|MOTOROLA PICKED TO OUTFIT NEW 911 CENTER
Tompkins County will contract with Motorola, Inc. for the provision
of emergency dispatch equipment and microwave software and hardware at
the new 911 dispatch center to be built on Brown Road near the Ithaca-Tompkins
Regional Airport. The cost of the contract is $695,000 and is the first
step in the proposed upgrade to the countywide Public Safety Communications
System. The County is calling the agreement with Motorola Phase I of the
entire communications upgrade project, estimated to cost between $10.8
and $15.5 million. If Phase II, an upgrade to the multi-site system, is
executed with Motorola, the company will grant the County a $1.4 to $1.5
million discount on the total price. As an additional incentive for landing
the larger contract, Motorola has also offered to zero out the charge for
the microwave link portion of the 911 equipment contract, estimated at
$152,000. The Board approved the contract unanimously. The contract does
not include the cost of building a tower needed to link the center to the
existing public safety communications system.
Lee Shurtleff, the County's Director of Emergency Response, announced
that the design of the new 911 center, officially called the Public Safety
Communications Center, has been finalized. The one-story, 12,000 square-foot
building will go out to bid for contractor proposals on December 31, and
construction is expected to start in March, 2003. The cost of the building
is estimated at between $2.3 and $2.7 million. Bonding and debt service
for the project have already been approved in the 2003 budget. The center
is slated to open in December 2003. Contact: Barbara Blanchard, Chair,
Communications Capital Committee, 277-1374; County Attorney Jonathan Wood,
274-5546; Director of Emergency Response Lee Shurtleff, 257-3888.
PESTICIDE NOTIFICATION LAW PASSES BY SMALL MARGIN
By an 8 - 7 vote, the Board approved the Pesticide Neighbor Notification
law for implementation in Tompkins County. Originally passed by New York
State in 2000, the law requires commercial applicators to give 48-hour
notice of use of pesticide sprays to neighbors within 150 feet of the site
of application. If homeowners apply pesticides to areas larger than 100
square feet, they must post signs in the sprayed area. The new law will
take effect on January 1, 2003. The County Health Department will be the
enforcing agency. Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County has offered
assistance in educating the public. The votes on the law were as follows:
Yes - Kathy Luz Herrera, Tim Joseph, Dooley Kiefer, Michael Koplinka-Loehr,
Leslyn McBean, Peter Penniman, Martha Robertson, Nancy Schuler. No - Barbara
Blanchard, Richard Booth, Michael Lane, Frank Proto, Thomas Todd, George
Totman, Daniel Winch. Contact: Dooley Kiefer, Chair, Planning Committee,
COST OF MANDATES EATS UP COUNTY CONTINGENT FUND
The Board unanimously approved the transfer of $416,700 from the County's
set-aside contingency fund to the Department of Social Services (DSS) for
over-budget costs of mandated services. Driving the unanticipated expenses
are increases in the cost of day care, foster care, and emergency sheltering.
State and federal reimbursement rates for these locally-provided services
vary from 50 to 75 percent, leaving the County to pay the remainder of
the cost. This transfer, as well as some other smaller appropriations,
have depleted the contingency fund for 2002. The contingency fund is a
specified amount of money included in every year's budget to cover unknown
expenses. In the 2002 budget, the amount was set at $908,515. For 2003,
it has been set at $909,000. The County holds more than $5 million in unallocated
(unbudgeted) funds as its ultimate safety net. Contact: Peter Penniman,
Chair, Budget & Capital Committee, 387-5897.
FINANCE DIRECTOR PREDICTS OVER $2 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL SALES TAX
County Finance Director David Squires told the Board that he estimates
the County will receive in excess of $2 million more in sales tax revenue
than was anticipated for 2002. The County budgeted $20,500,000 in sales
tax for use in the 2002 budget. Squires said the County had gained that
amount by the end of November. In a related vote, the Board approved an
extension of the one-cent of sales tax it originally approved in 1991,
increasing the tax rate in Tompkins County from 7 to 8 percent. Contact:
David Squires, Finance Director, 274-5545.
DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR TO LEAVE COUNTY
Kathryn Smithers, Deputy County Administrator since 1991, will retire
from County government in February. Smithers, who was Director of Budget
and Finance prior to becoming Deputy Administrator, will return as a contract
worker for several months in 2003 to assist in transitional activities.
A search will be conducted to fill the position of Deputy Administrator
which is the second-highest administrative spot in the organization. Contact:
Kathryn Smithers, 274-5551.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT SMALLPOX RESPONSE TEAM TO BE VACCINATED
Sigrid Connors, a Tompkins County Health Department spokesperson, said
that a Health Department smallpox response team of about 20 people will
be vaccinated against the disease early next year. Another group of about
80 health care workers at Cayuga Medical Center will also be vaccinated.
The vaccine and delivery needles are being provided by the federal government.
Smallpox vaccination is not available to members of the general public
at this time. Contact: Sigrid Connors, Health Department, 274-6604.
Board of Representatives
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