Tompkins County Board of Representatives
EXPANSION OF COUNTY JAIL A POSSIBILITY
Rep. Tim Joseph reported to the Board of Representatives that the committee that has been studying overcrowding and other facility problems at the County jail has asked its consultant to develop plans and budgets for four options:
¨ do nothing with the current facility;
¨ deal with operational issues in the administrative, jail, and law enforcement part of the building;
¨ expand the jail capacity in phases, to meet anticipated increasing need for cells and beds;
¨ expand the jail capacity all at once.
The Public Safety Building Space Needs Committee has been studying the jail and the law enforcement side of the public safety facility for nearly a year. In addition to issues of overcrowding in the jail solved for now by temporary variances from the state allowing for more beds the committee found that other problems with the building at the Warren Road have hampered efficient operations of the deputy patrol and administration. Fixing both sides of the building is a possibility, said Joseph. The committee, which Joseph chairs, is also considering other ways to solve jail overcrowding and meet other detention and rehabilitative needs. Among ideas being discussed are a non-secure halfway house where certain inmates could serve out the last part of their sentences. The committee is also looking at the possibility of teaming with surrounding counties for a regional jail, or a regional juvenile detention facility. Media contacts: Rep. Tim Joseph, 277-2519; Tompkins County Sheriff Peter Meskill, 257-1345.
PUBLIC INPUT REQUESTED ON POSTING OF ASSESSMENT DATA ON INTERNET
A resolution that would approve posting limited assessment data on the Internet was postponed to allow for public input on the issue. The proposal under discussion would make available on the Tompkins County website assessment data on all taxable properties in the County, including location and street address, type and style of building, square footage, age of structure, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, overall condition, improvements such as garages or finished basements, and the most recent assessed value. The information would not include information on exemptions, such as senior citizens or disability exemptions, that could potentially target owners for crime or fraud. Complete assessment records are already available to the public at the County Assessment Office. Anyone wishing to express an opinion on the posting of assessment records on the Internet should contact their elected County representative. Media contacts: Board Chairman Barbara Mink, 274-7847; Assessment Director Steven Whicher, 274-5517.
NATURAL GAS NOW AVAILABLE THROUGH BUYING ALLIANCE
Although prices may vary from month-to-month, natural gas is now available
through the two-county power purchasing group, the Tompkins-Tioga Electric
and Gas Alliance. Municipalities who wish to participate must sign up by
the end of July to receive the best price, Rep. Stuart Stein announced.
All other power customers in the two counties will be eligible to sign
up for both electricity and natural gas through the Alliance as of August
1. The Electric and Gas Alliance represents a group of energy consumers
and negotiates agreements with suppliers of power in pursuit of lower prices.
The company that has offered the lowest bids for both electric power and
natural gas is NYSEG Solutions. The County Board agreed by unanimous vote
to approve NYSEG Solutions as the preferred supplier for Alliance members
and to shift County energy contracts to NYSEG Solutions if projected savings
are significant. Media contact: Rep. Stuart Stein, 273-3500.