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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:  Dr. Chase, Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Tassone, *Mrs. Rapp

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chair Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:12 A.M.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  



       a.     Confirming Appointment to the Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Stephen Wowelko)


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


2.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT:  Travis Glazier, Director

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing an Ash Tree Management Program, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $750,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $750,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($750,000)

Mr. Glazier:

  • Bonding resolution continues funding for Ash tree management
  • Distributed copies of Revised August 2016 Ash Tree Management Strategy for review; last year Legislature determined $750,000 in annual bonding appropriate amount for the program - grateful for the support, continually progress to buildup funding, now at point where substantive tree removal will begin, amended previously proposed strategy to reflect annual funding level, extends timeframe from 10 to 17 years, propose approving strategy at next committee meeting, provided copy of the plan for all to review and provide advance feedback; future item but relates to this funding request
  • To date approved $250,000 for Ash tree inventory, NYSDEC awarded $25,000 in 2014 which also aided with inventory, trees primarily in county right-of-way fall zones, threaten human health or public infrastructure, legislature approved $350,000 in 2015 for EAB management, leveraged funds to obtain $55,000 grant; many grants specific, not for tree removal, can be used for things such as tree plantings
  • Last year Legislature provided ability to bond for $750,000 to be used over this year’s tree removal term – trees removed in fall, winter and early spring, when leaves are off trees, will expend vast majority of funds over the next couple months removing roughly 5,400 trees; thus far removed less than 1,000
  • Vast majority of proposed funding will not be expended until next fall’s cycle; in the meantime over summer and winter planting and inoculation happen
  • Funds will also account for roughly 200 tree injections, extremely variable, depending on tree diameter and absorption rates; past summer very dry, absorption takes much longer and is more difficult
  • Funds will also account for approximately 130 tree plantings in 2016 and 285 in 2017
  • Strategy 95% removal, 10% replacement with non-host tree species and 5% inoculation

*Mrs. Rapp arrived at the meeting. 

  • 5% not number of trees, reflection of how funds are applied based on diameter


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Glazier said that prior to last year’s funding cycle there had not been funding for removal, only major needs.  Inoculation has been happing throughout.  If a tree is going to be saved, inoculation must happen before there is a 40% loss of canopy.  OSWCD is much more stringent with their inoculation – want good healthy specimen, in location that matters, considered things such as does it serve an ecological purpose, is it an isolated Ash tree that has a better chance of surviving.


Mr. Burtis said that they will be cutting in the fall and winter, as long as conditions permit.  Mr. Glazier said that these are public access and right-of-ways, therefore access is not as much of an issue as with logging.  Last year the lack of snow caused somewhat of an issue, as it is easier with snow and there is less mud.


  • Worked with County DOT to decrease number of required stump grindings, huge help to the budget


Mrs. Rapp asked how stump grinding was eliminated.  Mr. Glazier said that contractors are cutting flusher towards the ground and DOT accepts a certain amount of stumps within a certain distance from the right-of-way; looked at number coming down, determined acceptance, and decreased number of grindings required. 


Mrs. Rapp apologized for being late.  At one point they were looking for $13 million for the program, asked if $750,000 was for the whole thing.  Mr. Glazier said, “No”.  Prior to Mr. Coburn leaving, the legislature went through several options - borrow all at once and tap into large funding or request bonding on year-to-year basis.  Legislature preferred year-to-year borrowing where there could be some consideration for advances in technology, what the insect is actually doing and science.  Although the Ash Tree Management Strategy has not been adopted by the Legislature his office continues to follow the strategy, and made some revisions in an attempt to reflect the feedback from last year’s request in funding. $750,000 annually is made flat throughout the funding cycle. 


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Glazier confirmed that $750,000 was authorized last year and would primarily be expended between the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017.  The lion’s share of the money will be expended in tree removals, which happens now until spring.  Mrs. Rapp asked why they were allocating an additional $750,000, if the current allocation wasn’t spent.  Mr. Glazier said that they are approving the ability to borrow so that bids for the next cycle of removals can be put out.  They will always be about a year behind because of the timing for the allocation of funding. 


Mrs. Rapp asked if they would borrow less in the coming year, if funds were not expended.  Mr. Kohler said not necessarily.  Essentially they would be appropriating the ability to have funds available when expenses arise.  Just like 2016, those funds would then be available to expend in the fall of 2017.  In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Glazier confirmed that he would not request additional funds until next year at this time.  Mrs. Rapp said that she was trying to get to the build and measure number of $750,000, they don’t really know if that is the number.  Chair Plochocki said that the Office of Environment was ready to go with entire amount for the plan.  As a body the Legislature’s response was a piece meal approach, year-by-year.  In large part, the Legislature is setting the variables.  Mrs. Rapp said that next year will probably be the first year of measurement.  Mr. Glazier said that they have $750,000 dollars, if the expenditures are less than expected they will increase the number of trees removed.  Ash trees are brittle and as the insect infects the tree they become exponentially more costly to remove due to the fact that one can no longer climb the tree. They are hoping the scale of removals will provide some economies, but they won’t realize those savings until they get further along.  Mr. Coburn came forward with a plan getting all of this in one place and attacking it as quickly and hard as possible.  This plan comes back on an annual basis, but has the same concept, if further funding is available more trees will be removed.


Mrs. Rapp said that the choice is whether to remove the brittle ones first or make the money go further.  Mr. Glazier said that first and foremost they focus on human threats, then infrastructure threats, and finally ease of use. 


Mrs. Rapp made a motion to approve this item.


Mr. Burtis said he was going to ask for the numbers, but from everything he has read, they need to get this going.  Mr. Glazier said that updated numbers well be provided at the next meeting when asking for approval of the plan.  Tree removal contractors in the area are generally very small operations.  OSWCD has been a great partner, building contractors understanding and ability to work with a client like the County and doing the inoculations.


Dr. Chase asked if it was too early to determine how inoculation was working.  Ms. Sztechmiler said trees inoculated 2-years ago, in the Franklin Park area of the Town of Dewitt, look as if nothing has happened. Surrounding untreated trees may not make it through the winter, have almost no canopy and are in severe decline.  It is very obvious.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Sztechmiler confirmed that all the trees were in right-of-ways and removed for the Town of Dewitt.  They will start being able to see trees treated in Onondaga Lake Park and OCC.   


  • Actively working with OSWCD provides them the ability to take on smaller projects for others such as towns and villages, able to maintain full time staff and provide high level service, trickle down benefit as most Ash trees are located in towns and villages which cannot afford an arborist


Second by Dr. Chase.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


3.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Transfer from Water Environment Protection, Account 694130 Maintenance, Utilities, Rents, to Water Environment Protection, Account 694010 Travel/Training ($26,500)

Chair Plochocki said that this item is net zero.  In fact they aren’t spending any money today despite the huge list.  This is not to say that they won’t be spending money next month.


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Amending 2016 budget to transfer funds - unseasonably dry year reduced utility costs, affords ability for additional training


In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads said they hoped to complete the training in 2016 by bringing trainers in-house. 

  • Fiber optics, electrical, bobcat, crane, construction codes, welding inspection, collection systems, blueprint reading – training for many different facets of the work they are doing


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, second by Mr. Burtis, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     A Resolution Amending the Scope of the West Side Pump Station Project to Include Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades Located in the Village of Solvay and Approving an Increase in the Maximum Estimated Cost ($1,239,444)

  • Next 3 items related.to West Side Pump Station (WSPS) project, $18 million dollars invested
  • Item b:  applied for state grant to reduce I & I in Village of Solvay, contributes to WSPS service area; joined two pieces of infrastructure together, one county, one village, to receive EFC grant totaling $1,239,444, amending scope of WSPS project to do Solvay work
  • Item c:  authorization to receive grant
  • Item d:  authorizing IMA with Village of Solvay for work performed within their infrastructure; using funds already appropriated for match of grant funds


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that the County applied for the grant, but was doing the work in the Village of Solvay’s infrastructure.


Chair Plochocki said that this is state money with no net cost to the County and expands the WSPS project.   


Mrs. Rapp asked what they were going to be doing.  Mr. Rhoads said that they will do sewer linings - pipe within pipe, and manhole repairs.  The Village of Solvay has 100 year old sewers that are acting like an old French drain, allowing ground water to come into the WSPS, and causing the pump station to overflow into Onondaga Lake whenever there is a heavy rainstorm.  


Mrs. Tassone asked when the project would start.  Mr. Rhoads responded that once they receive approval, they will likely begin early next year.  Sewer linings can be done in just about any kind of weather.


In response to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads said that the village wanted $4 million dollars’ worth of work, but they will only do as much work as the grant will cover.  Dr. Chase asked how they would decide.  Mr. Rhoads said that the Village of Solvay will prioritize their sewer pipes and manholes.


Mrs. Rapp said that this has huge value. If this works well it will take the pressure of the pump station.  Mr. Rhoads agreed.  They have talked about expanding Geddes into Van Buren, bringing the entire northwestern service area down into the Metro system, their long-term plan.  Removing I & I from the Village of Solvay is chipping away at the block.  This is part of the bigger plan.  There is much transportation infrastructure where I-90 and I-690 are located.  In order to provide additional sewer infrastructure to that area, they need to get the I & I out.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, second by Dr. Chase, to approve item b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($1,239,444)


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, second by Dr. Chase, to approve item c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        d.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the Village of Solvay to Upgrade Sewer Infrastructure Located in the Village of Solvay for the West Side Pump Station Project ($1,239,444)


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, second by Dr. Chase, to approve item d.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        e.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Harbor Brook Drainage District (800,000)

  • Small snapshot of CIP projects were included in the budget
  • 7 resolutions call for public hearings to be held January 3rd
  • Back next month to discuss project details, not asking for funds today


  • Creek has fast rising water with rain, threat to public safety – kids would be washed away if in the creek
  • Public hearing for total amount of multi-year project $800,000, CIP project being brought forward next month for $200,000,part of 6 year plan


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that $200,000 was being expended in 2017.  Mr. Burtis asked if they would be working on the culvert box.  Mr. Rhoads said that there was culverts, concrete, and miscellaneous things, such as fencing, for personal protection of community members.


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, second by Mrs. Tassone, to approve item e.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chair Plochocki said that an argument could be made that all of these projects help Onondaga Lake in one way or another, and asked if specific projects were part of the ACJ.  Mr. Rhoads said the phosphorus optimization implementation was a required ACJ item, total project estimated costs of $24,195,000.  Chair Plochocki said the project estimate is listed as $21,355,000 on the fact sheet provided.  Mr. Rhoads said that the amount listed is for the construction phase, as the engineering phase has already been authorized. 


Chair Plochocki said that the other items, regardless of any benefits they may or may not have to the Onondaga Lake Watershed, are being done primarily for independent reasons.  Mr. Rhoads said that there are permit requirements, asset management projects and ACJ requirements.    


        f.      A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District for the Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant ($950,000)




  • 36 year old tanks wearing out, critical to plant operation, design to begin in 2017 for future capital project to replace and repair all clarifier infrastructure – if not completed tanks would fail, SPDES requirements would not be met

Mrs. Rapp asked how the arrangement with Cliton’s Ditch worked out in terms of reducing the load.  Mr. Rhoads said that it was still a work in progress, but they did receive the increased permit size from the DEC.  To improve the capacity of the plant they showed the DEC they have a good capital plan in place to take on additional load in the future.  To fulfill the additional load requirement, they need to keep the plant in some assemblance of order.  Clinton’s Ditch has not done anything yet.  They need an industrial source permit and there will be more discussion.  Mrs. Rapp said that it was an innovative idea.


Dr. Chase said that this was a lot of money for an engineering phase.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that the number was about 15% of what the total project costs would be.  They need to understand that the costs of the work is very expensive.  All these projects, built in the 70’s and 80’s, are wearing out.  The entire budget discussion is complex and difficult, but these treatment plants are reaching end of life.  Dr. Chase said that hopefully, looking forward, they will be doing prophylactic management so that everything doesn’t come back to bite them at the same time.  Mr. Rhoads said that they can talk about taking care of things, but during budget he was asked what they are doing to increase capacity.  Increasing the capacity of Oak Orchard was a $90 million dollar project 8-years ago, $150,000 million today.  The Wetzel Road project was the most recent and it cost over $60 million dollars for a 6 million gallon per day plant.  If they fail to maintain these plants, they receive consent judgments that have a timeframe.


**Mrs. Rapp said that all this has been anticipated with the sewer rate costs.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that there was no increase in the 2016 or 2017 budget.  He asked that they modify the 2017 budget to keep the rate flat by adding an additional $1,125,000 to WEP’s fund balance.  There are more sanitary units in the district for 2017.  Instead of reducing the rate, they request that the rate be held flat, and that this item be consider at Ways and Means, though off topic.  Mrs. Rapp said that she would rather do that than have a large increase. 


Mr. Burtis said that the project is not about getting more capacity, it is about rehabilitation and maintenance.  Mr. Rhoads said that capital improvements have reached the end of their useful life and they are unable to get parts.  The entire project will be over $7 million dollars and building new tanks would be multiples of that.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, second by Mr. Burtis, to approve item f.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


     g.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Considering an Increase in the Estimated Maximum Cost of Proposed Improvements for the Baldwinsville Treatment Plant Improvements ($1,800,000)


  • Permit violations come with a penalty up to $37,500


In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that none of the projects will increase capacity per se.


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, second by Mrs. Rapp, to approve item g.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        h.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Considering an Increase in the Estimated Maximum Cost of Proposed Improvements for the Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements ($21,355,000)



  • Phosphorus can potentially cause hazardous algae blooms in the lake
  • More stringent permit requirement dovetails with ACJ mandated report, looked at number of options including a $700 million dollar project, in lieu of that project DEC agreed to optimization project – better process control over phosphorus, one of the highest phosphorus treatments on the East Coast at 0.1, typical great lakes standard ten times larger
  • Engineering completed, at construction phase, total maximum project cost $24,195,000, financed via bonds

Mrs. Rapp said that they have talked about this a lot.  As large as the number is, it is a great deal.   Mr. Rhoads said that much information is coming at them today - feel free to send emails and they will be back next month to address specific questions with regard to these projects.


 A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, second by Mr. Burtis, to approve item h.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        i.      A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Bear Trap Ley Creek Drainage District ($130,000)



  • Real property tax project, borrowing to avoid tax cap for drainage district


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Rhoads said that WEP owns the culvert, but the Town of Dewitt owns the road.  It conveys a large drainage district’s flow, eventually, into Ley Creek.


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


        j.      A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District for the Meadowbrook Limestone Wastewater Treatment Plant ($11,725,000)


  • Plant discharges into Limestone Creek, small creek, could not change process to add dechlorination, number too low to satisfy new permit requirement, will use UV, also used at Wetzel and Metro
  • SCADA upgrade provides ability to respond to alarms and adds control technology, allows plant to be seen on Metro WWTP board

In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads said the plant was located near The Links at Erie Village.  The service area is the Meadowbrook area of the city, Dewitt, and Manlius. 

  • Project became more complex due to change in flood maps


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Rhoads said that UV is used at Metro and Wetzel. They had to use this technology in order to meet the total residual chlorine limit.


A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, second by Dr. Chase, to approve item j.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        k.     A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing in Connection with Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Regarding the Camillus Force Main Replacement Project ($2,000,000)




  • Many years ago there was a Village of Camillus WWTP, village unable to meet state requirements
  • Consolidated Sanitary District formed due to many town and village treatment plants being unable to perform - Camillus WWTP converted into a pump station, pumps wastewater from Village of Camillus through Pine Grove Golf, over hill, past Township Five to the West Side Pump Station, then from West Side into Metro
  • Part of larger CIP project up to $10 million dollars, Phase 1 will go from the pump station to beyond Bennett Road, may get to Warners Road; fortunate not to have leaks in residential neighborhood
  • Each repair cost several hundred thousand for a patch; planned project will replace steel pipe designed too large - wastewater goes too slow up hill, starts to become septic, septicity causes the crown of the pipe to fail, using high-density polyethylene pipe
  • Chief concern - portions of this section are adjacent to Nine Mile Creek, world famous trout stream, had some leaks at pump station immediately adjacent to creek and at 90 degree elbow across from Pine Grove (see map below)
  • Assessed entire force main using SmartBall, identified over 170  anomalies in the pipe; not in position for entire $10 million, want to start chipping away at the block, first piece critical to this repair  


Mrs. Rapp asked if the first phase was in the circled area.  Mr. Rhoads said they would be going from the pump station out to Warners Road, if they are lucky.  Mrs. Rapp asked if they would be able to do the whole length for $2 million.  Mr. Rhoads said, “God willing, and if the creeks don’t rise”.

