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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, Mrs. Tassone, *Ms. Williams


Also Attending:  Chairman McMahon and see attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.  Motions were made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTIONS CARRIED.


*Ms. Williams arrived at the meeting.


1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner; Matt Millea, Deputy County Executive; Matt Marko, Program Manager - CH2M Hill

        a.     Informational – WEP Plumbing Section  -  PULLED

Chairman Plochocki took the agenda out of order.


        c.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($388,000)


Mr. Rhoads:

  • EPA grant used countywide with regard to stormwater
  • $30k offsets local dollars, allocated towards development of green handbook for utilization of green infrastructure within DOT work

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated the balance of the funds would be used to manage stormwater at WEP campuses and other assets owned by WEP. 

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

        d.     Authorizing Acceptance of Additional Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovative Grants Program and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($37,500)


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Reallocated NYS EFC funds, originally awarded to projects throughout NYS, receiver unable to meet appropriated deadlines
  • Funds reallocated to communities able to respond
  • Use for GIGP funding, War Memorial rainwater collection


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Millea confirmed, they will now be able to bond for less money.  Mr. Rhoads confirmed the local share continues to decrease as a result of this grant.  Mrs. Rapp added, this doesn’t mean we are going to do additional work at the War Memorial; just sub planting the funds.  Mr. Rhoads agreed. 


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


        e.     Authorizing Intermunicipal Agreements to Comply with the Amended Consent Judgment CSO and TMDL Requirements and to Maximize Grant Funds for Green Technology


Chairman Plochocki stated this item will be presentation and discussed.  No vote will be taken as amendments may be forth coming.


Mr. Millea:

  • Evolution of green program, need to fine tune how legal documentation is executed for payments to partners
  • Manage intermunicipal projects through access ordinance with the City or when the City advances a project we agree to contribute funding and they execute the project; have been advancing these types of cooperative projects believing they had the authorization per 2009 4th stipulation of the ACJ resolution
  • Per Law department want resolution explicitly authorizing the County Executive to enter into IMA’s for specific projects; makes WEP and CH2M Hill nimble and able to advance green infrastructure projects within context of road recon
  • Caught off guard last year with Shonnard Street repavement project , could have put in significant green infrastructure by claiming 3 or 4 feet on either side of street, large amount of rainwater could have been captured in cost effective manner, weren’t nimble enough to make this a reality; lesson learned
  • Resolution needs to be revised based on conversations with leadership; asking legislature to consider giving the County Executive authority to enter into IMA’s for road reconstruction projects over the next 6 years, when cost effective


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Millea stated they would not come back before the legislature for each project; would be as transparent as possible.  Need to be nimble for road recon, weeks of planning not months.  IMA authorization is specifically for road recon; not asking for broad authority in other areas.  


Mr. Millea continued:

  • Asking permission to enter into IMA’s with Upstate University, were looking at Upstate threw GIF public/private partnership, realized contracting with municipality, Code and Charter requires IMA approved by the Legislature, great deal of opportunity to execute low cost, high value projects
  • Project financial information sheet provided (see attachment No. 1)
  • Seeking IMA approval for project with SUNY ESF
  • Resolution revised to come back to the legislature for specific projects that aren’t road recon within the City of Syracuse, opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure
  • Revised draft resolution provided for discuss purpose only, will have additional changes; proposed change to final resolve clause “RESOLVED, that the County Executive is authorized to enter into inter-municipal agreements with the City of Syracuse for the incorporation of Green Infrastructure in the following specific projects in an amount not to exceed the cost of the combination of an appropriate share of design services and the bid amounts of green infrastructure technologies incorporated and verified by the County’s Green Infrastructure Program Manager, which include:

        1. Bank Alley Improvement Project (estimated budget $108,000, est. capture 434,000 gl;)

        2. Hanover Square Renovation   (estimated budget $132,000 est. capture 535,000 gl;)

        3. Connective Corridor (estimated budget $3.825m est. capture 15.3m gl)”; deliberately written based on experience with Connective Corridor, designs for phase 1a and 1b were complete, we asked to add green infrastructure, they agreed, we cover costs for design changes


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Marko stated the cost for professional services was about $118,000 for the Connective Corridor.  This was because they had already started the project and design changes were necessary to implement green. 


Mrs. Rapp asked if the other projects listed in the resolution had been started.  Mr. Millea stated the Connective Corridor has started. 


Mr. Millea stated this resolution is a cleanup for them.  He asked Mr. Mendez to explain how we got here; have some existing IMA authority for the Connective Corridor in Forman Park.  Mr. Mendez stated there was authority for Forman Park, limited to a particular sum.  His understanding is that other opportunities were identified as the project progressed. 


Mr. Millea continued:

  • Asked to add significant green to Connective Corridor, 15.3m gls of capture for $3.825m; tremendous value, more cost effective to piggy back on projects, partner with someone already putting capital in the ground 
  • Need to contribute to design, pay their vendor; verification by program manager, only pay for green infrastructure


Mr. Millea stated they recently had an instance where a partner wanted to add inserts to storm drains; very beneficial to us from GI and nutrient prospective.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Marko stated the inserts are a screen put inside the catch basin; provides a level of protection before it gets into the green infrastructure.  Mrs. Rapp asked if screens had to be cleaned regularly.  Mr. Millea responded that this is some of the discussion they will be having on these projects, will we put them in and will we maintain them.  Managerially committed up to $900k for phase 1a, bids came in at $778k for green improvements we were making.  We go through a rigorous review process of components, only reimburse up to the bid amount for the technologies put in at our request.  Mr. Marko added we are only paying the actual costs; always work with the partner to make sure bid is structured in a way to itemize the costs for green infrastructure.  In this case it was a specific pay item. 


Mrs. Rapp asked how the maintenance was going to be completed.  Located in the city and city project, typically they would perform the maintenance.  Mr. Millea responded that this becomes one of the Commissioners’ challenges moving forward.  A broader discussion on the maintenance program should take place in the future.  Mrs. Rapp agreed, adding this is going to be a big component.  Mr. Millea added they are talking about green jobs, partnerships with nonprofits in the community, connecting our asset management system to our community partners and having a cost effective approach to performing maintenance.  It will be part of WEP’s budget going forward.  Internally they have had a number of discussions on this, as a number of items approved in WEP’s budget last year, have started to move this forward.  We have made great progress improving our asset management systems, have linkage with tablet technology, and can potentially partner with Onondaga Environmental Institute or Onondaga Earth Core. 


Mr. Millea stated he would welcome the opportunity to discuss this, perhaps spend an hour with the committee this fall or winter.  Mrs. Rapp added that without maintenance, all of these things will be spending good money after bad.  Mr. Marko stated the maintenance of green infrastructure is an exchange for the maintenance that would have been involved with gray infrastructure.  He is confident maintenance can be completed for the same funds or less.  They are working together to economize maintenance, being more efficient overall with green and gray.  Mr. Millea added they want to avoid public employees doing that which can be done, more cost effectively, by people in the community.  Mr. Rhoads stated that all of WEP’s assets require a lot of maintenance.  Next year’s budget includes the Clinton project coming online, as well as massive gray projects.  Gray projects have very significant maintenance and utility costs.  The green maintenance discussion is nice to have but let’s not make a mountain out of a mole hill.  He believes the green maintenance is going to be much less than the gray.  Gray projects have to be flushed, and are triple flushed after events.  There is housekeeping and structures.  A tree will last 80 years without a lot of care.  A structure will require ongoing maintenance; painting every couple of years, new roof, etc.


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Millea stated the legislature hadn’t approved all the projects on the list.  Mr. Marko stated Upstate University has agreed to incorporate green infrastructure into their projects, they are the property owner.  We would be paying a contribution towards the green portion of the project, much like the Connective Corridor.  This follows a very rigorous process similar to the GIF framework; same funding mechanism calculator etc.  They are asking to execute an IMA instead of a contract.  


Mrs. Tassone asked if more projects would be added.  Mr. Millea stated they anticipate there will be extra projects.  This relates to the two final resolved clauses; will amend the resolve to list the actual school districts included on the school projects list.  Going forward whenever there is a new project, will come back for legislative approval and amend the resolution as the program evolves. 


