January 5, 1999 Contact: Wendy Skinner
Tompkins County Public Information, 274-5555
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Highlights from the January 5, 1999
Tompkins County Board of Representatives meeting
MINK GETS UNANIMOUS VOTE TO CONTINUE AS BOARD CHAIR
With the unanimous support of her peers (the vote was 14-0; Rep. Thomas Todd was absent) District 5 Rep. Barbara Mink (D) has started her third term as chairman of the Tompkins County Board of Representatives. Mink was first elected to head the Board in 1997; she was vice-chairman for three years before that. Elected as vice-chairman, also by unanimous vote, was Michael Lane (D), the Representative for District 14. Lane was vice-chairman in 1997 and 1998.
The Board also welcomed incoming District 15 Rep. Peter Penniman (D), appointed by the Enfield and Ulysses town boards to take the seat held by Peter Meskill, who resigned after being elected Tompkins County sheriff.
BOARD CHAIR: LOOK TO THE FUTURE WHILE BUILDING ON THE PAST
In Board Chairman Mink’s remarks to the Board and the public, she described the County Board in the last decade as "dynamic . . . a group that hasn’t been afraid to explore big ideas, as well as respond to immediate challenges."
Mink recounted as some of the County’s specific accomplishments of 1998: selling the County’s Biggs A building to a developer that intends to create elderly housing; solving the Public Library’s space problems at half the cost of other alternatives; working toward coordinated job training and placement; launching a modest "fair wage" plan for human service workers; passing a law that helps restrict tobacco sales to underage smokers.
Challenges for 1999, Mink said, include: forging more productive relationships with other municipalities to ensure inclusion in major decisions; looking at Y2K problems to make sure the public is prepared and well-informed; coordinating services and funding for rural libraries; renewing quality planning efforts and molding the budget to reflect the Board’s goals for a high quality of life and low tax rate for residents.
Contacts: Barbara Mink, 273-7847, 274-5434; Michael Lane, 844-8440.
COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS FOR 1999 CONTINUE COUNTY GOALS
Barbara Mink, Chairman of the Board of Representatives, announced standing committee assignments for the year. The committee line-up for 1999:
¨ Budget and Quality Planning, Tim Joseph (D), Chair. The new name (formerly the Budget and Personnel Committee) reflects a renewed focus on quality initiatives as they relate to the County’s mission and vision statements. Long-range fiscal planning and program evaluations have been added to this committee’s responsibilities.
¨ Economic and Workforce Development, Stuart Stein (D), Chair. This committee will continue work begun in 1998 and earlier, with a strong focus on the Department of Social Services’ welfare-to-work programs, as well as job training and placement for all residents. It will also oversee county-wide economic development efforts, including tourism promotion.
¨ Governmental Operations, Michael Koplinka-Loehr (D), Chair. Personnel issues such as affirmative action, human rights, and performance reviews have been added to this committee’s responsibilities.
¨ Health and Human Services, Daniel Winch (R), Chair. Winch returns to an area of interest and expertise developed in the late 1980s, when he chaired the Board’s Human Services Committee for two years. Mental and Public Health Departments, Office for the Aging, Youth Bureau, and Human Services Coalition report to this committee.
¨ Planning, Intergovernmental Relations and Education, Michael Lane (D), Chair. Added to this continuing committee’s responsibilities for intermunicipal relations and cooperation are issues concerning rural libraries and the Tompkins County Public Library. Cooperative Extension has joined the list of agencies reporting to this committee.
¨ Public Safety, Charles Evans (R), Chair. In addition to working with a newly elected sheriff and expected reforms in that department, this committee will review and recommend changes to the current Public Safety Building, and continue to pursue and monitor alternatives to incarceration. A new emergency communications system is under review, and the committee will oversee emergency response agencies’ preparation for potential Y2K problems.
¨ Facilities and Infrastructure, Barbara Blanchard (D), Chair. An updated replacement for previous Public Works committees, this committee oversees the County’s bridge and highway program, the Tompkins County Airport, engineering, buildings and grounds, and the County’s solid waste and recycling program.
¨ The following special committees were also appointed: Library Coordination, Library Construction, Public Safety Building Space Study, Electronic Future, Electric Power, Information Management.
ARCHITECT CHOSEN FOR PUBLIC LIBRARY PROJECT
Barbara Mink, who chairs the Library Construction Committee, announced that Quinlivan, Pierik & Krause Architects and Engineers, of Syracuse, has been chosen as the architect for the relocated public library. QPK was chosen based on the quality of their work in studying the old library building, their knowledge of local library needs, and their expertise in library design in general, said Mink. The public library is slated to move to the former Woolworth building on West Green Street by late summer, 2000. Contact: Barbara Mink, 273-7847, 274-5434