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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. Rapp, Mr. Meyer, Mrs. Tassone, Ms. Williams

Also Attending: See attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTIONS CARRIED.


1.     OCRRA:

        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Lee A. Klosowski)


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


2.     FOCUS GREATER SYRACUSE: Charlotte (Chuckie) Holstein, Executive Director

        a.     Onondaga Lake – Report

Ms. Holstein provided hard copies of the report to the committee (On file with the Clerk).  She thanked them for the opportunity to ask local citizens for their input.  Adding, she has been on a lot of key steering committees throughout the years, but believes this to be the first time they have ever gotten to the heart of the citizens themselves.  One personal recommendation she would make is to hire locally; people who know the community and can work with them.   

Ms. Holstein introduced David Reed and Jennifer Creighton of the FOCUS staff.  Both worked very hard to make this report what it is.   

Ms. Holstein summarized report contents:

  • Inside pocket contains Onondaga Lake Partnership report and Onondaga Nation’s Vision for a Clean Onondaga Lake
  • 1847 quote from first Mayor of Syracuse, public use of lake concern; same concerns as today, lake belongs to the people
  • Executive Summary (pg. i), citizen thoughts from 84 yr. span of reports
  • Research Methods (pg. 3), nontraditional approach; past reports reviewed, conducted online and in person surveys, over 100 interviews with key individuals, each interview 1 hour or more, minutes were taken, 3 public forms held
  • Findings (pg. 6), Capstone students summary report divided into 6 categories, FOCUS kept same categories looking at the survey and other indicators
  • Survey Results Findings (pg. 10), reached 1100 people, within 1% of the census demographics

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Holstein stated in the survey the ratio of males, females, education and ethnicity are within 1% of the census demographics for Onondaga County.  She added, when a local group performs this service their reach is vast.  

Ms. Holstein continued:

  • Survey results (pg. 10), biking, hiking trails and connection of trails around the lake ranked highest, combining the Native American Cultural and Education Center with the Environmental and/or Aquatic Education Center ranked 2nd, people want tourist attraction on shoreline, believe it would be well served with the Native American Heritage Environmental and Democracy Center, most suggested the north shore where the 6 Nations agreed on the confederacy (near Long Branch section)
  • Interview Assessments (pg. 16), similar to surveys but more in depth, some ideas are listed; need controls and standards such as signage, recommend management team responsible for lake development coordination, ensure component contributes to whole lake vision; were careful not to come up with recommendations requiring another plan; team should contain some private sector
  • Conclusions (pg. 21), major recommendation keep lake public, restrooms needed, minimal development, small snack bars, connect trails and loop around the lake, electrical outlets for wheelchair charging
  • Nest Step Actions (pg. 23), legislative action or other means assuring lake public domain; recommendations: management team members, maintain and reforest natural habitat, educational and heritage museum major attraction; want lake clean up education and to honor natives, confederacy backbone of our democracy, great place to learn how all this occurred; also recommend fishing piers, birding stations, swimming areas; need accessibility and parking for fishing
  • FOCUS Contribution (pg. 25); continued contributor, would like to be part of management team, continue to reach out to citizens, hold public participation meetings if needed, create website
  • Appendix (pg. A-1), full Capstone report, survey results graphic form (pg. A-49), respondents zip codes (pg. A-53), interviews by affiliation (pg. A-56)


Chairman Plochocki thanked FOCUS for a fantastic job and asked how many studies had been done over the past 84 years.  Ms. Holstein answered 55 studies, since 1928.  She added that the Onondaga County Libraries was very helpful with this study; completed surveys.   All the reports will be given to the main Onondaga County Library branch.  


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Holstein stated Honeywell and the Onondaga Environmental Institute had asked for the reports.  She believes they belong with the library.  Mrs. Rapp stated that everyone will have access to them via the library.   


Chairman Plochocki stated a year ago general thinking was that we needed some sort of comprehensive plan for the lake.  Before going forward and putting together a plan at great expense of $100,000 plus, they hired FOCUS to complete a summary of the 55 reports to be used to create the comprehensive plan or perhaps, from the 55 reports or the FOCUS report, they might already have a comprehensive plan.  He was pleasantly surprised to hear that they do not believe an all-out comprehensive plan is necessary at this junction.  He noted that not only had they gotten $50,000 to $100,000 worth of work from FOCUS and the Capstone students for $20,000, but they may have saved us six figures on top of that. 


Chairman Plochocki asked Ms. Holstein to explain why this is fantastic news.  Ms. Holstein stated this is not just her alone; has been discussed with Mr. Millea and Mr. Coburn.  There are some comprehensive plans in the stack of 55 reports.  One that comes to mind is Steve Becknerm.  However they are convinced that the citizens will help make this work; believe this is a plan.  Speaking for herself, she believes there are parts of this plan that can be implemented by in-house department staff.  She noted that she was involved with renovating the atrium at City Hall Commons; architect plans sat for 5 years, appealed to the mayor noting parts of the plan that could be completed by in-house staff, determined it was not something that needed to be farmed out.  As they were completing this report, she felt that some of this plan could also be done in-house.  She noted that she did not know the county staff but would guess that there are carpenters that could build an accessible bird viewing stand, after getting the proper dimensions from those that work with persons with disabilities.  The trails are currently being prepared and trimmed by in-house staff.  Some professional advice is needed; how to get around the CSX railroad.  They don’t recommend another plan; put departments together, list what we want to do, determine who can do it, begin collaboration.   


Chairman Plochocki stated this leads into the management team.  You are recommending that we make some sort of legislative action, statement or policy that the lake remains in public domain.  Assuming that to a certain extent we do this, you are suggesting we put together an in-house management team, with a few exceptions as noted, to manage the lake following the broad strategic outline of the legislature.  He asked Ms. Holstein to talk about this further, including why the list of names on page 23 where chosen. 


Ms. Holstein stated the names listed are only those that she knows.  They would have to have Physical Services, the Environmental director, WEP and Parks would be vital.  Parks and Recreation could not do this alone; too many other facets.  Planning, the City, and NYS DOT should be included.  The NYS DOT regional director announced they will be reevaluating Onondaga Lake Parkway in 2014.  This could have a big impact on getting to and from the lake; currently 55 mph, 4 lanes, difficult to get in and out of the park and St. Marie entrances and why they were added to the list.  This is not the physical pieces that need to be completed, it is thinking about the entire project; put all the principals involved together at the table.  This does not mean that they would have to meet weekly or be burdened with extra staff responsibilities.  The benefit of their thoughts and ability to provide some staffing for implementation of this project could work.      


Chairman Plochocki stated at least one member of caucus was concerned that the legislature would be designating the management team to make the broad decisions.  He believes it would be an advisory team, coming up with ideas and suggestions, which would then be executed with legislative approval and asked for confirmation.  Ms. Holstein answered her vision was that this would be an actual working group; small items such as extending the trails, they should be able to do.  She sees this as a working group; everyone working together to ensure that everything is done in a collaborative, cooperative fashion.  If there was an expenditure of funds that wasn’t within any of the budgets, they then come back to the legislature.  Chairman Plochocki confirmed that when it comes to expenditures and broad policy it is not the intent of the group to handle these.  Ms. Holstein agreed.  She would call them a working group because we want them to work, not advise; not an advisory group.


Mrs. Rapp suggested that a legislator be part of the group.  Ms. Holstein agreed saying she feels it is a good idea.  Mrs. Rapp added that her experience has been that when there is full communication, everyone is on the same page and we aren’t reinventing the wheel every time a new idea comes forward.  Ms. Holstein confirmed a legislator representative has been added. 


Chairman Plochocki stated that throughout the process Ms. Holstein has commented about the idea of a Cultural Heritage Center for the Haudenosaunee.  Until about a year ago he had no idea, that this was something being seriously considered and desired.  A core of this is now taking place with the remaking of the St. Marie among the Iroquois.  This was a direct outgrowth of your efforts.  Ms. Holstein clarified that not one of the interviewees recommended St. Marie.  They recommended something more comprehensive on the north shore.  She believes part of the reason is that St. Marie has tried to reopen at least three times.  Their concept was to do it big and correctly this time.  


Chairman Plochocki stated the message is very clear and received.  He used the term St. Marie just to reference the site.  St. Marie as a concept won’t exist any longer; being completely overhauled.  Ms. Holstein stated speaking for herself, this is unethical.  You are taking another culture and superimposing a different culture on top of that.  She asked if they were wiping away the missionaries that came here; they are part of our culture also.  Chairman Plochocki stated this still in the early stages.  He would like Ms. Holstein and any other interested parties to be involved in the process.  While he is a huge fan of St. Marie as it exists, there are too few of him to go around and St. Marie has long been in danger of closing.  Throughout this process it became clear that there was a desire for a Native American Heritage Democracy Center.  Initially the ideas of St. Marie and the Cultural Center were exclusive but ultimately have been morphed together.  By no means is St. Marie being voted out, the fort is not being taken down.  The idea is not to eradicate it but to overhaul it; aiming for a world class center, focus on Haudenosaunee history and their role in democracy, along with an environmental center.  The goal is currently big but will have to come up with the funds.  One aspect of this will be what we call St. Marie today.  Many of the exhibits currently there will still be there.  It will be a department in the overall history of the region.  Ms. Holstein stated they have to be true to what they have heard.  This is what she is expressing today and what you will see in the report. 


Mr. Millea thanked Ms. Holstein and her team for their hard work.  He noted that we definitely got a deal for $20,000 and some great answers.  From the County Executive’s point of view, they agree that comprehensive and strategic planning isn’t the next step.  A very important question has been answered in this process; keep what’s public now public and let’s go forward from there.  There will be a lot of dialogue about this as the cleanup continues.  This is why he believes the management team will be very important.  From a process point of view, they support the report and are very pleased with the product you see before you.  This is not a final report; not being publicly released today.  They want the committee to have time to consider it, meet with colleagues and notify County Executive’s office of any changes they would like.  Once consent is received from this committee, the report will be issued as final and posted on the website.  Next it is important to consider if we would like FOCUS to continue to go out into the community and dialogue on our behalf.  From a management team prospective, they endorse this suggestion.  One of the key elements needed going forward, is to develop how we will sign and develop the esthetics of the public property that we have.  If it takes 5 years or 20 years to finish our planning, we need to keep the same visual impact and theme throughout the system we’re building.  He added they are beginning to endeavor done the path to meet with CSX; know this will be challenging, currently working with consultant team on this issue. Fortunately they have some friends that know very high-up individuals at CSX and have offered to help; will take some time.  They have resources awarded in the last budget cycle to really attack this issue.  Loop the Lake Trail over CSX rail and connect to the Creek Walk was really endorsed in this report; advancing now, on the right path.   


