Some Democratic members of the Oneida County Board of Legislators said they didn’t like the situation.

“This is another cost being passed along to John Q. Public,” said Democratic Minority Leader Frank Tallarino of Rome.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, however, said the families of people who die in Syracuse hospitals are faced with the same costs.

He also said other counties with similar systems do the same thing.

“Government can’t pay for everything,” he said.

Under state law, any time there is a violent, suspicious or unattended death, a coroner or medical examiner’s office official must be called. Oneida County averages more than 400 such deaths each year.

Because the contract is below $50,000, it did not have to be approved by the county Board of Legislators.