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

Deputy Clerk


- JUNE 9, 2014


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


ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:08 AM.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

1.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENTDavid Coburn, Director

        a.     INFORMATIONAL - Draft Scoping Document and Associated Public Comments for the Proposed Regional Solid Waste Partnership – Status Report

Mr. Coburn:

  • Draft scoping document provided in April
  • Mr. Millea and Mark Donnelly from OCRRA are present to assist with questions
  • Comment period May 14 - June 14 for scoping document; over 100 days for public comment on scoping - includes original comment period before joint agency creation; significant number of comments received
  • Scoping purpose to identify potential significant issues and impacts associated with the proposed actions to be addressed in the DEIS
  • Great input received, will be able to create a good environmental impact statement, haven’t seen all comments, most are similar to what was heard at the informational hearing; 3 of those speakers commented earlier in the process
  • Comments received before creation of join lead agencies asked for more meat around the draft scoping document - request was addressed with this document;  several comments pointed to items already in the document, some comments were unrelated to scoping, i.e. personal opinions
  • Many opportunities for public input; opportunity to comment on DEIS also
  • Next step – comments reviewed by OCRRA, Cortland County, Barton & Loguidice and Mr. Coburn,  will agree to everything needed in the document and proceed with DEIS

Mrs. Rapp stated that after the informational hearing, two young mothers addressed her in the parking lot.  They were very concerned about the statements made regarding health risks and lack of monitoring.  Mrs. Rapp questioned if there was any truth to the statements; is there more cancer in that area.  Mr. Coburn responded that concerns would be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement; he doesn’t know exactly what the statements were.  Mrs. Rapp stated that they were very vague allegations; questioned if testing and monitoring stopped.  Mr. Coburn reiterated that all of those items would be spoken to in the DEIS.  There won’t be any question about those concerns being an issue - they will be identified and addressed if there is an issue.

Chairman Plochocki stated many issues were raised at the informational hearing.  He would like to see all items addressed, even if the allegations are unfounded.  Mr. Coburn responded that this is the purpose of the DEIS – to make sure that all the questions are raised.  Mrs. Rapp stated she wanted to be sure that those questions were asked and answered. 

Mr. Donnelly stated the current risk assessment set the standard for risk to health, approximately 25%-30% above their permit level for emissions.  They operate at 10%-15% of their allowable limits.  This will be covered in great scientific detail later, but he offered the numbers to provide a comfort level for now; extremely high threshold for public risk, much lower for permit and they operate well below the permit.  Mrs. Rapp responded that this was always her understanding however, if you never heard the other side of why they decided to go with the plant and only listened to the speakers at the informational hearing - those young mothers left frightened that they were putting their families at risk.

Mr. Millea stated that it is incumbent upon them to address the issues raised.  He is concerned that those opposed to this could make broad-brush statements, potentially scaring people, without any real substance or support for some of the statements made.  The DEIS must address these issues.  It is valuable information that they know is of a concern to the community.  There will be robust and forthright discussion of those critical issues.  He would suggest that the legislature not approve the DEIS until those issues have been addressed.  The message to those concerned - this is why they are going through this process and have taken 105 days just to end the scoping process.  Once the document has been prepared, they look forward to coming back and discussing it in detail with the legislature. 

Mrs. Rapp stated that she advised the mothers that know thinking person would ever approve this, if it were detrimental to the health of the community.  Mr. Millea added that they would never have been allowed to approve it.  The amount of regulatory hurdles were extreme in the past and will be just as extreme going forward – the Health department, DEC, and EPA  are there to make sure that these things are considered in context to the permit.  A number of very diligent public servants have said that this facility is not a risk.  It is now their job to analyze the public statements and then support or refute the statements, based on scientific information.  Mr. Donnelly stated that if legislators needed assistance understanding the current documents, he and his staff could review the documents leading to this proof with them so that legislators are prepared. 

Mrs. Rapp suggested holding a similar public hearing where all of this information is exposed.  Mr. Millea stated that this was an excellent point.  After speaking with the Chairman, he believes there will be no less than three additional public meetings.  Mrs. Rapp stated it is incumbent upon them to get all of the facts out – people are reacting to hearsay and manipulated facts.  Mr. Millea stated that from the onset they have stated that there will be a lot of opportunity for public participation.  Ending the scoping process does not end the public participation; it ends the first step of the SEQRA process.  There will be at least 3 additional public hearings on the DEIS and if any legislator wishes to hold their own community, town hall or living room meeting, staff will be made available from OCRRA and the County Executive’s office to participate in the meetings.

Chair Plochocki stated that it can’t be emphasized enough, a lot of sweeping statements were made, many of the speakers were not experts, some claimed to be, but there is clearly a since in the community of certain “facts”.  If those are not the facts, our message needs to be clearly distributed.  The question is, when is the appropriate time - his understanding was that the DEIS step was where this would be done.  All comments need to be addressed, even if they are to be dismissed.  They want to be able to answers everyone’s questions.  One individual stated he had a doctorate with training in this area and that the plant is such a health hazard it would never be allowed open today, if accurate testing was completed.  This is extremely different from the message received from the administration, OCRRA and our understanding. 

Chairman Plochocki stated he looks forward to seeing the DEIS.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn stated the DEIS will be coming to committee in July.  

        b.     Approving the Onondaga County Ash Tree Management Strategy, Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Act as Lead Agency for the Ash Tree Management Strategy under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Accepting the EAF Parts 1, 2, and 3; Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; and Adopting a Negative Declaration

Chairman Plochocki stated that it was their intent to vote on this item today however, the information is very voluminous.  Mr. Coburn and his office did an outstanding job.  There is an enormous amount of densely packed, detailed information, laying out a long-term plan.  They will need time to process the information therefore today will be the beginning of the discussion – no vote will be taken. 

Chairman Plochocki asked Mr. Coburn to provide highlights of the proposal

(Full report on website @ http://www.ongov.net/environment/documents/CompAshTreeMgtStrategy.pdf)

Mr. Coburn:

  • Distributed Onondaga County Ash Tree Management Strategy (Attachment No.1)
  • Mark Burger has been extremely helpful in preparing for the EAB
  • Beetle is here; 1 in 9 trees are ash, 1 of the highest percentages in NYS  
  • Goal is to insure public safety and retain some ecological and social benefits of the trees
  • Number of efforts already implemented
  • Most critical - SWCD completed inventory of ash trees on County owned property; impossible to put a plan together without this inventory
  • Extensive monitoring through EAB Task Force - created by Cooperative Extension per County Executive request; 140 purple traps in 2013 - used to capture and identify locations, also 15 Sentinel Trees 
  • Contacting communities across the US that have experienced EAB, Capstone students compiled experiences and what was learned from  83 contacts, 43 municipalities, and 18 states
  • Number of public meetings held to discuss EAB with community; 2 meetings focused at Onondaga Lake Park, acquired community input on what should be done with trees in the park, meeting held with stakeholders to determine types of replacement tress
  • Began taking down compromised trees in Onondaga Lake Park and along some right-of-ways; homeowners along right-of-way received a flyer – notification will continue as they move down highway right-of-ways
  • 46,730 Ash trees on County owned property with targets in drop zone – could hit building, utility, road, trial, parking lot, etc.; inventory provided locations, concentrations, size distribution, tree health,  & targets – all important factors for tree management
  • Appendix A summarized potential targets by type, size distribution – 30k are less than 8” in diameter; management decisions mainly based on size of tree, inventory provides ability for reasonable cost estimate
  • Management options are limited – preemptive removal, preservation with pesticides and tree replacement; propose balanced approach to optimize tree management - preserving trees with great value, removing trees with less value and tree replacement where necessary
  • Propose removal of 95% - 44k trees over 10 yrs., spreads costs and capacity for removal, replacement of 10% -4,400 trees with 1½” to 2” trees for higher survival rate and faster restoration of function loss, 5% - 2,300 trees preserved, carefully chosen trees with higher value, protected over 25 yrs.