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Millea stated going forward they will seek authorization from the legislature for any projects they wish to add within the City or school districts that aren’t part of road construction projects.  The only project they are seeking broad authority for is road construction projects within the City.  Chairman Plochocki stated Mrs. Tassone is asking if they would be bypassing the legislature for road construction projects.  Mr. Millea stated he hated to use the word bypass.  The legislature would be updated via the monthly reports and projects other than road reconstruction will come back to the legislature for approval. 


Mr. Millea stated the City is doing a rehabilitation of Bank Alley and asked if we wanted to add green infrastructure; want to be sure we have the ability to enter into an appropriate IMA with them.  We will come back and seek approval for the Bank Alley project.  We don’t know what will come down the road.  Mr. Marko meets with the City every two weeks; discuss projects in the pipeline and anything new.  The Bank Alley project came up six to eight months ago and was a priority. 


Mr. Marko stated they need agility for road recon.  DPW runs the decision making ad hoc; always in a state of flux, changes very quickly.  The list is not finalized until the spring just before construction starts.  Need to be able to jump in and do an instant design from a Friday meeting, 2 weeks later have a preliminary design, work with the City for implementation with their street reconstruction contractor.  Mrs. Tassone asked if there were a lot of last minute decisions.  Mr. Marko responded that there are about 6 road recon projects a year from executed lists, which might have had 12 projects.  We screen the list as it evolves, for the best projects.  Some aren’t suitable as they are in locations that aren’t part of the sewershed.  When we get a project we want to do, often have to complete design within a matter of weeks, as construction begins almost immediately.


Chairman McMahon stated the City road reconstruction budget is about $1m and is cut each year; talking about 5 or 6 streets.  Typically those streets are changed as the counsel has to approve the streets; may want construction on streets in their district.  The ability to forecast these out is not great; makes since to approve the IMA to take advantage of these opportunities.  Mr. Marko stated these projects are a good economic deal for the program.  As manager, he wants these low costs gallons.  To pass this up is a greater risk than the authority they are asking for.  


Mrs. Rapp stated we are not approving any additional monies.  This is just the allocation of the money; determining the most economic way to spend these funds.  Mr. Millea confirmed this does not expand in anyway the financial restrictions that are already in the budget.  Mrs. Rapp added this was just a smart thing to do.


Mr. Millea stated that the numbers are remarkable.  The Kennedy Square project is about 5 cents per gallon of capture, great value for the money; target is 35 cents per gallon. 


Ms. Williams stated there is a maximum spending amount of $500k for future projects.  She questioned if this was the final number or if it would increase.  Mr. Marko stated this list was prepared for discussion purposes.  There will be no additional ESF projects.  Upstate continues to expand and is always in a state of flux.  The list is what we have today, will be others with Upstate Medical; guessing 50% over the next 6 yrs could be more or less.  Mr. Millea added Upstate has a very aggressive five year capital plan and has been great to work with.  Townsend Towers is a great example; bio retention strip in the center of new parking lot.  They have bought into what we are doing and want to be helpful.  We want to be sure we are there for them, as a partner.  Mr. Marko added they want to continue to pursue them aggressively to renovate some of their existing facilities.  Their large parking garage and surface parking lots are a huge opportunity for us.  Some of the projects completed in 2010 and 2011 were our parking lots.  The Oncenter garage and parking lot projects serve as a demonstration to others; showing the use of green technologies. 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Marko stated the only green roof we are funding is the Cancer Center.  Other projects may have green roofs, but we have not been approached for funding. 


Mr. Millea stated the resolution he handed out will change.  The resolve clause for the school district projects will be revised to list out the projects.  There may be an additional resolve; when the City performs additional outreach or promotion of the projects, want to make sure they highlight the Save the Rain program and partnering with Onondaga County. 


Chair Plochocki asked if legislative approval had been sought for these projects, up to this time.  Mr. Millea responded that his personal view was that they had received broad approval to do these projects when the 2009 ACJ amendment authorization was enacted and with the 2011 budgets.  The fine print is not clear, have been working with the Law department, that’s why they are here. 


Chair Plochocki stated essentially you have been acting in this manner for years, with the understanding that you had the authority from the legislature to do so.  This is not a behavioral change.  It is the Law department saying this needs clarification.  Mr. Millea agreed.  It becomes important when you are dealing with a counterpart like the City.  Their Corporation Counsel wants to see our rational for entering into a specific IMA or global IMA.  We started a dialog with the City six weeks ago; issue came up in one of Mr. Marko’s meetings.  It was decided that for everyone to agree, the cleanest way was to come back to the legislature and specifically lay these items out, and going forward, to come back and amend as projects get added.  


Mrs. Rapp asked if the resolution would be revised and brought back prior to session.  Chairman McMahon stated potentially, if they get the changes they have asked for.  Mr. Millea added he hoped it would be completed in time for Ways and Means, copies will be sent to the Chairs and Clerk.  He will be available to take calls and answer questions; willing to come to either caucus prior to session to discuss. 


        f.      Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property for the Clinton CSO Storage Facility Improvement Project

Chair Plochocki stated this item is a similar matter; lawyers saying this needs to cleaned up. 

Mr. Millea:

  • 2010 budget included funding for acquisition of the trolley lot balance
  • 2007 Onondaga County purchased northern portion of trolley lot for regional treatment facility, permanent easement was purchased for conveyances that would go to the facility, City retained ownership for southern end of the lot
  • Now constructing larger facility with larger footprint, large structure on northern portions similar to RTF, smaller structure on southern portion will connect to large underground storage system currently being installed
  • In County’s best interest to own entire property
  • Per Code and Charter legislative approval needed to enter into real property transaction
  • No increase to budget, contemplated within budget for $2m, price is $1.6m, appraisal available for review, City has agreed to price offered
  • Puts WEP in better position going forwards, able to maintain facility without having to deal with access agreements and IMA’s with the City
  • Provides ability to work quickly on long term finance agreement with Environmental Facilities Corporation, they prefer ownership of property for long term financing
  • Onondaga County will run parking facilities via management agreement

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Millea stated there will be revenue from the parking lot.

Mrs. Rapp asked if WEP would need to hire more personnel once all the new facilities are operating.  Mr. Rhoads stated this is something they need to discuss with the Executive branch.  He has proposed something within his budget for management of some of the gray projects coming online in 2013.  The larger item will be the utilities.  When they go through startup everything is turned on and off for days; large spike in utilities.  New facilities will require operation support; personnel to operate after every wet weather event.   

In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Millea stated the capital side of the ACJ is budget busting.  He and Mr. Rhoads have discussed the long term ramifications of putting these items online.  It will but some pressure on the staffing.  We will be aggressive with the staffing, making sure that we are optimizing where the staff is and what they are doing.  This is why we don’t necessarily want public employees doing green infrastructure maintenance.  We will need public employees who are licensed sewer operators; don’t need them out pruning trees or cleaning bioswales. 

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


Mrs. Rapp asked if the revenue from the parking lot would be enough to cover the additional maintenance.  Mr. Millea responded when the City operated the lot it was a below market parking facility, in the context of neighboring facilities.  When we put it back online, we will control the decision making, won’t have to negotiate a price with the City and can direct the revenue towards this.  Mr. Rhoads added the lot will be 424 brightly lit spaces, in an idle location, next to Creek Walk and other events.  Mr. Millea added they could have festivals in the parking lot. 

        b.     Informational – Save the Rain Vacant Lot Program


Item pulled by Chairman. (Presentation on file with the Clerk)

Mrs. Rapp asked for a sixty second update.

Mr. Marko:

  • CH2M Hill project under construction on the near Westside
  • 3 additional projects bundled together, will be constructed this summer

Mrs. Rapp asked if these were vacant houses that were taken down.  Mr. Rhoads stated the house had been demolished previously.  Mr. Marko stated typically there are no structures on these properties.  Sometimes there are subservice structures that have to be addressed, part of the process for bettering these properties. 


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

        a.     Onondaga Lake – Project Update


Chair Plochocki stated this is an update pertaining to the $20,000 allocated to FOCUS six months ago; interim report, entire process to take about 1 year. 

Ms. Holstein:

  • Completed 45 personal interviews to date, including Mrs. Tassone, who represents district around the lake
  • Interviews used to update individuals and get feedback on their ideas for the lake shoreline

Chair Plochocki stated the interviews were not random, they were specifically chosen.  Ms. Holstein added they were specific persons identified by herself and Mr. Reed, as people who have an interest or information that they could share on the lake.  One person was Dennis Collins; brought in 1928 report on the lake which contained citizen participation.  The citizens in that report were CEO’s of corporations. 


