Oneida County compiling costs of coronavirus response

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The cost to Oneida County government of responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak will likely be well more than $1 million, County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said as he prepares to seek authorization from county lawmakers for adjusting the county budget to match.

An item authorizing the creation of a response account and a transfer of $1 million is on the agenda of the county Board of Legislators’ April meeting Wednesday. Lawmakers plan to convene electronically, with proceedings streamed live through Facebook, at 2 p.m. at https://fb.me/ONEIDACOUNTYLEGISLATURE.

But Picente said Monday that amount represents just one transfer, and there will be more. Among costs are acquiring personal protective equipment to help first responders and hospitals. In addition, while the county’s workforce is staggered an other methods used to control hours, overtime will likely be part of the expense.

Picente said the Health Department in particular is stressed as it has the responsibility of tracking lab-confirmed cases and the contacts of those patients and people who have symptoms of the disease. But other departments continue operating, including the sheriff’s office law enforcement and corrections divisions, probation and parole, child and elderly welfare, homeless and emergency food services and the like. Many other operations have continued with staff working remotely.

Among other agenda items are appointments of Frank Nebush Jr. as public defender, Ray Bara as civil defender, Kevin Green Youth Bureau director, Joseph Perrone as director of Veterans Services, Mello Testa as purchasing director, Mark Laramie as commissioner of public works and change orders and increased fees in contracts with design and engineering firms for work on several county building and renovation projects, as well as resolutions receiving various grants.

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