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn confirmed that preserved trees would be inoculated.

  • Page 16 details criteria for tree preservation
  • $13.5M projected cost for program over 25 yrs.; bonding adds $1.8M to cost – total $15.3
  • Credit Mr. Petrela for creation of model to determine program cost; various models created around the country, Mr. Petrela’s model is more detailed and realistic
  • Appendix B lists assumptions in model projections; conservative estimate for yearly tree growth; protection distributed geographically to provide protection around a whole group of trees, with 1/3 inoculated annually, inoculation costs have decreased - recent City bid was just below $5; SWCD would contract with bidders, oversee & mark trees for removal and continue monitoring program – monitoring necessary to target yearly resources, working in nearest proximity to known infestation until beetle consumes entire area

Mrs. Rapp asked if it made since to inoculate more and remove less, since the cost is decreasing.  Mr. Coburn responded that this was a policy decision that will have to be collectively made; higher onetime cost for removal, inoculation costs presumes being done every year for a number of years, currently estimated at 25 years.  They believed 25 years was a good planning horizon as so much can change in that timeframe, there could be new technology.  Mrs. Rapp noted that was what she was thinking.  Mr. Coburn asked how they would project what would change in that timeframe; they should presume that the beetle won’t go away and if inoculation is discontinued the trees will eventually succumb.  Mrs. Rapp stated that a 20” tree would cost about $100 to inoculate and $550 to take down; $550 is a lot of inoculation and provides an opportunity for new development, rather than cutting all the trees.  Mr. Coburn responded that he had forecasted preservation of 5%, 10% and 15%; 5% and 10% are included in the report for comparison.

Mr. Coburn continued:

  • 1st set of graphs unreal situation - assumed removal or inoculation of every tree for comparison;  don’t believe in house removal of all trees is possible
  • 2nd set of graphs is the proposed approach with 5% preservation; assumed capacity to inoculate in-house via SWCD, totaling $13,486,397
  • 3rd set of graphs shows 10% preservation for comparison, 15% could be provided if they’d like to consider it  
  • Recommends 5% preservation - 60% of trees are less than 8”,  preserving 5% of trees over 12” preserves 25% of those trees and replaces 10% of the other trees; very substantial preservation plan, may not appear this way on the surface - removing small diameter trees and preserving trees providing meaningful function today is a significant number

Chairman Plochocki reviewed the 5% preservation chart, stating total removal would be the cheapest but not by much, talking about $11.8M compared to $12.3M for the 5% in-house inoculation with 5-year removal.  Mr. Coburn agreed, adding in addition to preserving critical functions that are quality of life issues to the community, e.g. Willow Bay.  When standing anywhere in the park, you can turn a circle and count 20 trees 2 feet or more in diameter.  Removal of those trees would totally change the character of that park area.  Chairman Plochocki agreed.  Mr. Coburn stated that areas like this would be targeted for preservation. 

Chairman Plochocki stated that in his comparison of extremes between the red line and the purple dotted line, it would be difficult to implement the red line because of resources.  Mr. Coburn agreed, adding that it would be more accurate to compare the 10-year total removal number with the 10-year preservation number, a cost difference of $500,000.  Chairman Plochocki stated that they are not talking about a substantial difference, as opposed to inoculating everything, which would be off the charts.  This is in the same ballpark. 

Mr. Coburn suggested legislator’s view the Capstone study posted on his web site to see what different communities are doing – all removal, all preservation or some sort of combination, as proposed here.  Most are doing some combination, varies by community to some extent, based on Ash tree concentration.  Onondaga County has the misfortune of having a high percentage of Ash, resulting in a higher number of trees to deal with than many of the communities making these decisions, which was also factored into the proposed balanced approach.  http://www.ongov.net/environment/documents/Capstone%20Study%20Findings.pdf

Chairman Plochocki stated that he did not see a specific line for offset value of the trees to be taken down and assumes that this has been built into the cost.  Mr. Coburn responded that the assumption was that the bidder would be receiving some value for the tree and would factor this into their cost.  There isn’t much lumber value in these trees - many are too small and not within range for lumber, are open grown trees, which branch out low and early, are multi stemmed and have foreign objects in them that are damaging to expensive mill saws.  Their dream of offsetting potential costs evaporated quickly, but they do realize there is some value and their intent is to bid the cuts in a way in which they can maximize revenue opportunities for those bidding on the documents and expect bid prices to reflect those values.

Chairman Plochocki noted that in terms of estimating the value of the trees, they are fortunate to have Mr. Burger assisting them.  It was his job to estimate the value of stands of trees, in a former life.  Mr. Burger responded that it was part of his former job.  He is also a NYS Certified Forester.  Chairman Plochocki added that Mr. Burger is the head of OCSWCD, and having him on their side is like having a window into the industry as far as value.  Mr. Coburn added that he would also like to credit Cornell Cooperative Extension, who has been invaluable in helping them to acquire prospective on these kinds of questions.  Mr. Burger noted that their director is also a certified forester.    

Chairman Plochocki stated that this has been discussed so much, it is easy to lose track.  For the benefit of the press, he wanted to make sure that a few basic things were covered.  Chair Plochocki provided some questions/comments and answers, and asked Mr. Coburn to assist.  

Chairman Plochocki and Mr. Coburn:

  • Why not ignore the problem and let the trees die, saving money.   
  • EAB damage to Ash trees is fundamentally different from the way other diseases and insects damage trees, trees won’t stand long after infestation; page 12 graph shows mortality curve generated from Midwest information, experienced 10% mortality within first 7 yrs., accelerated to 90% over the next 5 yrs., concerned if we end up in the steep part of the curve - may not able to keep up with falling trees;  Elm trees stood 12 years and longer - Ash break off at the bottom, fall and shatter; opportunity for preservation diminishes as infestation increases, only option then is to cut, fear that portions of roads or parks would close due to inability to keep up, liability would be too great to allow public access

Chairman Plochocki stated a very real scenario is that they won’t be able to keep up with the trees falling down around them based on the experiences of Midwestern municipalities.  There is risk of trees hitting people and the lawsuits associated with that could make $13.5 million seem inexpensive.  The trees could hit power lines, buildings, close roads and shutdown parks - all real scenarios if they do nothing.  Mr. Coburn agreed.

  • Cutting everything down as quickly as possible
  • Faster deforestation without benefit from the wood prices as discussed; offset value not significant and won’t change based on how fast trees are cut
  • Inoculation of all trees
  • Cost would be astronomical; real cost associated with lose of tree functions, e.g. energy efficiency, stormwater protection, habitat, etc.; other communities have assigned a dollar value to tree functions – not part of this cost estimate, didn’t want to have to defend dollar value but is a real cost

Chairman Plochocki stated that ignoring the problem would be done at our own peril and attempting to cut everything down, as soon as possible, is not all that it is cracked up to be.  Mr. Coburn added that there are quality of life and real cost issues associated with taking everything down.  The trees being targeted are those that provide real value and function to the community.

Chairman Plochocki stated that the plan proposed is cutting trees in a measured way, spreading costs over years, staying within cut capacity, and saving key trees that benefit the public.  An argument could be made that those trees are providing value and by inoculation, the financial value is retained.  Mr. Coburn added that spreading removal costs over 10 years, also gives them 10 years to do replacement.  Some of the trees planted in year 1 will have 10 year of growth, restoring some of the lost canopy from the early removals. Spreading this impact overtime is part of the strategy. 

In answer to Mr. Corl, Mr. Coburn stated they anticipate planting 10% of the trees per year, about 400 plus, spreading them out so that they are not all the same age.  They will use nonhost trees, trying to pick native trees with a diverse species selection, depending on planting location. 

