Cortland Common Council Agenda: May 21st, 2024

City of Cortland Common Council. (Photo provided by Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Here is the agenda for Tuesday’s (May 21st, 2024) Cortland Common Council meeting. The meeting will take place at City Hall (25 Cortland Street, Cortland NY 13045) at 6pm. According to the City of Cortland website, the meeting will also be live streamed Via Zoom video.

Here is the Zoom Meeting ID: 923 566 4700

Agenda

Proclamations

Proclamation #1 - Declaring June 9-15 Flag Week in the City Of Cortland

WHEREAS, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted as the flag of the United States a banner of 13 stripes alternating red and white, and 13 white stars on a blue field as the symbol of a new nation with an intense love of freedom and a belief in the worth and dignity of the individual; AND

WHEREAS, the American flag continues to stand for a nation dedicated to the principles of liberty, justice, unity and equality under law, and symbolizes a legacy of heroism and sacrifice of Americans in defense of these principles; AND

WHEREAS, in honor of the flag and the principles for which it stands, the Cortland American Legion Auxiliary Unit 489, American Legion Post 489 and Elks Lodge 748 proudly celebrate Flag Day on June 14 by raising Old Glory and encourage the community to display the flag this and every day; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, I, Scott Steve, Mayor of the City of Cortland, hereby proclaim June 9-15, 2024 Flag Week in the City of Cortland and urge residents and businesses to display the flag of the United States of America this week and throughout the year; AND

FURTHER, that the flag may ever remind and encourage us to honor the legacy of heroism and sacrifice made to secure and advance the blessings of liberty; AND

FURTHER, that it unite us in belief in the worth and dignity of the individual, the principles of liberty, justice, and equality under law, and inspire us always toward the promise of America.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Seal of Cortland, New York this 21st day of May, 2024.

Flag Day Ceremony Information: A Flag Day Ceremony will be held at 6:00 p.m. June 14, 2024 at the Cortland American Legion Post at 212 Tompkins St. Cortland. The public event is sponsored annually by the American Legion Auxiliary Cortland City Unit 489, American Legion Cortland City Post 489 and the Protective Order of Elks Cortland Lodge 748. Families and younger citizens are encouraged to attend to learn more about its history and how to show it respect.

Presentations

Presentation #1 - Police Department Commendations and Recognitions

Supporting Documents

Call to Order

  • Roll Call
  • Salute to the Flag
  • Moment of silence/reflection
  • Privilege of the floor
  • Financial Reports
  • Mayor’s report
  • Ward Reports
  • Approval of Minutes

Resolutions

Agenda Item #1 - Designate the Mayor and Acting Mayor as Having Certain Powers and Duties as Authorized by New York State Local Finance Law

WHEREAS, New York State Local Finance Law designates certain powers and duties to a city’s chief fiscal officer; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland’s chief fiscal officer position is vacant; AND

WHEREAS, in light of said vacancy, and in light of prior vacancies of the chief fiscal officer position, the City of Cortland Common Council has authorized Mayor Scott Steve and Acting Mayor Wayne Schutt II to serve as signatories for the City of Cortland; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland is engaged in an active search to fill said vacancy; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland’s bond counsel has recommended that, in the temporary absence of a chief fiscal officer, the Common Council grant the Mayor and Acting Mayor the specific powers and duties of a chief fiscal officer as authorized by Section 2 paragraph 5 subdivision (b) of the Local Finance Law; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the City of Cortland Common Council does hereby grant Mayor Scott Steve and Acting Mayor Wayne Schutt II the powers and duties of a chief fiscal officer as authorized by Section 2 paragraph 5 subdivision (b) of the Local Finance Law; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that any exercise of the aforementioned powers, duties and signature authority performed by Mayor Scott Steve and Acting Mayor Wayne Schutt II pursuant to Section 2 paragraph 5 subdivision (b) of the Local Finance Law prior to the adoption of this Resolution are hereby ratified and affirmed; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that this resolution shall remain in effect until rescinded by the City of Cortland Common Council; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the City Clerk shall file a certified copy of this resolution with the state comptroller

Agenda Item #2 - Notice of Intent to Cancel and Renegotiate Sales Tax Agreement with the County of Cortland

WHEREAS, the County of Cortland currently imposes a sales tax on retail sales and other similar transaction for compensatory use taxes in Cortland County, as authorized by New York State Tax Law §1201; AND

