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

Deputy Clerk




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Ms. Cody, Mr. Plochocki, Dr. Chase

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list


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


1.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Permanent Drainage Easements for the Replacement of the Highbridge Street Bridge, C-143 in the Town of Manlius, County of Onondaga ($600)


  • Drainage easements for 2 parcels in Town of Manlius; cleanup project done in summer to replace culvert collapsing
  • Mr. Snook worked with Law Department; agreed to sell County easements for maintenance needed for County bridge
  • Parcel 81 $100; parcel 80 $500; box around each side of culvert to be able get to in and clean it out


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


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to the North Area Highway Maintenance Facility in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $10,000,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $10,000,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($10,000,000)


  • North Area Maintenance Facility - needs replacement; do not think it will get through another winter
  • Most cost effective to renovate and reuse as much structural steel as possible; functional building to keep employees and physical assets warm and dry; does not need to be pretty or special; needs to be functional; in CIP
  • Building currently 140,000 sq. ft.; propose to take it down to 71,000 sq. ft.; anticipate 100% design drawings by end of year; then bid out in first quarter of 2018
  • Phased tear down and restoration; reduce footprint and energy usage


Chair Tassone stated the committee should see the building if they have not.  Mr. Voss responded to Ms. Cody that it is on Molloy Road (Boss Road is the cross street).  The roof is collapsing, HVAC is bad, and the plumbing works 40% of the time.  Mr. Voss would rather not fix the roof on an emergency basis, but get the building where it needs to be for the next fifty to sixty years. 


Chair Tassone asked if Mr. Voss contacted the Sheriff.  Mr. Voss answered he spoke to the Sheriff in passing once, and is not sure how it was received.  Mr. Voss has been working with Jason Cassalia.  The Sheriff’s office rents a small amount of subterranean space there, which is not good; they need to do something.  Mr. Dougherty asked if this new building would house the evidence.  Mr. Voss replied no; it is a DOT only facility.  Mr. Voss stated there are other tenants including Vector Control, who houses a couple pickup trucks, and other departments who have employees in the front office.  A relocation solution has been worked out for anything within the Executive branch. 


Dr. Chase asked if it would be more reasonable to consider everything, and combine it into one project.  Mr. Voss responded no.  The building was not designed to be a joint Sheriff and DOT facility, but the building had a lot of extra space.  There is no reason to keep the building that big, or spend the money on that space.  Mr. Voss answered Dr. Chase that all other people have arrangements made for relocation, and there are conversations on what other County buildings can be used.  The only outlier is the Sheriff’s Department. 


Chairman McMahon:

  • In regards to Sheriff’s, there were engineering studies approved in previous years to look at this
  • Sheriff spoke at budget about concept of broader public safety facility; evidence would be part of that vision, if it happens
  • Legislature suggested different buildings, but Sheriff’s ruled each one out
  • There is already some money appropriated to start the process; think it will happen this year


Mr. Voss:

  • Looking to get in CIP; was in Executive CIP; looking to advance this now with design over winter
  • Would like bid in beginning of year, but probably not until fall 2018, with construction in April 2019
  • Camillus Facility – moving along; Facilities Commissioner, Archie Wixson assisting in keeping project on track


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


2.     PARKS:  William Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Various Improvements to Parks and Playgrounds in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $728,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $728,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($728,000)


  • Capital Project bonding
  • $100,000 for Carpenter Brook Fish Hatchery - 27 ponds original to property from 1930’s; concrete ponds are cracked and need repair (2018); funding in 2019 would be to (i.e.) fiberglass line the ponds for more permanent structure
  • Combined heat power unit for Rosamond Gifford Zoo


Mr. Klosowski:

  • Electric generator; use heat of exhaust gas to offset other heating loads from Zoo; use waste heat from electric generation to offset loads from the furnace
  • Heat is better than separately buying electricity off grid and buying natural gas; energy efficiency in first instance will pay back in 10 years
  • Source of generation not interrupted by electrical outage; requires natural gas; Zoo does not have much for emergency generation; have portable generator to run some essential equipment
  • NYSERDA current incentive anticipated would be $164,000 vs $175,000 in the budget
  • NYSERDA offer extra incentive if facility used as refuge; units used at hospitals and elderly homes; serve as place people can go if there is a major outage; program provides way for facilities to operate and offer refuge
  • Extra incentive would be up to $17,000, which would replace the difference in cost


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


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Engineering and Design Expenses in Connection with a New Animal Medical Care Center at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $500,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($500,000)


  • Brought Ted Fox, Zoo Director and Janet Agostini, President of Friends of the Zoo
  • Requirement to keep up with modernizations for having AZA accredited zoo
  • Clinic area and medical center under sized; cannot bring in large animals or hoof stock; elephants, lions; medical attention has to be done in enclosures without transportation
  • New center would have quarantine area, which is required for all new animals; also medical area for large animals


Mr. Fox:

  • 5 year accreditation cycle; last 2 cycles noted concern that with the size of collection and veterinary care advancing, that the Zoo should have medical facility large enough to bring larger animals into clinic; not doing in field
  • Recently did root canal on tiger up in tiger building; dedicated specialists come in, and not safe atmosphere
  • Over 20 critically endangered specifies and large populations; need bigger facility
  • Materials for accreditation must be in by March; site inspection in spring; if this not underway, could lose accreditation


Chair Tassone asked where the medical center would be.  Mr. Lansley responded it will be on the south end of the park where there is a picnic area and overflow lot; just beyond the primate area.  There will be an entrance to the outside, as there is an access road on the outside of the park that will come into that area.


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


        c.     Transfer from Parks and Recreation, Account 694080 Professional Services, to Parks and Recreation Account 694010 Travel and Training, $5,000


  • 2 staff stuck in New York City for conference; put over budget for hotel use; most will remain in budget to return back


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


        d.     Requesting the County Comptroller to Perform a Financial Audit of Lakeview Park (Sponsored by Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan)


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


3.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Archie Wixson, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Construction of Improvements to Various Public Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $5,186,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $5,186,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($5,186,000)


  • CIP proposal; 3 projects
  • 1.  Civic Center Office and Maintenance – ongoing projects in Civic Center; office renovations, HVAC
  • Almost done with planning for 7th floor; full renovation will begin in couple weeks; removing surplus furniture; turning over by late summer for Family Services occupation
  • 8th floor vacant; asking for $686,000 to begin improvements on 8th floor; get in front of 8th floor occupation; reorganization discussions now; this will kick start with HVAC and lighting
  • 2.  Facilities Various Capital Improvements - ongoing maintenance; covers 14 buildings including Children & Family Services, and Board of Elections (BOE)
  • Need to invest $1.5 mil per year to maintain and keep assets functional and safe; little over $100,000 per building
  • This year will need to replace BOE roof, asbestos removal, and make corrections and replacements in mechanical areas; also improvements for safety within the buildings


Chair Tassone asked if all the projects will be done this year, and Mr. Wixson said yes.


Chairman McMahon said BOE just moved into that building, and asked if the County knew it was going to need a new roof.  Mr. Wixson:

  • Began improvements in late 2010; finished in 2011; at the time, roof expected to have a 5-8 year life span
  • When County took over building, roof was already 12 years old; have had some leaks, and many repairs
  • Concerns with drips in server room where BOE has primary server for balloting
  • There are two roof sections; this is replacing lower roof; the warehouse roof is still in tact
  • Civic Center 15 (old BOE space) – transitioned prior to abatement of County Office Building; was a swing space; currently planned to be Fiscal Ops (moving from 9); working with Steve Morgan and Phil Britt
  • IT employees on 15 will be moved to 16; intent to consolidate like services
  • 3.  DSS Reception renovation - asking for $3 million; full renovation of Civic Center 2nd floor; will include renovation of 2nd floor of County Office Building; money in Capital Account for Ed Kochian Office Building will help fund renovation
  • Will be fully connected floor with improvements for safety, security, staff function, and efficiency
  • Long time coming which is why the 2nd floor County Office Building has been vacant; need funds for full connect-ability
  • $500,000 for Oncenter Capital Improvements – do not need authorization; presented how funds will be used; War Memorial and Oncenter renovations


Mr. Plochocki asked if there were repairs done to the roof at the time BOE moved out there.  Mr. Wixson said not at the time of construction.  Since then, there have been leak repairs averaging about $10,000 per year over the last five years. 


Dr. Chase asked where they are with the Carnegie Library, and asked if the County is still holding onto it.  Mr. Wixson responded they are not proposing anything in the CIP for the Carnegie Library.  Dr. Chase asked what is going on there.  Mr. Wixson said it is being studied, and there are other considerations for the building.  Purchasing has put out two RFP’s, and Mr. Wixson would defer to Andy Trombley reference any responses that have come in.  At this point, Facilities is maintaining the building status quo.  Mr. Wixson replied to Dr. Chase that the only use of the building is NYSDOT holding their 81 bi-weekly outreach sessions.  Chair Tassone asked if the County is still trying to sell it.  Mr. Wixson is aware they were trying, but is not sure how the responses came back.  The Executive Office would certainly share responses that came in with the committee.  Chairman McMahon heard that the Executive was going to put it back out there, so they should follow up.  Mr. Wixson agreed with Dr. Chase that it is our piece of property.  


Mr. Dougherty said a couple years ago there was money put towards the leak in the steam tunnel, and it is not any better.  Mr. Wixson:

  • Design done for it - corrective remedy
  • In between did complete replacement of Justice Center hot water system this past year
  • Tunnel was contractor transport for whole project (Justice Center); went on for 6 months; only path from Justice Center outside secure zone to move material, remove debris and take deliveries
  • Will now engage abatement company to abate all the steam pipes in the area of work to correct the leak
  • Posting notice in about a week (10 day posting notice); will strip asbestos insulation off steam pipes for 20’ each direction
  • Will reinsulate with non-asbestos materials, then contractor comes in to perform corrective measures
  • Expansion joint failed - archway shaped envelop will be dug out and replaced; then do hydrophilic injections, which is injecting material through wall that cures when it hits water, and self-seals back side of area


Mr. Plochocki wanted clarification that the actual leak had not been repaired previously, and Mr. Wixson agreed.  Currently Facilities is repairing the leak in the War Memorial tunnel that connects to the County Office Building, and excavation begins tomorrow on the corner of Madison and State.


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


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


Respectfully submitted,


JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature





* * *





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


ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chairman May called the meeting to order at 12:03 p.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


1.     CORRECTIONS:  Captain George Manolis, Assistant Commissioner of Corrections-SEC/OP; Tina Dalfo, Accountant

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing the Reconstruction/Construction of Improvements at the Department of Corrections Facility in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $325,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $325,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($325,000)


Captain Manolis:.

  • Age of facility primary issue, built in 1983, looking to restore kitchen floors, replace 50+ year old laundry machine and dishwasher; large amount of money spent to maintain dishwasher
  • $1.1 million over 6 year plan; includes paving, HVAC, lighting, and ceiling replacement down the road


Chairman May advised Captain Manolis that capital projects are customarily presented to the committee informationally and voted on at the next committee meeting.


Mr. Holmquist asked if any of the capital projects would be classified as emergencies, or planned for over time.  Ms. Dalfo said that it has been a work in progress to get this here.  The dishwasher and laundry machine have been breaking down over the years with continued use and increased population.  Overall, this is not a huge CIP and we were advised to try to keep things running.  The floors deteriorated in the kitchen because of the problems we are having and we are no longer able to replace broken parts in the laundry machine.




Mr. Holmquist asked if there were additional items beyond the 10 listed; how inclusive is this list.  Captain Manolis answered that he was not aware of anything else.  One of the most pressing items is the kitchen floor - worried about safety and sanitation issues.  


Mr. Ryan said that the $325,000 requested would cover the first 4 items on the list.  Mr. Dougherty said that the budget impact is shown as $31,700 and asked if that implies that $290,000+ is coming from somewhere else.  Ms. Dalfo answered that she believes $31,700 is the savings to be achieved from no longer using a contracted service for laundry; will be done in-house with inmates and 1 officer.  There will also be additional savings on repair costs; tens of thousands of dollars spent on repairs last couple of years.  Mr. Dougherty said that it seems like we are mixing color of money, but I am fine with all of these necessary repairs.


Chairman May thanked Captain Manolis.


2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing Replacement of the Rose Hill Radio Tower in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $339,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $339,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($339,000)


Mr. Bleyle:.