Mr. Coburn stated that he is hopeful the legislature will make a decision on implementation of the program soon, primarily from the standpoint of preservation.  They are trying to get dates on the infections at hand to determine where they are in the curve.  As stated, preservation is no longer an option once the infestation reaches a critical point.  The current infestations are not far from Onondaga Lake Park and Hopkins Road, and the season for preservation is narrow.  They are unable to inoculate in the fall, as the trees will not translate the product; don’t want to lose the entire year of preservation potential.  Mrs. Rapp asked when approval would be optimal.  Mr. Coburn responded, a month or two ago. 

In response to Mrs. Rapp, Chairman Plochocki stated that the committee is not voting on this item today to allow members time to process all the information - the plan is still on track for approval at session.  Mrs. Rapp added that to drag their feet and miss a season seems counterproductive, after all this time and work has been done. 

        c.     – PULLED

Chairman Plochocki took the agenda out of order to advance to the voting items, noting that item d would be informational and not voted on today.  Noting that a member has to leave early and he wants to be sure that the voting items are covered.  Mr. Coburn responded that item d needed to be voted on also.  Chairman Plochocki stated that as long as the item is considered, it can be voted on at session.  Ms. Johnson confirmed this was correct.

        e.     A Resolution to Amend the 2014 Budget and to Release Honeywell Contingency Funds for Anticipated Legal, Technical and Scientific Expenses Associated with the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site ($85,000)

Mr. Coburn:

  • Funds released as needed; created $500k contingency account in 2013 for ongoing need of outside legal, scientific and engineering expertise pertaining to superfund site and potential county liability
  • Approximately $35k remaining in account, after unclaimed bills
  • Issues come and go at various speeds, current avalanche of activity; 1 primary focus is Lower Ley Creek – part of GM PCBs spill site, upper piece responsibility of GM before bankruptcy, never signed order to deal with lower piece, resulted in host of potential parties who may be responsible for cleanup from Lemoyne Ave to Onondaga Creek outlet - estimates range from $20M to $50M depending on remedy and implementation; Murphy’s Island is county owned property also part of remedial investigation, Honeywell recently issued revised remedial information; Wastebed 1-8 subject of recent activity, county owns portions of 1-6 where the trail is and proposed amphitheater, revised remedial report - Honeywell generated new feasibility study with remedies proposed for the site; all on immediate horizon 
  • Long term horizon moving at glacier pace is cost recovery action from DEC and EPA for $12.5M, probably a growing number, county named as potential party and ongoing natural resource issues
  • Release of funds needed to deal with near-term pressing issues, will leave contingency account at $0; will need to come back for future fund - issues aren’t going away
  • Expertise and experience not available in-house

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


        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Onondaga County Water Authority (Dr. Eileen D. Gilligan, Susan A. Miller)

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

        d.     The County of Onondaga, Acting as Lead Agency for the Lakeview Amphitheater Facility (The Project), under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Determining the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Project is Adequate in Terms of Scope and Content to Commence Public Review Pursuant to SEQRA; and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service, and Filing of the DEIS Documents

Mr. Coburn:

  • Introduced the team of experts responsible for creation of  the DEIS – Bob Duclos & Bob Palladine from C&S, Ben Brazell from edr, Companies, amazingly assembled documents in short period of time; Legislature passed resolution in April to act as lead agency, accepted environmental forms, determined project could have significant impact on environment and called for preparation of DEIS 
  • Completed scoping mid-May; asking for acceptance of DEIS for release to the public and allowing for public comment period from July 11th – Aug.11th 
  • Public Hearing proposed for July 23rd
  • Document over 600 pages, describes proposed action, provides description of existing site conditions, cover all areas of potential impact - ecological, air, water, open space, human health, traffic noise during construction & operation of facility and mitigation of impact, includes detailed assessment of alternatives as required by SEQRA, alternatives are consist with primary goals of the project – to enhance public access to West shore of Onondaga Lake, take advantage of restoration work on the shoreline and further economic opportunities associated with revitalization of Geddes/Solvay and surrounding areas; Executive Summary – 9 pages (Attachment No. 2)
  • In addition to public hearing, if approved for July 23rd intend to hold meeting in Lakeland to discuss anticipated noise impacts associated with project   

Mr. Millea:

  • Document is a draft environmental statement, feedback is welcome; Legislature gets first look and opportunity to ask hard questions before putting out as draft to the public for further feedback and input
  • Response of summary will be created before coming back to Legislature with final EIS; still a long process but team has worked remarkably fast to provide information
  • 1 advantage - site has been studied, investigated and sub surfaced more than any location in NYS, already have wealth of information and know with great certainty what is going on with the site
  • Likely they’ve seen news stories about health risk assessments; EPA Health Assessment updated for this project, went above and beyond what was already known due to the  West Shore Trail – the area is not harmful in anyway and will be further improved by Honeywell’s remediation; DEIS specifically speaks to the human health risks; EPA human health risk update available on  website http://www.ongov.net/environment/documents/Supplemental%20HHRA%20Lakeview%20Amphitheater%20Facility.pdf
  • Confident site is appropriate and ideal for this use; look forward to sharing engineering work being as they get a little closer, County Executive will brief leadership from  time to time on progress – likely hold early July public meeting with County Executive, Chairman McMahon, interested County Legislators, Solvay Mayor and Town of Geddes Supervisor  to brief all on the big package spoken about in January
  • Other components of this project are happening simultaneously, e.g. Bridge St., Solvay senior citizen housing 

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn confirmed that the DEIS was only for the amphitheater portion of the project. 

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Coburn stated that scoping lead to the development of the DEIS.  Mrs. Rapp noted that scoping is complete.  Mr. Millea added that this experience is somewhat dissimilar to that of OCRRA because the question in that case was what was the appropriate scope, e.g. Cortland scope or Cortland and Onondaga scope, 1 or 2 SEQRA’s.  In this case, there is a very clear path to build an amphitheater on a predetermined site.  The scope for this was the opposite of conservative; went through everything they thought was necessary.  The scope was very broad to begin with but the target was very narrow.

In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn stated the entire report is available on the Office of Environment website:
http://www.ongov.net/environment/documents/Onondaga County Lakeview Amphitheater Draft Environmental Impact Statement June 2014.pdf

Mrs. Rapp asked to be provided with a hardcopy of the County Executive’s summary.  Chairman Plochocki asked that the summary hardcopy be provided to all members and a hardcopy of the entire report be provided to him.   

The meeting was adjourned at 10:22 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French 


Onondaga County Legislature



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MEMBERS PRESENT:  2Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Kilmartin, 1Mr. May, Mrs. Ervin, 3Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Dr. Chase


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:50 a.m.


A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Ms. Williams, to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     SHERIFF:  Chief John Balloni

        a.     Amend 2014 Budget to Accept State Homeland Security Funds for the Onondaga Co. Sheriff’s Office and Authorize the Co. Exec. to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($72,500)

  • State Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (SLETPP) funds
  • A lot is pass through to other agencies
  • Sheriff’s office will get $10,000 of the $72,500 for overtime/backfill costs for SWAT school -- to train new members needed to keep up the SWAT Team certification
  • Dept. provides SWAT services for most of the county
  • SWAT training is one reason why SWAT is very expensive--grant takes some of the training cost off of local budget


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve this item.


Chairman Knapp asked if the towns apply for this.  Chief Balloni explained that the Sheriff’s Dept. administers it; there is a committee that looks that the wish list for everybody; the committees comes to a consensus.  The City gets their own pot of money to work from.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Accept Funds from the NYS Canal Corporation for Patrol of the Waterways by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($40,000)

  • For Navigation Unit - $34,500 for personnel costs; $5,500 for fuel costs
  • The number of deputies assigned to the program was cut this year from 4 to 2--trying to hold overtime down and staff the road
  • Funding will cover salaries for some of the part-time special deputies brought in, and offset some of the cost of the full-time people
  • In addition, NYS gives funding up to 50% of the navigational unit

Mr. May said that the additional State funding is for the remaining costs.  Chief Balloni said that they are checking into that – usually that is the way grants work.  As a general rule, one grant can’t be used to underwrite the other.  Either way, it helps fund an important program and extra money not received in past years.


