Highlights from the February 16, 1999 meeting of the
Tompkins County Board of Representatives
BOARD AUTHORIZES PURCHASE OF EMERGENCY GENERATORS
The Board of Representatives agreed to allocate a maximum of $65,000 in previously-approved capital funds for the purchase of eight electric power generators. The vote was 12-1; Rep. Dooley Kiefer voted no; Reps. Thomas Todd and George Totman were absent. The generators will be installed at eight existing microwave radio towers to prevent a breakdown of communications among fire, police, and other emergency service providers in case of a power outage. Potential year-2000 power losses created the impetus to buy the generators now. The County’s entire emergency radio tower system is slated for an upgrade in the future. Contact: Rep. Charles Evans, 273-5488.
SHERIFF TAPS SET-ASIDE BUDGET
A request from Sheriff Peter Meskill to move $68,644 of previously set aside funds into the 1999 Sheriff’s Department budget was approved unanimously (13-0; Reps Thomas Todd and George Totman were absent) by the Board of Representatives. The Board agreed in 1998 to earmark $120,332 in additional operating funds for the Department, awaiting specific budget requests by the newly elected Sheriff. Meskill will fund a new Deputy position, and purchase a new vehicle for the Department. The Deputy position will be a cost-saver in the long run, said Meskill, because it will reduce overtime hours.
Contact: Rep. Charles Evans, 273-5488.
FUNDING APPROVED FOR INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNTS
The Board of Representatives approved $5,000 as the County’s contribution to a fund that will be used to match savings in "individual development accounts" opened by eligible persons living in federally subsidized housing. The savings of program participants will be matched 3 to 1, and must be used for such goals as a down payment on a home, schooling, or starting a business. The accounts, administered by the Ithaca Housing Authority, will be held at Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Rep. Dooley Kiefer voted against the measure; Rep. Susanne Davis abstained. Contact: Rep. Barbara Blanchard, 277-1374.
BOARD ENDORSES HATE CRIME LEGISLATION
The Board of Representatives gave its unanimous (13-0; Reps Thomas Todd and George Totman were absent) support to proposed State and Federal legislation that strengthens prosecution of bias-related crimes. Earlier this year, Ithaca Common Council, and the Ithaca City Board of Education passed similar resolutions. Contact: Rep. Michael Koplinka-Loehr, 257-2329.
FEES GO UP FOR SHERIFF’S ID AND FINGERPRINTING SERVICE
The Board of Representatives approved a fee hike for two services provided by the Sheriff’s Department. The fee for a photo identification card will go up from $5 to $12, and a fee of $5 will be charged for fingerprinting for non-criminal purposes. Sheriff Peter Meskill has explained that neither fee is seen as a revenue source but as a way to cover the costs of the services. Photo ID’s (non-driver’s licenses) are also available at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Meskill is hoping more citizens will take advantage of that resource. Contact: Rep. Charles Evans, 273-5488.
SCHUMER MEETING WITH BOARD WILL BE TELECAST LIVE
New York State Senator Chuck Schumer’s one-hour meeting with the Board of Representatives Wednesday from 6 to 7 pm will be cablecast live on Channel 15, the government access channel. The purpose of the meeting, to be held in the Board Chambers in the County Courthouse, 320 North Tioga Street, is to discuss economic development concerns.