Ms. Holstein continued:

  • 54 reports reviewed by Capstone Students of Maxwell School, from 1928 to 2012
  • Developed detailed report; important to note this is not a final report

Ms. Holstein provided a summary of the report.  Report summary listed on the following pages.




F.O.C.U.S.  on  Onondaga   Lake


Facilitating Reconnection Between Citizens and the Shoreline


Capstone Students of Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs


June 2012

Greg Duggan

Cat Foley

Joseph Ferrary Simon

Sara Turner


The Capstone Project is the final requirement for the Masters of Public Administration Program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University. Our team, made up of four graduate students, was selected to assist F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse in fulfilling its contractual obligations to the Onondaga County Legislature. Specifically, our team was charged with distilling ideas identified in earlier engagement exercises and reports into an orderly suite of practical projects, programs, and activities. The research presented in this report, as well as results from a survey, will contribute to the final report F.O.C.U.S. submits to the Onondaga County Legislature.


To conduct this research, we studied 54 reports about Onondaga Lake and its shoreline and surrounding areas, dating from 1928 to 2012. We summarized and synthesized the main ideas in these reports and compiled a master list of concepts concerning plans for Onondaga Lake and its shoreline. Next, we identified the most popular and recurring concepts, and then conducted additional research to determine how the desires of Onondaga County citizens might best be achieved. We were pleased to find that many of the most popular ideas have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.


The complete report reviews six main categories for potential action: 1) Recreation; 2) Tourism, Culture, and Education; 3) Transportation; 4) Development; 5) Environment; and 6) Community Outreach and Engagement. In addition, the complete report analyzes several ideas under each category, detailing its history, current plans, challenges and considerations, and potential models for turning the ideas into reality.


This document provides only a brief summary of these six categories. 


For more information, contact F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse by emailing focus@ci.syracuse.ny.us or calling 315-448-8732. 



Numerous ideas for recreation were found in the reports, with swimming, trails, and boating appearing most frequently. Other popular recreational ideas included picnic areas, better fishing opportunities, and marathons and triathlons.


Swimming and beaches were called for by both citizens and government entities. In addition to clean water for swimming, people wanted improved public access for swimming sites and sandy beach areas. A desire for restrooms and changing areas at beaches was also mentioned.


Since the 1970s, governments, citizens, engineers and nonprofits have called for an expansion of trails around Onondaga Lake. The suggestion has appeared in approximately 20 reports, meeting documents, and personal emails. Comments called for expanded and improved trails, with common suggestions to complete the so-called “Loop the Lake” trail, to connect to downtown Syracuse, and to connect with other bike trails in the area.


Citizens and government actors have long called for ways to foster boating on Onondaga Lake. Several ideas, including the possibility of renting canoes and kayaks, have already been implemented. Easily-accessible boat launches represent an ideal way to achieve the goal of promoting the Lake for boat use. Various reports also included requests for boat tours or cruises on the Lake, a topic covered in the Tourism, Culture, and Education section of this document. Many comments also expressed a desire to have the Lake once again host crew races.


Many comments in the reports called for picnic areas on the Lakeshore.


Fishing was another popular idea for the Lake. Particularly in the past five years, citizens, nonprofits and businesses expressed a desire to nurture fishing on Onondaga Lake. Ideas ranged from improving access to shoreline fishing spots, to building fishing piers, to hosting fishing derbies. Ice fishing was also mentioned several times. 

Tourism, Culture, and Education

The two most popular ideas related to tourism, culture, and education were an Educational Center on the shores of the Lake and a desire for more informational and educational signage in the area. Suggestions for both ideas date back to the 1970s and persist into present day.


To a lesser, but not insignificant extent, the public has asked for boat tours and cruises, as well as cultural events and displays along the shoreline including concerts, an art park, and an amphitheater.


The concepts mentioned above would promote tourism around Onondaga Lake, an idea occasionally identified by citizens. Government agencies have also supported tourism. Ideas from citizens and governments include development projects near the Lake, such as restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks. As detailed in the Recreation section of this paper, fishing tournaments and boat races are suggested events that could attract tourists to the area. An increase in tourism would require additional infrastructure, namely hotels, to support visitors. Hotels and other development ideas are covered in more depth in the Development section of this document.



Transportation-related ideas from the reports can be categorized into three general groups: those that deal with connectivity to the Lake, those that advocate for changes to the existing infrastructure, and those that are primarily concerned with non-motorized transportation. In all cases, the public has emphasized the need for safe access to and around the Lake. Viewed as a whole, the ideas indicate the public’s desire to better connect with Lake Onondaga in a safe and enduring way.


The most popular set of ideas related to transportation call for increased connectivity. Broad suggestions simply indicate a desire to increase access to and from downtown Syracuse, while more specific proposals identify methods to draw people to the Lake and the shoreline. Specific ideas include adding parking nodes, establishing the lighthouse at Seneca River as the terminus to the Onondaga Parkway, and connecting the City of Syracuse to the Lake via Harbor Brook.


The public has also expressed strong interest in connecting the Lake to national waterways via the Seneca River.


While most ideas tied to connecting the public to the Lake show a desire for increased access, a handful of comments called for diminished access to the Lake and shoreline. Suggestions to decrease access include removing roads adjacent to the Lake and closing Route 370 / Onondaga Parkway to vehicles.


Concerns about safety were also apparent in many of the reports, with recommendations to redesign existing infrastructure on Route 370 / Onondaga Parkway. The overall consensus that emerged was to reduce the volume and speed of traffic on the Parkway. Specific ideas included lowering the speed limit, adding a turning lane, encouraging commuters to use other routes to bypass the Parkway, and adding safety signage.


While many of the comments pertaining to transportation dealt with motorized vehicles, another broad set of ideas focuses on improving the trails and roads for non-motorized transportation. Citizens expressed a desire to link existing paths to a county-wide network of bike trails and to downtown Syracuse by way of the Onondaga Creekwalk. Another popular sentiment over the years was to see the completion of the Loop the Lake trail, which could be used by cyclists, inline skaters, runners, and walkers. A larger network of trails benefits not just recreationalists, but also commuters. 


The ideas concerning the development of the shoreline for residential and commercial use represent a wide spectrum of ideas, ranging from no development to an ultra-developed area. Included in these concepts are concerns for the environment, such as appeals for the restoration of a cleaner, more natural shoreline. Regardless of the preferences for more or less development, the public has expressed a desire to retain the shoreline as public land.


Those who support limited development are mostly concerned about maintaining public access to the Lake and shoreline. Certain comments expressed apprehension that private homes will be built on the land surrounding the Lake, thus limiting the citizens’ ability to access public land. Though some comments adamantly opposed any shoreline development, others show a belief that sensible, carefully planned structures could benefit the lakeshore area. The great majority of the opinions found in this category emerged from the community outreach project, Onondaga Lake Rehabilitation Guidance: The 2020 Vision Project, and highlight the value that so many County residents place on the Lake.


Though the specific ideas for a more developed lakeshore varied, comments persistently stressed the importance of having a comprehensive development plan that incorporates input from Onondaga County residents.  A holistic development plan could balance the community’s preferences for residential and commercial development with transportation and environmental improvements. Many of the comments regarding development also indicated a concern for the natural environment, and the calls for limited development specifically identified a concern for native wetlands.


The natural environment came up as a major concern throughout the reports, and with comments generally concerning cleanup and pollution, conservation, restoration, and the development of long-term management plans. Calls for the cleanup of Onondaga Lake as well as its shoreline were common; cleanup is currently being addressed through ongoing remediation projects, as well as the reduction of point and nonpoint pollution sources. After a long history of pollution on the Lake, many comments in the reports involved conserving and restoring natural areas, with many people specifically wanting restoration of native plants, wildlife and their habitats. Also popular was the broad idea of having green spaces or open areas around the shoreline. Finally, there were many suggestions that a Lakeshore land use management plan be developed, followed, and consistently updated.


Community Outreach and Engagement

Many citizens, particularly in the 2012 reports Onondaga Lake Watershed Community Forum, Final Report and Preliminary Existing Onondaga Lake Project List (draft), called for improved public outreach and engagement. Residents want to have meetings for updates on cleanup projects, including the ongoing dredging process, and have asked for more information about the status of fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities at the Lake. Ideas to improve outreach and engagement include a website that could serve as a clearinghouse for all Lake information, improved communications with various community groups such as PTAs and churches, and a newsletter.



