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

Deputy Clerk





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Rowley, Dr. Chase, Mr. Bush


ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Mrs. Ervin; see attached list


Chairman Buckel called the meeting to order at 10:06 a.mA motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Rowley to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES:  Ann Rooney, Deputy County Executive, Human Services

        a.     Confirming the Appointment of Richard Gasiorowski as the Onondaga County Commissioner of Children and Family Services


Ms. Rooney:

  • Last 2 years, since David Sutkowy’s retirement, been Acting Commissioner
  • Rich Gasiorowski has been with department over 20 years (previously at County IT); part of management team for last 2 years; very dynamic team that is doing wonderful things
  • Natural leader to take over; working together on daily basis for last 2 years; expertise in child welfare
  • Rich has been a foster parent for years, and adopted his son; looking for permanency for all young people

Chairman Buckel does not know the daily workings of the department, and said the Legislature wants to be deferential to the appointment.  There have been concerns raised about the appointment, and asked if this was something Ms. Rooney was aware of and could comment on.  Ms. Rooney responded:

  • When someone (like Rich) work’s in a management capacity, he/she will wrinkle feathers from time to time
  • Questioning his capability, passion or professionalism about the work is misplaced
  • Probably one of the highest stress jobs at County; often times, because of what they see on a daily basis, stress is brought back to the workplace; sometimes directed at coworkers
  • When someone is in a management capacity (like Rich), it can be directed upward
  • Unfair characterization to think that anything Rich has done has not been professional, above board and in the best interest of children

Chairman Buckel does not want to assume anyone said unprofessionalism; the characterization is more extreme.  It is more interpersonal relationships, and Chairman Buckel understands the concerns of employees are not always crucial to the functions of the department.  Chairman Buckel asked for Mr. Gasiorowski’s opinion, and he replied that he does not know what Chairman Buckel is talking about.  Mr. Gasiorowski started out as a Case Worker, moved up the ranks to be a Supervisor, a Program Coordinator and now this position.  Mr. Gasiorowski said he came up from the beginning like everyone else. 


Mr. Rowley said the resume is awesome, and wanted to know why it took two years to get him here.  Ms. Rooney replied that after the reorganization, and David Sutkowy retired, there was a talented management team who was not as well seasoned as other departments.  This was an opportunity to ensure everyone was focused in the same direction, and the team had two years together to get here.  Rich (Gasiorowski) was the natural leader. 


Mr. Bush asked where they stand with staff, and if there has been a reduction in employees in the department.  Ms. Rooney said over the years since the reorganization of Children and Family Services, the staffing has remained stable.  The administrative side needs to be shored up to ensure enough support staff.  They have filled vacancies in the child welfare area, as it is important to keep the caseloads manageable.  Mr. Bush asked how Mr. Gasiorowski feels about it, and he answered that every day is challenging.  There are large volumes of reports that come in from the state, and they try to do more to support staff as best as they can.  Mr. Bush asked if Mr. Gasiorowski is an advocate for his staffing.  Mr. Gasioroski responded that he believes in fair staffing, and caseload size will be the determination of that.  Mr. Bush commented the caseloads continue to increase and become more complicated.  Ms. Rooney stated there was an article in the Democratic Chronicle out of Rochester characterizing the child welfare staff in Monroe County, and what is going on.  They also looked at other counties in the state.  Hats off to Onondaga County, because the starting salary for a Case Worker is around $49,000.  Monroe and Erie are starting Case Workers in the mid-30’s, and have issues with retention and staff burnout.


Mr. Bush asked if they generally have a Bachelors, and most likely a Master’s Degree.  Ms. Rooney responded yes they have a Bachelors, and some move on to a Master’s as they work for the County. 


Dr. Chase asked if there is a policy when promoting someone regarding a probationary period.  Ms. Rooney asked if she’s referring to a department head, and Dr. Chase said yes.  Ms. Rooney answered no.  Dr. Chase believes the concern is that they’ve heard from employees that they are not happy, and understands that not everyone is happy with everyone all the time.  Would Ms. Rooney be willing to look at something for six months or one year?  Ms. Rooney replied that it is uncharacteristic, and is something to defer to the County Attorney.  Mr. Durr commented that they would have to create a new policy that would go across the board, but at this point nothing is in place.  Something would have to be put in place.  Dr. Chase asked if new hires have a probationary period.  Ms. Rooney responded yes, for new employees.


Chairman Buckel stated that the Legislature sets the policy, and if they determined that a particular appointment should have a six month life, then it does not have to be called a probation.  It would be a six month confirmation subject to further extension without limits.  Given the record before the committee, Chairman Buckel is not sure it is appropriate. 


Chairman Buckel asked for any other discussion, and Ms. Honeywell introduced herself Executive Vice President of the Local 834 of the DSS Unit (CSEA).  Ms. Honeywell appreciates everyone’s time today, and wanted to let the committee know that by no means is anyone saying Rich is not capable of doing this job.  The employees are saying there is a morale issue in the department.  A vast majority of employees in the department disagree with this appointment.  The hope is to work together and create dialogue for the future. 


Chairman Buckel called for a recess at 10:18 a.m.  The meeting reconvened at 10:23 a.m.


Mr. Bush said that in lieu of a probationary period for this type of appointment, he would like to recommend the committee table the appointment until they can get something in place to provide a six month probationary period. 


A motion was made my Mr. Bush, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to table this item until the Legislature can get something in place to provide a six month probationary period for this level appointment.


Chairman Buckel said that tabling motions the last couple of months have been used improperly.  In the absence of an emergency or significant need to change, the table motion ought not to be made.  Mr. Rowley asked what a more appropriate motion would be.  Chairman Buckel asked for advice from counsel, and added that if there is sufficient cause under an unforeseen circumstance, emergency or some drastic need to take a breath...  Mr. Durr agreed with Chairman Buckel that the table motion is not proper.  Chairman Buckel said that he thinks the motion, if going that route, would be to postpone indefinitely, which is subject to debate.  


Mr. Bush withdrew the motion based on the ruling of counsel.


Chairman Buckel made a motion to present the resolution to confirm the appointment commencing July 3, 2018, and continuing for six months, at which time the Legislature will reconsider the appointment without limit. 


Mr. Rowley said that he is nervous about creating a precedent that the Legislature may not enjoy having set down the road.  He is in favor of tabling or postponing this based on the amount of information they just received this second.  He needs to be more time to digest and ask some more questions.  Chairman Buckel said that given Mr. Rowley’s declaration that there is information he would like to see, there is a need for further consideration.  Chairman Buckel said that he believes the Chair of a committee can make a rule; just like the Chair of the Legislature. 


Chairman Buckel ruled as Chair a motion to table to be in order under the circumstances described by Mr. Rowley. 


A motion was made by Mr. Rowley, seconded by Mr. Bush, to table this item.  Ayes:  3  Noes:  1 (Buckel); MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Durr asked if there is a date the committee wants to table this to.  Chairman Buckel said that it is tabled until next month, so it is not without end. 


Dr. Chase said that it is very difficult to put Ann and Rich in this position, and wished this came before, so it did not get to this.  Ms. Rooney commented that the union members that were present, who she had ongoing discussions with over several weeks regarding several issues, could have easily brought their concerns to the administration, rather than just to this meeting.  There has been a very good working relation.  Mr. Nesci agreed that the working relationship has been very good.  He said that they realize these appointments need to be approved by the Legislature, and this came out at 5 p.m. at the end of the week.  They did try to get ahold of someone to talk to, but were not able to.  Mr. Nesci explained that they also had training out of town, and other things preplanned before it came up.  They made contact with whoever they could make contact with.  He added that at the time this came out, it was a handful of concerned people, and they would not be sitting in this meeting.  Since then, it has become more than a handful of people.  Mr. Nesci said that leadership came to them a couple days ago, stating that they needed to talk to somebody.  Ms. Rooney said, “with all due respect to all of you, I think each of you has my cell phone number, certainly my work number.”  She added that Dan and Mr. Nesci do.  She continued, “It would have been in a professional way if you would have picked up the phone and called, rather than bring this now; where we could have had discussions about this.”