  • Replace 325’ guide radio tower in the town of Marcellus, oldest radio tower in the fleet, critical geographic location and elevation
  • Built about 1960 by Union Pacific Railroad, acquired by OCRRA and erected as monitoring tower for Rock Cut Road Steam Plant, then given to Sheriff’s office and moved to Rose Hill site in 1987, approaching 60 years old, doesn’t meet 2009 ANSI standards, number of engineering issues, moderately bent during one or more moves, #3 guide wire not properly tensioned and can’t be corrected without tilting the tower, tower legs are stressed in the 65’-85’ area
  • Towers inspected twice a year for safety, ultrasound inspection shows internal corrosion, needs a number of repairs:  re-guide $50,00 to $55,000, climbing ladder not usable - replacement $20,000 and tower needs painting down the line
  • Due to age and condition hope to avoid reoccurrence of 1989 Pompey Radio Tower collapse - critical tower collapsed during ice storm, photos distributed for review; can’t be quickly replaced, current radio system serves 150 public safety and public service agencies that operate within Onondaga County with about 8,500 radios
  • Tower revenue will help offset bonding, AT&T current tenant, with escalation pays about $26,000 annually

Emergency Communications


Chairman May said that 2018 was just Rose Hill, Makyes will be 2019.  Mr. Bleyle answered that those are the only towers we anticipate needing replacement in the next 5-6 years.  Chairman May asked if the Rose Hill needed to be a dedicated tower – no opportunities to collocate.  Mr. Bleyle answered that there is a smaller tower, owned by a commercial company, but it would not accommodate the height needed.


In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Bleyle said that a self-supporter will be construct next to the guided tower and transition can be done quickly.  Mr. Dougherty asked if there would be an outage during that period.  Mr. Bleyle said that other sites will be adjusted as need be and we will let public safety agencies know that they may have portable coverage problems in that area; generally have some degree of overlap in our system for instances where sectors are down for maintenance.


In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Bleyle said there would be no loss in rental revenue.  Mr. Dougherty asked if it was the same basic equipment.  Mr. Bleyle said that there will be no new antennas on the tower, however, we are going to self-supporting because we are unable to construct 2 guide towers with the land that we have.


Chairman May thanked Mr. Bleyle.


3.     HILLBROOK:  Damian Pratt, Director Juvenile Justice and Detention Services

  • INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing Phase II of Safety and Security Improvements at the Hillbrook Detention House in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $141,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $141,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($141,000)


Mr. Pratt:

  • Presented to Public Safety Committee over the summer, seeking $394,000 for capital projects at Hillbrook, granted $253,000 to start most important elements:  surveillance equipment and control panel
  • Request $141,000 to complete full project, includes mobile duress system for staff - system not integrated and has been out of use, shifted human resources to accommodate staff safety, with uncertainty of the upcoming years now is the time to integrate the system, also replace 6 gymnasium doors to the same quality as exit and entry doors - necessary due to physical layout of the building, center of building with resident units surrounding, critical to keep certain population separate for safety, adds security glass within 4 unit lounges – counselor stations can’t currently be manned, anticipate NYS changes coming by month end which will require staff to be present in the lounges while residents are in them


Mr. Ryan asked why the lounges could not be manned.  Mr. Pratt answered from a safety standpoint.  The old control panel had operational controls in each of the 4 unit offices within the residents units.  With deterioration, and staff pattern changes to accommodate the number of residents, it was more problematic to have staff present and unable to fully see youth in the lounge.  Currently there are 1-2 detention home aides in the unit during recreational time.  The unit lounges would be more for overnight staff to do other work while residents are sleeping, in between room checks.  Currently there is no glass, just open space.  We had issues with residents trying to enter those spaces during daytime hours, which won’t be a concern any longer. 


Chairman May said that he made a small error and this should have been listed for a vote today.  This is the third time this has been presented and the safety of our personnel is a priority.


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


Mr. Ryan asked to be kept up to speed on raise the age.  Mr. Pratt said they should have several scenarios of what the building is going to look like.  We are waiting to hear what contiguous counties utilization might be to determine bed capacity need.


Chairman May thanked Mr. Pratt.


4.     SHERIFF:  Kenneth Andrews, Chief, Civil Dept.; Paula Pellizzari, Captain, Police Dept.; Jason Cassalia, Undersheriff

        a.     INFORMATIONAL:  A Resolution Authorizing Design Expenses in Connection with Consolidation of Police and Civil Operations in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $900,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $531,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($900,000)


Chief Andrews:

  • Currently have at least 5 different locations, looking to consolidate functions into 1 location, currently in building designed for insurance company and passed useful life, also true for heliport and property and evidence; photos of the buildings distributed
  • Request needs assessment study, not just for Sheriff’s department, may include Emergency Management, Emergency Operations and so on; previous administration approved bonding for heliport replacement and property and evidence, project stopped when Sheriff Conway was elected as it did not address all the needs of the department, some funds remain; bonding for assessment through design, need to determine what is actually necessary


Mr. Holmquist said that not to many years ago Public Safety Committee meetings were held at these facilities to prove just how bad it is.  It is way past time for all of them, especially the heliport.  Chief Andrews said that we were able to move Air 1 to the 174th before the roof collapses, but we still have all special operations there, i.e. bomb squad, navigation units, snowmobiles.  Mr. Holmquist said that all the other assets are still there and the other facilities are way past due.  Chief Andrews said that headquarters is not ADA compliant and there is no elevator to bring witness upstairs.  Chairman May said that public access to the facility is a nightmare.  There are a lot of civilians going in and out every day for various services; where do they park.  Chief Andrews responded that this was a side note, but absolutely. 

Mr. Dougherty said that it is not just ADA compliance and civilian access.  There is no decent layout, it looks like the building was just stuck together, and even the floors don’t match.  It is in really bad shape.  I am glad to see that this is finally coming up.  Mr. Holmquist and I tried to see this through when he was Public Safety chair and it seems to have fallen to the wayside.  I have seen pictures likes these more than once, it is disgraceful and inefficient.  This is the kind of thing that has to be fixed.  Mr. Voss was at County Facilities today, talking about this particular building.  They are moving the highway garage into a more appropriate facility, leaving this one behind.  This is all way past due.  I echo everything Chief Andrews has said, in fact I think this doesn’t go far enough. 


Chairman May said that this is a good project that is timely and includes the big picture.  Vision was involved in the thought process, which we did not have before.  We were fixing a problem, now we are looking at this strategically to determine what makes sense for county government and public safety going forward.  With respect to the study, anything goes at this point.  Mr. Holmquist said, let’s do it before the interest rates go up too much.  Chairman May agreed.


Mr. Ryan said that this goes back 6 years and the doors and walls were in bad shape then.  However, I will continue to say that the Sheriff’s department also provides police services for many different towns.  Access and response time is paramount.  If we are going to have one big property and evidence location there has to be conversations with the towns and municipalities we collect the evidence for, also the DA’s office.  I cannot stress enough that we have to work with our partners within the other law enforcement agencies, and all the other towns and villages. 


Mr. Ryan said, “As time goes on we may have to absorb some other entities or municipalities, and if we are going to do that I want it stated for the record that we need to be ready to do that, and we should be ready to do that”.  Chairman May said to clarify what Mr. Ryan said, we are going to partner with some local municipalities with respect to evidence storage and handling.  Mr. Ryan agreed, adding I would implore the City of Syracuse to have that conversation with us also.  I would love to partner with them, if for nothing else, to process crimes with the DA’s office.  That has to be part of the conversation, wherever it’s going to be.  Chief Andrews said that this is part of what a needs assessment will determine.  We want to start this process with what does this county need for a law enforcement center, emergency management, and emergency communications.  Whether it be county, county/city or county/city/towns, determine what will serve this community in the most effective and cost efficient manner.  We do not have the final idea, this will determine what those needs are going to be.  Chairman May said that there was dialogue with the towns and the city.  We were getting regular updates, not specifics but know there was a concerted effort.  Those records are probably available and I urge you look for those because it matters.


Chairman May said that we are talking about an additional $531,000 in bonds, and asked if the previous $369,000 was for feasibility only.  Chief Andrews said that it was a $400,000 capital project that Chief Balloni brought forward to do the design for replacement of the heliport and so on.  Chairman May said that the previously approved money is going to be repurposed toward the $900,000 going from feasibility to design.  I would like to engage this committee in the step between feasibility and design.  Chief Andrews responded that we will be here to share information as we go along so that you will know where we are in the progression. 


Undersheriff Cassalia:

  • Appreciate elected officials understanding the predicament, allows us to start getting past that and talk about solutions; large strategic issue, need to look at what the Sheriff’s office and community law enforcement will look like 10-20 years from now, not easy concepts, discussions are necessary whether property and evidence or other expanded services
  • Sheriff Conway made it clear to all concurrent jurisdiction partners that we will provide as much or as little help as needed, received great response and work very well with them; as we go from concept to reality there will be a chance to engage partners with a discussion of true merit; previous discussions were always a concept, was with concurrent jurisdiction partner and listened to the concept conversations, at that time we said a resounding no because the current facilities do not meet standards
  • Needs assessment will look at what is needed to bring partners onboard, legislators will be a big part the conversation as the future starts with the elected; what we have now doesn’t work for various reasons, using personnel hours to compensate for building and geographic issues is costing us money – we are about bringing efficiency with true effectiveness as proven by our budget, the largest issue is about bringing efficiency and effectiveness together, which could help make the change of moving where law enforcement and public safety is going
  • One roof easier to maintain then 5 or 10, Sheriff Conway is thinking beyond traditional public safety partners, i.e. not for profit, thinking outside the box, much could come out of this


Mr. Ryan asked for some examples.  Undersheriff Cassalia answer that he has seen law enforcement centers that include the Sheriff’s office with substations for various levels of federal and state government, i.e. CID floor contained Sheriff Detectives and a seat for the FBI, Secret Service, and DEA.  All shared information and worked together creating efficiencies.  State Police, Emergency Communications and Emergency Management were working out of wings at the facility with everyone able to come together, including elected officials in times of crisis, to manage the crisis all within the same building.  Also victim advocacy boards and non-profit groups that deal with victims and such.  They can work with the victims’ right there, which is great for us because we sincerely lack in our ability to touch our victims.  It is a difficult situation and we want to be able to provide more.  There is a wide range of things we can look at and be creative with.  The needs assessment is the first step.  Mr. Ryan asked about colocation with fire departments.  Undersheriff Cassalia said that everything should be on the table.  Having the discussion is a healthy way to see what would be the best fit.  The best ideas will come from more minds in the room that don’t think alike.


In answer to Chairman May, Chief Andrews confirmed that this will start with an RFP for a consultant.  Mr. Ryan asked how much of the bond was for the study.  Chief Andrews said that there is no set amount for the study, the amount is through design. 


        b.     Authorizing the Execution of Agreements Regarding the Provision of Dedicated School Resource Officers Assigned to School Districts within Onondaga County by the Sheriff’s Office


Captain Pellizzari:

  • Contracted with different school districts over the last several years – currently contract with Baldwinsville for 1 SRO and CNS for 3 SRO’s, also 1 summer school SRO for OCM BOCES
  • Had contracts for a number of years, changes in law department assignee, asked for resolution as revenue received is not specifically itemized in the budget; working to finalize Baldwinsville contract but resolution would be open to all districts
  • Onondaga Central asked for information, had SRO in the past, looking for future costs


Chairman asked if the $91,640 was the cost per officer to the district.  Captain Pellizzari answered yes.  Financial Operations puts together the numbers each year based on the employee benefit calculator and the number of school days needed.  For Baldwinsville it is $91,640.  Mr. Dougherty said that this is the same as what we have always done. 


In answer to Chairman May, Captain Pellizzari confirmed that these are sworn deputies assigned to the school.


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


        c.     DISCUSSION:  Year End Forecast/Forecast Schedule


Sheriff's Office Projection as of 11/7/17
Budget w/ Contingency including Carry Forward Current Budget w/ Carry Forward (no contingency release Amount Remaining in Contingency Expenses to date, including Encumbrances Available Budget        (B - D) Projected Amount Variance from Current Budget
(B - F) 
Variance from Budget w/ Contingency
(A - F)
 Under Budget 
 Under Budget 
Part-time Salary
 Under Budget 
Employee Benefit
Automotive Equipment
Provision for Capital Projects
Capitalized Furniture 
Supplies & Materials
 Under Budget 
Travel & Training
*keep an eye on this 
Professional Services
 Under Budget 
All Other Expenses
 Under Budget 
Maintenance, Utilities & Rent
 Under Budget 
*driven by no lease & utilities are down
Contractual Expenses
 Under Budget 
*$320K CCS penalities, $55K CCS 2.5% increase savings, $29K no accreditation = $400k savings
 Under Budget 



Chief Andrews:

  • Projection speaks for itself - $1.2 million under budget; tried to utilize some funding for 2018 vehicles not funded, County Executive’s office did not think it was prudent at this time



Chairman May said that the Public Safety Committee did not have visibility to the extensive dialogue.  The original request leveraged savings on the Correctional Health side and unexpended dollars on the maintenance, utilities, and rent side.  The intent was to use those big dollars.  Paraphrasing, the initial response from the administration was that they viewed those particular dollars as structural general funding, should anything change in those two specific areas.  My recommendation to the Sheriff’s department was to leverage other earned savings to propose additional vehicle purchases to keep as close as possible to the plan for 2018, which is what they did.  The last request was about $160,000, which was vastly less than the original request because of the grant money being leveraged.  Earlier this week that was denied as well.