One overarching theme united the thousands of suggestions that appeared in more than 50 reports published since 1928: the public wants to use Onondaga Lake and enjoy its offerings.


For much of the past century, the residents of Onondaga County have put forth numerous ideas about how to best recreate on the Lake and use its shoreline. In a strong show of support for the public’s desires, Onondaga County, Honeywell, and the Lakeside municipalities have adopted and implemented many of those ideas. Water quality of the Lake has improved dramatically due to cleanup efforts. Trails have been constructed around half of the Lake, with plans in place to extend the trail network and eventually complete the highly-desired Loop the Lake Trail. Fish populations have increased dramatically, and the Lake now boasts high quality sport fishing.


Despite all the positive changes occurring at Onondaga Lake, the public remains invested in continued improvements. Many people hope to one day swim in the Lake from the shoreline; with water quality often meeting standards for swimming, a beach area makes sense in the near future. People also want to see better, safer access to the Lake from downtown Syracuse and the Lakeside communities. The public also cares deeply about development along the Lakeshore, though authorities will need to work with citizens to develop a land use management plan that balances habitat preservation with commercial and retail development.


Perhaps most importantly, the public wants to be made aware of everything happening at the Lake, from the recreational offerings to environmental restoration projects to development plans. As the County moves forward with future plans for the Lake, it and other stakeholders should strive to keep the public informed about the various projects.


Onondaga Lake is a treasured community resource and, particularly as the environmental quality of the Lake improves, its value to the community will only grow.


Ms. Holstein continued:

  • Not much has changed over the years, people still want the same things
  • In some areas the water is now clean enough to swim
  • Hosted County Environmental Health Committee, shared information; offering similar groups to meet in their office
  • Comprehensive plan for the lake shoreline should be in place, implementation could be done in phases; grad student thesis not part of this report notes the growth of planning, states a good deal of planning started because of the lake shoreline
  • Students created survey and collected 165 to date, encourage everyone to fill out survey
  • Survey added to their Facebook page yesterday at 10:30 a.m., received completed survey within 1 hour and 3 by 3:30 p.m.; may be one of their greatest resources
  • PowerPoint presentation shown continually in School of Architecture students storefront, located 1st floor State Tower bldg, hope people stop in and fill out survey (on file with the Clerk)
  • Capstone students required to bike, run, or walk Loop the Lake Trail, also taken on 3 hr private boat shoreline tour of the lake
  • Conflicting desires, beginning to feel boaters want restaurants and hotels while walkers, skateboard, and joggers don’t want this kind of development
  • Group meeting to be held early fall with village mayors and town supervisors
  • Need to meet with the Onondaga Nation; unsure if they should meet with key representatives or residents of the Nation first
  • August–November have semi promise from Community Link class of Maxwell School to provide supervised student  volunteers, will go out and collect surveys, also responsible for final survey analysis
  • Interim analysis of 165 surveys shows where there are gaps, missing age groups, now know specifically where they need to reach out

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Holstein stated young people were missing.  Mrs. Rapp stated she thought it would be different with the use of Facebook.  Ms. Holstein added they are seeing more 45-55 year old Caucasians, and people who are working.  This report gives them an opportunity to know what we are missing and how to proceed with the next phase of this process.  Mrs. Rapp noted that they are not seeing seniors.  Ms. Holstein responded that they would have to reach out to them; seeing middle income, middle age.  Mrs. Rapp stated when she is in the park she sees young people and seniors.  Ms. Holstein responded that they have only been to the park once.  Of the 165 surveys collected, 60 were from the park and 20 came from the Onondaga Lake Partnership forum; surprised as 80 people were in attendance at the forum. 

Ms. Holstein continued:

  • FOCUS Core Group meeting October 19th, 1st meeting to report some of their findings from interim report, to date information has not been shared with those attending the FOCUS meetings
  • Counting on FOCUS members to help with surveys and volunteers
  • Begin writing final report in November or December, report due in January

Mrs. Tassone stated they are doing a wonderful job.  Ms. Holstein stated she was enjoying it; wonderful to work with young people excited about working on this project.  Mrs. Tassone added it seems like Ms. Holstein is getting them interested.  Chair Plochocki agreed.  

Chair Plochocki stated FOCUS would like their final report to serve as a prequel to a comprehensive plan for the lake or at least the data with which the Legislature would put together a comprehensive plan.  Ms. Holstein added, it is also a recommendation from the personal interviews conducted; want plan in place before development.  There isn’t a lot of area, 11 mile circumference around the lake, most is already parkland.  Carousel and the water treatment plant are also part of this land.  The biggest challenge is the CSX railroad tracks, as noted in the PowerPoint presentation.  Mrs. Tassone stated they are not easy to deal with.  Ms. Holstein stated she has spoken with other communities that have had to deal with them; can be dealt with but are very difficult.  She has suggested using the name Onondaga Lake Parkway Trail instead of Loop the Lake Trail, unless they can resolve the issue with CSX.

Mrs. Rapp asked if they had started clearing for the trail on the west shore by 690.  Ms. Holstein stated the only place they have run into problems is connecting the Creek Walk with Onondaga Lake.  The loop stops there because of the tracks.  Mr. Lansley has stated it is not inconceivable for a bridge to be created to connect everything.  Mr. Millea added they will be creating a bridge over Nine Mile Creek this year and the trial will go in next year.  They started clearing the trees and had to stop due to indian bat migration. 

In answer to Chair Plochocki, Ms. Holstein stated surveys are available on the Focus Greater Syracuse Facebook page or by calling their office.  

3.     LAKE IMPROVEMENT: Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     ACJ Update




  • Evolution consistent with GIF, need to determine how to seize opportunities for partnerships beyond private property, can’t enter into IMA’s without legislative approval, road construction great value for dollars invested, added benefit of maintenance provided by owners for projects such as those discussed for SUNY and EFS

Mrs. Rapp asked if this was being contemplated as they design agreements.  Mr. Rhoads responded that it was.  Some of these projects were listed in the ACJ as examples of projects that would occur.  City residential streets were in the list of topics that were approved by the County Legislature.  As discussed, the IMA resolution just clarifies the authorization. 

Mr. Rhoads continued:

  • TMDL still not approved by DEC and EPA, have seen near final version, understand it will be approved
  • ACJ requires acceptance of the TMDL by June 30, 2012, sent letter stating would meet levels as currently drafted, copy of letter under WWTP tab
  • Honeywell to start dredging project next week, will receive 5.5m gallons of flow everyday they operate, goes through pretreatment at their campus then pumped back to Metro, 10% increase in typical daily flow

Mrs. Rapp stated this will mean more chemicals and electricity.  Mr. Rhoads stated we charge them and will receive significant revenues during the dredging.  Ideas for management of these revenues will be presented during the budget process. 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated they will receive about $2 million for a defined period of time; started with this year’s budget, most significant next year with dredging full cycle.  The real policy discussion between executive and legislative branch should be, how to invest these funds to create long term cost reductions for everyone in the sanitary district. 

Mr. Rhoads stated we are fortunate that the Metro plant is in condition to receive these flows; additional forcemain installed just to manage this flow.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads stated we are still below capacity for the typical days.  We have wet weather event capacity issues in our system.  With the Honeywell projects we have a wet weather operations plan, we will tell them to cease the flow when there is a wet weather event.  They have the capacity to store and release.  We are working together very well. 


  • Clinton CSO project continues, coming online in 2013, $70m includes costs of acquisition
  • CSO22 and 45 sewer separation projects, moving along well
  • CSO44 Midland conveyance project, moving sanitary and overflows to the Midland RTF, in final stage
  • HBIS project close to conclusion; working on Fowler ball fields’ restoration, project to be completed this year
  • Lower Harbor Brook storage, huge underground project, moving right along, working with 2 contactors, ACJ compliance deadline of December 2013
  • Meeting very aggressive schedules with ACJ deadlines, will have to operate these projects next year

Chair Plochocki stated the pictures provided in the ACJ update are very helpful.  Mr. Rhoads responded that he should thank Mr. Millea, this was his idea.  We are very open and transparent.   All of our information is on the web, helps our community understand our investments and how they are progressing. 