Ms. Holstein stated she believes the highway study and St. Marie study should be done together.  We might be surprised with what they come up with and might be stuck with a piece of property that is not located in the right place.  She cautioned that they need to keep their eyes open and look at all of the elements there.  Mrs. Rapp stated she was thinking of three different locations around the lake, a trail of sorts.  Ms. Holstein added in other words an education center and an environmental center in different places.  Mrs. Rapp agreed, adding this would be attached to the Creek Walk so that there is a whole historical trail.


Ms. Holstein thanked them for the opportunity and stated they look forward to working with them in the future.


3.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update


  • Moving from monthly to quarterly format

Report from Commissioner

  • County Executive winner of 2012 Global Community Leadership award from USGBC; important to make constant investment in our brand, talking about it with public education resources, vital component to change face of how we manage our challenges, can’t do on our own, public education provides way to leverage local dollars for additional dollar match
  • Clinton CSO & Lower Harbor Brook Storage projects facing significant challenges but staying on track
  • Save the Rain program so big others are doing the same, SU received grant for Carrier Dome project to capture rainwater without local investment; support for public education programs makes big difference, creates noise in community; if the county can do it why can’t we, not all about local dollars

Gray Projects

  • Clinton CSO $70m storage project located behind MOST, will be leadership project once completed, fast tracked end of year milestone
  • CSO sewer separation O22 & 045, projects making a difference and leaving great footprint, community benefiting from investments made
  • Harbor Brook Interceptor Sewer Replacement completed
  • Lower Harbor Brook CSO Storage, challenging project on postage stamp footprint, build tank in center of footprint, digging deeply, subcontractor completed work to create facility ahead of schedule
  • Midland CSO 044 in final stage

Green Projects

  • 13 projects already in concept phase for 2013; completed 60 projects in 2011 and 48 in 2012
  • Program evolution to be more surgical, most capture for the dollar
  • Fact sheets updated for each project; great work on public infrastructure and assets, improving public property while doing things for Save the Rain program

Mr. Meyer asked if vacant lot projects were going to stay as public or private owned property.  Mr. Rhoads stated this is a critical component of the City’s relationship; how they will fit in with the City and their neighborhood programs.  Mr. Meyer asked if the concept they were working on was, these will be city owned properties that we will have a relationship with.  Mr. Rhoads answered most likely, although there could be opportunities for a public/private relationship for maintenance. 

Mr. Meyer asked who would be maintaining these.  He understands why they use the word vacant lot, because it doesn’t have a building on it.  Generally when you use this term, it is not always a positive.  He wants it to be clear.  They are not just making a vacant lot; will be a controlled property, which will include maintenance.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it includes all of the things associated with having a lot, in the community. 

Mr. Meyer stated one of the parts he has been talking about is getting the biggest bang for our buck; happy to hear we’re going to continue to work on low hanging fruit.  The other part is the maintenance on porous pavement.  He asked Mr. Roads to elaborate on this; believes they are now starting to budget for maintenance of porous pavements and believes it will be an increasing line in their budget.  Mr. Rhoads answered that they try to look at the full life cycle costs for everything they construct.  All green and gray assets will require a little bit of TLC at times.  There are different styles of maintenance and resource commitments required.  When we put in the storage containers, we will need power to pump it, staffing to flush after each weather event and will have to maintain the assets of pumps, lights, and controls.  Just by their very nature, the building will require maintenance.  This is what they see coming on the gray side as part of this project.  On the green side we will see vacuuming. 

Mr. Meyer interrupted Mr. Rhoads saying he understands this.  He is just trying to explain not only for Mr. Rhoads information but for his colleagues.  He has been dealing with flooding and drainage issues for thirty years in Cicero.  One constant theme has been maintenance has been underestimated.  He wants to keep delivering the point that these things do not maintain themselves.  Mr. Rhoads stated they would never suggest that they maintain themselves.  He would suggest that when we have a porous lot like the City parking lot, the public entity is already sweeping these lots.  When we move from impervious pavement to porous pavement, instead of sweeping, we will be sweeping vacuuming.  Although we will now have a maintenance budget for these types of work, we are doing them on term contracts.  They know complimentary maintenance will be required for green projects.  When they install trees, they have seen great impact with little maintenance necessary after the first year or two.   In the first two years, we will have to do a little pruning, make sure they have the right shape and won’t interfere with any of the other infrastructure.  Mr. Meyer reiterated he is just trying to get the message out, there will be maintenance, and his experience has been that it is under estimated.   

Mrs. Tassone asked if there were only 3 vacant lot projects.  Mr. Rhoads answered he believes that these are the ones that are complete; just bid a package, will have to get back to her.  In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Rhoads stated he would expect that in the next three years they would probably complete about 36 projects.  There are a number of project opportunities out there; create good capture and align well with what communities are looking for.  They are looking for community members who will adopt vacant lots for reasonable maintenance; mowing and tending of rain gardens.  They are just cutting their teeth on a very new program; there will be evolution and opportunity.  Mrs. Tassone stated she assumes these are all City owned vacant lots.  Mr. Rhoads answered City owned gets into the ramifications of tax delinquency and then ownership by the city, so to speak.  In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that more lots could be added. 

Mrs. Rapp asked if there some talk of subdividing these and giving them to adjacent home owners to manage and maintain.  Mr. Rhoads answered that Legislator Meyer had suggested this as a way for the city to manage their vacant lots.  The City has over 1000 vacant lots identified.  They touch on this issue from the Save the Rain program standpoint.  There is more than amble opportunity to discuss how we get reinvestment, redevelopment and other things happening with these vacant lots; not WEP purview believes this is a City/County Planning discussion.  Mrs. Rapp stated it just seems that personal ownership and maintenance would be a good thing.  Mr. Rhoads stated this is what they are striving for with community ownership or adoption for some of the green assets they are creating.  In some cases the neighbors are doing mowing; realize value of property next to them not becoming an eyesore. 

Mrs. Tassone asked if they would be coming back to the legislature for additional funds for these lots.  Mr. Rhoads answered no; funds from projects in budgets already developed. 


Mr. Rhoads continued:


  • Public private partnership, private property projects  with Save the Rain capture assets added to development, fact sheets provided, improvements to communities, go onto tax role, cost effective as others provide design, works for both private and not for profits
  • Program will evolve, won’t make since to do GIF in sewer separated areas


  • Graph of compliance work, nitrogen and phosphorus no longer feeding the algae bloom
  • Invasive species moving in, zebra and quagga mussels changing lake composition
  • DEC requires ambient monitoring for both man-made and natural lake activities, complex bio web

Legislation & Media

  • Appreciate support received for capital investments
  • Number of news stories, earned media doing great job helping tell our story; Onondaga County Escapes Huge Additional Cost for Lake Cleanup, story discusses wastewater treatment plant process, reducing phosphorus, healthier lake

Financial Update

  • New contracts and change order listings
  • Grant information, State Bond Act, Federal EPA, and Federal Army Corps of Engineers funds,
  • $188m short term and $54.9m long term EFC loans; short term 3 yrs. no interest, end of 3 yrs. becomes long term loan with 1.5% - 1.9% interest currently
  • Detailed approved project budgets, Clinton/Lower MIS CSO $165m, Harbor Brook Drainage Basin CSO $105m; ACJ requirement tremendous expense, doing best to manage costs
  • Debt service starts to impact rate when short term loans convert to long term

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated this would be reflected in the sewer rate as short term loans change to long term.  Mrs. Rapp stated that this is all part of their plan and that they would use fund balance to offset some the increase.  Mr. Rhoads added that they would use some fund balance but are starting to see this growth and need to fund our sanitary district charges to cover these debt service costs.  He wants to make sure that people have the foundation of how these projects are currently borrow funded.  We are getting tremendous interest rates; best he has seen in thirty years but we will still have to pay for these projects, which will put some pressure on our rates.  


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated the long term total is from short term loans that have been converted to long term.  He added that not all projects are EFC funded, some are bond funded under the counties own AAA credit.  Whenever the opportunity allows federal funds and state grants are used; all part of the big picture.  The more we tell our story the more we make ourselves available for those pieces of funding.  They are trying to broaden the base so that it is not always the sanitary district but federal funds helping to support the endeavor to clean the lake. 


Mrs. Rapp asked how they were doing on the next phase of the Suburban Save the Rain program.  Mr. Rhoads answered the next phase would probably be launched with the application process.  He believes it will be within the next thirty days. 


Mr. Meyer asked if a final scoring system for the applications had been prepared so those filling out the applications would know where they are coming from.  Mr. Rhoads answered they have tried to build in some of the important aspects of it; amount of capture for dollar and local match amount.  This year there is $2 million.  In order to get as many projects funded as possible, local match will be an important piece of that ingredient.  Mr. Meyer stated a lot of these communities would be familiar with this idea because they do community development applications.  Mr. Rhoads added county funds would be used for the removal of extraneous flow from the consolidated sanitary districts.  Mr. Meyer stated applications should be made for areas only within the sanitary district; some communities are in and out.  Mr. Rhoads agreed. 


The meeting was adjourned at 10:26 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *




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

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Meyer, see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:36 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


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

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept State Construction Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Contracts to Implement This Resolution ($125,363)


  • Accept grant funding - NYS Public Library Construction Funds; matching funds for it from Branch Infrastructure project
  • Library hoping for this; so far out from when Branch Infrastructure Project done, not allowed to put in; NYS has to reapprove every year

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


  • Info tech center is using up to date technology any way can; made as vague as possible because didn’t realize would have smart cords, interactive walls, mobile computing, etc.
  • Money for construction only, not salaries

Mr. Ryan stated the residents are anxious, and requested a copy of the specs of how this is evolving.  Mr. Ryan stated his constituents really want the laptops and computers.  Mrs. Dailey responded that the readable floor plan that was sent out shows that the computers are integrated in every part of the library for children, teens and adults.  The mobile laptop center is also shown.  Mr. Ryan asked when and what it will be going in.  Mrs. Dailey responded there are twenty-one pages of items they would like to purchase but that needs to be cut back based on the money they have.  They are in the process of prioritizing so they will have an actual number of computers very soon. 


Mrs. Daily replied to Mr. Dougherty that the library will be closed for six to eight weeks during construction, and they are about a month away from starting.  Mr. Dougherty asked what will happen to the employees during this time.  Mrs. Daily responded they can self-select to take leave time or go to another work place.  Mr. Dougherty asked if this will be a good time for the library to be down.  Mrs. Dailey answered that she will have to look into it, but the lowest use months are typically December, May through early June (school being done), and State Fair week. 


