Human Services Committee
February 13, 2008 – 8:30 am
Present: Sandy Price, Chairman; Don Spaulding, Vice Chairman; Larry Cornell, Mike McKee, Dan Tagliente and Kathie Wilcox
Others present: Scott Schrader, County Administrator; Mark Suben, County Attorney; Katrina Spicer, Secretary to County Administration; Carol Deloff, Director, Area Agency on Aging; Kristen Monroe, Commissioner, Department of Social Services; Judy Davison, Employment & Grant Administration; Manny Lann, Youth Bureau; Carl Bullock, Veteran Services; Eric Mulvihill, WXHC; and Ida Peace, Cortland Standard
Absent: John Troy
Ms. Price called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
Mr. Cornell moved adoption of the minutes of the January 16, 2008 meeting; seconded by Mr. McKee. All members voting in favor; none opposed; minutes approved as printed.
Area Agency on Aging Create Temporary Secretary I – Mr.
Cornell moved adoption; seconded by Ms. Wilcox. Ms. Deloff discussed the background regarding this position
and add that they have filled the position.
She explained that Kim Reakes who also works part-time in the County
Attorney’s Office filled the position and they are very happy with her.
She thanked the Legislature for their support.
She added that she did find out that the individual on Medical Leave
would be out for at least four months. Ms.
Price inquired if ten hours a week was enough.
Ms. Deloff explained that she was not sure.
Ms. Price requested that Ms. Deloff keep the committee informed.
All members present voting in favor; none opposed; resolution
AREA AGENCY ON AGING
Meals – Ms. Deloff explained
that the March for Meals campaign is to bring awareness for Senior Nutrition
including the Meals on Wheels and Food Pantry programs.
She stated that March 9, 2008 kicks off the March for Meals campaign.
She invited Legislators, Mayors and Town Supervisors to join the
drivers for Meals on Wheels for a day. She
expressed that this can be a very interesting experience.
Ms. Deloff further explained that last year the March for Meals
campaign won an award from the Feinstein Challenge for hunger Awareness.
She further explained that the award won was approximately $300 and it
was used to buy equipment for the Meals on Wheels program and Senior Centers.
Space Needs, Area Agency on Aging – Ms. Deloff explained that she had a meeting with Joe Maryak, architect from JCM Architectural, regarding the space needs for the Area Agency on Aging. She stated that she discussed notes from the different focus groups and the future needs of the agency. Ms. Price asked if Mr. Schrader could update the committee in regards to this. Mr. Schrader explained that he did receive a proposal from Barton and Loguidice. He added that there was a bit of a problem with the understanding between the County and Barton & Loguidice. He stated that he has requested a revised addition from them and would provide it to the Legislature as soon as he receives it. Ms. Wilcox inquired as to what exactly Mr. Schrader was expecting in this report. Mr. Schrader explained that the study he received from Barton & Loguidice provided a full-blown space study including HVAC and a potential design for each floor. He added that all that is needed currently is a space study as to what we will need. Ms. Price mentioned the concern of Ms. Deloff with adequate parking availability to meet the needs of the agency. Mr. Cornell inquired about the status of the closings of the properties on South Main Street. Mr. Schrader explained that the Woods property has not closed and added that they have been given time to find a new space. He stated that the County is working to close on the property. Mr. Suben explained and discussed that there is no action pending towards the County from the Woods. He added that Ms. Burns is working to close on the property. Mr. Suben further discussed the Moose property and stated that he did not know why but the deed was never filed in regards to that property, a check was cut and cashed and the county has keys to the property. He stated that the paralegal from his office is filing that deed this morning with the County Clerk. Ms. Price requested that a memo be provided to all Legislators, especially those not present, regarding the status of the South Main Street properties. Ms. Price explained that Mr. Parker, Ms. Tytler and herself have visited the Moose property. She explained that she had been told that the bar at the Moose was from the Hotel Cortland. She expressed that she has requested the County Historian to look into this. Ms. Tytler discussed this project being a green project and would like to see the bar reused if possible. She stated that some have desired to see it used in the building for a coffee shop. Ms. Deloff stated that if the bar was from the Hotel Cortland it would be nice to see it preserved. Mr. Suben explained that there would be a resolution presented to the Budget & Finance Committee regarding settlement of the Cole property. He stated that the Cole property settlement was caught up in the Lissberger property settlement and there is no apparent reason that this settlement should be delayed. Mr. Suben briefly discussed the Lissberger property settlement. Committee members discussed the settlement of the Lissberger property and inquired as to how the Lissberger’s could sell their property while it is a subject of a lawsuit. Mr. Suben addressed the question and explained that he was not involved at that point. Mr. Tagliente addressed his concerns regarding Lissberger selling the property before the court came in with a decision and while it is involved in a legal matter. Again, Ms. Price suggested a memo be drafted and provided to all Legislators regarding the status of these properties. Committee members and Mr. Suben discussed the fees the owners incurred and taxes on the properties. Mr. Suben expressed that he can find out the impact of tax bills. Ms. Wilcox inquired if both properties were needs for the Area Agency on Aging site. Mr. Schrader, Ms. Price and Mr. Suben stated that both were needed. Ms. Wilcox inquired as to what would happen if the Woods decided not to sell to the County. Committee members discussed this being problematic and the need for that property to have a site for Area Agency on Aging there. Mr. Schrader explained that the courts said the contract was legal and the County not following through damaged the parties. He discussed a theoretical situation regarding this property. Ms. Wilcox stated that their best intentions are to follow through with the sale but she would like to see the agreement firmed up. Ms. Price addressed her desire to see a memo regarding the status of each of the properties.