Mr. Rhoads continued:


  • Harbor Brook wetland project currently out for bid, creative and innovative use of green technology, treatment facility will be located there, will use green technology to treat unsanitary water via plants, native species and mother nature through sun, wind and time, replacing pumps, chemicals and energy currently used; EFS will measure project and report the progress, one of the most important signature project coming out this year

Chair Plochocki advised the committee he plans to do some field trips over the next three months.  Projected schedule: August – Honeywell lakeshore tour, September - Metropolitan Water Board tour and October - CSO storage project tour. 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:29 a.m.


Respectfully submitted, 



Onondaga County Legislature

* * *




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

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:37 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Removal from the County Road System of a County Road Known as Limestone Plaza, and a County Road Known as North Mill Street, CR No. 56, and Transferring Jurisdiction to the Village of Fayetteville


  • Jurisdiction transfer of Limestone Plaza and Brooklea Drive to Village of Fayetteville; just shy of .6 miles
  • Part of County Highway – aerial view attachment no.1 - extensive park work and streetscape done; looks wonderful
  • Village passed a resolution on their end to be able to accept the transfer; DOT has no issue with this
  • Bridge will be maintained by County; most bridges are beyond scope of Village
  • Village didn’t feel has expertise to maintain bridge; County has 21 bridges that are town road
  • County keeps bridge structure; success with federal aid and bridge projects - offset cost for County; towns and villages struggle for resources to maintain; most bridges in towns and villages don’t quality for money
  • Village to be doing curbing, special parking, landscaping – currently have to go through County for everything so the transfer allows them to do what they see fit; wouldn’t have to come back to County for driveway permits or curb cuts


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


        b.     Amending Resolution No. 189 - 2007 to Increase the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs by $80,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right of Way Incidentals of Morgan Road (CR 47) / Liverpool Bypass (CR 88) Paving Project, Pin 375416 ($80,000)


  • Completing federal aid project – Morgan/Liverpool Bypass
  • $300,000 total - $240,000 federal; $60,000 local; doing design work; originally just paving but analysis of traffic and accidents lead to adding turn lanes where needed; because of turn lanes, needed wider road; needed DEC permits
  • Authorization to pay up to $400,000 – already have local; gives authorization to pay first instance
  • Steelway Blvd/Grampian Road, and Piccadilly Sq.
  • Added left turn lane off Morgan to Piccadilly, and opposing left turn lanes north and south at Steelway/Grampian
  • Almost complete; savings in realm of $200,000 - $250,000 under budget; additional $20,000 local - need authorization


Mr. Ryan commented the right lane off the Liverpool Bypass to Morgan turned out really well.  Mr. Donnelly commented the pavement on the Bypass has never been touched so it was certainly the right time.


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


        c.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Contract to Sell Fuel to the Town of Van Buren


  • Fuel at Camillus facility – no appropriation; authorize to set them up under contract and billing if the Town does fuel
  • Other municipalities that do this - Village of Marcellus, Town of Marcellus, Marcellus School District – all fuel consistently; paying a $0.03 surcharge per gallon
  • This situation is only if their fuel facility goes down; it has not happened but currently elected highway superintendent is a former County DOT employee – wants to make sure things are covered in the event of an emergency
  • Overhead – current rate is $0.03 per gallon for software and administrative time; same for everyone    


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


        d.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Fund a Highway Improvement Project on Taft Settlement Part II, C.R. No. 19 (East Taft Road), in the Town of Cicero (Sponsored by Mrs. Rapp)


  • $200,000 from 570 acct for snow contracts (town and village) to the 960 acct which is capital projects appropriation
  • Safety review on Taft – left turn lane necessary from Taft onto Totman Road; $200,000 for the turn lane
  • Between Thompson and Northern Blvd; back entrance for Beacon North; an increase in Fed Ex staff and traffic

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


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

        a.     Create R.P 01 406530 1864, Custodial Worker 1, CSEA Grade 2 @ $27,491 - $30,323, effective August 11, 2012

 Abolish R.P. 01 406530 5864, Maintenance Worker 1, CSEA Grade 5 @ $32,313 - $35,681, effective August 11, 2012


  • Change in personnel; vacancy – made commitment to look at and reorganize with vacancy
  • Branch maintenance - 8 branches each have Maintenance Worker 1; last few years trying to see as 1 entity vs. 8
  • Have people in place changing mindset about 1 vs. 8 – workers with expertise at 1 facility who replicate it for all 8
  • Instead of replacing Maintenance Worker 1 - can go to Custodial Worker 1
  • Person skilled at painting at one facility goes to another facility to paint, then the facility they left does not have anyone there to do everyday custodial work; Custodial Worker 1 will fill this need; custodial staff moved around by project
  • Positions covering for each other; lawns to be mowed; enhancing the cooperation; plus less money
  • Vacancy occurred because of retirement; looked at what could do to reorganize; abolishing retirement position
  • Most maintenance work is project or emergency oriented; Maintenance Worker 1 retired 6 months ago
  • 2 scenarios - crisis or project based so able to plan; Maintenance Worker 1 required to have a trade - all in house
  • Deploying when and where needed; not necessary to have 2 electricians – can move that person around

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


        b.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from Syracuse University for the Onondaga County Public Library, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($4,500)


  • Grant given from federal level to SU
  • Working with SU on research project – how to motivate students to read during the summer
  • Funds allow to have sub staff – training for research; work more with children for survey; not hiring anyone new
  • Will be over in October; surveys done at end of summer


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


Chair Tassone took the agenda items out of order.


3.     PARK & RECREATION:  Nathaniel Stevens, Administrator

        b.     Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to Accept Donated Items ($150,000)


Janet Agostini, President, Friends of the Zoo; Ted Fox, Director, Rosamond Gifford Zoo:

  • Friends of Zoo – private donations for octopus exhibit; asking to accept donation to move forward with construction
  • Desire for exhibit – fully funded by Friends of the Zoo; funding includes animals, exhibit and construction
  • Primary donor plus additional funding
  • One octopus – territorial; holding tank for additional octopus exists; Giant Pacific are longest lived; 3 -5 years
  • Can grow 12 ft; all wild caught; age not known, may have 6 months so second available - don’t want exhibit empty
  • 1,500 gallons which exceeds recommendation; in wild where food is available they have a small territory in cave; eat if something is going by, and defend aggressively; reproducing is only time to move; males move around, females stay
  • Attachment No. 2 – map of location of the exhibit - upper lobby, held corner vacant; octopus don’t like daylight or bright light; corner is always dark; some light from lobby & skylight
  • Open May or June of 2013 - construction through fall
  • Has educational opportunities; feedings are exciting; add to education program with Zoo Camp and students
  • Diet - eat shell fish, squid, lobster, fish; get lobster at really reduced rate; same food as other animals at zoo
  • AZA encouraging zoos to get octopi; great barometer for health of eco system; collect data on diets and health
  • Intelligence - simple puzzles; open jars; getting in and out of things; can stay out of water for brief periods
  • National Aquarium has one that climbs out of tank and turns off light
  • Attachment No. 3 - picture of one at Tennessee Aquarium; very secure top
  • Breeding – eventually; solitaire but may have good results; depends on the animals; hopeful to have female initially
  • With male as backup animal, specific time they show indication they may want to reproduce - may try to introduce
  • $4,000 - $5,000 annual charge to take care of the animals; electricity, feeding, replacing animals, slight additional staff time, filtration, skimmer and chiller; easily maintained; staff very familiar; make own salt water for other tanks
  • Whenever there is another new animal or exhibit, it will get more people in – more ticket sales
  • Feeding demo extremely popular; once animal acclimated there is endless source of things to do - programs

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


        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Enable the Establishment of a Project Account for Tourism Promotions ($68,900)


  • ROT – screen shots of website; pushed this last year; mobile website – mobile address is .m; formatted differently
  • Other websites it’s necessary to adjust and move via mobile, but this website is completely formatted to fit
  • All details for events; great asset; increase things online
  • Website is already formatted, not an app; able to see what’s appropriate for screen size
  • People use phone for website - correctly formatted with buttons on top; others do this for easy use
  • People on the go in Parks – incorporate this technology
  • Web work on contract with hourly rate; how many hours to move to mobile - worked with contractor to get amount
  • Have Iphone to ensure all is correct; work with contractor to make changes; long standing relationship
  • ROT money allocated in budget - chose mobile site to spend it; spent on the last year
  • 52 fishing tournaments at Oneida shores – 5 national; Bassmaster Elite coming Aug. 23 – 26; top 100 fisherman of the world; Oneida top 15 best places to bass fish; last year bought docks; this year increase tourism, drive visitation


Mr. Stevens responded to Mr. Ryan that he will check to make sure there were press releases on the mobile website, and if there haven’t been any, will do a press release.  Mr. Stevens replied to Mr. Ryan that Parks does collaborate with Centerstate or the Syracuse Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, when a situation arises.  Parks will also collaborate with Friends of the Zoo.  Try to use ROT money to increase heads in beds

  • Parks brochures at all hotels
  • Project account with un-appropriated money in it; new project acct – 2012 ROT for the $68,900; done the same every year; creating one for next year; in budget on contingency basis
  • 2011 traffic compared to 2012 – realization of whole website and getting out; March spiked with weather conditions
  • Linked Facebook and Twitter accounts; want people in younger crowds getting involved

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


The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 a.m.                                          

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *






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


ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 12:32 p.m.  A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded Mr. Dougherty to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     SHERIFF: Chief John Balloni

        a.     Resolution to Request Financial Support from Neighboring Counties for the Availability of Air One Helicopter Police and Rescue Services


Chief Balloni stated the resolution was updated as discussed at our last meeting.  This is the first time he has seen the changes, believes verbiage was added by Mr. May. 


