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County panel votes to delay spending on project that isn't fully funded

Jill Terreri
Staff writer

A rare bipartisan agreement on a Democratic suggestion occurred Tuesday in a County Legislature committee meeting when a request to spend money on a project that isn't fully funded was put on hold.

The Department of Human Services asked the legislature's Human Services Committee to spend $770,000 with the Clark Patterson Lee firm on a design for a facility that would provide health care services for children transitioning out of foster care. In addition to being necessary for construction, the design would encourage $5 million in private donations, said Commissioner Kelly Reed.

Legislator Jose Cruz, D-Rochester, said that nearly $1 million was an "outrageous amount" to spend for a project that is not funded and may never be built.

The project cost is projected at $8.6 million. The state is providing $3 million.

Committee Chairman Ciaran Hanna, R-Fairport, and Legislator Carrie Andrews, D-Rochester, said they would like the administration to get more information about the probability of raising private funds and the project in general.

The Monroe County Pediatrics and Community Visitation Center would be built on the campus of Monroe Community Hospital and would provide health care, a visitation center and services to support the emotional health and development of children in foster care.

Lawmakers did not object to the project's goals.