Mr. Joseph called a public hearing to order at 5:30 p.m. concerning the 2004 Small Cities Program and asked if anyone wished to speak.
Heather Filaberto, Planning Department, provided the legislature with the following brief overview of the Small Cities Program.
"Tompkins County is proposing to continue and expand the Homeownership Program originally developed and funded in 1993, and re-funded in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002. A $600,000 grant is requested that will enable the County to assist an additional 18-20 first-time homebuyers.
"The program is available to low-and moderate-income households that meet income qualifications set by HUD. Participants must either live or work in Tompkins County and are eligible to purchase homes throughout the county, excluding the City of Ithaca as they operate a similar program.
"The terms, conditions, and policies now being utilized will be continued as part of Tompkins County Homeownership Program VII. Basic terms include the following:
"Better Housing for Tompkins County, a local not-for-profit, will continue to provide housing counseling and other administrative services as part of the program. Financial counseling has been intensified in recent years to better meet the needs of program participants.
"Local lenders are expected to commit themselves to participating in the program. In 2002 lenders committed $5,250,000 in additional mortgage funds to the program. Lenders are also expected to continue to reduce fees and closing costs associated with home purchases.
"If received, this grant will be fully executed within 18 months".
In response to a question posed by Ms. Robertson about State budget impacts, Ms. Filaberto said the State budget would not have an effect on this year’s allocation ,which is $52 million; however, there may be an impact on future-year budgets.
No one else wished to speak and the public hearing was closed at 5:34 p.m.
Public Hearing - Local Law No. 1 of 2004 - A Local Law Barring Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression
Mr. Joseph called the second public hearing to order at 5:35 p.m. concerning Local Law No. 1 of 2004 - A Local Law Barring Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression, and asked if anyone wished to speak.
Janis Carson, Enfield resident, spoke in support of Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She stated that in 1991 the County Board adopted a local law barring discrimination of individuals based on sexual preference. She said the County Legislature clearly states in the County Code that it has a responsibility to ensure every individual in the County is afforded an equal opportunity to enjoy a full life. Ms. Carson asked Tompkins County to honor its commitment and to bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.
Pat Pryor, City of Ithaca, spoke in support of Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said any time legislation is passed there has to be a balance of privacy of people and the people’s right to know. Ms. Pryor proposed an alternative way to think about the impending law. She said if it is thought about in terms of any criminal procedure there are many similarities with the human rights investigation procedure. Ms. Pryor said if a complaint is brought to the police there is an investigation that moves forward based on that complaint and it is not the responsibility of the police to reveal all of the details publicly of that investigation; in fact, there is good reason for them not to do so. She said only if it seems that complaint is substantial that it get reviewed by the District Attorney's Office. In that case it still goes to the Grand Jury and that process remains out of public view. She stated it helps to provide protection against frivolous complaints where the person being complained about may have their reputation smeared prematurely without any evidence that the complaint is valid. If an indictment is handed down from the Grand Jury then it goes to court and becomes a matter of public review. Ms. Pryor said a similar procedure takes place when investigations are performed by the Human Rights Commission. It is her hope that individuals will understand this process and why those involved have a right to privacy.
Richard Baer, Ithaca, read and submitted the following statement for the record:
"A Few Concerns and Thoughts Regarding Proposed Legislation for Tompkins County on Gender Identity and Expression and Sexual Orientation
"A. Fairness and Appropriate Non-Discrimination Is a Worthy Goal
1. Most fair-minded people believe that all citizens should have reasonable opportunities to gain employment, housing, access to stores, restaurants, medical care, etc. This aspect of the legislation being considered is commendable in its general intent, and in general I support it.
B. The Proposed Legislation's Impact on Public Schools and Education (Particularly in Regards to Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience)
1. As I read the proposed legislation, it would become unlawful for K-12 schools to refuse to hire teachers and other personnel because of their "gender identity and expression" and "sexual orientation."
2. If this reading is correct, then I see serious problems, especially with respect to K-12 education. This is because of the very impressionable minds of children, the monopoly financial structure of our government public schools, and the inability of most parents to pay for alternative schools for their children. As Stephen Arons writes in his book Compelling Belief, "we have created a system of school finance that provides free choice for the rich and compulsory socialization for everyone else" (1983, p. 212).
3. The proposed legislation purports to protect the interests of religious citizens, and in one sense it does. But with respect to education, it serves only to protect the rich and those with access to highly subsidized K-12 schools, for only these groups have the possibility of removing their children from schools which support practices and espouse moral and religious beliefs with which they fundamentally disagree. For a very large number of Catholics, evangelical Christians, Muslims, and orthodox Jews, the possibility of having transsexuals, cross-dressers, et al. as teachers and role models for their children is highly offensive, to put it mildly. Not a few secular psychiatrists would also argue that such a practice will be detrimental to children in terms of the development of their gender identity.
4. The proposed legislation would be far less worrisome if Tompkins County legislators, the ICSD, other school systems, and New York State were to give their support to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights when it states that every parent has the right to determine the kind of education his children receive. America today is virtually alone among mature democracies in forcing citizens either to submit their children to government public schools or else pay for their education themselves. In other words, religious citizens and other conscientious objectors must pay twice for their children's education, and most citizens cannot afford this.
5. We already have extensive evidence in local schools, particularly in the ICSD, that gays are using their positions as teachers not just to push for fair treatment of gay students (which I support) but also to indoctrinate children in the belief that gay sex is normatively acceptable, even desirable. This is offensive to many parents, and is inappropriate behavior in tax-supported public schools.
C. Further Concerns
I. This issue is being pushed through the legislature without adequate publicity and time for public deliberation, especially concerning the implications of the legislation for education. Business owners are also concerned, but I shall let them speak for themselves.
2. If approved, this legislation will polarize and alienate large numbers of people in this county. If I can judge from my own experience in raising questions about similar issues (e.g. the original discussion of Law C or the presentation of the Josh Keenan play in the Ithaca High School), people are hesitant to speak frankly about these issues. A significant percentage of those who objected to "politically correct" positions, including myself, were harassed by and received hate mail from gays and others, and thus many are reluctant to say what they really think about these issues.
3. Trandsgendered people currently enjoy the rights of other citizens, and I see no good reasons for granting them special rights. Do alcoholics, smokers, people who lose their temper easily (perhaps in part because of genetic endowment), and others also deserve special rights? If not, why not?
4. In a time of oppressive property tax increases, is this issue important enough that we want to spend what could turn out to be substantial amounts of money on regulations, enforcement, and litigation? Do we want to further alienate parents and students from our public schools? Is this the best way to make this a community that respects and takes seriously the beliefs and values of all citizens?
5. Over the past ten years or so, much of the discussion of gay rights, rights of transsexuals, etc. has been conducted with colossal ignorance of the best science available to us-- psychological, medical, sociological, epidemiological, etc.--pertaining to these issues. The media and academia routinely engage in censorship by omission with respect to anything negative about gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc., with the result that most citizens, including many who hold Ph.D's, have very little understanding of what the best science tells us.