Vacancies – Mr. McKee inquired if all positions were filled in the Area Agency on Aging. Ms. Deloff explained that they are down a Food Service Helper in Marathon and a Driver in McGraw. Committee members and Ms. Deloff discussed being in the process of filing these positions.
EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING
Ms. Davison discussed upcoming funding cuts and the concerns she has regarding this. Additionally, she discussed some other manners in which possible funding can be obtained. Ms. Davison further explained that she is currently working on sub-agency agreements and paying bills in regards to the Cortland Career Works Center. She added that the security agreement is in the County Attorney’s Office. In addition, Ms. Davison explained that the agreements for the sub agencies are not all that easy. She stated that there were staffing changes at the Labor Department. She added that there is 2,200 square feet of space to rent in the basement. Ms. Davison discussed applying for grants as part of a regional grant application. She added that there are a total of five counties participating. She discussed some upcoming federal grants and nationwide awards and added that it is not likely that Cortland will receive these. She further discussed a resolution to be brought before the committee in the future regarding a one-year plan modification and $15,000 in grant funding.
Bond and Mortgage Liens – Ms. Monroe provided all committee members with a report on the Department’s property liens. Additionally she provided further in formation that should be considered confidential in nature, which include a list of current Temporary Assistance Bond and Mortgage liens that have been filed and current Medicaid Property liens that have been filed. She explained that all of the filed liens have undetermined open-ended dollar amounts because the amount of benefits received may change before they are settled. She explained that the department tabulates the total amount of benefits received when a lien is being settled. Ms. Wilcox inquired why there were none in 2007. Ms. Monroe explained that it is really hit or miss. Ms. Wilcox inquired further about the Medicaid Mortgage Liens. Ms. Monroe discussed claims and briefly the process involved in checking estates. She explained that a dollar amount is not established until there is a settlement when an individual is deceased. Ms. Wilcox inquired further about the legal process. Mr. Suben discussed estate proceedings and the filing of claims. Ms. Monroe discussed further different criteria required for Medicaid and Temporary Assistance liens. Ms. Wilcox inquired further about how much in liens the County is currently holding, how many vacant properties and what the County is doing in regards to these. Mr. Suben explained further that liens can run up quickly and added that frequently the county is not the first lien holder. Ms. Monroe added that there are many factors involved and the process is complicated. Ms. Monroe and Mr. Schrader discussed further Medicaid eligibility and the policies involved. Ms. Wilcox inquired about 17 Stewart Place. Mr. Suben expressed that this is a subject of an investigation with the District Attorney’s Office.
HEAP – Ms. Monroe explained that more funding has been provided for the HEAP Program and added that the HEAP Season has been extended through May 15th. She explained that this affects both Social Services and Area Agency on Aging.
Welfare Fraud – Ms. Monroe explained that the department is having positive progress in this area.
State Budget – Ms. Monroe briefly explained that there is a shift in the County share by an increase of 2%.
Welfare Staffing – Ms. Monroe discussed and explained that there has
been an increase in caseworker staff and added that there are
Foster Care Program – Ms. Monroe stated that, as always, the department is working on recruiting new foster care homes.
Ms. Price inquired about some specific addresses on the documents Ms. Monroe shared with the committee. Ms. Monroe addressed the questions.
Youth Leadership – Mr. Lann explained that Youth Leadership was a success and explained that they toured the Jail and 911 Center. He stated that 33 high school sophomores and juniors participated from across Cortland County. He added that they met with members of the Legislature and County Judges. He thanked the Legislators for their participation.
Job Fair – Mr. Lann explained that he and Ms. Davison are working together on a Job Fair to be held June 5, 2008. He explained that the Job Fair for youth is in the morning and for adults in the afternoon.
Mr. Lann announced that he has been selected as a Co-Chair of the State Conference Youth Association.
Mr. Lann further stated that the Summer Schedule will be out soon.
Mr. Bullock discussed the Veterans Administration (VA) Secretary doubling travel reimbursement from $.11 to $.22 per mile. He also discussed the New York State American legion agreeing to provide training to secretaries at VA offices. He explained how this could be implemented and may be helpful to him and veterans he is trying to assist.
Mr. Bullock discussed further the possibility of needing a Deputy Director in the future to help with the workload that has nearly tripled in the past few years. Mr. Tagliente suggested having an assistant instead of a deputy. Mr. Bullock explained that there are certain credentials that are needed.
Ms. Price explained that she would like to keep the meeting time to one hour and added that if the need arises, she is not opposed to having a second meeting each month. Mr. Tagliente suggested that the Youth Bureau and Veterans Services go first in the future on the agenda. The consensus of the committee was in agreement with Mr. Tagliente’s suggestion.
Ms. Price adjourned the meeting at 9:37 a.m.