The Onondaga County Legislature held their monthly legislative session Feb. 1 with a full agenda. There were a lot of issues going on this month from grants, to budget transfers and consolidation.
First, was a resolution regarding consolidation and accepting a grant. The Sheriff's department received a $49,500 grant from the Homeland Security Department for a new explosives canine, and an SUV for transport of the canine or explosive equipment. Along with this new grant, the Sheriff's department informed us of a new plan to share services with the city of Syracuse regarding the K-9 program. With several of the Sheriff's department K-9s aging out, this is a cost saving option to explore. The legislature also approved a resolution for our mail department at the civic center to take over processing and handling mail for Onondaga Community College. This will save the college thousands of dollars without adding any additional staff or cost to the county budget. I wish cost saving measures like these would be considered before fiscal constraints make them necessary.
Two departments had to request budget transfers within their budgets because expenditures had exceeded their budget projections. The first was the Department of Transportation. The DOT requested $200,000 be transferred to their supplies line for the additional cost of road salt in 2010. As we expected, road salt has increased in price and the amount of snowfall that we have had this winter has increased our usage. The other department that requested a budget transfer within their budget was the Board of Elections. The Board of Elections purchased a building on Erie Boulevard to house the Board of Elections staff, and all of their equipment. The final renovations have exceeded the projected cost by about $200,000. The Board of Elections had some funds leftover from last year's budget and requested to use it on the renovations. The Board of Elections will be much more accessible to the public at this location with substantial parking, and handicap accessibility. This facility will also store all of the new election machines at a safe and secure location. I will let you know as soon as it is open for business.