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


2.     PARKS AND RECREATIONWilliam Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Memorializing the New York State Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property Located at Onondaga Lake Park to the Syracuse Chargers for a Period Up to Twenty-Five (25) Years

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with the Syracuse Chargers for the Boathouse Property at Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five (25) Years


  • Memorializing Home Rule – done in past for Yacht Club and SU row house; not-for-profit; Syracuse Chargers occupying small piece of property on Seneca River NW of row house; working with youth and adult programs
  • Under agreement not lease - drawn lease for the two properties at Onondaga Lake Park; third piece to fund and build a secondary building on their property; have outgrown existing building
  • Introduced in 2009 and adopted by Legislature but time wise didn’t go through NYS; memorializing to adopt 25 year lease; State Home Rule for approval; mirrors Yacht Club
  • There was no issue or negative comment from NYS

A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve item 2a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


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


3.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Duane Owens, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing an Agreement Between the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga Relating to the Use of the City Fuel Facility at the Department of Public Works by Onondaga County Vehicles


  • Request renewal agreement with City for fueling station

Chair Tassone asked why the County charges $.03, and the City charges the County $.06.  Mr. Owens responded that the $.06 is the number the City determined they need to maintain infrastructure.  Mr. Owens stated after speaking with the DOT commissioner, the $.03 does not get passed on to other municipalities that use the County’s facility.  Mr. Owens replied to Chair Tassone that there is no room for negotiations with the City.  Mr. Owens responded to Chair Tassone that if the County did not renew, the City has other users including Syracuse Housing Authorities, the school district, and other City departments.  The City is not making money; only maintaining.  


Mr. Owens responded to Mrs. Rapp that there is an advantage to cost versus end users having to drive to other locations; no stations downtown. 


Mr. Owens replied to Mr. Ryan that most of the users of the downtown location are the Sheriff Department and the DA’s office.  The Sheriff is approximately 32%, and adding the DA is approximately 50%.  The Sheriff will gas up at other County locations when they are in those areas. 


Chair Tassone asked how long the agreement is for.  Mr. Owens responded it is a three year agreement.  Ms. Hajski responded to Chair Tassone that the agreement started at $.02 in October of 1994, and then the City replaced the pumps, stations, computers, and upgraded so the charges were increased to $.06 in 2003.  The existing contract has been renewed every three years, but this year the City requested a new contract.


Mr. Dougherty stated Facilities shows a budget of $307,000, and asked if that was just the fee.  Ms. Hajski responded that is the fuel for all County departments that utilize the downtown fuel station.  Mr. Owens replied to Mr. Dougherty that 32% is the Sheriff’s Department.  Ms. Hajski responded to Mr. Dougherty that the $307,000 is what Facilities pays, and the Sheriffs are billed back approximately 30% of that through interdepartmental charges.  Mr. Dougherty commented the County is gassing up less than he thought.


Mr. Ryan stated he does not want the $.06 to turn into a money maker for the City.  Mr. Owens commented that this is a good deal, and they are not making money.  Mrs. Rapp asked what the base fee was compared to public prices.  Ms. Hajski responded that according to a January invoice, the County is paying $3 per gallon including the $.06 charge.  Mrs. Rapp commented the County couldn’t build a station for that $.06. 


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


4.     Requesting the New York State Legislature and Governor to Enact S.2673/A.587 Related to Providing Veterans with Information Regarding Various Health and Support Resources through a State-Sponsored Internet Website


Mr. Meyer:

  • Website; did health benefits for employees in the past that made sure continuous coverage for potential deployment
  • Providing health benefits for employees is easy but military families are in a variety of circumstances – could be a 90 year old WWII veteran or a 20 year old amputee coming back from Afghanistan
  • Variety of medical issues – anything to allow them to do research online, getting phone numbers and addresses; in budget, can’t support 24/7
  • Cost – only requesting; NYS development; have not seen anything saying County has to develop it or will be billed


Mrs. Rapp commented that maybe the County should do a website for one stop information.  Mr. Meyer stated the military families would appreciate it.  Mrs. Rapp said it could be like the Long Term Care one stop shop.  To have a website with a list of numbers does not seem terribly expensive.  Mr. Dougherty commented it must be virtually free compared to the labor the County would spend; being able to access at all times, amount of information and making sure it is all correct. 


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


5.     Requesting the New York State Legislature and Governor to Enact S.553/A.2174 Regarding Real Property Tax Exemptions for National Guard Members and Reservists at the Option of Local Governments


Mr. Meyer:

  • Working with Senator DeFrancisco for months - war in Afghanistan and Iraq are diminishing; enlistment and bonus is being reduced, then active and reserve greatly reviewed and potentially reduced
  • County budget as far as DOT is 100 personnel less than a few years ago, same as fewer officers, local police less than before; when Katrina, Irene or Sandy comes, the safety net, reserve is going to be more and more important
  • High tax state; need incentives for recruitment and retention
  • Request for a modest adjustment in property tax; 5% adjustment compares to Cold War exemption which is 10%
  • Modest for reserve components who complete at least 20 years’ service and are not eligible for other exemptions; i.e. are qualified for combat level exemption, cannot stack on top


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


  • Will be a small group; Cold War exemption group approximately 1,100 in County
  • Positive - if not sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, then fewer on other side
  • Have to have safety net, and competing with other states; when other states are trying to keep National Guard in PA which may provide the same global military force, then doesn’t make a difference
  • Have to maintain numbers and reserve components to keep base here; one more item to put before reserve; little help

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


6.     DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Engineering Design Expenses in Connection with a Department of Transportation Project in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($1,500,000)


  • Bond for $1.5 mil for designing new highway maintenance facility
  • 4 facilities - Jamesville Route 91; north facility on East Molloy; old Camillus airport on Pottery Road; Slate Hill Road in Marcellus; North area facility and Camillus were acquired in 1980s - north area a UPS facility; Camillus was an airport
  • Both served purpose for DOT; neither were conceptualized for DOT; need upgrades/rehab to continue being used
  • Looking at options since 2005/2006; propose North facility and Camillus close - create one combined facility in Town of Clay at corner of Buckley and Morgan; have 3 facilities not 4
  • Sustainable facility using modern building techniques to make sure it meets DOT needs, will be energy efficient, and provide for strong base of operations for County DOT
  • Cost of renovation for north area $18.9 mil; Camillus renovations at $8.3 mil – renovating up to $27.7 mil; still not have facilities operating for a DOT
  • Ultimate price tag for design of new facility at $17.6 mil; considerably less than original request for schematic design
  • Researched before and estimated at $31 mil which would have also housed a portion of Health and Sheriff evidence and storage; Sheriff exploring using Camillus property, and Health exploring options; this proposal will be solely DOT






  • 2 parcels on land – one bordering Buckley Road and one bordering Morgan Road – combined 27 acres






  • Only utilizing one parcel; entry and exit on Morgan Rd; 3 buildings – main operation for offices, vehicle maintenance and vehicle bays; cold storage building and salt shed/fueling facility
  • Before acquiring property, did noise study in 2008; back up alarm on property and used sound meters around property, into Bayberry area – nothing came above level of background conversation
  • Layout – Jamesville and Marcellus in good shape - take best of both facilities to combine into this facility


6 7


8 9


10 11

  • North area – roof needs replacing; 140,000 - 150,000 sq. ft. which is very large and beyond needs; houses DOT in about 90,000 sq. ft.
  • North area - two separate entrances to get in and out with trucks; very unfriendly operational issues within facility
  • Camillus – one door in, one door out; more conflict points then what would want for a DOT facility
  • Exhaust problems, roof problems, foundation issues at both facilities; wanting to do one combined instead of rehab two facilities that are not what is needed

Mr. Ryan stated Mr. Donnelly said the price came down because it will only be for DOT, but Air One would still be in Camillus?  Mr. Donnelly responded that there is a parcel DOT occupies in Camillus, and the back of the parcel is Air One.  The Sheriff’s Department came to the Legislature recently for funding to do a study to look at using the Camillus property for their operations; tearing down existing. 


Mr. Dougherty asked what DOT will do with the buildings in north area and Camillus if this is approved.  Mr. Donnelly responded the plan right now is that Sheriffs would like to utilize the Camillus property, and the north area would be marketed to sell.  Mr. Dougherty stated there are huge buildings owned by the County all over with very specific purposes.  Mr. Dougherty said he likes the project and it makes sense, but is worried there will be a monstrous 140,000 square foot building (among others) that no one wants to buy, and on top of the $17 million price tag for a new one, the County will also have to spend millions to tear down this building and handle abatement issues, etc.  Mr. Millea responded they have had the discussion and weighed the options.  It will cost the County far more to maintain the existing then build new; has negative value.  The existing building was a UPS hub, and DOT is suffering with consequences of a decision to buy an existing building instead of building new.  Mr. Dougherty stated he understands, and supports the project.  Mr. Dougherty hopes that there is a good plan for how to deal with the buildings that are left behind; even if it is tearing it down.  Mr. Millea responded they will commit, with DOT and Facilities, to come back with a report when requesting the funding for construction.  Mr. Ryan requested they include a dollar figure.  When the County abandons those two buildings (if no one buys the Molloy Road property), what costs will the County have to maintain the building at Molloy Road?  Mr. Donnelly responded that is something they will come back with when they are through the design process.  There was an appraisal done on the Molloy Road property that was $1.8 million.  The advantage is the high ceilings, and this was based on the conditions of needing a roof in 2008.  There may be someone who could utilize the facility but if there isn’t then there will be costs to look at going forward.


Mr. Dougherty asked if the Clay Town Board has seen this yet.  Mr. Donnelly responded they have not, but there were discussions with the board in 2009.  Mr. Donnelly has also offered to have discussions.  There was a briefing in 2009, and they are aware this is happening.  Mr. Donnelly is more than happy to go out and share what they have as they get further into the design process.  Mr. Dougherty stated he would like to be part of the meetings. 


Mr. Donnelly responded to Mr. Dougherty that he cannot say what the Sheriff’s future plans are but would anticipate them looking at new construction on the site.  The buildings that are there now are not in the shape conducive to anything better than what they have, and it is not the layout they would need.  Mr. Dougherty asked if it would make sense to put another building on this site or expand the cold storage building.  Mr. Donnelly responded there is the parcel to the south, and they consolidated onto one parcel because it was more cost effective.  The other parcel is available and County owned, so it can be looked at if it were a desirable location for other County operations.  Mr. Donnelly stated they didn’t want to spread it out if it was not necessary. 


Mr. Shepard asked for the acreage of the Camillus site.  Mr. Donnelly replied he will get back to Mr. Shepard. 

Mr. Donnelly responded to Mr. Dougherty that there are no road improvements necessary.  In 2009, there was a traffic study done to look at the impact of operations and current functionality.  There was a negligible impact, and there was no need for added turn lanes, signals or road repairs.  Mr. Donnelly stated he does not foresee a light going there.


Mr. Donnelly replied to Mrs. Rapp that the Health Department is exploring their options.  They currently have their vector control operations (mosquito lab and rabies testing) in the north area facility.  It is not a lot of space, and is something that DOT was trying to make as habitable as possible.  They are facing some of the same issues with leaky roofs and water getting into the operations.  Mr. Donnelly responded to Mrs. Rapp that he would leave it in the Health Commissioner’s hands to decide where she is thinking the operations should be. 