6. Those who oppose legislation like that currently being considered, frequently, indeed typically, are often portrayed as ignorant bigots who have little compassion for gays and others. I find such tactics offensive and unwarranted. Most of the people I know who opposed Law C and who oppose the current proposed legislation are compassionate, thoughtful people who truly want to see a just society with fair laws for everyone.
7. If we are honest, we have very little reason to believe that having transsexual teachers will have positive effects on children. Children are very impressionable, especially in primary and junior high school, and it is my guess that most parents would not welcome transsexual teachers for their own children. Many parents already believe that our government public schools are acting illegitimately when they allow gay teachers and counselors to recommend a gay lifestyle for students, especially given the fact that there is great controversy as to the etiology and meaning of gay sex. A large percentage of parents do not want either gay teachers or transgendered teachers as role models for their children. This does not mean that it is appropriate to discriminate against gays and transgendered people who want to teach in colleges and universities (or in housing, medical care, etc.), but only that when teachers act in loco parentis there are different criteria that come into play.
8. Will the law require government agencies to place children to be adopted by transsexuals if the latter request it? Is the general public even remotely in favor of such a practice?
9. My observation is that over the past 30-40 years, our society has engaged in a gradual absolutizing of human sexual wants and desires, while at the same time the interests of children and the beliefs and values of religious citizens and conservative secular citizens have been marginalized. Given the First Amendment, I find this ironic, to say the least. At first the argument was that sex is private and no business of the state. But the current position seems to be that sex is very public with respect to public schools and other components of our common life. The problem is that sex is both private and public, and it is up to people in a just society to make tough decisions about how the best balance between the two is to be achieved. I do not believe that the proposed legislation reflects careful reflection about such a fair and equitable balance.
D. Concluding Comments
1. If you approve this legislation, will you as legislators be acting as representatives of the larger public or as the agents of special interests?
2. My hope is that you will vote against this legislation, or, at the very least, postpone approval till it has been better publicized and residents of the county have had more opportunity for reflection, discussion, and debate."
Cliff Morris, City of Ithaca, read and submitted the following statement in opposition of Local Law No. 1 of 2004 for the record:
"My name is Cliff Morris and I would encourage the County Board to not consider passage of this Local Law that amends Chapter 92 of the Tompkins County Code for the following concerns.
I. The definition of Gender Identity and Expression is so vague
and hard to clarify that it will be impossible for those in the community
at times to know how to respond to transgender people. How can the public
differentiate between a person's perceived gender identity or their gender
related self image. If their looks on the outside is different than what
their are perceiving on the inside how can an honest person perceive the
difference without asking. Does this not set up a difficult situation in
trying to prosecute people for making a perceptive error when it is not
discernible or understandable to a rational person. This could result in
the waste of resources and time trying to prove bias. Why do we want to
spend time and resources trying to decide between he said and she said
scenario. Do not our laws already protect the rights of all people from
2. I am concerned for the safety of my children in the area of public park restrooms and recreation areas. According to this legislation, as best as I can understand it, there can be no bias against a transgender person in the public and park areas. Does this mean that a man who perceives himself a woman on a particular day has the right to use the ladies restroom if he wears a dress. I may be missing something in this legislation and have come to wrong assumptions, but is this area of risk addressed If not, how can we set up a tremendous risk for our children at the hands of those who use this legislation for the wrong reasons. If we error, should we not ensure that legislation provides for the safety of all people in the public facilities by defining the parameters for those who have rights to change their perceived gender.
3. As a person from the faith community, it concerns me that the wording of the legislation indirectly indicates that a trangendered person could be hired to teach our children. Because teachers have a large influence on our children, especially at a young age, I think a person struggling with their gender would not be a good situation for our children. I think this is not fair for those of the community of faith to have someone who practices a behavior that is questionable in many faiths to be teaching children. Do those of the religious community have rights to an education for our children that does not violate our religious views and convictions. I know that teachers regardless of personal behaviors can teach children the material provided, but the reality is that we teach with a slant from our world view. I hope that the rights of the religious community can also be included in decisions by the County Board.
"In conclusion I suggest that the board votes no on the proposed
Donald Bilderback, Town of Caroline, spoke in opposition to proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. He said when he was reading Section 92.4 of the legislation with reference to religious and others being exempt, the proposed Local Law appears to hold a business to a higher state of accountability than religious organizations, and questioned whether this is fair. He believes the legislation already on the books is sufficient and no more legislation is needed.
Gwendolyn Dean, Uptown Village, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said she would never say that someone’s identity and beliefs should not be teaching her children and that there are many religious beliefs she does not agree with; however, she doesn’t think it is reason to exclude them from being treated fairly. Ms. Dean said education is publicly funded and the more varied beliefs children are exposed to the better. She stated it also seems odd that people who want to talk about their right to their beliefs and identity and expression would want to keep other people form having the same right. In terms of cost of the legislation, there are approximately 50 other cities and ten counties in the United States who protect gender identity and expression and there hasn’t been a huge rash of expenses surrounding it. Ms. Dean said whether or not a law is in place would not protect the County from lawsuits; however, this Law would provide a clear set of expectations and a clear process to go through.
Richard Driscoll, Newfield, recalled the public hearing that former Chairman Mason called 12 years ago at the Ithaca High School in regard to Local Law No. 6 of 1991 - Fair Practice. He stated the courage of the Board at that time was wonderful, and thinks this Legislature is hearing the same fears as were heard then and they did not come to pass until after that Law was adopted.
Steven Felker, Town of Ithaca, spoke in opposition to proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004 and said he feels there has been a very short time period for the public to review this proposed Local Law. He spoke of a conversation he had with a member of a local school district who expressed concern about the affects this Law may have on schools. Mr. Felker stated the language contained in the proposed Local Law contains no clear standard for what is right or wrong. He believes everyone is free to make choices about what they are going to do but it doesn’t mean that gives the right to validate everyone’s choice by adopting a local law. He said the language in the proposed Local Law is very vague and believes the County should spend taxpayer money elsewhere. He asked that the Board delay action on this to allow for public input.
Sara Simpkins, City of Ithaca, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said this has been put off long enough and there is no reason to delay action. She stated equal protection is a very important thing to have in Tompkins County. Ms. Simpkins said she works with transgendered individuals and has never encountered any of the negative issues or concerns that have been presented this evening.
Dan Winch, Town of Newfield Legislator, spoke from the public speaking area. Mr. Winch said he has the right to practice his religion and believes speaking from that side of the railing is where he should make his comments about proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. Mr. Winch said he considers himself to be a conservative Christian and practices his faith by reading the Bible. He said he opposes proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004, and spent a great deal of time reading the Bible to see what it says and probably views it much differently than some other Christians. He stated he has had conversations with people across the country and including Focus on the Family (in Colorado) and the Life Ministry in Nashville, Tennessee. He has shared the proposed Local Law with several Christian organizations and has received the message that it is not biblical and it is very weak and vague. Mr. Winch said he has also received several calls from the Christian community around Tompkins County asking him to oppose this Legislation.