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


        c.     Amend the 2014 County Budget to Accept Drug Enforcement Administration Funds for Cannabis Eradication Work Done by the Air One Program of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Authorize the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($30,000)

  • Source of funding received for the last 3-4 years for Air 1
  • Specific flyovers designated to look for cannabis
  • Cannabis is often grown in the middle of agriculture crops as a way to hide it from the road; no way to see it except from the air--they-always find cannabis
  • Up $2,000 from last year

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


2.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

  • Resolution must be passed by legislature
  • Requirement of NYS Comptroller’s office in connection with pension reporting and service credit


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


3.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENT:  David Coburn, Dir.; Mark Burger, Exec. Dir., Soil & Water Cons. Dist.

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Approving the Onondaga County Ash Tree Management Strategy, Authorizing the County of Onondaga to Act as Lead Agency for the Ash Tree Management Strategy under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Accepting the EAF Parts 1, 2, and 3; Determining the Classification of a Type I Action; and Adopting a Negative Declaration

        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing Implementation of the Onondaga County Ash Tree Management Strategy, Including Preservation and/or Removal and Replacement of Ash Trees in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,020,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,020,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($1,020,000)


The complete Onondaga County Ash Tree Management Strategy is available on the County website:  http://www.ongov.net/environment/documents/CompAshTreeMgtStrategy.pdf


Items 3a and 3b were discussed simultaneously.

  • Beetle is here; identified last year in the city, East Syr. and Dewitt; now extending into Manlius and Minoa
  • May be spreading or may have been here for awhile – it’s a question of how many more infestation places are found
  • Goal of Ash Tree Management Strategy – ensure public safety and retain some of the ecological and social benefits that the ash trees provide
  • 1st step was to complete inventory carried out by Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Monitoring also an important part of the program
  • EAP Task Force:  put up 150 traps – not to capture the beetles, but to find out where the infestations are; 140 more traps will be put out this year – monitoring will continue to be important
  • Reaching out to communities across the Midwest and towards the East for a couple of years – try to take advantage of the lessons they have learned
  • Collaborated with Maxwell School – Capstone students reached out to community across the country – made 83 contacts, 43 municipalities across 18 states – obtained a lot of good information, which is posted on webpage
  • Meetings continue with task force to get the word out and to get feedback from public on their thoughts of how ash trees should be managed; 2 meetings specifically for Onondaga Lake
  • Meeting last fall with the University and college, Onondaga Nation, Cooperative Extension, and a number of people, on what kinds of trees might be considered for replacement



  • 46,730 trees on county-owned property with targets in drop zone (assets--roads, sidewalks, trails, buildings, utilities, etc.)
  • Anytime a tree might drop and hit something, it is a target
  • Did not inventory trees that don’t have targets--will just let them drop


Mr. May asked if the 46,730 are classified, i.e. low risk, high risk, liability, etc.  Mr. Coburn said that a target is a target – didn’t rank the targets.  They provide other kinds of information – location of tree; concentration, size and health.


In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, the 46,730 is not the total number of trees; it is the total number of trees that have targets within the drop zone.  Trees in the middle of Highland Forest, Spafford Forest, or Oneida Shores, for example, where not mapped. 


Mr. Coburn referred to Appendix A:


ash tree inventory


bar graph

bar graph

bar graph


  • The bar charts provide a distribution of sizes – 2” and 6” -- put both in for bidding; data collected on 2”
  • The 3rd chart shows the number of targets for each of the categories--about 50% of the targets for the trees inventories are roads; 30% trails & sidewalks, 5% utilities, etc.
  • Overwhelming majority of trees inventoried are pretty small in diameter – about 30,000 are 8” or less; about 82% are 12” or less – a normal distribution of sizes


  • Pre-emptively remove them
  • Treat with pesticide to preserve them – many communities do replacement also



  • Selective/balanced approach – allow management of ash trees in a given location in an optimum sort of way
  • Can preserve trees that provide special/good value
  • Can do canopy replacement in areas when doing removals where there is a paucity of trees
  • Preemptively remove lower value trees
  • Saving some, removing most, replacing some – maximizes management of trees in any given area
  • Proposal is to remove 95% of the trees in the inventory over a 10-year period – about 44,000 trees; replace about 10% of them – 4,400 over a 10-year period;  preserve about 5% - specially chosen, high value trees that provide significant benefits and amenities


Mr. Coburn referred to page 16, which– spells out criteria used in decision making for trees being a candidate for preservation or not:


 pg 16 Ash Tree Mngt Strategy report


Mr. May referred to inoculating trees at Onondaga Lake Park and asked if most of the trees there fall in the co-dominant stem category.  Mr. Coburn said that some do; there needs to be room for some discretion in terms of preservation.  In many cases if they have co-dominant stem, they would be taken down.  They are in an area with other species of trees providing the same kind of amenities.  If there was a large concentration of trees, and many were co-dominant stems, serious thought would be given to keeping them.  By in large if they have co-dominant stems, taking them down would be considered.  It has to do with how long those trees are likely to survive – they tend not to be as strong structurally and are likely not to survive.  Mr. Burger, Executive Director, Soil & Water Conservation District, agreed and said that with the excessive winds that come off of the lake, they are one of the biggest hazards in terms of trees with predominant stems.  In the Willow Bay area some of the trees are beautiful, single stems.


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Coburn said that public safety is the main reason or removal.  Chairman Knapp referenced an incident where one fell on a school bus.


Mr. May asked about the length of time from infestation to danger.  Mr. Coburn referred to page 12:

pg 12 Ash Tree Mngt Strategy

He noted that the experience in the Midwest, was that in the first seven years of an infestation, there was about 10% mortality.  During the next 5-year period, there was 90% mortality.  Mr. May said that at a 10-12 year run is when there is fall liability, depending on the size of the tree.  Mr. Coburn said that it depends on the intensity of the infestation – hard to predict.  Generally, at the 5 yr. stretch where there is 80% mortality of trees, trees are dying off in 2-3 years after infestation.  Early on it is approximately 7 years before they die.  It depends on infestation, partly on the health of the tree.  Trees with decline in canopy, trunk damage, would not be candidates for preservation, but would probably be the trees that would succumb earlier to an infestation.  They are getting better at predicting; from experience in Midwest it is known that there is genuine success at preserving certain trees.


In answer to Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Coburn explained that once a tree dies, it is 100% chance that it will fall.  Ash trees don’t break off at the top; they break off at the trunk and fall, and the branches fall.  It is much more dangerous, more difficult, and more costly to remove them once they die -- need to take them down while healthy. 



Mr. Coburn said that the estimated cost with cutting down 95% over 10 years; replacing 10% over 10 years, and preserving 5% for 25 years is estimated to be $13.5 million.  Bonding for it would add another $1.8 million.  He referred to Appendix B; worked with Mr. Petrela, to build a model using the data collected to project the probable costs associated with the variables. 


Mr. Coburn reviewed the following:


Cost estimates



Replacement tree cost is $350/tree – includes cost of tree, labor to put it in; prevailing wage, year or two of maintenance – make sure there is high survival rate


Removals and stump grinding – based on bids received last winter for removals done last winter - took down about 550 trees already in decline.  For purposes of the model, assumption is to inoculate trees that are 12 – 36 inches in diameter.  Assumed that if outsourced, the pesticide application would be $7/diameter inch; prices have come down since they first started.  The City bid their inoculation this spring and got a price just below $5.  If able to do inoculations in house (Soil & Water Conservation District), the estimate is $4.50.


Proposing that Soil & Water Conservation District continue to assist the County with issuing the bid documents, managing the contracts, and overseeing the vendors.  Monitoring these cuts is a lot of work; marking trees, grinding stumps, site restoration, certification cards being carried – it is a big job.  It may be one of the constraints, in terms of the number of trees able to take down.  Taking down 4,500 trees per year will cost about $80,000, which includes assistance with monitoring.


