Ontario supervisors hear concerns about financial ramifications of COVID-19 at July meeting

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors met Thursday. In light of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak the meeting was also made available via WebEx. Although some members of the Board, county staff, and public attended the meeting in person, many still chose to attend via WebEx. The meeting was chaired by Chairman Jack Marren (Victor) via WebEx.

The meeting opened with a public hearing regarding the proposed budget for Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC). FLCC President Robert Nye and FLCC Vice President of Administration and Finance J.R. Dempsey gave a presentation on the budget. According to Dempsey, the Budget was built on assumptions regarding anticipated state aid. Consequently, the proposed budget included a $4 million reduction in expenditures because of anticipated state aid reductions. However, the proposed budget did not account for the anticipated 20% state aid reduction or 1/3 drop in enrollment which was anticipated due to COVID-19. Consequently, FLCC was working on an operating budget that takes into account the state aid and enrollment reductions that were anticipated due to COVID-19. There was no public comment on the FLCC budget proposal and the public hearing was closed. During the regular Board meeting, the Board unanimously approved the proposed FLCC budget. The approval of the FLCC budget included approval of a corresponding resolution authorizing the necessary property tax assessments to implement the budget.

The Board continued its typical practice of grouping resolutions into blocks for consideration.

The Health & Human Services Committee presented a single resolution endorsing the appointment of Michelle Jungermann to the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Board. Jungermann was nominated for the position because of her involvement with Ontario ARC. The Board approved her appointment unanimously. For the appointment to be effective, it also required approved of the Wayne, Seneca and Yates County Boards of Supervisors, the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, Inc., and the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Board.

The Planning & Environmental Quality Committee submitted two resolutions for consideration. The first resolution proposed amending an existing contract with the Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation District for the operation of four tire collection events. The Board previously authorized a $12,000 contract for the tire collection events. The County determined that an additional contract in the amount of $7500 for the disposal of the collected tires was necessary. The Board unanimously approved the contract amendment making the total contract with the Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation District $19,500.

The Second resolution approved establishing a public hearing for proposed Local Law 4 entitled “The Ontario County Room Occupancy Tax Law”. The resolution proposed setting the public hearing for August 20, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. at 3019 County Complex Dr., Room 204, Canandaigua, New York and via WebEx. The Board also considered a related resolution that presented proposed Local Law 4, which would extend the extra three-eighths of one percent tax collected through November 30, 2023 and would ensure that the tax revenue is set aside for County purposes without being subject to any revenue distribution agreements. The Board approved the public hearing unanimously and approved unanimously of the accompanying resolution introducing the law.

The Public Safety Committee presented 11 resolutions for the Board’s consideration. The first resolution proposed the reappointment of Richard Frost (Honeoye) and Gerald Herman (Stanley) to the Ontario County Fire Advisory Board for a new three-year term running July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023. The Board approved the reappointments unanimously.

The Board also considered a resolution to extend $149,956 in grant funding from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services through June 30, 2021. The grant was initially accepted in 2017 to aid in the recruitment of first responders. The grant extension did not require any additional County match and was approved by the Board unanimously.

The Public Safety Committee also presented a resolution proposing renewal of a contract with Hill & Markes, Inc. (Amsterdam) for the purchase of laundry and dishwashing supplies for the Ontario County Jail. The contract renewal would run from September 15, 2020 through September 14, 2021 and was approved unanimously.

The Board also considered renewal of the school resource officer program with the Bloomfield, Honeoye, Marcus Whitman, Naples, Phelps-Clifton Springs (Midlakes), Victor, and Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES school districts. The school resource officer program is designed to deter criminal activity through positive interactions between law enforcement officers and students during school hours. Each resolution established the following requested hours and per hour rates for each district:

Bloomfield = 1733 hours / $66.73 regular rate / $100.09 overtime rate.

Honeoye = 1733 hours / $65.45 regular rate / $98.18 overtime rate.

Marcus Whitman = 1040 hours / $38.63 regular rate / $57.94 overtime rate.

Naples = 1040 hours / $37.84 rate and $56.75 overtime rate.

Phelps-Clifton Springs = 1040 hours / $38.63 regular rate / $57.94 overtime rate.

Victor = 1773 hours / $67.24 regular rate / $100.86 overtime rate.

Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES = 1040 hours / $38.63 regular rate / $57.94 overtime rate

Each district’s total cost would be dependent on the total number of regular and overtime hours worked by officers. The resolution for each district was approved unanimously.

The Manchester-Shortsville (Redjacket) school district initially requested 1040 hours of school resource officer services at $38.63 per hour regular rate and a $57.94 per hour overtime rate. However, Board Chairman Jack Marren (Victor) indicated that the resolution to authorize this contract had been withdrawn. County Administrator Brian Young clarified that the district had elected not to participate in the school resource officer program this year due to budget concerns.