Brenda Marston, City of Ithaca resident, spoke in support of proposed
Local Law No. 1 of 2004. Ms. Marston spoke as a parent and said she
thinks this Legislation will send a positive message to the youth in this
area. Schools should be a safe place for children regardless of the
child's sexual or gender identification.
Millie Wheeling, City of Ithaca, spoke in support of the proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said this legislation in no way could hurt anyone. She stated some of the most loving people she knows are transgendered people and some are held back so many times because of fear. She urged the Legislature to support the proposed Local Law as she believes it would only do wonderful things for the community.
Ritalyn Sly, Elmira, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said if the Legislature agrees that discrimination should be barred it will vote in favor and a vote against the law is a vote in favor of discrimination.
Joyce Muchan, Vice Chair of the Human Rights Commission, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said there has been a lot of dialogue in the Ithaca Journal relating to the budget of the Human Rights Commission and whether or not this Law should be passed. She said she took an oath as a Commissioner to uphold the civil rights of everyone and expects the same kind of oath to be upheld by County legislators.
Maria Coles, City Common Council member, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She pleaded with the Legislature to pass this legislation that impacts a very vibrant portion of its society.
Robin Goodrich, Ithaca resident, spoke in support of proposed
Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said if he could have lived as a genetic
female all of her life he would have and would not have endured suffering
for almost fifty years.
Bob Wigdin, City of Ithaca, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. He said he, too, is a conservative transgendered Christian and believes in the Word of God. Mr. Wigdin said he does not believe that his personal faith should have major impact on this legislation and as a conservative Christian he can support this. He said he moved to this community because of its progressive attitudes and acceptance of all types of people. He pointed out that Jesus said "whosoever…".
Crystal Farkas, spoke in support of proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004. She said her partner and father are transgendered. She doesn't care what people think of her but only cares whether her partner is discriminated against in the areas such as employment, education, and the use of public restrooms. Ms. Farkas also stated she only cares about whether she and her partner are able to live their lives safely and happily.
No one else wished to speak and the public hearing was closed at 6:16 p.m.
Chairman Joseph called the regular meeting to order at 6:16 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and Roll Call of Members
Members and guests participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Present: 15 Legislators.
Privilege of the Floor by the Public
Tom Corey, Dryden resident and newly elected Co-Chair of PushBack, said the group is working towards tax relief thru tax equity. At the present time they are trying to change the focus from a group run by legislators to one run by society. Mr. Corey said last week he spent a day with representatives from Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga counties who are planning to travel to Albany to present 10,000 signatures that were collected in the Southern Tier asking for a reduction in mandates and for Medicaid reform. He said the issue of legislation at both the State and Federal level impacts county governments to be able to carry a much greater tax load. He said New York State's budget is 250 percent of the national average per capita for Medicaid. In 2003, the State had a $41 billion budget for Medicaid and this is larger than the budgets of 40 states altogether. Mr. Corey urged everyone to contact their State representatives and tell them they are tired of being forced to pay for this at the local level.
Josh Rubin, Cornell University student, spoke in support of the resolution on the agenda entitled "Urging Adoption of Public Financing of Campaigns for Statewide Office in New York. He spoke of how many funds have been raised by candidates for public office and said fundraising also takes time away from doing the job candidates who already hold a public office have. He said passage of this legislation will allow legislators to spend more time doing what they were elected to do. He said it would also make elections much more competitive because it will allow candidates who don’t have enough money to run for public office do so and will provide an opportunity for their views to be heard.
Dan Pearlstein, City of Ithaca resident and President of the Democracy Matters Chapter at Cornell University which is one of eighty organizations that support the adoption of public financing of campaigns for statewide offices in New York. He said if Tompkins County supports the resolution on the agenda this evening it would be the first County in New York State to support the legislation. He said this isn't "welfare for politicians"; the real welfare for politicians is reelecting incumbents and having them die in office. He said people get elected with money sent in from outside their district. He said they believe several views will never be heard because people are not able to finance an election for public office. He said our democracy is supposed to be a democracy where local constituents elect candidates to represent their interests, but that is not the case because politicians often spend half of their time fundraising for the next election process.
Privilege of the Floor by Legislators
Frank Proto, District No. 7 Legislator, said he has heard from a number of County residents who have received their new assessment forms and most of them are unhappy about assessments and rates. Mr. Proto said all legislators should have received an invitation from Kenneth Schlather, Executive Director of Cooperative Extension, about two watershed network workshops. Those presentations will be held on February 24 and March 3 and urged members to attend. He also reported on the Universal Fund Charge (E-rate); he stated today a response was received from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) through Senator Clinton’s office. They are loosening up the process and claim to have a $2.25 billion cap on the receipts. He asked if anyone has seen the e-rate disappear from their phone bills and noted he has not. He will provide more information as it becomes available.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, District No. 11 Legislator, reported the New York State budget review process is coming to Tompkins County. Someone from the Fiscal Policy Institute will be in town tomorrow from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church to provide an overview of what is contained in the State budget and how Tompkins County is impacted.
Distinguished Youth Award
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, District No. 15 Legislator, presented the Distinguished Youth Award to a youth representative of the Orange Tree Theatre. He stated every year for the last seven years the Orange Tree Theatre, a youth empowerment organization, has performed youth theatre across Tompkins County. They have their own board and do their own fundraising. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr read the mission statement of the organization and said it amazes him how it regenerates every year with fresh ideas.
Mr. Penniman, District No. 15 Legislator, thanked Tom Corey and members of this Legislature for their involvement in Pushback. He said unfortunately, he has not seen a lot of progress this year and is not very optimistic about the State reducing Medicaid costs to local governments in the coming year. Mr. Penniman said one idea that surfaced at the NYSAC Conference recently is to pursue federal legislation that restricts states from putting too much of the cost on local governments and asked everyone to bring this up when lobbying federal representatives.
Ms. Robertson, District No. 13 Legislator, congratulated the Orange Tree Theatre and stated the process of that group grows leaders. She spoke of Federal budget proposals contained in the President's budget and stated the Federal deficit will be $571 billion at the end of the year, yet they will be asking for increases in defense and will be cutting funding to police officers, community policing programs, grants to fire companies, job training, community colleges, environmental programs, and housing programs.
Ms. Schuler, District No. 4 Legislator, reported a graduation ceremony will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the Felony Drug Court with a court session to follow and a Family Drug Court Treatment graduation ceremony will be held on March 2 at 3:30 in the County Courtroom.
Mr. Lane, District No. 14 Legislator, commented on the public hearing process that took place earlier this evening. He said he appreciates the individuals who attended the meeting to present their views to the Legislature. He said he received a phone call from Jim Crawford, Publisher of the Herald Examiner, who was quite concerned about proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004 and is surprised he didn't attend to voice his opinion.
RESOLUTION NO. 18 - ADOPTION OF LOCAL LAW NO. 1 OF 2004 - A LOCAL
LAW BARRING DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF
GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION
MOVED by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, seconded by Ms. Herrera.
Ms. Blanchard thanked Ms. Pryor for speaking under Privilege of the Floor for her clear explanation of the Human Rights Commission investigation process.
