Tag Archives: Oswego County Legislature


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

Public can weigh in on bath salt laws tomorrow

by Carol Thompson

Four public hearings will be held tomorrow in regard to the growing problem of bath salts.

Prior to the commencement of the regular session of the Oswego County Legislature, public will be given the opportunity to speak.

The first hearing to be held is for proposed county law number 3 of 2012 entitled, “A local law prohibiting the sale and possession of  psychoactive bath salts, psychoactive herbal incense and synthetic hallucinogens within the County of Oswego.”

The second hearing is for proposed local law number 4 entitled “A local law prohibiting the sale, distribution and use of drug and alcohol screening test adulterants and synthetic urine.”

The third hearing will be on the proposed local law entitled “Synthetic drugs public nuisance abatement law.”

The final public hearing will be on the proposed local law prohibiting the sale and possession of salvia divinorum within the County of Oswego.”

The public hearings will run consecutively and begin at 7 p.m. in legislature chambers on the fourth floor of the Oswego County office complex.

County approves name change for special committee

by Carol Thompson

A special committee formed for redrawing legislative district lines received a name change when the Oswego County Legislature met Thursday.

The Redistricting Committee was approved to be now called the Reapportionment Committee.

The change came in the form of an amendment when a resolution was introduced in request of a $5,000 budget modification for the purchase of software.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked why the reason for the change.

Legislator Dan Chalifoux responded that the change is because the legislature is not reducing in size, but rather reapportioning the districts.

Legislator Doug Malone said he wanted to know why the legislature wasn’t looking at downsizing.

Chalifoux said a committee had been formed to do that and reported back to the legislature.

The committee agreed that a reduction in the number of legislators was not needed.

Malone said he believes the issue should still be studied.

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

County to consider airport grant

by Carol Thompson

When the Oswego County Legislature meets tomorrow, one item on the agenda is the consideration of the acceptance of a grant offer for the design phase of aircraft deicing equipment acquisition and collection tank installation at the county airport.

The total design cost is estimated at $198,000, according to an informational memorandum attached to the resolution.

The highway department will receive 90-percent federal funding in the amount of $178,200 and five-percent state funding in the amount of $9,900 for the project. The local share will be $9,900.

The resolution recommends entering into an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to accept the grant offer.

The legislature will also consider the transfer of $30,000 to pay for assessment and survey work at the former county jail.  The funds will be used to pay for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the environmental assessments and surveys of possible hazards such as asbestos.

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

County redistricting begins

by Carol Thompson

The redistricting committee for the Oswego County Legislature met for the first time Tuesday.

The five Republican, one Democrat committee mapped out a plan for redrawing legislative district lines.

There are several districts that have either too many or too few residents.

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 fall within the appropriate population range.

Districts 7 (Mexico), 8 (Palermo), 9 (Central Square) and 10 (Phoenix) are over the allowed population variance and 11 and 12 are within the allowance.

Districts 13 (Mexico) and 14 (Oswego) are under the allowed variance and Districts 15 and 16 are within the appropriate population range. District 17 (Oswego) is under the allowed variance and Districts 18 and 19 are within the allowance. The population of District 20 (Town of Oswego) is over the allowance and Districts 21 (Hannibal), 22 (Fulton and Granby) and 23 (Granby) are under the allowed variance.

Districts 24 and 25 are within the appropriate range.

Legislator Jim Oldenburg, who represents District 14, has the lowest population at 4,322 while Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley, who represents District 9, has the highest at 5,635. The average population per district should be 4,884.

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

Phase 1 of old jail study to begin

by Carol Thompson

For more than a decade, the Oswego County Legislature has been discussing what to do with the former jail that sits across the street from the Public Safety Center.

Recently, a committee was formed to study the options for the ailing building, which is located off Route 481.

During the first committee meeting held Wednesday, it was decided that the first step should be an environmental study to determine if there is any inactive fuel oil or underground gas tanks as well as storm sewers.

The condition of the former jail was discussed and Legislator Morris Sorbello, who serves as the chairman of the new committee, said he had gone on a recent tour of the facility.

“I personally don’t see any way we could do anything with that building,” he said, noting that it is primarily concrete and steel.

County Administrator Phil Church recommended the committee have the purchasing department make some calls to obtain a ballpark figure as to how much an environmental study would cost so that request for proposals can be solicited.

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

County to have more video security

by Carol Thompson

If the Oswego County Legislature gives final approval, more video security cameras will be installed throughout county facilities.

During the June 14 meeting, legislators will decide whether to spend $225,000 to complete phase II of the project. The resolution authorizing the expenditure has recently been approved by the jurisdictional committees.

The project will include axis cameras, software, computers and workstations as well as Firetide wireless. Although the location of the cameras will be determined during a pilot implementation, they are slated to be located at the treasurer’s office, the Pulaski, Oswego and Fulton motor vehicle departments and an exterior camera will be installed at the county legislative office complex in Oswego.

The Department of Social Services and the Health Department are also on the list of buildings to be included in the proposal.

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

County data management contract award still in limbo

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature won’t be awarding a data management contract for the county clerk’s office when they meet next week.

An update given during Wednesday’s meeting of the Community and Consumer Affairs Committee had little to offer, said Legislator Amy Tresidder.

County Administrator Phil Church said that the committee assigned to review the request for proposals had not completed the work, Tresidder said.

The county has been attempting to award a contract for over 18 months as controversy has shrouded the process on previous occasions. The latest round of solicitation for proposals resulted in eight vendors submitting quotes.

Due to the controversy, Church is autonomously handling the process, something that not all legislators are comfortable with.

Following findings of conflicts of interest with the current vendor, Church said that all communication between employees and any of the bidders would cease.

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