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Chairman May confirmed that it was denied by the Executive side due to the need for local general fund dollars to balance the projected budget for 2017.  Hopefully, the conversation is not over.  Chief Andrews said that it is probably over for this year.  Chairman May said that to be fair, we are talking about a 2018 expenditure.  From our prospective, I have tried to be as facilitative as I can.  There may or may not be more to this, but I wanted the committee to be up to speed on where we are at with the savings projections from the Sheriff’s department at this point.  The proposed saving to be used for these additional purchases was primarily personnel costs with a small amount of supply money. 


Mr. Holmquist said that once the budget has been passed the legislature cannot do as much, which is a huge problem that should be considered with next year’s budget.  In my view these decisions should be up to the legislature.  What latitude do we have to adequately fund as many of those vehicles as possible in the short term, and send a message to the County Executive that we are not going to tolerate this with the next budget.  Chairman May responded that making it about this will not vote well for anyone.  There is a process to take those monies, but that process requires the administration to move the transfer forward.  Otherwise we cannot do anything about it.  Mr. Holmquist said that we can send the message that it is in their best interest to cooperate with us fully.  Otherwise, during budget, we will put funds into contingency to make sure that the decisions are made here.  Chairman May said, point taken.


Mr. Ryan said that the savings was realized after the initial budget so we can’t have control over this.  Mr. Dougherty responded that we could transfer money within their budget now. 


Chief Andrews:.

  • Was trying to transfer funds, can’t over extend auto equipment budget line; asked for 22 cars, granted 11, bought 7 with grant money and alternate funding, still need 4
  • Looked at the bottom line, has money in salaries, part time salaries and professional services, transfer to auto, simple approach from his side; understand other side and the big picture, may need funds to balance the County budget for others


Chairman May said that the conversation isn’t over, but this is the feedback we have as of today.  Mr. Holmquist said that we appreciate everything that has been done.  I would like to find a way to strongly encourage them to help us find a way to adequately fund this, as it is a critical need to stay on track. 


Chief Andrews said that 2 vehicles were lost last week due to the stolen tow truck and asked that settlement funds be put back into the department for utilization.  In answer to Chairman May, Chief Andrews confirmed that one vehicle was a new Explorer and the other was a 2016 Impala; one person slightly injured.


Chairman May said that the lion’s share of the OT within this positively balanced budget is Police overtime.  It has been the trend for the past few years because of the lean staffing.  Chief Andrews responded that it was also due to the academy; will hold another academy at the beginning of the year.  We are looking at how to staff it better and not put so much into training – not specifically out on cases.  Chairman May said that it was teaching new deputies.  Chief Andrews said that we may have to incur this overtime again, but will code it correctly so that OT reflects where it occurred.


Mr. Ryan asked if OT might decrease as more people are brought on.  Chief Andrews said that we are still understaffed for our approved amounts.  Retirements come into play, specifically for the Justice Center that was built 25 years ago; down 15 people and can’t get enough people in the class to fill the current vacancies.  The Civil Service list has been exhausted for custody deputies, which will also be an issue for Jamesville.


Chairman May thanked everyone.


The meeting adjourned at 12:59 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature





* * *






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

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list


Chairman Shepard called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Ryan to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Plochocki to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Calling for Publication of the Notice of Eight-Year Review of Agricultural District No. 1, Towns of LaFayette, Onondaga, Otisco, and Tully in Onondaga County


  • Ag districts reviewed every 8 years; 2018 District 1 up for review; opportunity for land owners to add land, but they can also remove land; publication starts the process; annual process to add land Jan 1 – 31st; no special exceptions


Mr. Knapp stated this process is automatic, and has taken on more importance with manure storage areas with the towns.  The ag district designation severely limits what towns can do as far as siting.  Mr. Knapp wants to make sure each of these are looked at closely from a planning standpoint to ensure they make sense. 


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


        b.     For the Preparation of an Update of the Onondaga County Hazard Mitigation Plan:  Amending the 2017 County Budget to Accept Funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($250,000) 


  • Modifying budget to accept grant funds from FEMA to update the Onondaga County Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Prepared multi-jurisdictional mitigation plan adopted in 2013; enables County and any participating jurisdictions to apply for pre-disaster mitigation funds to implement projects identified in the plan
  • Requires 5 year update; last year applied for federal funding to update plan, and received grant
  • Will work with all municipalities in the County to meet all requirements to have the plan in place
  • This is for natural disasters - looking at what natural disasters will encounter: severe storms, flooding, winter storms
  • Looking at different assets; how they are vulnerable; different ways to mitigate damage and risk associated with facilities


Mr. Jordan made a motion to approve this item.


Chairman McMahon asked if the grant money is for the plan, and not for implementing mitigating.  Mr. Jordan replied that is correct.  Having a plan in place allows jurisdictions to go after the grant money to implement the projects.  Mr. Jordan answered Chairman McMahon that the application for this grant was submitted last year.  Chairman McMahon asked if they’ve ever received mitigation grants related to the plan.  Mr. Jordan responded that there have been some applications submitted, and will have to look at was has been done since the first plan.  The challenge with this is getting the money.  It is usually earmarked for areas where big disasters occur.  Chairman McMahon asked if Mr. Jordan will be putting in a grant application.  Mr. Jordan said typically the applications are from the infrastructure owners and municipalities; having the plan allows them to be eligible. 


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



        a.     Requesting the County Comptroller to Perform a Financial Audit of the Office of Economic Development (Sponsored by Mr. Holmquist)


Mr. Knapp stated this is like the resolution asking the Comptroller to audit payroll.  They already have the ability to do it, but if they want it in writing, Mr. Knapp will move it.


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


The meeting was adjourned at 10:42 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature





* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Dr. Chase, Ms. Williams

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Holmquist

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mr. Ryan; see attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


1.     A Local Law Prohibiting the Sale of Tobacco Products, Including Herbal Cigarettes, Rolling Papers, Pipes, and Electronic Smoking Devices to Anyone Under the Age of 21, and Amending Local Law No. 2 - 2009 (Sponsored by Mr. Liedka, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Kilmartin, Dr. Chase, Mr. Dougherty):  Deborah Mendzef, MS, ATC, Coordinator CNY Regional Center to Tobacco Health Systems at SJHHC; Frank Fry, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association; Dr. Gupta, Health Commissioner; Bill Conole, USAR Col Ret.; Lisa Letteney, Environmental Health Director


Chairman Liedka thanked legislators for accommodating the revised schedule.  Adding that this is an important issue that has been kicked around for many years and I thought we should take another look at it before year end.  Some things have changed since the last time and Dr. Gupta will provide a brief overview of the facts in a view moments.


Ms. Mendzef:

  • Introduced Mr. Fry and thanked the committee for bringing them back, much has changed in the past year, more counties are adopting across the state, there is a movement across the nation, and discussion at the state level
  • Now more support than a year ago:  stacks of letters of support, organizational support, and military support, including a retired colonel here today, the community is ready for this to happen locally
  • Present to answer questions, not going into data already known, which is sent each month

Mr. Fry:

  • Proud of the Heart Association, Cancer Society, Lung Association, St. Joseph, Crouse, Upstate, Bankers Health Group, Healthy Connections – over 20 organizations are part of the T21 coalition that all came together to address this one particular aspect, textbook example of community responding as one; the sooner we do this, the more lives we can save


Chairman Liedka said that this had momentum in the past, but there has been one underlying issue.  While I don’t want to speak for everyone, the Veterans exemption became an issue, including when the law was changed to 19.  No offense to the general, but of course he doesn’t want his soldiers smoking.  As a coach, I don’t want my athletes smoking.  I want to hear the data on the rank and file that are actually in that age group, which I assume is a small number and may help get us over this hump.


Active Duty Numbers


Ms. Mendzef:

  • Data difficult to gather, Onondaga County census shows no armed service members in the 16-24 year old range; standard deviation of 192 for each, may not be zero but very low percentage, take that brake down and consider how many actually use tobacco, probably single digits - maybe double; national averages about 2% in similar age ranking


Chairman Liedka said that we are probably talking about a few hundred.  Ms. Mendzef responded, if that.  Mr. Fry said to remember that smoking rates in this county are about 20%, so that number would be reduced if you apply how many actually smoke in that age group.  Ms. Mendzef said that active duty military are shipped out of state or in another locality most of the time.  Chairman Liedka said that this was a good point.


Chairman Liedka asked if Dr. Gupta had anything to highlight.


Dr. Gupta:

  • From a Health prospective 1,300 people die per day in the US from smoking related diseases, compared to 100 opioid related deaths per day
  • From a Public Health prospective, anything the legislature can do to improve the environment and provid the community with the best possible health will be helpful in terms of people quitting smoking, seeking treatment and preventing future deaths; very important, believe in prevention and this is the preventive step
  • Smoking is the leading cause of death for many diseases, it is an addiction and there is a co-relationship between opioid and smoking; people treated for opioids are often asked to quit smoking as it helps with recovery, both work on the same pathway, simultaneously the same pattern
  • Effects many things from lungs to cardiovascular disease; Onondaga County’s leading cause of death is cancer, second is heart disease, tobacco is one common underlining factor
  • Adult cigarette smoking decreased from 20% to 15% in NYS, however, Onondaga County is at 20%, and excluding NYC, NYS is at 17%
  • Preventive steps help, many quit smoking when the Clean Indoor Air Act was passed

Chairman Liedka asked Colonel Conole to address the committee.


Colonel Conole:

  • Introduced himself, retired from the USAR in 2000
  • In keeping with the times the Army changed its position on many issues, i.e. drinking and smoking; physical fitness is a huge issue today, estimated that 70%-75% of students military age have difficulty or can’t pass a physical fitness test, extensive studies done in the 1980’s showed European forces in the Middle East had not fared well, after study a tremendous effort was placed on physical fitness with weight control - serious physical fitness tests are conducted for all military personnel twice per year
  • We know much more about the effects of smoking; we try to keep athletes and musicians from smoking knowing the impacts, knowing what we know this is the stance we must take today, physically fit military personnel are better able to function in very austere environments, and after 30 years of military duty, starting out in the infantry and then going into medical units, this is my stance


Chairman Liedka thanked Colonel Conole and highlighted difference in this law:  the age, adds electronic devices, and removes the military exemption.  With that being said, Chairman Liedka asked if there were any questions.


Ms. Williams said that the last time she was not in favor of the law because the military exemption was removed.  Since then she has done a lot of research, talked with many military people and their families of various ages. She found that the number in Onondaga County is not that big, and coming from a health care background, she struggled with the fact that she doesn’t want people smoking because it causes cancer and other things.  The problem she was having was the military piece, felt that if you were of age to serve this country then you should have the right to smoke.  She is now steering away from that because, at the end of the day, she doesn’t want people getting any of these things that cigarettes cause.  Ms. Williams said that she agrees with the Colonel Conole, people have to be fit in order to serve the country, and smoking plays into breathing and so many different things.  She is now leaning towards a yes vote, even without the exemption.


Mr. Burtis said that this was his first time addressing this issue in the legislature.  It is good timing and important; he watched a neighbor boy go from vaping to smoking just two doors down.  This is real life and a concern.  In doing his research he heard that the display for point of sale was regulated, but he does not see anything in this law with regard to the size and location of the display.  Ms. Mendzef said that the FDA regulates size.  Local municipalities can adopt stronger laws to address tobacco marketing; some choose to include it in the Tobacco 21 Law, while others keep it separate. 


In reference to vending sales, Mr. Burtis said that there may be some vending of vap products, though he is not aware of any.  Ms. Mendzef responded that she did not know if there were vending machines when the 2009 law was established, but there was when the Clean Air Act passed.  Ms. Letteney said that they do compliance checks every year.  Originally, there were a handful of vending machines but they have been phased out.  Mr. Burtis said this has been an interesting process and he thanks everyone for their engagement, information, and for bringing everyone together.


Dr. Chase said that she is glad that we are finally here.  She was originally part of the Tobacco Free Onondaga County movement 30 years ago and there was a lot of hitting your head against a wall because people were so against this.  Originally, we talked about the 21 age, but there were so many other pieces to put into place that we were just happy to move it along.  Part of my practice was tobacco cessation and I can speak to the addiction piece, as you would think you had them over it and they would be back a few months later because they started smoking again.  The younger they are when they start to smoke, the more likely they are to get a bad disease.  Hopefully, delaying it a few years will be enough to keep them from ever smoking.  She is happy to be part of this, we are doing a really good thing.