Chairman Buckel commented that he has tried lowering the temperature of some of the antagonisms that permeate, not just with relationships with the Legislature and the Executive, but working relationships among all groups.  Ms. Rooney interjected stating that they have a great relationship.  Chairman Buckel strongly encouraged the union members to sit down and go over this with Ms. Rooney – encouraged a frank discussion – one that has no recrimination on either side.  Then it can be fairly vetted, and a life-long public servant can be accorded the kind of consideration that the administration has placed before the committee.  Chairman Buckel said people can get along and at least respect each other.


2.     INFORMATIONAL:  Raise the Age


Ms. Rooney:

  • NYS passed Raise the Age Legislation that goes into effect this coming October; starts with 16 year olds; 17 year olds to be in the family court system starting Oct 1st, 2019; many components have implications on County level
  • Main thing that has to be accomplished is working back from the October 1st deadline for 16 year olds
  • Onondaga County 1 of 6 counties that have a County run detention facility
  • NYS knows with passage of Raise the Age, 16 and 17 year olds being adjudicated in family court system versus criminal court system adds stressors to detention center, Probation, Law, Family Court System, Sheriff’s (transports)
  • State reimbursing 100% of local costs for foreseeable future
  • Need for capital improvements at Hillbrook and operational adjustments across County
  • Onondaga County considered leading county in state for progress of meeting tenants of Raise the Age; have had process in place for system to make sure only those at highest risk to public housed at Hillbrook
  • Regional detention center -  get reimbursement; continue practice; expansion of Hillbrook contemplated to meet needs of 16 and 17 year olds in regional concept
  • Entails hiring additional staff; 100% reimbursable; timely coming up on budget; and Oct. 1st deadline

Mr. Pratt thanked the committee for the opportunity to present, and stated the County is in the best position to address the challenges with Raise the Age. 


Mr. Pratt:


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Chairman Buckel asked if they agree with the state’s assessment on the deficit.  Mr. Pratt answered:

  • Agree with their assessment on the deficit and overall projections; some questions about projections made by trends they’re anticipating
  • No way to predict certain arrest patterns, and movements of cases from Criminal to Family Court
  • Onondaga County has far fewer youth in jail for misdemeanors (percentage wise), then a lot of other counties
  • Probably in the best interest of youth and public safety; lot of work done through reform over the last 15 years
  • State shows higher percentage of 17 year olds over 16, but here it’s very even; do believe the projections are accurate

Ms. Rooney added that besides the dark areas on the map (5 county region), many other counties use Hillbrook for detention services.  Mr. Pratt said the southern and northern tiers do not have detention facilities or bed capacity.  The two largest counties that use Hillbrook are outside of the 5 county region including Oneida and Broome counties. 


Mr. Pratt continued:


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  • Phase 1 – new wing; requirement of State Commission on Corrections to have separate entries into the facility for new adolescent population; keep separate from juvenile delinquent/juvenile offender population
  • New unit would be orientation unit; proposed to state, and state may use as model in other jurisdictions
  • When 16 and 17 year olds admitted into facility, they enter in separate entryway, and stay within unit for first week
  • If they are released on own recognizance, make bail, or have any change resulting in them leaving, then they are never assimilated into rest of building
  • First week gives time to learn about the young person, about issues they may have with other residents, and learn how to best meet their needs while in the facility; after initial week, integrate into other units

Chairman Buckel asked if the state issued regulations on these requirements.  Mr. Pratt responded:

  • Office of Children and Family Services has; involved in commenting during the comment period, and believe there were changes made based on the comments during that time
  • Set of regulations from State Commission of Corrections have not been released yet; at Detention Summit last Wednesday, told they will be released any day
  • Proactively set out for Commission of Corrections to come visit the facility; they’ve been 3 times; even though regulations are not released, they explained what to start working on to get up to capacity
  • When facility initially designed, it was designed thinking down the road
  • (i.e.) Facility in Erie County needs to remove all dormitory unit doors to have them swing the other way, and they need to install security grade locks, which Hillbrook has
  • Not tremendous amount of upgrades necessary as it is, with exception of clips on the ceilings to prevent egress, and partitions in the cafeteria to section it off - populations cannot comingle
  • Lots of concerns with comingling populations; cannot have adolescent offenders (new population) and juvenile delinquent/juvenile offenders comingle within units; believe it is not in best interest of staff or residents
  • Hillbrook has classification system based on age, maturity, physical size, cognitive functioning
  • Believe it is counterproductive to separate purely based on which court they are going through
  • (i.e.) 17 yr old charged with misdemeanor in family court housed with 13 yr old; important to keep them separate

Ms. Rooney said they’ve been very vocal with OCFS to see that part of it changed.  They have agreed on the female side that females can be comingled, but not on the male side.  It may change down the road. 


Chairman Buckel is impressed with the good foresight on design, but the concern is that during the appropriation phase, the State Corrections Department will say they meant to do it another way.  Mr. Pratt responded to Chairman Buckel that even if the regulations are not finalized, the County has the opportunity to submit plans and receive approval prior to the regulations coming out.  It has been done for Erie County, and Monroe County is looking to expand as well. 


Mr. Rowley asked how many beds the facility has.  Mr. Pratt replied:

  • Currently 32 beds; this will add 8 beds; included in design is a classroom area, lounge area, and the moving of the medical department to intake area – can be seen by medical staff when coming in, without going through entire building
  • Initial phase would bring capacity to 40 beds; second phase will add another 8 beds bringing capacity to 48
  • Building broken out in four 8 bed units; this would extend two units by 4 more beds each
  • Challenge - change in daily population; currently today there are 8 juvenile offenders under age of 16; if 9th under Raise the Age, then would open a whole unit for that 1 youth; would minimize the use of other beds
  • Design allows conversion of units from 8 to 12 to 16; gives flexibility based on daily population (classification and male/female breakdown)

Chairman McMahon asked if there are cost estimates to this.  Ms. Rooney explained they have utilized Facilities, and have solicited architecture firms.  They will need capital money to pay for this, and then it can be put out to bid.  This is all 100% reimbursable.  Chairman McMahon has had conversations with different counties, and understand that NYS will reimburse, but when.  Ms. Rooney replied that on the capital side, it will be on bonded costs.  As the County makes the bonded payments, then the invoices are submitted.  Ms. Rooney commented that they have had tremendous reimbursement for Hillbrook with the 49% reimbursement.  Chairman McMahon stated this is a tremendous mandate for counties, and there is no debating policy.  There is a commitment now to reimburse.  Ms. Rooney explained that there is a pool of money set aside for the capital component, so there is an advantage of being ahead of other counties.  Having the plans ready means being first in, and having the commitment of repayment.  There is a $100 million pool currently.


Chairman McMahon asked Archie (Wixson) for a ballpark on costs.  Mr. Wixson replied that they have not gotten to the details on the mechanical side.  Services of a firm is necessary, and one of the first steps is getting a construction cost estimate.  Mr. Wixson believes it will be under $5 million.  Ms. Rooney said they do not have to build a new cafeteria; only partition it.  Since they are going through the security upgrades now, it is all reimbursable through Raise the Age.  Mr. Wixson commented as they get into finalization with design and development, they will start introducing value engineering. 