Mr. Ryan stated he would like to see everyone under one roof; fewer buildings the County is in, is better.  If there is an opportunity to grow this, DOT should look at that.  Mr. Donnelly responded there was an item that was not addressed.  There were in depth discussions with towns/villages reference snow plowing, and one thing to make sure of with this facility is that the back of the facility is designed to be able to expand as needed.  Mr. Ryan asked if the County would share salt with towns.  Mr. Donnelly stated the towns purchase the salt from the County, so they all share the same pricing.  The largest salt shed currently is 6,000 tons but requires to be filled regularly during the winter.  The proposal for the new facility is a 15,000 ton shed which would make different types of salt (treated and untreated) easier to get to by having one on one end, and one on the other; currently with one shed and one opening, have to dig through in order to get to both.  The additional capacity would be larger than both salt sheds combined, so it allows DOT to have enough on site for a base in case there is a shortage with suppliers. 


Mr. Ryan asked how this new facility will promote increased DOT efficiencies.  Mr. Donnelly replied that currently Camillus and North area have one point in and out for the trucks.  Each truck has to come in one door, maneuver into a spot, then backing out and driving around to come out another door at a further location.  At Jamesville and Marcellus facilities, every truck has its own bay.  There are too many conflict points in North area and Camillus, the trucks are fighting for space to get out on the road, and it runs the risk of one employee bumping into another.  The new facility is built with each truck having its own bay in and out. 


Mr. Dougherty asked if there is anything he may hear about from constituents including smells, loud noises, parking issues or other.  Mr. Donnelly answered that the facility is pretty far set back, and designed it that way for that particular reason.  The primary source of noise is back up alarms loading salt.  There is not much of an impact.  The Marcellus facility is right outside the village, and has not been an issue.  Mr. Donnelly cannot say there will never be a complaint but the site was looked at strictly for this reason.  It is a good location, centralized, and minimizes any potential conflict with residential areas.  Mr. Dougherty commented it is not a terrible location.  Mr. Donnelly stated it is zoned commercial now, and there are other commercial properties directly to the south.  Mr. Dougherty said he is not aware of any complaints about them.  Mr. Donnelly responded to Mr. Dougherty that he is comfortable this will not be a challenge for the neighbors.  They may be very happy to see a much faster response because they are currently covering that area out of Molloy Road; response will be faster for one of the more populated areas in the County. 


Chair Tassone asked if there were any traffic concerns because of how busy Morgan can be.  Mr. Donnelly replied they will do more in-depth studies, and part of the design process is a SEQR; traffic will have further analysis.  The traffic study in 2009 showed no impact on Buckley or Morgan Road. 


Mr. Dougherty stated there is a fire department across the street so they would probably be much noisier with the same type of vehicles.  Mr. Donnelly agreed. 


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


Mrs. Rapp asked why it is $1.5 million for design.  Mr. Donnelly replied they estimated design would be approximately 7% – 9% of the construction costs; there are incidentals included to cover SEQR costs.  This was the number most appropriate to get DOT to a point they will have documents ready to be bid, and a final design construction estimate which will be brought back to the Legislature to appropriate funding.  Mr. Donnelly agreed with Mrs. Rapp that if DOT is under that number, the money will be rolled into the construction.


Mr. Dougherty asked that Mr. Donnelly see the Clay Town Board as soon as possible.  Mr. Donnelly replied that he has been in touch with Mr. Ulatowski, and is more than willing to speak with the board.  Mr. Donnelly is willing to show them the schematics and maybe more when they are further in the preliminary; helps people visualize, puts together cost estimates, but the design will have changes.  Mr. Dougherty stated it is a big project in the middle of town, so they would be interested and may offer feedback that would help. 


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


The meeting was adjourned at 11:24 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




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

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 12:06 p.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. May to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED.


1.     SHERIFF: Chief Balloni, Civil Department

        Monthly Update on Status of:

        a.     New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center

  • Awaiting Federal Commission of Corrections final report; use as pattern, submit to state regulatory agency for approval, then used for RIP to hire architectural firm


In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni stated he spoke with Chief Gonzalez who is reaching out to nearby counties.  Opening up the scope to include other counties has been discussed and something they are currently working on.  


Chairman Holmquist asked if there was a timeframe; when they might get updates on scoping status.  Chief Balloni stated he has not physically seen the document but understand it is finished from the federal government.  As soon as this is in hand, it will start the next stage; development of RFP and scope of project.  He will then come back to the legislature with the potential cost.  If there are additional outside agencies that are interested in housing prisoners with us, he will provide the costs associated and the potential payoff.   


In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni stated they already know the federal revenue.  What they need to know is if there are any additional revenues to be derived from outside counties.


Mr. May stated as a matter of emphasis with regard engineering costs, we really want the scope and range with respect to our needs, as well as the scope and range with respect to serving others.  It is very important.  Chairman Holmquist stated there is concern that we may build something that doesn’t fit the needs and five to ten years from now we will be back here again.  Mr. May added in addition to other external needs, it is a matter of doing it right.  Chief Balloni agreed.


Mr. May stated it is one thing to have dialogue with the other entities who have ownership over their individual worlds and processes; another when this becomes a public project.  When the public becomes aware of our outreach and consideration for shared services and things of this nature, it may spark interest and influence from other areas.  This applies to both the mental health unit and the special operations facility.


        b.     Special Operations Facility

  • Met with Facilities Management in terms of feasibility study, discussing with County Executive’s office
  • Letters sent on the potential for shared services, presented to Onondaga County Chief’s meeting; received letters from most town and village police agencies, all interested in participating at some level, haven’t heard from City Police, booked meeting with Chief Fowler
  • Slow progress, nature of cooperative effort; want cooperative effort if possible

In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni stated he has an appointment with the District Attorney’s office.  They have heard from the towns and villages and most are interested.  Some of this will depend on the location; what they choose to send.  Chiefs have also said that it really doesn’t matter where you site this, particularly for evidence.  A lot of smaller agencies don’t have evidence on a daily basis and can make arrangements to get it to us or we can make arrangements to get it from them.


Chairman Holmquist asked if they were working with Facilities to look at some of the existing areas within the county.  Chief Balloni stated they had.  This is part of facilities purview; would know better than he what is available. 


Mr. Dougherty stated that Mr. Donnelly just presented his plans for a new highway garage to the County Facilities Committee.  He stated this would allow them to consolidate from the north area garage, Jamesville garage, and Camillus garage and that the Sheriff’s department was interested in some or one of those buildings, as a potential building to store evidence.  Chief Balloni responded that was true, fully rehabilitated.  This is some of the things they need the engineering firm on board for; is this feasible, are there environmental issues that make it not practical.     


Mr. Dougherty asked if they were considering locations such as the Sheriff’s building on Henry Clay Blvd; large building not being fully utilized.  Chief Balloni stated he does not believe the Henry Clay building is all owned by us; other people in building but there is a lot of room there.  This is one of the discussions they have been having.  He believes they should be looking at all county owned property, regardless of where it is located.  It is ultimately better to use county property for this facility.  We won’t be taking something off the tax role and if it is something we currently own, it is usually vacant and we could make us of it. 

In answer to Mr. May, Chief Balloni confirmed per their original presentation everything will be rolled into one.  There are efficiencies associated with having this all in one location; not running two facilities, with two computer links to county network, don’t have to have a million things times two.  This also gives you personnel at the location more often and offers less potential for break-ins.  In the past they have had people breaking into the lot and stealing their cars back.


Mr. May asked if the need to launch the helicopter from this facility factored in.  Chief Balloni stated it will be one of factors, however the ship can be launched from almost anywhere in the county.  The only negative is if you are in a direct flight path, you have to radio Hancock to obtain lift off permission; don’t have to do this.  He is not a pilot but has been told by those utilizing Air 1, this is not a major factor.


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Balloni stated their evidence is largely in one location.  It may be temporarily housed at one of the substations until it is picked up.  The current location is in very bad shape.  As soon as practical they would like to move into a good facility.  The desire to work with outside agencies is a major desire and also the wishes of the legislature.  They are working with agencies on this goal.


Mr. Ryan asked if he was getting feedback that some would not be interested if it was in certain locations. Chief Balloni stated no matter where it is located it will be far away from somebody.  The Manlius Chief told him that it almost doesn’t matter where the site is.  They are interested on the evidence end.  Found property has a lot more walk-ins in terms of returning the property to the rightful owner; might want to hold found property and just do evidence for the community service end of this.  If residents of Manlius lost a bicycle and it’s found, residents could go down to the Manlius police to pick it up.  Evidence is different, has to be held until the end of criminal prosecution. 

Mr. Ryan stated there is a big difference between found property and evidence.  The evidence needs to be in a safe and central location where everyone knows it can be located.  When you mention stakeholders, you can’t please all the people all the time.  It is imperative that we work in conjunction with the people prosecuting these crimes.  It is ridiculous that evidence is located all over the county.  He hopes that other agencies agree but we can’t force them; hopes location is also mindful of this.  The fewer places we house people at, the fewer building we have to maintain; all about efficiency.  Chief Balloni agreed; need efficiencies, decent place to work and one location to store evidence and property.


        c.     Authorizing an Agreement with the Town of LaFayette for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office to Provide Enhanced Police Services ($2.500)

  • Various towns also have contracts for enhanced patrol service, Pompey, Van Burn, Salina and Fabius
  • Annual agreement, amend for actual costs of services provided, increased from $66 to $69.07 p/hr due to benefit costs
  • Standard services provided to everyone, extra service can’t be provided without overtime; used for Apple Festival

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

        d.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with Oswego County to Provide Helicopter Services ($10,000)

  • Same agreement and amount as last year
  • Ship had lengthy down time last year, supportive of program, want to continue contract
  • Evidence some outside counties are willing to work with us, still pushing others to get involved


Chairman Holmquist stated we have received $5,000 from Cayuga and asked if there was anyone else that was annual.  Chief Balloni answered, not at this time. 


Chairman Holmquist asked for a quick summation on Part 135 and all Air 1 funding issues.  Mr. Dougherty interjected, asking that he also speak in regards to medical transports.  He hears that we are not doing as many as expected.  Chief Balloni answered this was correct.  Chairman Holmquist asked that he weave this into the summary.


Chief Balloni:

  • Not much progress on additional outside county support
  • Foundation raised over $99k, met with business leaders willing to provide more significant support, average gift $50-$100; annual mailing under $20k for 2012, over $20k for 2013, seeing growth and renewed interest, Air 1 Board fully involved, talking to businesses, trying to get sponsorships, going better than expected, were concerned with ongoing support; volunteers working Air 1 booth for Boat and Auto Shows, solicit membership and expand program knowledge
  • Medical transports not as expected, knew 1st 3 yrs would be single pilot Part 135, only one pilot authorized to charge for services, other times have to fly old Part 91, can’t charge even though we fly medical and transport, ship down large amount of time for mandatory repairs; haven’t been able to charge for medical yet, still full intent, end of 3 yrs fully certified charge for all medical, currently 1.5 yrs into Part 135, medical smallest part of what they do, will improve going forward

Chairman Holmquist asked if this meant we would not be able to bill for another eighteen months, when all pilots are certified.  Chief Balloni responded no, it just means that we can only charge for medical when the single certified pilot is flying the ship.  