  • Project repairs infrastructure frequently failing, incredible amount of property damage if failure happens in residential area


A motion was made by Mr. Burtis, second by Mrs. Tassone, to approve item k.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Rhoads reiterated his request for a $1,125,000 amendment of the 2017 budget as requested at the November 7th session.  He asked that the committee place the item before Ways and Means.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Rhoads said that the item was not discussed with the Environmental Protection Committee.  In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads reviewed the details previously presented. (**see page 7).  Mrs. Rapp said that the growth takes care of the shortage. 


Mr. Rhoads said that they were not asking for a change in their budget or expenditures.  Rather than regressing $6 dollars, they believe it will be better for all to leave the rate flat as they will have to come back for that $6 and more in the future.  Chair Plochocki said especially since it was a zero percent rate, which would be controversial to their intension. 


Chair Plochocki said that the committee did not have to vote, Mr. Rhoads can take this directly to Ways and Means.  He appreciates Mr. Rhoads informing the committee.  Mr. Rhoads said that he believes this was discussed for the November 7th session, however there was not a vote due.  Chair Plochocki said that it was discussed before.  Mr. Rhoads said that he believes this meets the legislative objective of keeping the rate flat in a way that is fiscally prudent – not using fund balance to pay operating expenses. 


Mrs. Rapp asked if they would be able to return anything to fund balance from their 2016 budget, due to the dry year.  Mr. Rhoads said that the provision for labor union increases was cut out of their budget in 2015, unlike most other departments.  They do not anticipate having a large sum of money.   In addition to labor increases, they had a significant leak – major project at yearend.   Mrs. Rapp asked how much it would cost.  Mr. Rhoads said that the emergency repair was budgeted at $385,000.  He believes they will come in well under that, but they are very expensive repairs.


The meeting adjourned 10:29 A.M.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature



* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Rapp, Dr. Chase, Mr. Shepard

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 10:38 a.mA motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Bill Fisher, Deputy County Executive

       a.     Confirming Appointments and Reappointment to the Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees (Edward Kochian, Robert Manning, Jill Hurst-Wahl)


  • Ed Kochian – best Deputy County Executive; will replace Anita Lombardi
  • Bob Manning – reappointment; served on Baldwinsville Library Board; does fantastic job as Director of Governmental Relations Committee
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl – appointed to fill vacancy (Dr. Keith Alford resigned); department head specializing in school libraries

Ms. Mitchell stated she has been working together with Ms. Hurst-Wahl to find funding to improve diversity; staff should be reflective of the population.  Ms. Mitchell said Ms. Hurst-Wahl is well respected by her colleagues, and other libraries have commented that they appreciate her leadership.


Mr. Fisher stated the term for Ms. Hurst-Wahl expires December 31, 2017, and the new appointments will expire in 2021.


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



       a.     Informational:  Strategic Plan for 2016-21 - Dr. Casey Crabill, President


  • Finished strategic plan in operation since 2010; working on new plan for a year; ~1,000 employees, want to make sure they were heard from
  • Looking at data for service area, Onondaga County population, business needs, employer opportunities
  • Figure out broad goals to keep working in same direction; worked on plan for over a year
  • Population in County getting older and more diverse – make sure shaping programming for returning adults (who cannot take 2 years off) and English language learners (students who need brushing up on English for full engagement)
  • Gap between current level of population with higher education degrees; ~43% of adults have higher ed degrees; projection that 64% of jobs will require some form of higher education; OCC will be part of the solution to gap
  • High school populations continuing to shrink
  • Development of 3 goals:
  1. Make clear path for students to navigate through college:  most students do not have college experience or families with college experience; do more work to clarify what it takes to get into and through a program/degree; students should know how long it will take, what they have to do, how much it will cost and what the trade-offs are (ROI)
  2. Students need support services:  do not see change in economic conditions for students; continue to provide services in more collaborative and research based way; i.e. awarded grant for Community Care Club, which will allow OCC to engage with service providers in community, and provide them space on campus; if student needs Vera House, OCC will not duplicate what Vera House does, but will provide space where Vera House can be on campus to offer the service; joined Achieving the Dream – group of 200 schools doing research on what kind of tutoring works best
  3. Pipeline to college is problematic:  role for OCC to help seal pipeline (whether student goes to OCC or somewhere else); ensure financial aid is understood by parents and students; working with high school’s curriculum to understand what students have in high school, and what is expected of them in college
  • Strategic plan handed out (on file with Clerk); only students are in focus on cover; full emphasis on the students start to finish (starting in 8th grade)
  • How best to get connected – piloting new program with 2 high school districts; OCC Advantage




  • Create college success behaviors while in high school; Solvay and East Syracuse Minoa schools
  • Worked w/administration in districts to set benchmarks for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades correlated with college success:
  1. Attendance:  If it’s bad in high school, then it will persist in college
  2. Performance:  Cannot succeed in college, if blow first semesters, then try to make up; need certain level to graduate; if 9th grader is solid C, and by 12th works up to C+, it’s forward motion that can help the student be successful
  3. Involvement in Community Service:  Students involved outside of classroom are more likely to persist and graduate
  • Working with students and parents at both schools to understand behaviors that can be developed in high school, and will be helpful to their success in college
  • Told families if their 9th grader hits all benchmarks over the four years and comes to OCC, then OCC will have raised money to pay last dollar of their tuition and fees; students will have real skin in game and provide parents with tools
  • Tonight, meeting at Solvay for formal signing; students will sign banner saying they will go to college, and understand there are things they need to aim for to help them get there
  • Proud of staff for taking step outside of normal way of thinking to say they can do this
  • Look at poverty data at ESM and Solvay, it is not that different from City
  • Learned from what Say Yes has been able to do; take that learning and expand on it; generate excitement
  • Confident able to raise funds; will use next 4 years to make sure tailoring program in best way possible
  • Do not want 9th grader to feel like it’s over, because they missed a benchmark; will build in restorative measures to keep them aiming for something
  • Tuition portion will only be offered for OCC students

Chair Tassone asked if there are other schools approaching OCC.  Ms. Crabill responded almost daily.  OCC needs to manage what they have, and get it moving in the right direction.  Fundraising is beginning, and OCC has three or four years to create a solid plan.  Chair Tassone hopes this works, and said it is nice it is expanded outside of the City.  Ms. Crabill commented that the two schools have been close partners with the college for quite some time, and both try to apply the learning from Say Yes to their schools. 


Ms. Crabill replied to Dr. Chase that the student has to be in 9th grade.  The whole notion is to impact behavior development.  It is not a huge leap in attendance and performance, but OCC wants to draw the line on how to do this and continue on. 


Ms. Crabill answered Mrs. Rapp that the college going rate is the rate of people who leave high school and enroll in college.  They do not get the college completion rate.  A Superintendent told Ms. Crabill that they graduate about 91% of their seniors, of those 89% go to college, and of those 75% will struggle to pay for college.  National data states that students who are financially fragile have a completion rate around 30%. 


Mrs. Rapp asked for an update on the hospitality restaurant training.  Ms. Crabill:

  • Soft opening on Friday; in partnership with Centerstate on building that housed Celebrity Den and La Cuisine
  • Fire in building; fell into disrepair; OCC received grant to rehab
  • 2 part program:  working with refugee community; each 6 months will have new set of resident chefs; people in refugee community who have aspiration to open a restaurant or run a food related business in Syracuse
  • While resident chef, they’ll work with the Small Business Development Center and Centerstate CEO to see how the business might actually happen
  • People working in kitchen are those that struggle to find a first job, and will learn proper kitchen management, food handling, and some kitchen techniques
  • Name of restaurant based on pen pals and exchanging cultures is “With Love, ___”; each 6 months will have different country name; i.e.  “With Love, Pakistan”
  • Soft opening this Friday, and will be open to public in December for lunch and dinner part of the week
  • Chefs will learn what it’s like to run a restaurant, what expectations are, what standards are, how to cost stuff out, how to figure out what to charge, what employee taxes are, etc.
  • Pakistan is up first; small culinary preview was delicious; Friday at 6 p.m.; very fluid soft opening; come to sample
  • Starting new facilities master plan; with Legislature’s help, able to complete plan college had; most projects are finishing up; having celebration of Library in spring (probably April); Hospitality rebuild on campus nearly complete
  • Looking at facilities going forward; what are maintenance issues over time and programmatic issues; planning stages, so do not anticipate capital request this year; unclear what 2020 process at state will be, but leverage those funds first
  • Working on beginning of budget; goal is for students to take a break in increase; asked financial team to look at budget that does not increase tuition; depends on Albany

Chair Tassone asked Ms. Crabill to keep the committee updated on their high school program.

3.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Acting Commissioner; Robert Petrovitch, Deputy Commissioner of Highways

       a.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to the Camillus Highway Maintenance Facility, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $8,500,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $8,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($8,500,000)












  • Camillus – existing facility built as aircraft hangar; falling apart with age; on Capital Agenda for some time; ready to seek approval for bond, and put to bid in December; will increase salt storage capacity from 2,000 tons – 6,000 tons

Chair Tassone stated the Camillus facility has 15 different routes, 20 trucks and about 30 – 35 people.  The building is falling down, and this is instead of the one big facility talked about years ago.  Mr. Voss agreed.


Mr. Voss responded to Dr. Chase that this is a complete renovation that will make the building a highway facility from an airport hangar.  The current facility has two separate buildings that will be joined, the plumbing will be upgraded, the HVAC will be modified, and all things one would see in a modern facility.


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


        b.     Confirming the Appointment of Martin E. Voss as the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Transportation


Ms. Primo:

  • Marty Voss is County Executive’s pick for DOT Commissioner; asking for confirmation on appointment
  • Marty has done great job with WEP; been there 8 years; currently Administrative Director
  • Has done similar work:  personnel, budgeting and been responsible for management of fleet (over 1,100 vehicles)
  • Served 12 years as member of Town of Camillus Planning Board; currently Vice Chair; in this role, Marty has considered and made decisions on transportation issues and problems
  • Solid choice for successful director of DOT for Onondaga County; currently serving as Acting Commissioner
  • DOT important department for County; Brian Donnelly did tremendous job; every reason for confidence in Marty


Chair Tassone stated Mr. Voss has big shoes to fill, and Mr. Voss agreed. 


Dr. Chase asked if there is a conflict of interest being the Vice Chair of the Town of Camillus Planning Board.  Mr. Voss responded that he will be resigning from the board, and has already spoken to the Supervisor. 


Ms. Primo replied to Mrs. Rapp that they have not found a replacement for Mr. Voss’s position.  Mrs. Rapp stated there are different constituent services that the DOT Commissioner is called to do.  Mr. Voss agreed.  Mr. Voss has experience handling angry calls, and ensuring people were being heard and taken care of. 


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


4.     CNY ARTS:  Steven Butler, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($75,000)

  • Request amendment to move $75,000 to CNY Arts for Symphoria; Katherine Underhill, Executive Director here
  • Year 4 kicked off; success story; opened first show to full house; Halloween Spooktacular sold out; tickets selling quickly for Queen tribute doing in partnership with Landmark
  • Last year – ticket and subscriptions up over 50% from year before; subscriptions already up this year over last year
  • Brochure on Symphoria (on file with Clerk)

Mrs. Rapp asked how the musicians are doing.  Mr. Butler believes they received a 10% increase.  Ms. Underhill:

  • Able to give modest increase; step in right direction, but musicians still grossly underpaid
  • Biggest challenge is keeping excellent musicians and attracting new musicians; Symphoria held auditions, attracted new musicians, but they continue to audition for spots elsewhere
  • Symphoria not competitive in retaining musicians; they still have other jobs; no way to make living off what they are paid
  • Increase in ticket sales and expansion of audience encouraging; education programming is growing; collaboration with Connective Corridor – sound stops around the City including one outside this building

Mr. Butler stated the Symphoria has extended the season, so there is more work for the artists, and Ms. Underhill agreed.  Mr. Butler agreed with Mrs. Rapp that they are paid based on performances. 


Chair Tassone replied to Mrs. Rapp that this is the final amendment.


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


5.     ONCENTER:  Duane Owens, Commissioner; Archie Wixson, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept a Grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) for Dasher Board Replacement at the Onondaga County War Memorial, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($100,000)


  • Accepting grant from DASNY reference new dasher boards at War Memorial; dashers are installed; reimbursement funding; already completed project (third season); previous boards lasted for quite some time

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


6.     PARKS & RECREATION:  Bill Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Stabilization of the Onondaga Lake Park Shoreline, in and for the County Of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $756,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $756,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($756,000)

        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Roofs at Various County Parks Buildings, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $569,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $569,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($569,000)


  • Lake stabilization; bond takes care of where stopped with FIMA at marina near overlook pier at Salt Museum, and takes all the way to railroad bridge; County owns property running along there until bridge crosses over Parkway
  • Extensive process to get permit; 6 - 8 month process; permit in hand for OLP side on West Shore Trail; 2 additional – Seneca River outlet (near Willow Bay) and wraparound of Willow Bay
  • Prevailing winds take toll on Liverpool side of park; slams shoreline; active water deteriorates
  • Dig trench, put in lower level rock and boulders to make sure park at level, and do not lose shoreline; have lost in past

Chair Tassone took a walk by the pier and saw the shoreline disappearing.  Mr. Lansley said this will stabilize that.  Since the permit is in hand, Parks went with the Capital Projects to wrap it up next year.  Chair Tassone asked if it will start in the spring, and Mr. Lansley agreed. 


Mr. Lansley stated item b is for the replacement of roofs at County Parks.  It has been in the CIP for quite some time.  Projects include:  Highland Forest Lodge, Valley Camp, Annex, restroom at Jamesville Beach, tractor bays at Pratts Falls, and Willow Bay at Onondaga Lake Park.  This would all be done in 2017. 


Mr. Lansley replied to Dr. Chase that the big one is the roof on Skyline Lodge.  Mr. Lansley believes the building was built in the 1990’s. 


Mr. Shepard asked if Parks considered reducing the bonding amount by looking at money left over from other capital accounts.  Mr. Lansley replied that they have, but there is not a whole lot that is not already dedicated to other projects.  The Salt Museum project is being handled now, and there will be dollars realized as the chimney cost was less to rehab than originally thought.  There might be some areas to offset, but (for bonding) these were the dollars identified.  Mr. Shepard requested a breakdown of the money that is out there.  Mr. Lansley will provide. 


Mr. Lansley stated the chimney is complete, and the roof is being done now.  Mr. Lansley replied to Mrs. Rapp that the roof was quoted, so that is the price (unless there are underlying issues).


Mr. Shepard asked if Beaver Lake is on the list, and Mr. Lansley answered that Beaver Lake is this year, and was already approved.  Mr. Shepard asked what happens with the solar panels.  Mr. Lansley responded they are taken off, then reinstalled. 


