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Buildings & Grounds, Highway Committees hold busy meetings

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Cortland County held a Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting July 7th at 9am.

A resolution was made for funds to be appropriated from the legislature’s professional services fund for renovations to the County Office Building entrance area to provide more efficient social interactions with the public and improve building security.

The proposed changes to the entryway, which include security measures such as a metal detector, costs total at $40,000. A rough sketch of the proposed changes was provided.

The committee discussed Cortland County Chamber of Commerce being due to move out of the space they have been renting from the County so that renovations to that space could be completed.

The roof repairs to the County Office building was discussed as well, which began in 2018.

Repairs have been made to the designated areas which were pointed out during inspection.

Michael Maselli of Josall Syracuse Inc. reported that, “after discussing with my service tech, it is our professional opinion that the existing PVC roofing system is in good condition for its age.” 

During upcoming meetings, plans will be made and discussed for pursuing further repairs.

Scott Roman provided updates to renovations at 22 West Court Street, where the county is looking to renovate it to be a new 911 center, he explained that the work has come to a standstill due to a delay on windows not being available to be installed.

COVID-19 has also slowed things down quite a bit, as well as funds being slow to be released from the state. 

Jack Hess, the IT Director discussed possibly looking into increasing bandwidth for county employees. An investment of $15,000 in new servers and technologies could get ten times the current bandwidth.

Hess stated that he never would have considered needing to improve bandwidth before the challenges and circumstances presented by COVID-19, with county employees working from home. 

The committee brought up the topic of the implementation of panic buttons in county offices, which was in the process of being rolled out for all county offices but was delayed due to COVID-19. The system is operational but has not been fully implemented yet.

The committee authorized the use of the auditorium for a community forum to be held on certain dates in July, including Wednesday July 29th. Members of the community were looking for a space to hold a public forum and be socially distanced.

The number of people safely allowed into the forum before it will be closed to the public is yet to be determined. The forum will attempt to address concerns of community members being afraid to call the police for help. Chief Catalano suggested a panel where police officers could listen to stories of racial bias and start a positive conversation to address any concerns in the community. The intention would be for this to become a monthly platform for different issues in the community to be addressed.

The Cortland County Highway Committee also met July 7th at 10 am. 

The committee first discussed the Cortland Airport. The Cortland Airport is on the cheaper end for the price of using a hanger for the area, when compared to all surrounding local airports. They have consistently had vacancies while airports in the surrounding area have waiting lists for availability.

After talking to other airport managers, the determining factor seems to be the lack of a comfortable lounge area with vending for pilots to relax. They will be looking into solutions that will not be too costly until the county budget is in better shape. They will be seeking a resolution in the fall for funding for renovations. 

Dwyer Park is trying to stay afloat with two park attendants, compared to previous years when they have had at least four on staff. Committee Member Linda Jones had a lot to say about the issues that Dwyer Park is facing due to cuts to staffing as well as raising the issues of locking the gate at 8pm. It was discussed as to hiring a volunteer to come and drive through the park at 8pm and make sure that everyone has vacated before locking and securing the gate. It was also brought up to implement security cameras in place at Dwyer Park to hopefully minimize unwanted visitors at night and potential vandalism. 

There was a quick motion and approval for use of Dwyer Park on September 19th and 20th for Seven Valley Street Rod Club to host a Car Show.

The town of Cortlandville went ahead and removed the railroad tracks from McLean Road without asking County permission, and the legislature and some concerned citizens are worried about speeding on that road now that there are no tracks to slow down speeding vehicles. Implementing a speed bump on the road in the railroad tracks placed was discussed. But a motion was made by Committee Vice-Chair Ron Van Dee, seconded by Linda Jones for Cortlandville to have the railroad company put the tracks back and charge Cortlandville for the costs. 

Landfill and recycling totals were also discussed. 204.37 tons of material was collected, 21.4 tons of paper and cardboard have been separated and composted, approximately 45 tons of clean cardboard had been sent to the market, and 14 tons of electronics were recycled for a total cost of $1,909, all in the month of June.

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