Chairman Liedka said that he was happy to be part of this too.  His family is the poster child for this law, mother passed at 56 from smoking, father was a marine, fought in Korea, smoked, and passed at an early age.  He was hung up on the veterans’ piece, they served, they had a right, and that had his attention all these years.  He also has two sisters in their sixties, who smoked their whole life, and both had massive strokes. 


Chairman Liedka questioned what they are waiting for - let’s get it done. 


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


Chairman Liedka asked if Legislator Ryan had anything to add.  Mr. Ryan thanked everyone for coming and the education over the past month or two, which helped make this vote a little easier.  As cosponsor of this, everyone knows where he stands. 


The meeting adjourned at 10:22 A.M.             


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature



* * *




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

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, see also attached list


Chairman Plochocki called the meeting to order at 9:09 a.m.


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENT:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Ash Tree Management Program in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $750,000, and Authorizing t

  • Request for the second full year of funding
  • On track to hit 5,400 trees removed number, at 2,538
  • Oneida Shores, Hopkins Rd., Town of Clay were primary sources of 2,538 trees removed
  • Next cuts before end of 2017 – Town of Onondaga, Camillus, Salina, Geddes
  • Put out RFP for logging of revenue – generated $7,387.58 for removal of ash trees at Oneida Shores; funds will be allocated to Parks – trees should be removed before end of 2017

Chair Plochocki said that it was hoped to be a bigger revenue source and might be cost neutral, but on balance there wasn’t much balance at all.  In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Glazier confirmed the trees aren’t cut down yet, but will be done by the end of the year.  They had anticipated about $7,500 revenue; when $7,300 came back they were pretty comfortable to go ahead with it. 


  • Soil & Water is overseeing planting of 300 trees this year and injection of 210 trees
  • Squeezed process into a calendar year – lion’s share of expenditure are in Nov. – April – can do tree removals and not threaten habitat


he Issuance of $750,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($750,000)

Mrs. Tassone asked how many more years to get them all.  Mr. Glazier said that it is on track for 15 years.  When originally intending to allocate $1 million per year, it would have been a 10 year plan.  Mrs. Tassone noted that the backup information provided states a period of 19 years.  Mr. Glazier said that it might have been an earlier draft.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Mr. Glazier said that it would be 2 years into actual cuts; last year was the first year of full funding.  Chair Plochocki asked if it was approximately a 17 year cycle from the start.  Mr. Glazier said that it was; the allocation of $350,000 removed a coupled hundreds trees, so there is some variability to that.  He said they are trying to see if smaller trees can be removed, and break up the costing – have discussed what can be done with some of the larger vendors. 


Mr. Glazier said that there were assumptions in this plan that as this process unfolded, it is an emerging market.  Will have more people getting into logging, will get more opportunities, more competition, and it could potentially drive the cost down.  Have learned, with partners at SWCD and CCE, that getting into logging isn’t just going and buying a chain saw.  It is a very difficult industry to get into.  Safety is paramount on everything; getting new vendors up to speed is a very costly thing.  He said they sat down with larger vendors to find out what can be done to make it a safer environment and give opportunity to emerging companies – size them up to make sure they are being responsible, have training, and insurance.  When pricing out stands, i.e.  600 trees in a stand – 250-300 could be less than 10-15 ft. tall; a lift isn’t required or a lot of complication.  It is a pickup truck, chain saw, and small group of people that can go in and do it for a fraction of the price.  The larger vendors come in and price out the bigger trees – ones with more complexity.  They can give a more precise cost that is reflective of the time they have to put into it to make sure it is safe.  One lawsuit will usurp any potential savings.  The process will begin this year with piecing out the bidding, working with Soil & Water.  The fear is that if a race to the bottom were allowed, 4 or 5 vendors fighting to make sure it as cheap as possible, we could wind up in a situation.  He noted that some north county counties have begun to institute tree removal plans.  As competition begins to come into the market, if there are fewer vendors, the cost could go up substantially.  That is problematic.  It helps with the residences – i.e. it could cost $3,000 to take a tree down because the vendor has a big job with the county and it will take six months to get there. 


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


Dr. Chase asked what is done with the wood.  Mr. Glazier said that some homeowners have the opportunity to use it as firewood.  The vast majority of it is mulch; a couple vendors are getting some wood out of it.  There are limitations with shipping it outside of our quadrant – intended to reduce the spread.   


Chairman Plochocki asked if the county utilized the mulch.  Mr. Glazer said that OCRRA takes in a large portion of it, and DOT.  Basically it will be dropped wherever they will take it; try to keep it localized where it is generated.  Chair Plochocki said that ideally whoever takes it is to our benefit because the mulch is not something that we need.  Mr. Glazier agreed; or it is going the general places that takes much – DOT generate mulch, takes mulch, does things with mulch.  Towns and villages do also, and gave the example of Town of Clay’s mulch piles.


Dr. Chase seconded the motion.  A vote was taken to approve the item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Phase of the Ley Creek/Liverpool Force Main Replacement/Rehabilitation Project in and for the County of Onondaga, New York


Mr. Rhoads said that two of the resolutions on the agenda are in the threshold of Mr. Capozza; works with flow control group; leads that team and is responsible for our group - county owned conveyances and the many pieces of the puzzle that the county maintains for others.  His projects are Ley Creek/Liverpool force main and Camillus force main (items, 2a, 2b, 2e, 2f).  Mr. Lannon is the Deputy Commissioner – his team is inside the treatment plant fence line – Oak Orchard Treatment Plan project (items 2c, 2d)

  • Last month discussed public hearings
  • Ley Creek/Liverpool force main – large project, very old infrastructure, not cooperating in the past and most recently
  • Proposing $2.3 million borrowing for engineering work
  • Project will be over $17 million by the time it is done
  • Asked legislators to remember what happens if pipes are taken care of and why these significant investments will be needed in the future
  • Extensive engineering project – moves almost all of the waste water from Salina, Liverpool, parts of the City, Dewitt – tremendous amount of waste water - typically move about 6 -7 million gallons per day through this pipe
  • Because of the aging infrastructure owned by municipalities that feed this pipe, with a recent heavy rainstorm, it was over 50 million gallons/day
  • Old infrastructure is asked to carry 5 – 10 times what it normally should – it can’t take it
  • Will look at repurposing some infrastructure, perhaps combine to make it more cost effective; will involve ROW acquisitions
  • Engineering will be detailed, complex work - moves through 2 or 3 hazardous waste sites with this project; have work in conjunction with the railroad, have ROW acquisition  

Mrs. Tassone asked if there is spill into the lake from this.  Mr. Rhoads said that the pipe being replaced is about 40” in diameter; crown of existing pipe “pretty much got roasted alive” from lots of different conditions.  One of things that is problematic is that there are high flows and low flows.  When flows go to low flow, the crown of that sewer is exposed to air.  Because of air exposures, and a lot of heavy industry on this line several decades ago, there is hydrogen sulfide.  It is a toxic gas, and when it condenses on the crown of the pipe it forms sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid roasted away the crown of this sewer.  The pipe broke, which resulted into a spill into the lake.  The break has been contained and flows have stayed down.  However, to complete this repair, the complexity of force mains are that there isn’t redundancy.  Unlike a water line break, where they bow off the break, back feed and service people with potable water from a different pipe in a different direction.  Sewer force mains are much more difficult because there is no redundancy.  With lack of redundancy and flows up the 50 million gallons/day, we had to bypass treatment and had to pump.  There were 3 pumps, bigger than pickup trucks to bypass this line.  The bypass went into Bear Trap/Ley Creek.  The bypass started last Thursday around 9:00 a.m., and will probably be off bypass by the end of the day.  Mr. Rhoads said the pipes came from all across America; the welding machine was one of eight, which had to be brought in from the Midwest; the pumps came from the Carolinas.  It takes days to set up the bypass pumping.  Full treatment should be restored today.  He said they will continue to monitor the lake, but believe the lake will be restored to ground conditions within 48 – 72 hours.  There was a lot of team effort and good work--believe it will be completed in about 6 days vs. 13 that were originally planned.


In answer to Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Rhoads said that the entire project will be about 5 years, maybe more.


In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads said that the pipe will be permanent, laid in parallel to the existing pipe.  The bypass operations are at Ley Creek Pump Station.  He said that each joint on the plastic pipe is fused, there are bolt on collars with 48 bolts on them; the pipe is approximately 3 inches think.  It is 500 feet out of miles of sewer pipe; this piece of pipe was in the very worst condition, but the remainder of the pipe will still need attention.


Chairman McMahon said that we had one break a year ago.  In answer to Chairman McMahon, Mr. Rhoads said there is about a billion dollars of pipes.  Chairman McMahon referred the infrastructure in various parts of the city and various towns.  He said he thought Mr. Rhoads said that because of their aging infrastructure not working as effectively, that’s what one of the causes was for this pipe to burst.  Mr. Rhoads said that there is a shared responsibility.  The average daily flow through this particular pipe is roughly 7 – 10 million gallons/day.  It goes up and down based upon showers and industrial use--pure sanitary flow from industries, kitchens, and bathrooms.  This is not a combined sewer; it is a pure sanitary sewer.  It is designed only to carry sanitary waste.  Flows go to 50 million gallons when there is a heavy rain storm.  That is an additional 40 million gallons of flow.  The sewers owned by the municipalities – a sanitary sewer when it gets old – the leaks, ground water, and storm water go into the sanitary sewer.  Chair Plochocki said that it is I & I - inflow and infiltration.  Mr. Rhoads said that everything needs to be designed for five times bigger than it is.


Chairman McMahon said that we have been very helpful to our suburban partners; $1 million in the last round for I & I projects.  The needs are so vast; the way the applications are graded are with capture of so much infiltration.  He asked if it would make more sense, knowing we have capital investments, to target these I & I investments to certain municipalities that are helping to create these problems that we see as immediate.  If it is known there is a problem, i.e.  Salina, north side of Syracuse, should it all be going there instead of spreading out the resources the way we have.  When doing neighborhood redevelopment, if resources are already being invested in one neighborhood from somebody else, it makes more sense to double the investment to have the biggest impact you can on the issue.  Mr. Rhoads said that almost all of the suburbs are experiencing the same problem.  There is a problem at the Ley Creek Pump Station, West side Pump Station, Meadowbrook-Limestone Service area, and the Brewerton system.  The county is at the end of the line and we hold permit; municipalities don’t have a lot of skin in the game if they don’t take care of their sewers. 


Chairman McMahon said that municipalities bill their own sewer fees.  Mr. Rhoads said that some do, some don’t.  Mr. Capozza said that they will only call the county when they have a problem.  They don’t charge residents; the only time they charge residents in the area is if there is an actual service performed or a mechanical project.  Other than that, there is no other reinvestment.  Chairman McMahon said that the Town of Geddes bills and the city has a charge, and questioned that the other towns do not.  Chairman Plochocki said that they do, if the county goes and does work, then they compensate us, but they wait until there is a problem.  Mr. Rhoads said that our work is routine maintenance, not capital investment.  


Chairman McMahon asked if we have looked in recent years at a takeover of the sewer system.  Chairman Plochocki said “yes, but not in great depth.  As an idea, it has been talked about.”  He said that there would be a lot of cost involved.  Chairman McMahon said that there could be an honest conversation with the public – this is what we are doing; this is the problem; we are taking it over.  That is a different type of discussion regarding increased costs than a piecemeal approach.  It is similar to what OCWA is now doing with MWB and what OCWA could potentially do with the city.  He said it would be interesting to have a study done; thinks it something that could be supported.  We can’t have companies here if we can’t flush the toilet, if we don’t have capacity. 

Chairman Plochocki said, for the record, that he has continued interest in exploring this.  There are 3 real things that would influence the discussion with the public.  1.  By these pipes not being maintained, at some point they are going to get maintained and the cost is going to be a lot higher if regular maintenance is not done;  2.  When pipes are not maintained, the outer pipes make added pressure on our good pipes.  This pipe is a 50 year pipe – it is just getting to 50 years now, and we are having these problems.  The city has 50 year pipes that are 80 years old.  Mr. Rhoads said that the county has some that are 120 years old.  Chair Plochocki said that this is not an old one, i.e. a 120 year wooden pipe that broke; this is one of our main trunks still within its life span.  If nothing is done, we are moving toward a cataclysm because a lot of these pipes were put in 75 – 125 years ago, with the exception of those we replaced.  There is going to come a day, not that long from now, when a lot of pipes will start breaking because they are so far beyond their lifespan.  He said for all of those reasons, he agrees that this is something that we need to continue to look into.