In answer to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated we still fly medical; just flying under different FAA rules when the single authorized pilot isn’t operating the ship.


Mr. Dougherty asked how much money would have been brought in from the time they were awarded the Single Pilot Part 135, if they were fully certified for this time.  Chief Balloni answered that he would have to research the number of medical flights we have had.  This was an unusual year, given the length of time the ship was down for overhaul.  This end is not going was well as they had hoped; want to make sure the legislature is aware, continue to work on this, believe they will get there.  The legislature should also know that the state is pulling their helicopter from Onondaga County; told they are moving it to Monroe County.  This is a result of shifting resources within the state.  The governor is buying a large helicopter to be used for taking people to scenes such as Hurricane Sandy locations. 


Chairman Holmquist stated he thought our ultimate goal was that Part 135 revenues would pay for roughly half of the operating costs, which were about half a million dollars, when we originally discussed.  This number has moved around a little bit.  Initially we thought the revenues would be about a quarter of this, then ultimately once it was up and running we would get better at it and achieve that 50%.  Chief Balloni stated they were looking at an area of $120,000 to $150,000 from this particular end of the program.  He confirmed the half million number on the total operating costs of the ship, averaged out over years, is accurate.  Chairman Holmquist suggested that it would be more like 25% or 30%.  Chief Balloni agreed, adding this was a real live figure that we could expect to receive from this.


Mr. May stated the foundation accomplishes a lot of things; advocacy and real measurable support for the program.  What is doesn’t do is financially support the program.  In an average year the foundation will bring in 3% of the operating budget.  Chief Balloni disagreed, adding currently they should be looking at $50,000 on average, without any growth.  This would be 10% of our costs.  He is hoping the foundation grows sustainably.  Mercy Flight takes in a full third of their operating costs from their foundation donations.  This is something they are getting better at as time goes on; sees potential to reach 25% to 33% of the operating costs.   


Mr. May stated in his opinion, if we want to try to accomplish 35% through Part 135 certification, this is where he would invest all his time, energy and resources.  Getting us where we need to be faster or finding other creative ways to backfill the dollars; admittedly as they have done for the past year.  He is just suggesting where their time and energy is best spent; not trying to tell them how to do their business.  For the programs good, we have to put our efforts in the right areas to make a meaningful difference.  He reiterated this was just his opinion; wants to support the program, see it do well, and substantiate itself.  Chief Balloni stated they approached the FAA about perhaps being able to get through the three year period early, via a waiver.  They have been told this isn’t possible.  There isn’t much they can do but wait out the three year period to improve their likelihood of collecting full amounts on this.  The paperwork can and is being prepared; will be ready to go at the end of the three year period.  Mr. May responded that this is the linear approach to the finish line; need to keep working on being creative.  Chief Balloni stated the foundation has reached out on naming grants; has large potential, money offered up to this point insufficient.


Mr. Ryan stated back in July 2012 a letter was sent to surrounding counties for participation.  We estimated that the ship left the county nearly thirty times at a cost of $1250 per hour flight time.  He asked if this was a good estimate.  Chief Balloni responded it would be for an average year; didn’t leave the county that much last year due ships down time.  Mr. Ryan stated he has a problem with the ship going to counties that don’t reimburse use.  He understands that there are medical emergencies but they have to have a stake in this also.  Cayuga give us $5,000 and Oswego gives us $10,000.  As resolved through this letter, a request for funds was sent to Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Ontario, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence and Wayne County’s.  From your own admission, there was little or no feedback from them, yet this ship still continues to leave this county.  The residents of this county have to subsidize flights for outside counties unwilling to reimburse us for this service.  He has a problem with this.  Every time we talk about Air 1, he is going to need to know where the ship is flying and how many times is it leaving the county.   


Mr. Ryan requested a listing of where the ship flew for 2012 and 2013; wants to know when the citizens of this county are funding flights for surrounding counties.  We have talked about Part 135 billing; he hopes we get there.  To date the foundation has raised $99,000 in two years; talking about $2 million.  Chief Balloni pointed out they now receive $30,000 in DEA grants.  These funds haven’t been factored into what’s being discussed. 

Mr. Ryan suggested that DEA grant funds were revenue neutral; reimbursement for operating the ship to look for drugs.  Chief Balloni stated they were doing this before they were receiving reimbursement for it; would look for marijuana growing while up on patrol.  Now the federal government is covering 30 hours of costs for standard patrol, while looking for looking for drugs.  This was part of the half a million dollars per year in costs; now getting $30,000 from federal government.  We are in fact financially better off than we were, prior to them paying for this.  


Mr. Dougherty stated he and Chairman Holmquist saw this first hand.  They joined them on a patrol and the first thing they did was take a look at the water storage tanks, which was funded by Homeland Security.  This really does happen.  Chief Balloni stated they are doing valuable work every day and are looking for funding wherever they can, for work already being done.  This is where the DEA money came from; repeatedly have asked for $100,000.


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


2.     Requesting the Onondaga County Sheriff to Take Immediate Action to Reduce the Delays and the Backlog in Processing Pistol Permit Applications for Onondaga County Citizens


Chairman Holmquist stated this is an immerging issue of urgency.  There are over 700 presumably, law abiding citizens, in the middle of the pistol permit process.  Appointments are running deep into April 2014.  This is causing a real problem on multiple fronts. They have been working collaboratively with the Sheriff’s department and want to continue to do so.  They don’t expect the volume to go down anytime soon.  Interest is only going to increase based on the federal and state governments recent actions.  There are all kinds of logistical problems; people are being fingerprinted and getting background checks costing $130, and this expires far before their appointments.  He doesn’t know if they have to go back and have this done again.  Three character witnesses are required and may not be around when the appointment comes up; heard of people moving out of town or no longer available due to poor health.  The process is much faster in surrounding counties.  Even faster in other states, and we have the toughest gun laws in the country.  A new computer system was authorized in last year’s budget and will be very helpful once it is up and running.  He is hopeful that they can reallocate some personnel and get the level of service back down to about two months.   He assumes it would take a lot of man power just to reschedule appointments.  Hopefully people aren’t committed to April of 2014; could reschedule them in order.  We certainly don’t want anything from county government to slowdown the process; onerous enough with the state laws being passed onto our citizenry.  He is very anxious to hear from the Chief; how things are going, what is being done, what can be done short term, and how this can be addressed long term so that this doesn’t happen again, and we can provide good service to our citizens. 


Chief Balloni:

  • Important to note have been working collaboratively, let legislature know pistol permit detective was moved out of office to answer calls on the road, not trying to slow down process
  • Substantial loss of personnel over the years; had 2 full-time and 2 part-time personnel over 10 yrs ago, currently 1 full-time and 1 part-time person  
  • Office housed in records, office lost multiple individuals due retirement incentive and any open positions  were cut during budget over the last several yrs, unable to fill positions as they became vacant; he no longer has a secretary, currently assigned to this office, clerk from Civil office temporarily assigned there, trying to ease burden
  • With reduced staffing brought in outside analyst, broke down job functions and improved processes, recommended software, began research project
  • Software approved for this year’s budget, waiting on county processes to go forward
  • Last several weeks crisis state, always difficult but turned into booming industry; those never having guns now buying them, significant concern over 2nd amendment rights; reallocated some personnel, Sheriff’s ID office closed for a number of hours pr/wk, staff assisting with clerical work for pistol permits, reassigning injured person on light duty into office to work the counter, in process of calling people and moving them up ladder to process more quickly, trying to reduce backlog as much as possible while waiting for computer system
  • Consultant estimated computer system should be able to handle pistol permits within a couple months

Mr. May asked if this accounted for the new demand.  Chief Balloni responded that it doesn’t because the demand has increased since that time.  It is hard to measure the new demand because if we have fifteen people in line and the last two get up and leave it is hard to measure how much demand their actually is.  The demand is greater than what we are currently serving, and we are fourteen months behind. 


Chief Balloni:

  • Other counties process permits faster as personnel weren’t taken to work the road
  • Have very few problems with legal registered pistol permit owners, we are making law aboding citizens’ lives difficult; don’t think there is any problem buying an illegal gun

Mr. May made a motion to approve this item.


Chairman Holmquist stated they can’t make this strong enough; looking forward to working with them but this has to happen. 


Mr. Ryan stated that Chairman Holmquist is onerous and worried about the citizenry and their second amendment rights, he is also.  No one should be infringing on second amendment rights.  However there is also citizenry that worries about guns and the amount of guns out there.  In expediting this process he asked if anything would ever be compromised, such as background checks.  Chief Balloni responded that ultimately the Sheriff’s office does not issue permits; they are issued by the Judge.  Mr. Ryan added that they sign off for them.  Chief Balloni stated there has to be law enforcement sign off and they certainly don’t have any desire to be on the wrong side of this issue, in terms of giving someone a permit.   


Mr. Ryan stated for the record, he supports this resolution with slight apprehension; doesn’t want anything to be done that will compromise public safety.  Chairman Holmquist added that we have the strictest gun laws in the country, by far.  The process in place is working.  As the Chief stated, they hardly see any problems from registered pistols; process, background checks, fingerprinting will still be done.  A two month timeframe will still be the slowest process in the state. 


In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Chief Balloni confirmed this is just for pistol permits; long guns are also flying off the shelves.     


Mr. Dougherty asked if they knew how many pistol permits were processed in Onondaga County compared to surrounding counties per day; are we more efficient or less.  Chief Balloni stated our surrounding counties are much smaller by comparison.  He would have to reach out much further to get comparisons of equally populated areas.  Frankly he is not sure that they raided their pistol permit bureau for personnel as heavily as we have.  Chairman Holmquist stated antidotally they have heard that people in such and such counties are receiving them much faster.  He knows they have the problems the Chief has outlined right now; wants to be sure we aren’t slowing this down, and are working to expedite this process.  He is very confident that there will be money for the pistol permit budget going forward.     


Mr. Dougherty stated he worries that the $75,000 appropriated for software isn’t really going to fix this problem.  We have seen this with other things, such as PeopleSoft.  The spirit of this is great and can only help things to become more efficient but it takes a long time to get over the learning curve, installation and process.  He thinks this is money was well spent.  However he is concerned that we are going to install the software and our problems are going to go from fourteen months to eighteen months, while we try to figure out the details of this.  Chief Balloni added that his concerns are well founded.  Often time’s things get worse before they get better.  They have also seen times where they have implemented software and made it happen.  He has a great level of confidence that they can do this.  However there will be a learning curve; won’t be immediate.  In the interim they can fix it the old fashioned why, which is to throw personnel at it.  He is trying to do this within the budget constraints given.  Mr. Dougherty stated he is going to support this but he shares that concern.  He believes the money would have been better spent immediately on some number of personnel.  