Ms. Herrera said she is proud to be here this evening to support
this Legislation. She said it is her understanding that this country
is about freedom and non-discrimination. She thanked everyone
for coming to speak this evening and noted the fact that everyone, regardless
of their opinions, are sitting together this evening and this shows the
strides that have been made since the Fair Practice Law was introduced
and adopted in 1991.
Mr. Proto thanked everyone for speaking this evening. He referred to the comments made under Privilege of the Floor in regard to concerns school districts may have about this legislation and suggested a postponement until they can have an opportunity to review it.
Mr. Joseph recommended a book entitled "Stone Butch Blues" by Leslie Steinburg for reading by anyone who doesn't understand why this matters. He said this book is a very graphic description of what it means to be transgendred and describes the pain, isolation, confusion, fear, and self-hate that come from being persecuted for it. While he read the book he said to himself that if he was ever in a position to put a stop to the kinds of experiences described in this book he would stand up for the author and people like him/her and would offer his protection.
Ms. Schuler agreed with Mr. Joseph's comments.
Ms. Kiefer spoke of a local radio talk show host and was startled to hear his comments this morning about this proposed legislation. She said he has a serious misunderstanding about how the Law would function. She said the host called upon people to attend this meeting to speak against it. She expressed her surprise that this host did not attend this evening's meeting as he is a resident of Tompkins County. Ms. Kiefer said she supports this law because she is against discrimination.
Mr. Penniman said he supports this Law and does not think it will come close to solving all of the problems that people are having but appreciates that this need has been identified.
Mr. Booth said he supports the proposed legislation, although, he is curious how churches can be exempt. He stated many different views have been presented this evening and he is impressed by the courtesy that has been shown on both sides.
Ms. Robertson referred to the comment made under Privilege of the Floor in regard to concerns school districts may have and said she wishes the person who has concerns would have attended the meeting this evening. She spoke to Mr. Winch and stated she has the utmost respect for him and in no way questions his feelings; however, she referred to the comments made by Mr. Wigdin who also describes himself as a conservative Christian and has an entirely different interpretation of what is meant by the legislation. She stated there are many different people who can take the same piece of scripture and interpret it differently. Ms. Robertson said she does not believe anyone has a right to discriminate against another.
Mr. Winch stated he hopes he is not being considered against any group of people because of their beliefs or religion because he has stood up for other groups in the past. He said this happens to be a case where his vote will be coming from his personal beliefs.
Mr. Lane stated he has given this a lot of thought and was on the committee when it was studied. He does not believe this amendment is a major change in Local Law No. 6 of 1991 - Fair Practice. Mr. Lane said changes in society make many people uncomfortable but while they are being worked out, the most vulnerable have to be protected.
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said if we were truly a liberal society this discussion would not even be taking place. She said shortness of time is not an acceptable excuse to her to avoid and stop discrimination. She stated the time has come to end discrimination. Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said this is the second time that her heart has been racing since she became a Legislator; the last time was during a discussion about property issues and poverty. She, too, is a Christian, and urged legislators to support this law against discrimination.
Mr. Totman said he does not believe in discrimination; however, he believes this is a self-made situation.
Mr. Todd said he believes this is a private matter that County government should stay out of. He said the County has enough trouble and does not need to look for new problems.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr thanked Ms. Pryor for bringing this issue to the Government Operations Committee last fall. He noted the word "trangendered" is not in the Law because there are so many opinions about what that means. He also alerted people that the areas of discrimination addressed in the law are employment, education, housing, credit, and public accommodation. He said he will support this Law because as Martin Luther King, Jr. stated "injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere".
It was MOVED by Mr. Proto, seconded by Mr. Winch, to postpone
action on this resolution until the second meeting in March to give the
school districts a chance to react. A voice vote on the motion
to postpone resulted as follows: Ayes - 2 (Legislators Proto and
Winch); Noes - 13. MOTION FAILED.
Ms. Robertson asked Mr. Wilson, Assistant County Attorney, to explain the subpoena power language contained in the Law and stated she has a hard time envisioning how this would be enforced without that power. Mr. Wilson said the State of New York in its statues allows for subpoena power to enforce it. He said enforcement requires subpoena power by its very nature and if it were under State law, that power would be there.
Mr. Booth commented that his vote on this does not change his positions that staffing at the Human Rights Department may be an expense that the County can no longer afford to support and that discussion will take place during the budget process.
A voice vote on the resolution resulted as follows: Ayes - 11, Noes - 4 (Legislators Proto, Todd, Totman, and Winch). RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
WHEREAS, a public hearing was held before the Tompkins County
Legislature on February 17, 2004, to hear all persons interested in proposed
Local Law No. 1 of 2004, and
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Government Operations Committee, That proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2004 - A Local Law Barring Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression, is hereby adopted,
RESOLVED, further, That the Clerk of the Legislature shall publish in the official newspaper of the County a notice of adoption containing a synopsis of said local law and shall within twenty days file one certified copy in the Office of the County Clerk, and one copy with the Secretary of State.
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-20
Mr. Joseph declared recess from 7:08 p.m. to 7:20 p.m.
Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Consumer and Community Affairs Committee
Ms. Kiefer, Chair, deferred giving a Committee report to the next meeting.
RESOLUTION NO. 19 - URGING ADOPTION OF PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE IN NEW YORK
MOVED by Ms. Kiefer, seconded by Mr. Penniman.
Mr. Winch asked how and by who this would be administered. Ms. Kiefer responded it would be administered by the State Board of Elections whose membership has been increased from four to a five member board. The funds would come from four different sources: contributions, increase in lobbyist fees, fines, and general State revenues.
Mr. Proto spoke of two letters he received in the last week which each explained the background of this proposal. He questioned what would happen in cases where candidates are outspent. Ms. Kiefer said if an individual who accepts funding for a Statewide race is significantly outspent by someone who has not accepted public funding, the Board of Elections has the ability to increase the amount of public financing to match what the privately-financed candidate is receiving up to the maximum of three times the initial amount. Mr. Proto said he understands and feels the intent is laudible, he has a problem with this being proposed now because he does not think the State is in a position to be funding campaigns at this point in time.
Mr. Winch said he wanted to have issues clarified because of where the funding is going to be coming from. He said he does not believe the items Ms. Kiefer mentioned would begin to cover the expenses of many of the candidates of a statewide election. He said this cost will be borne by many of the taxpayers. He also said he does not believe that all elections have to be expensive; if a candidate is very knowledgeable on the issues and presents their case, their support will come in the masses.
Ms. Schuler said the cost of presenting issues to masses of people is where the costs is great. She stated the United Kingdom allots each candidate a certain amount of funds and the media gives free time on the radio or newswaves to broadcast the information.
Mr. Lane said both the State and State election process are in need of reform and he believes this is the first step in that process.
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne does not believe elections have to be expensive and the very people who are the masses who would like support campaigns.
Mr. Penniman said the influence of money on elections is very evident with what is being seen now in the Presidential races. He said there are two factors when someone pulls out of an election -- one is how they are doing in the polls and the other is their ability to raise money. He agreed with Mr. Lane that this is one small step in a much-needed reform of State elections.
