Highlights of the January 17, 2006 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
After a lengthy discussion, the Legislature failed to determine whether to change the County's assessment cycle from every year to every three years. If Legislator Dick Booth had not needed to leave the meeting before the vote, a decision would have been made. With Booth absent, the vote was tied at 7 to 7. In order not to keep the Assessment Department on hold much longer, the Legislature scheduled a special meeting for a revote at 2:30 pm Thursday, January 19 in the Legislative Chambers. If a three-year cycle is approved, the next time countywide assessment notices would be sent out would be 2008. Much of the work of the Assessment Department would continue as it tracks sales, assesses new construction, and reassesses areas of rapid change in the real estate market. Under either cycle, reassessment will be ongoing, as needed, which means that owners of property in volatile market areas will receive annual assessment notices. Those voting for the triennial assessment were: James Dennis, Tim Joseph, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Pam Mackesey, Martha Robertson, Mike Sigler, and Greg Stevenson. Those opposed were: Kathy Luz Herrera, Michael Hattery, Dooley Kiefer, Michael Koplinka-Loehr, Frank Proto, Nathan Shinagawa, and Duane Randall.

The Legislature approved appointments to the board of directors of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which promotes economic development in the county through tax abatements, interest-free loans, and other supports to businesses and manufacturers. The bylaws of the organization require it to have seven members, appointed by resolution of the County Legislature. At least four of the seats are to be held by County Legislators, one of which must represent a rural district and two of which must represent districts within the City of Ithaca. Rounding out the board are two at-large members, and one a member of the Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) board. Reappointed to the IDA board are Kathy Luz Herrera, Legislator and city representative; Tim Joseph, Legislator and rural representative; Dan Cogan, City of Ithaca Alderperson and at-large member; and Jean McPheeters, President of the Chamber of Commerce and a TCAD board member. New appointments are Mike Hattery, Legislator and rural representative; Martha Robertson, Legislator and rural representative; and business consultant Jeff Furman, at-large. Hattery and Robertson replace former Legislators Michael Lane and George Totman. Furman replaces attorney Mariette Guildenhuis. Joseph will chair the IDA. The vote was 14 to 1, with Leslyn McBean-Clairborne in opposition.