Chairman McMahon said that there are some small state resources.  There is no capital plan for the municipalities to replace their own sewer pipes.  Mr. Capozza said that one of the conditions of the IMA’s is a capital plan.  They have been better, but it is within the last five years that they have acknowledged that they really do have to move this.  Some of what has driven it is the one to one offset for new flows coming into the systems.  Basically it is a no net impact when a developer brings in a new flow.  Mr. Rhoads said that it would be an excellent topic to explore in 2018.   


Chairman Plochocki said that generally there is a checkered quilt pattern, or a spider web, of what the county owns.  The county owns the center of the web and the further you get the county owns certain strands.  Mr. Capozza said a fair assessment would be Rt. 81 compared to some of the smaller feeder roads – county owns the interstate and they own the secondary streets.  That is typically how it is laid out throughout the county.


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


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $2,300,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Phase of the Ley Creek/Liverpool Force Main Replacement/Rehabilitation Project ($2,300,000)


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


        c.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection and Lagoon Cleaning Project in and for the County of Onondaga, New York


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment plant – SPDES condition – state permit allowing discharges
  • State permit requires us to pay for and make improvements to the way in which wastewater is disinfected
  • Complexities of adding chlorine bleach to wastewater – bleach is toxic to pathogens but also toxic to environment
  • Have to dechlorinate the wastewater
  • Lagoon cleaning – have held solids for many years – need to remove to restore efficacy of treatment
  • Have been designed; these are engineers estimates of construction/cleaning

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED>


        d.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $11,540,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection and Lagoon Cleaning Project ($11,540,000)


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Cody.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED>


        e.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of Phase II of the Camillus Force Main Replacement in and for the County of Onondaga, New York


Chairman Plochocki said that the Village of Camillus used to own its own wastewater treatment plant and pipes.  The county is fixing a trunk line going out there.  He asked if the county took over the whole thing.  Mr. Capozza said that there were several treatment facilities, called package plants – one in the Village of Camillus that the county converted into a pump station.  The county took over all of the end points.  Chair Plochocki asked if there are still service lines and thing that they have.  Mr. Capozza confirmed that there is.  Chairman McMahon said that Camillus is like Marcellus right now; Chair Plochocki agreed.


Mr. Rhoads said that previously the Camillus village area would have been serviced by little package plants, for the Village of Camillus.  Those package plants had a history that was poor in the early ’70s, and the county agreed to take them over.  The county converted the package plants, which was under performing and allowing poorly treated waste to go into Nine Mile Creek, into a pumping station.  The sewer is pumped to the Westside Pump station; from there it is pumped to Metro.  Many of the parts of the service area around the village and town of Camillus, has remained since Camillus sewered itself approximately 100 years ago.  The sewer lines expose an awful lot of extraneous flow.  The pipe that connects to the Camillus Pump station was overdesigned and oversized.  When the sewer goes up hill, it goes very slowly and becomes septic, created sulfuric acid.  To treat it, a chemical is added at the pump station; if not processes properly the chemical corrodes the bottom of the pipe.  The bottom and top of the pipe is rotting out, and the aging infrastructure has experienced a number of failures. 

  • Legislature approved $2 million last year
  • Engineer’s estimate is over $2 million; asking for additional funds to proceed with construction
  • First phase of an anticipated $10 million project
  • Will use existing pumps and pump station for most of the wastewater movement
  • With emergency repairs we have to bring in pumps and have to bypass; with a planning project like this we are trying to not utilize extreme pumps that cost a lot of money
  • Bypass might be as expensive as pipes that are put in the ground
  • Non-redundant sewer force mains are very vulnerable; exposed to extremes of wastewater flow

Mr. Burtis said the $2 million was approved, looking for $1.5 million on the way to $10 million, and asked how long it is.  Mr. Capozza said that the first segment in 2 miles long; the entire force main is almost 7.25 miles long.  The hope is that any efficiencies that we are looking for through the bidding process, can capitalize on limiting mobilization of the contractor and get more footage done.  The cost per foot is not known exactly until it goes to bid.  Mr. Rhoads said that the engineers estimate has a hefty bypass estimate in it; hopeful that there is some aggressive bidding with contractors in the area that competitive bidding will be something less than $2 million per mile.


Chairman McMahon asked if anyone local makes the pipes.  Mr. Capozza said that they are not manufactured locally, but companies like Vari-Tech, Liverpool, has HPP.  Most of the manufacturing is in Texas and Louisiana other places where there is a lot of oil.  Chairman McMahon asked about Feldmeier.  Mr. Capozza said that they do mainly steel and stainless steel, and welded pipe.


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


        f.      A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of Phase II of the Camillus Force Main Replacement ($1,500,000)


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


3.       ACJ Update – Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

Updated on Save the Rain Program:

  • Treating extraneous flow – combined sewer system about 3/4 of the City – pumps water into combined sewers, which have to overflow because of their design
  • Continuing to reduce amount of storm water that goes into the sewers so this will happen only 4 – 6 times per year – federal guidelines

Dr. Chase referred to a meeting she attended where paving was discussed.  She asked if they had looked into green projects, as the area there already has problems with overflow.  She was told it wasn’t prudent to do the green projects as the porous doesn’t last long and becomes more expensive.  Mr. Rhoads said that porous pavement is used in a number of different areas, and have seen it hold up very well.  A lot is used in parking projects and parking access areas.  The Oncenter parking lot has porous around the edges – held up very well.  Porous doesn’t do well in heavy traffic areas – where there are buses or big trucks.  Porous pavement allows the pavement to be permeable, but also creates a very deep stone base to hold water underneath.  It can be about 10% more costly, but also holds up very well.  It does not heave; the frost will come through.  It has been studied quite a bit.  It can be cost effective, especially when looking at lifecycle costs, for smaller streets.  It takes water out of storm sewer systems, as many were built in the 1930’s and are overwhelmed, as well as the sanitary sewer systems being overwhelmed.  He said that with not knowing the area or conditions, it still should be explored.  Mr. Rhoads said that every one of the projects and plans are on the website.  They are made available so that they can be shared.  This is a leadership project – making information available to all of the other municipalities in our county and entire area.  He noted that porous pavement doesn’t heave, doesn’t require as much salt, or ice over as much.  There could be lifecycle savings even though there could be a slight premium in initial installation.  In answer to Chair Plochocki, Dr. Chase said that the area discussed in her meeting is in the city around a school.  They are taking up a lot of the lawn and making a bus trail.  Mr. Rhoads said that a lot of the projects being done now are partnership projects, and continue to work on relationships with the City of Syracuse. 


Mr. Rhoads referred to Onondaga Lake:

  • Massive precipitation in 2017 compared to a 14 year average
  • Algae blooms in many water bodies around New York State because of precipitation causing storm water runoff, carrying nutrients into water bodies
  • By capturing storm water and treating waste water and storm water properly – reduce the amount of nutrients that go into Onondaga Lake
  • Onondaga Lake continues to perform and recover remarkable well – not just after storm events, but throughout entire season
  • Measure chlorophyll which measures greenness in the algae – document that remarkable progress is made and have not seen algae blooms on Onondaga Lak


Mr. Rhoads added that every project is in conjunction with the City of Syracuse.  Every GIF projects is public/private.  All support from the legislature and media is appreciated.  It is a made transparent – post reports on website.  Similar communities are spending billions of dollars; proud to be part of Save the Rain Program.  It improves the community and it is a less costly solution than some of the big, expensive, gray projects elsewhere.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Onondaga County Legislature


* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Shepard3, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Jordan1, Mr. May2


ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Dr. Chase, and see attached list


Chair Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:567 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 Mrs. Ervin, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. May1 and Mr. Jordan2 arrived at the meeting.





        a.     For the Preparation of an Update of the Onondaga County Hazard Mitigation Plan:  Amending the 2017 County Budget to Accept Funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Authorizing the Execution of Agreements ($250,000)



        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Permanent Drainage Easements for the Replacement of the Highbridge Street Bridge, C-143 in the Town of Manlius, County of Onondaga ($600)


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mrs. Kilmartin, to approve the items on the Consent agenda. 


Mr. Jordan said that there wasn’t much of an explanation for the Park’s transfer.  Chair Knapp said that item 2a will be moved to the first item on the regular agenda.


Items 1 and 3 passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.




Item moved from Consent agenda.


2.     PARKS:  Bill Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Transfer from Parks and Recreation, Account 694080 Professional Services, to Parks and Recreation Account 694010 Travel and Training, $5,000

Mr. Lansley:

  • Couple staff attended conference, stayed overnight in NYC due to mechanical failure, caused travel and training budget to be over allotment

In response to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Lansley said that the transfer is an even number of $5,000; only over a couple hundred dollars.  Mr. Jordan again asked why we were transferring $5,000.  Mr. Lansley responded that it was just a number pulled out of the what we have; have additional training of about $250, don’t intend to spend everything, will be returned back to the fund.  Ms. Fricano said that there is no budgetary impact; transferring professional service funds, $5,000 chosen to ensure there are no additional overages, could have some mileage.  Chair Knapp said that either way the excess would go back into the fund.


In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Lansley said that we are in great shape for the year.


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


1.     COUNTY CLERK: Chris Plochocki, Deputy County Clerk

        a.     Mortgage Tax Apportionment

Mr. Plochocki:

  • Pursuant to § 261 NYS Tax Law, April – September period, totals $4,253,663.80, 5% increase over previous period but 1% decrease from same period last year; still in good shape

In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Plochocki confirmed that all the funds go to the city, towns and villages.


Mr. May asked that future apportionments include the figures for the prior quarter and the same quarter from the previous year as part of the backup. Mr. Plochocki said he could provide the numbers. 


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


2.     FINANCE – REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES:  Donald Weber, Real Property Tax Director

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

Mr. Weber:

  • Standard yearly resolutions, property tax, sewer district, and drainage district apportionments based on assessed value or units in each district


In answer to Chair Knapp, Ms. Berger said that resolutions 2a – 2r could be approved as a block. 


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


        c.     Onondaga County Sanitary District General Apportionment


        d.     Onondaga County Sanitary District, 2018 City Abstract


        e.     2018 City Drainage District Abstract


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


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


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


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


        j.      Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax – General Apportionment


        k.     Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Clay Apportionment


        l.      Bloody Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Salina Apportionment


        m.    Authorizing General Apportionment of Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax


        n.     Harbor Brook Drainage District Tax Town of Geddes Apportionment


        o.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax General Apportionment


        p.     Meadowbrook Drainage District Tax Town of Dewitt Apportionment


        q.     Onondaga County Water District, 2018 City Abstract


        r.      Allocation of 2018 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


Chair Knapp asked if there were questions on any of the items.  Mr. Jordan questioned the rate disparity for various towns, item 2q.  Mr. Weber said that it was due to the equalization rate in the town; rates have to be higher for towns that assess at a fractional rate.  Chair Knapp said that this makes sense.


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


3.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENT:  Travis Glazier, Director

In answer to Mr. May, Chair Knapp agreed that presenters addressing bonding resolutions state if the item has been to programming committee twice and if it was voted on to avoid having to ask the same questions repeatedly. 


Mr. May said that there is over $40 million in bonding.  Most are CIP and he would categorize 80%-85% as need.  While he does his best to read committee minutes, time does not always allow for matching the minutes with the items on the agenda.


        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the 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:

  • Authorize bonding for 3rd fully-funded year of Ash Tree Management Plan; to date planted 300 trees in 2017, total plan proposes 4,400, most in Oneida Shores and Onondaga Lake Park, injected 210 trees at Onondaga Lake Park and the baseball stadium
  • All services rendered through OCSWCD, able partners who have done a great job; 2,538 trees removed as of 11/15/17, primarily at Oneida Shores, Hopkins Road, and the Town of Clay, on track to remove 5,400 trees in 2017, recently awarded cut, for the Towns of Onondaga, Camillus, Salina, and Geddes
  • OCSWCD located tree stand in Oneida Shores with value, RIF returned $7,387.58 in revenue to Parks for removal of those trees; OCSWCD great at determining tree value and cut costs, make every effort to find trees with value
  • Same number of cuts for 2018; 8,138 trees will have been removed by years end
  • Continuing injections and replacement primarily in parks where canopy would be missed

Mr. Jordan said that he appreciates trying to get as much reimbursement for the trees as possible.  It is a huge cost, over $50 million dollars for the whole program, and 44,000 trees seems like an awfully high number to be removed in order to protect the public.  Maybe there are trees that aren’t truly a hazard, could avoid removing them and let nature take its course.  Aside from the safety factor, the money is not benefiting the taxpayers, seems as if we could find a way to reassess and bring the cost down.  Mr. Glazier answered that he would write a memo on the logic of the fall diameter for the trees and why they were determined to be a threat, which was in place when he took office.  This was reviewed with folks from ESF and experts in these field.  There is a bar graph, which shows that, by in large, these are very small trees.  The volume is not what to focus on, within each of those stands of little trees there are large trees that have a significant expense to remove.  Public safety, insuring roadways are clear, people can walk along trails, and public utilities aren’t threatened is a value to the public.  The return on investment is public safety.  Mr. Jordan reiterated that it seems as if we are including a lot of trees that we don’t have to for the purpose of public safety. 