Ms. Kiefer commended the two gentlemen who spoke under privilege of the floor earlier in this meeting. She said she finds it very encouraging that younger members of the County take this kind of issue seriously.
Mr. Todd stated he feels there are better places to spend property tax money than on elections.
Ms. Blanchard said a year ago she would have supported this but thinks we are seeing some real problems that are the result of tampering with how elections are financed. She said she has unanswered questions, therefore, she cannot support this resolution.
A voice vote on the resolution resulted as follows: Ayes - 10, Noes - 5 (Legislators Blanchard, Proto, Todd, Totman, and Winch). RESOLUTION ADOTPED.
WHEREAS, access to wealth can be a major consideration for candidacy
and wealth can have a major negative influence in the political process,
WHEREAS, a candidate should have a fair chance at winning office based on his/her ideas and integrity rather than how much money can be raised, and
WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in both the New York State Senate and Assembly to address these issues, and
WHEREAS the "Clean Money Clean Elections" bill (A34530-A, S3440) creates a public fund for candidates who refuse private money in their campaigns for statewide offices, and
WHEREAS, the Clean Money Clean Elections bill would enhance democracy by reducing the deleterious influence of money in the political process, and
WHEREAS, Clean Money Clean Elections would help level the playing field to give qualified citizens without access to big money a fair chance, and
WHEREAS, Clean Money Clean Elections would help stop the endless money chase so that candidates are free of the constant need to raise money and those elected have more time to serve the public interest rather than constantly raising funds for their next campaign, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Consumer and Community Affairs Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature urges the New York State Legislature to enact legislation like the Clean Money Clean Elections bill in order to reduce the influence moneyed interests have over the electoral and legislative processes of government,
RESOLVED, further, That this resolution be sent directly to the state representatives whose districts fall within any portion of Tompkins County and to the leadership and relevant Committee Chairs in both the New York State Assembly and Senate.
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Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee
Ms. Herrera, Chair, reported at the last meeting the Committee appointed liaisons, received an update from the Strategic Tourism Planning Board, and the Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Bridgett Berry reported that tourism was booming in 2003 and occupancy and rates were up. The Committee also received a report from Ed Marx who presented the 2004 Work Plan for the Planning Department.
RESOLUTION NO. 20 - APPROPRIATION FROM ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX FUND AND
APPROVAL OF CONTRACT FOR ARTS AND
CULTURE STABILIZATION - COMMUNITY ARTS PARTNERSHIP
MOVED by Ms. Herrera, seconded by Ms. Kiefer. A short roll call vote resulted as follows: Ayes - 15, Noes - 0. RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
WHEREAS, the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) recognizes that the local
arts and cultural community is a valuable and unique asset, and that a
need exists to harness the power of the arts to develop tourism growth,
and if strategically managed, that would stabilize and develop these assets
to better serve tourists through well-planned marketing efforts, and
WHEREAS, Resolution No. 46 of 2003, authorized a contract with CAP to create a comprehensive arts marketing plan and develop and implement a plan for financial and operational stabilization of arts and cultural entities, and
WHEREAS, the arts and cultural community would better position itself in the marketplace to attract more visitors to Tompkins County, thus generating more dollars into the local economy, and
WHEREAS, funding exists within the Room Tax Occupancy budget for the Arts and Cultural Stabilization Plan program, and
WHEREAS, the Stabilization, Planning, and Development grant requests of the Arts and Cultural Stabilization Plan for $137,500 have been reviewed and recommended by the Strategic Tourism Planning Board, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality and the Budget and Capital Committees, That $10,000 be appropriated from the Room Occupancy Tax Fund Balance and added to the existing $127,500 budgeted in 2004 in the tourism budget for the Arts and Cultural Stabilization Grants, and CAP shall then disburse grants as follows:
Historic Ithaca (State Theatre)…..$ 30,000
Kitchen Theatre………………….$ 25,000
Dewitt Historical Society………..$ 20,000
Hangar Theatre……...….………. $ 30,000
Cayuga Chamber Orchestra……..$ 20,000
Grants Total $125,000
RESOLVED, further, That, of the total program amount of $137,500, $12,500 (10 percent of program expenditures) shall be paid to CAP for administrative evaluation and oversight services,
RESOLVED, further, That the County Administrator or his designee is authorized to sign any agreements with CAP pertaining to this program for $137,500 ($125,000 for grants and $12,500 for program administration),
RESOLVED, further, That in order to increase the 2004 room tax budget from the $125,000 budgeted for 2004 to the $137,500 needed, the Finance Director is authorized to make the following transaction:
From: 0980.0000 Room Tax Reserve Fund Balance $10,000
To: 6475.54400 Program Expense $10,000
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Presentation of Proclamation
Chair Joseph presented a proclamation to Legislator McBean-Clairborne declaring the month of February to be Black History Month in Tompkins County.
Report form the County Administrator
Mr. Whicher distributed department head goals to members of the
Legislature. He reported contract discussions have begun with the
Road Patrol bargaining units and he will be asking for an executive session
at the next meeting.
Report from the County Attorney
Mr. Wilson, Assistant County Attorney, had no report.
Report from the Finance Director
Mr. Squires reported Tompkins County began the year on a positive note with regard to sales tax. In January 2003, sales tax receipts were $2.4 million and in 2004 they were $2.9 million. He said part of the reason for the increase is because of the removal of the exemption on clothing and because it was much colder in January, 2004 than it was at that time in 2003.
Addition of Resolution(s) to the Agenda
On motion and duly seconded and unanimously adopted by voice vote, the resolution entitled Authorization to Execute Supplementary Construction Funding Agreement with New York State Department of Transportation – Brooktondale Bridge, BIN 331400 (Lounsberry Road) was added to the agenda.
Withdrawal of Resolution(s) from the Agenda
Chair Joseph granted the appropriate Committee Chair permission to withdraw the resolution entitled Approval of Amended Bylaws of the Tompkins County Criminal Justice Advisory/Alternatives to Incarceration Board from the agenda.
Approval of Resolution(s) and Appointment(s) Under the Consent Agenda
It was MOVED by Ms. Herrera, seconded by Ms. Robertson, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the following resolution(s) Under the Consent Agenda:
RESOLUTION NO. 21 - ACCEPTANCE OF ANNUAL ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION CONSOLIDATED SERVICE PLAN
MOVED by Mr. Penniman, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, under the Consent Agenda.
WHEREAS, the Criminal Justice Advisory/Alternatives to Incarceration
Board at its January 26, 2004, meeting approved the Annual Alternatives
to Incarceration Consolidated Service Plan, and
WHEREAS, a new requirement calls for the legislative/governing body approval to accompany the Plan upon submission to the New York State Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Public Safety Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature approves the 2004 Alternatives to Incarceration Consolidated Service Plan for Tompkins County.