Chairman Holmquist stated there is more and more demand as changes come down.  Mr. May noted the federal government hasn’t even weighed in yet.  Chairman Holmquist added we should be prepared in every way possible.  


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


The meeting was adjourned at 1:06 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Katherine M. French, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




Members Present:  Mr. Liedka, *Mr. Plochocki, Mrs. Ervin

Members Absent:  Mr. Knapp

Also Attending:  see attached list


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


1.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Michelle Clark, Deputy Chief Information Officer

        a.     Create R.P. 01 102700 1911, Client Solutions Manager, Grade 33, @ $62,755-$83,192

                Create R.P. 01 102700 1913, Client Solutions Manager, Grade 33, @ $62,755-$83,192

                Create R.P. 0 1 102700 1914, Enterprise Support Specialist, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 0744, Operation System Manager, Grade 34, @ $68,786-$91,187

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 9932, Information Systems Coordinator, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 9927, Programmer II, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293


  • 3 retirements – instead of just replacing, wanted to look at specs and job duties to see if positions still met needs
  • 2 from Client Services – Information Systems Coordinator and Operation Systems Manager – change those to Client Solutions Manager
  • Client Services has 2 houses – users or system administration; 7-9 people to manage, one for each side; include people that come in to other departments for service
  • Applications area – Programmer II – change to Enterprise Support Specialist
  • Updated titles, updated skill sets; all Civil Service - score within top 3; MC positions are still tested; not appointed
  • Brand new positions - $16,000 savings for year


Chair Rapp asked if they are at starting grades because they look like they are graded up.  Ms. Clark responded the two management positions are grade 33, and one of the management positions that retired was a grade 34, which is a reduction.  The other position was a grade 12 CSEA, so it is a one for one.  The Information Systems Coordinator was a grade 12, which has been changed to an MC grade 33.  The MC 34 is going down to an MC 33, and the CSEA 12 is going up to an MC 33; one is going down and one is going up which washes out.  Chair Rapp asked why they are making two management confidential positions.  Ms. Clark responded they will be managing about seven to nine people, and there is a confidential piece of management that these employees will be touching; health data, protective data, and Sheriff’s data.  There are background checks on all people in IT, as well as security policies they must sign, but there is also a confidential piece IT needs to make sure they are in line with because of everything the employees touch. 


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


Chair Rapp asked Mr. Fisher to discuss PeopleSoft, and where it stands.  Mr. Fisher stated the County was spending approximately $1.2 million per year with the IBM Mainframe Systems.


*Mr. Plochocki arrived at the meeting.


Mr. Fisher:

  • End of this year, County will not be spending any money with IBM Mainframe Systems
  • Last 3 ½ years been working on large program to replace outdated set of systems including financials that ran business called FAMIS; being replaced with PeopleSoft
  • No longer running on mainframe with green screens, will now be a web based system easier to use
  • Started financial piece in October, mad rush to get everything ready for January 1st
  • Have not closed 2012 yet - started year with FAMIS, then converted to PeopleSoft; close books in PeopleSoft
  • Stopped using FAMIS one day, all transactions up to that day came from FAMIS and were converted; some conversion issues; like with requisitions
  • Told this morning by Mr. Morgan, who met with Mr. Maturo the day before, that there is one page of glitches; once that is cleared, can finish the books
  • Replaced financials and purchasing - had Buyspeed which was used for purchasing; took requisitions from Buyspeed and pushed over to PeopleSoft; glitches from this
  • Changed Budgeting system – excel and access data bases stored in Btrack; used to repair budget then load into FAMIS; built new budget in Lynx (new budget system) then loaded into PeopleSoft
  • Budget used to have program profiles – i.e. Library had one for grants, one for Central, one for City, etc.
  • Budgeting in book thrown out the day the next year started because the accounting was not done that way; i.e. if a program were to close, and the Legislature asked which positions were eliminated, they were not able to say
  • New budgeting system has it all part of the same software; can measure financial reports in terms of budget against actual for the programs; departments not used to doing it that way and haven’t figured out how to use the information
  • Huge change affecting budgeting, financials, purchasing – done, lot more left to go; approx. 40-50% through project
  • Fixed price project - deal with system integrator; they’ve spent more hours than budgeted but they are eating it; this process is later than wanted but they will be here as long as it takes; want to be done by Sept/Oct; might be Nov/Dec
  • Managing contracts was in Lotus Notes - module will have supplier contracts in PeopleSoft; when going from purchasing to figuring out contract, all directly linked; everyone seeing same information
  • Getting rid of programmer positions - instead of asking for programmer to take information from one program to another, it will now be integrated; need someone trained in PeopleSoft
  • Will have business users able to get reports that used to depend on programmer for
  • Still to be implemented is Payroll and HR; financial showing allocation in each account and each department
  • Personnel with roster – right now allocate fringe benefits based on blended average; don’t look at each person and each department – blended rate in budget; when there are changes, mad dash after budget adopted to change
  • Can budget at the level of each employee and track their specific tier/contribution, so when looking at what means to cut the position, can tell what would happen to fringe rates 
  • Currently have a hard time with interdepartmental spread – realistically in a couple years when done, can budget interdepartmentally and in real time instead of a year or two later
  • People disagree with interdepartmental rate charged, no one knows why; current system not capable but in time to claim get grant money, then in compliance with law
  • Not using system for managerial accounting; financial is good and can produce reliable financial statements, but don’t use in real time for business decisions - looking to build a system to make business decisions and monitor real time
  • I.e. ask about hiring more people in Sheriff and reduce overtime – would the County save or lose?  Hard to get data out of Genesis, look at spreadsheet – should be a simple question; have to figure out who would have overtime, and how much would be paid; if they have a lot of overtime and last three years goes up, then what is effect on retirement
  • If County has an information system capable of using information and coming out in a form that business users can interpret, then can get an answer quicker, instead of getting back to Legislature in couple months w/unclear info
  • Ideally – tried making budget process more valuable; currently spending a lot of time to see what’s there, and no time being spent on brainstorming ideas
  • If no answers for the Legislature, then Legislature left saying take $200,000 out, and Budget/Dept have to figure it out
  • Department will bulk up lines in case Legislature wants to cut back


Mr. Fisher responded to Mrs. Ervin’s question regarding when the project will be running smoothly:

  • Budgeting system is done; most of the financials are done – general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchasing module; some insular modules (like supplier contract manager) have yet to be bolted into the financials
  • HR and payroll has yet to be done – looking at time frame ideally October 1st to produce payroll in PeopleSoft
  • For budget - budgeting has its own payroll piece which will be implemented next year; system used for financials (Lynx), multidimensional database – makes easy to slice and dice information; will deploy in 2014 for 2015 budget
  • Payroll and benefits will be done in PeopleSoft – accounting will be done this year
  • Personnel leading this with other departments working out how to replace Genesis – current payroll program

Mrs. Ervin asked if Mr. Fisher was confident the glitches will be fixed.  Mr. Fisher responded the glitches they know about will be fixed, and new glitches will show up; departments will be impacted, work will slow down, and outside vendors will scream and yell like they are.  Chair Rapp asked if the outside vendor part has been fixed.  Mr. Fisher responded it is smaller.  There was a point the County was 20 – 25 days behind paying, but explained to the vendors that it was the system.  They are still not current but closer.  Hopefully this will not turn into the National Grid issue, where they switched new systems, and were not able to pay their employees. 


Mr. Liedka stated that part of the hope of this project was to bring on other municipalities as pilots to realize efficiencies; especially through purchasing.  Is the County ready for this or is this years down the road?  Mr. Fisher replied they will be ready January 1st for any town that would like to use the County’s financial system.  Mr. Liedka commented the towns and villages are spending a lot of money on financial systems.  Mr. Fisher stated they are actively looking for two or three towns to offer the budgeting system that is up and running, and the financial system.  There have been talks with Geddes and some talk with Cicero.  Mr. Fisher responded to Chair Rapp that it would be January 2014; not reverting to this past January. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Preliminary discussions with Dewitt who asked for a demo; demo has been done for one municipality so far
  • County has licenses from Oracle that make it free, and IT is ready to support and train any municipality for free; the exception is the City as they need to buy their own license
  • County could take on 2 or 3 towns in 2014 to work out kinks and within a few years add more towns and villages
  • Towns would be using the County’s accounting system, but it’s their data; stored on County computers, but the town/village would determine who has access to it
  • Business units – each PeopleSoft business would have its own unit with their data; same module – so if purchasing from County, would purchase through PeopleSoft and accounting would go directly into their financial system
  • County backs up; ensures it is running 24/7/265; County pays for maintenance
  • Everyone using same system – Comptroller in Geddes, Salina – could have 1 comptroller handle more than 1 town
  • County Executive had conversations with Mr. Antonacci regarding the County Comptroller doing comptroller functions for the towns; Mr. Antonacci was very interested in this; everyone standardized and free, will make it easy
  • Can eventually say the County/towns/villages all budget using the same system; County Comptroller can handle multiple towns; towns can pay for a fraction of a comptroller instead of all individual

Chair Rapp asked what is next.  Mr. Fisher:

  • Purchasing/Law/Comptroller – contracts out of Lotus Notes integrated to PeopleSoft
  • Purchasing and Comptroller – most implementation was purchasing and general ledgers
  • Finance Department will become the source of answers; getting more involved; not just how system works but how will the County use it; what business processes have to be added; how are things going to change
  • Finance team will work with departments on their budget and fiscal affairs
  • Currently a Fiscal Officer and Personnel Administrator in every department – does it make sense to centralize; one FO and Personnel Admin for multiple depts.
  • Shift work – reduce labor required; expect to see fewer people doing the work; staffing efficiencies

Chair Rapp commented the committee will have Mr. Fisher come back in another quarter.  Mr. Fisher offered to present a demo, and walk through the whole process.  Chair Rapp responded it was interesting to see how things were accomplished.  Chair Rapp stated she may plan a committee in the next quarter in the Civic Center.  Mr. Fisher added:

  • County not spending money on mainframes including law enforcement system - will be replaced w/web based system
  • Not spending money w/IBM on mainframes but spending money as vendor; own items, no lease payments
  • Lease payments were $1.2 million – now $400,00 - $500,000; had to buy system; saving significantly
  • VoIP system – core switches fully installed; will see in Civic Center, DA, Sheriff - switching to new phones
  • $900,000 spent with Verizon on lines – bulk of them will go away; each department will have to determine training, auto attendant, features of phone; more like a computer; have to think about how to use; infrastructure
  • By 2nd quarter VoIP should be done with big buildings; remote buildings will take longer; eliminate Verizon bill
  • Will be paying to connect voice data; SIP trunks to buy – $100,000/year; versus spending $900,000
  • Buy system, own, finance; save money from day one; when done paying off bonds, it’s a huge savings

The meeting was adjourned at 11:06 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *





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

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


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





        a.     Amending 2013 Co. Budget to Accept State Construction Funds for the Onondaga County Public Library and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter Into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($125,363)


        a.     Memorializing the New York State Legislature to Adopt Legislation Authorizing a Lease of Property Located at Onondaga Lake Park to the Syracuse Chargers for a Period Up to Twenty-Five (25) Years

       b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Lease Agreement with the Syracuse Chargers for the Boathouse Property at Onondaga Lake Park for a Period of up to Twenty-Five (25) Years

3.     SHERIFF:      

        a.     Authorizing an Agreement with the Town of LaFayette for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office to Provide Enhanced Police Services ($2,500)    

        b.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with Oswego County to Provide Helicopter Services ($10,000)

Mr. Jordan referred to 3a and asked what services the town gets for $2,500.  Chairman Knapp explained that the Sheriff’s Department provides traffic control for two events in the Town of Lafayette, Community Days and the Apple Festival. 