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve item 6a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve item 6b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chair Tassone requested that Mr. Lansley give an update on Lights on the Lake.  Mr. Lansley: 



  • Starts Monday; weather looking spectacular for walks; public walk Monday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Tuesday dog walk
  • Drive through starts Wednesday the 16th; Saluting troops Wednesday – free admission for any veteran, active or retired
  • Galaxy Communications partnered with Parks last 5 years; record years (all except one) with them; tremendous amount of advertising; Sunny 102 offline for regular programming to do all Christmas music; all promotional for the show
  • New equipment including Nessie the Loch Ness Monster (92’ long) at marina; swinging penguins; cannonball arch; several lit trees; super nova drip lights; one favorite is drive through arches in which Oz display will have new section
  • Rehabbed equipment like Victorian Village and greeters
  • Pricing remains same; advance tickets available through Tuesday for $6 good for any night; runs through January 8th
  • Thank Parks staff who do tremendous job; 2 months to set up; meet deadlines

Chair Tassone asked how the revenues were last year.  Mr. Lansley said they were great.  There is a kicker in the agreement that if Parks hits a benchmark, there is a revenue split with Galaxy.  Parks has hit that at least two years in a row.  The revenues allow Parks to buy more equipment, and keep the show fresh.  Last year just under 42,000 cars went through.  Mrs. Rapp asked what the portion of revenue was from the split.  Mr. Lansley believes last year it was $25,000.  Mrs. Rapp asked if that is the same or improving.  Mr. Lansley would have to look back.  Mrs. Rapp asked if this money is reinvested, and Mr. Lansley answered Parks reinvests everything they can.  There is a reimbursement of costs; a dollar amount that Galaxy reimburses (flat fee).  After fees and expenses, Parks makes approximately $50,000 - $80,000 per year from this show.  The investment in the equipment is fairly expensive.  The added benefit is that there is no public money at risk.  If there is a snow storm that causes the majority of the show to be offline, Parks will still get paid.  No risk to the County with this agreement.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:28 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature



* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Holmquist

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Liedka

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


Chair May called the meeting to order at 12:01 P.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  

1.     DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Barry Weiss, Administrative Officer

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Funds for the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, and Authorizing Execution of Contracts ($36,000)


Mr. Weiss:

  • Previously National Guard received funds from the DEA to preform analysis on drug investigations, now placed on other assignments, DEA asked DA’s office to supply someone,12 month contract

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


2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of the Roof at the E911 Center, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $303,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $303,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($303,000)


Mr. Bleyle:

  • Building completed in 1991, 20 year roof, now at year 25
  • April 2016 water started coming through roof, County roofing contractor made temporary repairs, advised roof in need of eminent replacement and provided quote - replacing 18,408 square foot roof with thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof; arranged through Facilities department
  • Includes additional R-20 insulation to decrease heating and cooling costs, flashing, roof drains and refilling of existing pitch pockets; hope for replacement Spring 2017

Mr. Ryan said that this was appropriated through the CIP.  Chair May said that they would be voting on it now, but the project was listed within the capital plan.  


In answer to Chair May, Mr. Bleyle said that the roof was previously presented to the committee as part of the building study discussion.  The roof was one of the things identified as part of the study.  Chair May said that he mentions this as last year the committee set policy, they want two bites of the apple.  They need time to decide on any capital project before going to the full legislature.  This committee tries to be very firm between information discussion and actually voting on the capital item itself.  This is also relative to item 3 as well.   The roof was also discussed as part of the HVAC project.  Mr. Bleyle said that it was also why they needed the building study.  Chair May said that it was discussed extensively with Mr. Owens. 

Mr. Ryan said that it makes sense to do the roof while they are doing the HVAC.  Chair May said that he did not know if that was the plan, but it worked out due the failure.  Mr. Bleyle said that the HVAC was in progress and would be completed by spring, in perfect time to replace the roof.  In response to Chair May, Mr. Bleyle confirmed early spring is their target for starting the roof.


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


3.     HILLBROOK: 

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements at Hillbrook Detention Facility, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $394,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $394,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($394,000)


Chair May said that the item would not be discussed as no one was in attendance to present.


No action taken on this item.


Chair May asked Mr. Ryan to proceed with the item he wanted to present.


Mr. Ryan:

  • For discussion purposes – memorializing US Senate and House of Representatives bill numbers.S.2799/H.R. 4625, speaks to alarming rate at which firefighters are contracting, developing, and dying from cancer
  • Many years ago tobacco industry was successful in treating household furniture with flame-retardant chemicals – believes CA is the only state to ban those chemicals, subsequently firefighters have been running into burning homes with these carcinogens for years; many paid and volunteer firefighters dying from cancer
  • Senator Schumer and Congressman Hanna sponsored these bills, some discussion with Congressman Katko who may sponsor – bill provides for voluntary registry with screening upon entering a firefighter position and at retirement; firefighters currently not receiving early detection, retire and pass away within a couple of years from some type of cancer
  • Syracuse Fire Department member heading this for NYS and the northeast, will come to committee to discuss; legislature should show support for the item at the very least, for both paid and volunteer firefighters 

Chair May said that they would not be voting on the item as it had not been through the normal process.  He does not quite understand the purpose of the registry - almost sounds as if it is preparation for class action.  Mr. Ryan said that the registry was completely voluntary.  Anyone can get pre-cancer screening or screening on their way out. 


Mr. Holmquist asked if it was a memorializing resolution asking for federal legislation.  Mr. Ryan said it was supporting federal legislation, not asking for.  There is a senate and companion house bill, which they may take action on through the lame-duck session. 


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Ryan said that he would like to bring the item session, if that is what they would like.  Chair May said that the item had been discussed.  He suggests Mr. Ryan submit his resolution for the record, and assumes the rest of the process will need to take place.


Mr. Holmquist asked that Mr. Ryan formally contact Congressman Katko’s office for his input, and if he is not signing on why.  Chair May said that he would be interested in more depth.  Mr. Ryan said that he cannot speak with absolute certainty that Mr. Katko will be taking up the bill, but it is his understanding that he will be trying to advance the legislation. 


Mr. Ryan submitted a resolution entitled “Memorializing Support for the Enactment of Legislation to Require the United Stated Secretary of Health and Human Services to Establish a Firefighters Cancer Registry (S. 2779 / H.R. 4625)”. (Copy on file with Clerk)


4.     INFORMATIONAL:  Criminal Justice Advisory Board Report – Brian May


Chair May:

  • Criminal Justice Advisory Board had extensive discussion on Hurrell-Harring Settlement at last meeting and have discussed this matter with defense counsel and others within the County over the years, i.e. DA’s budget presented effects from a labor standpoint
  • Keep hearing one side of the equation - all understand lawyers want to be paid more, better defense when appearing before a judge, untold story needs to be understood from County standpoint - how the settlement is effecting local law enforcement, justice courts, the DA’s office and more

Chair May asked everyone to introduce themselves before going into the discussion:  Jim Hughes, Onondaga County Magistrates Association; Ed VanDerWater, Town of Van Buren Justice; Tom Winn, Police Chief, Town of Camillus; Mike Lefancheck, Police Chief, Village of Baldwinsville; Rick Trunfio, DA’s office; Alison Fineberg, DA’s office; Barry Weiss, DA’s office, Dave Gideon, Town of DeWitt Justice, Law Clerk for Judge Tormey and Special Counsel for Fifth Judicial District.


Chief Lefancheck:

  • Impact on local law enforcement includes towns, villages, Sheriffs and NYS Police - trial plan put in place in Minoa, East Syracuse and Town of Dewitt, suddenly forced upon all without notice
  • Many judges work fulltime jobs and are available only once or twice a day for arraignments, significant problem for many jurisdictions, i.e. Town of Cicero apprehended two people committing daytime burglaries, waited 8 hours for arraignment; Village of North Syracuse made arrest on domestic violence case, wanted arraignment to issue order of protection, justice advised unavailable for 8 hours, Chief had to make difficult decision – accept responsibility and liability of holding person in non-equipped facility with people not trained to hold onto someone for that period of time or release, chose release, difficult position to be put in
  • Town, village and trooper facilities are not equipped to handle housing for these periods, takes officers of the streets, and is a public safety issue

Chief Winn:

  • Forced to remove officers from community policing to hold defendants for extended periods, facilities not designed or approved by Department of Corrections
  • No notice, policy and procedure issues have not been put into place for this settlement, have issues with union negotiations and contracts in regard to officers duties and what can be expected of them
  • Main concern is removing police officers from the street for extended periods of time to watch pre-arraigned defendants, can’t get judges to come in and perform arraignments like they used to

In answer to Chair May, Chief Lefancheck said that most facilities are just a bench and a bar and are designed for someone to be there for an hour or two at most.  All the players are put into place, the arraignment is held, if bail is placed on them they are immediately taken to the Justice Center.  The Sheriff’s department handles them from there.  This impacts public safety to a great extent.


Judge VanDerWater:

  • Represents the Onondaga County Magistrates Association - still trying to get their arms around the issues of the settlement
  • Anticipating settlement Judge Tormey implemented a pilot program, designed to get the kinks out and see any adverse effects; October judges called to meeting, given short notice, 33 attended; pilot program was not working and appeared unsustainable, yet was being implemented within the next month
  • Plan implemented in all zones but one thus far - requested extension from County Attorney, DA Fitzpatrick also filed a letter, efforts for more time failed
  • New process extends arraignment process an additional 2-3.5 hours on magistrates end, significant issue – most judges are practicing attorneys who cannot walk away from their regular jobs for this length of time, used to be an hour
  • Proposed centralized arraignment, supported by Judge Tormey and DA Fitzpatrick
  • Two bills in the Senate – 1) provides jurisdiction for centralized arraignment for all counties within NYS, 2) provides funding across the state, cost currently born by counties, NYS Association of Judges supports state taking over funding
  • Decision requirements conflict with law and their rules, i.e. determining qualification for assigned counsel
  • Same frustration as police, not a workable system; settlement provided additional resources for defense side of equation, many moving parts of the system besides defense - no additional staff or funding for police or DA


Mr. Ryan asked for the bill numbers.   Judge VanDerWater said S8114 and A10706 are the bill numbers for state reimbursement, and S7209A and A10360 are the numbers for centralized arraignment.  


  • Counsel at arraignment main issue of lawsuit, currently most defendants arraigned at normally scheduled court time with attorneys present for arraignments – small portion of defendants are taken into custody when court is not in session
  • Town and village judges aren’t opposed to attorneys at arraignment – issue is how to implement with safety provisions and such; thought they would be given extension due to tremendous progress already made compared to 3 or 4 years ago

Mr. Trunfio:

  • Onondaga County 1 of 5 counties sued, Attorney General’s office worked with County Attorney’s office to represent Onondaga County, 5 cases used as example in lawsuit were dismissed – means they did not have any of the problems cited, ILS then allowed to cite 5 different examples
  • This is an attempt for a statewide public defender system – premise that defendants were not receiving their rights in town and village courts was a fallacy

Judge VanDerWater:

  • Case example - Defendant remanded to Justice Center without benefit of counsel at arraignment, however law says town, village or city court judge can only remand defendants with 2 or more felonies, aren’t authorized to set bail


Mr. Trunfio:

  • Wants all to know where the state is headed and what the settlement is really about
  • Stuck with settlement, county agreed to it – problem is the way this has been implemented
  • Page 4 of settlement states Arraignment means the first appearance by a person charged with a crime before a judge or magistrate, with the exception of an appearance where no prosecutor appears and no action occurs other than the adjournment of the criminal process and the unconditional release of the person charged”, questions how a program could be developed without including the DA’s input when settlement states judge can release without DA presence, now required to be present, puts burden on DA’s office
  • Noted settlement would impact DA’s office in the last two budget presentations
  • Knew pilot program was not going to work and advised County Attorney’s office, Office of Court Administration came up with alternate proposal for centralized arraignment in the city, rejected with no reason given other than cost
  • Settlement provided $27 million to 5 counties, told funds can only be used for defense though not stated in settlement, doesn’t make sense as DA is required to be present
  • DA’s office then invited to meeting at , the Office of Court Administration, advised County Attorney local police should be present - tried to make pilot program work, kept statistics for 3 months, utter failure; believed pilot program was to gain input, learned it was being implemented countywide without notice
  • ADA who handles serious sex crimes was the on call ADA yesterday, had 2 arraignments in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, each averaged 2-2.5 hours, no time spent working on cases, and doesn’t count afterhours arraignments
  • Disappointed County Attorney’s goal was to settle with ILS with as little resistance as possible, seems more content on pleasing ILS than the county agencies they represent; don’t know how they can sustain pulling ADA’s off cases and sending them out at night without compensation, DA Fitzpatrick’s letter sent to County Attorney on 10-19-16, no response

Judge VanDerWater:

  • No response to magistrates letter
  • Judge Tormey believes there is wiggly room to have funds spent on implementation of the system 

Mr. Trunfio:

  • DA’s Association saw this coming in 2015, in February DA Fitzpatrick sent a letter to the state contingent explaining everything they anticipated happening – another state unfunded mandate, Senator DeFrancisco and Assembly Magnarelli responded they were aware
  • Disappointed in implementation without input - County issue, not sure County understands what they settled into


Chair May said that he didn’t want the discussion to be an indictment of anyone’s performance.  The conversation is about prospective, getting depth of knowledge on the situation, many have gained prospective on defense aspect and funding.  He thought he knew how things were working on the other side of the equation, clearly there is more to learn.  Today is the first step in gaining that prospective.  It is clear the legislature needs to drive brining the right people together to drive solutions that make sense for the entire criminal justice system and Onondaga County taxpayers


Mr. Ryan said that it would be impossible for each municipality to have the resources to update their facilities.  Chair May said that there are no facilities in the towns.  Chief Lefancheck said that none of them meet the requirements of the Department of Corrections. 


In answer to Mr. Ryan, all agreed assigned counsel at arraignment was a good thing.  Mr. Ryan said the question is how to fix this.  Mr. Trunfio said that the fix is to listen to their concerns.  The centralized arrangement plan is a way to makes this more efficient and spends less dollars. 


Judge VanDerWater:

  • Putting jail cells in towns and villages will not solve this, the arraignment process has changed, a secure location must be provided for the defendant to meet with the attorney prior to arraignment
  • Law process requires dialogue, when attorney ready, then arraignment is conducted – currently in violation

Mr. Ryan:

  • Beyond cost, public safety issue for all  

Chief Lefancheck:

  • Town of Dewitt normally has 5-6 patrols officers per shift, their policy requires 2 people to supervise someone in custody, if person in custody for period of time, send 3rd officer to pick up meal, potentially tying one-third of the patrol force for 1 arraignment


Mr. Trunfio:

  • Yesterday police agency charged defendant with lower felony and issued appearance ticket to avoid time involved in setting bail

Chair May said that this was an enlightening conversation.  There are implications elsewhere in the county as well, i.e. jails.  However, the committee is very familiar with the jail circumstances and the assigned counsel program.  This is about new perspectives.  Mr. Holmquist asked if there was a next step.  Chair May said that much was heard today.  They need time to mull everything over and get all the players at the table.  He will talk with Chairman McMahon and determine what the next move could be.  The legislature can drive some continuity.


Mr. Trunfio said that each of the agencies represented wrote the County Attorney and asked that the pilot program be suspended while they work out another agreement.  None have heard back in almost a month.  Mr. Holmquist asked if there was a reason the County Attorney was not present.  Chair May said that they have spoken with the County Attorney since the lawsuit began.  The only purpose today was new perspectives.  In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Chair May said that the County Attorney’s office was not invited to attend the meeting, which was not meant to be a point, counterpoint situation  The only purpose was sharing new information with the committee. 


Mr. Holmquist said that the legislature is the policy making branch of the government, and asked if the legislature was consulted when the pilot program was implemented.  Chair May said that he did not know the answer.  Mr. Trunfio said that the County Attorney was doing the best they could negotiating this.  However, once they realized, they did a mea culpa, and said they should have had others involved.  Now that is window dressing because they aren’t listening to what is being said.  Police and judges have the same concerns as the DA on the ineffectiveness of the pilot program.  He would like to hear that their concerns are heard, and bring everyone back together at the table


Chair May said that through guidance he was under the impression that funds related to the settlement were solely for criminal defense.  If they are available for other things, there is not nearly enough money.  There are more issues that need to be sorted out.