Chairman McMahon said it’s showing the beds are full now (32/32), and Ms. Rooney clarified they are not.  Mr. Pratt explained there are 32 beds available, and the census is 18.  This time next year there will be 24 young people at the Justice Center that cannot be there, and 8 juvenile offenders going to Criminal Court, which makes 32.  Chairman McMahon asked if 48 will be enough with the other counties.  Ms. Rooney responded:

  • Contemplating whether juvenile delinquent population should be behind barbed wire based on offences charged with
  • Looking at housing them at a different location that does not need capital improvements; staffed by County employees
  • Would free up space at Hillbrook; can house more out of county; reimbursement is higher
  • Want to make sure to take in Chairman McMahon’s concerns about it being 100% reimbursable now
  • Will require more staff, and specialized rapid response team
  • Want to be conservative at approach; do not want to overbuild and overstaff

Mr. Pratt feels 48 is the right amount to not put pressure on the system.  Some juvenile justice reform over the past several years has reduced the census, and there are only a handful of young people in the buildings.  Mr. Pratt does not want to build so much that six or seven years down the road there are empty buildings and staffing issues. 


Mr. Bush asked what impact this will have when the Mohawk Valley and southern tier get on board and provide housing.  Mr. Pratt replied:

  • There are discussions about a gentleman (previous CEO of Glove House in Elmira) starting a consortium group to explore creating a facility in the southern tier
  • Need for beds far exceeds what currently exists; there are 5 youths in the facility as of this morning, but that is not the population they are looking at
  • Looking at every 16 and 17 year old in adult settings; (i.e.) Tioga County is very small, and has not had a 16 or 17 year old in a facility for the last 4 years; Broome County averages close to what Onondaga County averages
  • If 30 bed facility opened up in southern tier, then it would support the needs of Broome County alone
  • Department of Criminal Justice Services and OCFS have provided a lot of data in regards to how each county utilizes both jail and detention
  • Took time to look at all figures; settled with 48; Oct. 1st – will be able to get to capacity very quickly
  • Counties struggling because they want to contract; probably not in best interest to contract with another county
  • Monroe County will not be supporting the region; only housing Monroe County youth with current building
  • Short term, bed occupancy will not be an issue; unless there are significant changes to local data trends
  • Enough to support by year 2 full implantation; building will predominantly house Onondaga County youth with capacity to help support other counties

Mr. Rowley stated the County is doing the right thing in a timely manner.  He fears the County will get stuck from dictation from the state saying other counties are not ready, so Onondaga County has to jam their facility with youths.  Ms. Rooney commented:

  • Not looking to have construction completed by October 1st, but 1 year from now; first focus is intake area
  • With data presented, looking at staffing patterns, all requirements of legislation – expand 2 units and give flexibility
  • Never a day the facility has 32 residents; still have flexibility necessary even with needs
  • Lot of pressure on state - trying to create facilities in places they can control versus county control

Dr. Chase asked how long would it take to get something non-secured (i.e. place in Tully).  Ms. Rooney replied that they have contract agencies with cottage settings, and they are in discussions with them about renting a cottage for non-secured; which would be staffed by County workers. 


Mr. Pratt:

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Dr. Chase asked if the medical staff is the County’s, or under contract.  Ms. Rooney and Mr. Pratt responded under contract; the same as the Justice Center.


Dr. Chase asked what the requirements are for the detention home aides, and do they need a higher level of training for 16 and 17 year olds.  Mr. Pratt explained that the current requirements are 6 months’ work experience with young people, and moving forward it will be a high school diploma.  Mr. Pratt clarified for Dr. Chase that they are not Correction Officers.  Based on the layout of the plan and the type of service delivery, there are far fewer critical incidents at the Justice Center.  That’s partially due to the training, because of the Behavior Management System, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, that was developed at Cortland University, which is really effective with young people.  The management system really supports interacting with youth in a different way that is safer for staff and residents.  Ms. Rooney encouraged the committee to visit.  Mr. Pratt believes the goal is to make it seem less correctional as possible.  Ms. Rooney stated the facility looks nothing like a corrections facility besides the dorm units. 


Dr. Chase asked if the educational services are under the City School District, and Ms. Rooney answered Westhill.  Mr. Pratt commented:

  • Have to meet same guidelines of any educational program as dictated by State Dept. of Education; 5.5 hour school day
  • Director of Recreational/Vocational Services – dealing with students that exceeded compulsory age of attendance; have to offer alternative and vocational programing
  • Do not have to worry about for year 1, because16 and under; youths required to complete educational year
  • When reaching Phase II of Raise the Age, essential to know how to provide educational services to older youth
  • Reimbursement – any incremental costs associated with getting up to Raise the Age capacity
  • State has to approve the plan; State Dept. of Budget released initial plan last Wednesday – separate tabs for probation, probation contracts, DSS (increase rate of youth removed from community and placed in care)
  • Increases in virtually every part of the youth justice system 

Ms. Rooney stated they are not planning to hire October 1st.  There will be a slow implementation as 16 year olds come through, so there would be a gradual increase.  Chairman Buckel asked if some of these expenses will be factored in with the 2019 budget, and Ms. Rooney said yes.  Some things that will be asked for within the budget, will be effective the day the budget passes.  It is close enough to October 1st, so they can start some of these things right away.  Ms. Rooney answered Chairman Buckel that there should not be any local dollar cost; 100% reimbursable.  There are operation meetings happening now to ask departments what their anticipated costs will be, and it will be flushed through the budget office; asking if it is a realistic expectation of costs.  Ms. Rooney replied to Chairman Buckel that right now it is a mandate that is completely paid for. 


Mr. Pratt:

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  • Additional training and safety protocol; took list of 16 year olds in Justice Center and did presentation to staff; asked who they would have a challenge with; they knew all and were familiar with them
  • Duties will be 50% safety and security – building intact, security functions working daily; 50% coming up with individual case management plans – escalation techniques for specific residents to return to baseline if crisis emerges
  • Outlined what state is passing around; encouraging other facilities to mirror what County is doing

Mr. Rowley asked if this reimbursement includes all operating costs, materials, supplies, food, etc., and Ms. Rooney replied yes.  Chairman Buckel asked if it includes bond transaction costs, and Ms. Rooney said yes, because they would be included in the bond.  Ms. Rooney:

  • Family Court, Sheriff transports, etc. are all factored in
  • Understand concern about how long it will be 100% reimbursable
  • Focus today is on the capital money; being first in with the plans; currently have informal stamp of approval from state
  • Want to take advantage of pool of money sitting there; have it tied to bonding
  • Today, at a place with enough information from state to share with Legislature; also completed enough leg work to say they need to come up with capital money for architect piece and approval on work for Hillbrook

Chairman Buckel stated, “when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”  It sounds like Ms. Rooney and Mr. Pratt have been cautious and conservative with operations. 


