Highlights of the October 18, 2005 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
The Legislature unanimously approved the Tentative 2006 Tompkins County Budget, with 14 members present. The Legislature improved slightly on its goal of a zero percent property tax increase. The proposed levy was approved at $33,096,252, down .02 percent from the 2005 levy of $33,103,540. The tax levy is the total amount of County property tax collected. If the Tentative Budget is approved, the County property tax rate for 2006 will be reduced from $7.18 to $6.59 per $1,000 of assessed value. This equates to a County property tax bill on a $100,000 home of $659. The total County budget, which includes state and federal revenues, is about $114.5 million. The local share of the budget - that portion that represents locally raised revenues - is proposed at $65,681,820. The Tentative Budget will now be made available for public review, and a public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. November 9 in the County Courthouse. The final approval of the 2006 budget is expected at the regular Legislature meeting, starting at 5:30 p.m. on November 15. Contacts: Michael Koplinka-Loehr, Chair, Budget and Capital Committee, 257-2329; Steve Whicher, County Administrator, 274-5551.

The Legislature voted 13 - 1 (14 members present; Dooley Kiefer voted no) to accept the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Public Safety Communications System, the countywide radio system used by emergency response personnel. The Legislature's acceptance of the DEIS means that the document is complete and is now ready to be presented to the public for comment. A 30-day public comment period will start tomorrow and end on November 18, 2005. A public information meeting to introduce the document and provide information about the communications system will be held tomorrow evening, 5 - 7:30 p.m. in the Womens' Community Building, 100 West Seneca Street, Ithaca. Hard copies of the DEIS will be placed in Ithaca City Hall, town halls, and public libraries around the county, and copies on CD will also be available. The DEIS will be posted on the County website, www.tompkins-co.org. Comments on the DEIS will be accepted in writing,* and oral comments will be recorded at a public hearing starting at 5 p.m. on November 3 in the County Courthouse.

*Written comments on the DEIS may be sent to Joan Jurkowich, Tompkins County Planning Department, 121 East Court Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Contacts: Lee Shurtleff, Director of Emergency Response, 607-257-3888; Joan Jurkowich, Deputy Planning Commissioner, 607-274-5560.