Mr. Holmquist said that the County Attorney’s office works for the legislature.  It should not be an effort, they should be able to get answers today.  Chair May said that this was not at issue today.  Mr. Holmquist said that they were not responding.  Chair May said that he believes they can get a response and effect better outcomes, now that they have a better understanding.  Mr. Holmquist said that this was a good thing.


Judge Gideon:

  • Centralized arraignment court being proposed and receptively received in other counties, i.e. Oneida County building courtroom at the jail
  • Onondaga County centralized arraignment would use courtroom across the street from the Justice Center, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., DA able to staff without going over entire county
  • As of today all 7 zones are implemented – courts have to wait for availability of ADA and attorney, centralization allows all to know the timing, provisions must be made for defendants to be held pre-arraignment as is done in the city; Judge Tormey has model, less costly than current program
  • ILS took position funds are only for support of defense attorneys - not stated in settlement

Chair May:

  • There isn’t enough money, someone has to foot the bill


Judge Gideon:

  • Zone 7 includes Town of Manlius, Village of Manlius, Village of Fayetteville, Lafayette, Tully, Pompey, Fabius, and Otisco – if someone is in Otisco and Manlius needs the DA, they are waiting

Chief Lefancheck: said he strongly supports the centralized arraignment concept provided funding is in place for Sheriff’s office to house people, otherwise it hinders police operation as they may have to hold someone from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. the following night. Chair May said that there was still the implication of transport.  Chief Lefancheck said that the likelihood of bail is high, whereby they would have to transport to the city anyway.  Dropping off at the sally port is not a problem, the issue is if they had to hold them.  


Judge VanDerWater said that his understanding of the money was that the five counties in the lawsuit would receive funds for anything over and above their normal allocation.  Chair May said that from a budget standpoint they are looking at the top line number for costs, not the inner workings.   The amount for assigned counsel is now $6 million or more for defense.  Judge VanDerWater said that there are new rules for qualification.  The wording “under penalty of perjury” has been removed from the form.  It appears that almost everyone asking for assigned counsel will be entitled to it.  Mr. Trunfio said that there are no income guidelines anymore.  Judge VanDerWater said that the legislature is trying to get their arms around the costs, it would not be safe to base it on costs of the past because almost everyone is now eligible.


Chairman McMahon asked if the qualification for assigned counsel could be determined locally or was it part of the settlement.  They are just talking about it if they can’t affect the outcome.  Mr. Trunfio said he did not have the specific answer to the question.  He believes ILS has driven this, but as a representative of taxpayers they should find out why this is happening, why and how the penalty of perjury was eliminated.  The sixth amendment is for everyone, but it has always been that taxpayers provided an attorney for only those unable to afford one.  Now they are erasing that line.  Judge VanDerWater said that the means test disappeared about 2-years ago for arraignment.  If you are party to a settlement your lawyer has input into guidelines that are constitutional protected.  If they changed the criteria by which one is eligible as part of this agreement, it seems that each party at the table would have a right to agree or not.


In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Trunfio confirmed that the pilot program was a local decision.  Chairman McMahon asked if the county attorney or the County over-all had discretion to implement the plan.   Judge Gideon said that may or may not be true.  Under the settlement the County had to come up with a proposed plan to implement.  Each county was different.  This plan was put in as part of the settlement.  To back track so everyone is aware, in the 5 counties the implementation of the increased eligibility has occurred as of October 3rd.  The rest of the state is on hold, with everyone projecting until April.  This probably hinges on the DeFrancisco, Fahy bill because it will give Indigent Legal Services oversight for the entire state.  It is 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, which means a single individual making $29,700 or less receives a free attorney.  Previously they could look at spousal, parental or family income - no longer allowed to do so under the settlement.  Judge VanDerWater said that even if they have a decent income, they must consider their bills and if they have expensive things, such as a car that is used for work, they could still qualify. 


Mr. Trunfio:

  • Frustrated, had opportunity to come up with a program but was done without any of their input and find out about it after the fact, now playing catchup - saying this was not a good idea
  • Haven’t seen county attorney’s office advocating push back with ILS, agreeing they settled but did not have all the parties at the table – need to do so if this is going to work, had no business creating this model and making it part of the settlement without checking with the DA who is a party to the action and has to be there for arraignment, the magistrates who are actually doing the arraignment and the police agencies who are actually waiting there
  • Hit the nail on the head, it is part of the settlement, just can’t figure out, why the mea copra admitting they weren’t involved, now implementing program without input,
  • Questions why they did a pilot program – were told to try the pilot program and see how it works, everyone bought into the pilot program, kept statistics, when shown to be a dismal failure, inefficient on every level, told program was being implementing countywide – this is their frustration

Judge Hughes:

  • Tragedy is by letting this go the existing agencies are going to absorb the burden, will result in the degradation of the overall system; happening when state money is going to go in another direction, then they are going to roll this program out statewide and the opportunity to seize the moment will have gone by

Chair May thanked all for attending.


The meeting adjourned 1:09 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature



* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Knapp, Mr. Plochocki


ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:41 A.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


1.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Robert DeMore, Director; Nina Andon-McLane, Administrative Planning and Funding Coordinator

        a.     Authorizing the Transfer of Tax Delinquent Properties to the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company


Mr. DeMore:

  • Annual acquisition for tax auction, throughout summer and fall drive around and view tax properties on list within in range; displayed images of selected properties
  • For the first time many selected homes are unoccupied; woman and 3 children living in home on Woods Road, working with DSS to get her moved

Chair Rapp asked if she was renting.  Mr. DeMore said no, just living there without paying taxes. 


  • Father and daughter living in Chestnut Street home, spoke with family, daughter able to work a little, father unable, working with Adult Protective Services for relocation of father
  • Doors secured on vacant homes; Willow Wood Lane breakeven or better home
  • Much easier to get control of vacant homes, like to get control before snow flies


Chair Rapp said that the homes looked to be in much better shape than many previously brought forward.  It looks as if they could sell at auction.  Mr. DeMore said that some of them are better, the one located in Fabius is terrible and reviewed photos.  Chair Rapp said that it was hard to tell.


In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. DeMore said that everything will sell at the auction, but this program provides money to fix them up, assessments then go up and local contractors are doing the work.  Chair Rapp said that the homes are in pretty good areas, which is a credit as to why they should be fixed.  Many surrounding homes are nice.  Mr. DeMore said that he has to even out the homes, can’t lose money.  Mr. Knapp said that the homes are typically sold to low income, first time buyers.  Mr. DeMore said that he has to make money on some to make up for those that are a disaster.  


Chair Rapp said that the community benefits as they don’t have the disaster home on the block.  Mr. DeMore said the home also has a larger assessment once completed.  A private contractor would just put a few thousand dollars into it to flip.  Mr. Knapp said that they have control, use local labor, are sure the end product will be desirable, and improve the neighborhood.  They take a little hit on taxes upfront, but get them back long-term, i.e. renovated two family Solvay home, to be owner occupied on bottom, rental apartment up top, will make a nice little home. 


Ms. Andon-McLane said that often these homes have been abandoned for years creating a neighborhood nuisance.  Mr. Knapp said that creates a whole different set of issues. 


In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. DeMore said that each home would be bid separately.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. DeMore confirmed that they have a number of contractors; must be lead certified, takes about one year to complete.  Chair Rapp said that people will be moving in next year for Christmas. 


In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. DeMore said that the auction was held in October and always on a Monday.  They pull the properties on the Friday before, unless the taxes are paid.  Which has never happened.


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


Chair Rapp said that she was anxious to see the after photos.


2.     VISIT SYRACUSE:  David Holder, President

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to Visit Syracuse ($100,000)


Mr. Holder:

  • Distributed Syracuse Do Your Thing ice scrapers and the Syracuse Winter Visitors Guide, displayed Property of Winter box - getting ready to welcome winter, Syracuse’s most famous resident
  • Major campaigns prepared for coming weeks, welcomes winter, proclaims area as 2 seasons – winter and not-winter; want to capitalize on under used asset of winter months, biggest need period from November to end of March
  • 2 requests:  release second contingency for 2016 (2a), annual designation as official tourism agency – allows them to apply to NYS for $63,000 (2b)
  • Busy with huge amounts of programming and planning, hosted FAM tours, working on media FAM tour for first week of January, typically haven’t invited travel journalist to come at this time, tired of not showcasing winter legacy

In answer to Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Holder confirmed that many people were brought in over not-winter, now they are going to focus on winter.


  • Opportunity to seize need period of time for destination; small increase in business during January would mean huge returns to businesses, employees and tax payers of Onondaga County
  • Large part of strategic plan, put emphasis on need period of time, change perception of winter, doing so by claiming winter as our own
  • In NY next week, beginning program push, meeting with I Love NY officials to discuss media marketplace plans; putting as much emphasis as possible on winter while not backing away from non-winter, resources going into November - March time period

Mr. Ryan said that he liked the concept, and asked what the identity would be going forward.   Chair Rapp asked what would bring people here in winter.  Mr. Holder said that the destination has built itself around the “Do Your Thing” theme.  It works really well for not-winter months and they are pushing the same message for winter months.  Proclaiming they are the home of winter – any winter activity, indoor or out, can be found in CNY and Syracuse.

  • Ski areas, snowmobiling trails, SU basketball, Silver Knights, Crunch, theaters performances, museums, and shopping - winter months include some of the biggest shopping months of the year; winter not about one-time event, about everything that takes place from November through March
  • When dusting of snow hits Atlanta, will blitz that area with message “understand winter is visiting, but winter will always come home to Syracuse”, invite them to come along and see what real snow is all about
  • Changing local perception of winter will change the rest of the world; Syracuse translates to City of Snow in Mandarin symbols, taking advantage of that and reversing any marketing done around winter, planning on gorilla marketing, i.e. going to Punxsutawney, PA on Feb. 2nd, bombarding them with messages - want groundhog to see his shadow for more winter; want all to embrace winter the same as not-winter

Mr. Ryan said that snowmobiling is huge in Oswego County and asked how they would get the residual from that.  Mr. Holder said that they are putting their name on it as Syracuse and CNY.  Oswego, Cortland, Madison, and Cayuga Counties will be part of this, bringing regional partners to the table. 


  • Weather channel reports snow in Tug Hill and other places as Syracuse, want to take advantage of that
  • Need to change perception of winter, i.e. security guard saw property of winter box and said to get it out of here, he didn’t want winter - winter comes home each year, need to take advantage of it


Chair Rapp said that places like St. Paul and Lake Placid have embraced the crispness and freshness of living life outdoors 12-months a year.

  • Are doing something they haven’t done, putting official claim on winter in the first week of January, will need a proclamation from the County, want to showcase how much winter is appreciated
  • In Visitor’s Guide, Syracuse/CNY own winter – seizing control any way they can, i.e. winter will always do a business trip to Chicago but will always come home to Syracuse


Mr. .Knapp said that Onondaga County was the gateway to the North Country, even if passing through, they can stop here for shopping and stay overnight.  Mr. Holder said that everyone can build off this.  One reason for the meeting with I Love NY is because they want the state to latch onto this concept.  They can help push this message to a bigger audience and work with other destinations to get them involved.


Mr. Ryan said that he was recently in NYC and was asked if Syracuse had snow.  When he responded that there was a dusting, he was asked how he could live here.  Mr. Holder said that his answer next time should be that he hasn’t had nearly enough snow yet. 


Chair Rapp asked if there were any highlights since his last visit.

  • September and October enormous months, hosted convention planner FAM tour, group FAM tour, 2 different media FAM tours, state destination marketing organization quarterly meeting – wowed all with what Syracuse is doing
  • Started preparation along with Oncenter for hosting 2018 US Bowling Congress Open Championships, bringing 60,000 people to Syracuse, meeting with International Trail Symposium today to hopefully bring their conference here in 2019, and UTM Conference currently at Oncenter
  • September and October have been wild and crazy, November equally crazy due to huge amount of energy being placed in new program

Chair Rapp asked how the partnership was going with Hotel Syracuse.  Mr. Holder said that it was working very well.  Many groups expected to go the Oncenter, and use the hotel for rooms, are actually located all within one roof due to the expanded amount of meeting space.  They had to change the way they are prospecting for convention center overflow business, and added a new person to do straight up sales prospecting via contract.  When hosting the convention center FAM tour they focused on how to drive multi property business.  An outside company helped put together a successful list, now working with them to bring 30 qualified leads with the required dynamics of convention center use, northeast location, and spill over to multiple hotel properties within Syracuse.  It has been a great addition to the community, they are scrambling a bit to make it beneficial to the Oncenter and other properties within the community. 


Chair Rapp said that they had to expect some growing pains. Mr. Knapp said that it was a new paradigm and good problem to have.  Mr. Holder said that they would not have had some of the successes without it and would not be able to host the Trail Symposium in the way that they are now.  Chair Rapp said that she heard they were sold old.  Mr. Holder said they are definitely sold out, a nice boost to one of the winter weeks.


Mr. Plochocki said that there was no one better to be officially designated by the Legislature than Visit Syracuse.  He then asked if this was different from the NYS Promotion Act, where funds from the state pass through Visit Syracuse and are given to others, i.e. Julie Taboulie.  Mr. Holder said that Mr. Plochocki was referring to a competitive grant called Market NY, which has to be applied for.  In this case, they are talking about the marketing fund that is an annual part of the state’s budget and not a competitive grant.  They apply for the money as the official tourism and promotion agency for Onondaga County.  It is a direct matching fund program, and the $63,000 is included as a line item within their budget.

A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Plochocki, to approve this item 2a.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Designating Visit Syracuse as the Agency Authorized to Make Application to the New York State Department of Economic Development and to Receive Matching Funds Therefrom Under the New York State Tourist Promotion Act


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


3.     ONCENTER – SMG:  Kelly Carr, General Manager

        a.     3rd Quarter Report


Mr. Carr presented the following:


1  2



  • Currently $300,000 ahead of budget, 4th quarter typically sees loss of revenue, number will be $130,000 to $150,000 after payouts and adjustments, includes $1.3 million subsidy


  • AHL All-Star game great success, turned stage into VIP area, now doing the same for all Crunch home games; Syracuse Auto record numbers, sold 2,100 tickets to Charity preview, gives those funds back to local charities, continues to grow, estimating 2,400 for next year, great partnership



  • Future Farmers of America great event, held in a convention center for first time, worked extremely well

Mr. Knapp said there were 1500 students plus advisors, teachers, and staff.  The involvement outside of the convention center was a great thing, i.e. tours and public service.



  • Third quarter height of amphitheater , still hosted great events including sold-out James Taylor concert, large diversity of events, Amy Schumer sold-out, Trinity Motivation back for 3rd year, record numbers for the Crouse Hospital Gala



  • Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco sold-out first show in 2 days, added second show same night, Retro Gram Con and Finger Lakes Feis held over the weekend, UTM Conference currently being held

Mr. Plochocki said he attended the Retro Game Con over the weekend and it was a big success.  Mr. Carr said everyone dressed up and had a great time.  In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Plochocki said that the focus is old fashioned video games, i.e. Tetris, Atari, and Pong.  They have many new things as well. 


  • Hosted Disney on Ice January 2016, rearranged timeframe coming again December 14-18 with Frozen as part of the show



  • Great working relationship with tenants continues; upgrades to Crunch stage, VIP area, open to general public with all you can eat for some games, installed Ms. Pac-Man and Metallica pinball on stage; excited to have Silver Knights back for another season, look forward to continuing work with the Crunch for more upgrades to the War Memorial, concession areas redone upstairs, new flooring, added fresh paint highlighted with blues, upgraded the look itself, soon wraps will be place along walls highlighting certain players and events to celebrate the history of the building

Mr. Knapp asked about bathrooms.  Mr. Carr said that bathrooms are just one of the many capital project areas they look at.  To redo everything it would be enormous, are looking at fixture upgrades.  Mr. Knapp said that avid Crunch fans from his area are looking for basic things, i.e. paper towel dispensers.  Mr. Carr said that they have made a more concentrated effort to insure that what they have functions.  When it doesn’t, they work closely with Facilities to get things replaced and working so that all features of the building are working.  Long-term the idea is to go to hand dryers, eliminate paper products and become more of a green facility; look for low-flow fixtures and such.  Monthly meetings are held with the Facilities commissioner and Mr. Fisher.  These things are discussed, try to strategies most important and get the biggest bang for the buck.  Mr. Knapp said that there are limited resources.