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




1.     FINANCE:  Don Weber, Real Property Tax Director

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

  • Correction of errors on one parcel, Town of Dewitt

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


2.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution


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

3.     DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Engineering Design Expenses in Connection with a DOT Project in and for the County of Onondaga, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($1,500,000)

Mr. Donnelly:

  • Engineering design cost – new maintenance facility in Town of Clay
  • Currently DOT has 4 maintenance facilities – the north area facility and Camillus facilities are in need of significant rehabilitation – neither of the current facilities were designed for DOT
  • Rehab cost:  North area $18.9 million, Camillus $8.3 million.
  • Proposal to consolidate the two into one facility
  • Land purchased in 2009 - Town of Clay, corner of Morgan and Buckley Roads
  • Proposal is to build a facility at Clay location – design satisfies operation needs much better than what exits; will be less expensive to maintain; smaller footprint
  • Estimated total cost of project is $17.6 million


Mr. Jordan referred to issues of runoff from trucks, and salt needing to be contained, and asked if the new facility will have entrapment/containment in place.  Mr. Donnelly said that a couple of years ago DOT did a self-EPA audit and found challenges at all of the facilities.  Upgrades have been done and they are in compliance.  This plan would allow them to exceed any type of storm runoff regulations.


Mr. Kilmartin asked if there is sufficient room for expansion or consolidation with towns, villages or other counties at the new facility.  Mr. Donnelly referred to the schematic design.  He noted that there is a 5 year agreement in place with the towns for snowplowing.  They have made sure that the facility will be designed in such a way that if there is ever an interest from the Town of Clay to join in and be part of the facility, then the facility could be expanded--adding on more bays for more trucks.  Mr. Jordan said that the plan is only for one portion of the site, so there is plenty of room to add on if there was ever a desire.  Mr. Donnelly agreed, noting that two parcels were purchased, the proposal is to only build on one and the other would be available for future expansion.


Mr. May asked about ingress/egress to the parcel.  Mr. Donnelly said that there is access on Morgan and Buckley Roads.  They are proposing that all access be on Morgan Road.  In 2009 a preliminary traffic study was done and there is plenty of volume to capacity ratio; a gap analysis was done to make sure the trucks could get into and out of there during peak hours.  Mr. May asked if it will be controlled; Mr. Donnelly said that at this point they don’t plan to put up a signal, but could entertain it if they find any operational difficulties.


Chairman Knapp referred to total mileage regarding travel time, etc. and noted that this location could be more efficient.  Mr. Donnelly said that as they go forward, they will be modifying the operational efficiency in growing from 4 shops down to 3.  They looked at changing where the trucks would come out of.  A challenge is that there are a lot of county roads in the towns of Cicero, Clay and Lysander that were effectively coming out of the Molloy Road facility.  Trying to get to the northern part of the county from the Molloy Road location is a challenge.  They looked at travel time from point of origin to ultimate destination.  Without any other operational changes, there is about 6% shorter travel times county wide by going to a third spot.  Currently, with the Jamesville section they put one truck in Fabius and one in Town of Tully highway facilities; they are looking at Elbridge, Van Buren, Dewitt and Manlius.  As they move forward, they may be able to come up with even better response times by stationing trucks at those locations.


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Donnelly noted that a full build out traffic study will be done as part of the SEQR and part of the design process.  They are not subject to go before the Town of Clay Planning Board; he did a briefing in 2009, and as they get further into a more final design he is happy to present a status to them.


Mr. May said the idea of stationing trucks in the towns is a great one. He referred to the contracts with the towns, and asked if there is a need to go back and renegotiate based on this project coming to reality.  Mr. Donnelly said that they don’t because when the last negotiation was done, they looked at this.  If the towns decide they want to do something different, they would look at swapping miles, but would look to keep the mileage distribution the same as it is right now.  Chairman Knapp said that he feels the towns are pretty satisfied with their current level of snowplowing. 


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


4.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Duane Owens, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing an Agreement Between the City of Syracuse and the Co. of Onondaga Relating to the Use of the City Fuel Facility at the Dept. of Public Works by Onondaga County Vehicles

Mr. Owens:

  • County’s utilization of City’s gas filling station on Canal Street, which the County has utilized since 1994
  • Primarily for Sheriff’s vehicles – about half of the usage

Mr. May referred to the County charging less for gas than what the City charges the County.  Mr. Owens said that County DOT charges $.03, which is very minimum – County does not look to recoup additional money to support the infrastructure.  Chairman Knapp said that it should be looked into as the agreement has been in place for a long time.  He noted that Jamesville Fire Department does do a lot for the County in going to the prison and Jamesville Beach Park.


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


5.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Michele Clark, Deputy Chief Information Officer

        a.     Create R.P. 01 102700 1911, Client Solutions Manager, Grade 33, @ $62,755-$83,192

                Create R.P. 01 102700 1913, Client Solutions Manager, Grade 33, @ $62,755-$83,192

                Create R.P. 0 1 102700 1914, Enterprise Support Specialist, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 0744, Operation System Manager, Grade 34, @ $68,786-$91,187

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 9932, Information Systems Coordinator, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293

                Abolish R.P. 01 102700 9927, Programmer II, Grade 12, @ $54,453-$60,293


Mrs. Clark:

  • Abolish 3 positions, which were retirements
  • Reorganization – create 3 other positions
  • 2013 annual savings – approx. $16,000

Chairman Knapp asked about the step increases.  Mrs. Clark said that there are people in-house that they would like to promote to Client Solutions Managers.  Based on the m/c promotion formula, they would be slotted at step I.  The Enterprise Support Specialist would be a beginning step; they will go outside to hire for it.


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Clark said that of the 3 abolished positions, one is a m/c and the other two are CSEA positions; the 3 new positions are 2 M/C’s (Client Solutions Manager) and one CSEA position (Enterprise Support Specialist).  They are all tested positions.  For the M/C positions, they will come in with a 3-step increase.  Mr. Holmquist asked if that is the highest step that can be done, without coming to the legislature and asking.  Mr. Morgan said that it is.


Mr. Knapp asked for the rationale behind going from a CSEA position to an MC.  Mrs. Clark said that the Client Solution Managers will manage between 7 – 9 people.  They are confidential – handling HIPA compliant data, law enforcement data – background checks are done and they sign security acknowledgements.


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


6.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report – NONE


7.     SOCIAL SERVICES:  Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Confirming the Reappointment of David A. Sutkowy as the Onondaga County Commissioner of Social Services

Mr. Fisher:

  • DSS Commissioner written into Charter that it has a 5 year term
  • Mr. Sutkowy has been in the position for 15 years
  • DSS is largest department; budget is over $240 million; staff of 740
  • Commissioner Sutkowy has done a superlative job; asking for reappointment to be confirmed

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


Legislators Kilmartin, Ervin, Williams and Holmquist asked to be listed as co-sponsors on the resolution.


8.     WAYS & MEANS, MISC.

        a.     Amending 2013 Co. Budget to Appropriate Prior Year Surplus Fund Balance to be used Toward Hosting Future Events for the U.S. Bowling Congress, $1,800,000 (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Mr. Holder:  (see attachment #1)

  • Very hopeful that the US Bowling Congress will select Syracuse for their 2018 Open Championship
  • 2011 hosted Women’s Championship; generated 40k bowlers, $40 million in travel spending
  • This is a larger event; coed; runs from Feb – July; will bring 60k bowlers, plus 20k friends and family; will generate $70 million in travel spending
  • Will be required to give US Bowling Congress use of convention center from mid Dec. 2017 – July/Aug. 2018
  • Required to pay them a bid fee - only paid if signed.  Set up in 2 payments – first upon signing contract, $500k – probably in early summer (need 3-4 months for negotiation phase); $1.3 million payable in 2018 – one month prior to commencement of tournament
  • Handout depicts worst case scenario – expenses and revenues
  • 20 to 1 return on investment

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Holder said that the actual cost to the County is $3.3 million.  The remaining revenue comes from concessions--food and beverage at Oncenter.  The figures will be updated; it is known that they have to have the $1.8 million; the rest will come in the future – look at projections for Oncenter, other sources of revenue – have 5 years to develop the full picture.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chairman McMahon said that the $1.8 million will be set aside in a project account.  Mr. Jordan asked if there are limitations to investing money in a project account; Mr. Morgan said that there isn’t.


Mr. Jordan said that with the women’s tour, a number of the bowlers weren’t staying locally and asked what is being done to ensure that they stay in Onondaga for this tournament.  Mr. Holder said that in 2011 the mass majority of the women stayed in Onondaga County.  They weren’t necessarily staying in the room block – hotels designated special rate for them.  A few stayed outside of Onondaga County.  In the bid for the US Bowling Congress, they were asked to take a more active role with the CVB in helping them with the room block.  In 2011 they were spread throughout the county; it challenged the US Bowling Congress and attendees because they were staying all over the place.  For this tournament, they would like to narrow it down to 2 or 3 hotel clusters.  Chairman McMahon said that the US Bowling Congress is excited about the hotel rooms in the community.  The Marriot is coming on line; is confident that by 2013 a convention center hotel will be moving in one way or another. 


Mr. May said it is natural for the bowlers and event organizers to want some concentration of attendees.  However, it will also create opportunities in other areas that aren’t booked – he cautioned that if they are inside the borders of Onondaga County, they should see some benefit from this. 


Mr. Kilmartin asked if CVB will be working with the Law Department on the contract.  Mr. Holder said that they would be, as well as SMG attorneys, and also from CenterState CEO.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if once the $500k is made, will language be incorporated stating that it is refundable if the event does not come off in 2017.  Mr. Holder said he believes that language is included.


