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Genesee County approves expansion of deal to share health services

BATAVIA – The Genesee County Legislature unanimously voted Wednesday night to expand shared services agreements between the Genesee and Orleans counties health departments.

Lawmakers approved resolutions to have one director of children with special needs for both counties – resulting in savings of $22,000 in Genesee’s 2015 budget – and to create a joint Board of Health.

“We have been sharing Health Department services with Orleans County for two years now and this is a continuation of that,” Genesee County Manager Jay A. Gsell said. “We’ve always espoused (collaboration) here in the GLOW (Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming) region and look to consolidate services when opportunities come up.”

Gsell noted that two years ago Paul Pettit, an Orleans County employee, took over as the public health director for both counties while David Whitcroft, a longtime Genesee County employee, assumed the public health deputy director post for both counties.

This latest agreement moves Genesee County employee Deborah Johnson into the role as director for both counties’ early intervention and preschool programs for children with special needs at a salary of $58,656, effective July 20.

Her pay includes a $6,000 stipend from Orleans County, but if the contract should be terminated, it would revert to $52,656, Gsell said.

The combined Board of Health consists of seven members, including a legislator from each county, three doctors and two at-large representatives.

Committee members will serve for six years. One member’s term shall expire annually on a rotating basis except for legislative representatives, who will serve in conjunction with his or her term as a legislator.

Currently, the board consists of Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps, Genesee County Legislator Edward DeJaneiro Jr., physicians Kelly Rose Nichols, Mary Obear and Satya Sahukar, and at-large members Paul Grout and Deanna Page.

DeJaneiro said the formation of the consolidated board is an example of an “experiment that has resulted in a pretty smooth transition.”

“I am confident that this will continue to benefit both counties – both fiscally and healthwise,” he said.

Legislators also contracted with C&S Companies, Syracuse, to design the relocation of the perimeter fence at the Genesee County Airport as part of a capital project to not exceed $40,000.

Ninety percent of the work will be paid through a federal grant and the county’s share will be approximately $2,000.

County officials said the current fence and trees north of the runway interfere with pilots seeking to communicate with the airport’s instrument landing system, which is situated in a small building near the runway.

In a related move, lawmakers approved a reimbursable agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for design services needed to relocate the airport’s automated weather observation station.

The county may be obligated to pay up to $2,000 for the project.

Plans call for moving the station into the airport’s new terminal, which is under construction.