  • Proud of sales expectation

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Carr said that they have increased sales by $700,000 to $1 million dollars.  SMG took over sales in July 2012 and he arrived for good in January 2013.  This is the highest amount of sales since they began managing. 


Mr. Fisher said that when Ms. Rapp came up with the idea he was skeptical.  Chair Rapp said that they have saved the County millions.  Mr. Fisher agreed, adding that it has worked out great.  The moment he mentioned the idea to the County Executive she said it was the way to go.


  • Business has changed, sales numbers increased but margin of profit not at same level as may have been previous, one reason is increased competition, concert industry biggest reason – co-pro model utilized throughout the country, in some cases buildings take risks with promoters on an event, County uses no risk co-pro so there is never a loss on any event, may not make money on some
  • Saw 30% margin on concert business when strictly rental deal, now seeing single digit margins on some and 50% margin on concert such as James Taylor, aiming to average 30% margin across the board, in order to generate business and bring in acts, need to look at all these things, ancillary benefits go along with a show, may not make a lot from the show but attendees go to restaurants, etc., want to continue doing business though not seeing same margin

Mr. Knapp said that it was important to keep the place busy.  Chair Rapp said that the hard costs are the same.  Mr. Knapp said that even if the margins are less, the show may lead to a larger show down the road as one never knows who might be there.  Mr. Carr said, “Exactly”.



  • Food and beverage model has jumped light-years since they came in, team does phenomenal job putting on events and transforming the look and feel of the Oncenter into a huge ballroom


  • Hotel much needed amenity for the Oncenter, needed convention center hotel within walking distance
  • Now seeing short term effects - loss of local/social events particularly in 4th quarter and heading into next year, lowering sales number for next year to be realistic, found savings in other areas, won’t need to increase subsidy; gap happens in almost every instance, 2017 will be the gap for the convention center, working hard with Mr. Holder and internal sales staff to find ways to solve gap and put business in place
  • Leads to long-term goals wanted by all; typo in presentation should read “Syracuse IS a year round destination”; loved Mr. Holder’s idea of taking control of winter from the moment he heard it
  • Alliance continues to function, now meeting every two months, have bowling 2018, may be able to find short term business which can book in 2017, bowlers arrive in December 2017 and are here through July 2018, goal to start looking for business August 2018 and on, much of what they are currently working on is for 2020

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Carr said that the booking trend used to be 3-5 years, now 18-36 months.  Again, most of what they are seeing now at the end of 2016 is for 2020.  Chair Rapp said that this was really good news. 


  • Discuss strategic planning, work on identifying potential business that fits the convention district model, the model for all of downtown or the entire destination, looking for compression to be a huge component - fill downtown hotels and spill out to surround properties; continue conversation on how to best utilize hotel and center to meet goal of becoming a true convention center model



  • Being positive - hope to receive grant from NYS for upgrades, would put meeting rooms and public spaces more in line with the hotels for a better complete package for the destination, are in the running, submitted application

Mr. Fisher:

  • Regionally recommended by development council, $975,000 request, pointed to the fact that there was already yearly funding in capital reserve for various projects -legislature recently agreed to bond for $1.5 million over the next 3-years, match component very important
  • Application went to the state with all projects listed on the REDC website – includes $975,000 for the Oncenter

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Holder said that they should hear back within the first few weeks of December.


  • This week hotel had NASA and many people involved in unmanned vehicles, used Persian Terrace and conference space with excellent AV and modern features – yesterday and today they are at the Oncenter, want the convention center to have the same standards
  • NYS can leverage the investment they have already made in the convention center hotel to offer consistent quality with these funds


Mr. Carr:

  • Looking for ways to change overall feel when walking in, currently don’t have networking space in public areas which is a huge component of convention business; working on putting together a budget, will work in conjunction with Mr. Fisher



  • Bid out for ballroom lighting, chandeliers will remain in place with new 4-color LED lighting, whole new look and feel, could turn each chandelier a different color if they’d like; dimmer system currently requires two persons, new system will be DMX board that can be controlled from a computer screen
  • Digital antennae system going in once law passes and everything has been put in place
  • Gallagher Hall ties into grant, was before grant came to forefront – changing public spaces for more welcoming feel

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Carr confirmed that the hall was located on the State Street side.  Chair Rapp said that this was a good idea. 

  • Marquee’s for all facilities, working with Purchasing, different components make it difficult to write RFP, certain groups offers a marketing component to go along with this, allows for financing part of the board, reduces capital outlay upfront, funds could be used in other areas of the Oncenter – trying to make sure they do it right

Chair Rapp asked the ballpark costs.  Mr. Carr said that it was between $850,000 and $1 million dollars for all three facilities.  Chair Rapp said that this was fabulous as they were looking at $600,000 to $800,000 for the Landmark.  Mr. Carr said that this was the proposal they received when they originally went out and started looking.  The marquees would be on either side of the War Memorial and on the corner of the Civic Center Theaters by the entrance.  They discussed putting a marquee at the open lot on the corner of Townsend and Harrison because it would not be visible on the Oncenter itself during the summer.  Mr. Knapp said that it would be a good location.  Chair Rapp said that they have been talking about the marquee since she got here.  Mr. Carr said that they are working on it.


  • Civic Center Theaters need stage drapes and acoustal panels, exhibit hall sound system needs replacing, War Memorial needs upgrade to security camera system, and a lighting upgrade for the entire convention center in exhibit halls


Chair Rapp asked if these would all be paid for out of the capital funds they receive.  Mr. Carr said that it would be a combination of capital funds received and bonds that Facilities receives from the County.  They work in conjunction with Facilities to identify projects that are a large need, can create a savings, generate revenue or are simply a flat out need, i.e. ballroom – can’t rent space without lights



  • Exciting year, pleased with what they have been able to do at the Oncenter during his tenure, hope to see more changes, events, and a better facility overall, to bring in more convention business

Mr. Knapp said that a lot of things are going in the right direction.


        b.     Amphitheater – 1st Year Report


Chair Rapp asked for lessons learned and what went best. 


  • Public perception of the facility biggest success, significantly changed by yearend, takes great pride in having played a part in doing that; wonderful thing to have in the community, everyone attending was wowed
  • Took a few moments at each show to truly appreciate what they have and what they are doing, i.e. Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band first show, had operational issues and challenges, some staff felt bad, took them to side of stage, asked them to look at Beatle on stage of the venue they manage – how cool is that
  • Challenges throughout the year, parking was a challenge, did a lot to address challenges, i.e. dust storm at first show, had water trucks for remainder of year 

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Carr confirmed that the water trucks worked.  Mr. Knapp said that the summer was great for concerts.  The dry weather caused a little ripple effect of a dusty parking lot and they took care of it. 


  • Only one show had rain; very large facility operationally, many nuances, did not know how things would flow, found out an awful lot, tried to think of what they thought challenges would be and mitigate and/or elevate them, had great partnership from everyone
  • Centro provided bus service, by end of summer were clearing bus circle at end of sold-out show within 45 minutes, remarkable for the volume, shuttles from downtown hub dropped people at the gate for $4, great ideas and planning; Aramark food and beverage provider, great staff, faced challenges, learned a lot and will make some changes next year, i.e. working on permanent concession stand, in process of design
  • May change footprint to utilize west side of lawn, looking at ways for different entrances to get people in and out faster  

Mr. Plochocki said that overall as the year went on the public perception changed greatly, people were very complimentary.  However, he still hears from people friendly to the Oncenter that egress is especially difficult with only one very closed egress point.  He understands that Mr. Carr is running the facility, not redesigning the facility, that being said it is something to keep in mind.  As time went on many other criticism have fallen to the wayside or been corrected, but this still stays.  Mr. Carr said that Mr. Plochocki was correct.  They are looking at ways to make egress better.   Ingress is much easier as people arrive at different times.


Mr. Ryan said that people raved about the weather, having Dave Mathew’s band in Syracuse, and looking at the lake, but then would say, “Let me tell you what’s wrong with the place”, there is a little bit of that.  It depends on who you talk to, some people attended on the busiest sold-out nights and never had a problem, while others complained of being stuck there for hours.  The Centro shuttle was great and he recommended it.  Mr. Carr said that free parking was offered at the Oncenter for most of the shows at the amphitheater.  Mr. Ryan said that it was great, dropped them off at the gate, and returned them to downtown where people could stay.  Mr. Knapp said that the downtown businesses loved it.  Mr. Ryan said that it was a secondary economic spin, and suggested that it be publicized more.


Mr. Carr asked Mr. Holder to talk about the economic impact the amphitheater provided for Onondaga County.  Some of the numbers are really remarkable. 


Mr. Knapp said that he has said this before and will say it again, when the dome opened there were all kinds of negative articles about the traffic, location and so on.  Over the years people have learned how to navigate it and it will be the same for the amphitheater.  When you talk to experienced concert goers, who travel hours to other venues, they have no complaints about traffic or parking because it is just as bad elsewhere.  Mr. Carr said that they then have to drive a few hours to come home. 


Mr. Knapp said that this was another one of those problems that was great to have.  Mr. Ryan said people pay the same amount of money for a beer at CMAC. 

Mr. Ryan said that the secondary economic boom from the amphitheater was not in one specific area, it was all over.


Mr. Plochocki said that it was great to have the numbers in this format.  When deciding on the amphitheater there were months and months of debate as they tried to look into the future.  The Post Standard ran an article quoting many different people and experts in the industry.  Someone on behalf of Onondaga County made the projection that in 2016 they would have 12 shows and 200,000 people.  Someone representing the other facilities made a comment that the numbers were very aggressive for the first year, which was also the attitude of others in the article.  The data confirms that they increased the shows to 22 and indeed hit the 200,000 mark.  This is great, had that not happened there would likely be a different discussion today.  There was also much talk about how they would compare to Darien Lake, CMAC and others.  He asked if 200,000 people puts them in second.  Mr. Carr said that they are in line with other venues around the state.  Mr. Plochocki said that this was not a bust by any stretch.


Mr. Holder said that they must keep in mind that this was the first year.  They were projecting 18 events with 12 or 13, concerts.  They had 22 total events, 21 of which were big time concerts, plus Symphoria’s visit on July 4th.  Pretty remarkable and thanks to much hard work on Mr. Carr’s and Live Nation’s part.  Mr. Carr said that the model of the amphitheater changed significantly from what it was when projections for the article were being made.  Reaching 200,000 the first year is phenomenal.  In addition, ticket sales data shows where the tickets were purchased and how many were outside of Onondaga County.  Chair Rapp said that this was one of the most exciting numbers.  They did not expect 25% of the people to be from outside of the region. 


Mr. Holder:

  • $24.98 million based on projection of where concert goers were coming from and 2.85 nights standard leisure stay
  • Average, hotel performance increased 11% for any concert, Sunday or Monday night concerts increased 20%-30% - driver for needed Sunday/Monday business
  • $53.19 million based on one night less than original projection
  • Local regional spectators can easily drive to and from the concert, i.e. Ithaca, Binghamton, Tully, domestic overnight have more than 2 hours to get home, generally US residents that stay overnight
  • Know they have ability to draw Canadian/other overnight, didn’t want to overestimate due to exchange rate - actuals saw significant draw, come here if concert isn’t held in Ottawa; catchment area enormous, able to draw from Canada and northern PA


Mr. Ryan said that they are seeing more outside residents than anticipated, which drives sales tax.  Mr. Holder said that the message for the community is that the Lakeview Amphitheater is an economic driver for the Syracuse and CNY region.  This tourism would not necessarily have happened without the amphitheater in place.  Mr. Ryan said that this is all new sales tax money. 


Mr. Ryan ask for more information on the employment impact.  Mr. Holder said that based on NYS and Onondaga County travel statistics they projected 369 jobs based on $25 million in spending.  Based on $53.19 million, 786 jobs were created.  Some were jobs at the amphitheater, but many were created in businesses around the area.  Mr. Carr said that they would typically have 300-350 employees for a large show, including Aramark, security, ushers and ticket takers.


Chair Rapp asked if they made money.  Mr. Carr said that final details have to be worked through, but it looks promising. 


Chair Rapp said that previously the contract situation wasn’t worked out.  Mr. Carr said that it was an interesting dynamic that not many amphitheaters share – have operating manager in SMG, promoter in Live Nation, and food and beverage in Aramark.  SMG oversees the operations and has a contract through the end of 2018, Live Nations runs the same time frame and Aramark is in place until 2020.  SMG has two three-year extensions that could run until 2024, Live Nation extension could run until 2022, and Aramark has another 5-year through 2025.  SMG currently has a management agreement with Onondaga County, which oversees the Live Nation and Aramark contracts on behalf of the County.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Carr said that SMG has separate contracts for the Oncenter and amphitheater.  In 2015 SMG was presented with an extension through 2021 to run the Oncenter.  The amphitheater contract runs through 2018 and has a three year extension that would run concurrently through 2021.


Mr. Carr:

  • Exciting time, control of calendar given to Live Nation, currently placing holds and making calls, no contracts yet, expect a few announcements before year-end
  • Likely to have country mega ticket again; also had ticket to rock, heavy metal did very well

Chair Rapp said that they also had the $20.00 ticket.


Mr. Carr:

  • Marilyn Manson and Slipknot attendees very polite; learned many things, expect to do things even better next year
  • Held internal meeting to recap operations, will bring in Westcott and Syracuse Parking Services


Mr. Knapp said that as Commissioner of DOT, Mr. Donnelly did an incredible amount of work to assist with this.  Mr. Carr said that he was a great partner.  He cannot express enough the partnerships and how beneficial they were, i.e. needed water trucks, response ok, how many.  This was the way it went all summer long. 


Mr. Knapp asked the timeframe for the concession building.  Mr. Carr said that they are hopeful to have it open before the start of the season, but it depends on when the season starts.  The concert season is defined as the second Saturday in May through the fourth Sunday in September.  In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Carr confirmed that they would not turn down earlier business and would use continue to use tents for concession if needed. 


Mr. Carr said that it was educational, and the hardest, and most rewarding thing he has ever done in his carrier. Chair Rapp said that she looks forward to Ways and Means when they will nail down the details.  Mr. Knap said that they would receive more detail on the numbers in December.  Chair Rapp said that it was a great report.


The meeting adjourned at 12:12 P.M.                                     


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature




* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Holmquist, Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  See attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:36 a.m.  A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Burtis to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Liedka took the agenda items out of order.


2.     HEALTH:

        a.     Presentation:  Tobacco, Public Health, Prevention - Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner

1  2

3  4


  • Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) – up and coming; attractive because of colors, inviting and seem nonthreatening; no negative connotation like cigarettes, because the social norm has changed
  • Battery operated; liquid can contain nicotine and some other ingredients (not familiar with at this point)



Chairman Liedka asked why Onondaga County is higher.  Dr. Gupta responded that the question is out there, and there are many reasons; one cannot be pinpointed.  Dr. Gupta hopes the committee may be able to find an answer through the presentation, and try to come up with mutually agreeable areas on where to make an impact.







  • People from social disadvantage (i.e.  high poverty, Medicaid enrollees, uninsured) have high rate of smoking; keep in mind when thinking of what to do in Onondaga County; people who are disabled tend to smoke more as well








  • 9-12th grade – spike to e-cigarettes; as they get older, shift to regular cigarettes










  • Birth to age 25 brain continues to grow; more blue is more maturity; functional scan
  • Opioids, prescription, alcohol or tobacco – gives high and makes person feel good, but brain is saying not good
  • Brain is evolving. and pleasure takes over; reward pathway is high jacked




20  21


22  23




Chairman Liedka asked if this is for one year, and Dr. Gupta agreed. 