Mrs. Ervin asked how many people are on the response team.  Mr. Pratt responded:

  • Rapid Response Team plan has to be approved by OCFS and Commission of Corrections
  • Anticipate during waking hours (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) there will be a Senior Counselor (currently Frontline Manager) overseeing childcare, and 2 additional staff
  • Team be made up of 3 primary individuals, and 1 floater to do med runs, attorney phone calls, etc.
  • 4 staff responding to critical incident on top of 2 staff already responding; totals 6 individuals responding to a unit
  • Very proud of staff’s response to critical incidents; no complaints filed; staff uses tremendous proximity skills and implementing Therapeutic Crisis Intervention trained in
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention - simple model with 3 or 4 basic techniques; versus others with 15 or 16 techniques, which result in mistakes; vast majority of situations resolved without physical interaction
  • Young people in dormitory units by 9 p.m.; currently doing existing capital improvement project installing a system with key fobs; required to check rooms every 15 minutes; unless suicidal or other reason to be checked more frequently
  • Fobs ensure staff checking doors; on camera; only 1 youth at a time is able to exit a unit to use restroom; overnight staff trained well on how to run the shifts; never had incident during overnight shift
  • Already have 16 and 17 year old juvenile offenders; not completely new
  • Everything is about relationship building; biggest asset is staff eating with residents, engaged and interacting with residents; not just observing; residents never assault staff; residents know staff are there to keep them safe

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Rowley, to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:29 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

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JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

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 * * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Tassone, Dr. Chase, Mr. Burtis, Ms. Cody

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon; see attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


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

       a.     Amending the 2018 County Budget to Make Funds Available to Pay Increased Costs Associated with Disposal of Biosolids ($500,000)


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Biosolids are leftover materials after digestion of the waste

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  • Annual budget prepared a year in advance, Legislature reduced this line item by $200,000, per resolution 148-2017; requested increase last year because they saw the price increases coming, in addition, other unforeseen items are increasing pricing

Chairman Plochocki referenced the biosolids disposal pricing (see pg. 1).  The root of the problem is that they anticipate the annual cost per million to increase by $1 million dollars for the 2-year period from 2016-2018.  In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that 20% is the legal minimum for landfill solids disposal to meet regulatory requirements.  Chairman Plochocki asked what percentage is considered a wet ton - above and below what.  Mr. Rhoads answered that he was not sure he understood the question.  Historically Metro averages around 32% and Baldwinsville has 28% solids.  Chairman Plochocki said that wet ton is not 20% and below.  Mr.  Rhoads responded that wet ton just means as delivered to the landfill; wet ton, dry ton gets to be advance science and has to do with plant operations.

  • Landfill tipping fees and transportation costs are increasing at the same time
  • Currently have 1-year bid; 6-14-18 advertising for 5-year bid, opening date 7-17-18 for 2019, seeing an increase and trying to avoid exposure to 1-year pricing
  • NYC biosolids no longer going to AL, going to the same landfills we use, significant market change
  • No way to store or do anything different and must dispose of properly, cannot spread on farm fields, do not have the mechanisms in place, must go to a landfill
  • Propose using fund balance because of the previous slant from the Legislature to drive down fund balance; any leftover funds would go back to fund balance, cannot use this money for other items

Chairman Plochocki said that Mr. Rhoads is referring specifically to the CSD fund balance, not the general fund balance.


Dr. Chase said that she is hearing that places like Seneca Meadows have come to their fill and asked what will happen if it closes.  Mr. Rhoads answered that the market dynamics are shifting.  During his career, this has typically been done by regulatory posture.  There was a time when Seneca Meadows asked the public for a 30-year extension.  They procured almost everything on both sides of Route 414 and created a huge wetland in an area that was created for mitigation space - they were going to take some wetlands and create 5 to 1 replacement wetlands.  They had a long-term growth plan that would have carried them out for several more 5-year permit cycles.  He understands that this has changed though he has not been connected with the business for 6 years.  Their long-term plan has seen some tapping of the breaks as the landfill is not popular with the people that have a landfill in their backyard.  Another landfill is High Acres, which has also gone through regulatory and odor disruption issues.  We are getting capacity constrained and Madison County does not have the capacity to receive our waste.  Air capacity constraints are one of the reasons we are trying to go with a 5-year pricing bid, which would give us more capacity in the market, render haulers the opportunity to place the disposal materials at several different landfills and get into a longer-term pricing forecast for 2019-2024. 


Dr. Chase asked if they could help NYC find another location.  Mr. Rhoads answered that people are looking for Class A biosolids, those that could be spread on farm fields, which takes a lot of capital expenditure and a willingness for someone to have that process in their backyard.  An outfit has been unsuccessful in trying to site Class A biosolids facilities in NYS.  The total activity is actually recovering the resource.  There are a lot of farms in biosolids but frankly, there is a need for landfill capacity and that is what we are starting to bump into – people are saying no more landfills at the same time people are concerned about pathogens in biosolids, which they don’t want on farm fields or in their backyards. 


In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that landfill fees and NYC were the two biggest factors for the price increase.  There is a 1-year contract with the hauler who can transport to Seneca Meadows or Ontario County Landfill.  Chairman Plochocki said that because the contract is not with the landfill they can increase fees at will, which is what we have been seeing.  Mr. Rhoads cautioned that the 2019 budget is going to eye-opening also. 


Chairman Plochocki asked how much was currently needed.  Mr. Rhoads responded that they are not out of money yet but it takes time to get the approval.  Mr. Morgan said that the funds need to be there because the comptroller is not going to post a bill in the negative.  Chairman McMahon said that $2.2 was budgeted and asked where the current budget was at.  Mr. Rhoads said that DEC and ACJ monitors, SPDES fees, CCE, and Soil and Water also come out of that line.  Chairman McMahon understands there is timing but questions why they need half a million in June - assumes $1.7 has been spent.  Mr. Morgan said that Management and Budget looked at the estimate and is comfortable with it.  If the money is appropriated and the costs are less it will drop to the bottom-line and go back into the same pot it came from.  Funds are specific to this account and cannot be spent on other things, barring any other issues in the account unrelated to this.  In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that these funds are specific to biosolids and cannot be spent on other items within the line unless the funds were appropriated as such. 


Chairman McMahon asked to be provided with the current numbers.  Mr. Morgan said he would provide the information.  Mr. Rhoads said that he would include the drop-dead date of when bills will no longer be able to be paid at which time Legislators can tell them where to deliver it.  Chairman Plochocki said that it was appreciated that the information was presented early, rather than later.  That being said, some legislators are concerned with setting precedent of releasing funds too early in the year for a variety of reasons; not specific to WEP, more general.  Mr. Morgan said that this provides better information on how much is actually going to be spent and asked what number they would be comfortable with if not the yearly estimate.  The philosophy has been to provide the estimate for the year.  If this not done departments will have to come to committee multiple times for funds.  Chairman Plochocki said he understands that there are a lot of advantages and economies of scale by coming forward for the year but there were some discussions, in general, about departments and he does not know to what extent it would apply here.  Chairman McMahon said that the job of the committee is to have oversight, ask tough questions, and hold people accountable.  It is logical to want to see how much money has been spent, they are asking for a half million dollars midyear and it is our job to complete the due diligence. 


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Rhoads confirmed they received notification in January.  Once they got to the 2nd quarter they were able to forecast what would be needed until yearend.  Mr. Burtis said that haulers determine where the product will go.  Mr. Rhoads said that they have two landfills that they can use and they broker it to the best price.  There is a slight mileage difference between the two and the hauler does whatever is most advantageous for all.  Mr. Burtis asked the current fund balance.  Mr. Morgan said that the amount is presented annually in the budget, shows history and proposes what will be used for the year.  Mr. Rhoads said the balance is in the mid-thirties.  In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Rhoads said that the treatment plant infrastructure is just under a billion dollars and the conveyance structure adds another billion to the enterprise.  Mr. Burtis said that the amount of funds necessary as backup for this operation is no small amount.


