Tag Archives: Legislator Dan Chalifoux

County legislators debate reapportionment plan

by Carol Thompson

In a lengthy and sometime heated debate, the Oswego County Legislature approved a resolution to set a public hearing on the reapportionment plan during Thursday’s meeting.

Legislator Dan Farfaglia was the first to question the legality of the process used to redraw the lines for the 25 legislative districts. He has continually done so since the first maps were released.

“The proposed plan largely ignores the Municipal Home Rule Law about splitting towns less than 5,372,” Farfaglia said. “Clearly, the intent of the law is to ensure that community interests are represented in the legislature but the proposed plan doesn’t do that. It breaks up towns and communities into pieces and attaches them to unrelated communities, towns and cities.”

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked County Attorney Richard Mitchell if the county’s plan is legal and would hold up to a court challenge.

“It is defensible,” Mitchell replied.

“So I take that as a ‘no’?” Kunzwiler asked.

“You’re entitled to your opinion,” Mitchell responded.

Farfaglia questioned the need for a public hearing and the response was that it is a requirement. Farfaglia suggested the public’s input was not important to administration, but rather was being held to satisfy the requirement of the law.

Legislator Dan Chalifoux asked Mitchell if the legislature should go forward with the reapportionment committee’s plan.

“It is my opinion that it is defensible and passes constitutional muster,” Mitchell said.

“So, if we get 25 to 50 people in here next month and they say they aren’t in favor of this, ‘we don’t want our towns split up,’ we’re still going forward?” Kunzwiler asked.

A request was made to have someone in the state look at the maps to be sure the proposal was in compliance with the law.

Democrat lawmakers expressed concerns that the reapportionment plan could lead the county into a costly lawsuit.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Former legislator prohibited from speaking at meeting

by Carol Thompson

Reapportionment was a heated topic during Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature and a former legislator wasn’t allowed to speak at a meeting held just prior to the regular session.

Former legislator Barbara Brown attended the meeting of the legislature’s reapportionment committee and asked to speak.

“Is anybody allowed to speak regarding this today?” she asked.

“Barbara wait your turn, I’ll ask you,” Legislator Dan Chalifoux, who chairs the committee, responded.

When he gave her an audience, he asked, “Does it have to do with the public hearing?”

“It has to do with the reapportionment,” Brown said with Chalifoux cutting her off before finishing her sentence.

“Does it have to do with the public hearing,” Chalifoux again asked. “That’s what this meeting was called for.”

Brown said she did not approve of the proposed reapportionment plan.

“If it’s about drawing the lines Barb, you need to come to the public hearing and speak,” Chalifoux said.

Brown said that there will be a lot of people at the public hearing.

“Whoever you want to bring, Barb,” Chalifoux responded.

“I’m not bringing them, they’re coming by themselves,” Brown said.

Farfaglia said Brown could stay for the legislature session and address her concerns at that time.

With Chalifoux not allowing her to speak at the committee meeting, Brown addressed the full legislature.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Republicans once again block property tax break

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislator Dan Farfaglia can’t get the Republican caucus to agree to give a property tax exemption to homeowners who make improvements to their dwellings.

During last Thursday’s meeting, Farfaglia attempted to bring a resolution to the floor that would provide a public hearing on the proposal. The resolution would bring back a program that expired several years ago, however, few residents took advantage of the program.

Farfaglia said he believes with more publicity, the program would be better utilized.

The proposed law would have given residential homeowners the opportunity to make improvements in excess of $30,000 for a 100-percent exemption on the increase in the assessed value attributable to the reconstruction, alteration or improvements for the first year and for the following four years on a sliding scale basis.

The exemption would be limited to $80,000 in increased market value of the property. The exemption would not be available to those making routine maintenance and repairs.

Eligible properties could not be more than two family homes and the greater portion of the home to be improved is at least five years old. Farfaglia asked for the rules to be waived so that he could introduce the resolution to schedule a public hearing.

Legislator Dan Chalifoux objected and called a point of order. Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said Farfaglia had the right to introduce the resolution.

Majority Leader Jack Proud said he objected to the procedure because the Republican caucus had not received a copy of the resolution prior to the meeting.

County Attorney Richard Mitchell ruled the procedure was proper.  Farfaglia made an argument for the exemption, citing that other counties offer the program.

Chalifoux again voiced objection.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Info Quick Solutions receives county clerk contract

by Carol Thompson

Following a lengthy and sometimes heated debate, Info Quick Solutions, Inc. was awarded a contract to provide data imaging services to the office of the county clerk.

Despite being the highest priced and receiving the lowest overall rating from a proposal review panel, a majority of Republican legislators supported the company.

For 45 minutes, legislators debated Thursday in the chambers of the Pulaski Court House.

IQS was given the lowest score of the five companies vying for the contract. IQS was given an overall score of 457.25 while Property Info Corp. had the highest score at 649 followed by ACS Systems with a score of 618.25. IMR received a score of 561.25 and New Vision was scored at 516.25.

It was an issue that was referenced several times by legislators who spoke in opposition.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey was the first to speak when the resolution was presented.

He questioned the request for proposal process, followed by the reading of a cost comparison between IQS and the four other bidding companies. He noted that the cost of one map from IQS will cost taxpayers $7 while the top rated vendor would charge 60 cents.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said the vote came down to the dollars, cents and the facts.

“This process was put in place to protect our taxpayers from exactly what’s happening today,” he said. “Today you put up a company that cost up to $300,000 or more (over the other bidders),” Kunzwiler said. “These are facts that taxpayers should know.”

Kunzwiler said that the IQS was receiving the contract “for pure political reasons.”

He added, “This is not for the taxpayers. There’s no other way you can spin it.”

He urged legislators to do the right thing for the taxpayers.

Republican Majority Leader Jack Proud explained the protocol of the legislature and the role of the seven oversight committees. He noted that the legislature has been 18 months without being able to award a contract.

“What we’re here to decide is which company provides the best processing and the best service,” he said, adding that IQS was more cost effective. “In other words, we want more bang for our buck.”

Legislator Dan Chalifoux said that the contract award has been discussed many times and that the time had come to make a decision. He called the question to end debate and force a vote.

With legislators Kevin Gardner and Morris Sorbello absent, there were not enough Republicans present to secure the two-thirds majority needed and the call to question failed.

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