Dr. Gupta:

  • Death certificates:  if someone died of heart disease, death certificate will say cause was pneumonia or heat attack; it also shows consequence; if somebody was smoker, there’s a column to check
  • Important when physician signs death certificate – translates into data later; important to understand data from providers to public health; government does not get data from somewhere, it comes from the health industry






  • Top 4 out of 5 leading causes of death are smoking related; Onondaga County number 1 in cancer compared to average
  • Smoke more, which causes cancer; more heart disease and stroke; stroke is 4th in state, and County has it as 3rd; directly related to smoking; chronic respiratory diseases include pneumonia and emphysema as well
  • Very hard when patient cannot breathe; only so much can be done 


28  29


30  31 

  • Aneurysm – someone who smoked should have screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm; poor circulation

32  33


34  35


36  37


38   39


40             41













47  48


49  50


51  52




54  55


Mrs. Rapp asked if Tobacco 19 reduced sales, and Dr. Gupta replied it should.  There are 18 and 19 year olds in high school who are socializing.  If the 19 year old cannot buy the cigarettes, they cannot expose others.  Mrs. Rapp asked if there is any data to see if Tobacco 19 reduced sales.  Dr. Gupta will look into it, and will get back to the committee.  It will take decades to see the change.  The state data is Tobacco 18, where locally it is 19.  Some counties have Tobacco 21 (i.e.  Cortland), and California and Hawaii have passed Tobacco 21.  When there is exposure to children 15 – 17 while the brain is still developing, it will have a domino effect later on. 













Mr. Holmquist stated:

  • Outstanding presentation on a complicated topic
  • Onondaga County has higher smoking rates and death rates than other counties; yet Tobacco 19 was passed recently
  • Some factors are possibly the Indian Reservation smoke rates, and access to tobacco; also higher poverty levels than some areas in the state; County has immigrant population coming from parts of world with much higher smoking rates
  • Wondering what efforts are being made in Onondaga County on these potential factors for the gaps

Dr. Gupta responded:

  • Providers do counsel, and provide support and treatment; all hospital policies create a safe environment for no smoking
  • Parks - local law not there even though there is a state law - areas where goal of this body could be in terms of creating smoke free environments
  • No smoking throughout County (i.e. buildings); sale of cigarettes with Tobacco 19 – will the County increase the age; high poverty rate, and availability in City
  • Education very important; at forefront; work with partners throughout community in synergizing efforts

Mr. Holmquist stated when welcoming immigrants into the community, what efforts are being made.  Dr. Gupta responded:

  • They get counseling, because there are providers
  • Had immigrant patients when practiced medicine, and asking them to quit smoking was a repeated ask
  • Society also plays a role; if someone is working where smoking is prohibited, it can change someone’s perspective; people end up quitting
  • Worked at VA Hospital in Philadelphia in 2010; went to see patient in ICU for preoperative consultation for a circulation problem, asked nurse where patient was, and was told he was smoking; no smoking inside only
  • 2016 – conference at SU, and VA Hospital has sign that it is a smoke free building; creating safe environment

Mr. Holmquist inquired about any collaboration with the local Indian reservations, and what the plan would be with Tobacco 19 (or 21).  Dr. Gupta answered:

  • Will have to explore; sovereign nation; may let buy, but have environment where cannot smoke; gives opportunity
  • Had veteran patient smoking at 21, because if he didn’t smoke, he wouldn’t get a break (unaware of policy in military)
  • Learning that environment can play a role; people have own behavior; give them safe space; provide law or policy

Mrs. Rapp said Dr. Gupta mentioned a strong correlation between Medicaid and higher smoking, and asked what is happening there with education (tie between smoking and risky health behavior).  Dr. Gupta replied:

  • It is all intertwined, and is a vicious cycle; smoking makes them feel better; if working somewhere with smoke free policy, will go out and smoke; if have to walk 50-100’, will think twice
  • They receive counseling; significant amount of resources through local hospitals

Mrs. Rapp asked if there is anything that says they cannot get Medicaid if they continue to smoke.  Dr. Gupta does not think so.  How can someone say it is a choice versus a mental health issue?



        a.     Presentation – Lloyd Withers


Mr. Withers thanked Chairman Liedka and the committee for having him, and introduced everyone present that is involved with the presentation:  Dr. Kohman from Upstate Cancer Center, Deb Mendzef, the Tobacco 21 Partner of Syracuse Health Coalition, Julie Hart from American Cancer Society Cancer Center Action Network, and Kristy Smorol from the American Heart Association.  Everyone is working together on this, and most recently Cortland County adopted T21 this past summer.  One of the gaps right now is that people can cross from Cortland County to Onondaga County to skirt the law.  Mr. Withers distributed information (on file with Clerk).


Dr. Kohman:

  • Director of Outreach for Upstate Cancer Center; Medical Officer for Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society
  • 33 year at Upstate:  Thoracic Surgeon – primary goal is taking care of lung cancer patients
  • Enormous number of anecdotes of patients seen of all ages with new diagnosis of lung cancer
  • Lung cancer kills more women and men versus the next 4 major cancers combined; majority smokers or ex-smokers
  • Right now 60% of diagnoses never smoked or are former smokers; former smokers have done what supposed to do to quit, but effects of smoking do not go away; remain at elevated risk for many years after quitting
  • Smoking causes huge amounts of emotional devastation; all patients regret having smoked; all started smoking as a young person; some in military, some in high school, some started at 14; all wished they never smoked
  • Must be addressed with young people; do not start smoking in late 20s and 30s; time to get them is at a young age; raising age of tobacco availability from 19 to 21 will improve this significantly
  • Older people that become addicted to nicotine, smoke because they are under thrall of chemical pathways in brain
  • Young people are not nicotine addicts until using tobacco products; being manipulated by tobacco industry
  • Tobacco marketing the most heavily funded marketing in world
  • Work with International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
  • United Nations World Health Organization document called the International Tobacco Framework that has many suggestions of how to reduce tobacco use; includes smuggling and manufacturing regulations across the world
  • 168 out of 177 countries have ratified that framework except:  Cuba, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Haiti, Morocco, Mozambique and the United States
  • Local legislative body - where these rules have to come from; will not come from federal government, because they are under influence of big tobacco companies
  • Having Lung Cancer Vigilette tonight at 6 o’clock; please join; most significant cancer health problem

Ms. Mendzef:

  • Partner of Syracuse Health Coalition - focusing on revitalizing local communities and removing barriers
  • One area is Tobacco 21 and education around it; strategic step to improve health of community
  • Some local data through NYSDOH, Local Community Tobacco Survey and NYS Quit Smokers Line
  • 95% of smokers start before age 21; getting addicted before leaving high school
  • Annually in NYS, 22,000 youths become new smokers, and over 31 million pot cigarettes are smoked by kids
  • Onondaga County – 20% of population smokes; largest percentage is 18-24 at 45% of smokers
  • Reasons why?  Disparities; NYC has taken huge step in enacting Tobacco 21
  • Average age is 13 when picking up cigarette; only takes one; changes pathways
  • Quit Line data pulled for 2016 for Onondaga County (can go back further); highest number of callers were 45-54 and 55-64 years of age; midlife, smoking at least pack/day, smoked for over 21 years; started very young and highly addicted
  • 5.6 million expected to die with trends continuing with smoking; includes 280,000 children; one of 13 children
  • Personal experience:  100 kids per grade level; knowing roughly 6-10 will die in future hits home
  • Onondaga County – 21% of population under age of 18; 100,000 youths; 8,000 County youth today will die in future
  • Onondaga County Health Improvement and Health Assessment Plan projects 2030’s highest projected age group will be 20-24 years old
  • Surgeon General calls smoking a Pediatric Epidemic; why Tobacco 21 is so important


Ms. Hart:

  • Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society; advocacy branch
  • So much progress across state; NYC and 6 counties with Tobacco 21 policies; done in past year, and people ask why?  More evidence that was not there previously, like Tobacco 21 will reduce smoking rates
  • In 2007, congress passed Family Smoking Prevention Tobacco Control Act; called on FDA to convene panel of experts to look at age of sale; FDA worked with Institute of Medicine; issued report that came out last year
  • Looked at what will happen if smoking age was 19, 21 or 25; 19 is a 3% reduction; 21 is a reduction of 12%
  • Where do kids get cigarettes?  Social sources; more 18 and 19 year olds in high school now
  • Massachusetts ahead of curve; localities acted before report; T21 law in affect since in 2008; 2010 found smoking rates for high school students dropped in half
  • Over 190 localities in 13 different states passed this law; 2 statewide laws; Orange County passed in Health and Rules Committee, and slated to have hearing on Dec. 1st; Town of North Hempstead passed law this week also
  • Financial revenues:  nationwide 18 – 19 year old market only accounts for 2% of sales; not much financial impact
  • Military exemption in law; encourage to remove; other counties in NYS have not included military exemption; military does not want it; Department of Defense has concerns that tobacco use undercuts military reediness
  • Will not hear from military; do not want exemption; want their men and women healthier

Ms. Smorol:

  • CDC report (July 2015) states 75% of adults and 70% of current smokers support this
  • Onondaga County – collected about 300 petitions supporting this
  • If make it to 21 without smoking, then only 2% chance they will smoke
  • 4 of 5 top causes of death in County are related to smoking; want to create healthier generations; law makers have opportunity to support them


Mr. Withers:

  • Draft of T21 bill for consideration in information passed out
  • T19 did not address e-cigarettes - factor that should be covered in existing bill
  • Military exemption - this draft removes that exemption; want to protect young soldiers and military from effects of tobacco
  • Ample evidence tobacco is a killer; directly related to disease; young people prone to addiction before age 21
  • If can prevent, it will make major impact on health, reduce cost to tax payer
  • Committee has inside look of health impact; take lead on this; great opportunity to be out in front with community
  • Asking Onondaga County Legislature to move quickly; challenge to do in 2016; fast track, but more lives will be saved
  • American Cancer Society mission to eliminate cancer as major health problem

Chairman Liedka stated the military was a major issue in the past, and could see that a military leader would not want their people smoking.  Chairman Liedka does not know how to dictate to a man or woman who is putting their life on the line every day, so the public can have freedoms.  Chairman Liedka is not a fan of smoking, and stated his mother died from smoking; but there is a special place in his heart for the military.  Mr. Withers commented that this was done in Hawaii, and the military accepted it.  Ms. Hart stated:

  • Hawaii has a lot of naval bases; first state to act; lot of veterans there also; Hawaii did not include exemption
  • Individual members saying there are concerns for military members health; want a healthier military
  • It was included in California; Tobacco industry is stronger at state level versus national level; typically more of a challenge at state level; will work on that in NYS
  • Active members of military not opposed to this; veterans associations are not opposed to it; not military raising argument; Albany County – argument came from 2 SUNY students
  • Understand concerns, but military concerns are more about too much access and wave of encouragement to use tobacco; goal set to reduce tobacco use in military by 2020

Chairman Liedka commented:

  • Talking about boots on the ground people; lot of military people came forward previously; very hostile; all for health, but this is one caveat that should be there
  • County version of law with exemption included (on file with Clerk)
  • Would the Legislature like to move this forward?  That is for this committee to decide
  • Do not see this happening overnight, because the Legislature needs to give the public a chance to chime in
  • If overwhelming support, then Chairman Liedka does not see anyone would be opposed to it; military component would be a bit of a challenge

Chairman Liedka asked if Ms. Williams was here for that, and Ms. Williams said yes.  The boots on the ground military came in, and said if they fight for us, then why should they not have the right to smoke.  The Legislature struggled with it, and in the end the exemption was put in.  Mrs. Rapp stated it is the same argument about beer.  Mr. Withers appreciates the logic, and said this is not outlawing use; this is about sale and access.  Changing the purchase age is the direct law.  No one is going to be arrested for being age 14, and having a cigarette.  This is to control access to the product.  As far as timing, the Legislature will have a public hearing. 


Chairman Liedka stated that nothing bothers him more than seeing a 14 or 15 year old walking down the street with a cigarette.  How can this be enforced?  Ms. Williams is in favor of supporting this.  The concern is telling the stores they cannot sell to someone under 21, but a kid could have bought them off someone else.  How would this be policed to make the numbers come down?  Ms. Hart stated compliance is important, and most retailers want to be responsible.  As a general rule they do their job, but the social sources are where the kids are getting access.  This will hopefully cut out those social sources.  This is not about quitting, but about youth initiation; less access eventually.  Mr. Withers commented that there are retailers not offering tobacco anymore; i.e.  Wegmans.  Dr. Gupta stated Tobacco 19 is enforced now for sales.  Chairman Liedka said there is enforcement, but what about the social sources.  How to create discomfort amongst the social sources?  Ms. Hart stated they do not want to criminalize kids, because they are the target of the tobacco industry.  Chairman Liedka agreed, and said e-cigarettes are made to look cool.  Dr. Gupta stated they cannot cure everything 100%, but there are areas that can be impacted.  Vaccinations are there, but people can still get the illness (i.e.  MMR).  It is not 100%, but an environment was created to have a better course.  Dr. Gupta said as individuals, we have to take responsibility. 


Mr. Holmquist asked if there has been any outreach to the Indian Reservations, and if collaboration is possible.  Mr. Withers is sure that it is possible, but there has not been any outreach.  Mr. Holmquist stated that would be an obvious gap, and there should be an effort made there.  Mr. Withers agreed.  Mr. Holmquist commented it was a nice job by everyone.  The process is very important, and there has to be plenty of opportunity for input.  The military exemption was the biggest issue last time.  It is largely philosophical, despite the overwhelming evidence.  It is tough to dictate to the military membership, and it was very emotional. 


Dr. Kohman stated smoking is the major cause of residential fires, and if the tobacco sales are reduced by 12%, then the fires in Onondaga County may be reduced by a percentage.  It is not only property damage, but also medical costs of burn patients (astronomical).


Mrs. Rapp stated:

  • In 2003 when first passed, it was really emotional; people stating they are American, and can make their own choices and decisions; but paradigms change and thoughts change
  • Committee receiving information that is not disputable (data driven); responsible to pass on to the public in the form of public health policy
  • In terms of policy, where does the committee stand?  What are the messages the County is putting forward?


Mr. Burtis is concerned with vaping and e-cigarettes, which are things that seem very popular.  It seems to be the trend, and asked if there is any evidence that this will get worse.  Do kids move to cigarettes?  Dr. Gupta said yes.  Mr. Burtis asked if kids will go to more corrosive things to put in them (e-cigarettes).  Mr. Withers responded that one of the marketing designs is that liquid nicotine is a derivative of tobacco.  That is not well understood, because it is the equivalent to any other kind of tobacco.  Ms. Hart stated the FDA will now be regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products; they are recognizing more needs to be done.  Chairman Liedka asked if it is happening in the near future, and Ms. Hart said yes.  The FDA has already announced that e-cigarettes are tobacco products.  In terms of people saying they are using them as a cessation tool, the FDA is not viewing it that way.  Kids are not using them in that manner.  This is the gateway to more dangerous products.  Dr. Gupta commented that some are bright colored, and some do not have nicotine, but a flavor.  The kids end up using it, because it is cool and more socially acceptable.  The next thing to try is with nicotine, or tobacco. 


Mr. Burtis stated there is also cannabis out there, and that will be the next thing for the Legislature to look at.  Mr. Withers commented that medical marijuana approved in NYS is not approved for smoking. 


Ms. Williams is hearing that kids are feeling more pressured in society.  They have more issues to deal with, and are turning to smoking to relieve stress.  Dr. Gupta commented that it is the same for tobacco as it is for drugs and alcohol.  When there is stress in the home or social community, kids tend to find something that will immediately make them feel good.  These are negative factors that they are trying to make positive.  Those with psychosocial stress tend to smoke more, and it creates a cycle. 