Projected cost:  $13.9 million ($9.6 million removal; $1.5 million replacement; $1.6 million preservation, $.8 million oversight and administration), plus an additional $1.8 million if bonded – totaling $15.3 million.


Chairman McMahon asked if revenues from the ash trees has been factored in.  Mr. Coburn said that early on it was thought that significant revenue would be generated to offset costs, but several factors will diminish that potential.  No small part of it is the fact that so many of the trees are small in diameter; typically the industry looks for 10” or bigger.  Chairman Knapp noted that in Highland, inventory wasn’t done of just the woods and away from the trails.  Mr. Coburn agreed and noted that a recommendation in the report is that it would be useful to have an inventory and evaluation of all of the park timber stands to find out what there is in all stands and develop a sustainable forest management plan.  There would be a better understanding as to when to go in and grab the ash heavy concentrations.  It has been done in Highland; some harvesting in areas has started where there is ash-heavy stands where it makes sense – where other trees of value are ready to harvest and the ash trees are ready to harvest.  It doesn’t’ make sense to go in and lop them off now if they are not mature or if it would diminish the value of the stand around them.


Mr. May referred to biofuel, pulping, firewood – and asked if these things have been considered – some may be easier and may be incentives with the proper insurances and liability protection to get rid of it.  Mr. Coburn said that they intend to write the bid documents in a way that will maximize those opportunities.  The Task Force has been in discussion with people in these industries.  Some challenges in the biofuels industry is that it is such a heavy product, to transport it a long way doesn’t make a lot of sense; some insist on having the bark removed before they take it.  It is expected that the industry will evolve over the next decade, with more opportunities available.  Some challenges with firewood is that the State still has a quarantine the splits Onondaga County in two – along the Thruway.  It is expected that the quarantine will lift this year; but conditions from Ag & Markets regarding the quarantine are built into the contracts.  Mr. May recognizes the challenges, but the legislature will have to make sure that the revenue side is covered thoroughly.  Mr. Coburn said that the expectation is that the bid prices received will reflect the value of the wood on the other end.  They have made sure that all of these people know that the County is well aware of all of these wood utilization opportunities and expect them to sharpen their pencils.  It is expected that as new markets evolve, the prices will come down.  Mr. May asked if the vendors will own the trees when they come down; Mr. Coburn said “yes”.


Mr. Jordan asked for clarification of the cost breakdown, specifically to the stump grinding component, which is roughly half the cost of the total removal.  If the rationale for taking them down is that we don’t want them falling in a trail, street, or shed, then he doesn’t know why we have to bother with removing the stumps because the liability or risk component no longer exits.  Chairman Knapp said that he certainly understands it in the parks, but questions it alongside a road or power line.  Mr. Coburn said that the DOT had asked that the stumps be ground along the ROW because of the liability that they face – some stumps are several inches off the ground and some will put out sprouts.  Chairman Knapp said that generally, they can be cut to a couple inches off the ground.  Mr. Jordan said that in term of a car going off the road and hitting a stump or a tree, the liability is going to be the same.  Mr. Coburn said that is why we get rid of the stumps.  Mr. Jordan said that it may be the difference of millions of dollars by eliminating the stump grinding portion of it.  Mr. Coburn said that there should be discussion with DOT as to why they insisted on the stumps being removed.  Mr. Burger said that in some instances, if a stump was intertwined amongst other species of trees, and if a vehicle had to hit one of the trees before it hit the stump, then they used their jurisdiction to say it wasn’t a hazard.  They would then flush the stump as low as possible to reduce the stump grinding cost.  In some instances, the stump grinder can’t get across the road to the other side; they used those assessments to be respectful of cost concerns.


Mr. Jordan referred to the infestation of the stump remaining; Mr. Coburn explained that the beetle feeds in the bark of the tree; the beetles won’t do much with stumps.  The parks want them ground, as they are mowing impediment; the DOT is mowing the ROWs up to a certain distance.  Mr. Coburn said that the estimate is conservative and assumes that all of the stumps are coming out; 50% of trees are along the highway ROW; the estimate for the cost of stump removal could come down significantly. 


Mr. Kilmartin asked about the deployment plan.  Mr. Coburn said that the intention is to do 10% removal per year.  The challenge is along trails, and highways, where there are pedestrians, with power lines above and utilities below, is that it is not like harvesting in a timber stand.  There are a lot more challenges.  They are optimistic that they can get 4,000-5,000 trees down in a year; it may be much harder if someone was trying to do it in a 5-year period and 10,000 trees down in a year.  


Mr. Kilmartin noted that the bond ratings are very good; funds are very inexpensive right now, but asked if they Co. Executive’s office or Finance has looked at trying to incrementally pay for this with cash as opposed to bonding for it.  Mr. Morgan said that the legislature appropriated fund balance for the initial inventory plan.  There is always a desire to do a fair balance of cash and debt; there are some other pressures on fund balance this year. 


Chairman Knapp highlighted what Soil and Water Conservation has done the project so far.  The inventory they did was remarkable; everyone is GPS tagged and entered into a data base.  He thanked Mr. Burger, noting that it was done for a significantly lower cost than if the County had to hire it out.  He asked Mr. Burger to update the committee on the status of inoculation.  Mr. Burger said that they have one fully DEC certified pesticide applicator, 2 technical level pesticide applicators, who will be fully certified after this season with on-the-job training.  The equipment is in house already.  They propose using Triage, which gets into the leaves of the tree, kills the beetle, and kills the larvae.  They are all trained and up to speed on it. 


Chairman Knapp said that in the Midwest they found that they should inoculate every 3 years; Mr. Burger agreed.  Chairman Knapp asked if that is done every 3 years until they go away.  Mr. Coburn said that they won’t go away; they are proposing to inoculate one third of the trees each year – then all trees will be covered.  Once moved of the trees are removed or eaten by the beetle, the beetle will move on to areas where the ash trees are more abundant, but the beetle will still be present forever.


1 May left the meeting.


Mr. Coburn said that a 25-year planning horizon was chosen on the theory that many of the trees will have achieved full maturity by that time and will die from other reason, or that in that interval new technology or new equilibrium will be established with the beetle.


Chairman Knapp pointed out the Mark Burger is a NYS DEC certified forester by trade, and a very good reference.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Coburn explained that the 10% replanting is mostly in parks – don’t envision replacing any trees in ROWs.  In a rare instance, where there is a large tree providing good shade on a building, then it may be worth getting a tree re-established there.


Chairman Knapp referred to $350/tree being a hefty number and asked if any in house assets could be looked at to help with replanting efforts.  Mr. Coburn said that is the intent; the $350 is what the City is paying to use Cooperative Extension to replace trees in the city now.  The proposal is not to replace with small trees or whips, where they could get mower disease and the investment could be lost, they will be replaced with 1”-2” caliber trees with a much greater potential of survival.  Some maintenance does have to be done; and we don’t have the resource to do that, which is required in the first year or two.  The vendor responsible for the trees will have some of that responsibility.  If the tree dies, it is on the vendor.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Coburn said that the replacement species will vary from site to site.