WHEREAS, the current Sales Tax Sharing Agreement expires on December 31, 2028, but allows for termination by either party any time after June 1, 2023, upon giving the other party a six (6) month notice to terminate as authorized by two-third (2/3) of the terminating party’s governing board; AND

WHEREAS, each municipality, including the City of Cortland, is allocated on a quarterly basis their pro-rated share of sales tax based on upon each respective population; AND

WHEREAS, the Sales Tax Sharing agreement allows for alternative methods of allocating sales tax proportions upon mutual agreement of the City’s and the County’s respective governing boards, together with approval by the State Comptroller; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland Common Council and Mayor have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best financial interests of the City and on behalf of its residents and businesses; AND

WHEREAS, a predominance of non-taxable real estate within the City of Cortland constitute a majority of Cortland County’s not-for-profit organizations such as those providing education, healthcare, religious and governmental services; AND

WHEREAS, that in consideration of the June 1, 2023 Sales Tax Sharing Agreement termination clause, the City of Cortland Common Council adopted Resolution No. 227 of 2023 on December 20, 2023 affirming its intent to explore alternative sales tax revenue sharing methods such as an “assessed property value” approach, as well as the possibility of exercising its right to pre-empt its sales tax and is exploring what benefit any such alternatives may have for the City of Cortland and its taxpayers; AND

WHEREAS, Resolution No 227 of 2023 authorized Mayor Steve to enter into negotiations with the County of Cortland relative to the current sales tax sharing approach and allocation to the City; AND

WHEREAS, by way of preliminary discussions, the County of Cortland and City of Cortland mutually agree that as a good-faith prerequisite to formal negotiations, the City shall terminate the current Sales Tax Sharing Agreement effective six (6) months of the City’s notice to the County of Cortland; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, that the City of Cortland Common Council, upon a two-third (2/3) vote, does hereby issue notice of intent to terminate the current Sales tax Agreement with the County of Cortland effective November 21, 2024 for the purpose of Mayor Steve negotiating a new agreement on behalf of the City of Cortland with the County of Cortland.

Agenda Item #3 - Authorize Agreement with Empire Access for Fiber Optic Internet and Telecommunications Easement Rights & Expanded Market Options for City Residents and Businesses

WHEREAS, residents and businesses in the City of Cortland will benefit by having competitive choices of internet providers as well as choices of fiber optic internet which provides faster download and streaming speed; AND

WHEREAS, Empire Access is a locally operated fiber optic telecommunications company serving more than 35,000 residential and business customers in 18 Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania counties; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland has an obsolete and non-operational fire alarm network through which fiber optic cable can be run to provide fiber optic telecommunications; AND

WHEREAS, Empire Access proposes to provide free internet to City-owned properties and buildings including parks in exchange for fiber optic cable attachment access and easement rights through the obsolete firm alarm locations; AND

WHEREAS, attachment access and easement rights enable Empire Access to offer city residents and businesses a competitive market choice in the purchase of internet and telecommunications products and services; AND

RESOLVED, that the Common Council does hereby authorizes Mayor Steve to execute an agreement with Empire Access which shall not obligate the City of Cortland financially and shall grant the company attachment access and easement rights through the City’s obsolete firm alarm system in return for providing the City free internet service in its public buildings and spaces shall not obligate the City of Cortland financially.

Agenda Item #4 - Authorize Additional Funds for the City’s 2024 Sidewalk Program 

WHEREAS, the City has provided funds to assist homeowners with a portion of the cost of sidewalk repairs and replacements since 2001 to ensure pedestrian safety; AND

WHEREAS, the City committed $20,000 to the 2024 Sidewalk Program, which is now fully committed, due, in part, to an increase in the assistance available in recognition of the increased costs of labor and materials over the past several years; AND

WHEREAS, the City received requests exceeding the allocated amount for sidewalk work after the original funds were committed, which applications have been wait-listed due to the lack of additional funds, and further has several additional applications outstanding; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the City does hereby appropriate up to an additional $20,000 for the 2024 Sidewalk Program from ARP funding to address the need identified by its citizens for safer walkways in the City.