Mr. Kilmartin asked for detail of the $1.3 million.  Mr. Holder:

  • 2011 – anticipated expenses, and those that arise as the tournament approaches
  • The Oncenter team took all expenses with hosting this event – food, beverage, additional labor, services from trash removal, warehouse for storage, etc. and have provided a worst case scenario
  • Will be working alongside US Bowling Congress to secure major sponsors; Turning Stone will be a sponsorship investor; Destiny USA will be asked to come to the table


Mr. May said it is a great investment; all taxpayers will benefit from the sales tax generated by it.  $1.8 million is a big, one-time hit to fund balance; he asked where the rest will be funded from – is ROT being considered.  Chairman McMahon said that the increases are countering what SMG’s potential losses will be in that year – feels it should come from ROT, which is where we fund them currently.  It is known that in 2018 there will have to be a greater influx in SMG’s account because of the burden being put on them for this event.


Mr. May referred to the handout and asked why the subsidy to SMG of $1.1 million is only shown in 2018 and nothing in previous years.  Mr. Holder said that it is because 2018 is when the expenses actually hit.  The $1.1 million covers the Oncenter’s shortfall for each of those previous years.  It will be $1.1 million plus the additional amount to cover bowling.  Mr. May said that the $1.1 million is their annual subsidy; Mr. Holder said that it is noted so as not to lose sight of it.  He noted the SMG has been committed to lowering the annual subsidy; $1.1 million is a lower amount than what is in place now.


Mr. Ervin referred to transportation, noting that there were some problems with the last tournament.  Mr. Holder said that for the women’s championship, there was no requirement to provide shuttling.  A private business stepped up to do the shuttling and realized what an undertaking they volunteered for; it didn’t work out.  Transportation is not part of this event; not a requirement on the local community and not something the community is aiming to take on.  This group is comfortable driving from their hotel to the convention center; the women’s championship philosophy was to get to the hotel, leave the car behind and everyone else takes care of them.  They depended heavily on hotel shuttles.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Holder said that the average stay is about 4.5 days, 3.5 nights.


Chairman Knapp asked about the bowling equipment.  Mr. Holder said that the full convention center is constructed for this event; the bowling equipment is owned by the US Bowling Congress; when finished they sell it off to different bowling venues across the country.  There will be 48 lanes in the convention center, and an additional 12 – 16 lanes in the ball rooms.


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


        b.     Requesting the NYS Legislature and Governor to Provide Funding to Allow for Studies Related to Identifying Opportunities for Increased Efficiencies, Cost Savings, and Modernization of Local Governments within the County of Onondaga (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Chairman McMahon said that this is a joint effort with Syracuse 2020 and CenterState CEO.  Senator DeFrancisco has worked with these organizations in trying to secure funding for a commission to look at overall efficiencies in targeted areas with potential government modernization.  The Senator asked for Home Rule messages from the City Council and County Legislature; the Council passed this 1.5 weeks ago.  This is not an effort to dissolve, cities, towns, villages, etc..  It is an effort to look at government functions:  what they do, what it costs, who does it well, and a comparison of the municipalities--then see if there is anything to put forward to a referendum to make changes.  The funds the Senator secures would pay for the commission, hire the necessary consultants, and look at the different functions of government.  It will be an independent set of eyes to analyze different functions, i.e. trash pickup, parks, etc.


Mr. May said that NYS Comptroller’s office is going from town to town and village to village, on a random, costly basis to examine every dimension of town and village business.  Many times the stops are 3 – 4 months on site; it is may be a year to produce a report; costing taxpayers a lot of money.  The information is there because they look at everything that has been spoken of today.  He asked if we are tapping the right information; hopes that a group like this is looking in that direction to find information and not re-create the wheel because the data is out there.  Ms. Murphy said that the data does exist.  It is difficult to come to a real recommendation, for example snow plowing -- service delivery, efficiency, streamline, best buy for the taxpayers, without the whole picture and all of the information.  There is no one place, including the Comptroller’s office where it all exists.  She agrees that the data exists in a lot of pockets.  If they consolidate all of the data, the next step after that is to take the data on every municipality, look at what they pay, what it means, why they contract out, what the contract says, etc. 


Mr. Jordan said that it seems this is already going on; there are applications all of the time for governmental efficiencies.  He is not sure how this is different than the current programs.  Chairman McMahon said that it is taking a macro perspective; the Comptroller hasn’t taken a look at it regionally to compare municipalities.  The goal is to look at it from a regional standpoint and possibly come up with regional solutions.  Mr. Jordan said that there are regional boards that are set up and a lot of the funding is coming from Albany for governmental efficiency and modernization.  Maybe the focus is different in focusing on more regionalized planning, but what is there now doesn’t exclude that, it seems to be more expansive where it can either regionalized or localized planning.  Ms. Murphy said that she is not aware of any one grant approved in Onondaga County to examine the analytics on all of the services.  The goal is to look at all of the services that the taxpayers pay for; what it costs, does it make sense, and what can be learned.  It is step one in coming up with real solutions and recommendations.  Mr. Simpson said that there are a number of local government efficiency grants that Onondaga County applied for, but were not approved in the last funding cycle.  Part of the hope is to articulate to the State of New York that this is something that we as a community; something that we want them to make an investment in for our community in the way we are asking them to.


Mr. Holmquist said that there is strong public support for this.  The Senator and the parties involved will leverage all of the previous studies and resources.  In Manlius, there have been numerous studies; there is an interest – there are 4 elected governments in the town.  There are efficiencies and they have seen great success, i.e. created a trash district wherein previously there were 7 days of trash trucks running in and out of the town because each homeowner was contracting $300-$400/year.  He pointed out that public input, a bottom up approach is critical.  He reviewed the process that was followed in Manlius.  The villages were included and opted out, but are welcome to join at some point in the future.  Public input is critical; they need to be given an opportunity for feedback.


Mr. Kilmartin noted that a great deal of thought has gone into this; there is great potential for everyone involved.  


Mr. Fisher said that the Comptroller’s data shows the “what” – “what is taxed”, but there isn’t the “how or the why” it exists.  Until that is looked at, it can’t be answered as to what changes might work or not work.


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


       c.     Resolution Opposing the New York State Governor’s Proposal to Limit the Ability of Industrial Development Agencies to Grant State Sales Tax Exemptions as Part of Local Economic Development Efforts (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Mr. McMahon:

  • Would have a devastating impact on local economic development efforts
  • A project right now is before IDA – will be one of 12 markets in the northeast to get a COSCO – sales tax exemptions from the state are what helps make the economics work; it helps keep economic development decisions locally
  • The Governor has a Regional Economic Development Council, which is a good way to approach it, but when there is a project or a company looking to expand or add jobs, having another layer of bureaucracy in Albany to deal with is taking away our ability to grant that exemption and shift it to the committee in Albany – it is  power grab by the State of New York to totally control economic development
  • NYS delegation has been asked to pull this out of the Governor’s budget
  • It is a bad idea, bad policy and will impact Onondaga County in a very negative way


Legislators May, Jordan and Knapp asked to be listed as co-sponsors.


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


Chairman Knapp noted that he was on the IDA for many years, and one of the big complaints he hears was that there were so many different agencies and boards that companies had to go before to get anything done.  Other states have a one-stop-shop.  This is adding another layer of bureaucracy.  The City supports this as well.


Mr. Jordan noted that it seems that everything that goes to Albany is essentially being dominated by downstate.  If the decisions are made in Albany, it could be the detriment to upstate cities and municipalities.  Local control needs to be maintained. 


A vote was taken on the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Simpson, CenterState CEO, said that this is not something they support, and is pretty confident it will come out of the budget.


        d.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc., $75,000 (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)


Mr. Butler, CNY Arts:

  • Requesting quarterly payment for Symphoria
  • Appropriate application has been filed; finished first phase of start up -- ending in the black
  • They have completed their contract for performances; have robust schedule going through May of this year

In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Garland, Symphoria Board of Directors and musician, said that there were concerts over the weekend.  There is an educational concert on March 6th and a classics and young people’s concert on March 9th.  The attendance over the weekend was a little light; they found themselves competing with a number of other events and with the schools’ winter break. There was very good attendance in January.  He thanks the legislature for its support and assistance, it is very much appreciated. 


Chairman McMahon asked if the contract with the Opera was worked out.  Mr. Garland said it is beneficial to Symphoria and the Opera. 


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  AYES: 6:  NOES:  1 (May); Motion carried.


      e.     Memorializing Opposition for Mandated Firearm Liability Insurance as Proposed Before the State Assembly (A.3908) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Knapp)

Chairman McMahon:

  • Opposing Assemblyman Ortiz’s legislation; there is no Senate sponsor
  • The legislation mandates that any law abiding citizen that owns a gun has to have $1 million insurance policy
  • A lots of news on SAFE Act and have heard from a lot of constituents regarding the process at the State level and how it was voted on

Mr. Jordan said that this severely impacts people’s rights under the 2nd Amendment.


Mr. Jordan made a motion to approve this item.


Mrs. Ervin asked why Ways & Means Committee is dealing with this, questioning what is financial about this resolution and what the urgency is.  Chairman McMahon said that the deadline was missed for Public Safety Committee and the next step was Ways & Means Committee.  It is his privy as Chairman to put any legislation on any committee.  The urgency is that this is piling on the Safe Act; piling on a legal gun owners’ rights; many would argue it is a bad policy decision. 


Mr. Holmquist said that he supports this resolution.  He said the Safe Act and public reaction to it is going to be one of the biggest political issues that our state faces; the issue transcends politics, partisanship, Republican/Democrat.  It goes to the core of the Constitution and Freedom. The process and content of Safe Act is embarrassing.  There was zero public input; zero public hearing, zero public meetings – jammed automatously through Safe Act.  It is so egregious that the NYS Association of Sheriffs, NYS Association of County Clerks are in favor of repealing the Safe Act, which are not partisan organizations.  He expects a resolution at session fully repealing the Safe Act--there are very good reasons; starting with the process.  Citizens are rising; facing a freedom tsunami.


Legislators May, Holmquist, Kilmartin, Knapp and Jordan asked to be listed as cosponsors.


Mr. Jordan said that he has seen very few issues over the 7 years he has been legislator, with such an overwhelming negative response. 


Mr. Kilmartin noted that while this issue does not have a direct financial impact on county government, it would have a direct financial impact on many citizens in the county.  This is a way to blunt this legislation and stop it as soon as possible, as it will have such a dramatic impact on law abiding citizens who own or hope to own guns.


Mr. May seconded the motion.  AYES: 5 (Knapp, Jordan, May, Holmquist, Kilmartin); NOES:  2 (Ervin, William); MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Pending litigation


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, to enter inter executive session for the purpose of discussion of pending litigation regarding the matter of Chundra Smith V. County of Onondaga, Tashara Pinet, Adminstrator of the Estate of Raul Pinet, V. the County of Onondaga; Joseph Masterpol V. County of Onondaga, and CSEA Article 78.  Mrs. Ervin seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


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


Chairman Knapp adjourned the meeting at 10:30 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


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