Mrs. Tassone questioned if anyone was fighting for our taxpayers who would be paying more because of NYC.  Mr. Rhoads responded that downstate has market strength with more biosolids.  It is a market-based universe and we do not have our own landfill for a lot of reasons.


Chairman Plochocki recommended voting to move this forward with the understanding that more information on exactly how much money is needed and when will be provided.  This opens the door for a Ways and Means to vote on some, if not all, of the money.  Mr. Rhoads confirmed that the current CSD fund balance, year to date number of the 410 account, monthly biosolids burn rate and anything else forecasted out of the account will be provided.  


A motion was made by Chairman Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to approve this item with the understanding of the further information coming forward.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  Travis Glazier, Director

       a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Amending the 2018 County Budget to Provide for use of Funds in Connection with the Lighting Along the Loop the Lake Trail, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($1,000,000)


Mr. Glazier:

  • DASNY grant funds to be used to provide lighting on existing portions of the Western Shore Trail and 2018 future extension, will be able to construct lights within 2018 assuming July session approval, 8-week turnaround between RFP and ordering lights; no local match, good opportunity to enhance trail structure
  • Received timely reimbursement from 2017 DASNY grant - March 2017 award letter, August grant dispersal November reimbursement; two $500,000 grants confident at least half if not all funds will be received by yearend of 2018
  • Displayed map and reviewed with the committee - lighting from amphitheater box office to where the current trail meets the Orange lot, in addition, the future trail will also be lighted, will be able to provide trail lighting from Inner Harbor to the Amphitheater between federal and state funding

In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Glazier said that the remaining funds for lighting are budgeted within the trail construction.  The majority of the million dollars will go to lighting the current trail.  Mr. Burtis questioned the distance from the Inner Harbor to the amphitheater.  Mr. Glazier estimated it to be about 2.25 miles. Mr. Burtis said that people could park at Inner Harbor and walk to the amphitheater.  Ms. Cody asked if there would be another entrance to the amphitheater from the trail.  Mr. Glazier responded that the trail has a hook which goes in front of the box office.  Mr. Burtis added that it is between the parking lot and the lake.  Mr. Glazier agreed and said that people will be able to take the trail instead of walking through the Orange lot.  Chairman Plochocki said that the lights are on the trail, not the in the parking lot, the purpose in part is the ability to walk the trail.  Mr. Glazier said that lights will not be doubled over as the lighting from the parking lot was considered and the trail lighting will be strategically placed.  The same solar light structures used in the dock area will be used for the trial, which runs between $600 and $750.  Chairman McMahon said that he is very concerned with lighting the western shore trail as the trail is special because there is no lighting.  In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Glazier confirmed there is a plan for the layout and he will walk the trail with the Chairman so that he can see where the lights would go.

  • Lighting upper tier of the wastebeds, not the Maple Bay area which is covered with overstory trees and has a very scenic feel, that area which will be left alone with added deed restrictions; the wastebed area is high above the greenery, at grade with the parking lot
  • No utility bill, working with Parks to determine long-term O&M, performed very well 1st year on the dock trail and have a great reputation

In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Glazier said that the lighting would eventually go from the box office through Roth.  In 2018 the trail will be extended to the Honeywell Visitors Center.  The bridge construction over CSX will begin in 2019, end in 2020, and include the Roth connection.  Mr. McMahon questioned the need for the full disbursement now when much of the lighting will not be installed until 2019 and by then they would likely receive reimbursement for the first $500,000.  Mr. Glazier said that the extension is going to be constructed in 2018 and it is cheaper to do installation during construction.  Mr. Morgan said that the full million dollars will be spent in 2018.  Chairman McMahon questioned how they would then light the rest of the trail.  Mr. Glazier said that the budget for those projects includes lighting.

  • Trail extension is a federally funded project to be done in phases, this is Phase 1 – fully funds trail construction and concrete landings for light posts, DASNY grant allows funding for lights
  • Phase 2 – fully funded from the visitors center to Harbor Brook, lights will go up with the construction of the trail

Chairman Plochocki asked if the project was fully funded by Honeywell.  Mr. Glazier said that Honeywell is our local match for construction and paving, then federal funding is being applied to put up the lighting.  Chairman McMahon asked if this was more of an amphitheater/Orange lot project than a trail project.  Mr. Glazier answered that this is getting the current trail caught up so that there will be continuity in the trail system as extensions are built.  It is all dark sky lighting, which is bird friendly and bird-lover approved.  In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Mr. Glazier said that they cannot wait to approve the funds if this is going to be completed in 2018 and the money must be expended before it will be reimbursed.  Chairman Plochocki asked if the lighting from the bridge to the end of the lighting was fully funded by other sources.  Mr. Glazier responded that the remainder of the project is fully funded with lighting included.


Chairman Plochocki said that this item will move onto Ways and Mean, and thanked Mr. Glazier.


No action was taken on this item.


Chairman Plochocki said that Dr. Chase wanted to discuss her concern for pesticides, particularly in the Skaneateles area.


Dr. Chase:

  • Concerned for all lake properties; have known for a long time that farm runoff caused bacteria in the lakes and farmers are now monitored
  • Toxic bacteria now getting into water sources of Skaneateles and Otisco, using more and more fertilizer, farmland is being developed into housing and people don’t’ want feeds in their yard, toxic items are put on the lawns and washed into the water, need to look at how this happens and the impact
  • Had several conversations with Mr. Berger, very helpful explaining what goes into the lake and how it effects it – pretty scary, consider 2017 algae bloom in Skaneateles Lake, property owners around the lake are being told they need to dig wells as this is a very unusual bacteria that becomes more toxic when heated
  • Currently in a limited area but need to look at the water sources around us; suggest starting with property around the water and eventually say no pesticides anywhere

Chairman Plochocki said that all things should be looked at with regard to water bodies, especially those that are pristine, i.e. Skaneateles and Otisco.  Chairman McMahon added, any area in the watershed.  Chairman Plochocki said that for the most part pesticides are regulated by the state but it doesn’t hurt to look into what powers we have and what other communities are doing. 

  • Soil and Water offers free lawn annualize, just need to call but few people have done so; the City of Syracuse checks septic systems, could do something together while checking one thing they could check both - there are systems in place to look at this
  • Let’s stop this before it becomes a big problem and needs Onondaga Lake kind of money to fix it

Chairman McMahon:

  • Otisco should have been affected first in last year’s bloom as it is not as deep
  • An aerial view shows Otisco lake does not have as many properties and has a little more farmland which is being watched, lavish real-estate on Skaneateles Lake probably had a better impact on the outbreak than the other weather cycles 

Chairman McMahon asked if Dr. Chase was suggesting legislation to ban certain fertilizers.  Dr. Chase responded that she would love that but knows a lot of people would be annoyed.  We must look at our water supply and it cannot look as if we are targeting one place.  Oneida Lake is another issue - look at what is on top of that lake.  Mr. Burtis said that it was totally different and not drinking water.  Dr. Chase said that there are people who draw water from that lake to shower or wash their dishes.  Mr. Burtis said that it is a very shallow lake that cooks and bakes all year and a lot of those people are not worried about weeds.  Dr. Chase said that Oneida Lake has a lot of businesses and restaurants.  Mr. Burtis said that there are not that many businesses for the size of the lake.


Chairman McMahon said the idea of looking into regulatory measures in the watershed makes a sense.  It would have to be a collaborative effort with farmers and some homeowners may get upset but their property has the most to lose with these outbreaks as they cannot use the water, which is what makes their property more valuable.  Chairman Plochocki thanked Ms. Lesniak for reminding him that under Chairman Rhinehart legislation was passed concerning pesticides which focused particularly on the notification.  He is not sure what it did beyond that but we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.  Dr. Chase said that this is broader than pesticides, it is toxic agents that are being put on properties that wash into the lake.


