voters – mailing out 2 sets of absentee ballots; 1 with federal offices; a second with local offices 2 or 3 weeks later
  • 13,000 absentees this year

Mr. Ryan:

  • $141,500 cost to do a primary
  • A lot of money for very little amount of people
  • There are 2 primaries right now; the third will depend on what happens in Albany
  • It will cost a few million dollars to the taxpayers across the entire state


Mr. Stanczyk said there was horrible election participation last year; want to encourage election participation – it is done by being clear and not confusing.  Chairman Knapp said that it is another unfunded mandate. 


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

      e.     Memorializing the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to Implement Pension Reform Measures, Including Creating a New Tier 6, to Reduce the Unsustainable Costs of the State Pension System and Alleviate the Financial Burden on Onondaga County Property Taxpayers (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Chairman McMahon:

  • Supporting Governor’s Proposal for a Tier 6 in the pension system

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



        a.     Litigation Briefing – Karen Bleskoski, Deputy Co. Attorney, John Sharon, Senior Deputy Co. Attorney


Mr. Jordan made a motion to exit regular session and enter executive session to discuss a pending law suit entitled “Donna Prince Lynch v. Mike Waters and County of Onondaga, seconded by Mr. May.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Stanczyk left the meeting.


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


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


The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.


Respectfully submitted, 



Onondaga County Legislature


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