Chairman Liedka thinks this is a good first step.  The committee is open to other data in regards to e-cigarettes. 


Mr. Withers asked if this will be put forward in the committee today.  Chairman Liedka asked if anyone is comfortable with this today.  Ms. Williams would like to hear from the public.  Chairman Liedka commented this is probably the first time the members are seeing this.  Mr. Withers said the discussion is the existing bill with the only changes being the addition of e-cigarettes (and definition), the increase of age from 19 to 21, an increase in reduction of smokers from 80% to 95%, and also redlining out the military exemption.  Chairman Liedka said the committee’s committed to looking into this, and will keep it on the front burner.  Chairman Liedka responded to Ms. Williams that there are two items to look at.


Chairman Liedka asked Mrs. Berger what the time table is.  Mrs. Berger responded it is not clear which draft is being considered today, and there was not one on the agenda.  It is up to the committee to decide on this, and there has to be a sponsor to bring it to the floor.  Mr. Holmquist requested that copies of both drafts be made for each member of the Legislature to read and review it.  If there are any technical questions, then there will be a conduit through Mr. Withers.  Chairman Liedka suggested bringing it back in December.  Mr. Withers said it sounds like there is general support for raising the age to 21, but there is question regarding the military exemption.  Mr. Holmquist believes every member would want to read what the drafts are, and may have other ideas.  Chairman Liedka said both drafts will be distributed, and the committee will reconvene in December.  Chairman Liedka believes in the process.


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


Respectfully submitted,


JAMIE M. McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature



* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Williams, Mr. Jordan, Mr. May, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Shepard1

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon and see attached list


Chair Knapp called the meeting to order at 9:16 A.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.





        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Funds for the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, and Authorizing Execution of Contracts ($36,000)


2.     ONCENTER:

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Accept a Grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) for Dasher Board Replacement at the Onondaga County War Memorial, and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($100,000)



        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to Visit Syracuse ($100,000)



        a.     Transfer from Water Environment Protection, Account 694130 Maintenance, Utilities, Rents, to Water Environment Protection, Account 694010 Travel/Training ($26,500)



        a.       Authorizing the Transfer of Tax Delinquent Properties to the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company


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




1.     COUNTY CLERK:  Chris Plochocki, Deputy County Clerk

        a.     Mortgage Tax Apportionment

Mr. Plochocki:

  • Covers 2016 period April 1 through Sept. 30, apportionment of towns and city $4,065,848.43, villages $207,671.16, total $4,273,519.59, 8% increase over previous period, 1% decrease from same 2015 period

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

2.     CNY ARTS:  Steven Butler, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2016 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($75,000)

Mr. Butler:

  • Symphoria beginning 4th full year, ticket sales up 50% from previous year, subscriptions sales continue, pops concert selling out, children’s Halloween concert sold out, in good shape
  • Musicians receiving more work, increased salary, paying living wage; seems to be taking hold in the community


Mr. Jordan said that the attendance numbers show paid attendance of about 1,500 and 11,000 free attendance, questioned if this was truly free or paid by others.  Mr. Butler said that they were fee paid concerts.  He has asked that they change the wording, but in their minds it is free for audience.  The fees are paid by colleges and universities, to perform in community venues.  Chair Knapp said that it was rather deceptive.  Mr. Butler agreed and said that he would continue to work on it.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Ayes: 6 (Knapp, Jordan, Kilmartin, Shepard, Williams, Ervin); Noes: 1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.


3.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Acting Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to the Camillus Highway Maintenance Facility, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $8,500,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $8,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($8,500,000)

Mr. Voss:

  • Distributed information packet (On file with Clerk)
  • Facility purchased in the 1980’s, never designed to be highway garage, was airport; in rough shape, roofs collapsing, floor and foundation compromised; complete rebuild within existing footprint
  • 15-20 trucks and approximately 30 people work out of the location; storage for 6,000 tons of salt as opposed to 2,000

Chair Knapp said that they have been working on this project for the past several years.  Early on there was a proposal to combine two facilities into one new large facility.  Unfortunately the cost was upwards of $26 million.  Given that number, it was determined that it would be more economical to upgrade the two facilities and keep them separate.  Mr. Voss said that they hope to get the Camillus facility out for bid in December. They will be back in the spring for the north area facility.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Voss said that the estimate was $8.5 million for the north area also.  There are other county tenants there, which they have to work with, will take a little longer.


Mr. May said that committee chairs have tried to set policy whereby capital items are discussed informationally and then return to committee for a vote.  He will be asking everyone presenting capital projects to confirm that the item has been in committee at least a few times, unless the information is volunteered.  Mr. Voss said that they were in County Facilities on November 9th.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Voss confirmed that this was also discussed prior.  Chair Knapp said that this has definitely been discussed. 


Mr. Jordan said that part of the rationale for combing the two facilities was that they could change the routing system to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs.  The cost for upgrading is $17 million versus $26 million for a new larger facility.  The comparison is not apples to apples.  By creating the larger consolidated facility they are saving $17 million and perhaps even more with cost overruns.  Also, there are arguably lost efficiencies; questioned what the anticipated savings were.  Mr. Voss said that he has been the acting commissioner for two weeks.  He has spoken to section heads with regard to those efficiencies and they believe it would be more efficient as is; north area covered by Malloy Road, Camillus covers western suburbs, Marcellus covers portion of the southwest, and Jamesville covers the east.  If they remove resources from one area of the county, and deploy them from another, there will be travel time and fuel expenses associated with that.  He is not privy to what the alleged efficiencies were for one facility.  He is here to ask for the authority to borrow for the facility being renovated at a lower cost.  The intention of the department is to maintain those four facilities, and the service level in the paradigm that has been established.


Chair Knapp said that he remembers something about the route, but the big efficiencies would be one place to heat and maintain.  In his area they station trucks forward – 2 in Pompey, 1-2 in Fabius, 1-2 in Tully, and 1 in Lafayette to get trucks out quickly on a morning like today.   Mr. Kilmartin said that it was cost prohibitive to do the larger facility, and any efficiencies that would have been generated would have been overcome by the tremendous cost.    


Chair McMahon said that money was previously authorized for the design and asked if the $8.5 million included those funds.  Mr. Morgan said no, it would be in addition to.  Chair McMahon asked if the remaining funds would be used to offset the $8.5 million.   Mr. Morgan said that he was not sure how much remained, but he did not believe so as it was specifically for the design.  Mr. Owens said that additional soft costs forth coming would eat up some the remaining funds.  In answer to Chair McMahon, Mr. Morgan confirmed that they would bond for less to reconcile the account as funds set aside specifically for design cannot be used for construction.


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Voss said that the Camillus and north area facilities would each cost $8.5 million.  Jamesville is practically brand new and there is no current plan to do anything at Marcellus.  Mrs. Ervin said that they are looking at $17 million versus the total cost for one new facility, and asked that cost.  Mr. Voss said around $27 million.


In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Voss said that the Camillus facility was an old airport.  The north area facility was the old UPS facility located on Malloy Road.  It is shared with the Sheriff, County Clerk, and Health Department and is less than ideal, but Camillus is what is in front of them today.  


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. May, to approve this item.  Ayes: 4 (Knapp, May, Kilmartin, Shepard); Noes: 0; Abstaining 3 (Ervin, Williams. Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


4.     PARKS & RECREATION:  William Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Stabilization of the Onondaga Lake Park Shoreline, in and for the County Of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $756,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $756,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($756,000)

Mr. Lansley:

  • Bonding resolution for continuation and completion of shoreline stabilization on the east shore of Onondaga Lake Park, the outlet to the Seneca River, and around Willow Bay
  • Days like today with sustained winds of 40+ mph and open water, water predominant pounds the open shoreline, unprotected areas need stabilization; completed much of the shoreline from Willow Bay to the marine
  • Entails trenching shoreline, adding stabilization rocks, and large boulders for protection, lost several feet over past several years; bonding covers area from marina to railroad bridge, completes stabilization
  • Lengthy permitting process, about 9 months to get permit, likely take another 6 months to add the Seneca River Outlet and Willow Bay project areas, will continue on with project in the spring 

Chair Knapp said that they received a small grant to get this started.  Mr. Lansley said that it was FEMA reimbursement for the flooding in 2011.  It took care of the marina to the pier outside of the Salt Museum.  This resolution covers the area from that pier to the railroad bridge. 


Chair Knapp noted that this project has been discussed several times, between the grant and regular discussions. 


Chairman McMahon asked when the work would start.  Mr. Lansley said that they could start this winter.  It is preferable to do the ground work when the ground is frozen solid. 


Mr. Jordan said that they are talking about stabilizing the least used portion of the Onondaga Lake system.  It is not an area that receives a lot of foot traffic, with the exception of the ball fields, which are a ways away from the shoreline.  Mr. Lansley said that it is less used, but the trailhead starts at the overlook parking area near the ball fields.  Many people park there while biking the trail, and large festivals are held in the ball field area, i.e. LEON Festival.  Huge Willow trees are completely exposed and holding on by the root system where the shoreline has been completely decimated underneath.  The state maintains a 5-foot right-of-way along the Parkway and then there is 15-20 feet of park property with some rock in that area, but are not substantial enough to keep the erosion from continuing.

Mr. Kilmartin asked if this swatch was now the most serious area of erosion.  Mr. Lansley said that now the most serious was from behind the Salt Museum to the Butterfly Garden; both lost 15-20 feet of parkland over the past several years. 


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


Chair Knapp asked they envisioned the final piece of the Loop the Lake Trail to be in this narrow stretch along the parkway.  Mr. Lansley said that there were several options, no decision has been made; could possibly be in the area of the right lane.


Ayes: 5 (Knapp, Kilmartin, Shepard, Williams, Ervin); Noes: 1 (Jordan); Abstaining 1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of Roofs at Various County Parks Buildings, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $569,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $569,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($569,000)

  • Long-term identified park roofs in need of repair, bonding for next set, combined project, relatively easy due to County contractor, covers  Beaver Lake Nature Center, Highland Forest Skyline Lodge and Valley Camp, Jamesville Overlook restrooms, Pratt’s Falls tractor bays, Willow Bay Shelter, and the marina comfort station at Onondaga Lake Park; all accurately priced


Mr. May said that all of this was less than one proposed project from when these discussions started.  He appreciates Parks working with the Legislature to come up with something much more efficient, consisting of true needs to protect current assets.  In the end, they have a good start on all that they want to do and are setup for the future.


Chairman McMahon said that the Salt Museum roof was 95% complete, but there is a sizable remaining balance.  He assumes that those funds will not be bonded for and will go toward these projects.  Mr. Morgan said that it would depend on what the resolution said.  The funds can only be shifted if general for park roofs, if specific to the Salt Museum the funds can’t be shifted, but they wouldn’t bond for the full amount.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Ayes 6 (Knapp, Jordan, May, Shepard, Williams, Ervin) Absent 1 (Kilmartin).  MOTION CARRIED.


5.     OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT: Travis Glazier, Director

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing an Ash Tree Management Program, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $750,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $750,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($750,000)

Mr. Glazier:

  • Investments to date – $250,000 for inventory of Ash trees on county-owned property in 2013, coupled with NYSDEC grant of $25,000 in 2014, $350,000 leveraged for additional $90,000 in grants in 2015 – most used for replanting of canopy in Onondaga Lake Park, bonded for $750,000 in 2016
  • EAB schedule – remove trees autumn to spring, inoculate in spring and plant in summer with some inoculations; this summer less than ideal for inoculation, ground too dry, water required to carry pesticide up into the tree, had much success with plantings
  • 150 high profile removals this spring in Onondaga Lake Park, 125 plantings and inoculations - people began to see impact of EAB; great volunteer work on plantings thanks to OCSWCD
  • Request continues funding at $750,000, need permission to bond in advance to begin bidding process for winter cuttings; this winter into spring will expend majority of funds from last year, will always have lag, due to distribution of funding

Ash Tree Management Chart

  • Cumulative – aren’t going to suddenly spend more, graph for understanding where they are in relation to the total amount at any given time; just beginning process, 5,400 trees to be removed this year, roughly 200 inoculations
  • Inoculation number variable, is based on diameter, Ash Tree Management Plan used extrapolation of a number, in reality the amount of pesticide put in a tree is in relation to the diameter, actual number of trees being inoculated much lower than the plan has proposed, simply a function of how they operate with inoculation versus removal, removal simply based on number
  • Replacements used to renew areas where canopy is of value, many in county parks to maintain quality of park system

Chair Knapp thanked OCSWCD for their very efficient work.  Many bids are coming in more aggressive than anticipated, asked how this was being handled from a budget standpoint.  Mr. Glazier said that their partners at OCSWCD have done a great job of not only getting efficient buds, but getting bids that allow emerging businesses to take a shot at getting county work.  There are not a lot of “Walmart’s” for tree removal, many are mom and pop operations.  If they simply said efficiency, need 10,000 trees removed tomorrow, they would only have large organizations that would grow and so on.  Some of the tress require more finesse and can have smaller bids.  The plan anticipates market benefits.  As the county and homeowners begin taking down tress, they hope to see some of these businesses emerge, become more successful, and provide more efficiencies in their bids.  To directly answer the question, any efficiencies gained are reinvested into further cuts.  The cutoff date for tree removal pertains to the life cycle of the Long-Eared Bat and Indiana Bat, and they go as long as they can in that timeframe, with as much funding as is available.  If there are additional funds, they will try to get further into the cycle so that there are fewer years over the long run.  They are behind and into the spike, which is extremely steep.  The effects of EAB within a 3-5 year period will be unmistakable.


Chair Knapp asked which towns had their cuts completed.  Mr. Berger said that cuts for all trees on county right-of-ways in the Town of Dewitt were completed this spring.  Chair Knapp asked if soil and water was also removing tress for the town.  Mr. Berger said no, they have their own arborist working on it in-house.  OCSWCD just bid out the Town of Cicero, projected cost to be around $56,000, responsible low bid came in at $30,000 and they have secured a contract with the company.  Chair Knapp said that these are the aggressive mom and pop bids spoken of. Mr. Berger said that this company has a tremendous safety record and work ethic with National Grid.  This year they would like to get Clay, Salina, Oneida Shores, Hopkins Road, and a portion of Onondaga Lake Park.


  • Aren’t favoring any town, cut locations based on EAB filtration, purple traps provide indications, also efforts through CCE
  • Benefits to plan aren’t captured by plan itself, realized at town and homeowner level, i.e. due to county work OCSWCD able to retain arborist on staff and perform work for towns and villages at same cost efficiency, in addition towns and villages able to capture efficiencies from large county purchases as other market competitors by in with competitive bids; many ring effects, in large part because of OCSWCD, and the work they do in pinching every penny 


Chair Knapp asked if they also did part of Manlius.  Mr. Berger said that OCSWCD performed contract work for the Towns of Dewitt and Manlius, not county work.  Mr. Glazier said that when County keeps them busy most of the time, they can then justify that extra work.


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


Mr. May asked if the cost was consistent with what they planned for 2017.  Chairman McMahon said that last year the administration asked for $1.25 million, the Legislature cut it $750,000.  This is the same number approved.  Chair Knapp said that they basically extended the program out by adding years to it.


Mr. May asked if bonding would always be used for funding the plan.  Mr. Glazier said that on an annual basis the intent is to bond.  Chair McMahon said that from his standpoint, they would take this year by year and see if they are able to pay as they go.  Mr. Morgan said that $350,000 previously received was cash.


Mr. Jordan said that Mr. Glazier indicated they did not inoculate as many trees as anticipated due to the dry summer.  Mr. Glazier said that they did not decrease the number inoculated, just inoculated at different times when it worked best.  There is still a learning curve as far as trees taking up the pesticide and understanding what the timing is.  Mr. Berger said that it was soil moisture driven, and the drought made it very challenging.   