For content Chairman McMahon said that the original request was $16 million all at once.  We changed to a year by year situation, then the request was about $1.25 million, but we brought that back to $750,000.  The department has taken our lead on the numbers, going year by year.  Hopefully there will be a natural predator for the beetle someday. 


Mr. Glazier:

  • Funding strategy has always been look and review, year to year plan has always been - is there technology 5-6 years out, are their economies of scale that lower costs
  • Cuts coming in at good value, must balance with safety, small universe of service providers able to operate at this scale, large amount of liability, profession has highest mortality rate; Mr. Burger very good at balancing value with safety, don’t want competitors driving cost down for the sack of safety, single lawsuit would greatly increase project costs, no injuries thus far
  • Monitoring costs, going better than expected, as time goes on hope service providers expand to be more competitive; considering if it makes sense to have smaller firms, with lower costs, do pre-clearing of smaller trees, then use larger experienced firms to remove big trees with potential fall hazards, yearly consider how to improve program efficiency, provide a safe work environment and protect public safety


Mr. Jordan asked if an assessment was made as to how many of the trees were marketable, avoiding the expense and creating revenue.  Mr. Glazier said that the Ash tree assessment was a $250,000 investment, going back out doesn’t make a lot of sense.  However, OCSWCD has professional arborist looking at every stand for value; won’t offset large amount of cost, but find whatever is productive.  The vast majority of trees are not marketable.  The city has had the same issue, saw mills don’t want larger urban trees because there is stuff under the bark that will ruin saws.  Our best trees for revenue are out in the middle of nowhere, which aren’t a treat to anyone.  Trees that are a potential treat are in areas where there are people and roads, a lot of things that can impact what is inside the tree overtime.  This past year is proof that we are taking a good look at this, but be aware that the revenue will not offset the costs.  Chair Knapp said that many of these trees are along roads and logging companies don’t like to operate in that environment.  They also want stands of trees, not one here and there.


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


Chair Knapp said that he would like the Environmental Protection Committee to get an update on the infestation, the areas it has gotten to and where we are on the time line. 


Seconded by Mr. Shepard.  Ayes: 5 (Kilmartin, May, Knapp, Shepard, Ervin) Abstaining: 1 (Jordan); MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Construction of Loop the Lake Trails in and for the County of Onondaga, New York at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $1,500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bond of Said County to Pay the Cost Thereof ($1,500,000) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mrs. Tassone)

  • Displayed map; estimate construction of 1 mile trail over Park’s property known as Murphy’s Island, working with DEC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine best pathway to allow human access while ensuring ecological assets aren’t threatened
  • Part of the $1.5 million includes an amendment to the human health risk assessment (HRA) for the site, property known as SYW-12, Waste Bed B/Harbor Brook Site is a subsite of the Onondaga Lake Superfund site, as such the HRA stated that human recreation is safe for adults and children however, there are certain stipulations to that, which the trail will likely cover, amendment would include trail user under potential users; going through all the mathematical equations for exposure, DEC verbally indicated this would be one of their requests, can’t get into approval process until we get to the planning process stipulating what our scope of work includes:  will include HRA, mitigation plan for the American bald eagle, work safety documentation, and soil management, all things normally included when working on a superfund site
  • Bald eagle mitigation plan for both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DEC, plan identifies aspects of the trail that will include mitigation measures to help prevent any potential damages to the eagle, outline a monitoring plan for the future and the measures the county will take to address impacts and what those impacts are; Bald eagle counts on Murphy’s Island go back over a decade, information will be included, affords honest assessment of trail impact, plan will outline what measures will be taken thereafter to ensure if there are impacts on a single year bases future impacts are mitigated and we evaluate how those measures effected those outcomes – this is the only new information not previously discussed

Mr. Jordan said that he was not going to support this for a few reasons:

        1)     Next segment is up in the air, not something that needs to be done now, could wait until the balance of Loop the Lake has been determined

        2)     Don’t need full loop of the island, more expensive, impacts more wildlife and contaminated soil, better to have one path over the island, to be determined by the HRA

        3)     Considerable sum of bonding proposed on this agenda, let alone what may be coming in the future, already 6th in the state in terms of per capita debt, only downstate counties are ahead of us, need to look closer at what we are bonding for, avoid wants and focus on needs, currently this is not a need; don’t have a problem with Loop the Lake concept; not wise to move forward at this point in time


Mr. May:

  • In favor of this, took long path to get here, trail unbelievable asset to the community, making it better, longer and closer to encircling the lake is a good thing
  • Environmental concerns and human health risks are significant, talked a lot of this, a priority for Mr. May


For the record, Mr. May said, “To confirm, and you have kind of already said this, we have to authorize bonding to really get to the heart of this matter.  Our price of admission for this analysis is authorization, we don’t have to bond and spend it, but we have to authorize it to get to the next level”.  Mr. Glazier answer, correct and some expenditure need to happen.  The DEC will not approve a concept, a lot of engineering needs to be done to help determine what the trail pathway looks like; the image displayed is a concept.  Must consider the impacts of the American bald eagle and what the levels of contamination are within the areas in which we will be doing this.  The surface soil across the site is largely safe.  However, because trail construction will not inhibit future full remediation of the site anything below the surface that would potentially need to be removed in the future, we would want removed, therefor we will want to avoid the “hot spots” around the site.  Professionals are needed to tell us the site lines from tree tops to the trail, levels of contamination in a particular area, railroad side of island largely open, lakeside has more tree coverage, need to determine which is better for the American bald eagle and the human health safety aspect, will also determine where the trail is located.  The trail is a moving target until professionals help us understand the dynamics of what we are looking at and what the cost benefits are of each individual piece.  Mr. May said that the short answer is yes, we have to authorize this.  Mr. Glazier agreed.


For clarification Mr. May said that any natural habitat requirements within the island will be considered in the analysis initially, but the eagle mitigation plan is really an operations plan that includes contingencies for requirements that crop up with respect to eagles.  Mr. Glazier answered, exactly.  Mr. May said that the bases are being covered.


Mr. May said that the actual construction of the trail is one of the smallest costs within the whole project.  Whether the trail is all the way around or not will be determined in the process, but he wants to echo Mr. Jordan’s thought, let’s find the best place for the trail to cross the island and leave the rest to natural habitat; a turn around on the north end, or some kind of trailhead, in anticipation of it going forward.  Chair Knapp added, as opposed to a loop.  Mr. May agreed, adding let’s get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible for the natural inhabitants of the island and go from there.


Mr. Jordan asked if a resolution could authorize just the engineering and be paid for out of fund balance.  Chairman McMahon said that as the sponsor he would prefer not to.  We are trying to keep our fund balance goals where they are at; hears what Legislator Jordan is saying about debt, looked a lot at debt and have been very cautious on spending.  Blanket statements used before don’t tell the story of the consent judgment from the federal government that made us spend everything we are spending and put us where we are.  It doesn’t’ tell the story that sewer fees paid for 60% to 70% of that debt.  To that point, this is a great conversation.  People have done a lot of work and due diligence on this, but one of the points we are losing focus on, as Mr. May mentioned, this is an asset.  One reward already seen from this is the International Trails Symposium coming to Syracuse in 2019.  They found use because of the Loop the Lake Trail, and that is a substantial piece of international business that will easily generate the economic impact times 20 of the $1.5 million dollars.  Looking at our retired debt number, year over year, we are borrowing less and retiring more, we are going on the right trajectory.  Most of the stuff we are being asked to borrow for are sewer related projects that we need to do. 

Chairman McMahon said he was comfortable continuing to sponsor at the $1.5 million because this is an asset.  This is investing in our community and our continued commitment to make the lake one of the epicenters of recreation for our community. 


Mr. Glazier:

  • No reason project wouldn’t move forward with the budget presented, based on review with professionals brought in, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NYSDEC; preempting as a means to try and get things together assumes this might not happen
  • 2 years of in-depth review confirms this is a workable project – will go through paces and cover all bases throughout the process


Mrs. Ervin said that she still has reservations, asked the reasons why this has to happen now.  Mr. Glazier responded:

  • Loop the Lake has been allowed to hang on the vine 20, 60, 100 years because people said, why do this now, wait a little longer, then something happens and we have to wait another couple years
  • Currently in the process of completing the western side of the Loop the Lake process, getting us to Hiawatha Blvd., made tremendous amount of progress, trail use has increased with each extension, momentum is the friend of the Loop the Lake project, stagnation has kept it from happening for this length of time, this is the perfect opportunity
  •  Over 1 year ago dealt with an issue that raised concerns about the county’s intent for the property, those issues were addressed clearly and without question; had professionals and secondary opinions look through our stated intent for remediation throughout the life of this property has been, now in position to use it for that
  • 90% of progress made in the past 10 years has been state, federal and private funding, now have opportunity for county investment, proportionately small amount, puts us in position, when the state makes the decision on Route 370 we will be able to say we are moving along a steady path to get this done, will be able to request more federal and state funding to complete the Loop the Lake, must continue to move along to do that, between this year and next the potential use and what is known about the property will not change, stagnating a year is what allows us to slip out 5-6 years


Mrs. Ervin said that she would like to see what the plan is going forward, that the loop will actually happen, besides this small piece.  She is still waiting for highlights that will tell her this is the thing to do, and she is not hearing them now.  Ms. Primo responded that Mr. Glazier has emphasized that, for the most part, we used others people’s money for the trail and to continue doing that we have to move the project forward.  Murphy’s Island is probably one of the lowest cost segments of the trail; we are going to pay for that, but it gets us to a point that will be a very expensive segment of the trail, over the CSX rail and onto the Parkway.  Within the next two years we will complete the trail across Murphy’s Island, if the legislature provides this funding.  Then we will be in a great position to request further funds from the state and federal government.  Our plan is loop the lake along the Parkway and a bridge is going to be very expensive.  Keeping the momentum and finishing the trail to this point will put is in a good position to write a great grant proposal for federal and state funds.  In the meantime, completing the trail on Murphy’s Island provides an extension of the Creekwalk, which accomplishes a couple of goals.


Chairman McMahon:

  • Important to look at each phase and consider what we did and didn’t know, for the initial phase to the west side of the lake, essentially before the Visitor’s Center, we didn’t know how were going to get to the other side, had private property and CSX rail tracks, still made the investment because it gave residents access to that side of the lake for the first time in generations
  • Put together partnership with private partner to go down private land, which is happening now, IDA took over Roth Steel site which allowed that piece to happen, planning complete, construction has started 
  • Next step is this funding this piece, biggest criticism is how long things take in government; now know we can get through Roth Steel to Hiawatha and where the next step needs to go, the opportunity is in front of us, hopefully after approval and design, our folks will be working on how we connect to the east shore trail; this is the perfect time


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


Mr. Kilmartin:

  • Timing relevant question, process has been thoughtful and deliberate, probably touching every department within the county, i.e.  Environment, Law, DOT, Parks, Finance and many others
  • No emergency, but should not address project on urgency, this is a good project that has had much time and energy dedicated to it, very fortunate to have state and federal dollars pay for substantial parts of the project extended to date
  • Consider similar projects within the County, projects would never get done if we waited to do part of a project until the entire project was completely engineered and estimated with cash in hand, would never have expansion at the Zoo, Beaver Lake, or any park type project; completing the trail in segments has been a benefit because the Legislature, County departments and constituents can see progression and use it to gain momentum
  • This was designed as a contingency, if there is a delay in getting the full extension for Loop the Lake trail the contingency plan allows a small loop to extend the trail for the tens of thousands of people who use this yearly; popular Park’s project, right time to do this, especially considering the use this project receives – not speculating, know people will come and want more

Seconded by Mr. Shepard.


Chair Knapp said that he liked the concept of doing a turnaround as opposed to a loop; disturbing less and making it easier to extend, though he’s not an expert.


Mrs. Ervin asked where we stand with the Onondaga Nation and the promise made to them for some land.  Chair Knapp said he was unsure, after the last meeting there was momentum to get back on track.  Chairman McMahon said that the legislator taking on this task was asked to get this going so that those folks know that this process is real; don’t know if the meeting has been set yet with the holiday, but asked for it to happen.


Ayes: 4 (Kilmartin, May, Knapp, Shepard) Noes: 1 (Jordan) Abstaining: 1 (Ervin); MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Concerning Construction of a Trail and Ecological Enhancements to Murphy’s Island to Extend the Onondaga County Loop the Lake Trail; Approving the Classification of an Unlisted Action Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); Accepting the Environmental Assessment Form; and Accepting and Adopting the Negative Declaration (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mrs. Tassone)

  • SEQRA establishes the County as lead agency, negative declaration; County Law department very conservative with SEQRA, always leave open opportunity to change findings, based on information before us negative declaration is appropriate

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


In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Glazier said that this could change as we get deeper into this.  We could propose an EAS, or EIS, based on the information gathered.  There is a tremendous amount of information on this site, it is well characterized as a superfund site and as an ecological asset.  There is also state historic preservation information so he does not anticipate a change, but it is a possibility.