Chairman Knapp said that these items will not be voted on today, as this is a lot to digest.  Mr. Coburn cautioned that preservation is part of the package, infestations are growing, and once you start getting canopy decline the trees considered for preservation may not still be on the table.  Chairman Knapp said that the legislature is not looking to hold this up for an extended period of time.  Mr. Coburn noted the the proposed resolution is for bonding for the 1st year and coming back every year for bonding -- not to obligate the legislature for the whole thing at once.


        c.     A Resolution to Amend the 2014 Budget and to Release Honeywell Contingency Funds for Anticipated Legal, Technical and Scientific Expenses Associated with the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site ($85,000)

Mr. Coburn:

  • Created a Honeywell contingency fund in 2003 to provide resources for outside legal, scientific, engineer expertise to help reduce liability with respect to the Onondaga Lake Superfund site
  • May 2014 – contract down to $41,000 – claims outstanding on it
  • Current issues have required attention:
    • Lower Ley Creek – expectation that EPA will come out with a remedial investigation—feasibility study with proposed remedies, in the next few months or sooner - depending upon remedy, the cost is $20-$50 million – Onondaga County has been named as a potentially responsible party
    • Honeywell recently released a revised remedial investigation report for Wastebed B Haborbrook, encompasses Murphy Island property owned by the County – requiring some attention
    • Trail and amphitheater project includes Wastebeds 1 -8, County owns 1-6--Honeywell also issued a draft feasibility report
    • Longer term – DEC and EPA with cost recovery suit, last estimate was $12.5 million – have put County on notice with other PRPs that they are interested in recovering their costs
    • Natural resource damages costs – ongoing for a number of years
    • Releasing this money will bring Honeywell contingency fund down to $0; will not end--need to continue to deal with this situation
  • Will come back to the legislature for a new appropriation at some point


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Coburn indicated that the money has to be used for this purpose.


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



        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau ($160,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Chairman McMahon:

  • Mr. Holder was in last month for the Planning Committee to review CVB’s branding efforts and said that he would need to come back to Ways & Means to release the contingency funds put into the budget.
  • A small portion has already been released  
  • Releasing money to hire an employee to deal with the international piece of branding


Mr. Holder distributed the following:


CVB NY-logo-NoShadow.jpg 






Develop Destination Brand

Brand Unveil & Launch

$ 90,000

Video production, signage, promotions, media relations





Marketing outreach programs in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto



Sustain Convention Sales Success

Convention Sales

$ 29,000

Sales events, database prospecting, lead distribution sponsorship



$ 60,800


Tradeshows, sales programs, client events, sales sponsorships


$ 89,800

Enter International Marketplace

International &

$ 41,000

Overseas and Canadian travel trade sales initiatives

Group Sales


$  2,000


Site visits and promotions


$ 43,000






Heighten Visitor Services

Visitor Services




Kiosk, website overhaul, event services, Syracuse Nationals



Contingency Funds



Mr. Holder:

  • Will allow taking the branding work and do the type of unveil that they want to do with media relations and promotions and video production
  • Brand will give ownership -- has always been a detriment
  • Own the position of whatever interest; have a piece of that puzzle in the Syracuse area that will fulfill it
  • Convention sales – working closely with SMG, Oncenter, hotels to maximize convention sales efforts
  • International market place – getting traction – brand new business in this area that doesn’t come here.  With DestiNY USA and partnerships created, there is a a lot of international interest building
  • One of 3 sites in NYS selected to be a part of Brand USA Megafam (Syr., Lake Placid, Buffalo/Niagara)
  • Hire a persons in fall to work international market – impact packaging with hotels and attractions

Chairman McMahon referenced a student, who is a relative of the Chinese prime minister, who started at OCC and is now at S.U.  Mr. Holder said that a lot of movement is seen with the Chinese market place.  One advantage is our university connection.  The Chinese visitor needs an extra purpose to travel in order to get their Visa.  CVB has recognized that for medical tourism or English as a foreign language tourism.  Packages can be crafted along both, but really strong relationships need to be developed with the Chinese travel trade.


Mr. Holder referred to the Visitors Guide to show a sense of what is being promoted. 


Results this year:

  • Website visits – up by 20% over last year
  • Hotel performance seems to be stable; drop during work days related to contract business over the course of 2013; seeing it up on most weekends
  • Convention sales are on pace – projected through end of June
  • Successful year; launch of brand this fall will take them to a different level; will translate into really heavy numbers for room tax and sale tax production for the county

Mr. Holmquist said that members of the Ways & Means Committee received an email from the Comptroller yesterday, asking about a $50 million budget item earmarked for CVB for Syracuse University.  A couple of years ago, there was money for Jazz Fest in a section of the budget, and members didn’t know it until the budget was passed.  He asked if there is anything else out there like this going on; he asked if an audit is needed.  Mr. Holder said that they look at a number of areas where they have to plug in money for programs and promotions.  They look at things as an opportunity.  For example there are a lot of promotions done around the Syracuse Nationals – there is $25,000 in their budget for it.  They look at events like that as a way to push the brand out and create partnerships that can drive a greater level of interest in it.  They are looking at ways to partner with Syracuse Crunch, S.U and ACC relationships.  Their budget is extremely transparent and can provide all the detail.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the $50,000 was in the CVB budget.  Mr. Holder said that it was part of the 2013 budget; they have a research line that they put forward for projects like that.  That year it went into helping with the initial study for the stadium.  Mr. Holmquist said that there are no other “little nuggets” stuck in other sections of the budget; Mr. Holder said “correct”. 


Mr. Jordan asked if any part of this money earmarked to help fund any portion of the Crunch game at the Dome, which was just announced.  Chairman McMahon explained that last month the County Executive said that she was willing to propose $50,000 from ROT fund balance to go directly to the Crunch – we said no to that.  He said that CVB has been looking at getting a major sporting event, and a Women’s Frozen Four is in the wheelhouse.  It is something we can go after and potentially build on it for a Men’s Frozen Four.  It was initially proposed as just a game with the Crunch playing the Utica Comets and trying to break an attendance record.  He thought it was a real opportunity to build a resume for some of the long-term goals for getting a Frozen Four here.  The CVB, County Executive, and he talked to Howard Dolgan and SU about making it a weekend opportunity and having various different groups.  Ice will be put down – Friday there will be youth hockey; Sat. will have 3 games – law enforcement game, a college game, and then the Crunch vs. Utica Comets.   He asked CVB to take this as an opportunity to build a resume and invite the NCAA Selection Committee to the event – work with them on the marketing of it; help supplement marketing budget that the Crunch had for it; and if necessary, participate with some of the marketing.  He does not know what that will formulate to for a dollar amount, if anything -- there will be in-kind services.


Mr. Holder said that when they did the outdoor game; it was a showcase event which showed how flexible the area is for hosting different events – utilized as a sales opportunity.  It was the best client event that they had ever done.  They booked business coming out of it; resonated with the folks that were brought in for it and plan to do the same thing with the event at the dome.  Mr. Jordan asked what kind of business was booked as a result of the outdoor game.  Mr. Holder said that he would have to go back and pull the actual bookings that came in –knows of a couple of medical groups associated with SUNY Upstate.


2Mr. Holmquist left the meeting.


Chairman Knapp noted that the money is in the budget; and the vote is to release it.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Knapp, Kilmartin, Ervin, Williams); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan).  Motion carried.



        a.     Amending the 2014 County Budget to Accept Funds from NYS Related to the Settlements Between NYS and the Oneida Nation For its Gaming Operations and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Agreements ($5,000,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Chairman McMahon explained that this has to do with the Onondaga Lake West Revitalization Project:

  • DEIS statement and SEQR has been ongoing – amphitheater and Bridge Street 
  • The overall budget is composed of potential State money coming in and gambling money revenues – now being received monthly and are earmarked for economic development by the State of New York
  • Essentially breaking out a $100 million project of the amphitheater, Bridge St. revitalization, upgrade for west side pump station, and community revitalization efforts in the Village of Solvay
  • $500,000 has been appropriated from ROT, and has been spent
  • Ask to appropriate 2 years of the Oneida settlement money -- to pay cash for many times that bonding was being looked at for – originally to go to a project account
  • Economic Development account was formulated in last year’s budget – feels it is a better usage to put it there; more oversight; can track for purposes at budget time
  • During budget time, the Co. Executive will probably come over with legislation forming a development corporation to tackle this project
  • A real budget would be laid out at that time – would know cost of amphitheater, Bridge St., earmarked other programmatic pieces in Village of Solvay; brownfield remediation efforts on Milton Ave., etc.
  • This legislation moves over the $5 million which will be received from the Oneida’s over next 24 months – free of any debt service  - even if bonded in fall for a project, won’t be billed for 24 mos.