Mr. May stated the original resolution was a little vanilla; goal was to give it some teeth and quantify the value of the services being provided.  The spirit of mutual aid, where we help you and you help us, doesn’t exist directly with Air One and other counties.  Just addressing these things may enlighten others to budget for this on an annual basis.  This remains a work in progress, no set deadline.  He is open to adding any other comments or points that need to be made. 


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


Mr. May stated he would be interested in hearing the Chief’s comments.  Chief Balloni stated he didn’t see anything in the resolution that he did not agree with.  He pointed out that we are sending this to all the Chairman of the legislatures however, Cayuga and Oswego County have agreed to provide funding for Air One.  He suggested this should be noted when the resolution is sent. 


Mr. Dougherty asked if we wanted to send the resolution to them, if they have already provided funding.  Mr. Ryan asked how much they had given.  Captain Rinella stated $15,000; Oswego $10,000 and Cayuga $5,000.  Chief Balloni stated the amounts commensurate with their usage. 


Captain Rinella stated Cayuga has been giving $5,000 for several years.  It might be worthwhile for the other legislative Chairman to realize two counties are providing funds for Air One.  Mr. May stated the resolution states that some neighboring counties recognize the value of having Air One available, we could be specific but he would rather send it to everyone.  Chairman Holmquist stated a whereas clause could be added in recognition of the fact that Oswego and Cayuga are putting in $5,000 and $10,000 which is commensurate with their level of use, with wording formatting in legal terms.  This would be in the spirit of having everyone have some skin in the game.


Mr. May stated he emphasized the availability of Air One.  He doesn’t diminish the fact that these should be commensurate with services provided, however they are really paying for the availability of the service; don’t know what will happen when or where.  This is why he left it general, perhaps just having this discuss in our meetings will be enough.  Mr. Ryan stated he doesn’t believe a whereas clause is necessary.  This discussion conveys our appreciation for their contribution to Air One.  He believes it is important to note, this is in the spirit of mutual aid.  Onondaga County residents should not be funding Air One for use in other counties. 


Chairman Holmquist stated they have a shared interest in the long term viability of this program.  If they step up, it will enhance the chances that we will be able to continue to provide this level of service.  If they don’t, they contribute to the risk of no longer having these services in the future.  He is flexible, however the committee wished to convey this.  Chair Balloni cautioned that we don’t offend Cayuga and Oswego County.  Chair Holmquist stated that correspondence sent with the resolution could convey this. 


The committee agreed to send a letter to Cayuga and Oswego County, along with the resolution stating our appreciation for their contribution to date and advising them that the resolution is being sent to all surrounding counties.  Mr. Ryan asked that the letter be sent from this committee, as well as the chairman.


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


2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S.), and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($300,000)


Mr. Bleyle:

  • Funds used for technology advancement of interoperability; must be new technology purchases
  • Purchase portable radios used as backup for dispatch consoles, could also be used during migration to emergency backup location
  • Migrate NYS Police interoperability radio system and a few others to complete narrowbanding, FCC mandates spectrum users migrate to a narrower swath of the spectrum by January 1, 2013
  • Provide voting (ability to listen to all receivers simultaneously), national interoperability channels now required for UHF, VHF and 800 spectrum; currently have one set for all 3 spectrums located at 5 tower sites around the county, can only listen to one tower at a time, if someone is calling at the same time may not hear them;
  • Purchase cash multiband radios, to be maintained in the event of an emergency, could be deployed to assist policing projects wherever needed
  • No matching funds required


In answer to Chairman Holmquist, Mr. Bleyle stated it was too early to say how many radios this would provide.  There will be 12 portables at each dispatch position. The total will depend on when they make the purchase; believes they are looking at about 20 cash radios. 


Chairman Holmquist asked if these radios would fill the need.  Mr. Bleyle stated Emergency Management has a cash and we would have a cash for law enforcement.  The bottom line is that the two cashes could be used in whatever manner they were requested.  There are a number of agencies seeking radios long term; always take funding for these.  Probation department would like to find funds to allow each probation officer to have a radio; radios are currently pooled.  There are other agencies that also need them.  This will definitely supplement the need. 


Mr. May stated there is more to be done but there are no crises at this point.  Mr. Bleyle stated from the prospective of other agencies; Emergency Communications is pretty well set.  The big item for them is the FCC narrowbanding mandate and other agencies.  Agencies got x number of radios provided for them under the OCICS program for the County.  Any agency, such as police and fire departments, wanting new or replacement radios, must acquire them on their own.  The County has met its obligation, however sometimes there are grants that only we can get because of the county entity.   If we can find grants to assist other departments, we would do so. 


Mr. Dougherty asked Mr. Bleyle to describe the narrowbanding mandate.  Mr. Bleyle stated he would try to describe it in simple terms.  As more wireless devices are being used in society the spectrum available to be used by the wireless devises is very finite.  With the migration from analog to digital TV’s and cell phones, technologies are being deployed to take up less spectrum; spectrum can be reallocated for other purposes.  The technology used for two-way radios has been the same bandwidth for 40 years.  About ten years ago, the FCC started saying that bandwidth for two-way radios could be reduced with the advancement of digital and new technologies.  A lot of agencies are screaming for more spectrum.  This would allow more public safety users access.  They could also move two-way radio users to another part of the dial so to speak; taking other space and using it for other purposes.  The FCC mandated that by January 1, 2013 anyone that uses the VHF or UHF portion of the public safety and commercial radio bands must reduce their spectrum footprint by half.  25 kilohertz swaths had to be reduced to 12.5 kilohertz.  Somewhere down the line, you are going to have to take up a 6.25 swath. 


Mr. Dougherty stated we are already using all digital radios and asked if we were already in compliance for the mandate.  Mr. Bleyle stated this was one of the driving factors for building the OCICS system when we did; knew narrowbanding obligation was coming.  Mr. Dougherty asked why this matters now; sounds as if we are already in compliance.  Mr. Bleyle stated that day in and day out the average police car, firefighter or EMS worker using their radios to communicate, are doing so over narrowband.  The last grant was used for narrowbanding our med channels.  We have hospital to ambulance channels, police point to point channels, and fire point to point that are statewide interoperable channels; not all are narrowbanded.  The FCC mandated that any equipment built within the last 7 years must be narrowband and broadband.  Any piece of equipment that is more than 7 years old will have to be replaced, because it cannot technically migrate down to half of the spectrum.  We have a number of legacy channels that we knew we would have to narrowband at some point.  We have base stations for our med system that are 25 years old and cannot be narrowbanded.  After completing the OCICS project, we knew there would be monies available from various state and federal sources to allow us to accomplish narowbanding.  What we are doing is a very small amount of equipment for narrowbanding, but when you are replacing a single base station, you are talking about $15,000 to $20,000.  His objective is to use grant funds to accomplish this, rather than using local dollars. 


Mr. Dougherty asked if this would bring every system we have into compliance.  Mr. Bleyle responded that this is the last of what they need to narrowband; will be in compliance by January 1, 2013.  Mr. Dougherty added that it took us a long time to get here.  His original comment was going to be, he thought the OCICS program got us to narrowband.  Mr. Bleyle responded that it did, for a vast majority of the radios. 