The Public Works Committee offered 13 resolutions for the Board’s consideration. 6 of the resolutions related to County capital projects. Five of the Capital project resolutions pertained to work taking place at FLCC. The FLCC capital project resolutions:

  1. Approved a contract with Amering & Johnston (Shortsville) for installation of ductwork, dampers, and actuators in the FLCC Geneva campus server room ($4,670.69).
  2. Approved a contract with Kaplan-Schmidt Electric, Inc. (Rochester) for electrical work for the FLCC Geneva campus server room renovation. ($13,381.00).
  3. Approved a contract with First Light Fiber Inc. (Victor) for 30 Cisco synchronous classroom systems to conduct in-person and on-line synchronous teaching, which has been necessitated by COVID-19 ($26,400.00).
  4. Approved a contract with Architectural Studio, P.C. (Rochester) for professional design consultant services for the FLCC nursing program expansion project ($543,000.00).
  5. Approved a contract with LeChase Construction Services, LLC (Rochester) for construction management consultant services for the FLCC nursing program expansion project ($504,715.00).

The sixth capital project resolution related to the Bridge Preventive Maintenance Project. This resolution authorized the County to accept funding from the New York State Department of Transportation for preventative maintenance work on bridges located at Dryer Road over Great Brook, Marbletown Road over Canandaigua Outlet, Mill Street over Flint Creek, and County Road 4 over Fling Creek.

All of the capital project resolutions were approved unanimously.

The Committee also presented resolutions recommending renewal of bids for on-demand roof repairs (Elmer W. Davis of Rochester and Harvey Strassner Contracting of Rochester), maintenance and repair of overhead doors (Alliance Door and Hardware, Inc. of Rochester), and for the purchase of law enforcement car parts and accessories (Comprosec Corp. of Buffalo, Finger Lakes Communications of Auburn, Pursuit Emergency Vehicles of Hauppauga, Island tech Services, LLC of Ronkonkokma, Upstate Wholesale Supply, Inc of Victor, General Sales Administration, Inc. of Kenvil, NJ, Sagamore Lights of Hauppauge, and Adamson Industries Corp. of Haverhill, MA). These resolutions were approved unanimously.

The Board also considered resolutions to reject bids for the 2012 Saltonstall masonry repair project, and for the purchase of electrical supplies. These bids were rejected because they were either over the budgeted amount or failed to meet the bid specifications. County staff was working to rebid these projects in a manner that would potentially lead to more bidders and lower prices. The resolutions were passed unanimously.

The Public Works Committee also presented a resolution that awarded a contract to Lakeview Lawn and Landscape, Inc. (Canandaigua) for roundabout landscape maintenance. The resolution was approved unanimously.

The Committee’s final resolution proposed renaming Court Street behind the County Courthouse as Susan B. Anthony Lane. The resolution was created to honor Susan B. Anthony’s contribution towards the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movement as part of the region’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which permitted women to vote. Although, there was some concern that renaming Court Street was not a sufficiently large-scale honor to recognize Anthony’s many contributions, the resolution ultimately passed unanimously. However, it was also agreed that the Board would continue to work with the community to identify other potential ways to honor Anthony further.

The Ways and Means Committee proposed several resolutions in addition to the FLCC budget proposal resolutions. The first resolution approved an on-line auction commencing September 30, 2020 for real estate that the County obtained by Court order through enforcement actions for non-payment of 2018 property taxes. This resolution was approved unanimously.

The Board also considered a resolution related to County employee Deferred Compensation Plans. The resolution proposed replacing the Goldman Sachs High Yield Bond Fund with the Putnam High Yield Bond Fund. The resolution also proposed implementing numerous changed to the Deferred Compensation plans as authorized by the Federal CARES and SECURE Acts. These changes were designed to provide employees with extra flexibility during COVID-19 and in other specified circumstances. The resolution was approved unanimously.

The Board also approved unanimously a resolution to create a new Pump Station and Sewer Line Maintainer position. The Board approved a corresponding elimination of a Motor Equipment Operator II position.

The Board also approved a contract amendment with Mengel, Metzger, Barr, & Co. LLP (Rochester). This contract amendment covered an extra $10,000 in audit expenses that were incurred because of changes in the County’s financial system. The County initially anticipated $5,000 of this extra expense. The $5,000 balance of the added expense was covered from savings achieved by the Department of Finance in its 2020 training expenses.

The Board concluded its meeting with the approval of a resolution reappointing Debra S. Gierman as the County’s purchasing director. Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Baker (Canandaigua) spoke in support of the resolution, stating that Gierman had always provided excellent services to the County and had always been extremely dedicated to her job and extremely flexible in adapting to changing circumstances. Gierman was unanimously appointed to a new three-year term running through August 22, 2023.

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors was next scheduled to meet Thursday August 20, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. It was anticipated that the meeting would be a combined in-person meeting and WebEx conference call.