Mr. Jordan said that it seems as if they focused on Onondaga Lake Parkway.  Then asked if there were still more trees to be removed, and when they would be done.  Mr. Berger said that there will be a few trees to look at each year there, but they have moved their efforts to Oneida Shores.  Pratt’s Falls is on the injections list this year; will be moving to other areas.  All need to remember that they will have to go back every 2 years for reinjection.  Mr. Glazier said that the approach at Onondaga Lake Park was largely driven by human safety.  Their first priority is human life, then infrastructure, followed by ecology.


Mr. Jordan said that from the inventory there are roughly 47,000 ash trees within the county and 4,500 are being removed.  Mr. Glazier said that 46,730 were identified for treatment as within right-of-ways and potential danger to human life or county infrastructure.  There are tens of thousands more.  Chair Knapp said that these trees on county right-of-ways, doesn’t include town or state trees.  Mr. Glazier agreed, adding that it does not include far reaching property owned by the County in places such as Highland Forest where people are not accessing those areas.  There are a lot of Ash trees in Onondaga County.


Mr. Jordan said that three-quarters of a million dollars was an awful lot of money to be spending each year.  Chair Knapp agreed.  Mr. Glazier said that when they get away from proactive removal the costs simply go up, and one way or another those trees are coming down.   Chairman McMahon said that it was becoming a more prevalent problem throughout the state.  Eventually there will be more grant opportunities.  Instead of taking the $15 million bond approach recommended, they are taking bites of the apple each year.  Some of the benefits already seen might not have been realized.  It is worth looking at all the options each year.  To Mr. Jordan’s point, there may be years where they have caught up and do not want to use $750,000. 


Mr. Berger said that they write every grant possible and have taken advantage of every free opportunity, in terms of getting product for large 36 inch trees in Onondaga Lake Park.  They are doing everything possible to reduce County costs.


Mr. Jordan asked where things stood with the parasitoid.  Mr. Glazier said that ESF continues to monitor areas where they had limited placement of the parasitoid.  It is a very small bug that gets into the corky area of the tree and injects its larva to the larva.  It would require too much population growth to keep up with the glut of EAB’s impact.  It is a long-term control measure.  In the bell curve there will be a giant explosion of EAB and then it will plummet, once the Ash trees are gone, as there will not be food for it.  Ash trees will then begin to repopulate.  At that point, hopefully the parasitoid will be capable of controlling limited exposures of EAB and people will understand treatment for a balanced life.  Ash trees are a native species and very important for the ecology of the community.  Mr. Jordan asked if the parasitoid was a local species.  Mr. Glazier said no, it is native to the area where the EAB is from.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


6.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Replacement of the Roof at the E911 Center, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $303,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $303,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($303,000)

Mr. Bleyle:

  • Replacing roof at main E911 center, 25 year old building, with 20 year roof; leak discovered in April, County vendor determined roof needed replacement
  • Obtained estimate - 18,408 square foot roof, replacing with thermoplastic polyolefin material, additional R-20 insulation to lower utility costs, flashing, roof drains, and refill existing pitch pockets


Chair Knapp said that this has been talked about for some time.  Mr. Bleyle agreed.


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


7.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Amending the Scope of the West Side Pump Station Project to Include Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades Located in the Village of Solvay and Approving an Increase in the Maximum Estimated Cost ($1,239,444)

Mr. Rhoads:

  • 3 joined resolutions in relation to a grant received for Westside Pump Station Project, grant works with Village of Solvay infrastructure - applied and received grant from NYS $1,239,444
  • 7a - increases West Side Pump Station Project from $18.1 million to $19,389,444
  • 7b - authorizes acceptance of grant funds; work being used as leverage/match for state funds
  • 7c - authorizes IMA with Village of Solvay, to perform the work within their system
  • No additional cost to rate payers, working to remove extraneous flow from West Side Pump Station in order to create an opportunity for economic development for the entire area, from Village of Camillus into parts of Geddes and lower Baldwinsville, entire area constrained, pump station unable to handle wet weather, goes into Onondaga Lake, unacceptable and violates law
  • Previously spent County funds to remove I & I in towns and villages; applied for several grants, received this one due to the County/Village relationship


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. May, to approve item 7a. 


Mr. Jordan asked if these grant funds could be used to offset part of the original project scope.  Mr. Rhoads said no, they applied for money in a separate all-county project, but did not receive the funds.  The state likes to see partnerships with municipalities, and that is what made this funding opportunity available.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($1,239,444)


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve item 7b.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


        c.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements with the Village of Solvay to Upgrade Sewer Infrastructure Located in the Village of Solvay for the West Side Pump Station Project ($1,239,444)


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve item 7c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


Chair Knapp said that items 7d and 7e were being added to the agenda.  Copies were distributed (On file with Clerk).


        d.     Amending the 2017 County Budget with Respect to Revenues Available to Support the Department of Water Environment Protection’s Operations on Behalf of the Onondaga County Sanitary District

Chairman McMahon presented items 7d and & 7e together:

  • Budget process approved flat rate, have additional sewer units that were not taken into consideration for that number, resolution keeps rate flat instead of decreasing sewer rate
  • 7e.- Allots those dollars from the new sewer units into another round of suburban green I & I infrastructure, essentially $1.2 million dollars will go to competitive process for towns and villages within the sewer district to apply for sewer funds to continue to work with I & I issue Commissioner Rhoads spoke of throughout the county; traditionally bonded for previous rounds, these projects are important for continued growth economy, especially in towns with capacity issues – continually hear from towns and villages about need for this type of funding


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. Shepard to approve item 7d.


Chairman McMahon said that the resolutions may be combined into one. 


Chair Knapp said the motion was withdrawn.  Items 7d and 7e have been considered, no vote will be taken.


        e.     Requesting Solicitation of Proposals to Support Green and Innovative Infrastructure Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District


Mr. Jordan asked how the competitive process would work.  Chairman McMahon said that applications will be sent out and WEP will review the applications received.  Typically green projects are scored by the water capture rate, I & I projects are likely very similar.  WEP then presents the Legislature with recommendations that they can accept, reject or modify. 


Mr. Jordan asked if towns and villages would need their own engineering to determine the I & I capture.  Mr. Rhoads said yes, but they have a formula for them to use, and all municipalities have an engineer on retainer.  Chairman McMahon said that the town engineer usually puts together these applications.  Mr. May said that this is identical to what they have done in the past.  Mr. Rhoads agreed.


Mr. May said that funds were earmarked for county infrastructure projects during the budget and asked if this would then become those funds or was this in addition to.  Chairman McMahon said that it would be in addition - really for sewer projects. 


 8.    PERSONNEL:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     Confirming the Appointment of Duane Owens as the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Personnel

Mr. Fisher:

  • Mr. Troiano retired effective June 30, 2016, position remained vacant; prior to leaving recommended candidate process and where to advertise for applicants, broad advertisement put out in June, received more than a dozen applications, reviewed with County Executive as they came in, 4 received further consideration, County Executive choose Mr. Owens
  • Communicated with NYS Civil Service - Personnel Commissioner also serves as Civil Service Coordinator for the jurisdiction, all civil service work for the towns, villages, school districts, City of Syracuse, and the County of Onondaga goes through the Personnel Commissioner and onto the NYS Civil Service Department; top liaison from Civil Service and two team members will meet here with Mr. Owens and his team on Dec. 5; not all counties work this way, i.e. Monroe County
  • NYS advised team in place very skilled, excellent results even with vacancy; described Mr. Owens qualifications and background, experience running department with 3 collective bargaining units, as well as management confidential positions, state comfortable with qualification presented
  • CBA graduate, Wake Forest bachelor's degree, unanimously confirmed as Faculties Commissioner 4-years ago, had some expertise but needed to rely on people around him, many department challenges, projects weren’t moving along, work order system was failing – saw significant improvement, better project management, work order system recently put in, creating dramatic improvements
  • Much work ahead for Personnel department, 205 people retired due to incentive, most won’t be replaced, also small number of difficult layoffs, people moved onto promotional lists to compete for jobs – much work goes into that, blessed with strong team
  • Created deputy position within department, County Execute promoted Carl Hummel to that position

Chair Knapp said that this was a unique position as it has a term.  Mr. Fisher said that the Commissioner of Social Services, Health and Personnel, as well as the Real Property Tax Director, have a term.  Civil Service has determined that when the previous term ended, which was March 1, 2016, the new 6-year term began.  The County Law department felt they could potentially challenges this, but the County Executive has decided not to.  The term will expire on March 1, 2022, beyond the third term of County Executive Mahoney.  


Mr. Jordan asked the background of the other candidates, and if they had acted as personnel directors previously.  Mr. Fisher said that one was from the private sector, one was the director of labor and employee relations at another municipality, and one was a candidate from within the department. 


Mr. Owens said that he was present to answer any questions.  Chair Knapp asked how long the confirmation process usually takes.  Mr. Fisher said that the state indicated that the Legislature’s approval will be confirmation. The state does not have a formal rubber stamp or test.   Once confirmed on December 6th, the County Executive’s appointment is effective December 7th.  Mr. Owens would then become the personnel commissioner with all authority.  The Legislature has the final say on the appointment.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Ayes: 6 (Knapp, May, Kilmartin, Shepard, Williams, Ervin) Abstained: 1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.


1Mr. Shepard left the meeting.


9.     SHERIFF:  Chief Kenneth Andrews, Civil Department

        a.     Amend 2016 budget to accept an additional $58,944 in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance ($58,944)

Chief Andrews:

  • Annual state grant, used for various purposes – personnel, SPO’s, computer terminals, training


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chief Andrews said that an SPO is a special police officer – basically a retired police officer’s that work part time through the Civic Center, also have one at headquarters.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Chief Andrews confirmed that the funds were compensation for those positions.


  • Used for various other items also, liberal grant, can be used for a number of things, funds spent in various ways based on need, i.e. car computer terminals expiring, out of warranty, all need replacing


Chair Knapp said this item came directly to Ways and Means as the grant did not come in until after the Public Safety agenda was complete.   

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


Chair Knapp said that the agenda would be taken out of order.


10.     FINANCE:  Donald Weber, Real Property Tax Director

Mr. Weber:

  • Annual resolutions to approve certain tax rates; will approve in groups do to volume


Chair Knapp said that the numbers for a couple of the resolutions could change slightly at session, based on items 7d and 7e, which have been considered.


        b.     Call for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Southwood-Jamesville Water District

        c.     Call for a Public Hearing on the Assessment Roll for Warners Water District


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve items 10b and 10c.   Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        d.     Onondaga County Sanitary District General Apportionment

        e.     Onondaga County Sanitary District, 2017 City Abstract


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. May, to approve items 10d and 10e for the Sanitary District.   Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        f.      2017 City Drainage District Abstract

        g.     Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax – General Apportionment

        h.     Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Clay Apportionment

        i.      Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Dewitt Apportionment

        j.      Bear Trap – Ley Creek Drainage District Tax Town of Salina Apportionment

        k.     Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax – General Apportionment

        l.      Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Clay Apportionment

        m.    Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Salina Apportionment

        n.     Authorizing General Apportionment of Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax

        o.     Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Geddes Apportionment

        p.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax General Apportionment

        q.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax Town of Dewitt Apportionment


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve items 10f - 10q for the Drainage District.   Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


         r.      Onondaga County Water District, 2017 City Abstract

        s.     Allocation of 2017 Onondaga County Water District Special Assessment Among Zones of Assessment and Fixing the Composite Rates for the Several Towns and the City of Syracuse within said District


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve items 10r and 10s for the Water District.   Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        a.     3rd Quarter Forecast – Steven Morgan, CFO

Mr. Morgan presented the following:


1 2








2016 Third Quarter Budget Forecast:

  • Previously projected $4.4 million gap, increased to about $6 million, many moving pieces, 2 main causes for gap - sales tax and contracts approved after adoption of the budget
  • Revenue off about $13 million, almost entirely related to sales tax - projected growth, has been flat
  • Appropriations off almost $5 million in wages, result of CSEA and DSBA contracts; $2.5 million set aside, not enough to offset contracts
  • Budget variance $5,916,827, must dip further into fund balance to close remaining gap, in addition to what has already been appropriated

Mr. May said that the gap was $4.4 million.  They will need an additional $1.6 million, not an additional $5.9 million to close that gap.  Mr. Morgan agreed. 


In answer to Chair Knap, Mr. Morgan said that the benefits line will be at budget, assumes they have enough net fund balance to cover.  Mr. May said that the benefit increase was for one month.


Fund Balance Analysis:

  • Unreserved fund balance $90,510,716 end of 2015, must remove encumbrances rolled forward from previous year to current $3.2 million, $5 million debt reserve, almost $3 million appropriated for initial 2016 budget, and additional appropriations of over $2 million approved throughout the year – large portion for incentive payments = $77.2 million, 11.35% of general fund revenues, $9 million over 10% goal; assumes ending year needing additional $5.9 million, leaves $3.3 million over Legislature’s stated goal, living within goal but drawing down reserves


Mr. Kilmartin said that the $5 million in debt reserve had to be accounted for because it was committed.  Mr. Morgan agreed, adding that the Legislature could pass a resolution at any time to omit it.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if there was any anticipated use for those funds at the end of 2016 or anything identified for 2017.  Mr. Morgan said that they proposed using some of it in 2016, but the Legislature made various adjustments and took it out.  In 2017, they have not proposed using it, but the Legislature could make the choice to do so at any time.  By passing a resolution to omit the reserve, it then becomes available generally, and adds to the amount above the 10% goal. 


  • 2015 sales tax growth flat, projecting same for 2016, 1.5% growth included in 2017 budget

Mr. Kilmartin asked if the fourth quarter was generally the best for sales tax.  Mr. Morgan said that it was a large portion, but not necessarily the best quarter.  They are monitoring as best they can.  As said many times, the information they get from the state is very limited at best.  NYSAC, working with the state, put together an analysis on the impact of lower fuel prices.  Based on the estimate for 2015, it looks like a loss of $8 - $9 million dollars on the face of lower fuel cost, potentially some could take the savings and spend it on something else that has sales tax.


Mr. Kilmartin said that the 2016 department projected numbers are the annualized estimate.  Mr. Morgan said that the numbers are where he projects major categories to be at for the year using three quarters of actuals, and projection for the rest.  Mr. Kilmartin asked the sales tax projection used for the fourth quarter.  Mr. Morgan said that they need to grow about 2% in the last quarter to reach flat and hit the numbers projected.  Mr. Kilmartin asked the trend for the last couple of fourth quarters, and if this was a substantial increase for the coming quarter.  Mr. Morgan said that it varies greatly and would be hard to tell.  Much of what is being seen in sales tax this year, is negative adjustments from prior periods.  There have been some major negative adjustments from prior periods.  He is convinced that the state pays an estimate, and it can be 5-6 years before they know what they truly collected.  This tells him that they really didn’t’ have years with 3%, 4% and 5% growth, now seeing negative adjustments coming back.  Mrs. Ervin said that now they are not budgeting to expect that kind of growth.  Mr. Morgan agreed.


Mr. Kilmartin asked for a description of the third line item listed under revenue - Prior Year Collections.  Mr. Morgan said it was collections related to delinquent taxes paid from prior years.  Mr. Kilmartin said that the 2016 projected was a good bump over the adopted and modified, but was consistent with 2014 and 2015 actual. 


Mr. Jordan asked why some items forecast in the budget were staying as projected, while others changed, i.e. ROT – added 2 new hotels yet exact same projection.  Mr. Morgan said that they typically forecast what is budgeted for that amount of revenue.  Considering the level of dollars being talked about, they don’t dig deeply into it.  Mr. May said that they could add 10 hotels and the rooms would just be split up among various locations; asked how ROT was trending in general.  Mr. Fisher said that Mr. Holder had advised the second quarter was soft, but the third quarter was a little better therefore they thought they would be close to target.  Mr. Morgan said that not all ROT goes to the general fund, funds the Oncenter as well.


11.         PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report




The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 A.M.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature




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