Mr. Jordan asked if it is moved to the Economic Development fund, would they be coming back to the legislature for expenditures out of this fund.  Mr. McMahon said that there is an Economic Development Fund Committee that would vote, and needs the sign off of the Co. Executive and Chairman.  The expenditures would not come back to the full legislature; members of the legislature will be appointed to the committee.


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Knapp to approve this item.  AYES:  3 (Knapp, Kilmartin, Ervin); NOES:  1 (Jordan); ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Williams).  MOTION CARRIED.


6.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Nina Andon McLane, Admin. Planning & Fund Coord.

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to File the 2014 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs ($3,443,740)

Ms. Andon-McLane distributed the following:




2013 to























Total Grant







Reprogrammed Balances






Program Income






Total Available






Capital Projects






Housing Rehabilitation






Housing Rehab

(Program Income)













Rehab Delivery












Housing Counseling






Fair Housing






Homeownership (Program

























Home Ownership Activities








Housing Rehabilitation






Lead Based Paint Rehab Grants






Home Ownership Subsidies






Non-Profit Housing Activities












































TotalGrant Application






3 grants:









  • Onondaga County Department of Social Services                         $25,318

Onondaga County Department of Social Services, (DSS) will assess the needs of homeless and housing vulnerable individuals and families through the Temporary Assistance Division. Homeless clients will be referred to community shelters and/or hotels. Whenever possible DSS staff will stabilize individuals and families in their current housing.  The department will also disperse third party payments for rental assistance, security deposits, and utility payments for the identified population of homeless and housing vulnerable individuals and families residing in Onondaga County.


Outcomes #1 Homeless Prevention (At-risk population)

                      1200 Clients to receive rapid rehousing prevention services

90%+ Do not re-enter emergency shelter system w/in 360 days


Outcome #2 Homeless

                      3000 Clients receive rapid rehousing services

                      70%+ do not re-enter emergency shelter w/in 30 days


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) – Basic Needs Assistance Prog/Direct Financial Assistance with Household Budgeting             $10,000

SNCC’s Direct Financial Assistance Program goal is to offer rapid rehousing to clients coming out of area shelters financial assistance in the form of first month’s rent.  The program targets people who have the immediate capacity to live independently and the resources to support themselves.


The SNCC’s Basic Needs Assistance Program provides financial guidance and education to clients.  Skills taught include household budgeting and basic financial literacy in an attempt to lessen the stress of transition from homelessness to permanent housing.


Outcome #1: Rehouse at-risk and homeless clients quickly be providing with first months’ rent and guidance with the ensuing paperwork.


Outcome #2: Program participants will develop the needed skills and supports to prevent them from becoming homeless again and will make progress towards obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.



  • Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York – County-wide Eviction Defense                          $12,000

LASMNY will provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction in the village, town, and justice courts in Onondaga County, outside the City of Syracuse. Legal services will also include representation to tenants in jeopardy of losing their federal or state housing subsidy.  Services will include those as set forth in § 576.102(a)(1)(vi) noted below, except that the eligible subject matters also may include landlord/tenant matters, and the services must be necessary to resolve a legal problem that prohibits the program participant from obtaining permanent housing or will likely result in the program participant losing the permanent housing in which the program participant currently resides.



  • Catholic Charities:    Dorothy Day House               $15,000

Dorothy Day House will provide 24-hour emergency shelter for women and women with children who are homeless. Participants will come from situations that include domestic violence, eviction, disasters (e.g., fire). The shelter will provide meals, crisis counseling, information and referrals, and relocation assistance.


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


Outcome 1:                     30 individuals/households will be relocated from shelter or other places not fit for human habitation and moved into apartments rapidly.


Outcome 2:                     75% of the relocated individuals/households will remain housed for at least six months and avoid a return to the emergency shelter system.

The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • Salvation Army – Barnabas Shelter                           $16,000

Barnabas Shelter created 4 co-ed shelter beds for homeless young adults, ages 18-24, to safely address the special needs of the young adult homeless population. The program will help alleviate the use of the adult shelter system and unsupervised hotel rooms for this population. The facility also offers a 24-hour hotline for crisis response, case management of the residents, Independent Living Skills classes and provides collaborative services with other agencies.


Outcome 1:                     85% of all shelter participants will obtain stable housing within 30 days.

Indicator:    Discharge summaries will document the number of days each participant remains in shelter as well as their exit destination.


Outcome 2:                     90% of all shelter participants enrolled in school will continue to maintain school attendance in accordance with McKinney-Vento regulations.  Those not enrolled will receive referrals for school or employment/income.

Indicator:                        Individual Case Files will contain documented verification regarding school attendance, employment, and income.


Outcome 3:                     90% of all shelter participants will demonstrate increased living skills as measured by pre/post testing.

Indicator:    Individual Case Files will contain a summary of results regarding each living skills topic completed by participants.  Documentation will indicate increased skills and abilities.


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • YMCA – Men’s Residence Program                           $9,000

The YMCA Men’s Single Room Occupancy Residence Program houses low-income men ages 18 years and older. The Program is comprised of 99 single room units, sixty being subsidized by the Syracuse Housing Authority Sect. 8 Program. ESG program funds are used to support, in part, Residential Advisement Program staff to provide advocacy, counseling, and facility security.


Outcome: Program participants will develop the needed skills and supports to prevent them from becoming homeless again. Average 180 individuals annually.

The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • Liberty Resources – DePalmer House                      $12,000

DePalmer House will provide transitional housing for “chronically homeless” persons who are living with HIV/AIDS.  The primary goal of this program is to provide an environment and level of services that will enable residents to obtain and maintain safe, affordable permanent housing.


Outcome 1:                     Sixty-six percent of residents will be discharged to permanent housing


Outcome 2:                     Average occupancy rate will be 85%


Outcome 3:                     Eighty-five percent (85%) of residents with a mental health or substance abuse disorder will be engaged in treatment


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • Christopher Community      Chadwick Residence                          $16,000

(Transitional Housing Program)

Chadwick Residence offers homeless women and children transitional housing and professional services to assist in achieving increased self-sufficiency and the ability to obtain and maintain appropriate permanent housing. Program participants develop skills and supports to prevent them from future homelessness.


Outcome:                          Program participants will develop the needed skills and supports to prevent them from becoming homeless again and will make progress towards obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.

                      -No more than 10% of program participants will become homeless again.

-80% of participants will improve their self-sufficiency by learning new skills, being connected with community resources, working on educational/vocational goals, etc.

75% of participants will move to permanent housing and maintain permanent housing.


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


  • YWCA: Women’s Transitional Residence Program                $10,000

The YWCA Women’s Residence Program will provide safe, affordable, supportive, structured housing to women and women with children who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Client-center case management will be available 24 hr/day.


Outcome 1:                     Individuals/families will obtain/maintain stabilized housing.

Indicator 1: 35 percent (35%) of participants will apply for permanent housing while in the YWCA program utilizing housing stability and case management.


Indicator 1B: 20% of individuals/families in transitional/long-term supportive housing will receive financial assistance with rental application fees, security deposits, utility deposits and moving costs.


Outcome 2:                     Program participants will function at an increased level of economic self-sufficiency.

Indicator: Ninety percent (90%) of participants will develop a functional budget.

Indicator: Ninety percent (90%) of participants will attain financial education and management skills through program services and workshops and/or related referrals.


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.



  • Rescue Mission – Homeless Intervention Services (HIS Team)                 $10,000

The HIS Team will deploy a mobile unit which provides transportation to medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, employment and other essential service appointments as well as street outreach to connect individuals and families living in places unfit for human habitation with services in the community.


Goal #1:       Address the physical and mental health as well as substance abuse issues of homeless men and women by providing transportation (including providing bus passes when the transport team is unavailable) to local hospitals, healthcare facilities, psychiatric facilities, outpatient programs, support groups, and other social services such as food services, clothing services, and housing services.

Target:  3500 transports per year.