Agenda Item #5 - Authorize Agreement with Thoma Development Consultants for Program Delivery Services as Part of the Community Development Block Grant 

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland was awarded a Community Development Block Grant Project No. 285HR322-23 ("Grant") in the amount of $500,000 to enable the City of Cortland to provide housing rehabilitation; AND

WHEREAS, the CDBG Program requires grantees to issue a Request for Proposals (RPF) for administrative and program delivery services of the grant if not administered by the municipality; AND

WHEREAS, the City has chosen to use a third party to administer the Grant and, accordingly, issued said RFP receiving one response from Thoma Development Consultants (the “Consultant”); AND

WHEREAS, the Consultant’s proposal outlined the administrative tasks it would undertake to comply with the scope of services stated in the RFP at a cost of $64,000 for program delivery services costs, $24,500 for administrative service costs, as well as allowable reimbursable and direct project costs, which are below the 18% allowable administrative and program delivery costs established by the CDBG Program; AND

WHEREAS, the City reviewed the Consultant’s response and has determined it meets all qualifications for administration and delivery and other RFP requirements, and, therefore, has determined to award the contract to Thoma Development Consultants; AND

WHEREAS, the City forwarded information pertinent to its RFP process for review by the NYS Office of Community Renewal (OCR), which administers the NYS CDBG Program; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that Mayor Steve is hereby authorized to execute an agreement with Thoma Development Consultants for Program Delivery Services as part of the Community Development Block Grant (Project No. 285HR322-23) in the amount of $88,500 pursuant to the Consultant’s response to the Request for Proposal and pending review and approval by the NYS Office of Community Renewal.

Agenda Item #6 - Authorize City Fire Department to Over-Hire One (1) Firefighter Position in Anticipation of a Current Firefighter Being Placed on Active Military Duty.

WHEREAS, the Cortland City Fire Department has an authorized force of 37 firefighters; AND

WHEREAS, staffing shortages require mandatory staffing levels to be filled with overtime, which is an increased cost to the City and often requires firefighters to work long hours above and beyond their normal scheduled shifts; AND

WHEREAS, the excessive overtime and longer shifts negatively impact firefighter safety and morale; AND

WHEREAS, the Fire Chief has received communication from a firefighter of his assignment to Active Military Duty effective January 2025 thru January 2026; AND

WHEREAS, the fall Recruit Firefighter Training Academy commences on July 28 of 2024 which would allow a replacement firefighter to be hired and commence their training before the deployment; AND

WHEREAS, keeping staffing levels full reduces overtime, saves money, and increases firefighter safety and morale; AND

WHEREAS, 2024 budget personnel line projections indicate the Fire Department can absorb the salary of the over-hire position from July 2024 through December 2024; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Common Council hereby grants authority to the Fire Chief to hire one (1) additional firefighter above authorized staffing levels and commence their training to lessen the impact of the anticipated staffing shortage resulting from the stated mandatory deployment of one firefighter in 2025.

Agenda Item #7 - Accept NYS Law Enforcement Technology Grant

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland Common Council approved Resolution No. 176 of 2023 authorizing the Police Department to submit an application for funding from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS) Law Enforcement Technology grant program (LETECH); AND

WHEREAS, funding for this program must supplement, not-supplant, current funding and will be provided with no required local match; AND

WHEREAS, the Police Department has been advised that the state has awarded the full funding request of $576,000.00 to purchase upgraded and advanced technology such as in car computers and cameras, license plate readers, interoperable communications equipment, additional body-worn camera equipment and software, and other newer technology, which has been unattainable financially; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that Mayor Steve is hereby authorized to accept funds from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS) for Law Enforcement Technology (LETECH) grant funding in an amount of $576,000.00 enter into and execute a project agreement with the state for such financial assistance to the City of Cortland.

Agenda Item #8 - Authorize Agreement and Expenditure for Youth Bureau Building Roof Repair

WHEREAS, in 1994 construction started on the Youth Bureau building located at 35 Port Watson Street; AND

WHERAS, the building is used for Records Retention, YB Offices, and the Rec Center which operates 6 days a week. The current roof is original to the building renovation in 1994 and has deteriorated causing leaks and water damage within the building; AND

WHEREAS, repair to the building’s roof is necessary and in the best interest of the Department and City to continue to provide the exceptional service to the citizens of Cortland; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Common Council authorizes an agreement with and the expenditure of funds payable to Alpine Roofing, 164 River Street, Sidney, New York in the amount of $55,083.00 from budget line A7110-540500 to pay for the cost of a metal roof at the Youth Bureau building located at 35 Port Watson St.

