County board OKs PILOT; pair air fireworks issues

Published Jul 18, 2018 at 4:00pm

Concerns about fireworks usage in neighborhoods, two years after certain types were legalized including around the July 4 holiday, were aired by two residents to the county Board of Legislators.

Among other topics on July 11 were board approvals including the appointment of Raymond Bara as Oneida County civil defender, a payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) agreement for a project at the former Rome Cable company site, and the 2018-19 Mohawk Valley Community College operating budget.

• Lori Misiaczek of 1031 Hope St. in Utica urged legislators to repeal legislation that legalized certain types of fireworks for specific periods including between June 1 and July 5. The legislation involved sparkling devices only.

Last week, Misiaczek said, her neighborhood was like a “war zone” due to fireworks that “hit trees...houses” and went “under cars.” She said people had to stomp on embers on porches, flower beds, and grass. Police manpower to deal with such issues is limited, she added.

The matter has turned into a “monster,” said Misiaczek, adding that she has lived on her street for 60 years and had never previously experienced what she has faced in the last two years with fireworks.

Also addressing legislators was Thomas Mariano, who said he was “totally against” what is happening with fireworks. People should “go out in fields” to use them, not in town, village, and city settings, he commented. He also said “this is not the way to go,” and warned that the county could leave itself “open for major bad things to happen....”

When asked about the concerns after the meeting, Board of Legislators Chairman Gerald J. Fiorini, R-7, Rome, said that in Rome he has not received any complaints about fireworks.

Fiorini also observed that if the two speakers were referring to fireworks that “go up in the air,” those categories are illegal. The legislation previously approved by the board involves “legal sparklers,” he emphasized. He further said he personally does not plan to reconsider the legislation.

• Bara was appointed as county civil defender at a salary of $119,845, effective immediately. He has been an assistant county attorney.

The position being assumed by Bara formerly had a title of public defender-civil. Bara is filing a position that became vacant following the retirement earlier this year of Frank Furno, who had served more than 14 years in the civil division of the Oneida County Public Defender Office.

• The PILOT terms approved by legislators follow similar approvals by the county Industrial Development Agency, Rome Board of Education and Rome Common Council regarding the old Rome Cable site.

According to documents presented to county officials, the project will help establish a long-term reuse strategy to revitalize a district that can support 180,000 square feet of industrial space on a 20-plus acre area. It also will enable the Cold Point company to expand its local manufacturing operations into a new 50,000-square-foot facility.

For Cold Point, a 20-year PILOT initially would be at 50 percent of estimated taxes and in the first year would include a $75,336 obligation to the taxing jurisdictions, said documents.

The proportion of estimated taxes paid would gradually increase to 60 percent for years 16-20, according to the documents which also projected that the PILOT obligation in the 20th year would total $131,700 following annual escalation factors.

• A public hearing on the 2018-19 MVCC operating budget at the start of the meeting drew no speakers, and the budget later was approved by legislators without discussion.

The $51.92 million budget includes a county contribution of $8.07 million among its terms.