Tag Archives: Majority Leader Jack Proud

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DSS asbestos abatement project debated once again

asbestosby Carol Thompson

How much is too much?

That was the question that sparked a lengthy debate during Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature.

In the end, legislators approved spending up to $1,566,341 for asbestos abatement and building renovations at the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS), located in Mexico.

The vote was not unanimous as eight legislators opposed spending tax dollars on items that are not considered a necessity in completing the asbestos abatement.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked if the project could be done for less money, noting that the legislature is looking to cut $3 million from the preliminary 2013 budget to avoid a property tax increase.

Mulcahey said he is very concerned about the safety of the employees, however, noted that the scope of the project has grown and may continue to grow.

Majority Leader Jack Proud said the legislature needed to take into consideration the age of the building.

“We are looking at a 30-year-old building, to which no major improvements have been made over the course of those years,” he said.

The state may pay up to 75 percent of the project cost, leaving local tax dollars to pay nearly $400,000.

As Proud reminded his colleagues that the state will pay up to 75 percent, Malone reminded him that local residents pay state taxes as well.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he appreciates the urgency but cautioned that the county is currently in hard financial times.

He said that the county does need to address the asbestos, however, like other legislators, Kunzwiler questioned the need for the additional expenses, including new carpeting and painting.

The county originally authorized $30,000 for the asbestos testing and later approved an additional $70,000 for an abatement plan.

Legislator Shawn Doyle said that the project is a necessary evil that needs to be done.

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

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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

County does not plan to spray for West Nile at this time

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County officials have decided to hold off aerial spraying for mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus.

The Town of Hastings board,  however, is the process of conducting its own aerial spraying.

Legislator Amy Tresidder has asked at the two most recent meetings of the legislature if spraying would take place. The answer was no each time.

Friday, Majority Leader Jack Proud issued a memo to legislators explaining the decision.

“In light of the Town of Hastings decision to spray for mosquitoes on their own, as chairman of the Health Committee, I want to bring you up to date on the status of the county’s mosquito control efforts,” Proud wrote. “First, the town board made its decision to spray based on local events and requests regarding West Nile Virus. As you know, Eastern Equine Encephalitis has not been detected in Oswego County yet this year.”

The memo continues, “Due to the unusually dry weather this year, mosquito populations in the county are very low, significantly reducing the risk to humans of infection. Onondaga and Oswego counties have held off on spraying so far this year.”

To date, mosquito samples taken from the New Haven and Central Square areas have tested positive for West Nile virus, however, as of press time, there has been no trace of EEE.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Oswego County Legislature Majority Leader Jack Proud presents his arguments as to why Info Quick Solutions, Inc. should receive the contract to provide data imaging services to the office of the county clerk during Thursday’s meeting. Legislators debated the contract award for 45 minutes before voting for the company.

Oswego County clerk contract award: Was the process tainted?

Oswego County Legislature Majority Leader Jack Proud presents his arguments as to why Info Quick Solutions, Inc. should receive the contract to provide data imaging services to the office of the county clerk during Thursday’s meeting. Legislators debated the contract award for 45 minutes before voting for the company.

by Carol Thompson

Some Oswego County legislators on both sides of the aisle are alleging the process used to award a contract for data imaging services for the office of the County Clerk was tainted and the argument did not end with Thursday’s meeting of the legislature.

As legislators debated the issue of whether to award the contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool, Majority Leader Jack Proud noted that the company had the best references from those who use their data imaging system.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler, however, said that when he made a request to County Administrator Phil Church to see the references, he was denied. The county provided comments from the users of each vendor, however, there is no indication who provided the comments to determine the authenticity.

IQS was the most costly vendor and had the lowest rating from a panel appointed to review the five request for proposals received by the county.

Despite the cost and panel review, the legislator approved awarding the contract to IQS by a 15-8 vote with two legislators absent.

During the debate, the question of whether the process was tainted was addressed by Kunzwiler and legislators Amy Tresidder and Jake Mulcahey, all Democrats, and Legislator Shawn Doyle, a Republican.

The blind review panel was appointed by Church, who autonomously handled the entire proposal process.  Among the members were Kathryn Wolfe, who is the law clerk for Supreme Court Judge Norman Seiter, one of two judges Williams said is receiving the service for free.  Wolfe’s husband, Andrew Wolfe, is the law clerk for Judge James McCarthy, the second judge Williams cited as receiving the service at no cost.

The panel was comprised of one legislator from each caucus. Legislator Dan Farfaglia, the Democrat representative, was removed from the panel last month.

Doyle said he believes the process was tainted from the beginning.

“It troubles me that they didn’t release the references,” he said. “I’d like to see who gave these references. We only had the word of the administrator and he has misled us on multiple occasions in regard to this contract.”

Kunzwiler said the lack of releasing the names of those contacted to give references, lends to suspicion of the legitimacy of the comments.

It wasn’t only the lack of information in regard to the references that led to the controversy, the question of how County Clerk George Williams was able to recommend Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool prior to the names of the bidders being revealed during a recent meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee was raised by Mulcahey.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397