Goal #2:      Provide essential care to men and women living on the street by distributing coats, hats, gloves, blankets, food and water.  This distribution of goods will be used as a means of building trust and provide an opportunity for engagement in order to assist them to engage in essential services in the community.

Target:  2000 contacts per year.


Goal #3:      Assist clients in obtaining and maintaining employment by providing transportation (including providing bus passes when the transport team is unavailable) to job interviews, employment services, temporary agencies, training sites and job sites.

Target:  600 transports per year.


The agency agrees to provide data to the Syracuse/Onondaga NY-505 Homeless Management Information System as evidenced by executing an Agency Partnership Agreement with the HMIS Lead Agency.


Total ESG Programs:                                                                                                                                                                               $132,818



  • Allows submission of action plan to HUD for 3 entitlement grants
  • CDBG spent in 3 areas: housing rehab, commercial rehab, capital projects
  • Housing Rehab, $300,000, principally used for matches for other grants applied to (i.e. currently preparing grant application for $3.9 million for HUD, Lead Hazard Control Program – will use most of Block Grant funds to match it; Will also use Home Grant; small portion – 15% used for housing rehab conduction by a nonprofit org)
  • Block Grant - $200,000 commercial; successful in obtaining NYS Grant, Main Street Development Program for Village of Camillus – awarded another $200k to work specifically in the village
  • Capital Projects – 17 funded/selected by Steering Committee; 2 contingent projects picked; 2 Fair Housing activities
  • Emergency Solutions – about 7.5% for administration; the rest for programs – fund assorted nonprofits to provide services to homeless and preventative services


Mr. Jordan referred to the North Syr. Street Scape Project and asked what is going to be encompassed – noting that most of Chestnut St. has sidewalks and one little section doesn’t.  Ms. Andon-McLane explained that this is a project that the Town of Clay applied for.  They are unique in that they are an entitlement – every year will get a certain amount of money from HUD and doesn’t have to compete for it.  Chairman Knapp said that they still have to apply.  Ms. Andon McLane said that this year they applied for Chestnut St. between George St. and Fairfield Dr.  All projects have to benefit low and moderate income people – below 80% of median income.  The Village of North Syracuse overall is low income, but there are pockets that are not.  Sidewalks or streetscape need to be specifically located in a low income areas – it is possible that a section is not a low income area.


Chairman Knapp said that he serves on the Community Development Committee; met several times, had lengthy discussions and feels the committee did a a nice job of making the most out of an ever decreasing amount of money.


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


7.     SOCIAL SERVICES – ECONOMIC SECURITY:  Sarah Merrick, Commissioner

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


Chairman Knapp said he has been working on this for a while.  The Loomis Hill Cemetery is very rapidly filling up to the point that it is months away from capacity, as is the Veteran’s Cemetery.  The current plan is 20+ years old; there are things in it that force people to be interred there, but may not have necessarily wanted to.  He feels it is time to modernize the agreement with the local funeral directors for this program.  He took some information from surrounding counties, as well as the Association of Counties, which has reported that some of the northern counties are going through the same thing.  They are doing some of the things included here, and the dollars are similar.


He will not call for a vote on it today; changes will be made as it is discussed; he wants to go through it with Social Services, as well.  The numbers need to be run to see what the changes will do budget-wise.


3Ms. Williams left the meeting.

Ms. Merrick said that approximately 320 indigent burials are done on an annual basis.  It is truly indigent – when deceased has no assets to cover burial cost, nor a family member or friend to pay burial costs.  Most are singles, that is the majority of the local costs – are able to draw down reimbursements from the State for some of the costs.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Ms. Merrick said that the program includes a burial, preparing the body, casket, concrete vault, marker, and a small obituary.


Chairman Knapp said that there is terminology concern – a vault to the industry seems to be a sealed container, where a concrete grave liner is not sealed, but protects the coffin and surface.  He asked if just the grave liner is required; Ms. Merrick said that she believes so – have entertained both with and without.  Chairman Knapp said it is a different cost.  Ms. Merrick agreed and said that they have to make sure costs are appropriate to cover it.


Mr. Jordan asked how the costs in the resolution compared to the current costs.  Ms. Merrick said that they range from a 30% - 120% increase, but haven’t really looked at reimbursement rates since 2006.  Mr. Jordan asked to be provided with what the county is currently reimbursing for.


Chairman Knapp said that some of the other counties are close to what is being proposed with this resolution, within $50.  The funeral directors do this as a service to the community; certainly they don’t need to get rich on it, but don’t need to lose money on it either. 


Ms. Merrick said that this cremation needs to be added as an option.  Chairman Knapp agreed, saying that with Loomis Hill, the County does not cover the cost of the cremation currently.


Mr. Jordan referred to the resolution, noting that it references “actual costs incurred”, but we have no idea what those costs are.  Chairman Knapp said that they will be provided.


Chairman Knapp said that he ran this by the local funeral directors organization and their feedback was positive.


8.     PURCHASE:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.     Revenue Contract – none

Mr. Carroll stated that he submitted his report last night – no revenue contracts to report at that time.  The vending RFP has been received and opened, but not evaluated yet.


        b.     Update:  Bail Expeditor Program

Mr. Carroll:

  • RFP went out earlier this week – originally committed to having it out over Memorial Day weekend, but missed that deadline
  • Deadline for question is Tues., June 17th
  • Addendum scheduled to publish on Wed., June 18th
  • Vendors will be given up to 8 days for responses
  • One vendor registered via website and stated that they are the only vendor licensed/certified in NYS
  • Staff checked with NYS Dept. of State to look at licensing requirements for bail bondsmen, etc.
  • To the best of their ability to research, they have found that there is not an on point certification or license for the Dept. of State for this.  If the proposals come in and there is an acknowledgement of a particular certification/licenses, it will be taken into account.
  • Vendors solicited:  Model Neighborhood Corp, Center for Community Alternatives, CNY Services, Catholic Charities, Brady Faith Center, Cayuga Counseling, Jail Ministries

Chairman Knapp asked for clarification as to whether a license is required.  Mr. Carroll said “not that they have been able to identify”.  He referred to bail bondsman licensing, but explained that this service is not exactly what that is.  If they come back with a licensing requirement, he will go back to all of the vendors to make sure they have all of the required licenses before being considered.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Carroll said that they will receive the questions by close of business day on Tuesday; by close of business Wednesday an addendum will be issued if there were any questions proposed; comment is due back May 26th. 


Mrs. Ervin stated that she is really disappointed that it has taken this long to get to this point.  It has been an inordinate amount of time to put out an RFP.  Chairman Knapp said that is why Mr. Carroll was invited today, as it needs to get moving.  Mr. Carroll said that anytime where you have to enter into a process where the document has to be built for the first time, there is a fair amount of research that has to be coordinated.  The Purchase staff had to understand the program and the bail process in general. 


Chairman Knapp asked if the contract is for one year.  Mr. Carroll said that they left room in the contract that if there was continued funding, they could consider extending it -- usually try not to limit RFPs to just one year.


9.     LAW DEPARTMENT:  Kathy Dougherty, Senior Deputy County Attorney

        a.     Settlement of Claim


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to exit regular session and enter executive session to discuss pending litigation in three case:  Macri vs. Onondaga County Van Duyn Home & Hospital; Mulcahey vs. Onondaga County Van Duyn Home and Hospital; and Thoreck vs. Onondaga County Sheriff’s Dept.  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.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


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


A resolution entitled “Authorizing the Settlement of the Action Filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Onondaga, Therese J. Macri, As Executrix for the Estate of Sophia M. Clark v. the Onondaga County Guild to the Van Duyn Home and Hospital, Inc., County of Onondaga, PACE CNY, Loretto Health, and Rehabilitation Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, John F. Houck, Jr., M.D., “John Doe 1”, “John Doe 2”, “Doe, Inc. 1”, and “Doe, Inc. 2”, was distributed. 


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


The meeting was adjourned at 10:43 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Comm Dev Blcok Grach


Onondaga County Legislature




Purchase Report



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