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Supervisors hold committee meetings (video)

On Tuesday, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors held regular standing committee meetings, with a variety of issues seeing debate. Everything from public health concerns, such as the heroin epidemic and the Zika Virus, to fiscal concerns regarding the new finance department came up during the committee meetings.Here are some of the highlights from Tuesday’s committee meetings:Government OperationsThe major issue for the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday was addressing the future pay scale of the treasurer. Under the new system, which will rewrite the responsibilities of the treasurer – that elected position will have a salary of $43,145. A heated exchange ensued, as Supervisor Kaiser called the notion of paying the next treasurer over $43,000 “ridiculous.” Seneca Falls Supervisor Stephen Churchill echoed concerns about the role, but for entirely different reasons – citing the upcoming referendum vote on reducing the treasurer’s role. Speaking to the process as a whole, Churchill continued “I don’t know how we’re making all these decisions without the electorate speaking.”Government Operations Chairwoman Supervisor Cindy Garlick-Lorenzetti gaveled the session back into order twice after debate spilled over into insurance benefits and the pay rate of supervisors. Another rissue debated was the classification of this position, which the board remained unclear on whether it would be considered full-time or part-time.The resolution passed the committee’s vote by a count of 4-1 with Supervisor Churchill being opposed. Public WorksThe major item on the docket for the Public Works Committee was an issue raised by Romulus Supervisor David Kaiser. He raised concerns about the corner of River Road and Kingdom Road, where a blind curve and small hill pose a threat to traffic. While no action was taken on the matter itself – the Public Works Committee did decide to take a closer look at this down the road.While it’s unclear whether a speed reduction, or change of signage in the area to alert drivers of potential hazards at the corner – the committee moved quickly to table the issue.The Seneca County Board of Supervisors will address this issue again at some point next month when that additional information is present.Planning, Development, Agriculture & TourismThe Planning, Development, Agriculture & Tourism Committee took the first step to creating a sewer district on State Route 318 Tuesday night. The committee moved on a resolution, which would establish a Route 318 Corridor Sewer Improvement District. The only user for the district, at this moment, would be the Waterloo Premium Outlets. On June 14th a public hearing will be held in the Seneca County Board of Supervisors room at the County Office Building for this very project.The resolution establishing the sewer district passed. It will now go to a full-board vote at June’s regularly scheduled board meeting.Mental Health ServicesThe Mental Health Services Committee met on Tuesday, receiving an update from Scott LeVigne, Director of Seneca County Mental Health. He spoke to the advancement of NARCAN training sessions, and the impact that they can have on communities in the region. However, he also pointed to the several weaknesses that the County has in dealing with these issues. Funding and staffing are two things, which LeVigne highlighted in his update.Public Health ServicesWhile rabies was the major item on the agenda – Director of Public Health, Vickie Swinehart spoke to two critical needs for Seneca County moving forward. She spoke to the significant cost of rabies treatment, as well as the upcoming rise in Zika Virus. Swinehart asked for $20,000 out of the contingency fund to handle nearly $20,000 in post-exposure treatment of rabies. While that leaves the impression that there is a rabies outbreak in the county – she explained that just three individual treatments have created a total expense of $22,842 this year. Those individuals did not have insurance, which Swinehart said is merely luck. This year has been extreme in a lot of ways. Speaking to the Zika Virus, Swinehart said that “It’s just a matter of time before [the virus] is here.”While there are a lot of factors at play, an open dialogue broke out discussing what things the County could do to correct this problem before the heart of the summer arrives. According to Waterloo Supervisor Don Trout, the DEC believes that the Zika Virus will arrive in the area by August of this year. He went on to point out that facilities that collect tires have been asked to reduce the number of tires they collect in an effort to control the potential breeding ground for mosquitos.Swinehart said though that good judgment is crucial. Those traveling to places where the Zika Virus has been found already should wait eight weeks before attempting to become pregnant. Public SafetyThe Public Safety Committee weighed the potential addition of another deputy, after Sheriff Tim Luce made a request to add the position. While the position is not in the budget, which means it would need to come from the contingency budget – many of the board members in attendance seemed comfortable with the potential addition. The addition would be to the narcotics unit, which is Luce’s estimation needs another hand. Multiple supervisors shared their surprise that the narcotics unit here in Seneca County only had one dedicated deputy, even with as successful as the addition had been for the Sheriff’s Office over the last year. While pulling a deputy from road patrol was suggested – Luce pointed out that his office had already given up one road patrol position that they did not re-fill when the Seneca County Office Building began having a security detail throughout the day.The action was passed, and will go to the full-board for a vote in June’s regularly scheduled meeting. The addition will take approximately $26,075 from contingency accounts.Video by Tera ErwayFingerLakes1.com will have more on these stories and more throughout the week.

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