Dr. Cody said that she received an email from those worried about pesticides in parks.  Dr. Chase said health regulations require testing for those employed to apply lawn pesticides as they have a high rate of leukemia.


The meeting adjourned at 10:07 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

6.13.18 EP 5


Onondaga County Legislature



6.13.18 EP 6




* * *






MEMBERS PRESENT:  Ms. Cody, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Knapp, *Mrs. Ervin

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon; see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:32 a.mA motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Ms. Cody to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  Confirming Appointment and Reappointment to the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees (Laura C. Serway, Melanie W. Littlejohn)

  • Melanie Littlejohn’s current term expired Dec. 31st; this term would go through Dec. 31st, 2024; well known as local President of National Grid
  • Laura Serway runs Laci’s; involved in community; interested in serving after speaking with County Executive

Mr. Fisher confirmed for Mr. Knapp that Melanie is a reappointment, and Laura is a new appointment.  The term goes through 2024; 6 year appointment.  


Chair Tassone asked how long Melanie has been on the board.  Mr. Fisher believes it was one term, and that she was on the board when Dr. Crabill was hired. 


Chairman McMahon stated both individuals are fantastic.  The appointments were made informational because the Legislature has appointed a lot of trustees in the past six months, and Chairman McMahon wants to make sure everyone is comfortable.  After this the work of confirming trustees is done for years.   


Chair Tassone stated it is informational, so there is no vote.  Mr. Fisher asked if it goes to Ways and Means next.  Chairman McMahon said it could go to the floor if Judy (Tassone) felt comfortable, and he does not have a problem with that.  Mr. Knapp will move the item, if the committee wants to vote.  Chair Tassone said it is informational, and asked if the committee wants to vote on it.  Chair Tassone told Mr. Knapp to go ahead. 


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


2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Commissioner

        a.     Amending Resolution No. 81-2017 to Increase the Authorization to Pay in the First Instance 100 Percent of the Federal and State Aid Eligible Costs by an Additional $285,000 for the Construction Phase of the Oran Delphi Road Bridge Over Limestone Creek Project, Pin 3755.22, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($285,000)

  • No new money; construction bids came in higher than thought; net delta to County ~$15,000
  • Already budgeted in project, and in work plan; small bridge project that is federal aid

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


Mr. Knapp wanted clarification that it is $285,000 more than the bids, and Mr. Voss responded yes; for construction.  Mr. Voss said the breakdown is 80/15/5, and the resolution has it stated in the third paragraph.  There are contingencies for all projects like this.  If a project is under, then the money is not spent or borrowed.  


        b.     Approving the Right-of-Way Acquisition Phase of the Onondaga County Canalways Trail Phase II Project, Pin 3756.29, Agreeing to Participate and Pay Up to 100 Percent of the Non-Federal Share of the Project and Accepting Title to the Acquired Right of Way

  • Canalway Trail Extension (aka Loop the Lake) is called this because State of New York and Federal Highway Administration call it that; it’s what gets it funded
  • Right-of-Way phase – federal and state money covering it; good portion of fee goes to OCIDA, Allied Chemical, and New York Central Line (CSX)

Mr. Voss agreed with Mr. Knapp that this is the 7/10 of a mile the Legislature approved previously.  Mr. Voss said the state is very particular about having Legislative approval for every step of the process.  Chairman McMahon specified that the Legislature approved the funding, and this is for the right of way, so it can be built.  Mr. Knapp asked if this is the southern part.  Chairman McMahon explained it is from eagle point (referenced by Travis Glazier) through Raw Steel to Hiawatha Boulevard. 


*Mrs. Ervin arrived at the meeting.


Mr. Rauber said it is the piece over the CSX railroad bridge. 


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


        c.     Amending Resolution No. 78-2017 Regarding the Right-of-Way Acquisition Phase of the Electronics Parkway 2R Paving Project, Pin 3755.71, Agreeing to Participate and Pay Up to 100 Percent of the Additional Non-Federal Share of the Project and Accepting Title to the Acquired Right of Way

  • Right-of-Way phase; looking to do construction in 2019
  • Spoke with folks from Nationals and Mark Nicotra about the schedule of events, etc.
  • DOT will maintain traffic, and will include this information in the contract

Chair Tassone asked which side of Electronics Parkway will have the bike path.  Mr. Rauber will get back to the committee on this.  Chair Tassone said a question yesterday was if it is needed, and it is.  There is no place to walk, people are always in the road, and there’s a park with kids playing games.  Mr. Rauber assured the committee that they will be getting sidewalks and bike lanes.  Chair Tassone said someone was killed in that area, and Mr. Rauber explained that’s why they looked at it. 


Mr. Voss stated this allows to contract with, and pay off, the right-of-way, and will not be started until spring 2019.


Mr. Knapp asked if this is repaving.  Mr. Rauber replied it includes paving, isolated reconstruction needed in the shoulder, adjustments to the median (in poor shape), all new drainage, sidewalks and curbs.  It will be an all summer project.  Mr. Voss said it is redesign and rebuild.  Mr. Rauber responded to Mr. Knapp that it is from Old Liverpool to Hopkins.   


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


Mr. Voss invited Chair Tassone and Mr. Knapp to come see the Camillus Highway Garage now that it is built.  Chair Tassone said they may schedule the next committee meeting there, and Mr. Voss said they have a training room available.


3.       Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the City of Syracuse Regarding Funding for Improvements to be Made Within Onondaga Park (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Chairman McMahon said in the last two budgets via the City Abstract, the Legislature funded a project for the Hiawatha Lake retaining wall in Onondaga Park in the City.  It was taxed to the City taxpayers.  The previous Mayor refused to sign an IMA to accept the funds, even though the project is short on funding.  The new Mayor will sign the IMA, and is happy to accept the funding.  This allows the County Executive to complete the IMA, so the project gets done.


Chair Tassone asked what the dollar amount is, and Chairman McMahon replied $300,000 that has been sitting in an account for a couple years. 


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


The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

6.13.18 CF 1

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature


6.13.18 CF 2



* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Bush, Mr. McBride, Mr. Jordan


ALSO ATTENDINGSee attached list


Chairman Ryan called the meeting to order at 12:12 p.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Bush, to waive the reading and approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Daniel Wears, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements Regarding use of New York State’s Mass Alert Notification System and Related Interoperable Software


Mr. Wears:

  • NYS changed vendors, MOU needed to use software, and FEMA and FCC wireless emergency alerts, all go through the same portal, two different agreements needed to use the system for public and internal notification for different groups and responses

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Wears confirmed there were no associated costs.


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


        b.     Authorizing an Intermunicipal Agreement with the County of Oswego Pursuant to New York State General Municipal Law Section 119-O, to Provide Disaster Assistance

  • Contract renewal, has been in place over a decade, supports Oswego County preparedness and response efforts
  • Receive $35,000 annually – already included in the annual budget, funds support radiological preparedness and general Emergency Management

In answer to Chairman Ryan, Mr. Wears confirmed the funds are received for assisting Oswego County.  We would host their reception center, at the NYS Fairgrounds, in the event of a nuclear incident.  It also supports our emergency program and things we do that may not be directly related but is related.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Wears confirmed that these funds were just support of the program – any additional costs would be reimbursed if there were an incident.