Mr. May said that he knows Mr. Glazier has gone through the paces on this and he appreciates it; asked where the SEQRA determination has been in that process, does it come to committee also.  Mr. Glazier answer that bonding came with SEQRA.  In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Glazier said that they did not vote on the SEQRA determination in committee.


In answer to Mr. May, Ms. Berger said that they need to vote on the SEQRA, if they are moving forward with the project.  Mr. May asked if it was essential to the bonding.  Ms. Berger answered that the bond funds can’t be spent until the SEQRA determination is approved.  Mr. May said that we could apply for bonding, without the SEQRA determination, if the dollars are authorized.  Ms. Berger responded that they go hand in hand. 


Mr. May asked where SEQRA fits in terms of DEC review and things of that nature; is it as much a requirement as authorization, or is it something that demonstrates further confidence in the project.  Mr. Glazier answered that he did not want to speak ill of SEQRA.  Mr. May said that we have not talked about this so he has to ask these questions.  Mr. Glazier answered that the other aspects of our involvement with DEC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife service are above SEQRA.  We would do SEQRA for any project or bond, but this is a superfund site identified as a home for Bald eagles, a site with a lot of complexity.  We will be hand in hand with DEC, by requirement, throughout the entire process for safety purposes, Department of Health, ecological impacts, and permitting for wetland.  SEQRA is more procedural than the remainder of our aspects of involvement with the DEC, which are way above and beyond, i.e. plans for worker safety, soil management, and ecological aspects.


Chairman McMahon said that at our request Matt Marko, from the NYSDEC, will be here on the day of session to talk with both caucuses, if they so choose; could not be at caucus outside of session day, as it would be deemed political.  Mr. Glazier added that Mr. Marko could speak to the DEC’s view of SEQRA.  Mr. May said that he has a little bit of trepidation.  His focus coming into today’s meeting has been funding logistics, planning, and making sure he can be confident in the position he took.  Making a negative declaration today might be a stretch.


Chair Knapp said that the item has been considered.  No vote will be taken today, as more information will be coming in.


Mr. May asked to be provided with the SEQRA forms.  


Mr. Kilmartin said that it would be helpful for Law to provide guidance on the process for SEQRA and how they go hand in hand with voting on these types of action; one page memo. 


Mrs. French said that the SEQRA is on legislators desks.  Mr. May said that he needed to look at the SEQRA before voting.


No action was taken on this item.


4.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Roads, P.E., Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Phase of the Ley Creek/Liverpool Force Mains Replacement/Rehabilitation Project in and for the County of Onondaga, New York

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Presenting 3 projects, 6 resolutions, all needs and through program committee twice
  • Force main failed several times, $2.3 million for engineering, critical infrastructure, serves almost all the north and eastern suburbs out to Dewitt; fact sheet included with packet, built in 1967

In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this one has been in the media lately for dumping directly into the lake when it fails.


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


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Rhoads said that the engineering will define the solution, then there will be a total project cost of about $17.8 million to solve the problem.  Mr. May said that this was a good question.


Chair Knapp asked the length.  Mr. Rhoads answered that there are 2 pieces, Ley Creek is 2.25 miles and the Liverpool force main is 3.3 miles.


Mrs. Ervin said that this won’t be a band aide.  Mr. Rhoads answered that what we are proposing is a total rehabilitation.  One portion could actually combine these two.  They travel along the CSX railroad area on the lower part of the lake and cross over a bridge at the canal.  The goal is to totally rehabilitate and most likely replace those.


Chairman McMahon said that this will be replacing a pipe that is pretty young, as far as pipes go.  He cautioned everyone that this will be a significant investment that needs to be made, but as long as the system coming in from suburban partners continues to be under kept the pressure on our infrastructure will be more than what it should be and our infrastructure will erode at a faster rate because of it.  In this case, many other things are getting into our system because of lack of investment from partner communities.  Chair Knapp added that this is the reason it only fails during big rain events.  Mr. Rhoads said that normal conveyance is 7 to 11 million gallons per day.  When there is significant rain the Ley Creek force main moves over 50 million gallons, roughly five times the dry weather flow.  Roughly all that is coming from pieces of the city and town infrastructure that feed into the Ley Creek pump station.  That tremendous disparity increases pressure and causes costs to be inflated; forced to build things 5 times larger than necessary for normal flow, a significant expenditure because other municipalities fail to take care of their assets.


In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this project is in the capital plan.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $2,300,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Engineering Phase of the Ley Creek/Liverpool Force Mains Replacement/Rehabilitation Project ($2,300,000)


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


        c.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection and Lagoon Cleaning Project in and for the County of Onondaga, New York

  • Project required by permit system, must upgrade processes at Oak Orchard to include dechlorination, chlorine used to kill pathogens, dechlorination removes the chlorine that is toxic to the environment; also cleaning 2 lagoons, haven’t been cleaned since inception, infrastructure nearing its 40th year; factsheet included with packet

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


        d.     A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $11,540,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of the Oak Orchard Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection and Lagoon Cleaning Project ($11,540,000)


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


        e.     A Resolution Approving Proposed Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of Phase II of the Camillus Force Main Replacement in and for the County of Onondaga, New York

  • Doing project in phases; all CIP projects on the WEP agenda paid for by the consolidate sanitary district, not real property tax
  • First phase $2 million, now seeking $1.5 million, total project about $10 million, first two phases to cover 2-3 mile segment from the Village of Camillus, along Nine Mile Creek; had 4 breaks of force main at the Camillus pump station

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


        f.      A Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of $1,500,000 Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to Pay Costs of Improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District Consisting of Phase II of the Camillus Force Main Replacement ($1,500,000)


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


5.     PARKS:  William Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Various Improvements to Parks and Playgrounds in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $728,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $728,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($728,000)

Mr. Lansley:

  • 2 resolutions, 1 for capital, presented to program committee and authorized


In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Lansley said that the item was presented once.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Lansley said that these were all presented during the budget process.


  • 2018 CIP projects, 1st project $200,000 to replace carpet under Wegman’s playground at Onondaga Lake Park, busiest playground, thousands of children daily in the summer, new surfacing added 3-4 years ago, torn up from use where kids hit from the slides and swings, all playgrounds under certification, must be inspected and maintained, fabric large expense


Chair Knapp said that this is basically artificial turf.  Mr. Lansley answered that we had rubberized, didn’t think it lasted as long as it should have.  We are going to replace it with a fiber carpet that looks like it has resilience for wear, and pieces can be taken out for repair.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Lansley confirmed that everything would be replaced since we are going to a new material.  The original material was a rubberized granular that was mixed with resin and then put down and spread, which requires a heated process to smooth.  Making repairs on that is cost prohibitive due to all the equipment.  The carpet should be a better system for repairs.

  • 2nd project Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery, 27 ponds for raising fish, all original 1934 concrete ponds, just repaired cracks over the years, intend major repair, break out concrete, rebar and re-pour, add liner following year to make more permanent, water won’t saturation the concrete providing decades more use; still function, in rough shape, large cracks, losing water, not a good system

In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Lansley said the cost is $100,000.

  • 3rd project park roads, $100,000, will take care of Long Branch Road to the SU boathouses, well used one-way road from the Good Dog Park through the northern part of the park, in rough shape, well saturated, near water
  • Final project energy efficiency system at Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Mr. Klosowski will provide technical overview, energy cost savings over the life of the project and unit itself

Mr. Klosowski:

  • Small generator for heat and power, will generate about 40% of the electricity needs at the zoo, generator exhaust heat will be used to heat water and maintain temperatures in the exhibits or clean them, producing about 60% of the heat requirements at the zoo; more efficient than buying power and gas from the grid, payback 10-12 years
  • Zoo has small generator that can be moved from exhibit to exhibit as long as gas is available, side benefit - this standalone unit can provide power for the zoo in the event of power outage on the grid, provides better payback if you count the fact that this avoids having to purchase another generator
  • From the time of submittal to now the NYSERDA incentive has dropped from $175,000 to about $164,000, think there is enough room in the budget to cover the loss, conservative estimate on engineering costs, engineering only needed to tie the heat output into the existing systems, also pursuing provision in NYSERDA funding with Facilities, if facility is deemed critical infrastructure there is an additional 10%, not guaranteed to get these funds but Facilities is willing to support it being critical

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mr. Klosowski said that the useful live is 20-30 years; micro turbo generator, single moving part with maintenance required.  Mr. Lansley said that the information sheet has 30 years.


Chair Knapp said that we think this will generate less expensive power.  Mr. Lansley responded that it also takes care of the exhibits when the power goes out.


Chairman McMahon said that he was supportive of these projects.  The energy and Carpenters Brook projects aside, some of these projects are going to playground equipment and such.  He questioned if there is a reason we can’t tap into special events funds to pay cash for those project.  Mr. Lansley answered that the fabric is the only project for this year, further out there other projects; probably some room in there where we could.  Chairman McMahon said, to Legislator Jordan’s earlier point, revenue is generated from that real estate and it makes sense to use those funds on that real estate.  Mr. Lansley said that they are using that fund to repair playground equipment, but this is a large footprint and ticket. 


Chairman McMahon asked that this be considered, and a lower request be submitted.  


Mr. May said that he supports this and agrees with Chairman McMahon on lowering the bonding amount, but will abstain because this was not taken through the process at the program committee level.  In my mind, our policy is to have bonding go through twice and the context of the budget process is too big to really absorb what is going on.


Chair Knapp said that the item has been considered. 


No action was taken on this item.


        b.     A Resolution Authorizing Engineering and Design Expenses in Connection with a New Animal Medical Care Center at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $500,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $500,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($500,000)

  • Talked about project for several years, now getting underway, addition of medical clinic, 2nd phase of the savannah exhibit; existing clinic very small area, can’t take in hoof-stock and large animals, can’t quarantine large animals within a separate space – this would eliminate many of those problems
  • Under AZA regulations to keep zoo up to date and provide the best care for animals, marked as needing improvement, 2018 is year 4 AZA accreditation, project moving forward keeps us in good stead, AZA shows zoo is top quality; have best breeding program, elephant program, and many endangered species and exotics came from there; $500,000 request for 2018 design
  • Mr. Fox, zoo director, present for technical questions


Chairman McMahon said that the program committee minutes said that The Friends will be conducting a capital campaign and, based on your experience, how much money would that type of campaign raise.  Mr. Lansley said that the elephant exhibit was our last project, about $7 million, and they put in about $1.5 million.  Mr. Fox said that they exceeded their campaign and actually put in $1.4 million.  Mr. Lansley added that they also did the entire elephant pool, which was almost a million dollars alone; a tremendous investment. 


Mr. May said that he asked these questions during budget and will ask them again; he assumes this went to program committee.  Mr. Lansley answered, once to Facilities.  Mr. May said this will be the same deal, he will abstain.  They did a good job explaining this during budget, but he wants to refresh his memory and confirm that there is not a possibility for this to be more of a cost center.  Asked if there was any way to offset this by helping other zoos care for animals in need, are we thinking big picture.  Mr. Lansley answered that we have a relationship with Cornell University and Mr. Fox has been in contact with them about using more of the zoo resources with the medical clinic for educational seminars and classes, where the zoo actually has animals and at the university they study on paper.  Cornell University is a contractor of our veterinary services.  Mr. Fox said that there is a resident program for exotic animals that Cornell has designed.  Most of that is based in research for exactly what you are saying.  Not elephants at our zoo, but herpes viruses is killing elephants all over the world and we could potentially be the research facility with Cornell’s help; take in samples and help the population in general.  There are also several others, i.e. penguins and wolfs.  All are looking for research facilities, which could generate some revenue.  Cornell is very excited about the potential of doing some of these extended research projects.


Chair Knapp asked if there was any potential to doing contract work for the game farms popping up, i.e. giraffes.  Mr. Fox said that they are in direct competition with us.  Chair Knapp said that he realized that.  Mr. Fox said that those populations are not managed, breeding brother and sister, father and daughter, populations are not genetically viable.  In a crisis situation, if we had to return animals to the wild, we know the genetics of every animal at the zoo being from its founding parents, which is a big difference.  There are some situations, elephants in particular, where there is an agreement that if they are members of a population managed by the AZA they can participate in research projects.


Chair Knapp said that as long as this is in the works we are good with the AZA.  Mr. Lansley responded that as long as we are showing progress toward the project.