Mr. Ryan asked if he thought the FCC was put under pressure to release more spectrum by communication companies and TV providers.  As people get receive more and more content over their cell phones, the companies that provide the content and devises are going to be looking for more and more.  The government owns most of it and they aren’t going to give any of it up.  It’s now like a gold rush in the clouds.  From an Emergency Management stand point are counties going to get to short changed because we still use two-way radios and devises to communicate with each other in emergency situations.  Are we going to get to a point where we are told to narrow so much, that we run the risk of being unsafe.  Mr. Bleyle stated that when you think of all the public service agencies out there, the lobby to the FCC to maintain what we have is certainly very strong.  In light of September 11, they understand the importance of keeping spectrum available for public safety use.  He believes that the technologies we use in public safety world are going to change very quickly over time.  One of the things that you might hear about is a broadband initiative at the national level.  The feds have appointed a group to build out a nationwide public safety broadband network. It will be very similar to our cell phones. You will probably be able to make phone calls, send text, and emails on it.  Ultimately they are looking at the possibility of using this system for two-way communications.  He believes it will be a long way out before there is reliable communications.  At some point within the next 10—20 years, you will see major changes in the way Public Safety communicates. 


Mr. Ryan asked if county and state governments should begin to lobby to keep the spectrum they have.  Mr. Bleyle stated the narrowbanding did not hurt us, other than the costs of the equipment.  One of the advantages gained by going to a digital system is the ability for change.  It is a little more flexible than a piece of analog radio equipment; a lot of software, firmware based.  As mandates come out, some will be able to be accomplished via firmware upgrades.  Mr. Dougherty added this is the beauty of narrowbands.  When the radios were all analog they had to transmit the data as the person was talking, all in real time.  This is no longer the case.   Even your phone is not really real time and this helps a lot. 


Mr. Ryan stated that even the devices we are cutting over to will use up more bandwidth.  Mr. Dougherty responded that they are time multiplex, they share the same channel.  When I hit send on an email and you hit it at the same time in the old analog world we would need two channels.  We can now share the same channel. Mine sends a piece first, then yours, than mine; splits into milliseconds you don’t notice.  Mr. Bleyle added this is how further narrowbanding will occur.  Mr. Dougherty stated this is where we are headed; don’t need more spectrum to do this, just smarter devices. 


Mr. May stated it also sounds like you are compartmentalizing the use as well, whereas before it was all running through the same pipe.  Mr. Bleyle responded that before the OCICS system fire was using low band, city police was using UHF, city fire and county police were using highband VHF equipment, we were all over the place.  Now we are using about 1/5 of the spectrum, because we are using a technology called trunking. We are all on the same system and if a channel isn’t busy, someone else gets assigned to it.  Everyone can talk to each other, if need be.  Moving up in technology has been advantageous.  We only need 15 frequencies to accommodate 6,300 radios, just because of trunking.  Our radio system is now being used by 133 different departments and agencies, on 15 radio channels.  In previous days we would have had more than 3 times the channels. This in and of itself is spectrum efficient. 


Mr. Ryan stated as we reduce in spectrum we get more efficient, therefore this is conceivable.  Mr. Bleyle stated he thinks we are good for awhile. 


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


3.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Kevin Wisely, Commissioner

        a.     Department Tour


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


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature


* * *




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

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:48 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Jordan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings from the previous meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.



1.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Resolution to Request Financial Support from Neighboring Counties for the Availability of Air One Helicopter Police and Rescue Services



        a.     Authorizing the Removal from the County Road System of a County Road Known as Limestone Plaza, and a County Road Known as North Mill Street, CR No. 56, and Transferring Jurisdiction to the Village of Fayetteville

        b.     Amending Resolution No. 189 - 2007 to Increase the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100% of the Federal Aid Eligible Costs by $80,000 for the Design (Scoping I-VI) and Right of Way Incidentals of Morgan Road (CR 47) / Liverpool Bypass (CR 88) Paving Project, Pin 375416 ($80,000)

        c.     Authorizing the Co. Exec. to Enter into a Contract to Sell Fuel to the Town of Van Buren



        a.     Create R.P. 01 406530 1864, Custodial Worker 1, CSEA Grade 2 @ $27,491 - $30,323, effective August 11, 2012; Abolish R.P. 01 406530 5864, Maintenance Worker 1, CSEA Grade 5 @ $32,313 - $35,681, effective August 11, 2012

        b.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from S.U. for the OCPL and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Res. ($4,500)



        a.     Authorizing the Department of Parks and Recreation to Accept Donated Items ($150,000)



        a.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($388,000)

        b.     Authorizing Acceptance of Additional Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovative Grants Program and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($37,500)

        c.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property for the Clinton CSO Storage Facility Improvement Project


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




1.     SOCPA:  Don Jordan, Director

        a.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the Proposed Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Lands within Certified Agricultural Districts Pursuant to Section 303-B of the NYS Agriculture & Markets Law

        b.     Calling for a Public Hearing for Renewal of Agricultural District No. 2, Towns of Marcellus, Skaneateles, and Spafford


Mr. Jordan: 

  • Item a – public hearing for the annual addition of properties to ag districts – 9 requests for additions in districts 1, 3, and 4
  • Following public hearing, legislature would consider voting to include the properties
  • Item b – public hearing on renewal of Ag Dist. 2 


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve items 1a and 1b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. May noted that both items were reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Farmland Protection Board.

2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending 2012 Co. Budget to Fund a Highway Improvement Project on Taft Settlement Part II, C.R. No. 19 (East Taft Rd.) in the Town of Cicero (Sponsored by Mrs. Rapp)

  • $200k to be transferred from 570 acct. to 960 acct.
  • Small highway project, town of Cicero, dedicated left turn lane on Taft Rd.

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

3.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Accept Funds from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S), and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($300,000)

  • Purpose – to help local law enforcement agencies prevent, respond to, and investigate crimes through technology that advances communications interoperability

5 Components: 

  • acquire radios which are kept next to consoles at 911 Center – in a console failure would be able to communicate or if have to evacuate would have communication
  • replace some bay stations – FCC mandating narrow swath of amount of frequency spectrum; all agencies need to conform to it by 1/1/2013 – previous grant accomplished some legacy channels that needed to be narrow banded.  This will complete the remainder of legacy channels.
  • National interoperability channels – located at 5 tower sites throughout county; can only listen to one at a time right now; this will allow listening to all 5 tower sites simultaneously
  • Acquire multiband radios that can be kept as a cache – if agencies need addl. radios for their people or need  agencies to come in for a large scale incident, radios would be available to communicate on the system


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Bleyle said that the FCC component of narrow banding is a federal mandate.  Federal government sets certain interoperability standards for all governments to obtain; they pass it on to the State, and the State is now passing in down to County, i.e. national operability channels.  These are things that must be in place.  Chairman Knapp said that using this money allows the county to meet the federal mandated without using our own dollars.  Mr. Bleyle agreed.

Mr. Jordan said that 3-4 yrs ago, $36 million was approved for interoperability equipment; he asked if any of this grant money can be used to supplant our requirement.  Mr. Bleyle explained that it can’t be – this is for new technology.  He is constantly seeking grant monies.  He is hoping that statewide interoperable communications money will our way in the future.  Right now everybody is interested in meeting the narrow banding deadline and federal guidelines for interoperability – the money is only going to fund equipment that is building out interoperability equipment forward.  He hopes that the State will loosen their hold on the wireless surcharge money, to offset operating cost or to pay off debt service.  Regarding the $36 million, the money was already bonded--can’t be used to go backwards.  Had they not had access to this money, they would have had to come to the legislature and ask for bonding to accomplish some of these tasks.

In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Bleyle said that estimated annual revenue from the surcharges is $200 million. The State has made more available.  Last year the distributed $33 million; this year they are looking at $45 million to pass out.  Mr. Bleyle said that it also prevents other grants from coming our way.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Bleyle explained that regarding the surcharge, $1.20 goes to the State; $.30 comes to Onondaga County.

