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genesee county planning

October 16, 2020 - 12:41pm

gen_county_flag.jpg

Noting that the current Genesee County flag “has always been a pet peeve of mine,” Genesee County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari has invited citizens to participate in a county flag design competition – a component of the county’s public engagement strategy in support of the Genesee County Comprehensive Plan Update and Recreation Plan.

The Public Engagement Plan, dated Oct. 2, 2020, was prepared by Prospect Hill Consulting LLC and Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC.

According to Oltramari, the comprehensive and recreation plans provide a template for county officials and civic leaders to achieve a vision of improved and increased resources for a vibrant, healthy and safe community.

“We’re calling it Genesee 2050 – a vision strategy for the next 30 years for our county,” he said, mentioning that the original comprehensive plan was written in 1997.

Looking for Community Input

Getting the public involved in the process is a key part of the strategy. As indicated in the Public Engagement Plan, its purpose is to “ensure that the local community is given a voice in the redevelopment planning for Genesee County, both in terms of its Comprehensive Planning update process and a plan for its recreational facilities.”

That’s where the county flag competition fits in.

“We have been talking about redesigning the Genesee County flag, which is a little dated and doesn’t quite fit the design criteria for people that know how to design flags,” Oltramari advised. “The main problem being that it has words on it and you’re supposed to avoid having words on flags because they’re hard to read when they’re flying.”

The current Genesee County flag features a blue background with Genesee County across the top and Founded 1802 across the bottom in block letters with the county seal in between.

Oltramari said plans are being made for a contest where residents – students, adults and professionals -- can submit their designs for a new flag. A committee will select the finalists and residents will then have the chance to vote online for their favorite design.

Stay Tuned for Contest Details

Contest rules, guidelines, starting date and submission process will be made available in the near future, with Oltramari indicating he expects the contest to go through the fall and winter months. 

He also reported that a new website is being developed to engage citizens on this project as well as to learn more about (and fill out surveys on) the comprehensive and recreation plan updates.

Oltramari made a presentation on the two plans at Thursday night’s Genesee Association of Municipalities meeting, where he requested supervisors to “take a deeper dive with us” -- hoping to enlist the Town of Batavia and a couple of other towns to sign on as pilot communities.

“The recreation plan is about marketing our trails, parks and other venues, opportunities and programs throughout the county,” he said. “We’ve talking about this for a few years, and have received grant funding to look at both of these plans, lumping them together.”

As outlined in the Public Engagement Plan, the flag contest can act as a catalyst for the plan’s 10 focus groups to identify “the aspects of life in Genesee County that tell the story of what makes Genesee County a wonderful place to live, work and play.

The original comprehensive plan’s 10 focus groups are as follows:

  • Agriculture & Food Production
  • Community Wellness
  • Criminal Justice and Emergency Management
  • Economic & Workforce Development
  • Government Administration & Education
  • Housing Opportunities
  • Land Use, Environment & Place-Making
  • Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture
  • Technology & Utilities
  • Transportation and Mobility

Key objectives of the Public Engagement Plan include:

  • Invite Genesee County residents and stakeholders to participate in unique engagement techniques that emphasize team building and organizational development principles for individualized problem solving;
  • Activate a diverse and representational group of stakeholders and champions to accurately reflect the opinions and ideals of the Genesee County community;
  • Identify strategic sites for potential envisioning plans and improvement sites;
  • Develop strategies toward more captivating projects that support the quality of life for all residents of Genesee County as well as attract tourists;
  • Ensure workability of the Genesee County future vision to maintain a high level of applicability for the next 20 years.

For more information about these developments, contact Oltramari at [email protected] or by calling (585) 815-7901.

October 16, 2019 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county planning, news.

With a senior planner leaving the Genesee County Planning Department for a private-sector job, Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said he sees it as an opportunity to reorganize his department in a way he thinks will be more efficient and help the county save some money.

Oltramari told members of the Public Service Committee on Tuesday that he would like to promote analyst Erin Pence to deputy planning director and create a position of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) clerk, thus eliminating the position of senior planner.

The reorganization, if approved by the Legislature during the budget process, would reduce costs in the department for 2020 by $4,000 and Oltramari said his five-year projection shows continued savings for at least that period of time.

In recent years, Oltramari's staff has consisted of a senior planner (a union-represented position) and an analyst (a non-union management position) and one assistant. The cost savings would be a result of reclassifying the senior planner position into an assistant position.

Oltramari said one of the things he learned after Derik Kane as senior planner for a position with LaBella and Associates is that one reason senior planners tend to stay in such county jobs -- and it's not just Genesee County -- is because the pay scale for the position tends to top out at about the six-year mark at which point, there are better private-sector opportunities.

And since Genesee County's pay scale for that position is about 25 percent less than the market rate, it makes it even harder to hire and retain qualified personnel. Oltramari said he understood why the pay for that position was set at the rate it is at; since it's a union position, raising pay to market rate would necessitate wage increases for personnel in other departments at the same current rate.

The reorganization will also help the planning department provide better service with GIS. Data entry and data management for GIS is time-intensive.

The county GIS map provides a lot of information to the community about tax parcels, jurisdictions, roads, streams and waterways, pipelines, fire hydrants, and a dozen or more other data points of interest.

The GIS system is also used by emergency dispatch, fire departments and local law enforcement for responding to incidents. The GIS system ties into CAD (Computer Assisted Dispatch system in every patrol car. The information can get pretty granular and is ever-changing.)  

Keeping up with the information to ensure the database stays current is time-consuming, Oltramari said. 

Analyst Pence currently handles the data maintenance and has little time to pursue opportunities to expand the system's functionality.

In her new role, she would supervise the data management position and work on expanding GIS services for the public and county agencies. For example, Oltramari said, it would be useful to have GIS provide road-closure information.

As deputy planner, Pence would also take on the duties of a senior planner.

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