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RESOLUTION NO. 22 - AUTHORIZING SUBMITTAL OF 2004 SMALL CITIES COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
PROGRAM APPLICATION TO CONTINUE THE TOMPKINS COUNTY HOMEOWNERSHIP PROGRAM (VII)
MOVED by Mr. Penniman, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, under the Consent Agenda.
WHEREAS, Tompkins County has completed a process of investigation
in its community to determine community development needs for the current
WHEREAS, the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program is an important source of funding to address community development objectives in the County, and
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Homeownership Program has been funded through six separate Community Development Block Grants since 1993, and has proven to be very successful in meeting an important community development need in the County, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee, That Tompkins County is hereby authorized to apply for funding in the 2004 round of Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funding for the Tompkins County Homeownership Program (VII),
RESOLVED, further, That the County Administrator or his designee be authorized to sign all documents related to the submission of the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant application and any materials required by the Governor’s Office for Small Cities.
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RESOLUTION NO. 23 - TO AMEND RESOLUTION NO. 11 OF 2003 - DETERMINATION
AND CERTIFICATION OF COUNTY CLERK'S
ALLOWANCE - ANNUAL EXPENSES FOR ADMINISTERING MORTGAGE TAX
MOVED by Mr. Penniman, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, under the Consent Agenda.
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 262 of the New York State Tax Law,
recording officers are entitled to receive all their necessary expenses
for purposes of administering mortgage taxes in their offices on approval
and allowance by the New York State Tax Commission, and
WHEREAS, the New York State Tax Commission, by resolution duly adopted July 1, 1946, did determine that such mortgage tax expenses be approved at the amount certified to the New York State Tax Commission by the Tompkins County Legislature provided it is a reasonable and necessary allowance for such expenses, and
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Clerk has conducted a cost analysis and has recommended that the allowance for mortgage tax expenses be increased from $104,548 per annum to $128,816 per annum, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, That the sum of $128,816 per annum be, and the same hereby is, determined as a reasonable and necessary allowance of Tompkins, for the hire of clerks and assistants and other expenses to assist in the administration of mortgage recording tax law in her office, and said sum of $128,816 is hereby certified to the New York State Tax Commission as the reasonable and necessary allowance for such expenses,
RESOLVED, further, That the Clerk of the Tompkins County Legislature is hereby directed to send a certified copy of this resolution, with her original signature thereon, to the New York State Tax Commission,
RESOLVED, further, That this resolution shall take effect immediately.
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It was MOVED by Mr. Penniman, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the following appointment(s) under the Consent Agenda:
Fire, Disaster, and Emergency Response Service Advisory Board
Dale Oplinger - Delegate, Town of Lansing; term expires December 31, 2006
Thomas Dorward - Alternate, Town of Lansing; term expires December 31, 2006
Criminal Justice Advisory/Alternatives to Incarceration Board
Martha Robertson - County Legislature representative - term expires December 31, 2004
Christine Springer - Town Justice representative; term expires December 31, 2004
Advisory Board on Indigent Representation
Michael Koplinka-Loehr - Legislature member - term expires December 31, 2006
George Totman - Legislature member - term expires December 31, 2006
Local Emergency Planning Committee
Leslyn McBean-Clairborne - Chair designee, Public Safety Committee
STOP-DWI Advisory Board
Barbara Blanchard - Public Safety Committee Member - term expires December 31, 2006
Traffic Safety Board
Barbara Blanchard - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-04
George Totman - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-04
Michael Koplinka-Loehr - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-05
Leslyn McBean- Clairborne - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-05
Martha Robertson - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-06
Emergency Communications Review and Oversight Committee
George Totman - Public Safety Committee member - term expires 12-31-04
Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance
Paul J. Tatar - Tompkins County representative; term expires December 31, 2006
Water Resources Council
Kathy Herrera - County Legislator; term expires December 31, 2004
David Stilwell - US Fish and Wildlife representative (ex-officio); term expires December 31, 2004
Barry Goodrich - Watershed Organization representative; term expires December 31, 2006
Community Mental Health Services Board - Substance Abuse Subcommittee
Mary J. Chapman - Mental Health Board representative; term expires December 31, 2007
Community Mental Health Services Board - Mental Retardation/Developmental
Joan Groome - Community representative; term expires December 31, 2006
Youth Services Board
Ben Curtis - Town of Ulysses representative; term expires December 31, 2006
Greater Ithaca Activities Center
Martha Robertson - term expires December 31, 2005
Personal Emergency Response Service Advisory Board
Nancy Schuler - term expires December 31, 2005
Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Public Safety Committee
Ms. Blanchard, Chair, reported the Committee met on March 5 and spent most of the meeting discussing the Commission of Correction’s response to the County’s submission of plans with regard to the Jail. Discussion on this subject will continue at the next meeting. The Committee also heard an annual report from the Local Conditional Release Program. The Program processed 20 requests for release from the Jail in 2003 and of those requests two individuals were successful in the release program. Mr. Shurtleff, Director of Emergency Response, reported to the Committee that his Department will receive $50,000 in Homeland Security funds. There was also a brief discussion about Committee goals for 2004 and discussion will continue on that subject at the next meeting.
RESOLUTION NO. 24 – AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSFER FUNDS FROM
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES TO PERSONAL SERVICES AND
FRINGES – DAY REPORTING PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF
PROBATION AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE
MOVED by Ms. Blanchard, seconded by Ms. Robertson. Mr. Proto asked if this position would continue after State funding is exhausted. Ms. Blanchard said that would be up to this Legislature and will be discussed when the entire alternatives to incarceration program is reviewed this year. A voice vote on the resolution resulted as follows: Ayes – 15, Noes – 0. RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
the Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) withdrew from its
participation in the Day Reporting Program insofar as teaching the Impact
of Crime classes, and
WHEREAS, the Ithaca Police Department has agreed to take over the teaching of those classes at no cost to the County, and
WHEREAS, the funds available to the Day Reporting Program as a result of this change and additional funds available in the professional services account would enable filling the vacant Security Officer position on a full-time basis, and
WHEREAS, the number of people signing in at the Community Justice Center each month averages 772, with weekly numbers averaging 178 and daily numbers (excluding staff) averaging 40 individuals per day, and
WHEREAS, the Day Reporting Program now receives youth referrals from the Family Court in addition to referrals from all of the Criminal courts and Parole, and
WHEREAS, there is insufficient staff to monitor the front desk and also respond to problems in other parts of the building without the filling of this second Security Officer position, and
WHEREAS, the department head has the authority to transfer money from one account to another, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Public Safety Committee, That funding in the amount of $25,890 shall be transferred from the Professional Services to the Personal Services and Fringes accounts and that the vacant position of Security Officer be filled on a 40-hour per week basis, effective immediately,
RESOLVED, further, That no additional monies are needed, and passing this resolution will enable the garnering of state aid for this position,
RESOLVED, further, That the Director of Finance is directed to make the following adjustments to his books for 2004:
Revenue: A3160.43310 State Aid: Probation Services $7,267
Appropriation: A3160.51000650 Security Guard $7,267
From: A3160.54442 Professional Services $25,890
To: A3160.51000650 Security Guard $16,587
A3160.58800 Fringes $9,303
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Report from the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee
Mr. Booth, Chairman, reported the Committee considered a fee schedule regarding courtesy vehicles, taxi services, and TCAT at the Airport. He also reported the Committee received a lengthy presentation about a diivision realignment plan that is underway at the Highway Division. At the next meeting on February 24 the Committee will continue discussion on the plan. Mr. Booth said the Committee also received a report on the functional classification of highways and recommendations that will go to the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) and then on to the New York State Department of Transportation.