Agenda Item #9 - Authorize Agreement with Adhan Piping for Curb & Sidewalk Ramp Replacement Project

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland had identified specific city streets scheduled for resurfacing that are in need of new granite curbing and New York State Department of Transportation requires all sidewalk ramps to be ADA compliant on streets where Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding is applied; AND

WHEREAS, the City of Cortland DPW put forth a public request for proposal to install 3110 linear feet of curbing and 62 curb ramps at various locations; AND

WHEREAS, Adhan Piping proposes to furnish all labor (including traffic control), materials, equipment, tools necessary to remove (existing) and install remove and replace approximately 3,110 linear feet of curbing and to replace and or rehabilitate approximately 62 curb ramps, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), on various streets within the city limits for a cost of $150 per lineal foot of curbing and $5,000 per ramp and full site restoration for a total not to exceed $776,500; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that Mayor Steve is hereby authorized to execute an agreement with Adhan Piping for replacement of curbing and replacement or rehabilitation of approximately 62 curb ramps in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for a total not to exceed $776,500.

Agenda Item #10 - Approve Special Event and Related Permits for Arts Off Main to be held August 3, 2024

WHEREAS, Cortland Arts Connect has submitted a Special Event Permit Application for the purposes of holding the Arts Off Main festival on Court St. from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on August 3, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, the application requests closure to traffic on Court St. between Main St. and Church St. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; AND

WHEREAS, organizers have submitted a Sound Device Permit Application for amplified music from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; AND

WHEREAS, the Police Department, Fire Department and City Clerk’s Office have reviewed applicable aspects of these permit applications; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Common Council does hereby approve a Special Event Permit, a Sound Device Permit without fee, for the Arts Off Main Festival to be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on August 3, 2024; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that this approval permits closure to traffic on Court St. between Main St. and Church St. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. August 3, 2024.

Agenda Item #11 - Approve Special Event and Related Permits for The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest to be held October 5 & 6, 2024

WHEREAS, The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest organizers have submitted a Special Event Application for the purposes of holding a festival in Courthouse Park on October 5-6, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, organizers have submitted a Sound Device Permit Application for the event; AND

WHEREAS, organizers have submitted an Operating Permit Application for an occupant load of more than 100 persons; AND

WHEREAS, organizers have submitted a Street Banner Application; AND

WHEREAS, organizers have submitted a Street Closure Application requesting the closure of Greenbush Street between Port Watson Street and Central Avenue for the period of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. October 5, 2024 and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. October 6, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, the Police Department, Fire Department, Youth Bureau and City Clerk’s Office have reviewed applicable aspects of these permit applications; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Common Council does hereby approve a Special Event Permit, a Sound Device Permit without fee, an Operating Permit, and a Street Closure request for The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest to be held in Courthouse Park on October 5 and October 6, 2024.

Agenda Item #12 - Approve Special Event and Related Permits for Porch Fest to be held August 18, 2024

WHEREAS, a Special Event Permit Application has been submitted for Porch Fest Cortland music festival to be held on from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. August 18, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, the application requests closure to traffic on Van Hoesen Street, Harrison Street, Joy Street and Chestnut Street; AND

WHEREAS, a sound device permit application proposes the use of sound amplification for certain performers that will not exceed the decibel level of acoustic performers; AND

WHEREAS, the Police Department, Fire Department, Youth Bureau and City Clerk’s Office have reviewed applicable aspects of these permit applications; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that Porch Fest Cortland’s Special Event Permit and Sound Device Permit are hereby approved without fee; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that this approval permits closure to traffic on Van Hoesen Street, Harrison Street, Joy Street and Chestnut Street from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on August 18, 2024.

Agenda Item #13 - Approve Special Event and Related Permits for the Cortland Disabled American Veterans’ Family Fun Day on June 30, 2024

WHEREAS, the Disabled American Veterans Cortland Chapter 153 has submitted a Special Event Permit Application for the purposes of holding a Family Fun Day event on Scammel St. from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on June 30, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, the organization has submitted an application for the closing of Scammel St. from the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 30, 2024; AND WHEREAS, the organization has submitted a Sound Device Permit Application for music from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. June 30, 2024; AND

WHEREAS, the Police Department, Fire Department, Youth Bureau and City Clerk’s Office have reviewed applicable aspects of these permit applications; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the City of Cortland Common Council does hereby approve for issuance by the City Clerk a Special Event Permit, and a Sound Device Permit without fee for the Disabled American Veterans Cortland Chapter 153’s Family Fun Day event to be held on Scammel St. from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on June 30, 2024; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the Common Council does hereby authorize the closing of Scammel St. from the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 30, 2024.

 

ADJOURNMENT