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Supervisors focus on COVID-19 pandemic, local crisis at monthly meeting in Ontario County

On Thursday the Ontario County Board of Supervisors met. In light of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak the Board held its monthly meeting via WebEx web conferencing.

The main focus of the meeting was the County’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. Ontario County Public Health Director Mary L. Beer reported that the County had 14 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 3 individuals hospitalized, 58 individuals in self-isolation/quarantine, and no deaths. Beer stated that self-isolated/quarantined individuals were regularly checked on by County staff. Beer also informed the Board that the County is working hard to obtain the resources that will be needed as Covid-19 cases continue to increase, but she also indicated that area hospitals are not at capacity yet.

Beer has also fielded questions about the specific communities within Ontario County that have confirmed Covid-19 cases, but she has declined to identify those communities or post maps indicating the locations of confirmed Covid-19 cases because the county didn’t want to endanger patient privacy, and because the County didn’t want the public to have a false sense of where the cases have originated. Rather Beer felt that social distancing remained the key to dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and indicated that the county continued to get information out to the public regarding the need for social distancing.

Deputy County Administrator Brian Young also stated that the County has worked to determine what employees are essential to remain on-the-job during the crisis. Young indicated that only about 35% of County employees are working on site. Young also said that the County regularly conducted calls with local municipal agencies throughout the County to get the word out regarding the County’s Covid-19 response. Young stated that the County has started to receive resources from New York State.

The Board also heard that the County has started to plan for economic recovery following the Covid-19 crisis. Board Chairman Jack Marren (Victor) said that he anticipates a significant budget shortfall because of the crisis, but that information regarding the potential shortfall was just starting to come in from the State. Consequently, Marren was unable to say how significant the shortfall would be.

Board Vice-Chairman Robert Green (Bristol) concluded the Covid-19 discussion by recognizing all of the hard work being done by first responders.

In Covid-19 related action, the Board unanimously approved a resolution that provided extra annual leave for employees who work during the crisis, continued payment of salary and benefits for employees who cannot work during the crisis, and provided 5 days of paid leave to cover the 5 day waiting period for disability benefits for any employee who becomes ill with Covid-19. Supervisor David Baker (Canandaigua) stated that this resolution was the way the Board could best honor the sacrifices being made by County employees during the Covid-19 crisis. The Board also approved a resolution to cancel April’s 1% interest charge on delinquent real property taxes.

At the outset of the Board’s meeting a public hearing was held regarding the proposed expansion of the Ontario County Firing Range. The hearing was held to seek public comment on the proposal, but no one requested to speak on the issue.

The Board also approved a Public Hearing to consider a local law related to “Impoundment Fees Ontario County Animal Care Facility”. The hearing was scheduled to take place at the Finger Lakes Community College, Stage 14, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York, April 16, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. The location could change as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

In other actions, the Board continued its typical process of blocking resolutions together by subject matter. The Board considered and approved an additional 48 resolutions.

Among the approved resolution was a resolution calling on the State of New York to reconsider its proposal to require that Counties pay for 100% of the cost for mental health services provided in Forensic Psychiatric Facilities.

The Board authorized acceptance of grant funding for Help America Vote Act (HAVA) services, emergency communication services, Livescan fingerprinting equipment, indigent legal services, 

The Board also recognized Geneva Reads work to ensure literacy for all.

Resolution #9-13 Blocked and adopted.

The Board proclaimed April 2020 as Child Abuse Awareness Month, and April 19-25, 2020 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The Board appointed Luis Dunn (Ionia) and Catherine E. Ginther (Victor) to the Ontario County Youth Board

A resolution to create a Capital Project to fund the purchase of an emergency response vehicle for the Office of the Sheriff was also unanimously approved. It is anticipated that this project will be entirely funded with grant funds from the State of New York and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program.

The Board also created a Human Services Worker position in the Probation Department, and a Finance Clerk II position in the Department of Finance.

The Board approved contracts with:  Amy Ladow for special education services, The Center for Disability Rights for social adult day respite services, Habitat for Humanity for the Expanded In-Home Services Program, Home Care Plus, Always Compassionate Home Care, Comfort Keepers, Finger Lakes Home Care, and Homemakers of the Genesee for personal care services for seniors, Self Direct, Inc. for personal emergency response systems, Ontario ARC for exercise and nutrition classes, Brand Builders, LLC for backyard composting program services, Law Enforcement Psychological Associates for pre-employment psychological evaluations for the Office of Sheriff. Canandaigua Emergency Squad for services provided to the Ontario County Jail, Bob Barker Company, Inc. for Ontario County Jail inmate sundries, United Uniform Dist., LLC and New York Police Supply, Inc. for Office of the Sheriff uniform accessories, various school districts for preparation of real property taxes, Harris Corporation for 40 communications radios for Finger Lakes Community College, Pike Company, Inc. for construction management services, QPK Design, LLP for construction administration services, Ramsey Constructors, Inc. and Erdman Anthony and Associates bridge preventive maintenance services, Villager Construction, Inc. for construction services, Morton Archaeological Services for archaeological study services, Fisher Associates for surveying and mapping services, Diamonds Army & Navy Inc. for the purchase of Department of Public Works uniforms, and National Vacuum Environmental Services Corporation for oil and water separator system maintenance services.