Presentation of Resolution from the Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee
RESOLUTION NO. 25 – DESIGNATION OF AN ANNUAL REVIEW PERIOD
WHEN LANDOWNER PROPOSALS FOR INCLUSION OF
VIABLE AGRICULTURAL LANDS WITHIN EXISTING CERTIFIED AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS WILL BE
REVIEWED AND ACTED UPON BY THE TOMPKINS COUNTY LEGISLATURE
MOVED by Ms. Herrera, seconded by Mr. Proto.
Ms. Kiefer said her understanding is the month of November has been chosen as the annual 30-day period for someone to request inclusion in any year when the ag-district is not up for review. She said she would like to make sure that this Legislature has to act on that proposal by March 1 in order to meet the deadline for the taxable status date which is March 1. Ms. Kiefer suggested it as an amendment; however, Ms. Herrera did not accept the amendment as being friendly. She explained it is her understanding that there is sequence of events that takes place and the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board gets a chance to hear from people about properties to include in the district and then a hearing date is established. After a hearing is held a decision is needed by the Legislature. She said this takes time and the timeframe proposed by Ms. Kiefer would not work.
Mr. Marx, Planning Commissioner and Deputy County Administrator, said State Law allows 120 dates from the 30-day period. The Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board recommended the month of November as the best month for the convenience of farmers. He said he feels it is wise to stick with what the State Law provides as the timeframe in the event anything might occur. Mr. Marx said this does not preclude agriculture assessment if someone is not in the agricultural district.
A voice vote on the resolution resulted as follows: Ayes
- 15, Noes - 0. RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
WHEREAS, New York State has modified the Agricultural District Law to allow landowners to submit proposals for the inclusion of viable agricultural land within an existing certified agricultural district, and
WHEREAS, New York State law allows the county legislative body to designate an annual thirty-day period within which landowners may submit a request to the county legislature for inclusion of land in an established agricultural district, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature establishes November as the designated annual thirty-day period for landowners to submit proposals for inclusion of viable agricultural lands within a certified county agricultural district,
RESOLVED, further, That the Tompkins County Legislature will act on such proposal within the 120-day time period required by New York State Agriculture District Law.
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Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee
RESOLUTION NO. 26 - AUTHORIZATION TO EXECUTE SUPPLEMENTARY
CONSTRUCTION FUNDING AGREEMENT WITH
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION – BROOKTONDALE BRIDGE, BIN
3314100 (LOUNSBERY ROAD)
MOVED by Mr. Booth, seconded by Mr. Proto, and unanimously adopted by voice vote.
WHEREAS, a Project for the “Brooktondale Bridge”, BIN 3314100, over
Six-Mile Creek, P.I.N. 375319, (the Project) in the Town of Caroline, is
eligible for funding under Title 23 U.S. Code, as amended, that calls for
the apportionment of the costs of such program to be borne at the ratio
of 80 percent Federal funds and 20 percent non-Federal funds, and
WHEREAS, Resolution No. 189 adopted on August 6, 2002, approved the Project and authorized execution of an agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation regarding administration and funding of Construction, Construction Inspection and Supervision, and
WHEREAS, the County of Tompkins desires to advance the above project by making a commitment of 100 percent of the non-Federal share of the costs of Construction, Construction Inspection and Supervision, and then file for reimbursement of eligible costs as required by the New York State Department of Transportation, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature hereby approves the above-subject project and authorizes the County of Tompkins to pay in the first instance one hundred percent (100%) of the Federal and non-Federal share of the costs of Construction, Construction Inspection and Supervision work for the subject Project or portions thereof,
RESOLVED, further, That the sum of $833,000 is hereby made available within account HZ5103.59239.53.07, Brooktondale Bridges Capital Project Account, to cover the cost of participation in the Construction phase of the Project,
RESOLVED, further, That in the event the full Federal and non-Federal share costs of the project exceeds the amount appropriated above, the Tompkins County Legislature shall convene as soon as possible to appropriate said excess amount immediately upon the notification of the New York State Department of Transportation thereof,
RESOLVED, further, That the Tompkins County Highway Manager or designee be and is hereby authorized to execute all necessary Agreements, certifications and reimbursement requests for Federal Aid and/or Marchiselli Aid on behalf of the County of Tompkins with the New York State Department of Transportation in connection with the advancement or approval of the Project and providing for the administration of the Project and the municipality’s first instance funding of Project costs and permanent funding of the local share of Federal-aid and State-aid eligible Project costs and all Project costs within appropriations therefore that are not so eligible,
RESOLVED, further, That a certified copy of this resolution be filed with the New York State Commissioner of Transportation by attaching it to any necessary Agreement in connection with the Project,
RESOLVED, further, That this resolution shall take effect immediately.
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Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Budget and Capital Committee
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, Chairman, reported items discussed by the Committee at the last meeting were conceptual in nature and included: Committee goals, Mortgage Recording Tax, sales tax comparisons to other counties, and the mandate classification system. He said once all of the programs are classified as mandated payments, mandated responsibilities, or locally controlled spending, the Committee will go back through all of them to see where to focus its attention.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr provided the Legislature with an overview of the budget process discussions the Committee has been having. He said the Committee reviewed surveys that were completed by both legislators and department heads. He also said there is a movement afoot to change the budget process because the procedures that are in place are very good to deal with normal times but not for difficult times. He provided an update on the initiatives taking place to change the process.
1. Chair Joseph has asked the County Administrator to look
at ways to streamline the process;
2. An exploration of mutual tax saving efforts with other municipalities, both internally and externally;
3. Increased citizen engagement;
4. Increased public education efforts about services County government provides; and
5. Community Advisory Panel. This is a committee of ten people, four from the business community, four from non-profit, and all have experience in financial management. They have already suggested looking at the County's procurement process, lean manufacturing principles and how they might be applied to County government, public education, cross-departmental/agency collaboration, examination and prioritization of programs and services, and using projections and modeling in the budget planning process.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said he will speak to department heads tomorrow morning about these changes inprocesses. He also suggested dates for a Legislative retreat and asked members to provide him with feedback. The next meeting will be February 24th.
Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Government Operations Committee
Mr. Lane, Chairman, reported the Committee has not met since the last Legislature meeting. The next meeting will be February 19th; at that meeting the Committee will discuss the Mr. Finkelstein's proposal relating to a County Executive.
RESOLUTION NO. 27 - ADOPTION OF REVISED RULES OF THE TOMPKINS COUNTY
LEGISLATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF
MOVED by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, seconded by Mr. Booth, and unanimously adopted by voice vote.
