County legislature OKs new lease for Board of Elections

Debra J. Groom/Oswego County NewsLegislator and Minority Leader Frank Castiglia, D-Fulton, explains his vote against the new lease for the Oswego County Board of Elections. In front are legislators Roy Reehil, R-Cleveland, James Karasek, R-Granby, Morris Sorbello, R-Granby, and Heather DelConte (back of head), D-Volney.

OSWEGO COUNTY — The Oswego County Board of Elections will remain in its East Seneca Street offices now that the county legislature has approved extending its lease.

The legislature voted Aug. 15 to renew a lease in the building owned by Operation Oswego County at 185 E. Seneca St., Oswego, through Dec. 31. 2020. The rent is $31,900 annually, which Oswego County pays in quarterly installments of $7,975.

The entire building consists of 19,574 square feet and the Board of Elections offices and warehouse is 9,200 square feet. The new lease provides the Board of Elections with 600 square feet more space at the same amount of money.

Voting against the lease agreement were legislators Thomas Drumm, D-Oswego, Daniel Farfaglia, D-Fulton, and Frank Castiglia, D-Fulton. Absent from voting were legislators Terry Wilbur, R-Hannibal; Stephen Walpole, R-Scriba and Marie Schadt, D-Oswego Town.

Castiglia said he doesn’t think it is right for the county to pay Operation Oswego County, the economic development arm of the county, money when the county gives Operation Oswego County money for its operations each year.

“We are already giving them money,” Castiglia said. “We should look hard at he contract we have with them.”

When this issue was discussed at the committee level, Castiglia also was concerned about the plan to move the Board of Elections out of the Operation Oswego County building into another county site. County Administrator Philip Church said that still is the plan, but it wouldn’t happen until 18 months to two years from now.

At one time, there were plans to put the Board of Elections into the expanded county DMV/Records Center site on Route 481 across from the Public Safety Complex. The expansion consisted of 3,500 square feet of office space for the DMV, 3,000 square feet for the Board of Elections, 4,000 square feet of climate controlled storage for records, 4,000 square feet for climate controlled storage for the Board of Elections and 4,000 square feet of cold storage for the Board of Elections.

Now the project entails only the DMV and records center. Construction on that project is going on now.

The other site looked at for the Board of Elections is the health complex on Bunner Street. The Board of Elections has been in the Operation Oswego County building for about 12 years.

At the Aug. 15 meeting, the legislature also approved:

n Creating two motor vehicle clerk positions in the County Clerk’s office. County Clerk Michael Backus said due to resignations, realignments and increased demand on the department, more positions are needed in the Oswego and Pulaski motor vehicle offices.

He said there has recently been an increase in customer wait times due to extra time required to process REAL ID transactions and limited staffing due to contractually obligated time off. There also has been an increase in work due to car dealers sending more business to the county DMV.

The budget increase for the two positions will be about $26,000.

n Supporting state bills A06485 and S00246, which would create a level playing field for craft brewers, wineries and manufacturers of spirits in New York state. The bills deal with the Alcoholic Beverage Production Tax Credit, which was extended to include cider, wine and spirits in 2016. But the credit was not made equitable between various products such as beer, wine and spirits, leaving many small businesses at an unfair disadvantage.

Amending the credit would create equity and parity among the different beverage industries and help small business, especially the craft breweries, wineries and distilleries that are a draw to tourists and residents in New York state.

n Receiving $55,071.80 from Oswego County school districts to pay for two more Special Patrol Officers positions.

Each participating school district is providing the sheriff’s office $27,535.90 for the remainder of the 2019-20 for a full-time Special Patrol Officer. These are retired police officers the sheriff’s office to act as school recourse officers in the schools. So far eight officers are hired to share coverage at five schools.

n Transferring $239,000 to cover the cost of mental health treatment and/or hospitalization for inmates at the Oswego County Correctional Facility. These inmates are those transferred to a state Office of Mental Health or state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities facility — 50 percent of the daily cost of inmates in these facilities must be paid by the county. Sheriff Donald Hilton said due to extended amounts of time in the facilities, the number of new inmates hospitalized and the number of competency exams being ordered, the total expense spent so far this year has exceeded the budgeted amount.

n Transferring $75,000 from the Unappropriated Fund Balance and $75,000 from Salaries and Wages to cover unanticipated overtime in the sheriff’s office.

n Accepting $47,508 in Family First Transition Fund money from the state. The Family First Transition Fund was formed to help local Departments of Social Services support, recruit and retain current and prospective foster families.

n Creating two temporary Senior Employment Specialist positions in anticipation of several upcoming retirements in the employment unit in the Department of Social Services. Over the next 11 months, all workers in the Fulton One Stop Center Employment and Training Unit will retire. Social Services wants the two temporary Senior Employment Specialist positions to enable the department to prepare for this transition. There is no impact on the budget for the positions.

n Accepting $9,498 for the Office for the Aging budget through the NY Connects grant. The money will be used to cover travel expenses, advertising expenses, reproduction expenses, the purchase of two laptop computers and a new desk workstation. There is no local share for the grant.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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