Mr. Jordan said research was addressed, but what about providing treatment to the game farm animals.  Mr. Fox said that it would be more from Cornell, who are the veterinary staff and experts, as to whether we would have the facility to do that.  The issue is our strict quarantine.  As an accredited institution it is at least 30 days, but closer to a 40 or 60 day period before any other animal can come into our facility, to insure the health of our collection; bringing in outside animals could be catastrophic.  Within reason, we could do blood testing, if we have a lab that could do that.


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  Ayes: 4 (Kilmartin, Ervin, Shepard, Knapp), Abstaining:  2 (Jordan, May)


6.     TRANSPORTATION:  Marty Voss, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to the North Area Highway Maintenance Facility in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $10,000,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $10,000,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($10,000,000)

Mr. Voss:

  • Bonding long awaited, discussed and reviewed for North Area Highway Maintenance repair and rehabilitation, located on Malloy Road, Town of Dewitt, 2nd half of departments CIP’s for 2017 and 2018
  • Resolution covers engineering, construction, inspection, and capital construction of the facility, building going from 140,000 to 71,000 square feet, rightsized for departments future needs; discussed for at least 10 years, couple years ago decided to bifurcate the project, less expensive to renovate than have joint facility in another location
  • Drawings at 90%, ready to advance to final design, hope to bid in 1st quarter, many variables could effect timing, overall plan is to get construction underway before something bad happens to the building; most have seen the building and know the state it is in
  • Displayed photo, old building designed for UPS facility, rightsizing to be functional, serviceable, keep equipment warm and dry


Chair Knapp added, and to keep our people safe.  Mr. Voss said of course.


Mr. Jordan said that we are basically cutting the building in half, asked what we are doing with the remainder of the facility.  Mr. Voss answered that the construction will be done in phases so that we can raze the part of the building we don’t need.  Operations will be maintained throughout the construction.  Mr. Jordan said that other departments were utilizing parts of that building, have they moved out, and what’s currently in the area to be razed.  Mr. Voss answered that a portion of the street side of the building is used by the Health department for vector control storage, they will be finding an alternative location.  Purchasing has cold storage for things that went to auction and were not sold, there are also other ancillary uses.  The big one is the Sheriff’s evidence and storage.  We are working with them to identify their plans; aren’t kicking them out anytime soon, but in the same token we need to start advancing this project.


Mr. May said that this solution has be to 50% less than the last big proposal made.  Mr. Voss responded that it would probably be more than that now.  The joint facility was in the magnitude of $27 million, now talking $8.5 million for Camillus and $10 million for this.


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


Chair Knapp said that operations moved to Marcellus while Camillus is being completed.  Mr. Voss responded that we have a variety of operational solutions with our partners in town government, and our own facility, to make this winter work for us.  Chair Knapp asked the estimated date of completion for Camillus.  Mr. Voss answered that the contract end date is January 15th, and that is what we are shooting for.  Chair Knapp asked if we could potentially be back in the Camillus facility for the remainder of the winter.  Mr. Voss answered that it will depend on the kind of winter we have, need a week of solid dry weather to move back in. 


In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Voss confirmed that for this facility operations will move to the other part of building, construct the new space, move back, and then knockdown the rest.  Mr. Voss said that we have more space here, and if we can get construction started we won’t have to go through a winter without it.  We can operate outdoors in the summer, but can’t make it through the winter without heat and dry.  Chair Knapp asked the timeframe from start to finish.  Mr. Voss answered that if we can get shovels in the ground this spring, we can probably do it in 7 or 8 month, but there are a lot of variables.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


7.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT: Archie Wixson, Commissioner

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing the Construction of Improvements to Various Public Facilities in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $5,186,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $5,186,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($5,186,000)

Mr. Wixson:

  • Previously discussed in committee, at budget, during CIP presentation, and most recently at program committee to consider resolution

In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Wixson said that County Facilities voted on this item.


  • Bonding supports 3 projects, largest is DSS reception and TA intake renovation – rehabilitate Civic Center 2nd floor and connecting COB 2nd floor, have working drawings, bid package ready for release, local architectural firm developed the project, estimate cost at $3.3 million, requesting $3 million authorization, other project fund can support some investment on the COB side, not frivolous, trying to use the money we have, anticipate spending $2 million in 2018 and $1 million in 2019, must be authorized all together, won’t borrow funds until needed
  • Civic Center project $686,000, continued improvement to floors 7 & 8, 7 underway, advance to 8 once complete, improves HVAC, lighting, plumbing, and ADA toilet compliance, won’t totally fund 8th floor project as occupant has not been determined, will have furniture costs
  • $1.5 million continues yearly investment to various projects for 14 buildings, translates to $100,000 per building, each won’t receive $100,000 per year, but over 5 year turnaround probably will, i.e. $300,000 to replace BOE roof, didn’t have funds when building was rehabilitated in 2011, still had another 5-7 years, showing failure, over past 5 years cost around $15,000 per year to repair leaks, getting worse; nothing sexy, just nuts and bolts projects

Mrs. Ervin said that constituents are concerned about bathrooms and seating and asked if there was any contemplation of doing something about seating.  Mr. Wixson said that there is a new concept for the public waiting area.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Wixson confirmed that he was talking about the intake area.  Mr. Wixson said that the concept is refreshing, much of the triage takes place before anyone has to be in the waiting area, which will shorten those periods of time.  They will be directed to a more efficient approach at the Civic Center, and within those areas of public seating there is opportunities to more comfortably and safely seat and stage children, as well as sections for folks with mobility impairment. 


Mrs. Ervin asked about seating in the theatres.  Mr. Wixson said that we are relying on our theatre venue manager, SMG, to make a determination on the best place to invest in those seating locations.  Although we have ADA compliant seating areas within the Carrier and Crouse-Hinds theatre.  There is $500,000 per year, authorized for investment over a 3 year period in Oncenter functions.  In years forward that may be a substantial investment of those monies.  This year we don’t have a project to replace or modify seating.  In early 2017, through the summer, all the toilet areas were modified to be ADA compliant, we are moving in that direction.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Wixson confirmed that he was specifically speaking of the theatre area.


Mr. May asked if the item went to program committee twice.  Mr. Wixson answered that it was discussed in committee prior to becoming a resolution, at budget, during CIP and the formal resolution was discussed at committee last week.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Wixson confirmed that program committee voted on the item.


Mr. Jordan said that these projects could be scaled back a bit and costs reduced; not supporting this.  Chairman McMahon said that to Legislator Jordan’s point, he had a conversation with Mr. Wixson about this and asked that Mr. Wixson verify that he does not intend to bond for the full amount.  Mr. Wixson answered that we will only bond for the money we need to expend.  Cost estimates from the design architect put us where I told you.  It will likely be an eighteen month project and we will probably expend $2 million in 2018 and another $1 million in 2019, which is shown in the CIP.  However, full authorization of the monies is needed in order to execute the contract; $3 million for one project, $1.5 million for various projects, remember there are no funds in the 960 account without bonding.


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


Chair Knapp said that it seems like a lot of money, especially for one project, but without seeing the plans it is tough to say; will support it at this point.

Ayes: 4 (Kilmartin, Ervin, Shepard, Knapp, May), Abstaining:  1 (Jordan)


Mr. Shepard3 left the meeting.


8.     HILLBROOK:  Damian Pratt, Director Juvenile Justice and Detention Services

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Phase II of Safety and Security Improvements at the Hillbrook Detention House in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $141,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $141,000 Bonds of said County to Pay Costs Thereof ($141,000)

Mr. Pratt:

  • 2nd half of CIP project, originally proposed last year; 1st half was to upgrade the security system, camera system and control panel, 2nd portion to reintegrate mobile duress system, haven’t had for several years, antiquated, didn’t connect with existing system, also to replace 6 gym doors and install security glass in 4 lounge offices within the separate units, 32 bed facility, 8 beds per unit
  • All elements needed to meet OCSF detention standards and address building safety concerns


Chair Knapp said that this has been to program committee several times.  Mr. May said that this was presented in its entirety.  Through discussion it was determined that part A needed to happen before part B could be quantified.  The project was separated and has been to Public Safety Committee quite a few times; passed unanimously.  Based on our discussions this piece is almost entirely about safety, first and for most for our staff, secondly the residents.


Chair Knapp said that $141,000 isn’t much from a bonding standpoint; assumes we can pay cash if possible.  Ms. Venditti said that we have done that in the past, it would be an additional clause in the resolution; not sure there will be that opportunity this year.  Mr. May added, which is what we were told and why it came to us in two small pieces; will be wrapped in with the rest of the bonding. 


Chairman McMahon said that he supports the project, but asked if there was another program somewhere.  Ms. Venditti’s answered that she would provide the reports.


Mr. May asked that the item be voted on with the clause added to pay cash, if there is an opportunity.  Chair Knapp agreed.


Mr. Jordan asked for more details on the mobile duress system.  Mr. Pratt answered that it is essentially a panic button that front line staff wears in case of crisis or emergency.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Pratt said that currently staff utilize handheld radios.  Several things could be problematic, if staff is put in a compromised position where they can’t verbally respond.  Call buttons are affixed at every doorway, but they are primarily used to let the control operator know what doors to open and close.  This would allow the mobile duress system to be linked into the rest of the surveillance system, allowing for faster response.  Chair Knapp said that this would provide the location.  Mr. Pratt answered that it would also flash alerts on computers, turn monitors on the control panel to allow the operator to focus on that, as far and opening and closing other doors, allowing other staff to get to the area of crisis. 


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Pratt said that this is not a requirement.  OCFS (Office of Children and Family Services) of NYS will be releasing new detention regulation; believed they were coming out before Thanksgiving.  The state sought our input for best practice within a detention center because of the way Hillbrook is viewed by the state.  While no decisions has been made thus far, Raise the Age could potentially allow 16 and 17 year olds at Hillbrook.  If that is going to occur we know specialized security requirements are going to be in the regulations, and this would help to open the door for us to use the facility in a variety of ways.


For the record, Chairman McMahon said, ”I am glad you brought that point up, but the Executive Branch of NYS government has promised us that they will cover all costs related to Raise the Age so if this piece, of this, is in that, we should probably note that”.  Chair Knapp said, absolutely.  Chairman McMahon said, “I heard it from the horse’s mouth, not the governor but his director, so let the minutes reflect that part of this capital project. 


A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve the item as amended. 


Chair Knapp asked the current census.  Mr. Pratt answered that as of this morning 6, average daily population throughout the summer was 25.  It has fluctuated quite a bit, at 14 in the beginning of the month.  Typical for what we see around major holidays as the court is in recess and there tends to be fewer remands.  In answer to Chair Knapp, Mr. Pratt said that as of today there is 1 out of county. 


Mr. Jordan asked the average length of stay.  Mr. Pratt answered that the average is tough to calculate as we have two separate populations, juvenile offender population, people younger than 16 going through the criminal justice system, and juvenile delinquents going through Family Court.  The Family Court average is 17 days, somewhat skewed, majority are out within 5 days, and the population that has committed more serious offences, usually violations of probation, range 3-4 weeks.  Juvenile offenders can be anywhere from 30 days to almost 2 years; currently have several people that have been at the facility for over 1 year.  The criminal justice system is a separate process.


Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Third Quarter Forecast – Steven Morgan, CFO

Chair Knapp said that Mr. Morgan is unable to make it today.  Rather than put anyone on the spot, he asked that Ms. Venditti provide a 30,000 feet review, and then we can get back with Mr. Morgan if there are any questions. 


Ms. Venditti presented the following:

Third Quarter Forecast

  • High level 2nd page, 1st page key indicators, gives an idea how the economy around us is doing
  • 3rd quarter budget forecast total projected last column, overall total revenues up $8 million over 2016 actual, appropriations only up $2 million, time to do cost containment, slower than anticipated growing revenues, assumes we will use slightly more fund balance than budgeted, about $2 million
  • Will take time to review figures; happy to answer any questions

Chair Knapp said that sales tax is up about 1.6%.  Ms. Venditti answered, over 2016 actual, which is $5 million dollars.  Chair Knapp said that at least it is positive.  Ms. Venditti agreed, adding that our collection on prior year are trending well, uncollectable less of a drain.  State aid is up a bit and we are containing the expenditure side with mandates not being the pressure seen in years prior. 


Chair Knapp said that Destiny was supposedly up 10% over the weekend.  Ms. Venditti said that there are several more payments to come.  Chairman McMahon said that they actually said it was higher.  Ms. Venditti added that it is hard to tell what will be remitted to the County.  Chairman McMahon said that some theorize they already know what they are giving us.  Ms. Venditti said that she is pretty sure.  Chairman McMahon said that year over year retail spending on black Friday was up 4% nationally, so one would think we would get an uptick.  Ms. Venditti agreed, adding at some point.



        a.     Revenue Contract Report


The meeting was adjourned at 11:01 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature





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