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Charter was amended and adopted by
Local Law No. 1 of 2003, and
WHEREAS, the Rules of the Tompkins County Legislature have been updated in conformance with the adopted Tompkins County Charter, and
WHEREAS, other revisions were suggested and recommended by the Government Operations Committee, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Government Operations Committee, That the Rules of the Tompkins County Legislature and Functions of Committees dated February 2004 be adopted.
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Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Health and Human Services Committee
Ms. Robertson, Chair, reported the Committee met on February 21 and heard a report from the Office for the Aging, including an evaluation and report relating to a shopper's service at the Southside Community Center. This program helps senior citizens who have difficulty getting to the grocery store maintain their independence in their own homes. Ms. Robertson said the Committee also heard reports from the Department of Social Services about accounts and from the Health Department on staffing issues they are experiencing as a result of the 2004 budget. Ms. Cole, Public Health Director, reported on resignations the Department has received and said the Department is struggling to keep up with its workload. Ms. Robertson said the Committee also heard a report from the Youth Services Department and distributed information on services provided by that Department. The Committee also made liaison appointments and discussed new brochures from the Advocacy Center.
RESOLUTION NO. 28 – APPROPRIATION FROM CONTINGENT FUND – TERMINAL PAY – HEALTH DEPARTMENT
MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Ms. Schuler. A concern was raised as to why the employee's name was not included in this resolution. Mr. Joseph said he will direct he appropriate committee to discuss the issue to establish a clear policy on whether or not employee names will be included in terminal pay resolutions. A short roll call vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 15, Noes – 0. RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
WHEREAS, the Health Department had an employee resign effective
January 22, 2004, and
WHEREAS, the Fiscal Policy of Tompkins County allows for terminal pay from the Contingent Fund, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Health and Human Services and Budget and Capital Committees, That the Director of Finance is hereby authorized and directed to make the following budget appropriation:
FROM: A1990.54440 Contingent Fund $3,176
TO: A4016.51000580 Community Health Nurse $2,285
A4016.58800 Fringes $ 891
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RESOLUTION NO. 29 - CONTINUATION OF REDUCTION OF HOURS FOR DIRECTOR - OFFICE FOR THE AGING
MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Ms. Schuler. A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 14, Noes – 1 (Legislator Koplinka-Loehr). RESOLUTION ADOPTED.
WHEREAS, the position of Director of the Office for the Aging
was reduced from 40.0 hours per week to 35.0 hours per week effective July
21, 2002 through December 31, 2003, as part of a program to reduce expenses
due to budgetary constraints, and
WHEREAS, such budgetary constraints have not abated, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Health and Human Services Committee, That the hours for the position of Director, Office for the Aging (86/215) management labor grade P, should be continued at 35.0 hours per week for the year 2004 and shall return to 40.0 hours per week January 1, 2005.
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Report and Presentation of Resolution(s) from the Communications Capital Projects Committee
Mr. Penniman, Chairman, reported the Committee met today and covered a number of issues. He said the Department of Transportation Relocation Project is still waiting for approval from the Town and Village of Dryden; he hopes this will happen in the next month. The Committee received an update on the Emergency Response building and said it is close to completion and they hope to have staff move in the building in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Penniman said the Committee had a lengthy discussion about phase one of the radio system and the phone switch resolution on this evening's agenda. He stated the Committee has learned a lot about the task of developing these projects and this will help in the process of the main radio system over the next year. He stated the phone switch project was separated out and five bid responses were received. The Committee had a great amount of debate about the merits of the responses and the consensus reached is reflected in the resolution following this report.
Mr. Penniman said the Committee also began to actively discuss moving forward on Phase II of the Public Safety Communications system and heard from Steve Whicher, County Administrator, about an approach for negotiations with Motorolla.
Ms. Kiefer noted the resolution below received a split vote at the Committee meeting and said if she were a member of the Committee she would have asked Administration to take some additional time to explore another RFP because she feels the original Motorola response to the proposal was not responsive to the County's needs. Mr. Penniman said there are still a number of issues that need to be resolved. The next meeting will be March 10th.
RESOLUTION NO. 30 - AUTHORIZING THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TO
ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR A 911 PHONE
SYSTEM AT THE NEW EMERGENCY RESPONSE CENTER
MOVED by Mr. Penniman, seconded by Mr. Totman. Mr. Penniman stated the analysis that was done included the initial year plus three-years maintenance (four years total) and Positron came in at $354,000, CML at $406,000, and Motorolla at $476,000. Ms. Robertson said this resolution is only for the first year and not for four years as mentioned. Mr. Penniman clarified that the numbers he presented were used as a basis for the Committee's long-term decision. He said the cost of the contract that needs to be signed now are Positron - $217,000, CML - $270,000, and Motorolla - $288,000.
Mr. Whicher said several questions were raised at the Committee level with regard to pricing. The technology issue was one of the deciding factors and it was felt Positron was the best choice. Mr. Booth said the County currently has a facility that is built primarily with Motorolla equipment and asked if adding a different company's technology would provide another expense to the County. Mr. Whicher said this was recognized as an operational issue and staff feels it does not present any problems.
A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes - 15, Noes - 0.
WHEREAS, the county is constructing a new Emergency Response Center, and
WHEREAS, the Center will require a 911 phone integration system that is software and hardware compatible with the new console system and County’s existing Computer Aided Dispatch system, and
WHEREAS, the County has received proposals from qualified vendors, and
WHEREAS, the proposal from Positron, Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, serves the best interest of the County, and
WHEREAS, Resolution No. 260 of 2003 previously included funds for the phone integration system in the capital project for the new Emergency Response Center authorized by the Legislature, to the amount of $210,000.00, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Communications Capital Projects Committee, That the County Administrator is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement with Positron, Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, for the E911 phone system in an amount not to exceed $240,000,
RESOLVED further, That $210,000 shall be derived from the Emergency Response Center Building capital project account (Project No. 34.20) Account No. HI3420-59239 and any remaining funds necessary shall be derived from the Public Safety Communication System capital project (Project No. 34.12) Account No. HI3412-59239.
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Report from the Space and Location Committee
Mr. Proto, Chairman, reported the Committee had a very productive meeting on February 11th. During that meeting there was a review of the report on the phase-one analysis of County buildings and where the County should be in the next two to ten years. As part of the Committee's workplan, they are entering into phase two and are developing a revised work plan for 2004 and 2005. Mr. Proto said the Committee plans to call a joint meeting with some other standing program committees to present its report.
Approval of Minutes of February 3, 2004
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mr. Booth, and unanimously adopted by voice vote , to approve the minutes of February 3, 2004 with the changes submitted. MINUTES APPROVED.
Mrs. Schuler said she hadn't commented on Local Law No. 1 of 2004 earlier in the meeting but wanted to say something now. 'At the beginning of each meeting of the Legislature, as we did this evening, the Chair asks us to rise and join him in the pledge to the flag. This evening, we all stood, said the pledge ending with "Justice for All". Then we all sat down and debated whether or not to discriminate against certain people -- but everyone should be protected… but uncomfortable feeling."
On motion the meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.