Mr. Jordan asked to see the agreement before voting.  Mr. Wears said that it is a 5-year agreement and he will forward a copy.  In answer to Mr. Bush, Mr. Wears confirmed that this is a renewal, which has been going on for a least a dozen years and there is no change in the agreement.  Mr. Jordan said that he doesn’t see a problem, and intends to support it, but wants to see the agreement first.  Chairman Ryan reiterated that the agreement is no different from what was passed previously.  Mr. Wears said that it is identical to the last 2 agreements.


A motion was made by Mr. Bush, seconded by Mr. McBride, to approve this item.  Ayes:  3 (Bush, McBride, Ryan); Abstaining:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Ryan asked that the committee be provided with a copy of the agreement and thanked Mr. Wears.


Mr. McBride:

  • Concerned with public safety issues of the amphitheater; the first concert was a disaster, it got better for Kenny Chesney and the last concert had some major frustrations
  • Need to look into issues from a public safety standpoint, find out the game plan to elevate the problems - want to be proactive before a tragedy; everyone knows there are issues, need answers

Mr. Bush asked who was responsible for moving the people and having an organized event at the amphitheater.  Mr. Jordan responded that we hire SMG to manage the venue but ultimately is it our responsibility and there is potential liability. 


Chairman Ryan:

  • Questions if this committee has jurisdiction over public safety questions or concerns; amphitheater logistic meetings include the County, SMG, and the Sheriff’s department
  • More than people running across 690, people do unintelligent things after tailgating 5 or 6 hours - have macro  and micro issues
  • Dave Mathews concert was a perfect storm - trying to pave 65 acre parking lot, adding additional egress to 690, these big projects take time, also had pedestrian bridge and shuttle issues and a group that tailgated and waited until the last minute to go into the venue; why this was not seamless is more of a venue question
  • Could request that information from the logistic meetings be shared with legislators so that they are ready to answer concerns

Mr. Bush said that someone has to make these decisions, and he does not know who to contact or direct people to.  Mr. Durr responded that SMG makes the final call but there is input from everybody.  His understanding is that the pedestrian bridge has been reopened and the problem of people crossing 690 no longer exist; also added more buses.  There will always be egress and ingress time problems and he feels all the complaints were from the first concert, which was the biggest concert of the year.  A lot of the problems have been illuminated to the extent possible.  Chairman Ryan said that there will be hiccups until the orange lot is complete and putting an additional egress onto 690 is no small task.


Mr. Bush:

  • Suggests having SMG provide an update as to how the whole operation is moving forward
  • Was asked why 25,000 people can’t be moved by the County when the Bill’s are able to move 50,000 - doesn’t know the answer or the name of the individual in charge

Mr. Durr said that Kelly Carr was the manager but is being replaced - he will get the name.  Chairman Ryan said that who has the final say for the public safety concerns of this committee needs to be determined  It may be the Sheriff who is the top county representative for public safety. 


Chairman Ryan:

  • Spoke with many who attended both Dave Mathews and Kenny Chesney concerts and noticed significantly fewer problems, opening pedestrian bridge was huge, also some of the activities of the Mathews group did not go on with the Chesney group
  • Will determine correct contact for public safety issues, starting with SMG, will share information and then get specific questions and answers

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. McBride, to adjourn.  MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

6.13.18 PS 1


Onondaga County Legislature

6.13.18 PS 2




* * *






MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Ms. Cody

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Rowley, Ms. Williams

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Buckel; see attached list


Chairman Burtis called the meeting to order at 9:36 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED. 



        a.     Informational Update:  Dr. Gupta


Dr. Gupta introduced Lisa Letteney, Director of Environmental Health and Dr. Qouc Nguyen, Medical Director of Health and presented the following:

6.14.18 Health 1  6.14.18 Health 2


6.14.18 Health 3  6.14.18 Health 4


  • Having a mosquito bite does not mean one will get a virus, most people can withstand it unless their immune system is compromised, only a very small percentage are affected


6.14.18 Health 5 6.14.18 Health 6

  • Testing based on systems, the provider determines need; no antiviral medication or miracle drug to treat human infections, EEEV vaccine for horses only; prevention is key
  • The Health Department does a lot of work in the background and informs the community through the website; to limit exposure treat larvae to ensure they do not become adults and closes pools after adding dunks


6.14.18 Health 7  6.14.18 Health 8

  • Too much detail on the map, unable to find better exposure, shows 22 traps in various locations (enlarge to see locations marked in purple), many are focused towards Cicero Swamp, trap information collected weekly except for areas around the Cicero swap which are collected twice per week
  • Important for Dr. Gupta to go on field visits with every department and meet with her staff, able to see what they do and communicate that to legislators and the public; trap collections are frozen and examined by microscope in the lab to determine various species, certain pools are sent to the NYS lab for specific identification and to see if there is any infection; 2 traps specifically look for the Zika virus that is spread by albopictus mosquitos, which are not currently in our area, monitor to be on the safer side, has been found in the Long Island area  


6.14.18 Health 9


  • Encourage everyone to check the website weekly for surveillance numbers, provides public transparency; highest peak of the last 15 years was 2014


6.14.18 Health 10  6.14.18 Health 11


  • People are very visual, should encourage constituents to go to the website for information, also suggest legislators add this link to their own website; appropriate gear limits exposure which is also applicable for the tick; dunk can also be used for stagnating water in backyards
  • People can protect themselves by taking personal action – clean up breeding sites


6.14.18 Health 12  6.14.18 Health 13


  • Surveillance numbers used to determine the need for adulticide spraying, area outlined in purple, follow DEC and NYSDOH strict guidelines, overuse will cause the mosquito to become resistant


6.14.18 Health 14  6.14.18 Health 15


  • Starting in 2014 the NYSDEC and NYSDOH gave us more leeway to determine when to spray, very important not to negatively impact the environment and protect the people, have not received opposition to spraying, due; diligence falls to the commissioner, goes over pros and cons with team members based on science, must be able to justify, can always have unintended consequences; FAQ available on the website, very open to feedback, website contains downloadable pdf material, click on blue links – information is worthless if people aren’t getting it
  • CNY has a beautiful outdoors that should be enjoyed, must learn to coexist with critters, it is a balancing act and nothing new; tick also goes to other animals besides deer; early diagnosis and treatment is the key to LD


  6.14.18 Health 16


  • Seeing antibiotic resistance throughout the world because of overuse which results in superbugs
  • Visual pictures of LD show bull’s eye, rash diss6.14.18 Health 17eminated in the body, facial paralysis and arthritis, clinical diagnosis is based on symptoms, exposure, and history, the clinician has to be very thorough and cognizant – seeing both overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis


6.14.18 Health 18  6.14.18 Health 19


  • Important to provide these tools so legislators can answer questions; use precaution and enjoy nature
  • Tick starts as an egg, larvae can bite mice and birds, if infected those vectors carry that larva who become nymphs that can bite fox, deer, mice, and people causing the infection, nymphs become adult ticks that lay eggs continuing the cycle; notice size comparisons - very tiny, important to do a body check  after going outside


  6.14.18 Health 206.14.18 Health 21

  • Change the environment around your home to avoid tick bites, full information in our brochure and on the website https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/brochure/lymediseasebrochure.pdf
  • Ticks do not crawl or fly into your home, we go into their environment, i.e. tall grass - bottom-line take precautions; ticks prefer warm places, including the head

6.14.18 Health 22  6.14.18 Health 23


  • Do not squeeze skin to remove the tick, see the video on the website:   http://www.ongov.net/health/evn/lyme.html
  • Concern for rabies generally in wild animals; important to note that not every animal carries rabies, i.e. rabbits and mice do not


6.14.18 Health 24  6.14.18 Health 25


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  • HAB bacteria cannot be seen by the naked eye, large amounts make a clump of scum, naturally occurs in lakes and streams, numbers are increasing due to various factors, i.e. weather and nutrients; not all cyanobacteria produce cyanotoxins, just as all ticks and mosquitoes don’t carry diseases but toxins produce a health risk so it is important to be aware, can effect portable water supplies
  • Provided an overview of the website, noted the ease of use, active links, and downloadable information, i.e. repellant information – determine the correct repellant or check the repellant currently used to confirm coverage and length of time  https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you#search%20tool

In answer to Dr. Chase, Ms. Letteney said that dunk contains a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but does not kill adult mosquitoes.  It is sold in a 6 or 8 pack and can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes.  Dr. Gupta said that it is only used for stagnate unattended pools or standing water that has pooled in yards.  Ms. Letteney said that the chlorine used to shock working pools will take care of any mosquito larvae.  In answer to Ms. Cody, Ms. Letteney said that briquettes are used in street catch basins and it is not something that people can buy.  They are good for 150 days and used mainly in the City of Syracuse but also in Cicero; already in place for the summer. 