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


4.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTIONTom Rhoades, Commissioner; Matt Marko, CH2MHill

        a.     Authorizing Intermunicipal Agreements to Comply with the Amended Consent Judgment CSO and TMDL Requirements and to Maximize Grant Funds for Green Technology

Mr. Rhoades:

  • ACJ – pressure to get projects done, under the budget approved by the Legislature for all CSO sheds
  • ACJ appendix - variety of green infrastructure improvements
  • Original project include IMAs with many partners, i.e. SUNY ESF, City of Syr., residential green streets, green schools
  • Through GIF Program - entering into agreements with private entities – able to use private projects and private dollars to maximize the benefit Save the Rain
  • A number of city and local municipal partners, i.e. City and ESF, are also doing tremendous amounts of development in the city. 
  • In order to coordinate green components in nimble and timely fashion, and maximize the benefit of county dollars, County needs to enter into IMA agreements, which require legislative approval

Mr. Stanczyk noted that the IMA with SUNY Upstate is for $1.5 million, there is an example provided of spending $147,000 to capture 3.1 million gallons – he asked if there are other SUNY Upstate projects. Mr. Marko explained that the projects come in all shapes and sizes.  The biotechnology center is a home run – a large acreage development project and able to capture quite a bit of runoff from it.  It is very cost effective.  They are asking to use a little bit of dollars from County green betterment portion - $150k captures the 3 million.  On others the return on investment may not be as good, but are all good deals for the program.  The $147,000 is one project on the list – there is a list of projects at SUNY Upstate totalling $982,000; there are additional projects that have not been formulated at this time.  Mr. Stanczyk asked if there are any other projects that are above $.35/gallon capture.  Mr. Rhoades said that the blended cost is to bring these in at $.35/gallon capture – some will be over and some will be cents per gallon.

Mr. Millea distributed a list of projects (attachment a).


Chairman McMahon said that there is more than one project for Upstate; the County Executive asked for some flexibility for the Upstate project – they have some that aren’t ready yet.  A cap was put on the dollar figure to give them some flexibility.  The same applies to projects in the City.

Mr. Jordan said that the proposed IMAs were not included as part of the agenda package; he will abstain from this vote.  He asked that copies of the IMAs be provided along with a breakdown of the various projects.   Chairman Knapp asked that the information be provided to all members.

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

5.     PARKS & RECREATION:  Nate Stevens, Administrator

        a.     Amending the 2012 County Budget to Enable the Establishment of a Project Acct for Tourism Promotions ($68,900)

  • Resolution was release money approved in last year’s budget, which is in a contingent account
  • Money used for things that drive attendance in parks
  • Mobile phone log on to website
  • Quick Response code added to brochures – bar code scanner app directs user to Onondaga Parks website
  • Future – looking at putting QR codes on exhibits throughout the parks


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

Chairman Knapp asked if there is an ability to track where people are logging in from using the website or smart phone, so we can see if there is an attraction from outside of the county.  Mr. Stevens said that he would look into it, and noted that overall usage is tracked.

Chairman Knapp asked if the flyers are changed from year to year, are there leftovers from previous years.  Mr. Stevens said that they do reuse them; they look at them every year and update them as needed.  The QR code was an update  The focus in the last year has been the mobile site.

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Stevens noted that unique visitors are tracked through Google Analytics.  A visitor is someone who may save the site in their history and go back to the same site; a unique visitor is someone who isn’t just clicking on the saved site.

Vote was taken on the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

6.     CULTURAL RESOURCES COUNCILStephen Butler, Executive Director

        a.     First Quarter Report (Attachment B)

  • Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance – worked on a proposal to the County Executive for how they would like to see funding distributed
  • Last year Co. Exec. made a recommendation that funding in 2013 be through the CRC
  • Co. Exec. had specific recommendations about specific funding for agencies because at that point everyone who was applying for funds went through the Co. Exec. office.
  • Ways & Means Committee moved those recommendations, but the resolution was amended that the funding, rather than go to these agencies, would go to the CRC in 2012 for distribution of funds. 
  • CRC contracted with County; drew down funds, contracted with agencies and made first quarter payments
  • Working with agencies to provide quarterly reports so that the Legislature knows how the funds are being spent – new part of process; agencies did not have to do this in the past
  • Process will speed up going forward, now that they have done the first one
  • All agencies have spent their money appropriately
  • Will try to monitor out of town guests vs. in town residents attending events; CVB has agreed that it will be done through zip code analysis in the next coming months; will report the analysis after Labor Day

Mr. May pointed out the YMCA program – they are doing a lot of good things for a lot of people.  Mr. Butler agreed and said they are happy to have them included.  He noted that the choices of these groups have been made over the years by county executives and by the different legislatures.  Most have been authorized agencies of the county for over a decade.

Mr. Knapp asked if there is a way to measure the economic impact from outside the county.  Ms. Easton, CVB, said that there is a CVB has a 4 step process, visitor analysis through zip codes.  It is systematic and a useful tool.  Chairman Knapp said that it will be interesting to see the analysis in September.  Mr. Butler said that all the agencies store their financial data through the cultural data project.  The CRC has done research on the industry impact and sent a report last year to the County Legislature.  This year they worked with LeMoyne, who has done a pretty comprehensive study, which will be released in the next few weeks. 

Mr. Butler introduced Marissa Mims, a board member, and pointed out that the board oversees the process to make sure that it is transparent and are abiding by best practices. 

Mr. Jordan said that it seems that further collaboration with CVB should occur, i.e. having a site locator for a company that is possibly looking to relocate to the Syracuse area to work with the cultural arts organizations.  He noted that many times there are seats that haven’t been sold, and organizations can essentially donate those tickets to CVB, who can use them to help market the community -- showcasing what we have to offer.  Mr. Butler said that it is an excellent suggestion.  The CVB and the CRC are strategically aligned on a joint marketing effort that will have a social marketing system—where the calendars will link and be much more robust and doing the kinds of things Mr. Jordan is talking about.  It will be putting together packages where CVB has access to restaurants and CRC will be collecting offerings from the arts groups.  In working with the CVB it will be a much more robust collective marketing program, and also take some burden off of the individual institutions.  It will be coming together in the next 3-4 months. 

Mr. May said that the organic link already between CenterState CEO and CVB shouldn’t be ignored.  They work under the same roof and work towards many common goals as far as the economy is concerned.  There is synergy there already.

Chairman Knapp asked dif there is a formal set of criteria used when groups come in.  Mr. Butler explained that they have contracts with other government agencies and private foundations; there is always specific criteria.  Normally the way the work is by putting together a specific panel of experts to make the decisions.  However, with these agencies being grandfathered in, the money was already determined.  Dependent upon what is available in ROT, there is not much wiggle room.  They are concentrating on quantities, rigorous financial review.  Now through CVB, they can look at debt ratios and all kinds of information that might have been harder to come to in the past.  There are a couple of organizations that ask for it all up front and have a history of getting it, but mostly it is distributed quarterly.  It is dependent on getting a financial statement, making sure they are getting financial contributions; big organization are required to match funding, audits, etc.  As time goes once they will have to go to that panel process.  They are all hoping to work together to raise ROT, to have more funds available to more groups who have been waiting for some time for funding.

7.     PURCHASESean Carroll, Director

        a.     Revenue Contract Report 

  • No new contracts
  • Responses back on two revenue RFPs
  • Video Visitation – 3 vendors, all national vendors that do inmate phone services and video visitation; attempting to get and RFP Committee meeting scheduled next week to review evaluations from departments.  There is a preliminary indication from departments that there is a different of opinion between Correction and Sheriff.  Sheriff’s contract for inmate services ends at the end of summer; Correction is over at the end of the year.  In the future, they will try to sync those contracts
  • Food Service at Highland Forest/Skyline Lodge – created 2 options in RFP.  Right now have one food service vendor.  Considering if it makes; more sense to give guests the option to select the vendor.  Three proposals were received on both options.  Companies are all local. 


8.     LAW:

        a.     Pending Litigation/Settlement of Claim:


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session to discuss the following pending lawsuits:  Patricia Longo and Samuel Longo, Individually and on behalf of Jacob Longo v. Onondaga County; James Tanner, Individually and by and Through his Power of Attorney, Debra Tanner vs. Van Duyn Home and Hospital, Onondaga Guild to the Van Duyn Home and Hospital, Inc., County of Onondaga Long Term Care and County of Onondaga; George J. O’Connell v. Onondaga County, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Kevin Walsh, in his capacity as Sheriff of Onondaga County.  Mr. May seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


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


The following resolution was considered:  Authorizing the Settlement of the ActIon Filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Onondaga, Patricia Longo and Samuel Longo, Individually and on Behalf of Jacob Longo V. Onondaga County.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May to approve this resolution; passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m.


Respectfully submitted, 



Onondaga County Legislature



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