Legislators critical of college

by Carol Thompson

When the Oswego County Department of Social Services found a temporary home while asbestos abatement is underway, not all legislators approved of the rental fee that will need to be paid.

When the Oswego County Legislature met Thursday, a lease agreement with Cayuga County Community College sparked discussion.

The college agreed to temporarily house the employees while the work is under construction at a cost of $5 per square foot for 19,900 square feet.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked how the price was derived. County Administrator Phil Church said it was done through negotiations with the college.

Legislator James Karasek said he had concerns with the lease. He said when Cayuga County Community College recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the expansion that it was noted the Oswego County campus is now larger than the Cayuga County campus.

The result, Karasek said, is that more students will be enrolling in the Oswego County campus. County taxpayers are required under state law to pay for one-half of each students tuition.

“It’s eating up their tax bills,” Karasek said of the tuition. “My concern with this is that many times the college comes to us for support.”

Karasek said he is not opposed to higher education. “I’m very disappointed that the college that has empty, vacant space would come back to the county and charge them anything,” he said.

If anything, Karasek noted, the college should have rented the space for one dollar.

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