Dr. Gupta said that often people are not aware of what is happening.  She asks that everyone put this information on their own webpage so that their constituents have direct access.  If there are further questions legislators can reach out to the Health Department.


Chairman. Burtis said that it has been his privilege to meet and be a student of Professor Dr. Gupta for the past 5-months.  She taught him a lot, challenged him to learn, and we are very fortunate to have her and her leadership.  The website has great information and useful resources, and he encourages everyone to get to know it well.


Chairman Burtis said that he would like to talk about opioids at the next meeting, and he appreciates the time discussing today’s items.  Dr. Gupta’s door is always open and she is more than knowledgeable.  Her whole department has done excellent work and we have hopes of accreditation.  Dr. Gupta thanked the elected officials who attended the site visit and met with the site visitors.  She truly appreciates working with this committee because it provides an opportunity to discuss what Public Health is all about.  It is very different from healthcare where you see a person and create an emotional connection, it is population health.  There is a lot of work done with many stakeholders, partners in the community, and most importantly the community members.  The presentation, conversation, and narrative have to be different.  In clinical care you see a person like a portrait, in Public Health you must start to see the picture around the person because we cannot do anything other than prescribe medication unless we start to impact some of those things.  We all must work together - Public Health takes a village.  The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) will complete the report from the site visit and provide feedback sometime after July. 


A motion was made by Ms. Cody, seconded by Dr. Chase, to adjourn.  MOTION CARRIED. 


The meeting adjourned at 10:23 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

6.14.18 Health 28


Onondaga County Legislature


6.14.18 Health 29




* * *






MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Burtis, Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Buckel

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mr. Knapp; see attached list


Chairman McBride called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.mA motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Martin Skahen, Director

        a.     Authorizing the Onondaga County Executive to File the 2018 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant, Home Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs ($3,143,640)

  • Bump in block Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding by 15%; entitlement grants; not applied for; based on population size and a few other factors; not competing; every community gets a chunk
  • Home Grant Program went up almost 43%; CBG up 9.64%; Emergency Solutions Grant (homeless programs) up 2.88%
  • Every year ask municipalities to submit applications for CDBG money to be expended; Steering Committee (9 people) reviews apps and votes to allocate funding
  • Knew prior to meetings what actual funding would be (past years had to estimate, because federal budget not done)
  • Approved capital projects by Steering Committee - 15 towns and villages receiving money, Cooperative Extension gets community forest money; 3 contingent projects will be funded if funded projects from previous years are not done
  • (i.e.) Project funded in 2016 that cannot be done, then fund contingent projects in order listed
  • Fair housing money given to Arise for housing referral, and CNY Fair Housing for education and enforcement

Mr. Plochocki asked if it is based on census blocks being eligible.  Mr. Skahen agreed, and said eligible areas are determined by the census.  In towns and villages there are areas that are eligible and areas that are not.  Mr. Plochocki stated there was a revision to the maps a couple years ago that affected his district in a negative way.  Many towns previously qualified were out, and asked if there has been any change since then.  Mr. Skahen answered that there has not been any changes, and that it was four years ago. 


Mr. Knapp:

  • Not a square inch of the 12th district qualifies for funding; previously could use sub-census blocks within a census block
  • Certain areas like Delphi Falls were eligible, but 4 years ago the rules changed in the middle of the game; committee already awarded projects and notified municipalities; federal rules changed, and eliminated sub-blocks
  • Small towns became one big block

Mr. Skahen said the Legislature funded those projects that did not get funded.


Mr. Knapp:

  • Brian May and himself are legislative reps on Steering Committee, along with Mary Ann Coogan and Melanie Vilardi, Town Supervisors; Mayor of Fayetteville, (Mark) Olson
  • Goal to use federal money to do as many projects in as many areas as they can
  • Concern program would be cut 100%, but it did not; it increased; every area that qualifies got something
  • Town of Clay and North Syracuse, because of size, get 1 project a year

Mr. Skahen stated all the towns and villages form a consortium, and Clay and North Syracuse are big enough to get their own funding.  If they get their own funding, then they have to do all of the administrative work involved.  Instead they sign on to the County’s consortium with the guarantee that the County will give Clay and North Syracuse a project every year.  The President’s budget zeroed out the program, then the budget compromise reached in Congress not only put it back in, but gave increases.  The 2019 proposed budget does not have this program in it, but there’s no reason it should be any different.


Mr. Skahen agreed with Mr. Knapp that these are all projects outside the City.  The City receives its own money, because they are their own entitlement committee.   


Mr. McBride asked when the appropriation will occur.  Mr. Skahen responded:

  • Legislature will hopefully pass this at July session, then Community Development will file an action and consolidation plan with HUD by July 15th
  • In fall around September/October, HUD will let the department know they have accepted the plan
  • Letters are then sent to the municipalities saying they’ve been approved for the money by HUD
  • At the beginning of the year, the municipalities work on getting the bid ready, bid goes out in May or June, do the project over the summer, and wrap it up by the end of the year
  • 3 year deadline

Mr. Knapp commented in a perfect world it would be approved this year, and spent next year.


Mr. Buckel asked if this was a competitive process, and Mr. Skahen said no.  Everyone that applied, received funding.  (i.e.) Solvay submitted 5 projects, and they were awarded one project with one in contingency.  Everyone at least got one, with the exception of Salina who received two.  


Mr. Holmquist asked if under the new rules it’s measured by each town, so (using Dave’s example) the Town of Pompey as an aggregate does not qualify, therefore Delphi Falls does not either.  Mr. Skahen replied no; it is still broken up.  The Village of Tully qualified before, but it is now divided up with the wealthier suburban areas of Tully.  All the lower income areas are not together anymore; they are spread out.  Mr. Knapp commented that they made the areas bigger.  Mr. Skahen added that they incorporated higher income areas with lower income areas.  Mr. Holmquist asked if “they” is the federal government, and Mr. Knapp responded yes. 


Mr. Knapp stated Senator Schumer came to talk about changing it back, when there was discussion about sewers in Onondaga.  Previously they qualified for help, and with the new program they did not. 


Mr. Skahen explained to Chairman McBride that the Nedrow area gets a lot of work done.  Listed is a senior center that is getting improvements.  It is not a low income area, but the department is able to use the money on projects that impact low income senior citizens.


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


A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, seconded by Mr. Plochocki, to adjourn the meeting.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:49 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

6.14.18 Planning 2

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 6.14.18 Planning 1




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                                       WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE (click to view minutes)


June 22, 2018




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